Background: This was the first of a back to back cruise on the Carnival Destiny. Our honeymoon cruise was my third with Carnival and the first ever cruise for my wife. We sailed from Miami on the 12th of January, 2013.
Day 1 - We got to Miami International Airport and had a bit of trouble finding the Carnival check-in but after that things went very smoothly and we were in our cabin before we knew it. My wife was amazed at the size of the ship. They are a lot larger in real life than they are in any picture! After the muster drill we waited for our turn to set sail and off we went. (I think there were five ships competing to get out of port.) We had early assigned seating for dinner in the Universe Dining Room and were seated not long after getting to sea. Service was prompt and efficient throughout the cruise. Every meal in the dining room was wonderful.
Day 2 -- A sea day as we headed to Ocho Rios. The ship fought headwinds as we cruised southeast around Cuba. From our aft balcony we had a very restive day, although those headwinds meant that the balconies on either side of the ship were somewhat unusable. The waterslide was also closed due to the winds.
We went to the shopping seminar with "Gemstone" John. Carnival is selling coupon books for twenty-five dollars. We bought one and used it thoroughly. We probably saved a couple of hundred dollars through the cruise. I would highly recommend this purchase to anyone that is shopping ashore.
Day 3 -- Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We were a couple of hours late arriving due to the winds the day before but the entertainment staff scheduled extra activities and kept most everyone happy. Noonan, the Cruise Director, ran a bingo in the Palladium Lounge that was uproarious. This was his first cruise since returning to the Destiny and in my opinion he is one of the best CD's that Carnival has.
We had been warned about the vendors in Ocho Rios and had numerous offers of taxis, drugs, and beads but never felt threatened. We just repeated "No, thank you" and kept walking without issue. We did a walking tour of the shopping areas near to the ship and wore ourselves out. My wife has decided she loves cruising already!
Day 4 -- Grand Cayman Island. A busy day for the Caymanians for sure as there were six ships that came to visit. I'm thankful Carnival has tenders arranged as some ships (Aida and Oceana I think) needed to utilize their lifeboats to get passengers to and from shore. After doing some shopping we met another couple from our ship and we purchased a bus tour of the island for fifteen dollars each. Our driver, "Emerson Supafly" was quite knowledgeable and entertaining as he showed us the highlights of the island.
Day 5 -- Sea Day. There was always something to do onboard as we made our way back to Miami. We caught a show in the Palladium Lounge, checked out the casino, and shopped the sales at the Destiny's gift shops. My wife and I even took part in "The Game of Love" and won!
Day 6 -- Disembarkation at Miami. As we were doing back to back cruises we were directed to meet at Guest Services for processing once the general debarkation had taken place. Along with another couple, my wife and I were walked off of the ship to U. S. Customs where the customs officer jokingly denied us entry to the United States and told us we had better go back to the ship. We received our new Sail and Sign cards on our way back to the ship and were set to continue our wonderful adventure. (But you'll have to read the separate review of that cruise!)
Summary -- Carnival is pulling out the stops and is loading the staff of the Destiny with top notch people. They want to make the last cruises of the Destiny outstanding before the ship goes to dry dock and returns as the Carnival Sunshine. They succeeded! We made lots of new friends because we took the time to get to know them, and this paid real dividends. Take the time to get to know the crew and guests you are interacting with every day and your cruise experience will be greatly improved.
I will say that I am disappointed that Cruise Critic's member review seems to be a sounding board for unhappy cruisers. Having read previous reviews of the ship I should point out that if you go aboard looking for deficiencies you might find them. But, if you travel on the Destiny for the purpose of having fun on the "Fun Ship" you will definitely not be disappointed. There is really nothing substantially negative that I can say about my experience on this cruise although I would caution people about trying the scrambled eggs!
After my cruise on the Destiny I believe however is that any future cruise might feel like a letdown after having such a wonderful trip! Thank you Carnival!