This cruise on Carnival Destiny was our first cruise, and both my wife and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a pleasure to have several family members, sons-in-law and grandchildren along with us,too! Although it was only 4 days, it gave us a taste of the good life and now I'm quite addicted - Cruising is my new religion!
We live on the island of Barbados, so Caribbean-island excursions are no big thrilling turn-on for us, since we already enjoy some of the finest beaches in the world, and are generally accustomed to the 'quaint' way of small-island life, so our perspective is entirely different. Thus the ship itself was our major 'destination' and although the decor was kinda-'Vegas' I found it quite wow! and enjoyed it thoroughly, particularly the ceilings in the dining rooms which were made all starry! - wonderful! Loved the polished marble floors and the fact that I was on an Italian-made vessel...don't ask! Carnival's beds and bedding are legendary, and although we had an interior cabin on a lower deck, we felt comfy and cozy in 'our little nest' once that door was closed. Carnival's beds are perhaps the most comfortable beds both of us have ever slept in! I loved the Destiny!
We went ashore in ANTIGUA...being it was a party of 17 of us, we had to hire two 9-seater taxis to take our group over to Nelson's Dockyard which is a pleasant place compared to the rest of scrubland Antigua. There's not a lot to see en route, thus the hokey elderly taxi-driver's comments pointing out things of minimal interest,really, poor chap trying to make a tour out of what was essentially very little. But..Nelson's Dockyard was a picturesque place of historical interest where I took many pics and enjoyed my time there as did everyone else in our party. It's a peaceful and pretty place with lovely yachts that you will be tempted to buy. We drove straight back to the dock, albeit via a slightly different route(same big deal!) and were glad to be back on board in the aircon! Antigua's okay but not exciting, but then we didn't go to the fabulous beaches(we have all that back home, in Barbados!)
St.Maarten Seriously good prices on cameras and jewelry,ladies! Be warned that their Front Street is essentially a half-mile of competing jewelry stores, one after the boring other. More diamonds there than in South Africa itself! In between are a few other stores,including Boolchand's camera store where I bought my new Canon point-and-shoot digi-cam for just USD240! The Wife bought herself a few gold hoop earrings, I got a pr. of sandals, but after traipsing about in the building heat, we caught the taxi back to ... the aircon on the ship!
St.Lucia Having been there several times before(at length) -my Uncle used to live there- we weren't too inclined to rush around an island(again!), so we just toodled around the Point Seraphine Duty Free Complex which is conveniently and immediately dockside, for about an hour. I bought a sun-hat I've needed for years now, a few bars of Toblerone chocolate and a small tin of cigarillo's, and then climbed back aboard for ..the aircon.
The kids and grandkids wandered afar, way down the South of the island to swim in the thermal hot-springs at Soufriere, and then went to the picturesque little hotel snuggled between the magnificent Pitons and generally had a good time roaming.
Services on the ship? About what one would expect. As we chatted with this or that young staff-member while riding elevators and suchlike, we came across people from many different lands, and it seems there are 61 nationalities represented, on board! Our waiter at Dinner was a nice chap, and generally everyone/staff on board was pleasant in the dealings with us cruisers (which must be a drag,sometimes,huh?)..
Stuff to do on board? How excited can I get over a casino? Once pulled away from ports, Carnival's Shops open at duty-free prices, and I bought myself a 'fun' Bijoux Terner watch for $10 The Wife bought 2 small handbags at good prices and a few returning-gifts for people back home.
I saw a shuffleboard game layout up high on one of the uppermost decks, but no one played it,I don't think.
I was happy with our economy cruise, and am happy to say that I received value for money - and that IS the bottom line!
Disembarkation was much like Embarkation, except slower and in reverse! Unless you like "Hurry Up and Wait!" you might as well chill out by the pool or wherever you're most comfortable, and stretch that last day as long as possible, becoz it's going to be hours long as entire Decks are summoned -one by one- for disembarkation!
This was our first cruise, we were both quite happy with it, and I've already booked our next cruise(Ocean Village Two - Jan.2008) as a direct result of pleasant memories of this first cruise on Carnival Destiny. We are Caribbean islanders, and so are not your typical cruisers: we were just glad to be Out There, away from our crowded island-homes, enjoying a palatial 5-star hotel/ship, great food and service on board!
Before we started, I'd spent days reading the bad reviews, and thought I'd return to write another bad one, but happily that is not the case, in all honesty! I can only assume that Carnival Cruises does something about improving things after reading reviews.
We both loved Destiny and are booked to cruise her again (late Apr.2008 bookings). Carnival Victory will eventually replace Destiny on the leg that comes thru our island home Barbados, so our planned New Years Eve cruise for 2008-09 will be on Victory. Told you I was addicted..