My husband and I traveled recently on the Liberty from Puerto Rico for 7 days through the Caribbean. Our Silver Dining room waite staff were fabulous!! Please give kudos to June from the Philipines, I Wayan from Indonesia, and Monica from Croatia!!
Embarkation was fast however, they now have a security screening which had a line.
Cabin mate came earlier than me (I arrived after 4pm) and told me it was a hour to get through.
Once aboard, staff very friendly. Housekeeping were very friendly and corrected an error without any trouble.
Shows were good, though Rock show is a little stale and stays on the 50's too much.
There were only four comedy club days yet they were fantastic.
Dining room selection was great. Don't recommend Steakhouse.
Staff were aloof and I was ignored since I was by myself. However, the worse was the fake eggs they used for breakfeast. They were hideous and loads of people were complaining about them. You can get real eggs in the dining room or at the omelet station. Overall, my experience aboard the ship was very good.
overall good cruise. some ports disappointing as well as excursion
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Cruznut2 - September 11, 2010 Carnival Liberty September 11 - 18, 2010
Extended Stay America Miami - Brickell - Port Of Miami 298 SW 15th Rd, Miami Florida 33129
This trip I decided to drive to Miami the day before the cruise.. There were many options to consider for parking during the cruise. In my research I found a hotel that offered free parking for the length of the cruise. My research revealed that the hotel had good reviews so I booked it. I did my booking on line at their website. I chose the senior rate which was $71.24 I paid around $80 with taxes. I felt that was very reasonable as it would save me $140 in parking at the port. The shuttle to the port was $10.00. Returning from the cruise I took a taxi back to the hotel for $14.50
The hotel was located on a quiet street near the Port of Miami. I found the hotel to be clean and very quiet. My room had a queen bed . The room was equipped with a small kitchen.. Supplies for coffeewere there also. More coffee was offered in air pots set up in the lobby in the morning. There was no continental breakfast.. They have vending machines that were very high priced. I walked across to the Walgreens store and they had nice fresh pastries for sale.
The hotel did not have a restaurant within it. There is a nice Italian restaurant nearby within easy walking distance. Had I spent more time exploring I might have revealed other places. Since my niece lives in Miami she picked me up and we went to Bayside Market Place for a drink. For dinner I was tired and chose to stay in the room. Two menus were slid under my door. Both offered sandwiches, pizza, salads, soups. I chose a sandwich and soup. It arrived promptly but was not very good. The soup was canned and the sandwich was on stale bread. I ate part of it and tossed the rest, too tired to care. Needless to say I was in bed early. It had been a long day and a long drive from Lakeland.
Port Of Miami
My shuttle from the hotel picked me up at 11:00 AM. It was about 11:20 before we left. I was the only passenger going to the port. The drive took about 15 minutes in the traffic At the port. I was dropped of at Carnival and went inside to check in. The lines moved along fairly well for the amount of people in the terminal. The last stop before boarding was where they set up on board accounts and issue key cards. I did feel that this area could have used more agents. There were many empty stations here. It took about a half hour from the beginning until I plugged in my card for the security check in picture. As I stepped on to the mat for this picture a buzzer went off and a canned voice announced to anyone listening that I have a message and to please go to customer relations. I went to the pursers desk for my message. Since I have several medical issues they just wanted to assure me that they were prepared to meet my needs.
As I entered the main lobby I was pleased to note the huge American Flag hanging in the atrium. It was September 11 and the Flag was quiet tribute to our wonderful country.
I was carrying a carry on and my c-pap machine as well as my purse. I knew this would be troublesome on the lido while trying to get lunch. I decided to try to get to my room to drop it all off. I went up to Panorama deck and my corridor was open. I went to my room and got rid of the baggage and left. As I was leaving they shut the door to the corridor. I guess I was lucky.
I went down to Emiles on lido and had lunch at the deli. I enjoyed a pastrami sandwich and a glass of water. Then I did have a small slice of cheesecake for dessert.
After lunch I went exploring the ship. I had sailed on this magnificent ship in 2007. There were a few changes. The one most noticeable was the elimination of the Asian buffet. It was replaced with a burrito bar. I would much rather have had the Asian. I also noticed that the salad bar was gone and there were salad choices at the beginning of the food lines instead. This made less choices for the salads. On the other hand it saved standing in line twice for lunch. The ship was showing signs of wear and tear and will soon need a facelift. I decided to return to my room and see if my luggage had been delivered. It had and I was surprised that it was in the room and on the bed. I unpacked and was back on deck long before sail away. The lifeboat drill was somewhat improved as wearing the life jacket was eliminated. Somewhat cooler while standing there. Of course I had the complaining lady right behind me. She carried on as if the drill was a plot to inconvenience her. I wanted her to quiet down so we could listen to the instructions. I am sure the others around us felt the same. Some people just do not understand that it is important information and it is mandatory.
