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Kuki October 25th, 2005 09:08 AM

Daily Reports - Live from the Liberty - Atlantic Crossing
We’re getting “liberated? live.

In Italy, at least in the cities, the four land roads include an inside lane, an outside lane, a lane the scooter riders create on a whim, and another lane created by cars who’s drivers decide there’s a lane there.

After 3 pre cruise days in Rome, we along with 4 other cruisemates arranged for private transportation to the Port of Civitacechhia. About a 1 hr. to 1 ½ ride, depending on how “Italian? your driver is.

The embarkation for the Liberty is as efficient and as organized as any boarding process we’ve experienced. Plenty of check in agents working, and from the time we handed the porters our bags, through check in, and walking up the gangway less than 15 minutes had passed. Carnival could do well to follow this efficiency in their other embarkation ports.

As we walked onboard at 1:00 PM an announcement was being made that guest cabins were ready for occupancy, so our timing was very good. We found our way to the cabin, dropped the carry on luggage, and set out to Emile’s buffet restaurant area on Lido deck.

Those familiar with Carnival Destiny or Conquest class ships will feel completely at home with the layout, though as you board the staff hand out miniature deck plans to assist those who might become directionally challenged.

I have 16 days onboard to experience, form my opinions, and describe the interior design work in more detail, but to begin with let me say the initial impression is the Liberty is less “Farcusian? than past Carnival passengers might be used to, but even the more “Old Europe? feel of the design work may be slightly overdone.

Due to some flights delayed coming in from the United States the ship’s departure was moved back slightly over an hour. And the 4 set dining times were each moved to a half hour later. This caused minor confusion.

Those in our group were assigned tables at the stern of the ship in the “Silver Olympian Dining room, with expansive windows overlooking the wake. Our wait staff must have studied their passenger list, because as we sat down they greeted us immediately by first name; a pretty impressive beginning.

After dinner we headed for the first of likely many gatherings in the Piano Bar, with Cameron. Cameron got an early taste of what (or who) he’d be stuck with for the next 16 days. We had an enjoyable evening of Cameron’s song stylings, and abundant laughter.
The interior of the Liberty’s Piano Bar is the most vibrant, comfortable, and fun design work of any of the Carnival ships.

The story will continue in the coming days... come on back, and cruise along LOL

Chyna October 25th, 2005 09:20 AM

Can't wait to hear more Kuki! I will be sailing on the Liberty on 12/10!! How impressive the waiters greeted you by name! But how many antler wearing guests can Carnival have :) LOL

CA Cruiser October 25th, 2005 11:23 AM

More please Kuki!! We only have 31 days to go!!! We are getting so excited. We will experience our first suite!

One minor you use a card or are they #coded?


mikee October 25th, 2005 01:07 PM

Kuki, please keep us informed on your travels on the liberty
as we will be boarding her on nov.12,2005 or exactly 2 days
after you get back to the states. thanks again and keep up the
good work. LIBERTY HERE WE COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Donna October 25th, 2005 04:57 PM

Hey wondering how things were going, glad to hear everything is well onboard Liberty. Be sure to say hi to Ray, Tweets and the gang, have fun!Moose Man,
So good hearing from you, been

Kuki October 25th, 2005 06:19 PM

Liberty Continued
The first night of sleep after boarding a ship is always one my best sleeps. Travel, excitement, anticipation all combine to generally have me fall into bed at the end of the day without as much as whimper.

Our first sleep onboard was made even more pleasant with Carnival’s new mattresses, high thread count sheets, and wonderful new comforters. And a big plus, the new beds are also high enough from the floor that our luggage slid easily under the bed, without having to lift the bed.

We slept in quite late, and eventually made our way to the first “informal? social meeting of the CruiseMates group, at 11 A.M. This was followed by another “informal? get together at 2 P.M. with other people we met on the “net?, who hadn’t booked as part of our group. Great meeting so many old and new friends!

