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Old January 14th, 2007, 08:37 PM
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A Brief Summation.

Another great cruise has come to an end. Over the eight days I’ve attempted to share the experience with all our CruiseMates readers, and also share some details about the ship which may be helpful to those sailing her, or other Carnival ships in her class. I hope you found it helpful in your preparations and anticipation.

Every cruise, even on the same ship during a different week, can be different in some ways. And even passengers on the same cruise can experience the cruise in different ways. What you’ve been reading are my own opinions, given as honestly as I know how. These opinions are not to be taken as “gospel? but hopefully you’ll gleam some helpful hints, and will have enjoyed the trip with me.

Mrs. Kuki had some minor surgery done shortly before we left home, and was in a bit of recovery mode, with instructions not to overdo things for six weeks (she’s doing just fine, and I think the cruise was just the thing for recuperation). But because of this we didn’t do as much in ports of call as we normally would, therefore in these daily reports I didn’t offer very much tour and excursion information. I apologize for that, but I prefer to only comment or recommend tours and excursions that I’ve personally experienced.

For several years I’ve been saying that Carnival’s food has been improving, and on the Liberty we found that it is still improving; as good as anyone in the mass market cruise business… and worth mentioning again. The menus were interesting and varied, with more nightly alternate choices available than any other dining room menus I can recall. Pastas offering we always noted to available as a starter. I’m a carnivore, and normally lean to the beef items on the menu, and don‘t eat fish at all. On this 8 day trip, with all the variety offered on the menus, I only ordered beef entrees twice, opting for a couple of different veal dishes on two nights, and some chicken dishes as well. Soups were served hot, salads were made with crispy, fresh lettuce, and at least at our table, I don’t recall hearing any complaints about anyone’s entrees. With the current Carnival menu, if you can’t find something good to eat, you’re just too darn picky.

I found no areas on the ship which were in a state of disrepair, or appeared to need attention. Everything still seemed new, which was almost odd with the numbers of passengers sailing this ship week in and week out. One area that could really use improvement is the washrooms in the public areas. It’s not that they weren’t sparkling clean, it’s that they don’t have paper or cloth towels to dry your hands; only hot air hand dryers. To their credit, there were boxes of “bacterial wipes? on the back of the washroom doors to use as you exited.

Carnival excels when it comes to entertainment, with quality in their productions and the talent they feature onboard their ships. The only caveat is the previously mentioned issue with my having seen many of their “headliners? before.

The pool-side band was good, and entertaining, and perhaps oddly I never found them too loud, which is often the case in that venue. This trip they were enjoyable, but not intrusive.

We normally enjoy spending quite a few evenings in the Piano Bar, especially when traveling with a group. On Carnival ships the Piano Bar makes an excellent “drop by? spot for group members in the evening, and this lounge is often the most social lounge on the ship. This cruise we found the piano player, Robert, playing too loud to really enjoy for long. I think the crowd in the Piano Bars should be loud and boisterous, not necessarily the piano player. Robert’s style seemed to be to want to entertain, rather than initiate social interaction through song. Not really the style we were looking for, and as a result, though we did stop in most nights, we didn’t stay too long.

Carnival cabins are amongst the largest in the industry. We really liked our Category 8A (standard balcony cabin). It’s well laid out, with more storage than we needed, and we’d packed for two weeks. The beds, linens, and duvets are terrific. The bathrooms a bit utilitarian, but a nice size as well.

There are several things about the cabin that I don’t like.
-The chair at the desk has no back. It’s more like a powder room stool than a chair, and quite uncomfortable for me since I was “working? each night, though this is probably not much of an issue for the average cruiser.
- the balcony doors are regular functioning doors, not sliding doors. The worst thing about this is listening to balcony doors slamming all around you. I’m sure it’s not intentional but people just forget to hold the doors when they go out on their balconies, or back into the cabin.
-the noise issue I’ve already mentioned in one of the previous day’s report. The walls are reasonably soundproof, so it wasn’t noise from neighbors that was troublesome. Most of the noise seeped in through/under the door to the cabin from the hallway.

There were many areas of the ship I didn’t even visit, such as the gym, the Jarden Café, the sushi bar, etc. It was not my intent, or my assignment, to write a review of the ship. It was my intent to share my cruise with you!

Hopefully others returning from this cruise will join in this thread, and give you their own opinions, and maybe they’ll be able to cover some of the areas I omitted.
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