Destiny – Post D-D 9/27-10/2/08 Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman – Review & Capers

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#1
NJ
5,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Destiny – Post D-D 9/27-10/2/08 Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman – Review & Capers

(1) INTRODUCTION

I have recently returned from a five day cruise to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman on the Destiny, September 27 – October 02, 2008. What can I say… I guess that’s why you’re reading this, right? Well, I want to go back. Heck, I didn’t want to leave!

If you are reading this review, I’m sure that it is not your first, and further that you have read many of the other Destiny reviews and myriad threads – the likes of ‘is it a good ship?’, ‘what happened during the dry dock (d-d) renovations?!’ or ‘what about the new itinerary?’ – I think I have literally read hundreds. Short answers: yes, a lot but possibly not everything you think, and it’s a great itinerary. I’ll try to touch upon as much as I can speak knowledgeably about, and share my experiences with the ‘new and improved’ Destiny out of her home port of Miami, for all of you lucky people cruising on this fine ship in the future.

First, before we go any further – to acknowledge some of those ‘other’ reviews and threads about Destiny… Judging from the reviews and comments, this ship seems to be about as polarizing as a politician or thread about smoking, casual/formal dress or ‘scandal’ (du jour) on this board. I can only attribute the bulk of it to the ship’s condition before drydock (although, I don’t think that’s really it – we’ll get to that later), the port of San Juan and / or the previous itinerary. I can’t speak unto any of those, but having just returned from a recent sailing – post dry dock, new port, staff rotation – however you want to qualify it, I cannot entirely understand what so many people have been complaining about. I can affirm that as the ship stands and sails today, there need be no reason for alarm, only eager anticipation.

As the first to pioneer the ‘big ship’ concept, and the largest in the world when she first sailed – Destiny provides numerous options in dining, bars, entertainment and everything else you would expect.

In short – Destiny is a fine ship in great condition, and I would not hesitate for a moment to sail on her again. I read that the last sailing out of San Juan and first out of Miami, both straddling the dry dock period had a few bumps along the way. Not so for the second out of Miami, and so I doubt it will be relevant for future cruises. The ship is in fine condition – she floats and can speed away at about 22 knots, despite weighing 101,000 tons, the bars are well stocked and staffed by friendly people – wallpaper is stuck to the wall, deck chairs and good food are abundant, the paint and finishes, however extreme, are in fine condition. And it sure is a ‘fun ship’.

I want to end this introduction – this first segment of what I now realize is going to be a very long review (I’m not done with the introduction [email protected]#%$), with a piece that I think really puts cruising into perspective:

-----

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

-----


Alright. So nobody without access to your boarding documents knows your name before you board… But damned if they all didn’t know my name by the time I left! ;-)

Gold star to whoever calls that out first. (better hurry)

There’s a lot more to come. I’ll be writing a comprehensive review, in sequential order of importance and chronology, with pics along the way, and the full capers for this cruise / itinerary… Do you want to know anything in particular? Let me know.

‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ – Winston Churchill

#3
Long Island, NY
5,083 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
.....do you have the Capers anywhere yet?

Inquiring minds want to know.



wasiii
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Fear - Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea!

Coral Princess - 7.31.06 - Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier
CCL Victory - 8.31.06 - New York, Halifax, Canada, New York
CCL Miracle - 8.31.07 - New York, San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, New York
CCL Victory - 6.10.08 - New York, St. John, Canada, New York
CCL Inspiration - 8.21.08 - Tampa, Cozumel, Tampa
CCL Inspiration - 8.25.08 - Tampa, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Tampa (Half way to Platinum!)
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CCL Miracle - 4.16.09 - New York, Bermuda (overnight), Newport RI, New York
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CCL Freedom - 8.28.10 - Ft. Lauderdale, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama, Ft. Lauderdale
CCL Miracle - 8.2.11 - New York, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Nassau, New York
NCL Star - 8.19.12 - New York, Kings Wharf, Bermuda (3 days), New York
CCL Miracle - 12.16.12 (Doomsday) - New York, Port Canaveral FL, Freeport, Nassau, New York
NCL Breakaway - 8.25.13 - New York, Kings Wharf, Bermuda (3 days), New York
NCL Breakaway - 9.14.14 - New York, Kings Wharf, Bermuda (3 days), New York
#4
Ft Myers Fl
4,351 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Maybe you should start at the end when you are most depressed and work your way backwards to all the pre cruise excitement.
I think all reviews should be done that way so they end on a happy note.
Never mind someone out there will find fault with just thinking about going on a cruise and it would ruin my idea.
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Ed & April
36 Cruises 219 total Days
20 CARNIVAL, 6 RCI
2 PRINCESS 3 NCL,
1 HAL 1 Regal, 1 MSC
1 Imperal, 1 PREMIER
#5
70 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
I can't wait. I love reading your reviews. Hurry hurry. I am leaving on Nov 21st and I want to share you experience with my husband. We are so excited and reading them make me more anxious. Thanks for sharing.
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11/2/06 Carnival Elation- 1st Cruise
11/22/08 Carnival Destiny
10/20/09 All Inclusive Resort Iberostar/Cancun
06/05/10- Carnival Triumph
3 Generations of Women Cruise


