This cruise is my third cruise second on Carnival Destiny. Through out this review I will be comparing the difference of experiences between my cruise in 2001 and now 2004.
We decided to depart to San Juan a day early to avoid air traffic delays and to relax before going on the ship. We and a group of 70 guests stayed at the Comfort Inn. Our flights to Philly and San Juan landed ahead of schedule. Comparing back in 2001, getting off the plane looked the same but when arriving to baggage claim it was different. Before they did not have a conveyor belt, they brought all the luggage to the front of the airport and literally threw it into the airport. Now, it's like a whole new room. They used to have a room where the lost luggage would go. Now it is where we wait for our luggage. When we got our luggage, I started to see the un finished part of baggage claim and saw the natives just standing there. I think there should be a better place for them to stay especially with airport security.
Got a cab to the Comfort Inn, and waited outside for a good 40 minutes before checking in. This inn was not in the best location. Very crowed, with buildings just inches apart, with no view but another hotel.
The room was perfect, two twin beds, with a little coffee table. The room was a good size for two.
The pool area was a big athletic size pool. Please Note: If you have kids and want to go in the pool this is not place for them cause this pool starts at 4 feet and goes to 9 feet deep. About a 3 minute walk to the ocean.
The food and Service was good but did not contain much for a continental breakfast. Contained coffee, cereal (Raisin Brand) and toast. Nothing else I ended going across the street to pick up a banana.
For a one nighter this is a great place to stay at. If you are staying more than one night than I suggest you go out to breakfast at least one of the nights. Otherwise, the service here was excellent. All in all yes I would go back to this inn. This is an excellent choice to stay at!
September 5th - EMBARKATION
We arrived at the Pier around 11AM. For a good half hour we were not moving because they open the gates at 11:30. Just before the line started to move we noticed a stand for water and lemonade near the front of the line. When I was here there years ago they did not have this great terminal and dock. It was just a pink building (that is next to the terminal.) We were on the ship by noon. It helps speed up the process by using the fun pass, everything was breeze once the line started to move.
After we had lunch on the Lido, we checked out our home for the week. What a great room! We opened our balcony to find a beautiful view of Old San Juan. We got off the ship and did some exploring around the area. We walked up to the fort and did some shopping. We headed back to the pier and boarded the ship.
Before the ship set sail there was the annual boat drill. Two words: T O O L O N G. The Carnival Capers clearly said 9pm life boat drill. We left our cabin at 9pm and they did not make an announcement until 9:15 and finally started at 9:25. and ended around 9:45. Word of Advice: come as late as you can, otherwise you are way in the back.
We went back to our cabin to watch us sail off to St. Thomas.
Monday September 6th - St. Thomas
6:30 AM walked out onto our balcony to find a gorgeous view of St. Thomas. We booked a shore excursion called A Journey Through Paradise
We went around the island and went to places like Mountain Top. Later went into town, for 2 ½ hours of shopping. Very good deals here. Great place to buy jewelry.
Tuesday September 7th - Antigua
Change of route due Hurricane Ivon.
We were supposed to go to Dominica.
Our last cruise (2001) we went to Antigua as well. Back than the island had a stinch and streets were polluted. Now what a surprise the island was so much better for the greater good. No more stinch no more streets polluted. The only big difference now is that they have an extra dock and their prices went up $9.00 for t-shirts. We did not do any shopping on this island, just walked around.
Wednesday September 8th - Dominica
Now the hurricane has passed Dominica but in Barbados has winds of 90MPH and the terminal is down. Due to the winds we went to Dominica instead of Barbados. When we came into port you can see that they were setting up shops.
I took a shore excursion by myself to Trafalger Falls and Sulphur Springs. Word of Caution: Both the Sulpher Spring and the Trafalger Falls have very steep walk ways. If you have walking problems I would not recommend this trip.
I went into an air conditioned bus. It was a nice and relaxing ride. Our first trip was to the Sulphur Springs. When walking to the Springs there are a lot of vendors trying to sell you stuff. The springs were volcanic rock. Smoke can be seen from up close and on the ship.
The next stop The Trafalger Falls.
Before entering the Trafalger Falls make sure you have your ticket. The falls were breath taking. This was a great site! After the falls we relaxed at a hotel where they offered Rum.
Thursday September 9th Barbados
What a surprise! We found out we are now going to Barbados. The terminal was a little damage otherwise all fine. We decided to take the Harrison Cave Tour. On our way to the cave, we got some history and saw how the islanders live. Learned that famous people like
Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods have homes on the island.
These caves are a must see! The ride to and from the caves is about 50 minutes.
