Thursday, August 30, 2012

Carnival Destiny: Room 9121

I enjoyed our room on the Panarama Deck of the Victory so we decided to do a room on the lido deck this time. We enjoy how close it is to the buffet and pools. Since it is just a forward deck there is far less traffic as well.

9121 is an inside room on the end of the hall. It was very quiet. The difference of this room is that is is one of the few square rooms, while most others are rectangular. I liked the difference in layout (no difference in sq ft) but my boyfriend though it felt smaller.

This room has the 3 closets and a bathroom although this room didn't have the medicine cabinet for storage we like on the Victory. The tv was also on  the desk instead of the wall sop that did take up quite some room. The safe in the room (found in one of the closets) was activated by a 4 digit code instead of the magnetic strip of a card which was nice.

Want to see the difference of square rooms vs rectangular rooms? Check out my review of room 1040 on the Victory

Carnival Destiny: Fun Day at Sea

We chose to sleep in again on our fun day at sea and then went to the lido buffet. If you are looking for a less crowded area to sit in the buffet, try upstairs. Afterwards we just walked around and enjoyed the ship. We tried to do the scavenger hunt today but it seemed to be quite unfair. Some teams got half points and whole points for things that others did not receive credit for.  Oh well.  I really am not a fan of the days at sea so I am glad thus far we have only had one on each of out cruises. On our next cruise we will have one at the beginning and one at the end. I would like to lay out for some time on the days at sea but it is quite hard to find a chair or a couple of chairs together and sometimes the wind is unbearable.

For others who like to go go go even on vacation there are plenty of planned activities through out the cruise, especially sea days. Check out your fun times (delivered the night before to your cabin). There are game shows, contests, shows, etc.

What do YOU like to do on your day at sea???

Secret Decks

If you take a look at the floor plans for your ship you will see that at the end of the hallway(forward) what looks like a hallway going to the outside. There is a set of doors on each side of the hall. No markings of a door but it takes you to the secret deck area. Depending on your ship it will be on different floors. We have had it on 6,7,9, & 10 on the Victory and 6 & 7 on the Destiny. This is quite the secluded area overlooking the front of the ship. You can also see up into the Bridge area.

IPhone quality but you get the idea. This area has two doors, one inside the ship and another to get to the outside. The second door is extremely heavy!!! They do not have any lights out here at night so it just beautiful to see all of the stars.

There is a bench on one of the levels and stairs connecting the levels. A warning to people with long hair, this area is extremely windy!! Even more so than the lido deck!!! 

When we were on the Victory we could see flying fish looking over from the secret deck on our day at sea which was really neat.  I am sure you can see all kinds of things depending on the area you are in!!

Do you have any "secret" areas you enjoy on the ship that you would like to share?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Carnival Destiny: Cozumel Photos

Pictures from Cozumel

View from the ship

Alligator at Fat Tuesdays

Mariachi band in port

Swing at Fat Tuesdays

View from the swings at Fat Tuesdays

Carnival Destiny: Cozumel

Arrive at 1, Board at 9:30, Depart at 10 

Because we weren't going to dock until early afternoon, we took advantage and slept in. Once we got up we had breakfast on the lido and got ready for our discover scuba excursion booked through Carnival. We had done this excursion previously in St Thomas and were really excited to dive again.
Our day in Cozumel quickly turned into a disappointing day, largely due to the lack of information we received from the Carnival staff. Overall we had a good time but next time I will have back up plans in case of any changes.

We apparently had to slow down at night due to rough seas, I didn't feel this at all but we were delayed pulling into Cozumel until 1:30 instead of 1. The lines were EXTREME to get off the boat which worried me because we had booked the Discover Scuba excursion which was scheduled for 2.  (Turns out if you have an excursion booked, go to guest services and they will escort you to the front of the line!) The lines moved pretty fast and we were off by 1:45.

We got to the area where we were meeting for our excursion but come to find out it had been cancelled due to rough surf. I really was not impressed on how this was handled as this was a carnival excursion. We were late docking and I'm sure there was plenty of time to call to let all of us that had booked that it had been cancelled. I cried(it was a rough day, i had been SO excited). We found one of the Carnival excursion people who was less than sympathetic but gave us a book and told us we could get refunded or pick a new excursion but we had only a few minutes to do so. Nice. We are expected to find something new to do in 5 minutes with no research on it? We really didnt have the time needed to pick something, we wouldnt have had time to get back on board and fight the lines again to grab what we needed. I am a huge planner so this just couldnt work for me. I completely understand that things change but we were given zero notice. Although I will say that our refund was available once we re boarded which was great.