#6
Tennessee
456 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
I sail on Destiny on 10/20 Eastern and am glad to hear the good news about her post dry dock. Can't wait to hear more.
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Future Cruises
Disney Wonder 1/31/2016 Grenada / Barbados / Martinique / Antigua / St. Kitts 2524 - 7 Days

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Past Cruises
Carnival Fantasy 2/6/2000 Freeport / Nassau R167-4 Days

Carnival Fascination 3/3/2008 Key West / Cozumel M237-4 Days

Carnival Paradise 5/12/2008 Catalin / Ensenada R73-4 Days

Carnival Destiny 10/20/2008 Nassau / Half Moon Cay / Grand Turk 8273-5 Days

Carnival Imagination 1/30/2009 Nassau E1-3 Days

Carnival Imagination 2/2/2009 Key West / Cozumel E1-4 Days

Carnival Imagination 5/18/2009 Key West / Cozumel R165-4 Days

Carnival Elation 10/22/2009 Catalina / Ensenada R52-4 Days

Carnival Elation 10/26/2009 Ensenada R183-3 Days

Carnival Victory 2/28/2010 St. Thomas / Dominica / Barbados / St. Lucia / St. Kitts / St. Maarten 1338-7 Days

Carnival Victory 10/17/2010 St. Thomas / Dominica / Barbados / St. Lucia / St. Kitts / St. Maarten 1015-7 Days

Carnival Glory 3/6/2011 Cozumel / Belize / Roatan / Grand Caymen 8455-7 Days

Carnival Imagination 1/30/2012 Key West / Cozumel-4 Days---GOT ENGAGED!

Carnival Breeze 11/6/2012 Transatlantic-Barcelona / Palma de Mallorca / Malaga / Canary Islands / Antigua / saint Marteen / Miami-15 Days---HONEYMOON!

Carnival Imagination 12/18/2014 Ensenada - 2 day
#7
NJ
5,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by wasiii
.....do you have the Capers anywhere yet?
i'm working on it. scanner is being fickle.
#8
NJ
5,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by ready2sail76
I can't wait. I love reading your reviews. Hurry hurry. I am leaving on Nov 21st and I want to share you experience with my husband. We are so excited and reading them make me more anxious. Thanks for sharing.
no worries - i'll have it all up in time for all 4 of you - including bases5, wrfe and wasii!

more tonight.
#9
Calif. USA
3,092 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Looking foward to more.


Candi
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RCCL Vision of the Seas 1/05
Carnival Spirit 1/06
RCCL Serenade of the Seas 10/06
Carnival Pride 2/07
Carnival Elation 10/07
Carnival Elation 10/08 BTB 10/27 and 10/31 Halloween Cruise
Carnival Paradise 5/09
Radiance of the Seas 12/09
Elation 03/10
Sapphire Princess 1/14
Crown Princess 12/6/14
Crown Princess 12/5/15
Norwegian Jewel 10/19/16
Grand Princess 03/25/2017
Carnival Miracle 11/25/2017

#10
Long Island, NY
5,083 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by falkcor
no worries - i'll have it all up in time for all 4 of you - including bases5, wrfe and wasii!

more tonight.
.....for your scans. Just love to read the Capers to preplan my cruise!



Bill
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Fear - Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea!

