Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Marci Ridley Western Caribbean January 1, 2006
First Time Cruiser As a first time cruiser, I was disappointed with the information that I received from the reviews I had read, and found most of them incorrect in light of my experience. Then again, what you receive from your experience will depend on your expectations and past experiences. We cruised on the Carnival Liberty (Jan 1 - Jan 7, 2006) and my vacations was nothing less than spectacular. My biggest complaint would be the rudeness of the other passengers, which was unbelievable! It's too bad that standard manners are not a prerequisite to booking a cruise.
We had a group of (8) traveling from Idaho, and the flight arrangements had much to be desired. We weren't even all on the same plane. Upon arrival in Ft. Lauderdale, we checked in to the hotel and took a shuttle to go get an uneventful dinner (New Years Eve). In the morning, we all met outside with another very large group from Canada while waiting for the busses to transport us to the pier. This was a very disorganized processthat could be easily fixed by Carnival if they chose to do so. Four Greyhound busses and a couple of hours later, we arrived at the Pier. Point of Order: You need to get on the bus that your luggage is put on, and then you will not be allowed to get off the bus until your luggage has been unloaded. They load the luggage by Carnival color-coded tags. Suggestion - Patience. It all works out! Once you get off the bus, you simply check to make sure that your luggage is accounted for, and they do the rest. Then, the line starts!
The line was long, and I believe we waited 1-1/2 hours before we reached the ticket agent, but the line moves very quick-it's just 3 buildings long. (And there are chairs and restrooms in the terminal) The ticket agent was professional and personable. This is when you give them your credit card-Automatic 150.00 pp - Make sure you are prepared for that. You then go through security - Point of Order: You are allowed (1) bottle of champagne or wine; no spirits. They will go through your carry on and confiscate any. I did watch a person carry in two cases of bottled water-? For the Embarkation process, I can't think of any improvements that they could make.
We had a balcony room, and I must say, for myself, it was worth the extra money! If you have ever seen a dog with his head out the window of a vehicle, then you know what I looked like! Everyone in my group had their luggage by 6; I saw mine about 8pm. Don't stress about the luggage - It will get there. The first night, the dining room allowed us to come dressed as we were because some of us didn't have the chance to change! We were in the Silver Dining room (seated together!) at the early 5:45 dinner time! Perfect for us. Richard was our waiter and Vit was his right-hand man and they are phenomenal. What a wonderful dining experience. We had three young men with us that weren't used to the "fu-fu" food, but they always found something good. You order appetizers, soup, salad and the main entree. Don't be afraid if you want to order two - there is a night that surf & turf consists of two entrees.
Dessert is very good, exquisite in fact. But they always have the good old stand by of ice cream if all else fails. Service, menu options, presentation, taste - not much that could've been improved on. There is also some entertainment - singing and dancing! Just plain fun! We purchased the soft-drink cards - unlimited supply of fountain soft drinks - for like 40 bucks. Pepsi drinkers beware - only Coke products served. That being said, I didn't partake of 40 bucks worth of soda on the trip - there is always water, juice, coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the Buffet restaurant, Emily's. I would not have purchased one if I'd known. The buffet restaurant, Emily's was good. Variety up the wazoo. There were hamburgers/hot dogs, deli sandwiches, stir fry, Chinese, 24-hr pizzeria, and Fish and Chips (upstairs towards the back of the ship - hard to find, but worth the effort) in addition to the regular fare of food.
If you are unable to find something with that in mind, you may be in trouble. Room service is also available, and we did use continental breakfast service one day due to an early stop in Freeport, Bahamas.
Our room was very comfortable. The beds are twin size, but the comforters are cozy and they give you two pillows. The only two suggestions I would have is the phone is too far from the bed and there is no clock. Set yourself a phone-alarm one morning and you will understand about the phone, and I know you are on vacation, and may not want a clock - but with specific departure times for ports-of-call, shows, and activities, it would be nice to know what time it is. On the television, there is a channel that shows the direction of the ship, it's speed, the wind speed, temperature, etc. Very informational! There is also a way to see what the menu for dinner is, along with excursion information, room charges, messages, etc. We were even able to catch an episode of our NBC soap opera while at sea!
Our ports of call were Freeport, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, and Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Jamaica was a pleasant surprise substitution for Cozumel). Freeport was nice - not a lot to do if you don't book an excursion - lots of shopping! We arrived at 7am and left at 2:30pm. And the sand on the beach is so-o-o fine and the water is so-o-o blue! Do your homework, and book an excursion here. Grand Cayman, is a tendered stop. You have to ride a smaller boat to get to shore. There is a lot of money in the economy, and they haven't built a dock for the large cruise ships, yet. Some doubt they every will.
GO PLAY WITH THE STINGRAYS! - You won't be disappointed! Even if you are a bit squeamish, they are easy to see and you can avoid them most of the time if you chose. If you go on a good excursion, your tour guide will catch one and you can touch them and even hold them if you choose. Don't worry - they are safe except their tails! An opportunity of a lifetime. The snorkeling is phenomenal! The tropical fish are so colorful, the coral and other marine life are amazing. You may get lucky and see a lobster, or even a turtle! PS - salt water helps you float, but the tour people should give you a small blow-up life vest that helps keep you afloat. There is so much to see here, and so little time, do your homework on the excursions so you know what is available.