The entertainment on this ship was outstanding. The Liberty dancers were wonderful. The singers are very talented. The first production show was a tribute to the cities of the world. It ended with a tribute to the USA. This show ended with sparklers going off on stage and red, white and blue streamers cascading into the audience. The audience was on their feet in standing ovation. Not a dry eye in the house. I struggled for control with a lump in my throat as tears streamed down my face.
The second production show was called "Singing With The Big Band" This show featured the huge talent of Christopher Alan Graves. He sang all the standards of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. He invited the children on stage as he sang "Candy Man" and of course the children were given candy. I cannot say enough about this man and the show he puts on. If you are on a ship where he is entertaining, don't miss this one.
Not being a late night person I was usually asleep long before midnight and I missed the adult comedy shows and the comedy club altogether. I heard many good comments about it around the ship.
Of course as we all know most of the action is around the central lido pool. I usually went to the aft pool where we older folks congregated. It was nice there. The "laugh a minute" crowd that I met at lunch were usually there and I was kept laughing all the time. I went to bingo a few times but as usual I was not too lucky. I spent too much time donating too much money to the casino too. I did participate in 3 slots tournaments this week. I never got past the first round. All I got from the casino was a free pina colada that the host was offering the ladies. I also got a severe sinus infection from the smoke in the casino.
Since I was traveling alone I chose "Your Time" dining. I could go to the dining room any time between 5:45 pm and 9:30 pm for dinner. I absolutely loved this option. I was placed with different people most nights. Every night I was lucky to be placed with great dining companions. I met many nice people this way and really enjoyed it. I also opted for the dining room most days for lunch and every day for breakfast. One memorable lunch I was placed with four other people who kept me laughing the whole time. One day for lunch I went to "Fish and Chips" I had the Calamari and it was outstanding. Try as I would I was unable to control my intake of sweets and of course everything was excellent. On port days I ate at the buffet for lunch. I must admit that for the first time I was somewhat disappointed in the food there. Once I went to the pizzeria for a slice of pizza . As always it was excellent.
Service and Sanitation
There was no area where service lacked on this voyage. Although Liberty is showing signs of wear she was kept spotless. A difficult task with 3200 guests running around. My cabin was well kept by Harry my cabin steward who attended to all my needs. The dining room staff was great and all my meals were well served and timely.
The dreaded disembarkation day arrived and I was prepared and ready for it. I did not opt for self assist as that can be a real mess with too many folks struggling with too much luggage try to be the first ones off the ship. I was assigned zone 9. I had an extra cup of coffee on lido deck then went to my room to collect my things. I went to the Venetian Palace lounge to wait for my zone to be called. As the zones were completed they were called. Self assist was still going on also. I was called in a relatively short time and was off the ship before 9:00 AM. I got in line for a taxi and went back to the hotel to pick up my car. All in all it was an easy process.
This was the best cruise I ever had and I would definitely book this ship again.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Michael Silvis Eastern Caribbean May 1, 2010
Arrived via auto to POM at 11:30 and was seated in Emile's eating lunch at 12:30. By 1:30 DW and I were unpacking our carry-on luggage in our cabin (7376). We found our cabin clean and were amazed at all the available storage. The a/c in my cabin was fantastic as the room temp. averaged 70 degrees during the whole cruise. The hot water is HOT and plentiful. I picked this cabin hoping it would be in a quite area. It was quiet and proved to be very convenient to the lido deck/Emile's/Versailles pool. We were very happy with the cabin and it's location.
This was the largest ship that we have ever cruised on and at weeks end we were still getting lost. Apparently we booked a cruise that was too short as our learning curve has lengthened. I found the condition and cleanliness to be excellent. There seemed to be crew members always cleaning/painting, repairing, ect.
The food was very good and the mushroom/goat's cheese pizza was as good as I remembered from my last Carnival cruise.I experienced no problem with the Your Time Dinning. We dined @ 6:45 and only waited two minutes or less for a table. It took about 1 1/2 hours to dine and when we left the wait line was packed. On the third night we were seated in an area with team head waiter Suardika and requested his area from then on. The hostess had no problem with our request.
We dined at Harry's Steakhouse and was very pleased with the food and the service. It was a nice and quite dinning experience. The only problem is we ate too much.
We also tried the Chef's Table dinning option. DW and I agree it was the best meal that we have ever experienced. It was unreal having two Executive Chef's cook and explain how they were preparing every course (8 total). They also answered any question presented to them. The value received was far greater than the price charged.