Coral Princess - 7.31.06 - Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Whittier
CCL Victory - 8.31.06 - New York, Halifax, Canada, New York
CCL Miracle - 8.31.07 - New York, San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, New York
CCL Victory - 6.10.08 - New York, St. John, Canada, New York
CCL Inspiration - 8.21.08 - Tampa, Cozumel, Tampa
CCL Inspiration - 8.25.08 - Tampa, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Tampa (Half way to Platinum!)
CCL Destiny - 11.17.08 - Miami, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Miami
CCL Miracle - 12.7.08 - Ft. Lauderdale, St. Maarten (Happy Birthday to Me), St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Ft. Lauderdale
CCL Miracle - 4.16.09 - New York, Bermuda (overnight), Newport RI, New York
CCL Fantasy - 8.27.09 - New Orleans, Cozumel, New Orleans
CCL Fantasy - 8.31.09 - New Orleans, Progreso, Cozumel, New Orleans (Platinum 3 years to the day since my first Carnival cruise!)
RCI Monarch of the Seas - 12.14.09 - Miami, Coco Cay, Nassau, Miami
CCL Freedom - 8.28.10 - Ft. Lauderdale, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama, Ft. Lauderdale
CCL Miracle - 8.2.11 - New York, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Nassau, New York
NCL Star - 8.19.12 - New York, Kings Wharf, Bermuda (3 days), New York
CCL Miracle - 12.16.12 (Doomsday) - New York, Port Canaveral FL, Freeport, Nassau, New York
NCL Breakaway - 8.25.13 - New York, Kings Wharf, Bermuda (3 days), New York
NCL Breakaway - 9.14.14 - New York, Kings Wharf, Bermuda (3 days), New York
#12
2,705 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Falkor,

You don't know how much I'm looking forward to your review. I love your writing style and cannot wait. We are booked on Destiny 6 weeks from now and am getting more and more excited; particularly after the line:

"I can affirm that as the ship stands and sails today, there need be no reason for alarm, only eager anticipation."

I can't wait to see the rest. Got it set for e-mail notification!
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Past Cruises:

MSC Divina 05-14-16 (Western Caribbean: Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Nassau
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas 11-21-2015 (Baltimore, Port Canaveral, Cocoa Cay, Nassau, Key West)
Norwegian Epic 05/23/2015 (Western Mediterranean: Barcelona, Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Palma Majorca)
Norwegian Epic 05/23/2015 (Western Mediterranean: Barcelona, Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Palma Majorca)
Carnival Ecstasy 11-17-2014 (Key West, Cozumel & Carnival LIVE with Lady Antebellum!)
Carnival Glory 10-25-2014 (Western Caribbean)
Norwegian Getaway 06-21-2014 (St. Maarten; St. Thomas; Nassau, Bahamas)
Carnival Freedom 10-05-2013 (Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Thomas)
Carnival Victory 04-15-2013 (Nassau, Bahamas; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Grand Turk)
Carnival Imagination 04-12-2013 (Nassau, Bahamas)
Carnival Breeze 11-22-2012 Bahamas (2-day)
Carnival Pride 11-2-2012 Cruise to Nowhere
Carnival Valor 10-13-2012 Exotic Southern Caribbean (Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, Aruba)
Carnival Valor 09-11-2011 Eastern Caribbean (Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk)

Carnival Dream 09-18-2010 Exotic Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, Costa Maya)
Carnival Inspiration 11-21-2009 Western Caribbean (Grand Cayman, Cozumel)
Carnival Destiny 11-22-08 Western Caribbean (Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman)
Carnival Liberty 9-13-08 Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios)
#13
Maumelle, Arkansas
943 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
O wow! I am looking forward to your review! I'm going oct 10th 2009..... Oooohhh.....can't wait to see the capers!
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Upcoming sailings:
Disney Fantasy - June 1, 2013
Valentine's Day Cruise with my boyfriend - 2014 (No certain date just yet)


Sailed:
NCL 2004
Carnival 2005
Carnival Fantasy May 2006
Carnival Elation October 2006 (Honeymoon Cruise)
Carnival Splendor November 29, 2008
Carnival Destiny October 10, 2009 (AWESOME AWESOME CRUISE)
Carnival Victory May 30, 2010 with the girls!!!!
Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas - Spain!! May 11, 2012
#14
Lexington, SC
60 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
..especially considering that I was also on this sailing and I want to know your opinion. I have yet to write my review because I am having a hard time putting all of my words into a short version for others to read.

And yes, I have cruised before. This was # 13 for my husband and I.

So, let's hear it!
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Deena

Carnival Fantasy 96/99; Carnival Fascination 5/2000; Carnival Sensation 8/2000; Carnival Fantasy 10/01; Carnival Fascination 1/03; Sovereign of the Seas 8/03; Carnival Victory 10/03; Costa Atlantica 5/04; Carnival Glory 8/04; Caribbean Princess 10/05; Carnival Glory 9/06;Disney 9/07; Carnival Destiny 9/08
#15
NJ
5,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Destiny – Post D-D 9/27-10/2/08 Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman – Review & Capers

(2) DRY DOCK RENOVATIONS

Alright – so this topic in particular has been the buzz of these boards for months now, since we all first realized that Destiny was slotted for her early September dry-dock, so let’s start there. We all asked, ‘dry dock, what’s that mean… exactly?’. There were a lot of hopes and even more speculation, but it has remained the great unknown. Until now.