We decided to hang around the port since we didn't want to risk going off by ourselves and had no idea what to do anyways. This port area is beautiful and had a couple of different restaurants as well as lots of shops. The store owners here seemed to be more aggressive then we have seen as far as trying to get you into their store. They are also very intent on trying to rip you off and have no shame in doing so. Some stores try to charge $20+ more than other stores in the port so make sure you shop around before purchasing. We also came across a lot of fake merchandise like sunglasses which they said were real but they were definitely not.

 They have the typical jewelry stores but also some people painting, playing instruments etc. There is a huge store where you first get off the boat where you can taste some local liquors and purchase cigarette, watches etc. Also the port area has a nice fountain area you can sit at to people watch. After we did our shopping for the regular souvenirs we stopped at Fat Tuesdays to have grab some drinks   (love the souvenir cups!) and people watch. We got back on board for lunch & dinner which was nice.

Carnival Destiny: Key West Photos

Here are some photos from our fabulous stop in Key West :)

Tree Bar with my Bahama Breeze

Flying Monkey Saloon

These are the free shirts :)

Decorating for Christmas

View from the Schooner Wharf Bar

Sloppy Joes Bar

Views from the ship

Carnival Destiny: Key West

Arrive at 7:30 , Board by 1, Sail away at 1:30

We arrived at Key West on schedule but we didn't get off until 9:45 for our ship excursion. We booked the Key West Pub Crawl through Carnival which was soooo much fun. Our tour guide was Beau and we hopped on a trolley to Mallory Square with a group of about 20. The crawl gives you a ticket for one drink at each of the 5 bars you stop at as well as a t shirt. The ticket covers either a domestic beer or well drink ( a drink with one shot of alcohol and one mixer like a cranberry & vodka or a rum & coke etc) or some included a house special.
The bars we stopped at were:
1)Tree Bar
2)The Flying Monkey
3)Schooner Wharf Bar
4)The Lazy Gecko
5)Ricks Bar

At the Tree bar we tried the house special which was a Bahama Breeze. We both liked it. This bar is across the street from Sloppy Joes and next door to a pizza place. The pizza was really good but $3.50 a slice ?!?! Kind of ridiculous. We had a couple of slices while enjoying our drinks and then moved on to our second location. The Flying Monkey was awesome!! They had a large open patio area on Duval St and offered a ton of drinks. We used our drink tickets for slushie style drinks which were fully covered. I got a chocolate slushie and  my BF got the "grain train". This has three shots of grain alcohol in it . These were phenomenal!! Definitely our favorite stop! While we were here some people opted to do a little shopping around the area. Beau made sure to call everyone back with his conch shell to let them know it was time to move on. This was pretty funny but it worked!

As we made our way to the third stop, Beau explained to us what we were walking past. There is so much to see in Key West! It is a wonderful little walk. Going to Schooner Wharf bar we got to see the recording studio that Jimmy Buffet owns and uses which was neat. At the Schooner Wharf we stopped to take pictures with our tour guide that you can buy at the end of the tour. We each ordered the house special here (the name escapes me but it wasn't that memorable :/) and we headed to the upstairs patio overlooking the water. So nice and relaxing. I could certainly sit there every day.

It was after the Schooner Wharf that we did the conch shell blowing competition. Beau cleaned it off and I decided to give it a go first. How hard could it be? Boy was that a FAIL!!! I gave it the best I had but no sound made it out. After a couple people gave it a try there seemed to be some people who got the hang of it! It was a lot of fun.

We walked back up to Duval for our last two bars. Next stop: The Lazy Gecko! They offered a beer or well drink with for your ticket or you could add an extra shot to your drink for $1 each. I add a Malibu rum & orange juice and the boyfriend had a Jim Beam & coke, YUM. This bar was kind of small but was really quite and had such nice bathrooms!

Last stop, across the street to Ricks! This is a couple doors down from the Tree Bar and is owned by the same people so we had the Bahama Breeze again for the house special. Equally as good the second time. This bar was nice, had a cute open mic thing going on.

We parted ways from Beau and our group. We really enjoyed this excursion and would definitely book it again. I see a lot of people saying you could do it yourself but this was great! For $40 you get a t-shirt which I love! 5 drinks, a free walking tour, and a chance to meet others on your cruise! Well worth it to me :)

Something worth noting: We were docked at the naval pier not at Mallory Square. Because of this you can not walk around the port area (nothing really there). You have to take a trolley to and from the port. Once we finished the bar crawl we did a little shopping and went to the CVS then decided to head back to get a trolley. BIG MISTAKE!!! The line was ridiculously long :( We decided to slink through one of the stores and slide into line (blame it on the alcohol :o) Once we finally got a trolley we were stopped before we were all the way to the ship, the came on the trolley and checked everyone's photo ID and carnival sail & sign card. The didn't take too long but could have gone faster. Once back to the ship there was another set of large lines to board. Needless to say we did not leave Key West on time. I think this is going to have to be something they work out for people who need to dock at the naval yard because the entire process is tedious.