Another activity we experienced was the "Behind The Fun Tour". The best cruise "excursion" that I have ever had. We received a 3 1/2 hours guided tour of the ship including the galley, the Bridge, deck 0, crews area, jail, morgue and many other areas that are off-limits to passengers. A very interesting and educational tour. DW and I were hoping for a stress free relaxing vacation. This cruise exceeded our expectations. Too bad we had to return to reality. We are looking forward to our next cruise experience.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by FGC Western Caribbean May 5, 2012
This was our first cruise and only had a vague idea of what to expect. I have to say that we were extremely impressed with the service and value you get for the price though if you like to drink, careful with the bar tab, it can get rather pricey. We are for sure doing this again. p.s. Guy's Burger Joint has to one of the best burgers I have ever had!
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Stephen Byrne Eastern Caribbean April 3, 2010
Words won't do justice to describe the lack of professionalism of this cruise line staff. A word to anyone planning on getting married on this cruise line, specifically the Carnival Liberty, AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!! Our story is beyond ridiculous. What a mess; wrong wedding time, wedding/group coordinators on the missing list, wrong location, a $4,000 mystery charge to our credit card, missing wedding cake, and on, and on and on. With copies of our booking documents from October 2008 in hand, they still could not explain any of their errors. We had 26 guests who can attest to this experience. Worst vacation EVER! We will be actively encouraging ANYONE to avoid doing any buiness with this company and its affiliates.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by vince819 Western Caribbean September 26, 2009
Being a past Carnival passenger, six months ago I scrolled through their website in search of bargains. I figured these being rough economic times that they would be out there. Boy, was I right! At $771 incl. taxes and port charges, for two travelers, I jumped on it. You know like whip out that 2.9% Master Card! True, this was for a nicely appointed minimum cat. cabin. How much time do you spend in there, anyway? So this is my experience on the Fun Ship Carnival Liberty. Here's a tip, if your driving to Miami don't pay the ridiculous port parking fee of $160 for a seven night cruise. Use the airport parking service and save almost half the cost. They will shuttle you to the pier and back all inclusive.
Embarkation is a breeze about 40mins. if you have your papers in order. You MUST do all of it online, the days of getting those nice before you sail packs are gone. Some sort of Carnival going GREEN thing! Don't have a printer? Your out of luck! Onceon board explore the ship! The Liberty is spotless and reminded me of the Triumph I sailed six years ago, only larger. Deck 5 runs the length of the ship. If you use it, it leads to everywhere, casino, main theater, bars etc.! You won't get lost! Especially accessing the dining rooms, which can be tricky.
The Liberty's decor is cheerful and not quite as gaudy as some of her sister ships. Polished brass abounds! Deck 9(lido) is the other must have deck. This deck includes the loud midship pool, the more subdued aft(rear)pool and the all important Emiles buffet restaurant. Which brings me to the food. If you want to aggravate yourself all week then eat at the Emiles buffet, where mile long lines reside. The quality and selection of the food is the same as one of your home town all-you-can eat buffet restaurants.
I preferred the deli for say, a nice freshly prepared reuben sandwich or the pizza parlor for a sausage/cheese filled calzone. Good burger/hot dog station too! These food venues moved swiftly and were tasty. Beverage stations with cold lemonade, ice tea, coffee, and hot cocoa were near by. Bar drinks averaged about $7 bucks per, including tip. Soft frozen yogurt and ice cream in cups and cones available free most of the day.
Skip breakfast and go right to lunch! Never did get to try the oriental stirfry or the fish and chips station, darn lines were too long! For dinner I did the anytime dining, which is kind of new for Carnival. I focused most of my dining on dinner, so I could leave the ship the same pants size I came on with. I think the food is better prepared for the dining rooms and it's a more relaxing environment.
Where on land can you get a lobster tail and an entree of roasted duck, to create a most unique surf and turf. A steak was on the menue every evening. Be careful though, medium-well means well to the guys in the kitchen. However I had a perfect Chateau Briand in the middle of the cruise. Try the Classic Carnival ST. Louis pork ribs and be surprised! Some of the salads featuring crumbled cheeses with just the right amount of dressing were delicious. Escargot anyone? Most of the deserts were bland seemingly missing something, same for Emiles buffet too! Carnival's signature warm chocolate melting cake was the go to desert if all else failed. The anytime dining was generally a good experience. Dinner was nicely paced usually about an hour and a half, except one night they got slammed and the staff had to rush.
The Liberty's supper club "Harrys" requires a crazy cover charge of $30 bucks per person. I would of paid $20 to try it! As a result of the steep charge it was nearly empty most of the time. So anytime dining helped us get to all the evening entertainment with time to spare.
