How To Travel to the Cayman Islands and Jamaica on the Carnival Destiny Cruise Ship - Review
My Recent Experience
My sister and I just returned from a 5 day cruise on the Carnival Destiny. It was the first cruise for the both of us and we didn't know what to expect. I scoured the Internet for months before we took our vacation attempting to find out specifics about the actual ship we were sailing on as well as what to expect when we were on board. I wasn't able to get much information and that is my reason for writing this hub. I wanted to help others who are new to the cruising experience get some relevant and practical information they may not find anywhere else. If you are booked on the Carnival Destiny take the time to read this hub, I promise you will find it very helpful and informative.
The Destiny at the Port of Ocho Rios Jamacia
The Website Information
If you look on the Carnival website at their fleet of ships you will find the Destiny. The website gives you all sorts of information about the ship; the number of rooms, the length of the ship, number of state rooms, number of staff, and on and on. They also have a page of pictures of the different ares of the ship for you to view. I looked at those pictures a lot before I went on my vacation and I have to tell you that some of the pictures were not exactly what I saw. Don't get me wrong-I am not saying that the ship wasn't as nice as it is shown to be in the pictures, it is-what I am saying is that the pictures were a little misleading. Case in point-there is a pic of a large beautiful solar lido deck pool. I never saw that pool. I won't say with absolute certainty the pool isn't on the ship-I will say that I looked for it and did not see it at any time during the 5 days I spent on the ship. There are several pools on the lido deck-one right below the big screen, and one on the back deck behind the Sun and Sea buffet. The pool behind the buffet is for adults only and it's pretty small. There is a bar in front of it and a hot tub behind it-but the pool in the picture on the website isn't there.
The wonderful waterslide that is shown on the website, a sure selling point for the kids, was not working when we cruised. If I would have taken my children on the cruise expecting to let them use the slide I would have been very unhappy.
There is also a picture of the library on the website. The picture leads you to believe the library is large when in fact it is pretty small. It is enclosed on all sides but is really close to the casino. If you are looking for somewhere to relax, read a book, or write to your loved ones as the website suggests the library should not be your first choice-try your stateroom instead.
Speaking of staterooms here is one place that I have to give the Destiny a definite thumbs up. My sister and I stayed in a room with a window and two single beds. I expected the room to be small but was pleasantly surprised when I saw how much space we actually had. In addition to the two beds there was a couch, 2 nightstands, a long dresser with lots of storage space, and a closet that was so large we weren't able to use all of it. The bathroom was more than ample and had a good sized stocked vanity and a stand up shower. The beds were really comfortable and the bedding and pillows were heavenly.
Our cabin steward took very good care of us making sure that our bathroom was always stocked and our room was clean. In fact I would say that the entire staff of the ship, from the servers and wait staff in the dining room, to the bussers and bartenders in the restaurants and casino were absolutely fabulous. The only down side was that it was difficult to understand some of the crew some of the time. There were so many people from so many different countries it was hard to keep track of all the languages that were being spoken.
The Spa and Gym
The Carnival Destiny has a full service spa complete with hairdressers and makeup artists to help you get ready for your nights on the ship. When you go into the spa be prepared to open your wallet and shell out a lot of dough. My sister and I toured the spa during our first day on the ship when they were offering "special" deals. They offered hot stone massages, seaweed wraps, body detoxification, and lots of other services. All of them were VERY expensive. The hot stone massage would set you back $189 while getting a wrap would cost upwards of $220. On days when the ship was in port they offered specials but who wants to stay on the ship and get a massage when there were excursions to go on?
The gym was connected to the spa. It was equipped with various exercise equipment that you could work out with . The gym also offered classes in yoga, pilates, and spinning-but the classes weren't free. Most cost $12. My sister used the treadmill several times when we were on the ship and seemed to enjoy herself (I was too busy to join her as I was cuddling up in the heavenly bedding!)