From 4:30 – 5:30 today was our “official? CruiseMates complimentary cocktail party, and we got to meet any missing members of the group, who had different seating times. We had been sharing plans and anticipation for the cruise via posting on the message boards, and e-mail exchanges, and it really makes the transition of meeting onboard so much more enjoyable. Everyone knows at least a bit about each other prior to meeting face to face, and any initial awkward moments of meeting strangers is non-existent, because we’re really not strangers.

Tonight was our second dinner on the ship, and food quality and service has indeed been very good! If they can continue this for 14 more nights I’ll be delighted, and probably a bit plumper <G>

The Welcome Aboard show, with Cruise Director, John Heald, was this evening, and though I haven’t cruised with John since 2001, it was evident he is still the best in the business. Within minutes John always has the packed showroom rolling with laughter.

Things are going to get interesting later in the cruise, as I am going to be “working? one day, with John and the cruise staff. I’m unsure as yet exactly what I’ll be doing, but it should be quite the fun and unique experience.

Late this evening they announced that due to a fisherman’s strike of the port of Barcelona the Liberty will not be docking there as planned tomorrow morning. They’ve altered our itinerary, so we’ll be calling on Palma de Mallorca tomorrow and Barcelona the following day (if the strike has ended).

mikee October 25th, 2005 07:09 PM

Kuki, keep up the good work as it is enjoyable to read your posts. also
have a great time with john heald as he is the BEST when it comes to
cd's. If you get a chance please say hello to becka,she'll be the canadian
calling bingo numbers and whatever else is asked of her and tell her mike&karen from the cruisemates board will see her when we board in
nov. have a great cruise and keep up the good work.

David West October 25th, 2005 07:32 PM

Thanks Kuki for all the updates :!: Keep'um coming :!:

Happy cruising to all;

AKcruiser October 25th, 2005 11:05 PM

Thanks so much Kuki for the reports. We really wanted to be a part of this cruise, but my work schedule just wouldn't allow me to take the time off this week.

Please keep the reports coming!!

Happy sailing,


PS I saw your cousin Bullwinkle in my front yard yesterday. Guess he was looking for our pumpkins...He has learned that we put them out about now every year (lol) Will wait until Halloween night this year!!

Mike M October 25th, 2005 11:11 PM

I am "almost" wishing I didn't have to cancel because of how wonderful things are going. I do hope that you all get to Barcelona. It is one of my favorite places.

I look forward to you rubbing it some more in your future installments.

Take care,
Grandpa Mike

rdonte October 26th, 2005 02:55 PM

CA cruiser the Liberty's safes use a card.

Kuki October 26th, 2005 05:51 PM

Day 3 – Liberty

Today was a port stop in Palma de Mallorca. It’s not generally a regular port of call on many Mediterranean itineraries, but perhaps oddly Mrs. Kuki and I have been here several times. It’s a very nice island, which offers several interesting tour possibilities, but also relatively easy to explore the city on your own… if you’re mobile.

Because today was a port day, and we wanted to have dinner a bit later, 10 of us had made reservations at Harry’s Supper Club, the ship’s alternate ($30 surcharge) restaurant. Though a very pleasant atmosphere, I prefer the more open plans of the supper clubs on the Carnival Spirit Class ships. The design of Harry’s gives a more cramped feel. It certainly wasn’t overbooked either :D

The food and presentation were very good. In fact, the filet mignon I ordered was downright scrumptious, as were the side dishes. And I loved the interesting choices of china used for the various courses.

The service, on the other hand, did not live up to expectations. And I believe when one opts to pay the surcharge for a “finer meal? we are somewhat justified in looking for something more than the dining room offers, and that includes more than just an improvement in food quality. It’s not that the service was bad, it simply wasn’t as at tentative as it should be in a venue of this nature.

After dinner most of the group went to the showroom to see the Mark Anthony show, and by all accounts, he was excellent. I, on the other hand, skipped the show, to play a few hands of BlackJack in the casino, with an early night in mind, as Barcelona (one of my favorite cities) is tomorrow’s port of call.