The entertainment in the Venetian Palace(theater)was grand indeed, featuring showgirls and guys, with a live band. Not piped in music! They put on a terrific "Around the World" show early on and the latter part of the cruise "Rock, Rock, Rock" with music from the 50s to the 90s. All with lavish costumes, lighting effects, and sets. Other nights featured a comedian and first class comedy juggling two man team. Both gave hilarious R rated midnight performances too! The last show was performed by passengers impersonating celebrity singers. Some were pretty good! I enjoyed the Big Band Sound of the Liberty's house band in the Cabinet Lounge. This was a more intimate club with subdued lighting, but all the smoking by a few ruined it. Same for the sing-along piano bar!
When it got late the "Hot and Cool" disco night club was the place to be to dance off the calories. I lost count of the flashing TVs after my third cocktail. Did I forget to tell you about the ports of call? Get to bed early if you've booked excursions. You pay a little more when buying an excursion thru the cruise line, but everythings set for you and at least you know you'll get back to the ship. Cozumel was our first port and I've done the Mayan ruin stuff in the past. Try "Twister" for something different. This is a sleak speed boat that takes you to the secluded "Isla Passion". The boat reaches speeds of 60 miles per hr. and does 360 degree turns on a dime, splashing the 20 passengers inside. It also hydroplanes on the waters surface and does 45degree cuts side to side to the screams of those inside. You will get soaked! The island is a tropical paradise with palms and sugar white sand.
There are beach activities or just relax and do nothing. A small buffet is included along with an open bar for specialty drinks and sodas. Then you speed your way back to the pier doing more wild turns. The excursion is about 5hrs. and is one of the best I've ever done, a good value! Next port was Grand Cayman and I've done Stingray city and gone to HELL on past cruises. This time I opted to join a crew of pirates, sail on their gallion and attack the Liberty with cannons blazing. After the dirty deed, I walked the plank and dropped into the pristine Carribean for a refreshing 45min. swim. Then back with rum punch in hand to the pier for a photo shoot. Would I do this again? Last port was Ocho Rios, jamaica home of the Dunn River Falls. I tortured myself climbing the 600ft. falls. You must be sure footed to do it and it is easy to slip or twist an ankle. You can take some spectacular photos on the way up. That's if you can stand up long enough to pull the shot off. This excursion included a shopping stop before the falls get you soaked.
In conclusion: For a ship with 3000 passengers I was always able to find my lounging space, plenty of deck chairs and deck space. Nicely thought out shaded areas too. The passenger mix was as diverse as diverse is possible. I did not really witness any rude behavior and the cabin was quiet.
These new beds and duvets were extremely comfortable after a full day of activities. The cruise director Butch did a great job getting people to mingle and never overdid annoucements on the ships PA. Service was generally excellent throughout. Some of the bar staff was a little pushy on double shots and stuck me twice with unwanted souvenir glasses. Large bottles of bottled water on all the dining tables were a crude attempt to add profits in place of free poured water. All this aside Carnival dose a marvelous job. Who can complain and all for around $60 per day.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by KEmery Eastern Caribbean March 7, 2009
My boyfriend and I (ages 29 & 34) just returned from a 7 nigtht Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Liberty. Overall, it was a very nice vacation. This is our second cruise together (my 4th) and first on Carnival. I will try to make my review brief (if possible) and will leave my email for anyone that has questions at the end.
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and took the Carnival Transfer to the port in Miami. The transfer was easy. Several Carnival reps wait in the baggage claim area and you see them when you arrive. You can also purchase transfers at the airport if you need to I guess. They will lead you to a bus. We had to wait about a 1/2 hour at the airport before we left, but that's not bad.
Embarkation Was pretty simple. Long lines of course, but move pretty quickly. Only complaint is there are a lot of stops at different points before you actually step foot on the ship. But who cares, you're ALMOST on vaction.
We arrived on the shiparound 1:30 PM and were able to get into our room right away. We had ocean view room #2395 on deck 2. The room is very clean and very spacious. Tons of closet space and several drawers. I was suprised as it has not been this way on past cruises. We even had empty drawers. There is only one outlet by the vanity, and nothing in the washroom that I noticed. The is a hairdryer in the room. The washroom is small, but workable. Better than past ships I've been on.
The Ship The ship is a beautiful ship. It really is. I don't see how anyone could be disappointed. It's clean and I thought the decor was interesting and fun. One complaint I had though was it was difficult to get anywhere using decks 3 or 4 because there was a dining room located directly in the middle and it was usually closed off during the day. So if you want to move from front to the back of the ship, stick with deck 5. It was sort of frustrating though since I always kept coming face to face with this dining room! And I still never figured out the layout of the ship even after 7 days!
