Just got off the Carnival Destiny last Thursday after ports of Jamaica & Grand Cayman. The reviews that we read prior to leaving for this trip had us terrified that we made a huge mistake in picking this ship! Take them for what they're worth - The few people who had a rarely horrible time will be the first ones to comment. Those who had a great time will be second. Those who got what they expected rarely will comment at all! Our review - Pretty much what we expected after taking in all reviews.
We don't cruise often so we don't fit the mold of "cruise snobs". I think a lot of the negative comments come from people who cruise often and are used to the Royal Carribeans, Celebrity, etc. The Destiny is in need of a remodel (which it will receive in 2013), but it's by no means a dump! We had a 3-person balcony room which was clean (no musty smell) and the beds were comfortable. The balcony itself was just an existing walkway with individual partitions added on later, but served it's purpose.
The food was ok to good but I would not say great! Regardless, food was always available and I did not go hungry!!! There were food lines but they were no longer than a 5 minute wait which I expected before boarding the ship.
I do agree that there is not enough outside, recreational water features to serve the entire ship. The pools were extremely small and constantly packed with people. These conditions made me hesitate and unlimately refuse to go into the water once there was space available. Instead I used the outside showers to hose and cool off while laying out in the sun. Oh BTW - If you're self-conscious about your physical appearance prior to boarding this ship, don't be. I worked out for months prior to the cruise so shed some last minute lbs so I at least didn't embarrass myself. Don't waste your time! I guarantee you will not be the fatest person on this ship. And these "large" people have no shame in their swim attire (thongs, bikinis, etc). Yuck!
I also read that someone referred to Destiny as "the WalMart of the seas" to describe the type of people on board. Yeah, maybe. I think that's more geared toward the price of the cruise, ports of call and overall affordability...not to this specific ship. I will say one thing about this topic however - White passengers are definitely the minority on this ship (not complaining, just an observation). If you can deal with this, you'll have a good time.
I also read someone's comment that the Vegas-style shows were no more than highschool musical quality. I strongly disagree! The style of shows were very 80's/90's but that is what Vegas-style is and geared toward the more senior people on board. I thought the singers and dancers were extremely talented and surprised that a cruise ship could host such talent. I had no issues with this at all.
So in closing, no real complaints. As it turns out my negative comments are more to the fact that I found out I'm just not a cruise-type person. I prefer to spend more time seeing the destinations instead of spending time with thousands of strangers on a boat. We enjoyed ourselves but that may be because we kept our expectations in check! We prepared ourselves for what we were getting into and ended up being pleasantly surprised. Hope this helps!