The following is my review of our recent cruise on the Carnival
Liberty. Using the above rating system, I will attempt to rate our
trip according to segment. Hope this is helpful to future Carnival
Anyone familiar with the Tallahassee area knows any flight not
making a stop in Atlanta is a good thing.
We transferred from Delta to Alitalia for the flight to Rome.
The plane appeared to be fairly new, but either had a very poor air
conditioning system or the flight attendants preferred to keep the
cabin HOT. Even after many complaints, there wasn't much
improvement. Needless to say, 8 ½ hours in a HOT airplane
was extremely uncomfortable. (NOTE: This situation was the same on
the return trip from Rome to JFK)
Very crowded, very disorganized and very little assistance from
Wonderful small hotel located near the Spanish Steps. Staff
spoke English and was always very helpful. Nice rooms with air
and even though we had 1st floor rooms, they were very quiet. Had a
generous buffet breakfast each morning (included) with a lovely
view from the rooftop garden. Would recommend.
Rome Tours - Mezza Mezza
Be aware that not all tours include entrance fees. We were taken
to the Coliseum and given about a half hour to explore, only to
find out that the entrance fee is 30 Euro per person. Didn't feel
it was worth it for that short length of time.
Be aware also that most tour guides use some form of miked
communication systems where you place an earphone in your ear to
listen to their commentary. If you should stray from the group or
get separated, you could be out of hearing range quickly.
Last but not least, be prepared for the TRAFFIC. Rome is very
congested with cars and scooters and it seems traffic lights, rules
and regulations are only a suggestion! 9/6/05 - Embarkation -
The port of Civitavecchia is located about 1 ½ hrs.
outside Rome and was a pleasant drive once you leave the city. The
cruise terminal was large and fully staffed with Carnival
representatives. We already printed our Fun Pass documents, so
embarkation went smoothly and quickly. We were on board within 15
Carnival Liberty - Overall - Buono
Cabin - Buono
Because we booked this cruise a year in advance, we were
afforded a wide selection of cabin categories. For the first time,
we choose a 'family' cabin on Deck 11, Spa Deck. This cabin was 230
sq. ft. with floor to ceiling windows. As we were only 2 people in
the cabin, it was spacious with a lot of storage space. We will
definitely go for this type cabin again if available.
Bathroom - Cattivo
This section refers to the problems my in-laws had with their
bathroom shower. Almost from the first day on board, their shower
flooded. It got worse as the days went by and was brought to the
attention of our cabin steward who thanked them for letting him
know. We all assumed that was all that was needed and the problem
would be corrected. Unfortunately, the problem continued to get
worse (keep in mind, this is a brand new ship!). Finally, when the
cabin stewards got tired of picking up wet towels from the floor,
they asked my in-laws why nothing was said, acting surprised when
told that the problem had been brought to their attention
previously. Sometime before the end of the second week, a
maintenance person must have made an appearance, because there was
a .5% improvement in the amount of flooding. Very unacceptable!
Another reason why I don't agree with Carnival's rule about staff
gratuity's being deducted from your Sail 'N Sign card in advance.
True, you can have this changed once on board, but I'm sure most
people don't bother.
Décor - Buono
In some areas of the ship, they tried to impart a European
flavor, and it was a welcome change from the usual neon-look. The
lounge was decorated in a Mardi Gras motif with masks and court
jesters. The major complaint we had was the entranceway overhead
lighting. As you walked through the ship, each entranceway listed
the different rooms in that particular area, but the lighting
changed colors 5 times and was very hard to read. Guess they can't
get the neon-look out of their system completely!
Food - Mezza-Mezza
Mediocre, at best, in both the dining room and Emils. We did
hear from one guest that the alternative restaurant, Harry's, was
Water - ?
If you cruise with Carnival, take notice that the drinking water
(not bottled) seems to have an additive that acts like a laxative.
We have noticed this on every Carnival cruise we have taken, but
have never seen or heard mention of it from other guests.
Entertainment - Cattivo
The production shows were geared to a younger crowd, even though
the majority of guests on this cruise were in the 40-60+ age group.
Also, the big screen TV on the Lido deck showed a variety of
animated features geared for children; however, there were maybe 15
on board. Also, it was irritating to be asked to give a
performer(s) a standing ovation. This should be left to the
judgement of the audience.
Cruise Director - Buono
John was a prize! His sense of humor and quick wit was amazing
and he proved to be the most talented of all.
On Sunday, during dinner, we were asked to take a moment of
silence to honor and remember all those lost on the 9/11
Tours - Overall - Buono
While I can't comment on all the tours offered by Carnival, I
will critique our tours as follows:
Naples - Pompeii, Sorrento, and Isle of Capri Tour - Mezza
Because this tour was highly recommended as 'the one to take',
we changed the tour we had booked on-line. The first stop was a
visit to the Cameo Factory on the way to Pompeii. They gave you a
little time to shop if you were interested in buying cameo jewelry
(we were and did).