Earlier today, I was attempting to type a note of scheduled events for the group, to be delivered to the cabins, and couldn’t get the printer in the Internet Café to work. The group coordinator onboard kindly offered to assist, and typed and delivered the notices for us.

I was delighted to see my notice already delivered to my cabin’s mailbox when I returned to the cabin this evening. Though I was a bit shocked to see Halloween is now Oct. 30 LOL LOL

Other than today's problem with the printer, the Wi Fi service on the ship has been very good, and surpringly quick.

Tishie October 26th, 2005 08:49 PM

Hi Kuki
I love to read you posts. I hope you are enjoying your cruise. We were on the Liberty Sept 30 and had an awesome time. We met so many people would have liked to meet R.Donte a lady that I have chatted with on this site. If you are out and about and wander into the gift shop where the jewlery is sold say hi to Siobhan (Ireland) from her Canadian friends Colleen and Bill and ask her how the Canadian Mafia are doing? That's what she calls all the staff in the gift shops as they all are pretty much Canadian. LOL!!!
Enjoy your trip and I would love to know how rough the water is crossing the Atlantic and do many people get sick? Just a little nervous to be 5 days at Sea.
We also ate in the Silver dining room table 521 and our waitress Daniela was so nice.
Have fun!!!

Kuki October 27th, 2005 07:12 AM

Parked off the coast of Barcelona
Sittting offshore by Barcelona.

We were to be in Barcelona early this morning, but a 3 day blockage of the port by fishing boats, protesting the price of fuel, prevented us, as well as other cruise ships, and freighter traffic from entering the port.

It’s now 2 PM, and we were informed that Spanish government and protesters have come to some form of agreement, and the blockade is ending. It will take some time to get the backlog of ships in to the pier.

All of the scheduled ship’s tours have been cancelled, which will certainly put a dent into their revenue; but the passengers are taking this all in stride, with very little complaining. I suppose that’s due, at least in part, because on an itinerary such as this it’s a bit of a more mature crowd, with mostly seasoned travelers… who over the years realized “ship happens?.

The plan at the moment is to have the ship stay into the evening to allow those interested explore Barcelona a bit. We had to wait out the blockade for another reason. This is the final spot for the ship to pick up stores to enable the Atlantic crossing. John Heald joked that the ship was running out of toilet paper, and therefore guests would be limited to taking one book each out of the library.

Have a very funny (and odd) story from a couple of our cruisemates. Yesterday many of us were gathered by the pool schmoozing and socializing, when Helen (of Ray B and Helen) decided she needed to return to her cabin to get her sunglasses.

She came back a few minutes later blushing like a preteen. When she entered her cabin she found two strangers laying on her “embracing?. She immediately turned tail and came back to the group to tell the story. Ray and she headed back to see if they could figure out this happened. I told her, I would have just asked the couple to pause from what they were doing, and ask if they’d seen her sunglasses.

We haven’t yet been able to solve the mystery of how , who, or why this could have happened though.

rollerdonna October 27th, 2005 07:25 AM

Yikes! Poor Helen! Keep us posted on this one Kuki. I'm enjoying all your posts, and wondering if you've found "Play That Duo" on board yet?


Phyllbo October 27th, 2005 07:50 AM

Glad you are keeping us updated on your cruise adventures, Kuki.

Helen, finding some other couple in her room, is amazing and raises all kinds of questions including security issues. WOW!

Keep the news coming.


Set4cruz October 27th, 2005 09:14 AM

It was probably a couple of employees in their "civis" (or not :shock: ) taking advantage of the pass key.

Brenda in Canada October 27th, 2005 09:51 AM

In HER room??? Yikes!!! That is NOT good security-wise! I wonder if it was the cabin stewards??!!
Glad all you CMs are having a good time!