The Dining Experience
When you book your cruise you sign up for either early or late dining in the dining room. In the dining rooms you are waited on by a WONDERFUL wait staff who really do go all out to see that your dining experience is pleasurable (the video below show the wait staff entertaining us during one of our dinners-it was a riot). There are two dining rooms, The Galaxy and The Universe. We were assigned to the Universe and had trouble finding it EVERY NIGHT! To get to the Universe dining room you had to go up to one floor, then go across the ship, and down to the next floor. We honestly couldn't remember how to get to it from night to night. The food was ok. They offered several of the same meals every night (steak, chicken), then had 4 or 5 different speciality dishes nightly (one of our table mates ordered several entrees every night) . On the night of the Captains dinner the entree was Lobster. On every night except for the Captain's dinner you could get the same food up on the Lido deck at the Sun and Sea buffet. My sister and I called our cabin steward several nights to see what was being offered in the dining room to see if we wanted to eat there or just go to the buffet. There was some really good food on the ship-there was some food that was not very good, it was hit and miss. You had a choice of at least 5 deserts every night and at least one of those choices was a diet recipe. There were several bread available, just watch out the sour dough rolls were really sour.
In addition to the buffet and dining rooms there was a sandwich/wrap shop on the lido deck, an asian food shop on the lido deck, a small buffet on the lido deck under the big screen, and a pizza shop on the back of the lido deck. There was also a sushi bar next to the bar in the casino and a coffee shop right down the hall. THE ONLY EATING AREA THAT WAS OPEN 24 HOURS WAS THE PIZZA SHOP! If you don't want pizza later in the evening you can always call room service but be prepared to wait at least 45 minutes to an hour. You can order sandwiches, chocolate cake, fruit, cheesecake, juices, coffee, and milks off of the room service menu.
The Casino and Shops
STAY OUT OF THE CASINO IF YOU PLAY THE SLOT MACHINES!! The slots are designed to take your money-they don't pay out. If you get a litte hit one on, CASH OUT! Don't be the suckers my sister and I were. We went to the casino several times and lost every time. I don't know about the table games, we didn't play them-but I know one thing for sure, if we ever take another cruise we won't go into the casino.
You can purchase jewelry, clothes, souveniers, liquor, and cigarettes duty free in the shops onboard the ship. You can get some really nice deals on alcohol-but if you purchase alcohol on the ship you do not get it until the last night of your cruise. You can also buy the same liquor in the ports you stop at. We watched the ship's crew unload case after case of duty free liquor onto the ship when we stopped in Grand Cayman. If you want to know more about the ships alcohol policys I go into more detail in the following hub: http://hubpages.com/_mmc/hub/First-Time-Cruise-Advice-From-a-First-Time-Cruiser-on-the-Carnival-Destiny
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We stopped at two different ports on our cruise and had two totally different experiences on our shore excursions. Ocho Rios was a nightmare. From the time we got off the ship to the time we got back on native Jamaicans were pressuring us for money. Every time we turned around someone was asking us for money. When we got to Dunn's Falls a man immediately slapped a necklace on my neck and demanded I pay for it. As we were trying to leave the park we were forced to walk through a "peddler's" village where we were harassed non-stop. The men wanted to sell me something, the women wanted to braid my hair. One of the women even asked me for my shoes. Now I understand that Jamaica is a poor country, but I didn't expect for someone to ask me for my shoes. Also-we were pretty much on our own when we were in Jamaica. There wasn't anyone from the Destiny in sight when we were in town. I was really uncomfortable the entire time we were there and couldn't wait to get back to the ship.
On the other hand the shore excursion in Grand Cayman was wonderful. From the time we boarded our sea taxi to go to shore to the time we re boarded the ship there was someone from the Destiny there to help us. The Carnival staff helped us find a ride to our excursion on Stingray Bay and were there to pick us up when the trip was over. Our experience in Grand Cayman was absolutely awesome and I look forward to returning there on a future vacation.
Overall I would have to say the trip was very enjoyable. The ship was spotlessly clean, the crew was always cheerful and happy to help you, and there was always something to do to keep busy. The five days went by too quickly for me and I am looking forward to my next cruising adventure. Would I recommend you take a trip on the Carnival Destiny? You Betcha!
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