The tour of Pompeii was interesting, but was too long in
duration. This tour should be shortened to allow more time in
Sorrento and the Isle of Capri.
Sorrento was a lovely town along the Amalfi coast. Had a nice
lunch there, but not much time to shop.
In order to take the Hydrofoil to the Isle of Capri, you had to
walk down dozens of steps from Sorrento to the pier below. This was
not easily achieved for people with physical problems and should
have been addressed by the tour guide.
The ride on the Hydrofoil took about 20 minutes and the walk
from the pier to lower Capri took about 15 minutes. Once there, we
were told to wait in line for the Funicular to ride to upper Capri.
Keep in mind there is only one Funicular, and by that time in the
afternoon, Capri was very crowded with tourists and tour groups.
Needless to say, this was very frustrating. We probably waited
about 30-40 minutes and when we finally reached the top, we had
about ½ hour to either spend shopping, walking around, or
taking pictures. We opted for ice cream and made the mistake of
putting our things on a table while we waited in line to order.
While on line, we noticed a sign posted that said if you sat at a
table, you paid double. Even though we told our husbands to remove
our articles from the table, and we didn't sit down, I was still
charged $10 US for a 2-scoop cone. Everything you read and hear
about these tactics, especially in Italy, is true, so beware!
Dubrovnik, Croatia - Buono
Took the Country Home tour, which included a traditional lunch.
Very nice area, although still recovering from the revolutionary
war 12 years ago. People were friendly and Dubrovnik was an
interesting walled city.
Venice - Buono
Venice was probably our favorite city, especially because the
ship was in port overnight here. We were fortunate enough to dock
almost adjacent to St. Mark's Square (our Captain had some pull
being an x-gondola driver), and it made for less walking. Went on
the evening Gondola ride through the canals, which were
surprisingly clean. There is one singer for 4-5 gondolas and the
drivers are very skilled at maneuvering through the narrow
'streets'. St. Marks Square was crowded with people sitting at
tables outside having a café and listening to music.
The next day we took a walking tour of Venice with a very
enjoyable guide named Paulo. He was an older gentleman who was
extremely knowledgeable about Venice history. Took us to the Doge's
Palace where we got a first-hand look at how the Duke ruled in
Venice, which once was its own state, like the Vatican is now.
Paulo had a very dry sense of humor that we enjoyed. He talked
about Venice's diminishing population because the youth of today
leave the island to find more opportunity on the mainland.
Messina - Buono
In Messina, we took the Taormina and Mt. Etna tour. Taormina is
a very nice town and we got up close and personal with Mt. Etna and
some extinct craters. Would recommend.
Barcelona - Buono
Took the Montserrat By Rail tour. Traveled through the City of
Barcelona by bus and then at the base of Montserrat, boarded a
small rack railway to take us up the mountain. Great views! Saw the
Montserrat Monastery and the beautiful church where we viewed the
Black Virgin and heard the Boys Choir. Would recommend.
Cannes - Buono
Another favorite area - Monaco and Monte Carlo. Because of
recent heavy rains causing the closure of part of the highway, we
had to take the road along the coastline from Cannes to Monaco. It
was just beautiful! It's easy to see why the 'rich and famous' love
this area. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch in a nice restaurant, but
were disappointed in the famous casino. It was small and very, very
crowded. While the casino was very ornate, the church where Grace
and the Prince were married and are buried, appeared very simple
and plain. Guess we just expected more, but still glad we took this
Livorno - Mezza Mezza
Another disappointment! The ship must dock at Livorno, a very
industrial city with a lot of refineries polluting the air, judging
from the odor. From there we took the bus to Florence, which was
about a 2-hour drive. Our bus escort left us in the hands of a tour
guide and we walked around Florence. Saw all the great landmarks of
the city, but the tour did not include entrance fees to the Duomo
or any museums. After a nice lunch in Florence, we started our
return to the ship, with a stop in Pisa. Here we were able to go
into the Cathedral and Baptistery, but again, did not have entrance
included to go into the tower. Mid-way through our tour, it began
to rain. We took cover in a café and had a delicious
Debarkation - Buono
I'm happy to report that this was the best debarkation we've
experienced so far. Carnival finally got their act together to
improve the process. They deliver colored number luggage tags for
you to attach to your luggage before putting it outside your cabin
the evening before. On the morning of debarkation, you are allowed
to remain in your cabin until your number is called. Once called,
you leave the ship and proceed to the luggage holding area to pick
up your luggage. The airport shuttle buses outside had
corresponding numbers to your luggage number so that there was no
confusion about which bus to board.
I apologize for such a long review, and in closing, even though
we may have expected more, we did enjoy our cruise.