A bit of information about us before I start. I am a 39 year old male and my girlfriend is 44. This is my 6th cruise and my girlfriends 5th. We have only ever cruised with Carnival. We are both from the UK and have cruise in both the Med and the Caribbean all with Carnival. I love Carnival. Some people will probably get upset with my review BUT this is what happened to us/what we saw. This has kind of put me off cruising for a while. Maybe I just need a few days to take it all in and realize that while this cruise was not perfect it still meant that we were not at work, not making meals & not making our own beds etc. I have a wheat allergy so follow a Gluten Free diet which Carnival are really helpful with.
We flew in to Miami Airport on the 27th of December after flying in from Heathrow. It was about 18:45 in Miami but 23:45 UK time. We were in CBP for so long it was 2 hours from the time we left the plane to the time we got to check in to our Hotel !
We stayed in the Sofitel Hotel in Miami. We both liked the hotel. The food was good and the staff were friendly. The shuttle service from the airport was good. Once we got to the hotel we just slept as we were so tired.
December 28th 2012 -- Day before the cruise
We got up quite early. Jet lag not being an issue this way. We spoke to the concierge about getting to Miami beach. He told us to take the hotel shuttle back to the airport and then get the airport flyer to Miami beach. It cost us $5 for a return ticket each. We spent some time walking round Miami beach and then had a late lunch at TGI Fridays! We love TGI's !
December 29th 2012 -- Cruise Day ! Woo hoo....
We had booked the transfer to the ship via Carnival. The bus turned up a little late but that was no big issue. We left the hotel at 12:10 and we were on the Carnival Destiny by 12:50!
We had decided that we would buy the faster to the fun program (FTTF) and it was so worth it.
We got to the port of Miami and got put into the FTTF queue. Had to wait a couple of minutes then through to the VERY rude security woman who could not tell me what she wanted. She really annoyed me. She was so rude!
Got through security quickly and then got put into another FTTF queue to get our sail and sign card. Got that real quick and then straight on to the ship. We had just got to our state room and our bags arrived ! Was FTTF worth it ? Oh yes ! Worth every penny.
We went straight to our room as that was part of FTTF. The room was 6379 at the stern just above the letter D in the Carnival Destiny name printed on the stern of the ship. We had Carnival Liberty berthed right behind us.
My first impression of Destiny was oh. What a rust bucket. Our chairs on our balcony were not nice. I assume they are coated in smoke residue ? I don't know what it is. I tried to clean it but it did not come off. Then looking out of our balcony you can see the rust of the superstructure. There is loads of rust. Our deck looks like it has never been cleaned/polished in years. A BIG disappointment. I was lucky enough to sail on Carnival Breeze in July and I was expecting Destiny to not be up to that standard and bearing in mind that Destiny was gong in to dry dock soon I did not expect it to be in too good shape but I was disappointed with what I saw. Our stateroom does have a flat screen TV and the bathroom looks and smells like it has been recently upgraded. The room itself is fine. Seems smaller compared to Breeze but maybe that was just me.
The windows are so dirty. The balcony windows are dirty too and paint and some green mould. I so hope this gets cleaned up during the refit.
We went for a walk round the rest of the ship and to be honest it looks OK. It obviously needs a bit of TLC which I expected.
Some bits of deck have been sanded down and made to look new. We saw a bit of the deck cordoned off as we were walking round as that was being worked on too. Staff were also painting the ship. There is obviously lots of renovation work going on as the ships is at sea.
We have some kids in stateroom 6375 making so much noise its untrue. Sounds like they are young and getting drunk. They have a ghetto blaster (or whatever they are called these days) blaring out some hideous music ! We really don't want to listen to that and I am sure nor do the rest of the ship ! Why are they allowed to bring those things on board? They are so inconsiderate ! Don't know where they are getting their alcohol from ? Maybe they are over 21 but if they are wow they are immature ! The other side of the ship is another ghetto blaster that started up once 6375 had finished! I can't believe it. I just want to sit on my balcony and listen to the sea. Not music or kids shouting just the sea! May have to call security if this carries on. At least the music now is not quite as loud and is more palatable then the crap music being played by the kids. I don't want to be a kill joy but why do we have to put up with this ? If people want to listen to music turn it down and keep it to yourselves.
We went to the 19:30 welcome aboard show. It was the usual show with the usual jokes.
Left at 20:10 to go for 20:15 dinner. Got to Universe Dining Room and were shown to our table. We were on table 342. A table for 4 tucked neatly out of the way of the main action. Enric was our head waiter. We got fed 3 courses in about 50 minutes ! I had to ask Enric to slow down for the next night as that was way to fast! Also his staff took plates away while either my girlfriend or I were eating! We were made to feel like everything was happening very fast. Seems like Enric and his staffs main priority was speed. I had a glass of water to drink, glass of wine and a coffee all at the same time ! I am confident that tomorrow will be OK.