Kuki October 27th, 2005 03:11 PM

A Tough Day in Barcelona
A Tough Day in Barcelona

The Liberty was not able to pull in to the pier in Barcelona until almost 6 P.M., and the decision was announced that we’d stay in port until 5 A.M.

For those young in age, or spirit, this could be viewed as a good thing because Barcelona is known to have a fabulous night life. However, I felt sorry for the vast majority of the passengers, having missed the opportunity to see a truly great city. We’re fortunate to have visited here several times before, but others who haven’t certainly missed out.

Carnival arranged free shuttles from the port to the Las Ramblas area, but because of high demand, with no other tours, the waits for the shuttles were long, and there weren’t many taxis available.

By the time we got into town, it was dark, and most of the shops had closed. The area was still very busy at the sidewalk cafes and bars. We strolled the familiar area for a couple of hours, and then found a taxi to return us to the ship.

The Brilliance of the Seas came into port just before us. Their situation was quite different, and had to have created some real problems for the passengers onboard. Apparently they had been sitting outside of the port for two days, waiting to get in to disembark passengers, and pick up the passengers for its next cruise.

I can’t imagine the logistical nightmare they faced rescheduling flights and hotels for passengers leaving, and hotels etc for those who were meeting the ship to embark on the next cruise.

As our taxi returned us to the Liberty, at around 10 P.M. we watched long lines of Brilliance passengers waiting in lines for taxis, and buses, luggage in tow.

This was a situation the cruise lines obviously had no control of, and I have no idea how Royal Caribbean handled their situation, but under the circumstances, I think Carnival did pretty well. It will be interesting to watch the message board versions of everyone’s experiences on these two ships in the coming days.

PapaBill October 27th, 2005 04:11 PM

You are not getting away with a simple travel log here mooseman. Inquiring minds want to know more about the events in Ray and Helen's cabin. Who and how? We know the what and where. Can we expect photos in the gallery?
Your comments on Brilliance were read with great interest . Our next scheduled cruise is a round trip from Barcelona on Brilliance next year.
I will be looking in the next few days for the postings on the RCCL threads about how many people are suing RCCL and starting class actions.

Kuki October 27th, 2005 05:17 PM

Ok.. back at the computer for a bit :D Attended a comedy show, by Carol Hughes, then we met on Lido Deck to grab a slice of pizza, and started to watch the movie on the jumbo screen. but the bar with the popcorn machine was closed :cry: They charge $1 a bag for popcorn.. btw.

The "episode" with Helen probably should have some explanation. Ray and Helen are our "cruising heroes", who've been just about everywhere. But Helen is beginning to have problems with short term memory loss.

As a result, no one is really sure how the situation I described earlier resulted. It could have been that the amorous couple were in their own cabin, nearby to Ray and Helens, and had inadvertently left their door a bit ajar. Or it could have been that her key somehow worked in the wrong door... or it could have been that "somehow" they were in her room.

We suspect that the latter was highly unlikely, as it did occur mid afternoon, and not likely that any staff would attempt such a thing.

When Ray escorted Helen back to the cabin minutes later no one was there. Nor was there any evidence anyone had been there.

If we truly suspected someone had been in their cabin, we wouldn't have viewed the incident as funny.

Thumper427 October 28th, 2005 04:48 PM

Glad to hear you're all having fun!!!
Hi all, Thumper here, wish I could be with you. Tell Coot and Tweety I miss them.
I just want to know one thing - who was watching Harry (Coot) when Helen found someone in her room? Sounds suspicious.

Hope you guys are all taking lots of pictures. I will be on Royal Caribbean Mariner chasing Hurricane Beta (or maybe it will be chasing me) when you return. They keep changing our ports, last I heard Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Private Island and Belize instead of Cozumel.

Smooth sailing on your journey home.