The Food The food at the buffet was just OK in my opinion. My boyfriend thought the desserts were terrible. And I tend to agree. However, the chocolate melting cake is the BEST. I had that every night. Pizza is just OK, and the fish and chips were pretty good. The dining room food was good, but we only ended up eating there about 3 times. We had the late seating -- 8:15 -- and ended up wishing we had done the earlier seating. We ended up eating dinner in the buffet area just because we were so hungry and often times just felt like staying "casual." The service in the dining room was great.
The Shows These were terrible. For the most part anyway. They had one great comedian who did a main show and then a late night adult show that was very good, but that's about it. I mean, some of the shows were cute when they involved passengers, but overall not impressed. And my expectations weren't very high to begin with.
The Pools/Sun Deck There are two pools (I think). One towards the back of the ship meant to be adults only and then the more lively pool in the center. The pools were nice, but small -- but never too many people in them. The sun decks do get crowded early though. If you want to sit on the level of the pool you need to get out there early. We would get out by around 10AM and be sitting on the upper deck. We would get a chair without a problem, but it would be full in a short amount of time after. They do have many deck chairs available around the ship though, so that is nice too.
Bars/Lounges The different bars/lounges were all very nice. The dance club/disco would not get lively until about 1AM, and it was mostly filled with young adults in their very early 20's. It was still fun to hang out and watch them all interact. But there are several other more quiet places to sit and have a drink with other musical entertainment.
Ports of Call We visited San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Marteen. In San Juan we just walked around on our own since we didn't arrive until 5PM. The roads are narrow and a little rocky in some areas, so wear comfortable walking shoes. There are several shops to go into. We also stopped and had a drink somewhere and an appetizer. The shops and everything are not far from the cruise ship. There is also a hotel/casino across the street from the port for those that would like to do a little gambling off the boat. Do not go into Senior Frogs! We paid to get in, and then ordered one drink each and it cost $37.00! I didn't want a drink THAT bad and really didn't want to stay there to finish it. What a waste.
In St. Thomas, there are several shops right on the peir where the boat docks and it's very easy to catch a cab if you want to drive into town (10 minutes) or go to a beach. We ended up doing the shopping/Magens Bay Beach excursion, but in hindsight we should have just done it on our own. The shopping in St. Thomas is not great unless you are there to buy diamonds and jewelry. That's basically alll that's there -- store after store after store. And usually pressure to come into a store and look at their diamonds. We ended up sitting at a nice coffee shop waiting for our bus to pick us up so we could go to the beach. We paid $33 each to do this excursion where we could have paid $8.00 to be taken to Magens Bay Beach on our own accord. The beach was very beautiful, but crowded (which is expected). I beleive you could rent chairs if you wanted, but we just brought 2 towels each from our cabin and used one to lay on instead. Which seemed to be what most people did. There is also a place to buy food -- hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, etc.
The next day we were in St. Marteen, and we decided to just head to the beach on our own. It was very easy here too. We wanted to go to Orient Beach so when we got off the ship we walked over to a taxi area where it was organized by different popular destinations. We got in line and were put into a shared taxi van with others going to the same place. It was about 20 minutes to Orient Beach and it cost us $6.00 each one way. I love this beach. It is very beautiful. But keep in mind it is a clothing optional area. There is one part of the beach that is completly nude, and you will definitely see others walking around in nothing but their birthday suit on the other part. At this beach there are several beach bar/restaurants. In front of them they have lounge chairs, so you pay for the use of the chair, get a free drink, and have use of their washroom facility. It was $7.00 per person at the place we chose to sit. It was GREAT. We spent the whole day here until it was time to return to the ship. We walked over to the taxi area and there was someone there directing us into a van to take us back. Worked out perfect.
The next two days we were at sea, which felt a little long. I wish we had one more stop. But it was a great trip.
Debarkation Worked out great. Best I've experienced on a cruise line actually. You have the option of keeping your own bags with you to carry them off the ship yourself, or you can debark the traditional way by tagging your bag and setting it out in the hallway the night before. In the morning, they started the process by calling the people carrying their own bags first. They went floor by floor. We were allowed to stay in our cabin until we were called, which I thought was nice. If you did it the other way, then you waited in a public area. Our ship pulled in around 7AM and once they started the debarkation process we were off within a half hour. And our floor was called towards the end. And getting off went really smooth. From the time we left our cabin, we were outside in 15 minutes. We were then directed to the bus area where we were put on a bus to be taken back to Ft. Lauderdale Airport.