After dinner we went for a walk around Lido. It was quite quiet. We went back to our Stateroom to have an early night. The air conditioning has 2 outlets in our stateroom. 1 you can switch off and the other when you switch it off continues to make a kind of a whistling noise. These units do not get switched off as such, I think it is like a valve that you effectively open and close depending on how much cold air you want. Also the noise from the bar on deck 5 is as I feared, LOUD ! I bought ear plugs despite my travel agent saying it would be OK. 23:00 is the comedians turn so hopefully she will not be so loud (said we went to bed early!) I fell asleep quite quickly with my ear plugs in as I could not hear a thing. Woke up in the early hours with girlfriend trying to adjust the AC. Its a hopeless cause.
December 30th 2012 -- Day 2 -- Day at sea
Woke up quite late. Feeling better than yesterday though. Decided I must try to put aside the ships aesthetic issues and enjoy myself. I don't know why it bothers me so much. I think going on Carnival Magic and Breeze have spoiled me as they are/were new ships in excellent condition. The rest of the ship does generally seem OK. There are bits that are in need of repair if you look but I am trying not to look any more! I know the ship is going in for a major overhaul and I must not forget that.
We were too late for breakfast in the restaurant so went for breakfast on Lido. From the reviews I had read I was expecting queues. Guess what ? We got queues! The queue did seem to move quite quickly though. I decided to have a hot breakfast. From now on I will just eat cereal in an attempt to control my weight! The cereals are in the centre of the Lido deck and not such a big queue. I don't know why US bacon looks so greasy. It has been like this on all Carnival ships and in US restaurants. Looks nice to eat but as soon as you eat it well, its not good. That should help control my diet ! Went for a walk round the ship. The sun is out and the captain said its 26 degrees outside.
We went to have a quick look in the shop as girlfriend wanted a lanyard for her sail and sign card. We have loads at home but always seem to forget to bring them with us!
We are now sitting on our balcony enjoying a day at sea. The noisy kids have just been out on their balcony and after about 10 minutes went away again. Now all I can hear is the sea. Bliss!
Went to get some Red Frog beer in the sports bar. much better now!
We have an elegant night tonight but don't understand why. Its New Years eve tomorrow so surely we should have an elegant night then ?
Got dressed up and went to the pre dinner show. The show was a new one to us and was good. Had to queue to get in the dining room as they were running late. Had a good dinner and speed was good today too. Head waiter is polite BUT not doing more then he has too. We are a table of 2 and he is giving the bigger tables better/more attention. We assume it is because he thinks he is going to get a bigger tip from them then from us. At this rate I think he is going to be right ! We always make an effort to speak to staff and we are friendly and only order 1 of each course etc. We are no trouble to them. We will see how the next couple of nights go. I suspect he won't be getting an extra tip. That would be a first for us if he does not! Now getting gluten free bread which is horrible.
Had another early night. must be getting old ! Getting ready for a 10am start in Jamaica.
December 31st 2012 -- Day 3 - Jamaica
Arrived in Ochos Rios at about 9am. Sun was out and it was really hot. The sun was shining straight into our window when we woke up. Nice start to the day.
Went for breakfast in the dining room at about 8:15. seems quite quiet in there. Had a good breakfast then went to get ready for Jamaica. As we were leaving the restaurant there was a huge queue ! There is a definite pattern emerging with queues!
Got to the pier for our Bob Marley Excursion nice and early. Left the pier at about 10:30am with a Rum punch. Ride to Bobs house very bumpy and at high speed! Stopped off for a Jamaican pattie which I could not eat as it has wheat in, my girlfriend loved it. Got back on the bus and got to Bobs house. Did the tour which was interesting. Went back to the same place we had the pattie for lunch. We Had jerk chicken, pork & rice. Then back to the ship. If you want something to do that does not involve Dunns River Falls then this is a good option. There are very few locals bothering you. The staff inside the Bob Marley Foundation do try very hard though to get you to buy candles, drinks from the bar & t-shirts. Not an issue really.
We got back to the pier at 16:15. We wanted to buy some souvenirs so we went to the shop quickly as we had to get back for 16:30. Did shopping in a few minutes.
Got back to pier and guess what ? Yep a VERY long queue to get back on the ship. That queue then became 2 queues so there were 2 very long queues to get back on the ship.
Eventually after 30 minutes got back to our stateroom. Had a quick wash and then went to get some food. Just about everything was closed. The Pizza was open with, Yep a big queue! Went to the grille and that only had burgers left with nothing else, just burgers! No cheese no fries nothing!
