Escape to the Caribbean
posted at 6:15 pm on December 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Last night, the First Mate and I arrived home after a week on the Caribbean sea. We took a cruise with Carnival with stops in Grand Cayman and Jamaica, with five nights at sea out of Miami. As one might expect, we had a terrific time, met interesting people, and — most importantly — got a real chance to relax. I didn’t take notes (because I was relaxing!) so giving a detailed account of the trip will be difficult. However, I can give a pretty good overview of the cruise, the stops, and the fun.
The Carnival Destiny is an impressively huge ship. In five days, we didn’t find all of the Destiny’s secrets, but we enjoyed everything we found. Despite its size, though, we could feel the motion of the ship when we sailed through strong winds — which was almost the entire cruise. I’ve been on boats most of my life and never felt queasy, but on this trip, I had to put a motion-sickness patch behind my ear on Tuesday and replace it on Friday to keep from being sick. In fact, I’m still feeling a little dizzy today as my balance tries to adjust to being on dry land.
Our cabin was roomier than I anticipated, although it was still smaller than an average hotel room. I selected a balcony berth, which was my best choice. There’s nothing like reading with an unobstructed view of the ocean and a fresh breeze cooling the air. I got a chance to take a few seascape photos, which you’ll see at the end of the slideshow below.
Food was plentiful on ship, and accessible at all times. Buffets had a reasonable variety of choices, but we didn’t spend too much time at them. We spent most of our dinners at our assigned table in the Galaxy dining room, where the food was very good and the service very good as well. The wait staff entertained us each night with a different act — singing or dancing, including a conga line one night. (No, I didn’t join them, but several passengers did.)
On the final night, we ate dinner with the chef for a special treat — and what a treat it was. We had a private tour of the galley with twelve other guests, followed by a seven-course meal with as much wine as we could drink. The courses included Chilean sea bass, filet mignon, beef carpaccio, calamari, and a final course that I could only describe as DessertHenge. It was a fabulous way to spend our last night at sea.
Grand Cayman and Jamaica
Our excursions on both islands were worth the time and money we spent on them. We took the Jeep 4×4 tour on Grand Cayman and got a good look at the island, followed by lunch on the beach and 90 minutes to soak up the sun. The tour on Jamaica’s Prospect Plantation was even more interesting, especially — I kid you not — the camels. The plantation brought in five camels as a tourist attraction, and we had a picture or two taken with them. The tour guides were charming and funny, and the lush growth gave us lots of opportunity for pictures. Dolphin Cove was a tourist trap but pleasant enough, with another generous beach barbecue lunch.
So did anything go wrong?
Only one thing went seriously wrong, and it wasn’t on ship. The cruise line printed out our boarding passes and luggage tags for the trip home, a one-stop flight from Miami to Minneapolis on US Airways. Unfortunately, our luggage wasn’t ready to end its vacation, and it wasn’t at the airport when we got home. We heard that the luggage should arrive here tonight, so we will eventually get our souvenirs, but we’ll see.
If you have a chance to take a cruise, I’d recommend the Carnival Destiny. We will recall this vacation very fondly for years to come.