Love ya,

John F October 28th, 2005 05:31 PM

Hello to all you Cruisemates on the Liberty. Hope you are having a terrific transatlantic cruise. We are sure Kuki is keeping you all involved with fun activites.
Sure wish we were with you all. Priscilla and I are headed out on Sunday for
Miami to get on the Victory for back to back cruises. Hope our weather stays
fair and no more hurricanes!! Enjoy your special cruise!!! John F.

Kuki October 28th, 2005 06:27 PM

A day at Sea
Through TV and e-mail we've got some idea of the devasation that Wilma has caused and our thoughts are certainly with everyone who was affected!!!

Thumper.. enjoy your cruise. I've told Tweety and Harry you e mailed. John and Priscilla, we miss you, and glad to hear you are heading out as well.

Now .. on to the story
A Day at Sea

The Liberty left Barcelona at 5 A.M. heading towards Malaga, Spain. Needless to say, I wasn’t awake to watch our sail-a-way.

Being a sea day, we took full advantage and slept in late. I had decided that since I had been overindulging a bit, today would also be a “light eating? day. Mrs. Kuki and I aren’t really the “go to the gym? types, but we have been very good about using the stairs, rather than the elevators. Our cabin is on Deck 8, so because of our no elevator policy, we spend a lot of our time on Lido Deck (deck 9) instead of going down stairs and having to come back up.

Speaking of our cabin (a Category 8 Verandah cabin); is very nice, with efficient layout, and plenty of storage. I’d already mentioned the great new beds, but the burnt organge and burgundy color scheme is very attractive, and relaxing.

The balcony has two chairs and a small table, and not much room for anything else, but is still pleasant to sit, relax or read. Our next door neighbors are part of the CruiseMates group, so we’ve had the divider between balconies opened, and it’s fun to sit and chat, and also makes the balcony seem more spacious.

I’m not sure if it’s a result of my weight loss since my last Carnival cruise, but the shower seems larger, and though there’s a shower curtain, it doesn’t seem to be chasing me around the shower.

This afternoon we got together with the CruiseMates group for our gift exchange. Everyone brought low valued gifted representative of the area they were from, and we had some fun deciding who would choose from the various gift packages, and displaying what everyone brought.

Tonight was the first of two formal nights, and there was a surprisingly large percentage of men wearing tuxedos; much more so than on a typical Caribbean cruise. For the most part dress was pretty upscale.

The last few nights our service seems to have deteriorated somewhat. Two nights in a row we were just getting dessert served when the Maitre D was making announcements to the staff about preparing for the next seating. It’s day 5 of the cruise, and our table has yet to be visited by a head waiter, or Maitre D. But if we continue to feel the service team is not as good as it should be, I’ll soon be mentioning it to the Head Waiter. I think it’s much better to do that, than tolerate it, and be at all unhappy.

Our wait staff are very nice, but perhaps they need some help with their section.

Jim Bragg October 28th, 2005 08:59 PM

Tracey told me about the problems in Barcalona and it was a mad scramble to try and do something for everyone. All I can tell you is that the shore excursions staff are really exhausted now as most of them have been up for 36 plus hours trying to help out the passengers. Don't know much more as she was only able to hammer out a couple of lines before she got some well earned sleep.

Luanne Russo October 28th, 2005 09:19 PM

Kuki, I am so glad you guys are having such a great time. We sure do miss all of you around here.


AmazingAngel October 29th, 2005 11:59 AM

I have to say this is one of the best posts to read. I think others should comment on how the cruise is LIVE from where they are. The cruise sounds wonderful!! We will be on the Liberty Feb 12th, cant wait to hear more of your cruise!!