Went inside Lido and there was no food there either! The only place that was open was a second grille. Being one of the 2 places people could eat the queue went all the way across the ship and then started to go back towards the bow! Stood in queue for a few minutes and got really fed up. Took some pictures of us leaving Jamaica. Decided to have another go in the Grille queue. The people that were in front of us before were just a couple of places in front of us now. The Lido now has food though. A crew member told people there is food on Lido but many people decided to wait for burgers. Girlfriend went to lido and got all her food in 5 minutes. Came back to find me still in the queue having hardly moved ! Eventually I got to the counter but there was no cutlery ! Got a tray and got food anyway. Then went into Lido to get some cutlery. It took approx. 40 minutes to get a hot dog sausage and fries! I think this ship should be renamed the Carnival Queue NOT Carnival Sunshine !
I can see no obvious reason for all these queues. Every time you go somewhere there is a queue !
Its New Years Eve but there is no formal night in the dining room. Don't understand this. We were told last night by the matre d that we would have stuff in our staterooms for the NYE party. Nothing here ! Probably stateroom steward in a queue somewhere !
Went to dinner after what now seems to be the traditional wait ! We went at 20:15 thinking no delay. How wrong were we ! Some people had party hats etc. Loads did not. Don't know if that was some people not wearing them or not getting them.
Head Waiter was a bit more attentive today. A lot of his other guests were not present again. Maybe he now realises we will be there every night for dinner and the tips front is looking better from us now!
The waiters did a dance today for the New Year.
Just before Midnight we went up to Lido for the NYE celebrations. Lido was packed. Carnival staff was giving out free champagne. The Destiny show band were playing music too. Just before midnight the CD Tex did the count down along with Times square in New York on the big screen. The captain sounded the horn at midnight too. The party went on into the early hours.
Got back to our stateroom and had a letter from carnival saying our excursion in Grand Cayman had been cancelled ! Great too late to book anything else and the other things we have already done in the past or are not interested in.
We went to bed with a reasonably early start in Grand Cayman but obviously not on our excursion!
January 1st 2013 - Day 4 -- Grand Cayman
Happy New Year from the Carnival Queue Destiny.
Woke up early due to some funny tasting water last night ;-)
Opened the balcony door and it was raining! Not too bothered as we still had a few hours to get to GC. It was very hot anyway so the rain was welcome. Obviously during the night we must have had rain too as when I went outside there was a nice big puddle for me to stand in! Its now 15:20 as I write this and the puddle is still here !
We were too late for breakfast in the dining room as we were annoyed at having our excursion cancelled so slept in a bit. Went to Lido for breakfast and guess what ? Yep the biggest queue yet for breakfast ! I wanted some cereal but all cereals were gone except raison bran!
Had breakfast and then went to get on the tender to get to Grand Cayman. Yep more waiting on the tender this time. Guess this was expected and not too long a wait.
Walked round George Town for a while and bought some souvenirs. It rained a few more times during the morning but that was nice to cool us down.
We got back on the ship at about 13:30. Went straight to Lido and had lunch. No queue ! Hooray oh yer most people are still ashore ! There was an Italian Officer and a Chef upstairs from Lido having a heated discussion about Carnival Queue Destiny and its future and their future. Must be something going on that we are not aware of. Don't think it was very professional of the officer to be having that sort of discussion though in a public area. (Now think it was the captain! Not too sure though)
We have the Holland America Line's Eurodam, Disney Magic and AIDAaura cruise ships in Grand Cayman today. This meant loads of people ashore. It was nice that most of the tourist shops opened for us as it is New Years day. But I guess the thousands of people from all four ships would be worth opening for most shop owners. We still have no idea who our stateroom steward is yet. He/she has not made themselves apparent. I suppose in one way that is good but I have never been on a cruise where I did not meet the steward.
Got back to our stateroom to have another excursion cancelled. This time though we know its not us as our excursion had already been cancelled. this time it was for room 6279 and we were in 6379! What has happened to this ship ? Do crew not care as she is going into dry dock at the end of the month and they will most likely be allocated elsewhere ? I can't imagine its always been like this ?
No show tonight for some reason. The entertainment crew have had it easy up to now! 1 show in 4 nights.
Looking forward to dinner tonight. Gluten free Mac and bacon cheese sauce, chateaubriand and then a gluten free chocolate melting cake. Have noticed an issue with the way our head waiter gets his staff to get food. Our table 342 is very close to the kitchen so while we are having our starter he gets his staff to get the mains. No problem your thinking. Well they get the food so fast that it then sits at their station waiting for us to finish the previous course. While this is happening our next course is getting cold. Seems like the head waiters main priority is speed. We definitely don't want that. We want to take our time and enjoy our food.
Going to kick back now
Went to shop at 20:10 to get some ibuprofen. $11.40 ! Had a migraine so had no choice. As we were late we got into the restaurant without delay. My starter and main courses got mixed up and therefore ended up being cold. I think this is a language issue. We had chateaubriand and it was nice.
