Hi Tracy. We're sailing on the Destiny also on the 27th. It will be our 3rd Carnival cruise in 4 years. This time we are sailing with our 4 children and are looking forward to every minute. Been watching the posts and have some of the same concerns. Hope all is well with the whole thing, and am pretty confident we'll enjoy our vacation. Are you staying overnight in San Juan before embarking? Just checking. Also, if you get any info on the shore tours which might look good for the family, let me know. Thanks!
Yes we are staying in San Juan the night before. We haven't got our tickets from the travel agent yet but we should be getting them within one week. We will be staying in cabin 7150. debbie and I are traveling without our two kids this trip. We are really looking forward to going.
My son 18yrs and I will be sailing (father and son thing) on Destiny Lido deck on the 27th also. 4th cruise for me and second with my son. Did RC last year western.
Have been reading lots of websites and majority say forget Martinique and stay on the ship. Try www.martinique.org and can get tours. Thinking of taking a taxi up to Falaise Gorges which is a waterfall climbing thing up in the rainforest. If not that probably stay on ship.
Barbados doing Glorytours.
Aruba not sure
St.Thomas either Buck Island or Trunk Bay snorkeling.
Biggest issue will be the weather although not hurricane season weather is unpredictable at this time of year.
Cruised on Truimph with my daughter 3 yrs ago and was very comparable to RC.
I was on the Destiny 6/22 sailing. Don't let the negative reviews scare you. The ship is fine and the food is fine. You will have a great time on board. You can board the Destiny after 12:30pm; we did and were in our cabins by 1:30pm. This is very convenient since you have to check out of the hotel by noon. While in San Juan, we just walked around old San Juan and Fort Del Morro. There is a free green colored bus in old San Juan that you can use to get a feel of the area. We also used the city bus to see the Condado and Isla Verde area; it is cheap - 25 cent per person (bus 5A).
In Martinique, I suggest you look for a tour. Don't just ask for the nearest beach and they will take you Pointe du Bout. The beach there is terrible. The shopping is also expensive unless you are looking for French perfume. Still you should check the price on the ship first. I didn't and bought a bottle of Remmy XO and found that I could have bought the same bottle from the ship for $25 less.
Aruba's beaches are very pretty and clean and the sites are worth seeing. Aruba is an island with dessert; you will see cactus everywhere. At the California lighthouse there are hills, valleys, sand dunes and beaches. We also went to Baby Beach which is wonderful for small children because the water is shallow and goes out along way. If you walk all the way out to the reef, you can see lots of fishes without having to snorkel. Bring some bread to feed the fish if you visit Baby Beach. The Natural Bridge is also a good site. The shopping is very good with many shops. Aruba is the best stop imo.
I am an airline employee and very skeptical when it comes to Good Deals. I had always seen bad things about Carnival and dismissed them as a cruise line I wouldn'tuse.
I found this great deal and sailed out of San Juan on 7/6/03. I can't say enough about the trip. Carnival is definately trying to turn the corner and the whole trip was great.
A Few tips:
Board earlier. We got to the ship at 11:20 stood there until 12 noon when they opened up for boarding. Went to the Lido deck for lunch and was in our rooms by 1:30, skipped out and went into Old San Juan and SHOPPED (Got a Coach Handbag for $179)
If you have kids or even for a soda drinking adult. Go to any bar and purchase a drink card. 19.95 for kids and 29.95 for adults. We bought kids and they went and got sodas for us when we didn't want booze.
Buy your liquor in San Juan at the embarkation point. I got 3 liters of Kahlua for 24 US bucks. At home it is 16.99 a litre!!
Buy your Rum on Barbados at the terminal I got 3liters of dark rum and 1 of Spiced for $33.00
St. Thomas:Been there before. Unless you're wanting to shop, Go on a St. John or Magen Bay tour. The shopping is ok. They have a Super Shopper on the ship, and quite honestly he was annoying, All he wanted you to do was shop a Diamonds International. I say he definately gets a kick back. There is a certificate he gives out that gets you a free pair of "Diamond Earrings" Chips on a crappy gold post, don't bother.
Forget Martinique. We stayed on the ship. Everyone I talked to hated their tour or said the island was expensive.
Use Fun Vision to book your trips on the first day. It is so easy and that way you won't miss out on a tour. We did the 4x4 Island Safari. $59 per person on Barbados. It was great. They feed you Rum punch until you can't see straigt. Also if you go on this one wear old shirts/pants. They really 4X4 through muddy fields and jungles. It was a blast.
