San Juan- We went a day early and stayed at the Courtyard at Marriott Miramar, which we booked through priceline for only $100 a night. The hotel wasn't in a great location if you wanted to walk around the city and explore. You have to take taxis everywhere and it really adds up. Our room was a basic hotel room, comfortable and good for a one night stay. There are a couple restaurants nearby if you are looking for authentic Puerto Rican food... we had dinner at Lima (moderate price and contemporary), a couple blocks further down we had breakfast at a more casual restaurant (El ??) which was satisfying. We were anxious to explore Old san Juan and left the hotel around 11am. Carnival glady accepted our early check in of our luggage so we could spend the day checking Old san juan out. We walked the outside of the El morro fort and had lunch at El Jibarete. My husband had goat stew and i have pork with plantains. The restaurant got packed after we arrived and the service slowed down with only 2 waiters, but we had time to spare. Before getting on board, we purchased a bottle of rum for $10 and that saved us tons of money on the ship. We bought one soda card between the two of us ($50!) and made rum and cokes all week. We boarded the cruise ship and got to know the ship better, this was our first cruise experience. We had open seating dinner at the pacific dining room- great views in this dining room! We attended the Welcome Aboard session and had our muster drill at 9pm. This was really no big deal, just have patience! The rest of the night we played Roulette with the $1 minimum.
St Thomas- We decided to take the ferry over to St John's Trunk Bay. I was a little disappointed bc it was very overcast that day. We ended up paying a lot to get to the beach- the taxis to Red Hook ($10 pp one way), the $6pp one way ferry ride, and another cab to the beach ($6 pp one way), and another $4 pp to get on the beach. It would have been more worth paying for an excursion to see St John and it would have been more fun. On the way back from St John, we spoke with another cruiser who told us about the $2 pp safari buses that come frequently. We took this back to the cruise ship and it was a lot cheaper! Back on the ship, we spent some time in the adults only section in the back of the boat and met some very nice people who became our friends for the rest of the trip. The hot tub is definitely the place to go if you want to meet people. As long as its not a pervert in a string thong- beware of spring break lurkers! Carnival should have kicked this man off the boat, he caught everyones attention exposing himself around children and made everyone uncomfortable. Every person i talked to for the rest of the trip knew about him.
Dominica- Absolutely beautiful island! After our experience in St John, we decided to book the Dominica Favorites tour through Carnival. The trip was reasonable about $50 pp and we had a nice tourguide Denise that told us everything about the island as we toured the Trafalgar Falls and Emerald Pool. We did not get to spend that much time at each location, but it took quite a while to drive to each location. The island is like a rainforest and very lush. This night on the ship was elegant night.. we finally ate at our assigned table in the Atlantic dining room. We had 3 very friendly couples that we had dinner with every night. Our waiter Ujang was very attentive. My husband and i both asked for iced tea with lemons on the first night, and every night thereafter it was already on the table for us! If you don't like something, just send it back. And if you want some more, don't be shy to ask for seconds!
Barbados- SUNSCREENN It was finally a nice clear day once we got to Barbados. Its a flatter island and we walked to the Boatyard beach from the ship. Just walk through all the taxis and enjoy the scenery of the town on your way there. We saw some sea turtles along the shoreline at this beach! We also walked up further to the Hilton and enjoyed their beach towards the end of the day. This night on the ship we went to the adult comedian show- a cuban comedian. Very funny!
St Lucia- COSOL TOURS! A must! only $65 pp and you get to see everything on the southern end of the island. I cant even get into everything you see- check out his website. Cosol was a great guide, very funny, organized and we enjoyed this the most on our whole trip!! Make sure you tip the drivers if you had a great excursion! This night on the ship was our last elegant night- the food on the ship was not 5 star, but it was better than i expected.
Antigua- Go to Dickenson Bay- we found a cab driver (Daniels cab service) as we walked through town and he told us it would only be $3 pp one way to get there. It was only about a 10-15 minute drive. But the beach was absolutely beautiful. there was a lot of seaweed along the shoreline that day, but it may have been because of the storm the day before. Sandals also shares this beach and we got to walk on sight and check out the resort. There is a nice kitchen/bar on the beach that we got some jerk chicken for lunch. We told daniel to be back at the beach to pick us up at a certain time and he was there ready for us! Very reliable workers on this island- we would love to go back to spend more time there.
St Kitts- This was our last port on the trip and we decided to make it a ship day since we were so busy the entire week. We spent the whole day sitting on the Lido deck listening to the (Loud) music, having drinks and just relaxing. Other people we spoke with really enjoyed going to Cockleshell Beach. Later on that night, we enjoyed the Legends show and spent more money in the casino!
Disembarkment was a breeze once your number was called. No long lines or hold up at the elevators. We did have to wait around for a few hours on the Lido deck until it was called, but we enjoyed the caribbean sun as long as we could. The san juan airport was an absolute nightmare when we arrived. About 9,000 people all came at once from 4 cruise ships and the airport was totally unorganized. We had to wait hours going through the USDA bag inspection, the US Air check in, as well as the security check in to get through the gate. Somehow our flight was still on time.
Overall- this cruise was definitely worth it if u are looking for exploring many places in a small amount of time. All of the staff was generally friendly and willing to answer your questions. The Entertainment staff was very funny as well- Weee Jimmy was a great cruise director. We enjoyed watching some of the activities on the tv's in our room at the end of the night when we were at the islands all day long. The only thing i would have preferred was earlier activities. We had the late dining at 8:15 and we were so tired by the time dessert came around. And most activities didn't start until 10:30pm.