During our dinner we found out what happened to the cereals at breakfast ! They have run out! The person who told us who I will not mention said "would you believe we have run out?" Well, 3 days into a cruise and you run out of cereal!
After dinner we went to see the all star show. It was good. CD Tex did some singing and dancing.
Another early ish night.
January 2nd 2013 -- Day 5 -- Day at sea
Woke up quite late so missed breakfast in the restaurant. Went to Lido instead. There was a small queue but nothing out of the ordinary. When so many people are trying to get food you would expect some sort of a queue and this one was acceptable. The queue moved quite fast too so no issue.
We went to the restaurant for lunch as we had already booked lunch the night before as I have a gluten allergy I need to order that sort of food in advance. Anita from Croatia our hostess comes round the day before to ask what food I want the next day. She has been very helpful. Had a really nice table for 2 at the very back of the ship looking out to sea. Our stateroom would have been 3 decks above us. We had a nice cocktail with lunch. We had some vouchers to be used at breakfast or lunch. As this is our last day we had to use it. Lunch was nice.
Chilling out now. Girlfriend going for a massage at 16:00 then past guest party at 17:00 in the Criterion lounge. Not sure why its not in the main Palladium theatre. Maybe that's busy but I do think the Criterion is a more appropriate location to do that anyway.
Been finding out over the past couple of days from different staff members that the ship has been very busy this cruise. Maybe that explains the issues we have seen with queues. It does seem that there are a lot of people on here, always seems crowded where ever you go. We have seen some people lying directly on the deck as there are not enough sun beds to go round. I assume this is down to having so many people on-board this trip.
One thing I did see and was most impressed with was the drinks steward moving stuff off peoples deck chairs as they have been away for too long. You have 40 minutes on this ship before your stuff gets moved. I think this is a really good idea. Too many people trying to reserve sun beds when some people don't have them at all and are laying on the deck. Personalty I think these people should have to pay a fine to get there stuff back. Also reduce the time from 40 minutes to 20 minutes.
The sun is out and it is really hot.
Despite the issues I have come cross on this ship it has been a good cruise. This has only been a 5 day cruise and it is so short. I did a Mediterranean cruise on Carnival Breeze in July and that was a 12 day cruise. I thought that was about the right length of time. By the end of the 12 days you do get to the point where you think it will be nice to get home, not that the cruise was bad.
Got a call from Guest Services who wanted to know if we were travelling as a family as we had the Faster to the fun we qualified for an early disembark ! We did not want to leave early. We wanted to leave as late as possible. The lady who called we did not speak very good English so we went to Guest Services to speak to someone who could speak English. We were told we did not have to leave until 9.30am. Our flight was not until 15:35 so we were in no hurry to get off.
We had the past guest party to go too at 17:00 in the Criterion Lounge. This was the standard Carnival Past Guest party. It was nice that it was in the Criterion Lounge. I think it was in here as there were not too many past guests.
We went to the Palladium theatre to watch the show called Voila Paris. It was very good. I do like a show before dinner. Then we went to dinner and had some nice food and drink. Gave the waiter and his collogues an extra tip. Don't think the bigger tables did. How wrong was he deciding we would not tip him extra!
We went to bed early again! Very full of food.
We ended up leaving the ship at about 9am as someone knocked on the door to ask when we were going as they wanted to clean the room. We decided to leave then to let the staff get the room ready. This was another person then the one we saw the other day so we have no idea who our stateroom steward was!
We thought that as there had been quite a few announcements on the PA that a lot of people would have got off the ship by now. How wrong were we! We got out of the lift and started queuing to get off. It took probably about 10 minutes to get off. We did a self assist disembark so obviously had our luggage which we hoped would speed things up when we got to the CBP stations. We had to queue for about 20 minutes at CBP. We found the Carnival transfer bus to Miami airport and waited on that for about 20 minutes too. This was not so bad as the sun was out and we had time to burn.
We walked round Miami airport or something to do. That is a big airport. We had lunch there too and it was really good. We were flying to Boston to then get a BA flight to Heathrow. Our plane was late leaving Miami by about 1 hour. There were about 120 people also on that flight doing the same as us. When we got to Boston it was so cold. There was snow on the ground. It was -5 degrees Celsius. We got to queue for CBP yet again. Got our BA flight with no problem. We did take a flight with a reasonable time in between flights and as it happens the time works out perfectly.
How do I sum up our Carnival Destiny cruise ? Well put the ship issues aside I had a good time. 5 days is too short for a cruise when you fly to fly across the Atlantic to get there in the first place.
Would I cruise on her again ? Well the next time would be after her refit and gets the FunShip 2.0 updates so yes I would.
It was really nice to spend a few days with my girlfriend.