In Jamaica, which was not our originally scheduled port-of-call, we spent the day at the beach and at Margaritaville! I am not a drinker, and loved the atmosphere and entertainment at Margaritaville! They have this 100' slide that shoots you in the bay, and what a hoot! Food is good, too! There is a lot to do here, even if it's just a sightseeing tour. The more you know about the area, the better prepared you will be. Jamaica is a very big island, and a trip to the falls (very popular) was an all-day affair. As you walk along the shoreline, there are not many shells, but there are pieces of "coral" everywhere! Lots of good shopping, here! Days at sea were filled with lots of activities.
The shows with the Carnival dancers were excellent - the costumes are so very colorful, choreography was wonderful and well executed, pit band/orchestra did an outstanding job. We saw a ventriloquist that was great, the ship talent show was ok, and the village idiots were entertaining. Hard to believe all this happens on a gigantic moving piece of steel-They had camp Carnival - a day camp for the small ones that appeared to be lots of fun. I wouldn't bring my small children on a cruise; I'll reserve that for Disneyworld.
They had a spa/gym with outstanding facilities. And the message chairs aft of the casino - worth the 1$. There are many activities - from Bingo, hairy-chest contest, not-so-newlywed game (not to be missed), fear factor, etc. Lots of dance lessons - and Butch, Ass't director, is amazing! There will be people taking pictures of you every time you turn around - let them take as many as they want!
Go have your picture taken - formal or informal. You only purchase what you like, and you're bound to find a picture that you will like somewhere. You don't have to buy them all. Point of order: Be patient, you will stand in many a line. Remember, you are on vacation, and so are the other 2499 people on the ship. No worries, mon!
Disembarking was pretty simple - Put your luggage outside your room by midnight, and they will take care of it from there. All you have to do is get up, eat breakfast and wait for them to call your tag color. It is explained very well in a meeting the day prior. You make your way down the gangplank, go through customs (show your passport), find your luggage, and make your way to the busses that take you to the airport.
Overall, I had an amazing experience, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have at email@example.com. Out of five stars, the Carnival Liberty would receive 5-1/2!
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Eric Kalman Western Caribbean January 1, 2006
I'm not really a big complainer, but this cruise is an exception. The embarkation was unorganized and slow. To the person who wrote the other review on the Liberty, I was standing right behind the man with the two cases of bottled water. We arrived at the pier at 1:30pm. By the time we got onto the ship, it was around 3:15pm. We had only minutes to relax before having to rush back to our cabins for the muster drill. For a cruise ship this new (not even a year old), the ship seemed like it was in its prime years.
The atrium elevators operated once and awhile. At one point, only one of the four elevators was working. For the rest of the elevators, the wait was sometimes long. Multiple elevators would go down past our floor when we wanted to go up. There were many bulbs blown out, and not replaced. A bulb was blown out in my parent's cabin. And there was at least one bulb blown out in all of the chandeliers in the goldenolympian dinning room. Some of the pool deck chairs were broken and never removed. And there was a cracked window at the lido pool.
I found many of the passengers quite rude by blocking our paths and also getting onto the elevator before I could get out. The service from the crew was poor. For example, they stopped replacing the used drinking glasses in my cabin. My parents had a similar experience. I also heard from one of the passengers that was in our party found it unsanitary. She noticed a crew member sneezing in his hands and wiping it on his uniform and continuing to work. Before the cruise ended, she got sick. I don't know if this was related to that crew member who sneezed.
Also, the crew was inexperienced, and had no clue of anything. Dinning on the ship was at an all time low. Breakfast was as lousy as a microwaveable breakfast meal. Lunch at the buffet had a limited selection. The taste of the nations buffet was usually incomplete. For example, the Indian food had no basmati rice, just some meat and fish, and the southern fried chicken had no mashed potatoes and gravy to go with it. This left me to only eat at the grill, which I have been doing on the other Carnival cruises.
The Sushi bar opened late, and there was no choice of sushi, all you got was a plate with four pieces of no one knows what's in it sushi. No ordering a la carte.
Dinner was just a little bit better in the quality of food. But it should also have been found at the lido buffet. The desserts were pretty, but tasteless. The Cherries Jubilee and the Baked Alaska, usually served on Carnival's formal nights, now only a memory. Also, the waiter sometimes forgot to bring out dishes I ordered.
The shows were same-old. The movie screen on the lido pool I thought would be a relief. I liked it on the Caribbean Princess. This time it was disappointing, movies were hardly shown and most of the time there was only looped video of a surfer or waterfalls, not very entertaining for an hour while swimming at the pool. And the same shows that played on the Caribbean Princess were played on the Liberty. Examples were Tom Jones Live (I think it wasn't live) and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Docked at Freeport, Bahamas, we decided to go to the International Bazaar. We never went because the cab driver went "Southwest Airlines" on my mom and was going to charge her for two seats. We got off the cab and shopped around for 15 minutes. We later learned that the Bazaar was destroyed and closed up because of Hurricane Wilma.
