We traveled to Aruba on the Carnival Destiny in February 2002 and had a great time. Aruba was beautiful. We spent the majority of the day at Palm Beach in front of the Hyatt Hotel and Holiday Inn. The water is truly like a post card. My husband went on a scuba diving excursion booked through the cruiseline and I stayed on the beach lounging and reading a book. Afterwards, we had a few drinks at the restaurant/bar that extends out over the water. I can't remember the name of it, but it is right across from the Holiday Inn. It was very relaxing and we saw a beautiful sunset.
We didn't go to Martinique or Barbados as our cruise itinerary went to different islands.
I am married to a Bajon. That is what the locals call a person born in Barbados. I lived there for years and I have been on 15 cruises which (some) included Martinique and Aruba. Aruba has changed though the years and now when you get off the ship the town area is really nice. We cruised while living in Barbados, stopping in Arbua, and it was my first chance to eat "American" junk food in years. It is a beautiful Island. Flatter than Barbados and drier. Martinique, as you know, is French. It too has changed through the years. It is dirty, it smells but like all the Islands you must view each for what they have to offer. I remember my first time there. I was walking down the streets and I came upon a little boy walking with his father. As we stopped at the corner waiting to cross the little boy looked up to his father and with his french accent he said "Pa Pa?" The sound of his voise was like music. Another time my husband and I were there and it started to rain. We had to stand under cover until it stopped. We noticed a man my husband knew from Barbados across the street waiting as we were and we all just carried on a conversation until the rain passed. It is what you make of it! If you want perfume or creams wait until Martinique. As for Barbados, it is one of those Islands that it best to have something planned before hand. You get off the ship and walk though the terminal filled with shops and then it is a long walk to get out of the port and another few blocks to town. The same shops are there that you see on every Island. You'll find St. Thomas to have the better deals, if you are going there. We always shake our heads at ads for Barbados as they "talk" about this country as if it is like England and it is not. They don't stop for tea. They all will stop anytime for rum. It is the place to buy rum if you like that and if you want a sweet beer buy a Banks Beer. Understand this is from someone who does not drink but I did taste the Banks Beer and it was good! Too far from the port but if you were living there and had a car you could drive up to KFC, order your meal, order a Banks Beer and drive off eating and drinking! Have a wonderful time and I hope this helped. I should add that there are cabs outside the terminal and it was around $2.50 (US ) to town. You can rent a car there also. The exchange rate is around $1.98 US to $1.00 BD (Barbados Dollar). As on every Island, set the price with the cab driver before you get in the cab.