Lastly, about the airport -- it was CRAZY. All the cruise ship passengers are trying to get home of course! We stood in a line that took us OUTSIDE of the airport -- and waited for 2.5 hours just to check our bags. Thank goodness we had a 2:30PM flight. We never would have made it otherwise. My suggestion is to stay over one more night if you can and leave the next day very first thing in the morning before the cruise ships arrive -- especially if it's a Saturday or Sunday. It was INSANE.
Ok, I know that's a lot of information, but if there is anything I can possibly answer for you I am more than happy to. Email me at email@example.com
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Michele Eastern Caribbean June 28, 2008
We just got back one week ago from our fabulous cruise. This was our third cruise; we previously sailed on RCCL's Mariner of the Seas and the Carnival Miracle. I sailed with my husband and our 9 year old son. We did not bring our one year old daughter with us this time; she spent a fun filled week with grandma.
We left out of NYC-JFK on June 28th. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and took Carnival's shuttle to the port of Miami. The cost is about $48.00 each roundtrip. We had a good flight, although I hate flying now post 9/11. However, once we arrived and proceeded down to baggage claim, we immediately saw several Carnival representatives, one of whom accompanied us to retrieve our luggage and then directed us to the next person who led us to the buses to take us to the port. Our driver was great and hilarious; however he cordially announced "please don't forget the driver." We were told the ride would be about 45 minutes; however we arrived within 30 minutes -- smooth.When we arrived at the port, with trying to retrieve all of our luggage and giving them to the porters, and seeing the horde of people, I thought Oh boy!! However, the line was long but moved very quickly. I do not think we were in that first line 15 minutes. Afterwards, we immediately went through the metal detectors, then on to the room where you line up to receive your sign and sail cards, etc. There were only 3 or 4 people ahead of us and then it was our turn. We showed our passports and credit cards, registered and then off we went to board. We were given a boarding number, and I thing we were in "group 14", and at this point they had just called group 12, so in less than 10 minutes we were going up the escalator to the where our embarkation photos were taken. Next was a small line up to actually get onto the ship, during which we had our cards dipped into the machine with our photos taken to validate. All in all, embarkation took about an hour, give or take. Definitely not bad, especially considering what I previously heard about leaving from Miami. I was expecting it to take much longer. Upon entering the Liberty on deck 3 we were so excited to see the main atrium and happy that we were finally onboard.
The Liberty is absolutely beautiful. Just a little side bar of information about me. I have a preference for the bigger, newer ships. Yes, it's true -- the first couple of days we had to get used to not being able to go all the way through from front to back on decks 3 and 4. However, the Liberty is not a hard ship to learn your way around after the second day.
I will now break thr rest of this review up into sections of interest.
Ship Decor and Public Areas Again beautiful and big. Deck 5 goes all the way through from front to back and also has the casino which can be quite smoky. However, what I liked is that to walk through you did not have to go through the casino as there is the walkway on the side with windows and big comfortable seats for people watching or whatever you fancy. We had the Main (early) 2nd seating in the Golden Olympic Dining room (see Food section). The dining room is beautiful and our wait staff was Marcin (pronounced Mar-cini)?? and his assistant Yohanes. We were at table (booth) 137. If anyone has them on an upcoming cruise please tell them that "Miss Michele" and Sly said hello and we miss them. They were absolutely the best!! They were the best wait staff we've had on any cruise. They were very efficient and had great personalities. Plus, it may not mean much to most, but I was really happy that they were personable and remembered our names. Fernando was the Maitre 'D, and I have to say of all the cruises we've been on, he was the most personable and vocal. Normally, when it comes to the gratuities I do tip the Maitre 'D just because of the protocol, but afterwards I would kinda scratch my head and think we just tipped someone who we only saw from a distance maybe once. However, this time on several occasions Fernando made his rounds and stopped at each table to introduce himself and asked how things were going and telling us to let him know if there was anything that he could do. He was also in the dining room making announcements each evening. This time I absolutely had no regrets with tipping him and we actually went to find him on the last night to extend our well wishes and gratuities. However, he wasn't too hard to find as he was right near the entrance/exit. (hahaha).
Cabins We were in cabin 1362 which is on the Riviera deck (deck 1) and it was perfect. The beds and the bedding were to die for, absolutely plush and very comfortable. There were plenty of drawers and closets for storage. Our suitcases fit with no problem under the beds. There were actually 3 closets. The bathroom was small (of course) but nice with body wash and shampoo dispensers in the shower. There were also trial size samples of toothpaste, his and her razors, Pepcid, and some other stuff. Our cabin steward was great. I am so sorry that I never did catch his name though. However, he did a great job with cleaning the rooms twice a day and filling the ice buckets twice a day. My son loved coming back to the cabin at night and seeing the different towel animals along with chocolates on the pillow. I love the turn down service. The television worked fine, however I was curious as to why all "local" stations and news were for Denver, Colorado? Oh well, we definitely were not on a cruise to stay in our cabins to watch tv.
