Monday, November 14, 2011
Embarkation – Miami, FL
We took a cab from Hyatt Summerfield Suites to the Port of Miami and it cost us $28+tip. Arrived at the port around 11am. Embarkation was quick and we got on the ship around 12 noon.
We were told that we couldn’t get to our rooms until 1:30pm so we headed to Sun & Sea Restaurant (buffet) for lunch. There weren’t a lot of people and we quickly found a table big enough for the five of us. At a little past 1:30pm, we headed to our rooms, unpacked, roamed the ship a little, then got ready for dinner in the main dining room. It wasn’t required to dress up for dinner on the first night since all luggages may not have been delivered to the rooms.
The ship left on time at 4pm and our journey began.
Cruise lines usually have daily newsletters that contain the day’s activities, specials, and other info. These daily newsletters get delivered to cabins the night before except of course on embarkation day. Carnival’s daily newsletter is called Fun Times. Click here to download all the Fun Times at our cruise. The first day’s Fun Times was in our cabin when we checked in.
Reviews after the jump…
Cruise: Carnival Destiny – $1111.56 balcony stateroom / 2 people, $967.34 inside stateroom / 3 people
There are a lot of aspects in a cruise so I will spread the cruise review in a few days. But overall, I would rate the cruise 2.5 stars. Here’s a quick summary:
- Embarkation was quick and easy.
- Ship was old and tired.
- Cabins (7274 and 7276) showed wear and tear. Some fixtures (e.g. lamps) weren’t working. No vibrations. No noise except from people in neighboring cabins and hallway. Beds were comfortable.
- Shower was large for a cruise ship bathroom.
- Food was average to good in MDR, poor to average in Sun & Sea (buffet).
- Long lines at the buffet most of the time. Selections were mediocre at the main buffet station.
- Food at Happy Valley was good and selections were better than the main buffet station.
- Pool water was very cold, hot tub water was not warm.
- Internet signal was very bad in cabins. Wasn’t able to connect from our cabins most of the trip.
- Staff were friendly. Service was inconsistent and sometimes lacking.
- Disembarkation was a mess. Noone to direct passengers where to stay and go.
And here are a couple of tips:
- You can get a “lanyard” for your sail & sign card at the casino for free. You have to be of age (for the casino) to get one.
- If you have booked a cabana at Half Moon Cay, go to Guest Services right after you board to choose your cabana number.
- You can request complimentary motion sickness meds at Guest Services.
- You’re allowed to bring non-alcoholic beverages (max of 12 bottles, 20oz or less each), 1 wine or champagne per person in your carry-on only.
The Ship (Carnival Destiny)
The ship is not new (built 1996) and you would notice it with the carpeting and other interior trims. The decor wasn’t as over-the-top as other Carnival ships and I liked it.
Embarkation took about an hour. The process usually starts with lining up for security check, then another line to check in. Wait in the waiting area until your group number is called. It was funny coz we were still in the middle of checking in and they already called our group number. So as soon as we got our key cards at around 12pm, we went straight to the ship, quick and easy.
We had 1 balcony cabin (7274) and 1 inside (7276) on the Empress deck. I like the Empress deck because it had stateroom above and below it.
The cabins seemed larger than the cabins I’ve been on on other cruise lines. However, the ship is old hence the fixtures in the cabins were old too. Carpets were faded, some of the lamps weren’t working, TVs were the old tube TVs. Beds were comfortable. The drawers in the inside cabin (7276) smelled strongly of cigarette smoke and we couldn’t use them. The walls were thin as we could hear our neighbor’s baby crying, people walking down the hallway, and our neighbors talking in their balcony even when our balcony door was closed. We didn’t feel vibrations in the cabins which was a big plus for me.
The cabins had 3 closets, 2 with hanging rods and 1 with shelves. There were 2 robes in each of our cabins. I didn’t like the type of hangers they used. One hanger hook contained several hangers and it made it harder to hang clothes.
I like the bathrooms. The shower is the biggest one I’ve seen on a cruise ship. They provided, shampoo, soap and added some sample amenities. The drain in the shower area and in the main bathroom area were connected. Our drain was clogged that when we shower, the water comes out of the main area of the bathroom. We called maintenance and within 3 hours, it was fixed.
I’m sorry I forgot our room steward’s name. He was friendly and approachable and did a good job with cleaning our cabins. However, when we asked him to put together the 2 twin beds, he just moved them together. He didn’t change the sheets and duvet to queen so the twin beds were technically still separated.
Sun & Sea Restaurant (Buffet)
The food was okay, nothing special. The selections were limited compared to what they had on Caribbean Princess and Norwegian Gem. They had beverage stations that had lemonade, ice tea, water, coffee, and orange juice (breakfast only). The lines were long most of the time. The Mongolian and deli stations were on the sides with their own “windows” so we had to line up for them separately. I didn’t like this set up. On the other lines, I only had to line up once to get to all stations.
Wi-fi was so bad, it was slow and the worst part I can barely get a connection from our cabins. I was only able to connect twice the whole cruise from our inside cabin. The signal was a little better from the balcony cabin, but still very bad.
Mini golf area was small but really pretty. You can get clubs and balls by the Lido pool.
Main Dining Room (Universe Dining Room)
We were seated at a table close to a window overlooking the ship’s wake which was great. However, at night you can barely see anything. The menu was usually a 3-course meal and selections weren’t as many as the other cruises I’ve been on. The food was good, but nothing really stood out. Our waiter Frasier from the Philippines was very nice and lively. His assistant was very quiet. Service though was inconsistent and sometimes Frasier forgot things we’ve requested. They also forgot to fill our glasses during meals.
My husband wasn’t impressed with the pizza. Tried it and didn’t go back.
The sushi bar was really tiny and only open from 5pm – 8:15pm a few days. They had about 3 different type of sushi each day and each plate had one of each. You get in line and apparently you can get as many plates of sushi as you want. You can also tell the sushi chef if there’s a type of sushi that you prefer instead of getting all 3 different types. The sushi was okay. I found myself going back a few times.
Dinner @ the Universe Dining Room
I’m not very good at describing food so I’m going to review them quantitatively instead.
- very greasy
Fresh Fruit Cocktail
Southern Fried Chicken
Sorry forgot the name of this dish
Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
- inconsistent, sometimes overcooked