(Jan. 6 - Jan. 10 cruise) Our experience on Carnival Destiny was very good. There were areas of improvement though. (long review)
Let's start with the Port of Miami. Since we live in Florida, driving over and using their parking was just fine, though it wasn't covered parking in front of the Carnival port. It was $20 per overnight stay so it was $80 total. The check-in process through port security was easy because we arrived early enough to avoid the lines so if you can, go 1 1/2 to 2 hours before boarding starts. The carnival check-in involves two steps: kiosk check-in and then getting your Sail & Sign card from the rep. Then they board you by zones. Again, the earlier you get there, the higher your boarding number. Boarding started on time but was a bit crazy because everyone was so anxious to get on board and were crowding the escalator areas.
Once your zone is called you go up the escalator and they take your first of many photos on the cruise. We elected to buy that one because we actually looked good! We were told there was lunch waiting for us on the Lido deck in the buffet restaurant. It was quite delicious. And for the rest of the cruise, the food was quite delicious and was better than we expected.
We chose 6pm dining which was in the Universe Dining Room at a table for two (yes, they do exist...just ask for it from the maitre d when you board the ship...he'll be at the Galaxy Dining Room). The food choices were great and the food even better! Our favorites were the Flat Iron steak and the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake which is on the menu EVERY NIGHT.
If it is on your menu, we recommend for Starters: smoked duck and the hickory smoked salmon. They are mouth-watering. Entrees: short ribs were so tender you didn't need a knife and chicken with cream sauce was divine. Desserts: New York Cheesecake and Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.
Our balcony room was spacious, plenty of closet space but only 3 drawers but there are a couple shelves in a cabinet under the TV. Limited counter space. Our room steward was excellent. He helped us with a fuzzy TV picture but then we couldn't hear announcements over the PA system. The shower is a good size and the shower head detaches so you can rinse yourself all over. They provide shampoo, shower gel, soap and there were some free samples in the bathroom. We had a razor, breathe-right strips and whitening toothpaste. The position of the toilet was a bit strange but you have to step up into the bathroom and turn around, shut the door, and to sit on the toilet at an angle is strange. They need a better concept for the bathroom. The room had a large bed, love seat, small movable table and a small seat for sitting at the counter. Be careful if you are a morning showerer, the water temp could change and the water gets HOT!!!
There was plenty of activities on board but what you like and what we like can differ so my opinion is that if you like the casino, you'll be happy but there is only one Texas Hold'Em table. Shows were good, art auction was nice and games were fun. Thankfully, there were few children on board so my patience was no worn out. Most of the crowd was 20's through 50's. Cozumel was great. We recommend the Atlantis Submarine excursion. Saw the coral reef in the clear blue water. I took several photos from inside the sub and they came out clear. Stay in the port shopping area as it is clean and shops are decent.
Bottomline: Destiny is an older ship so if you can look past the bumps and scrapes and the staff's old light blue shirts (please Carnival, get rid of those ugly things) you'll be happy. You get what you pay for on Carnival so don't have any expectations when you go and you'll be pleasantly surprised. As for us, we'll try another ship next time just to compare. You'll eat too much because the food is super. Eat breakfast in the dining room and order the eggs benedict at least once. Oh...their coffee is great but their iced tea is terrible. Plenty of tart lemonade and soft-serve ice cream available 24 hours as well as pizza on the lido deck. Remember, it's your vacation so have fun.