Food Everyone's favorite subject (it is mine). Well how do I begin? Overall it was good with plenty of room for improvement. If you want a sit-down breakfast it was in the Silver dining room, which is even more gorgeous than the Golden. The service was hit or miss. Most mornings the service was great. Just the last 2 days did I notice a decline, starting with the host who does the seating arrangements. The two areas Carnival must improve upon for breakfast is the orange juice (way too watered down) and the coffee. I hate to say it, but except the day we were in San Juan, when we ate breakfast off the ship, I did not have a good cup of coffee the entire time. I should say I did not have a good cup of coffee that was included and free. On deck 5 there is a stand that sells better coffee and lattes, cappuccinos and things like that, along with some other cakes and cookies. I tried those the last time I was on the Miracle and didn't really care for them, so this time I did not buy anything. However, I should have at least bought a real cup of coffee from there, but good coffee should be served throughout the ship and be a part of the "all inclusive" cost.
Only one morning did we have breakfast on the Lido deck. Needless to say after that experience I did not have breakfast up there again. The food was good; however there is a long wait for the omelet station, then when things ran out, there was a wait for them to be replenished. Also, it was too chaotic with the other guests, some of whom were rude line jumpers. For lunch we only ate up at the Lido deck. One of the best kept secrets is the fish and chips station. Oh my goodness, those fried fish filets with fries were the absolute best, but due to my shellfish allergy that was all I could eat. However, my husband on the other hand, had a field day. He loved the bouibaisse (sp?), the fried oysters, octopus salad, etc.
There are 2 grill sections with the best cheeseburgers, along with hot crispy french fries, and hot dogs, onion rings, chicken tenders (were good) and nachos with melted cheese sauce. Each day I was great with the items at the grill for lunch, along with the fish and ice cream that's available 24 hours a day.
For dinner, we ate every night in the main dining room. We originally had reservations for Harry's (the supper club at an additional $30 charge) for my birthday. However, we made great friends at the booth next to us (Hi Annmarie and Mike and Mike Jr.) and we enjoyed talking to them each night, as well as enjoying our wait staff. The 2nd formal night was the night of my birthday also, and therefore we just didn't see a reason to go to Harry's after all. I will tell you some of the dishes that I liked, as well as the ones I did not. I loved the warm-chocolate melting cake with vanilla ice cream on the side. YUMMMYYY!!! I also liked the prime rib, the BBQ ribs, jerk pork, filet mignon, the grilled pork chops and some of the cold desserts. I did not like the salmon the one time I ordered it. I was disappointed with the desserts. Thank God for the warm-chocolate melting cake. For the most part the food was good, but it could definitely be improved upon. We only did a few late night buffets, such as on the night of the Mardi Gras deck party when we went to the Mexican buffet set up on the Lido deck afterwards. It was okay. We attempted to go to the Grand Gala Midnight buffet, however the line was just too long and I was so tired from the "colors hop" party, and the deck party. One thing that was delicious was the chocolate buffet on the last sea day. I think I gained 20 pounds from that one -- (hahaha). There were about 7 different kinds of chocolate cake, and a chocolate fondue machine for dipping fruits, and other things -- even freshly made donuts. That was the best. They had different flavored ice creams and milkshakes, chocolate cheesecake, different truffles, homemade fudge, candies, and some chocolate raisin pudding that I did not try. There were so many things that I cannot remember them all at the moment. However, I do remember enjoying myself and trying lots of things.
Ports of Call We went to the Eastern Caribbean, so our ports were San Juan, Puerto Rico; Turks and Caicos (Grand Turk); Half Moon Cay; and St. Thomas.
In Puerto Rico I wanted to eat breakfast at a local joint called "La Bombonera" that I had heard a lot about. After getting off of the ship we walked to the next corner and caught a free trolley that went to El Morro and the shopping area. We saw the fort and it was an amazing view. We then got off near Calle San Francisco (a street) and went to La Bombonera. We had the famous mallorca pastries and they were GOOD!!! I wish I could get them fresh here in New York. Next we walked to Calle Cristo, which is a main block for shopping. I went to the Coach outlet and purchased several birthday gifts for me (smile). Later we tried some pina coladas at the famous Barrachina's and they were very good. We bought a few souvenirs, took some pictures and then went back to the ship.