First, let’s put it into perspective. A dry-dock renovation, sounds like quite the ordeal – if only for taking the boat out of the water. Sure, a lot of less than common r/m (repair and maintenance) and some upgrades definitely happen in this, one of the few times the ship isn’t crawling with passengers. But really, this is a regular practice and most ships are dry-docked every two years, mostly for repainting of the lower hull (only possible in dry dock, or rather, out of the water). On that note, here’s a picture of exactly that. I want to credit member Aim1 for this photo (it’s just so cool) and there’s a link to her, very interesting, thread below the photo.


Aim1's thread here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=856794

Now while still on that topic right there – painting – I’ll offer one of things that did NOT happen in dry-dock. Full exterior painting. That’s obvious. The ships outer, and mostly lower hull, do indeed in places show their age, with some visible rust – nothing major. But who cares? You see the exterior paint job of the ship when you get on and off. I will add that not anywhere in the interior spaces, or accessible exterior spaces (once on the ship) will you see any bit of it. I can’t really even imagine how this could bother me. And I guarantee you, when pulling into port, the Jamaicans or anyone else don’t say among themselves ‘oh here comes that destiny – she’s not newly painted’. They hear a faint ‘ka-ching’.

Another one of the major renovations that you’ll never even notice is what’s behind the walls and under our decks. I toured the bridge with the captain (TIP! YOU CAN ASK TO DO THIS AT THE PURSER’S DESK, THOUGH ASKING THE CAPTAIN AT HIS RECEPTION IS – WELL, A LOT MORE COOL), and he explained that a lot of the dry-dock renovations were mechanical in nature. That’s the ship’s systems – engines & propulsion systems, electrical, plumbing, delivery systems (like HVAC) and computer and systems hardware.

So anyhow, all dry-dock renovation projects are not created equal. Just because Carnival has embarked on the ‘evolutions of fun’ program for the Fantasy class ships does not mean that the destiny, triumph or liberty are all due (or gonna get) the Carnival water works. Quite frankly, I don’t even know where they’d put it. So, on that note, for anybody wondering, this is a recent picture of the Destiny’s water slide / pool area. It hasn’t changed. But, so what? An eight year old in my party surely did not know the difference, and had a blast riding the same (already still very fun) water slide.


Moving on, Destiny was also benefit of Carnival’s Seaside Theatre, installed on the lido deck above the pool. It’s an about 300 square foot screen, and plays any number of different programs through the course of the day. Quite frankly, I never paid much attention unless I was walking by for but a moment, so I can’t offer much insight into its programming. I’ve read that there’s CNN news in the mornings, in the afternoons while events are going on, they broadcast the events live to it, and I also noticed a few movies being played, along with music videos. I can understand the allure of watching a movie by the sea and under the stars, but frankly while on a cruise my highest priority isn’t watching a big television. I can do that at home.

Now for the greatest actual structural renovation the ship received. Let me just say, that anybody having booked the ocean view family staterooms with floor to ceiling windows on the spa deck, cabins 1001-1018 really made out well. With luck like this, screw the ‘upgrade fairy’. Ahem. To clarify, all staterooms on the spa deck were converted to balcony cabins. Take a look at the before and after floorplans:





If there’s still any doubt, take a look at a picture of Destiny docked in Ocho Rios, Jamaica taken on Monday, September 29. You can clearly see 8 little ‘bays’ or ‘indentations’ (or BALCONIES) just behind the windows on the spa deck, left of the waterslides and below the Doppler radar golf balls:



So, congratulations to all of you booked on the Spa Deck already… That’s a mighty fine upgrade right there.

Now, for some other things that the rest of us can enjoy… These are some of the less glamorous upgrades the Destiny received while in dry dock:

1. Deck boards in the pool areas / lido deck were replaced (and I suspect a few other places from what I saw

2. Typical fit and finish items throughout the common areas – new paint, tile work, and general repair and maintenance to these areas

3. Some cabins were upgraded, but not all. Some have new carpet, new bathrooms, new televisions, etc. and some do not. I did notice LCD TVs in the deck 7 suites, but I don’t even know if these were new, and I know they’re not everywhere.

Overall the ship is in good shape aesthetically / cosmetically. I did not notice any significant repair or maintenance work, or anything that really needed it. The ship is kept incredibly clean – it’s a lot like Disney World in that manner – I think a piece of trash’s life span on this ship must not exceed 3 or 4 minutes, people are always walking around to ensure this.

