Tuesday, 12 May 2015 19:11

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

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I think that RSVP Vacations and Atlantis had been around for a while but we had never looked into their cruises but for some reason, in 2007, we became interested in taking a gay cruise. The problem we found was that both RSVP Vacations and Atlantis release information about their cruises about 12 months before the actual cruise and at Kaiser, where I was working at the time, they required us to put in vacation requests about 15 months in advance. Once the annual vacation bids had been done at Kaiser, it was next to impossible to get any other time off without a lot of scrambling and finding your own coverage. We finally gave up on the idea of a gay cruise in 2007 but were still interested in trying a "cruise" vacation, even if it were a "straight" cruise. 

I looked into various cruise lines. What I liked about Carnival at the time was that they had a guarantee that said you could get your money back if you went on a cruise and decided you didn't like it. We just didn't know how we would feel on a cruise and whether we would want off at the very first stop or not so this guarantee they had going at the time seemed like a pretty good idea. Carnival also seemed to have a huge selection of itineraries. 

One of the things I looked at for our first cruise was how many days the ship would be out to sea. I figured that if we got sick, we would not want to be out to sea and so I wanted a cruise that docked every day. The Carnival Destiny, which was going out of San Juan, Puerto Rico seemed to come closest to meeting that criteria, only having two days out to sea. We would have stops in St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua. 

It was also important to me that the ship be as large as possible and that we have a balcony for fresh air. For me, vomiting is one of the worst possible experiences! I would rather have pain than vomit! I would bring a lot of hand sanitizer for our hands and disinfectant for the room just in case of norwalk virus. I would also bring ginger candy, ginger capsules, dramamine and wear a scopolamine patch! 

It was great to be able to put down a deposit on the cabin we wanted to guarantee that cabin. You could get a cabin cheaper if you let Carnival assign the cabin but I knew I wanted something in the middle of the ship to minimize movement to minimize the possibility of getting seasick. We loved being able to pay for the cruise over a period of several months and having it be refundable up to about 90 days out from our sail date. 

We had to book a flight to San Juan and this was one of the last flights we ever took with stop-overs. We were supposed to fly out of Oakland to JFK but about 30 minutes before the flight, we heard our names called and we went up to the desk. We were told the flight had been overbooked and were asked if we would take a different flight that went through Newark, New Jersey. I don't remember now why we were so agreeable- I can't remember if we were given the option or were just told this was what we had to do. Maybe the flight got there earlier. I just don't remember. 

Coming back was the bigger problem. We were booked through JFK and there was a huge snowstorm grounding many flights. We had no problem getting out of San Juan but JFK was dicey. We were on the tarmac for a while. Some passengers were in their planes, on the tarmac, for hours and many didn't take off at all. We felt very lucky when the pilot announced we had been cleared for takeoff. We just barely got out of there!!

When we first arrived in San Juan, it was fairly early in the day and we were just exhausted from the long flight and layover in Newark. We went to our hotel but they would not allow us to check in that early so we had to kill time until check in. I think we just wandered about and went and got something to eat. Compared to the Bay Area, the weather in San Juan felt like summer in the middle of winter! I loved that!!

The cruise went well. We both wore our scopolamine patches behind our ears and neither of us got sick. There were moments of nausea through the week but usually brief. I believe one of those times was actually on dry land, on one of the excursions, on one of the islands where there were a lot of curves in the road. In St. Thomas, we visited "Coral World." It was really not very impressive but the beach next to it was great. On Dominica, we visited the rain forrest and "The Emerald Pool." We visited another natural spring pool on one of the other islands as well. Milton let me have a beach day on Barbados. Milton doesn't swim and African-American so not looking to get a tan. I always appreciate his willingness to let me swim, snorkel and lay on the beach! 

Our cabin was great. Carnival does a wonderful job of entertaining their guests. Our room steward did the obligatory towel animals every night. He made up our room twice a day which is typical on cruises. The food was mediocre but okay. Since I had taken microbiology as a student nurse, the buffet felt a little risky. On that cruise, we had our own hand sanitizer but that didn't do any good for cleaning everybody else's hands! I would see people coughing or sneezing into their hands and then serving themselves from the buffet. Unsupervised children were the worst, though. When at the buffet, I would always try to reach toward the back of the serving dish which had not been touched yet or had serving spoons laid across them. Eating in the dining room felt safer but Milton and i are not very social and on that ship, on that cruise, we were seated with two women through the cruise. I don't know if the ship does this intentionally- seat two men with two women? Regardless, we only ate in the dining room a couple of times because of this. It is just too awkward making conversation with strangers! 

One of my favorite things about The Destiny was it's gym. There was a large whirlpool there that was not filled with screaming kids! Adults could actually use this whirlpool and relax! They also had a steam room and a sauna on this ship. I thought other ships would have these amenities as well but in future cruises, we would find out that is not the case. 

We were in cabin 7-244. It seemed small at first but on future cruises, we would discover that Carnival and Royal Caribbean have the largest cabins for our budget. Princess and MSC were the worst. After we had been on several cruises, I would never go on a Princess or MSC ship again. Their balcony cabins are so much smaller than Carnival and Royal Caribbean and their food is much worse!! On the Destiny, we also appreciated some of the free toothpaste and other samples left in our room. Out of all the cruises we have taken, Carnival has the best bedding!! Passengers on the Destiny could purchase Carnival pillows and bedding while on the cruise and I was tempted. The worst bedding we have had on a cruise was MSC, which had lumpy pillows as if someone just stuffed old rags in a pillow case!!

Here is some video of our first cruise. It is not very high quality because of the camera I used but also because of youtube limitations on size of video at that time. That has changed since then and I might go back to the original footage and re-edite some day.... maybe... enjoy!

Read 11394 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 May 2015 18:53

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Click to read "Introduction."
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Grandview- Click for story
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Click to read "Introduction."
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Amber- Click to read story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
Palouse- Click for story
4th Grade- Click for story.
Grandview- Click for story
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Where I was born- Click for story.
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story