Forced myself to suspend my general dislike of cruise ships and Carnival in particular. Sailed on the Fascination in 2004. Always been one who prefers spending time at the destination rather than on getting there, which is why I prefer air travel. Nevertheless I love the sea, was brought up on an island and been boating since early childhood. I enjoy roller coasters and rough seas. I enjoy the camaraderie travelers form during a journey.
My daughter, a first-timer, deserved a major reward after an outstanding fourth grade year, so I booked us to Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman, two places I'd visited before and knew my daughter would like. Thanks to "Cruise Critic" our Destiny cruise was everything I thought it would be (no surprises)--and my daughter was blown away.
This ship is sorely in need of its planned renovation. Worn out, old and tired, a lot like me. Armrests and upholstery show the wear of millions of guests' body parts. Wear and tear on carpets, handles, plumbing and electrical. Computer and other systems in Engine Control and on the Bridge need updating. Unbelievably odoriferous in certain areas as others have said, particularly in the casino. Mini-golf fairways peeling off of deck. Dents in decorative metalwork caused by falling drunken passengers. Art, interior design, lighting and furnishings that are noteworthy in their gaudy tastelessness as I anticipated.
Had to offset the sweetness of the line's chosen brand of tonic (as in gin and...) with a wedge of lime. Stateroom key didn't work most of day one until lock was completely replaced. I refuse to stand in line for food, so I ate most meals in the Universe Dining Room. Nice staff, food well-presented and surprisingly tasty although not hot, beef was gray and overcooked, sushi plate was skimpy and lobster tails were the size of prawns. To their credit, you could order as many as you like. Amazingly my daughter (and I) loved the escargots. Our view out the stern of the ship as we ate was memorable. Wanted to eat at the sushi bar but it's only open at the worst possible time if you have the early dinner seating. Daughter had Room Service midnight snack BLT with sides that came pretty fast and she cleaned the plate. Mostly she enjoyed the pizza and typical kid food.
She made friends immediately, totally enjoyed Camp Carnival (and the Night Owl activities), fell in love with horseback riding in Jamaica, swimming with stingrays in the Caymans, the water slide and eating free ice cream cones. Splurged on her for a "Spa Night" where she got her nails done, skin moisturized and served an ice cream cone. That girl was in heaven.
I enjoyed looking at over two thousand of the most boorish, ill-mannered and unattractive (I fall into the latter category) people imaginable, pretending there was a steakhouse while staring at the buffet line, drinking in every place that served alcohol, watching sports in the All-Star. I met some nice people but none of the available women threw themselves at me until the end of the last night. Karaoke was fun, the piano bar was nice, the band by the big pool was loud but I can't comment on any of the other entertainment. Can't comment on the casino because I'm not much of a gambler (an hour or a hundred and I'm done) and this one was most unappealing in decor and smell. Can't comment on the gym or fitness programs but they're there somewhere. We played a few rounds of miniature golf which was fun. She loved the water slide and video game arcade.
Our cabin was great, somehow we wound up with a handicapped stateroom forward up on the Lido Deck that I didn't ask for they wanted to fill. From now on I will ask if there's an empty one after all passengers who need one get theirs--and on a corner. Convenient. Bigger than usual, especially the bathroom and this lazy old fart loved the grab bars and folding seat in the shower.