On Aruba take a taxi over to Palm Beach. It is 10bucks for the Taxi. If you get a group it is cheap. The beach is great and there are tons of water sports. If you want to see the island I heard the 4X4 trip there was great.
On your days at sea, get to the Lido Deck by 9am to get a good seat for the day. With everyone remaining on the ship, seating is at a premium.
Find the 24 hour pizzaria and use it!! It was great.
Now for the Pain in the Ass part.....
They start calling rooms at 0600. This is to go through immigration. Once through that you have to go to a waiting area other than your stateroom (They do serve breakfast on the Lido Deck) First is anyone flying out earlier than 12:30. Well you better go if you are flying out of San Juan at 1:30. Being a standby, I needed to get the airport earlier to start standing by. We waited since we were on the Main Deck (#2) I asked if we needed to go to immigration at 0600 and the information desk said no, we would be off the boat by 0900. Welllllllll by 1030 we were still on the ship waiting to disembark.
We finally disembarked at almost 1045. Your luggage is tossed in the barracks outside the ship in color coded areas. It was a major Cluster f?#%. Everyone was running and grabbing their luggage,. Ours ended up being in two separate areas.
Then came trying to get to the airport. Hopefully you purchased the Carnival transport, because trying to get a taxi on Sunday morning in San Juan was a pain. finally got a small van that they stuffed 9 of us in along with all 12 pieces of our large luggage. If you take a taxi, don't let them charge you more that $7.00.
Hope this helps and let me know if you need any further information.
I was on the Destiny 6/22 sailing. For disembarkation, I think Carnival implemented the relax disembark policy a year to two ago where you can stay in your room until 9:30am. We went through immigration, had breakfast, then sleep in the room in 9:30, at which point it was our turn to leave. I notice that alot of people did not know about this policy and were hanging out in the lounges area. I think Carnival is the only cruise line where you can stay in your room on the last day.
Need some clarification on some of your comments?
Did you buy your liquor and take it on board to use or did they store it till you got back in port at San Juan? Sign up with Fun Tour - is this the tour company on the ship? I was planning on taking a taxi to the pier but your saying probably better to go with the Carnival bus because of availability on Sunday? Already had planned to skip Martinique? Which 4x4 trip would you recommend? My flight is out on Sunday at 2:45 should I get out with the flight before noon crowd and how did they verify you had a early flight or they don't check your ticket? Thanks for the great info.
I will be sailing on the Destiny 7/27....can't wait!! I am a single mom in my mid 30's and will be cruising solo.
I am always eager to hear the good things said by those of you recently returning! I, too, have seen some of the more negative things said by some BUT I have this theory...once i select the ship I don't read the negative, only the positive reviews!
Rick - I also cruised on Triumph. Just this past April with my children. We did the Buck Island snorkeling in St. Thomas and loved it!
Since I will be traveling alone this time I am just planning on doing what I want when I want But I have read the shore tours available and have an idea of what I will do UNLESS I decide to stay on board!
If you are planning on booking your excursions through Carnival, Kimmy makes a good point about booking them as soon as possible through the Funvision (this is what carnival calls the tv in your cabin which hosts a variety of things from booking your shore tours, viewing free and pay per view movies, ship info, video of events that occurred on the sailing etc.). When on the Triumph we waited until the big "excusion talk"...we arrived late...it was standing room only....we couldn't deal!.....wound up having questions and had to wait for a long long time at the excursion desk. By then a couple of the things I wanted to book were full or the only time available was early AM...NOT!!! I would definetly agree that a little bit of research in advance regarding excursions in port is a plus so you can go ahead and book these yourself right through your TV in the comfort of your cabin as soon as possible.
I want to thank those of you who posted tips to this thread!
Kimmy - I did the Calypso Party Boast in Martinique and also went to the spa (although the spa does not offer the "port day specials" for Martinique....I guess it's well known that a lot of people don't get off the ship!)
Dan - I had an early flight so I was in the first immigration and "get off the ship" call but thanks to you I relaized that between immigration, breakfast and disembarking I could take a much needed (stayed up all night the last night) rest in my cabin!
I had a great trip! Would be happy to sail Destiny again (and probably will take my kids one day).
Also...was wondering if any of us who posted that we were sailing actually met and did not realize it???
HomePort Cruising - NCL Dawn 4/28/01 - Me and My Kids
Carnival Triumph 4/03 Family
Carnival Destiny 7/03 Solo
1 More in the Works for 2004 (Solo)
1 More "Quickie" for 2003 (Solo)