Half Moon Cay was actually our first stop which was a beach day. We took the tender over, not too bad. The beach is beautiful with pretty sea-blue/green water that was the perfect temperature. However, because I do not know how to swim, I did not go too far in. Calf-length high water is about my limit. Here is where Carnival sets up the beach BBQ at the dining pavilions. The food consisted of chicken, burgers, hot dogs, salads, fruit, brownies, etc. The menu was limited, but the amount was plenty. However, what I ate did not agree with my stomach, and that -- along with the heat -- and I was ready to head back to the ship.
In St. Thomas (our second port) we took a shuttle into downtown Charlotte Amalie for $4.00 each. After that we walked around and looked in the shops, bought a few souvenirs and then went on a tour with one of the cab drivers. His name was Henry and he was great. I have his contact info if anyone needs it. He took us through different parts of the island and there were many sights to be seen. We stopped at the famous "Mountain Top" and had one of their famous banana daiquiris. It definitely lives up to its hype. It was great being so far up and the views were magnificent. The drive up to the top was a bit scary for me, but Mr. Henry was very efficient and very nice. We stopped to buy souvenirs and we went to Drake's Seat/Castle (??). All in all, it was a good day and it was nice. However, in the beginning it is a bit overwhelming in the shopping areas -- just way too many stores and way too many people, along with a lot of sun.
Our final stop was Grand Turk. We were docked so close to the new cruise terminal that after disembarking it was just a walk along the pier. We did not do any tours here. We just had lunch at Margaretville's. We went to the beach that's right there. I must add that the beach here looks beautiful, but once you're on the beach, you quickly realize that it is too rocky and there is too much seaweed. Also there were not many seats, if any, left and nothing in the shade. Therefore, hubby wanted to get sun and stay on the beach and I was hot and tired. So I left hubby to relax on the beach while I went souvenir shopping at the different stores at the terminal. Besides it was Thursday (my birthday) and I wanted to get back and get ready and dressed up for formal night. There are much prettier beaches in Turks and Caicos.
About my birthday, I will keep it short. My dear husband and son had our cabin decorated for me by Carnival (it was really nice) and he ordered a dozen long stemmed red roses. Also at dinner he surprised me and had the waiters bring out a delicious birthday cake and everyone sang happy birthday. It was so nice, and I did get a little teary-eyed. Cool points for hubby!
Cruise Director and Activities On Cruise Critic it said that Steve K was the cruise director. However, it was Karl with a K. And we were very pleased. Karl is the absolute best. I hope he is the CD on our next cruise. Carnival is definitely the fun ship. We love the different activities, especially on the sea days. We really loved most of the night shows: the tribute to Motown, the juggling act -- yes, it was very good and hilarious, and the comedians, especially Percy Crews. His family show act was funny, but the midnight adult show was on a whole other level. We laughed so hard the whole night.
With the teams, we were the blue team. I believe one day it was mentioned that we were in the lead, but I don't know what was to be the end result and what was at stake. I don't even believe they ever announced who "won"?
Camp Carnival What can I say? If it gives any indication of how much fun our son had, he only had dinner with us two out of the seven nights. The first night he ate with us because it was orientation night, and he ate with us on Thursday since it was my birthday. The counselors do a great job, and keep the kids very entertained and very busy. They did everything from swimming, to scavenger hunts, ice sundae making, candy making, pizza making, cake decorating, Nintendo WII and other video games, tee shirt coloring, and some chocolate game. Thursday night was the "Ultimate Pajama Party" with at least 15 different things lined up for the night. It lasted until 3:00 AM!!! And on that night the counselors walk each child back to their cabins. Normally the parents pick them up unless you sign a form permitting a child from age 9+ to sign themselves out. Every night they have dinner for the kids to eat with the counselors and their new friends and to go to a show and then back to the many other scheduled activities. Also, each child receives little gifts like a Carnival CD holder, tee shirts, and other little things. It was great, and provided my husband and I with a lot of alone time to enjoy the adult activities.
Disembarkation We had initially booked a 12:00 noon flight, but a month before the cruise the airline changed the departing time to 11:30. Therefore, the purser's desk gave us #2 luggage tags. We were called to disembark around 8:00 am, found our transfer bus and were back to Ft Lauderdale's airport by 9:40 with almost 2 hours before our flight. We had lunch at Chili's and just killed time. We also reflected on the great time we had and are planning our return cruise to the Western Caribbean next summer on the new Carnival Freedom.
This is all I can remember for now. I know this review is long, but I hope it was helpful. Please excuse any typos because I was typing a lot of info in a rush. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions. BON VOYAGE!!!