Friday September 10th:Day at Sea
I will talk about this later in the review.
Saturday September 11th Tortola (near St. Thomas)
Due to Hurricane Ivon being over Aruba we headed back north just around the corner from St. Thomas and St. John. As you are all probably thinking "I never heard of this island"? That's cause tourist don't come hear much. Before taking a tour, we did some shopping. These prices are a lot better than Antigua. $5.00 for t-shirts VS $9.00 in Antigua. Later we caught a ride that took us around the island. This island was very exotic! Very Scenery. Our first stop was to the top of the mountain. We saw a lot of great views of the island and the ship. Our driver took us on the west part of the island. On the way he showed us what beach the tourists go to. A white beach that looked clean. After the tour, we did some more shopping and went back on Destiny.
On Carnival Destiny: Entertainment
I thought there was lot more to do on the ship three years ago than now. I was very disappointed in this area. The day we were at sea they only had one pool game and that was survivor. I heard they did throw in golf balls but I did not witness it. The shows on the Palladium Lounge made no sense. The first one was based in Paris. The show was so bad I saw several people (including myself) leave. The story line made no sense. It was all mixed in together. I ended up going to Karaoke. Karaoke is the event to attend. You don't have to go on stage, just watch.
Overall: I think there should be more do on the ship (as far as entertainment) I saw a lot of empty bars at night like the Apollo Bar.
Food and Service:
One nice thing about Carnival is there's always the Lido deck for food. I found lunch's to be the best. You have choice the most choice and everything is opened. New York Deli and the Pizzeria were my top favorites. I did try the pizza that contains garlic bread and goat cheese. Very good! A most try! At New York Deli I would highly recommend the Reuben Sandwich.
There are a lot of great desserts out between lunch and dinner. The buffet during breakfast was great. Every morning I always asked for omelets. The only problem I found during breakfast was they did not have orange juice ready before the grand buffet.
The dinner buffet went down hill. One of the times they had all these side meals but no main meal. We were mostly found at the Galaxy Dining Room.
Our Waiter Kasavan and Assistant waiter Adrijan were always a ton of fun. Adrijan had a big sense of humor and was always a joy to have.
The food in the dining room had limited choices but it was good and different. They had great Entertainment towards the end of the seating. The first night they were singing and dancing Hot Hot Hot. Our table joined in the conga and saw some belly dancers during the song. I thought this was the best of them all but sad to say they don't have that much guest involvement.
The service was always top-notch but the food could have more of a variety.
Room and Service
Our balcony cabin was on the Lido deck (9209) The view on the balcony was incredible. Every morning we would walk outside and see us coming into port. I don't think an inside cabin would ever be the same.
After noticing we had one queen bed, our room steward Ivanhoe said he will change the bed to twin later tonight. He did. Ivanhoe always made sure our room was very clean and more organized.
This process is so much better now than in (2001) it was so un organized than. Guests kept going downstairs when there color was not called. Cause of this there was an endless line on the Rivera deck. We did not get off till 10AM and almost missed our flight.
Now it was the complete opposite, very organized. Everyone went down when there color was called. Lines were not that long and everything went smoothly. Even though they tell you to hang out on decks 5 or 9, we stayed on deck 3 near the flag bar and had no problems. We left the pier by 9:10 and was at the airport shortly after. Our friends had their room on Verandah and for some strange reason Lido is one of the first decks to get off but Verandah is the last one. We were the last deck to be called in 2001 as well.
Being there before 9:30 was great cause you beat most of the guests from the three cruse lines. Got ahead of all the major lines. Bad news was our flight left at 2:40Pm about a 5 hour lay-over. We stayed in the same concourse the whole time. For three cruise lines that all end on a Sunday, the airport could put more restaurants or build more concourses. Around 10,000 guests come into this airport the same day. Long lines at the two restaurants (30 people at least). Long lines in both restrooms. Long lines going though security. The only area where there were no long lines, was the drug store. In Philly (Our connection flight) walking to another concourse was so much like a ghost town but for the greater good when you compare to the San Juan airport. Hopefully in another 3 years they will be up to par.
Through out this vacation changes in itinerary and events were changed. This did not effect our vacation to have fun. Unfortunately I have noticed Carnival Destiny's Entertainment to have poor marks. There were not that many ship-wide or lido activities suitable for the many age groups on the ship.
This vacation was a lot of fun. I'm am disappointed we did not go to Aruba but Tortola made up for it. The ship was like I remember from 2001. I always saw the crew cleaning the ship inside and out. Overall this was a phenomenal vacation that I will never forget!