We really enjoyed our stop in Key West but I do wish we had a longer time in port. It would also be nice if they reversed the stops so that you had a night stop in Key West

Want to check where you are docked for your stop in Key West? Click here:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Carnival Destiny

Nov 24 Miami
Nov 25 Key West
Nov 26 Cozumel
Nov 27 Fun Day at Sea
Nov 28 Miami- South Beach
Nov 29 Miami- South Beach

We were fortunate enough to be able to take our second cruise of the year over the Thanksgiving holiday. The 4 day itinerary on the Carnival Destiny left on Thanksgiving and came back the following Monday. The original plan was to fly down on Wednesday and back on Monday. Flight prices changed our mind and we decided to fly down Thursday morning and back Tuesday afternoon.  The worked out great because we didnt have to rush to make a flight after debarking.

Our flight left at 6 am and arrived a little before 8:30 in Miami. It was a very uneventful flight and since we only packed carry on bags, after we landed we were ready to go to port! We grabbed a taxi, which have a pro rated fare of $25 per taxi to the port plus tip and asked that they stop for us to pick up our carry on soda allowance. We stopped at walgreens where the 12 packs of soda were $5 each, OUCH!! We got to port around 9:30 and were one of the first ones there. Once through security we went upstairs to check in and get our sail and sign cards. The Port of Miami has kiosks so that you can check in without assistance and then move to the counter to pick up your cards. This was a really simple process that I enjoyed. Once we were all checked in we were given zone 1 boarding cards and sat to wait. The area really started to fill up around 10 and around 10:45 we began to board. The process was again simple and we headed to the lido deck grill for lunch.

A hassle of having carry on bags is that you have to carry everything around (including the soda) until your rooms are ready at 1:30. We lounged above the aft lido pool until then, enjoying the lovely weather for the end of November :) Once the rooms were ready we dropped everything off and got ready for sailaway!

 Marina across the port area

South Beach

Carnival Victory: Overall Thoughts

This cruise definitely set the bar high for future vacations. As our first "real vacation", we got to experience so many different things. The food, service, ports of call were all out of this world!

Our room steward Marlon and his two assistants were always so happy to help fulfill any of our requests or answer any questions. As with the other crew members, they always had a smile on their faces and greeted us warmly. Our room was cleaned both in the morning and the evening, which was nice but unnecessary.In the future I will request to just have our rooms done in the evenings.

I loved the itinerary and would consider taking the same cruise again. With only one port day i can see how some would find the schedule exhausting but we just slept really good every night. The ship was great but it didn't have anything special that would make me take the Victory over another ship in the future. Although the ship isnt the newest, it is still in great condition.

The food was absolutely delicious. We only ate in the main dining room on two of the nights so we mostly enjoyed the sushi bar, pizza, grill, deli as well as the 24 hour room service. There is absolutely something for everybody. Just want a snack? The 24 hour ice cream stations are great!

We found the drinks to be average priced compared to where we live at $5.75 to $8.00 depending on what you ordered.  I tend to drink DODs (drink of the days). Each day there is a different drink but you can order any of them throughout the week. They come in awesome souvenir cups that you can refill at a cheaper rate through out the cruise.

They have fun little sayings on the back.
I like to use mine after the cruise and pretend I am on vacation :)

Carnival Victory: What did we do while we werent in port?

In my previous posts I talked a lot about what we did during the day and didnt really touch on night time activities on board. The majority of evenings after we had dinner we walked around exploring the ship and watching movies under the stars on the lido deck. They offered a good variation of adult & kids options and some nights they had concerts from different genres of popular music. We visited the disco every night. They also play all different kinds of music and there is a a mix of all ages. It is a fun, lively atmosphere with nice seating areas to people watch. We didnt get a chance to stop by any of the nightly shows or games that they offered in the lounge but they do offer two show times to give everyone a chance to work around their dinner schedule. We also enjoyed looking around at the different shops on board. They offer jewelry, souvenirs, a candy shop. They offer liquor and cigarettes on board as well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Carnival Victory: Room 1040

We were in room 1040 which is located on the Panorama deck, forward.  This deck has easy access to the lido deck as well as elevators to take you do to casino, dining room, shops, etc!

The room is an interior room so it is completely dark without the lights on which we like but you can leave on the bathroom light with the door shut or bring a night light if this bothers you. There are two lights about the bed that are controlled separate from the main lights so another option is to use these.

The bed is two twins pushed together, which converts to a King. You can ask to leave them as two twins if you prefer. In the room were three closets with hangers, one closet held two bath robes. Another closet held the safe which was activated by any magnetic strip card (do not use your room key). The room also has a nice vanity area with a couple of good size cabinets.The bathroom had a large medicine cabinet as well as a lot of counter space.