Grand Cayman was a disaster. In order to get off the ship we had to wait in line for an hour to get a number, then another half an hour to get onto the tender. We missed our reservations for a rental car. We ended up not leaving the ship after we heard how long the wait would be. It was calculated that we would only have an hour and a half to explore the island.
Which only left us with Montego Bay, Jamaica. The port was changed at the last minute instead of the alternate port Costa Maya which was replaced because our original destination, Cozumel, was devastated due to Hurricane Wilma. Anyhow, praise to the captain for getting us a spot at the pier. Jamaica was the only time I had fun on the cruise.
Finally, disembarkation was slow and being one of the last people to get off, had to navigate a maze to get to the custom's declaration desk when there was no line at all. I tried to make the most of this cruise but couldn't. The "Fun Ships" should be called "The Stressful Ships".
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Greg Eastern Caribbean November 12, 2005 Awesome Cruise!
Embarkation,was a horror,we were told that there was a two day cruise,and some passengers would not get off until 11am,perhaps emmigration??????!!!!I would have gotten them off!!!It took three hours for most to get on,oh well,it didnt ruin my trip,nor my group of 13.Ive cruised 7 times,2 holland,2 princess,2 royal,and now carinival.I no longer drink,and havnt smoked in years,but I like to eat and cook,which I do quite well.Are seating was just as we requested except it was 5:45 instead of 6:15,not a big deal,every night I ordered at least three entrees(5 lobsters and fillest,on lobster night) and all deserts,90%was excellent,they even had a green pepper corn homemade ice cream,gourmet!!!All at dinner silver olympian,one night went to harrys,very romatic,foods was good,but I liked the the regular better!breakfasts always better in the dinning room,lunchs were very good tons of choices,buffets a plenty,service on entire ship was great!!
so much to do for adults,not to many teens on this sailing.my son won 1000,in casino,gave back,800,slots were all hitting.Tortola was the most beautiful port,beach, ever,and I heard from those who went to virgin gorda thatseven nicer.I do not reccomend the pearl island snorkel,stingray excursion at nassau,its a joke,the island was made made on top of 400 square yards of coral,stingrays are in a cage,snorkeling was dangerous over top of coral,rough seas,this day,awful,not worth it!!!John heald was awesome.Met mikee from cruisemates he and his friends are awesome,what a great and beautiful ship,highly reccomend it!!
email me your firstname.lastname@example.org
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Todd Matthew Transatlantic Crossing October 24, 2005 As a past Guest on Carnival, and having known what to expect. This cruise was unexpected! What a wonderful time. The ship was fantastic, the crew were Great, and very helpful. The food well what can you say! This was the first time I was able to attend the supper club. Harry's went above anything that I could imagine, from the 6 course dinner,to refolding the napkin if you got up for a dance. The dinner lasted for 8:30p through 12:00a and not one bit was rushed. I was worried about the five day crossing and running out of things to do.Let me tell you that we were so busy with the different activities that there was not enough time to get to all of them. Everyone has to experience the slide! Young or old, it's fun I did 5 hours in one afternoon, met all kinds of new friends just as nuts as me. Overall the experience was well over what I expected and I would do it all over again!
Rating: Buono (Good) Mezza Mezza (Half & Half) Cattivo (Bad)
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 Liberty guests.
Tallahassee to JFK - Buono
Anyone familiar with the Tallahassee area knows any flight not making a stop in Atlanta is a good thing.
JFK - Rome - Cattivo
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)
9/4/05 - Arrival in Rome
Rome Airport - Cattivo
Very crowded, very disorganized and very little assistance from airport staff.
9/4/05 - 9/5/05 - Hotel Madrid, Rome - Buono
Wonderful small hotel located near the Spanish Steps. Staff spoke English and was always very helpful. Nice rooms with air conditioning,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 - Buono
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 minutes.
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 excellent.
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 anniversary.
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 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 tour.
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 cappuccino.
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.
My family went on the first sailing of the Liberty for a 12 night cruise. We had a wonderful time! The ship is beautiful with cabins that were plenty large.The staff was very friendly for the most part, and the cruise director was funnier than any of the comics they had hired to entertain us. The food was good, although the portions are small. What they don't tell you is that you can order two of anything if you don't think one will be enough, which you'll want to do for something like crab legs.
The ports of call were very interesting and we found a shore excursion at each one that interested us. Some of the tour guides were better than others, and we learned to break off from the group if we were not enjoying the tour. It was very hot when we went, and the kids could only stand in the sun for so long listening to the history of whatever building they were showing us. We found we had very little time to shop on the shore trips we picked, and this was dissappointing. A coupleother things to note about the ship is that you might want to bring sweaters or tank top/sweater combinations for woman as the ship is kept very cold, and if you are bothered by noise, you might want to bring ear plugs. I had trouble sleeping because of the noise in the halls or my neighbor's balcony doors slamming closed at midnight, and the sound system in the theator is used to its full capacity and left me with a headache after each show.