We traveled as a party of 11, 6 adults and 5 children (ages 6 – 15) on the June 10 sailing. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we weren’t disappointed at all.
While the Destiny is over 10 years old, it didn’t seem that way. It is not the biggest boat out there but it was a good size with enough to do. We had two inside connecting rooms for our family. We put the 3 kids in the one room and we had the other.
The beds are really comfortable which can be an issue when you are trying to get up early enough for the excursions. The showers had great water pressure but the hair dryer are pretty weak.
Slide pool is fun except it was closed after the first day for an array of reasons that were unclear. Casino is fun and roomy enough. Shows were entertaining and there were enough bars to satisfy the adults.
We thought the food was really good and the waiters we had were excellent. There is no Adults only restaurant on this boat. What is great is the itinerary and every stop had a cruise dock (No Tendering). You will see below that we planned all our excursions ahead of time so we didn’t need to worry once we were onboard.
Day 1 – Leaving San Juan
The process was simple as the cruise pier when we arrived around 1:00 pm. We did go through a few security checks before finally getting on the ship. Before you go, fill out the online check in to speed up the process but you won’t need to print out your funpass as they don’t ask for it.
The next few hours are spent having lunch, exploring the ship, using the pool (if you have your swimming suit) and finding your room. Luggage will get there eventually but don’t expect it before dinner. Dinner is open seating at either dining room. About 8:30 that night you can sign the kids up for their respective camps which start the 2nd night. Sign-up take 5 minutes max.
Cruise takes off around 10:00pm, now get to sleep as you will arrive in St. Thomas at 7:00am.
Day 2 – St. Thomas
Our plans in St. Thomas were to take the ferry to St. John and spend the day at Trunk Bay. Taxi to Red Hook to catch the ferry is $10 per person and the ferry leaves on the hour. Ferry is $5 for adults and $1 for kids. 15 minutes later you are at St. John. Taxi to Trunk Bay is $6 per person.
This beach is total relaxation with crystal clear water and fantastic views. There is a $4 charge for adults and kids are free. You can rent snorkel equipment, beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. They have a snack shop where you can have lunch too. A lifeguard is on duty as well. Google Trunk Bay for images of a truly fantastic beach. You will love it there too.
Day 3 – Dominica
We booked the Emerald Pool and Trafalgar Falls tour with Beno based on cruise critic reviews and we were not disappointed. (www.benonaturetours.com) Booking directly will save you money. The two tours combined lasted over 6 hours and there was physical activity involved. As Beno will tell you, simply ask one of the brown security guards to direct you and in seconds we found Beno and his nephew awaiting our arrival.
First stop is the emerald pool before the crowds arrive after a 30 minute drive. There were maybe 8 other people there which was great for us. We spent 20-30 minutes there swimming and taking in the views. As we left, the only rain that we will see for the entire cruise starts to fall in this rainforest.
Next we stop by Mr. Nice’s fruit stand for some free fruit. Eat something as this is your only opportunity. About a 45 minute drive to the Trafalgar Falls. You have two choices here, view from the observation deck to do some serious hiking on rocks to get to the falls themselves. The wives stayed behind as my friend and I took the 5 kids for the 20 minute hike to the falls. Find a guide to direct you as you can get hurt if you are not careful. Many people give up before getting there. Total time spent was about 2 hours.
We then did a quick stop at a sulfur spring and rode through the Botanical gardens before getting back to the boat. Beno educated us throughout the day about this unique island. He and his nephew did a great job.
Back on the boat to get ready for the first formal night.
Day 4 – Barbados
Booked the Silver Moon II catamaran for a 5 hour sail and snorkel tour. In addition to our 11, there were 7 others people who were booked too. Barbados had the nice cruise pier and the transfer to the excursion was less than 5 minutes away. This boat was great, they served you drinks all day and served lunch too. We swam with big sea turtles and snorkeled near a ship wreck. But to be honest, it was the catamaran that was the best part. This was a nice relaxing excursion after a physically draining day in Dominica. http://www.silvermoonbarbados.com/htdocs/catamarans/index.html
Day 5 – St. Lucia
We planned on simply taking a taxi to the Windjammer resort. There is no cost to use their facilities and while the beach is small, it is uncrowded and there are water sports too. There are plenty of lounge chairs on the beach as well and there is no cost to use them. All the kids did water skiing, knee boarding and jet skiing. Water Skiing was only $7 per kid. You can buy some water sport packages while you are there. There are two restaurants there to have lunch at and the bar is a few steps away too.
This is a nice inexpensive way to enjoy St. Lucia.
Day 6 – Antigua
We booked ahead of time with Antigua paddles Eco tour. http://www.antiguapaddles.com/
Another very educational tour. This included a nice speed boat ride to the mangroves where you kayaked for 45 minutes. You can stay on the boat if you choose but you should at least try. Then you speed off to bird island passing through some amazing coral on the way.
Simple 3 minute hike to the top of Bird island for some pictures and then back down to do some snorkeling. The total tour is about 3 hours which gives you plenty of time to get back and do some shopping in the straw market next to the pier.
Back on board for the 2nd Formal night
Day 7 – At Sea
One thing about cruising from San Juan was about 40% of the people traveling spoke Spanish so every announcement on the ship is repeated in Spanish too which does take some time.
All in all it was a great experience.