Kuki October 29th, 2005 03:51 PM

Can't believe it's Day 6, ALREADY

The last few nights our service seems to have deteriorated somewhat. Two nights in a row we were just getting dessert served when the Maitre D was making announcements to the staff about preparing for the next seating. It’s day 5 of the cruise, and our table has yet to be visited by a head waiter, or Maitre D. But if we continue to feel the service team is not as good as it should be, I’ll soon be mentioning it to the Head Waiter. I think it’s much better to do that, than tolerate it, and be at all unhappy.
Our wait staff are very nice, but perhaps they need some help with their section

Thought I should offer a note about my comments above from yesterday. A couple of years ago I was on a cruise where I encountered the worst dining room wait staff ever. Not wanting to be nasty, or get anyone into any kind of trouble, we said nothing… voiced no complaints, and suffered through the entire 7 day cruise with bad service.

I decided then (and I think it’s the action the cruise lines would prefer) if the occasion arose again we’d speak up while they can do something about it, rather than stay silent, and go home from our cruise unhappy. I think the cruise lines sincerely do want to remedy your problems before they adversely affect your cruise experience, but you have to inform them, to give them that opportunity.

Last night we attended the Adults only midnight comedy show by Carol Hughes. It was a very funny show, and made more interesting seeing “adult comedy? from the perspective of a funny, funny woman.

Malaga, Spain

We woke up along the side of the pier in Malaga, Spain. This was the only stop that we had pre-booked an excursion through the Carnival website. Unfortunately, the first day onboard we received a notice that the Jeep Rally Tour we chose was cancelled due to lack of bookings. I guess we must have made an “odd choice? but we were somewhat surprised they didn’t wait a few days to see if more people would book it, once they were on the ship, before canceling.

Most of the other ship’s tours did sell out, so on an itinerary such as this, if you’re not an independent type of traveler, it is a good idea to pre-book your shore excursions.

The pier is located about a 45 minute walk to the city, and shuttle buses were available for those who didn’t, or couldn’t, book tours. Taxis are available, but have to park a fair distance from the gangway, so those with any mobility difficulties must use tours, or the shuttle bus.

We walked down to the taxis and negotiated a price with a driver for a half day tour to Marbella. Marbella is a high end resort city along the beautiful Costa del Sol, a very popular vacation area for the British, and many celebrities own villas in this area.

The last time I had visited this area was 1972, and I remembered sleeping in our van near the beach. I much prefer the style we are traveling in today… on the Liberty.

After Marbella, Mrs Kuki and I had the driver drop us in the center of Malaga, and explored the pedestrian promenade shopping streets, and surrounding area. We then walked the 45 minutes or so back to the ship. It was a very pleasant day, with temperatures in the low 80s F.

After all the walking we did today, we felt we earned the right to eat dinner LOL

I have to say the tempo of our service improved quite considerably this evening. Tonight we even had to time to chat with our waiter for a few minutes, while we were enjoying a cup of coffee. Not only do we enjoy that interaction, but I truly believe the servers enjoy it as well. Particularly on a longer cruise, such as this one, we don’t want to treat them strictly as servants. After all we are spending a considerable amount of time together.

Non smokers should be fairly happy on this ship, with several smoke free lounges available, and of course the dining room, Emile’s on Lido Deck, and Henry’s Supper Club.

We have just sailed by the tip of Gibraltar, and a few of use go together on the balcony for a “rock party?. Unfortunately, it’s already dark out, so we really only saw the lights of Gibraltar. Regardless, we made it a fun experience.

Tonight we begin to enjoy the first of what is going to be 7 time changes during the cruise. An extra 7 hours of cruising, because we’re sailing east to west! What could be better!

bigjohn461 October 29th, 2005 06:25 PM

I am calling the Cruise Police. You are having Toooo much fun, and I want to know who it was in RayB's and Helen's cabin..This mystery must be solved. :!: :shock:

Mike M October 29th, 2005 06:47 PM


You sound like you are having a great time. Some of the small side areas of Malaga are beautiful and the panaderia's (bakeries) are what I remember, but they aren't good for a Moose diet. :D

Too bad you passed "The Rock" at night. When I saw it I was amazed that it looked just like the pictures. For some reason I was thinking it would look different.

Keep having fun and I'm enjoying cruising, vicariously, with you.

Take care,

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