Some people will say that the décor seems a little dated, but I’d say that it’s just as off-the-wall, crazy, colorful, garish, and zany as it was to begin with, or as any other Carnival ship. Let’s be realistic here – neither the Destiny nor any other ship in the fleet is a Queen Mary 2 (QM2) – it’s really not comparable. And while I am not really a fan of the Joe Farcus aesthetic, but I also don’t go on a cruise to marvel at the décor – I’d got to Europe or, well, almost anywhere else if that were my intent.

While on this topic of the fit and finish of the ship, and these renovations, I’ll offer the single other point (besides exterior paint) that was less than stellar. There were, at some times, some problems with the elevators. It was never a major problem, and I was always able to catch an alternate if needed, but in the interest of full disclosure – yeah, some of the elevators had problems at times. Sure didn’t bother me.

So, that’s the end of the ‘dry-dock section’… Now, on to my cruise…
#16
NJ
5,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Destiny – Post D-D 9/27-10/2/08 Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman – Review & Capers

(3) THE BEGINNING

I don’t really want to or think it relevant to go into much detail regarding my ‘pre-cruise’ happenings – because well, why do you care? Yours are sure to be different than mine.

So I’ll keep it brief. I had an early (7.40AM) flight out of Houston to Miami. I thought it’d be a good idea to stay up all night so I could be SURE I’d be there on time (I am NOT a morning person) – well, that didn’t work. I slept through my flight, and 73 phone calls from my party. Thankfully, Continental allowed me to re-schedule to the next flight (10.30AM) FREE of charge, as they extended this to all Houston area residents given all the crap Hurricane Ike brought. Kudos Continental. I got on the plane and arrived in Miami at about 1.30PM, almost half an hour early, at the same time as other members of my party. We got our bags and went to find the Carnival transfer.

Here’s where it becomes relevant to the rest of you. The Carnival transfer representatives will meet you near the baggage claim (based on when your flight comes in) and bring you to a little area somewhere near baggage claim #20. It’s nothing special. There’s chairs against the wall in a less-trafficked area by a door to the outside, and they separate people by which boat they’re going on. Don’t expect some sort of ‘lounge’ or anything like that – it’s nothing if it’s not mundane. Waited there for about 20 minutes until other people were gathered, and then went outside to a charter bus (again, nothing special). We waited to leave the airport until after 3.00PM (after the official ‘boarding time’, but it was OK, I figured it was on them at that point). The drive to the port took about 20 minutes through Miami, mostly due to a good deal of traffic.

We rolled up to the port, porters took any baggage to be checked (and made it clear that this would be the last time you saw him, so if you’d like to tip him, pony up), and we entered the terminal. They checked your ID and boarding documents as you walked in, and then on to security. It’s just like an airport, put your bags through the xray, walk through a metal detector, and you’re off. Then up to the second floor.

Let me make it clear – we didn’t arrive at the terminal until about 3.30PM – and know what? It was glorious. I understand the benefits to arriving earlier, but when you come a bit later, there were absolutely no lines. Then up to the desk to verify immigration documents (passports, birth certificates, photo ids and the like) and register credit cards to the S&S accounts via a physical swipe… That took all of 5 minutes, then it was off to the ship. Grand total: 10-15 minutes.

A short, brisk walk across the gangway, and we were in the lobby / rotunda. Everybody had to have the quick picture to be assigned to the S&S card, then we were free, and greeted by the soaring rotunda, and glass elevators.



None of my party had every been aboard this ship before, but knowing how laboriously I researched this cruise (the deck plans, these boards, carnival site, etc.) everybody turned and looked at me, and said ‘alright, where do we go’. I stopped, looked around, and said ‘follow me’. Quickly, we navigated the rotunda, made it to the cabin in a few minutes’ time and dropped the bags off.

And that’s where I found…

::drum roll please::
#17
NJ
5,661 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Destiny – Post D-D 9/27-10/2/08 Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman – Review & Capers

(4) DESTINY CAPERS – 9/27/2008, LET THE FUN BEGIN!

I don’t think these need much explanation! Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… The first Carnival Destiny Capers I came across! Take a look:











Enjoy! More to come…
#18
495 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Great review so far and the posting of the Capers are the BEST I have ever seen. No need to squint to try to see what they say.

Looking forward to more!
#19
Murfreesboro, TN
269 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Thanks! I can't wait to see more!
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RCI Splendour of the Seas- October '14
HAL Eurodam- November '11
Carnival Destiny- October '08
Carnival Valor- March '07
Carnival Fascination- May '01
Carnival Ecstasy- June '97