For anyone just back from the Destiny's recent cruise (August 28th - September 4th) I was the guy sleeping on the lobby couches on decks 7 and 8, and eventually on one of the 2-seaters in Reception on the first night.
The excellent bar staff were mostly to blame, but, being a light sleeper the engine drone was too much for me. My wife hardly noticed though, and that's a pretty good indicator for how loud it was.
So after using their Front Desk as a bedroom (simply for a better sleep), I was immediately offered another room with no fuss whatsoever, and this was the standard of service we both enjoyed throughout our near-perfect holiday on-board.
We were courteous and friendly passengers (the way you should be) and we enjoyed service that rivals the Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort in the Bahamas, a 5-star hotel. No joke.
There are too many real stars on-board the Destiny to mention, although special thanks go to Olga (wine with a smile), Destination Services' Susan (Helpful) and James (Fairy), The Spice-Boys, and the cast of the shows we watched in the Can-Can Lounge, which rivalled any we've seen in playhouses. I'd particularly recommend the 'Cult Fiction' night to anyone with a sense of fun.
The excursions we went on were awesome; Villafranche and Monaco are stunning, and Monte Carlo really is the rich playground you've always imagined it to be. We sat in a cafe across from the Casino hotel and watched Ferraris and Aston Martins cruise past almost every minute. A large beer and a coke cost around £18 but it was worth it. The Thomson's guide was informative, as you'd expect.
We found a free shuttle into Livorno pretty disappointing though, and didn't venture far beyond its shabby city centre and docks.
When we ported at Cittitevechia, near Rome, we decided to head for the city by our own means, saving time and money as many others had suggested on this forum (cheers guys). Taking the train saves 2 hours travel time and the open-top tour buses are as cheap as chips. Its architecture is jaw-dropping, and although we didn’t get off anywhere we certainly got a flavour for the place.
We spent the day at Corsica getting burnt on top deck, but in some style! The island panorama from the ship was exotic and hard to top over a bowl of Frosties at breakfast.
The draw of Barcelona (the Palamos dock) was the Nou Camp (football stadium). It was almost 2 hours either way in an un-airconditioned bus which wasn’t too welcome in the humid heat, but the trip was worth it. There are gifts galore in the Barca merchandise store and we managed to spend £120 in about ten minutes, which must be a personal best for us. We were also dropped in the centre of Barcelona and allowed just over an hour to soak it up. Like Rome, it’s a fine city, albeit not in the same league of architecture.
As I mentioned before, we moved rooms, trading an outside room in the middle of floor 2 for an inside one nearer the front of the ship. Here the engine was almost silent, at the expense of feeling the swaying of the liner on one or two of the choppy nights. Sea-sickness tablets kept it at bay.
It’s worth mentioning that the engine sounded pretty much like a deep heartbeat you could hear throughout the centre of the ship on almost every level, but, again, it never impacted on my wife and myself since there was little reason to loiter around the lobbys that occupied these areas on most levels.
Before I go any further I’d like to point out that this was our first cruise, which we were encouraged into by parents who had been on several before, and on much more elegant ships. In keeping with what they reported about their own experiences, the passengers on-board the Destiny did seem to have more fun than those on the more, shall we say ‘stuffy’ liners, where formality seems to suck some of the pleasure out of cruising, if what I’m told holds water.
The food throughout the ship was of a high standard, although slightly limited in variety. Although I tend to eat with my eyes, I found myself enjoying meals I would never order at home, and the house wine isn’t too bad at first, and becomes quite pleasant after a couple of glasses. Speaking of which, the All Inclusive package was worthwhile, even though very few premium brands fell under its umbrella. Those not included in the all-inclusive package were on offer at a discount to those who had shelled out.
The atmosphere on-board was very relaxed and friendly, and the send-off party as we left dock on the first night seemed to set the good mood throughout our holiday. Seeing the lights of the coast-lines and other cruise liners lit up on the horizon was beautiful at night.
Areas of complaint are few and far between. Firstly, the lady from the beauty salon who was supposed to style my wife’s hair on the night of the Captains Ball was off ill, and the replacement girl made what I can only describe as a birds nest of my wife’s hair. She sorted it herself in a toilet.
Secondly, I felt that waiting times for drinks at the pool bar were long, despite the hard-working staff, and invariably we were finished our lunch before they arrived. I’d recommend sitting at a table, ordering drinks first, then self-serving your lunch.
Lastly, some of the gym equipment was either faulty or simply not working at all.
Points of interest:
The showers are very small in the cabins (I have broad shoulders and I spent the whole time in them, wearing the shower curtain) so after the second night I used the showers in the gym which were much larger.
Take an adapter with you as the plug set-up in the cabins is for ’European.’
Might be worth while going easy on the sauce on the first night, as a safety drill occurs the following morning, which sees every passenger lined up on deck with life-jackets on. Not what the doctor ordered after a night of sleeping on couches throughout the ship.
The age-group on-board was mixed, although I would say that an average would probably be somewhere around the forties mark. Hopefully that goes some way to eliminating the myth that cruises are predominantly occupied by oldies, or treated as a ‘booze-cruise’ by lager-louts. Neither was the case, and we never noticed any trouble or hint of it anywhere throughout our holiday. Incidentally we are in our mid-thirties.
So to summarise, I’d whole-heartedly recommend this ship and the Mediterrainian Rennaisance cruise it took us around to anyone, and we both agree that we’d be more than willing to do it all again.
See you around in Reception some time!