We just returned from the beautiful ship the Destiny. I read many reviews about her and some of them were negative. So I was worried some as we took off for our cruise. We left the day before to spend the night in San Juan,PR. We had reservations at the Regency Hotel, we didn't' read much good about that either but we went for it. It cost $150 night, not cheap but certainly not the most expensive on the island. The hotel is owned by the Condado and we were able to use all the amenities at that hotel. Our room was huge with a balcony. We planned on staying in PR another 2 days after the cruise and chose the Regency again. As far as the airport goes, we had nothing but good experiences. Very clean and safe, no problems at the airport at all. We took a taxi form the airport to the hotel, there are many many taxis, and the cost is set by someone inside the airport, about $28, 6 people, 14 pcs luggage.
We got to the port around 11:30; there was a small line but nothing out of order. We got moving toward the ship around 12:00. After all the security and checks we were on the lido deck having lunch at 12:30. We couldn't get to our cabin until 1:30 so we didn't mind eating!
We went to our cabins at 1:30; we were on the 7th floor rooms, 7292, 7296 & 7300 all with balconies. They were clean and well appointed. Blow dryers in the bathrooms(they work great), large showers, huge closets and lots of drawers. We didn't need anything. Hint: put your luggage under your beds. (Some people don't know this). Our luggage was in the hallway at about 3. We took the time to put it away and got settled
1st night is casual night for dinner, shorts are allowed. Open seating. We enjoyed our 1st dinner very much.
The dinners every night in the dining room were delicious. The service was outstanding we never wanted for anything at all.
Lido dining: A large variety of food all day and on the midnight buffet. We had the NY deli sandwiches, some don't know you can have the sandwiches toasted or grilled. We had the Chinese, it was ok. Hamburgers are delicious along with fries!
Entertainment: I felt could be better. The shows in the Palladium were very good. The small bands just so so. The piano bar was fun to sing along with.
Casino: Talk to my husband, he did very well. Many choices to choose from.
Drinks: Good and the prices were normal. $3.25 beer plus tax up from there.
Layout of the ship: Here is a hint, 5th floor is the only floor you can get from one end of the ship to the other. 5th floor will take you to shopping, casino, stairs to purser's desk.
A very useful floor, don't forget 5th floor.
Formal nights- Everyone worries so much about this night. We had 2, the day we were at St. Thomas and the 1st at sea day. My husband wore a tux, I saw many men who did. There were a lot of men in suits and ties. Not too many in just a shirt and tie and very few in no tie. I saw gowns from wedding gowns(yup 2 married on the ship), bridesmaids gowns, to pretty cocktail dresses. Lots of sparkling ladies looking very nice.
Take all the pictures they have, you only buy what you want.
I read that the lines were so long and there were too many people. I read that there were stains on the carpets and the ship needed painting. I did not see the lines of people, if there were 15 in line past the plate pick up that was a lot. As for stains on the carpet, I didn't see any. I also didn't see any places that needed painting.
Now for the ports.
St. Thomas is absolutely beautiful and a dream to see. We took a tour with Godfrey tours, he is the best. $20 person and he takes you everywhere. Email him and he will set it all up.
Dominica, well I can at least say I was there. I didn't' care much for this island. We took a tour with Reynos tours, $30 person. Reynos did a fine job, but there just isn't anything much to see on this island. We went through the rain forest, to emerald pool and we were going to Tangaler falls. We had him drop us off at the ship before that one, we had enough riding around. We (the girls) felt very uncomfortable and wanted the ships arms around us. If I was to go here again, I would use this day as a spa day, only getting off the ship to browse the shops close to the ship.
Barbados, simply wonderful. We took a taxi straight to Spieghtstown (spikestown) and to the beach there. All day in the sun was what we enjoyed. We went jet skiing, swam, we had drinks and rented beach chairs. An absolutely great day. We also were taken to a cigar factory, to watch women making cigars. This was exciting to my husband to see this. They use Cuban tobacco and wrap with local tobacco so they can be brought back legally. And from what my husband says, they are the best tasting cigar he has ever smoked. I am glad we went there.
Aruba, we will come back here to spend a week or so. So clean, so friendly and so pretty. We did the DePaul island snorkel tour off the ships excursions $49 per person and it was great. It is all up to you and what you want to do. If you want to snorkel ½ hr you do, if you want to snorkel the whole 3 ½ hrs you can do that too. The price includes drinks, and a delicious buffet. Definitely worth the money.
San Juan, we stayed there the day before and 2 days after the cruise. We found it to be a wonderful place. Neither dirty nor unsafe. We ate in the local restaurants and ate PR food. We found it to be pricey, but really everything is in PR. We rented a van $59 day from Charlie's and drove all over the island. What a way to see the island. We walked around Old San Juan Monday night 7ish and found it to be beautiful also. Though most of the stores were closed, we found some outside stands open. Ladies do your shopping with your head. Buy your Laramie jewelry here, 1/3 the cost! The ship will tell you they are the only ones to have it, wrong. OSJ is full of it, the exactly same items.
All in all this is a fine ship and a great itinerary. We will look at her to sail on again.
Put your worries away and have a great time.