Just returned home on Sunday, 5-13-07 from Carnival Destiny.
I think this cruise was the best cruise we have ever taken!
I will try to list our Destiny cruise vacation highlights, space permitting.
We started out early to catch the bus to O'hare airport, to catch our 8:00 AM flight. It is a 5 hour flight, but we had to sit on the tarmak for an hour because the check engine light was on in the cockpit. We were moved thru security very quickley, the fastest I can ever remember. We arrived in SanJuan and hailed a cab to take us to the Normandie Hotel. ($21.50 plus tip)
The hotel was beautiful! I little bit pricey for food and drinks. We wandered over to the nearby hotel, Caribbean Hilton. This hotel was even more beautiful! They had an especially nice courtyard in back, where we sat and had a couple of beers. Four beers was $28.00, so that was enough of that. We met some taxi drivers nearby the Normandie who were very informative and helpful. They took us to the Hacienda Restaurant for $10.00. My wife and I had Puerto Rican food and 2 margaritas for $34.00 plus tip. We paid this much for dinner for two, where our hotel or the nearby hotel would charge that amount for dinner for one. It was a beautiful evening and I could see our hotel from the Hacienda, so we just walked back. One block from our hotel was a little market, where we bought a couple of beers for our room.
On Sunday, 5-6-07, cruising day, we had a light breakfast at Starbucks near the hotel and we walked around behind the Normandie Hotel. They have a very nice beach area, a small park nearby, nice pool and hot tub. We just took it all in. We packed up our stuff and called Carnival to find out how soon we could board. They told us boarding begins at 2:30 pm, so we had some time to kill. We waited in the hotel lobby/center lounge for about 2 hours. We then hailed a cab to the cruise ship. I was worried because Carnival Miracle was just docking and I thought the crowds in the terminal would be terrible. But boarding couldn't have been any faster. We never waited for more than a minute or two. Bicardi had free tasting just before boarding. They said we could buy what we wanted and carry it right on to the ship. We bought 2 bottles of flavored rum and they gave us a free pint. And yes, we carried it right on, no problem. Carnival scanned it and not a word was said. We dropped off our stuff in our cabin and got back off the ship. We walked to see the fort San Cristobol and it was great. I finally got to see one of the forts. $4:00 to enter, $5:00 if you wanted to see both forts. After seeing the fort and shopping and exploring Old SanJuan, we got back on board. We went to dinner in our dinning room, in shorts, open seating due to late sailing. We met some very nice people at dinner that night. We had our life boat drill, which they take very very seriously now, more than in the past.
Monday 5-7-07, we got off in St Thomas for a Sunny Liston tour. While waiting, it starting raining and it rained buckets!
The Sunny Liston tour was fantastic, 3 hours of shopping, guided tour of the island, we stopped at MountainTop and saw Magens Bay and had their famous banana daiquiri. We were singing thru most of the tour. We stopped at Saphire Beach and you could stay there, go back downtown or to the ship. We went to the ship and we left St Thomas arounf 6:00PM.
Tuesday 5-8-07 we were at Dominica and had a very nice tour on this island also. We made several stops and got out at Jack Falls. We were given free local made punch, no alcohol, and fruits. By the road they had some souvenirs for sale and you could pick out some fresh fruit and sugar cane samples for the bus ride. The local bananas are delicious, much better than what we get at home. This tour was very interesting and informative. When it was over, we shopped near the ship and sampled a local brew.
Wednesday 5-9-07 at Barbados. We took a ride on the Jolly Rodger party boat which was decked out like a pirate ship and the crew were also dressed like pirates. We sailed to another side of the island where you could get off and go to the beach or you could walk the plank or swing from a rope into the water. The rum puch was flowing, so we decided to stay on the boat and watch other jump into the water. When everone was back on board, I purchased my wife a pirate shirt, I got a pirate bandana and an eye patch, (probably a big mistake). So I had my bandana tied and I put on the patch and there was singing, dancing and drinking. It was quite a bit of fun! Well I got off the boat OK, but my wife got the last seat on the first bus. I was wobbily and could only see out of one eye, and I fell into some rocks nearby. There were several nurses who happen to be on this excusion and helped me up. The crew from the Jolly Rdger brought their first aid kit and they took off my bloody bandana and eye patch and wrapped up my head. The two nurses, Chris and Amanda, helped me on the bus and to meet my wife, where they all helped me onto the Destiny and straight to the infirmary, where I received six stiches on the back of my head. I went back to my cabin where our cabin steward made up some ice packs for my head. I slept until midnight and got up to witness the bathrobe party. Sure wish I could have particpated in that party, it looked like a bunch of fun. I still don't remember falling or hitting my head.
Thursday 5-10-07 at St. Lucia. We had an excusion on the Caribbean Pirates Extravaganza, which was the pirate ship used in filming Pirates of the Caribbean. It took us to Pigeon Island where we swam in the water. There was a crew member from the movie too. They had a picture book with pictures of Johnny Depp. It was an awesome tour!
Friday 5-11-07 at Antigia we took a tour to sting ray city and swam with the stingrays. We got to feed them and hold them too.
There are a vast array of excusions or tours with so many stops to make and we loved them all. We have no regrets, even tho I hurt my head and later on Thursday, I discovered that not only did I hurt my head, but I have a huge bruise on my leg between my knee and ankle that is still swollen quite large a week later.
The ship has very many activities going all of the time and our dinning room staff was the best we have ever encountered on a Carnival cruise ship. When we all met on Monday night, they called us by name every night after that. The service was perfect.
I have no complaints except for one. Some foreigners cut in the buffet line and turned to my wife and said 'speak no english'. I think it is known world wide that you get in the end of the line for a buffet line, no matter what country you are from and what ever language is spoken.
We might even consider the same cruise again in the future. The ship, being over ten years old was very clean and organized.
We loved every minute of it.
Disembarking was a breeze and fast. After our deck was called to disembark, total time from then to when we were at the aiport, at our gate waiting for our plane, was only one hour and twenty minutes. Carnival really has it all together in SanJuan!
Thanks to Carnival for a wonderful vacation!
Happy Cruising to You All!