by IB Cruzin'
June 1, 2008
Just returned from the Destiny on Sunday (6/8). This was my second go around on the Destiny, having enjoyed the Southern Caribbean itinerary in October of 2006.
This is a "different" cruise.
First of all, this itinerary is not for those looking to relax and enjoy the ship. This itinerary has NO sea days. Every day you hit a different island (San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts). Because there are no sea days, the Destiny is much more of a floating hotel rather than your typical cruise ship experience. There is little night action on the ship because most passengers are in bed by midnight. It would be close to impossible to party into the wee hours and then get up at 6, 7 or 8 a.m. to enjoy the next island day after day.
I was in the Cat 1A cabin 2335. This is one of the two Cat 1A's that have two picture windows. The cabin was to die for. The windows covered the entire length of the cabin. There is one twin bed, a pull down bed and a sofa that looks like it can convert to some sort of sleeping apparatus.
The ship is a bit old. Therefore, many of the bells and whistles that you would find on the newer ships (specialty restaurants, on-screen menus, giant movie screen, etc.) are not available on the Destiny. However, I experienced no negativity because of the ship's age. Most of the ship is in excellent condition with only the aft elevators showing any signs of wear and tear. It is a bit smaller than the newer ships which, for my purposes, was a good thing because it made for a shorter walk from one end to the other.
As far as the passenger base, a lot has been written about the Destiny and ships that sail from San Juan. On my cruise, I would guess that at least 85% of the passengers were Puerto Rican (or Latino). This can be overwhelming if you are not expecting such a large number of spanish-speaking passengers. I had sailed on Destiny before so I knew what to expect. In all honesty, I found the passengers from Puerto Rico to be at least as nice and pleasant as anyone else. The only problem is that they are much more inclined to stay within their own family groups. For someone unaware of the strong Hispanic family bonds, they may initially find their behavior and/or mannerisms to be standoffish and unfriendly. It is not. It is just their custom. (When cruising the Destiny, I would strongly suggest that you give a lot of leeway to the fact that regardless of citizenry, you must remember you are cruising with a large number of people from a completely different culture.) I had no negative experiences with any of the San Juan passengers. Even when language was a barrier, they were pleasant and happy, and more than glad to participate in the hand, face, word communication that is common when speaking in two different languages. Their children were better behaved than I have witnessed on ships out of Florida and while I did not police the teens, I found through my interactions with them that they were VERY respectful to adults and older people. No back talk at all. I chastised a few for various minor misbehavior and they straightened up immediately. Not even a dirty look.
With so many of the passengers staying within their circle, the rigorous island hop schedule, and the language barrier, the nightlife on the Destiny is almost non-existent. This is fine because everyone has an early wake up so as to enjoy the next port. I am usually in the dance club until it closes every night on my cruises. However, I did not miss that aspect of this cruise. I was too tired to stay up much later than midnight.
The staff on this ship was one of the best that I have encountered. My room steward was wonderful, cheery, helpful and prompt. He was my buddy. The dining staff was a notch above what you find on most Carnival ships. The Maitre D sang to the diners in the formal dining room every night. He surely must have been a performer in a past life because he had a wonderful voice. The Purser's Desk was diligent, polite and efficient. The staff seems a notch happier than I have seen on other Carnival ships. This may be because less is demanded of them since most of the passengers are off the ship all day long and return to the ship exhausted, staying up just long enough to shower, eat dinner and maybe take in the show before calling it a day.
I had such a great time that I came home and immediately booked this same itinerary, same cabin (this time on the Victory) for May, 2009.
I would recommend this cruise with some minor reservations. PM me if you want some suggestions to enhance your Destiny (soon to be Victory) experience.