My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Destiny! Since our last cruise was 10 years ago (a 7 day Southern Caribbean on the Carnival Inspiration), we felt like "first time" cruisers. How quickly the excitement and thrill of being on a huge ship comes back to you. Our first cruise was mainly paid for by my employer-at-the-time; so everything was done via a travel agency. Since I was booking the cruise this time, I wanted to try to save some money. I booked the airfare, cruise and a couple independent excursions on my own. Not only was it a fun challenge but I did actually save a few hundred dollars. (spent the savings on the ship, souvenirs, alcohol, and taxi service) Our rt airfare was $341pp. We flew with Delta nonstop from Detroit at 9:19am and arrived in San Juan 1:36pm. We purchased transfers from Carnival for $15pp. Carnival had reps with signs and they were very organized. Although it took us 1 1/2 hours to gather in groups, load luggage, and drive to the pier; it appeared to not be Carnival's fault but other passengers. Made it to the pier at 3:00pm. We made it through the lines and was on the ship at 3:58pm. Not bad at all, especially since the free alcohol samples helped time go by!
When we got on the ship we took a quick tour and headed to the lido deck for FOOD! We are not big eaters, but let me tell you, Food was our friend for 7 days...(It's Feb.now and I finally lost the 6 lbs I gained from Oct.! My husband gained 9 lbs and lost it; that's what double entrees at dinner does) After dinner, we checked out our cabin. We then walked around the ship again with the cute $7.99 umbrella drinks in hand. At 9:30, we got ready for the dreadful, hot lifeboat drill. Back to the cabin to freshen up and out on the lido deck for the sail away party.
Day 1: St. Thomas. (Island tour/Magen's Bay on 1st cruise) We rented a Jeep for $69 from Budget. After my husband got used to driving on the left side of the road, we decided this was an excellent decision. St. Thomas is very easy to navigate around. We went to Coki Beach but only for about an hour. It is very touristy and we were bothered constantly to buy something the whole time we were there. Sapphire Beach was literally paradise found! We stayed there for over 2 hours. With less then 10 people there,(but in addition to the 3 iguanas running around) we felt we found the perfect beach. Definitely recommend. Our last stop was Magen's Bay. It's a nice beach, but I think it's a little overrated. It is touristy but without being bothered to buy things. After 1 hour, we headed back into town to do some shopping before we set sail again. Bought my husband a gorgeous 1/2 carat diamond anniversary band at Diamonds International, which is backed by Carnival. I got a tremendous deal on it. After the sale they gave me a coke and my husband a beer and sent us on our way! That's service. Later on, went to the Welcome aboard show and seen the comedian.
Day 2: Dominica. (Island tour on 1st cruise) Took an independent tour with Levi Bumpiing for $40pp. Only 4 of us in the van. Visited Emerald Pool, Botanic Gardens, Roseau, Trafalgar Falls, and Wotten Woven Sulphur Springs. During the tour we were given complimentary water and Kubuli. This Definitely was an awesome tour with an awesome tour guide. Later on, seen the Destiny dancers but missed the Captains cocktail
Day 3: Barbados. (Snorkeled here on 1st cruise) Since this day was our 20th wedding anniversary, we just wanted to relax at a beach. We took a taxi for $5pp to beautiful Malibu Beach. We rented beach chairs for $5pp and drank Banks beer for $4 a bottle. After 2 hours of swimming, pictures, and relaxing in the sun we took a taxi for $8pp (couldn't find the other taxi driver) back to the shopping complex by the pier. Since we didn't find any bargains we went back to the ship and ate our "pre dinner" dinner at the lido dining area. (yes, this was a daily ritual. Since we ate dinner at the 8:00 sitting, we were hungry when we returned from the islands so we would eat a pre dinner on the lido deck. This also helped us reach our weight gain goal) Later on, seen the magician and Destiny dancers but missed the bathrobe deck party.
Day 4: St. Lucia. Took an independent tour with Cosol for $50pp. This was by far the best excursion we have ever been on. It lasted 5-6 hours and was very organized. We sampled so much food and drank so much water and Piton beer that when got back to the ship we did not have our pre dinner meal! Visited Anse La Raye, Pitons, Soufriere, Toraille Fall, Sulphur Springs, Jalousie Bay which is between the Piton mountains, Marigot Bay (where a scene from Dr. Doolittle was filmed, and Castries. Later on, seen the Destiny Idol show and spent alot at the "inch of Gold" sale.
Day 5: Antigua. Took a Carnival island tour/beach combo tour for $59pp. Visited Shirley Heights, Nelson's Dockyard, and a beach. We were on a bus that hardly had air conditioning on it with about 30 other people. Although the island tour was interesting, we felt rushed. It was extra hot on Antigua and we didn't take water with us. By the time we got to the beach where we received our complimentary water or Wadadli beer we were parched! (Previous tours spoiled us with unlimited water and beer) I think Antigua would have been more enjoyable if we hired a taxi driver to show us around... Later on, seen the Destiny dancers and went to Grand Gala Buffet
Day 6: Day at Sea. Slept in (just a little), went to debarkation talk, went to Ice carving on Lido deck, sun bathed, ate, sun bathed, ate, sun bathed, ate.......... Oh, and at 8:00pm, ate...in the Universe Dining Room. Later on, seen the comedian and juggler
Can't remember which night it was, but we went to a past cruise reception where we had unlimited drinks and appetizers...
We met our excellent cabin steward, Kelvin, on the first morning of the cruise. Our cruise was 100% more enjoyable because of his service, smile, and caring gestures. I only could wish that Kelvin could be our cabin steward on all future cruises. Employee of the day, week, month says it all about this wonderful person. Every morning and every night was welcomed with a warm or funny note from him. A+ service!
We originally requested early dining before the cruise. After the first night on the ship, we asked the staff if we could change to 8:00pm dining. The response was, with a smile of course, "yes ,you do and so does the rest of the ship" He said he would do what he could but with no promises. When we returned that same evening, we found a placecard with our new dining time of 8:00, just as we requested! A+ service!
Crisanta and Bali, our waiters in the Universe dining room, were awesome. Both were extremely friendly, sweet, and entertaining. After the first night, both seemed to know what we liked, even the fact that my husband liked to occasionally order two entrees or an extra appetizer. (Don't be afraid to order anything extra to eat. To us it seemed like a big deal to even ask, but to the waiters it was no big deal at all.) A+ service
Cruise Director Skip was awesome. He made me laugh every single time I heard him. He was Definitely born to be a cruise director! I can say that Skip made our cruise 100% more enjoyable also. A+ service
The entertainment was awesome. We enjoyed everything from the Destiny dancers to the comedians to the passenger Destiny idol show. A+ entertainment
I think I see a pattern here...Carnival did not disappoint. We were thrilled beyond words with our cruise. As a matter of fact...remember from the beginning of my review that our first cruise was 10 years ago? After returning from this cruise, I found our next cruise the same week. My husband and I are booked for our 3rd cruise. We are sailing on the Carnival Victory on October 26, 2008! We are not waiting 10 years again.. I just hope this next cruise will be as wonderful as this one was... Oh yeah...I didn't know about Cruise Critic during my past 2 cruises. Since I have "found" CC, I am already "meeting" future cruisemates. If one must cruise, one must have Cruise Critic...