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Old September 7th, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Default Just back from Liberty: short review

We just completed a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Liberty from Miami. Ports visited were: Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas. San Juan and Grand Turk. Weather was not a problem, seas were calm and skies bright and sunny.

We live in Central Florida and the drive to Miami is about 4 hours. Arrived dockside at 1130, dropped off luggage and parked car. I personally think $20 a day for parking is a rip-off but I guess it is cheaper than airfare.

Embarkation was smooth and we were aboard about 1220. Rooms not available until 1:30 so we went to Emile's Fish and Chips for lunch. Thanks to all the help from this board we did find that Emile's Fish and Chips had very few customers while the Lido deck was mobbed. Great idea to eat at the Fish and Chips.

Liberty was in great shape and very, very clean. Crew was friendly and helpful. The crew seemed to be very fluent in English. It was apparent, at least to me, that Carnival has done a good job with its crews.

Rooms opened up at 1:30, luggage arrived about 2:30 so we unpacked and got settled.

This cruise was a spur of the moment one after we received an offer from Carnival Players Club that we just couldn't refuse. There was a welcome aboard cocktail party, a $100 cash credit in the casino, lots of fun and games during the cruise, free t-shirts, etc. We had a ball. Didn't win a lot but at least I brought some money home that I took with me for the slots. All in all it was fun.

Half Moon Cay is all that you guys said it was. I'm not a beach person but my wife snorkles and loves the beach. She swam while I watched from the "I could stay here forever" bar.

St. Thomas was next. We had been there several times before. We did the obligatory duty free liquor order from A.H. Riise. It is a great help that they deliver to the ship. We hadn't seen any of the island other than downtown so we hired a cab and were given a nice 2 1/2 hour tour. It was just us two and the driver. Saw a lot of the other side of the island. Wife and I are interested in local flowers and plants on the islands and Gaston was very knowledgeable. Back aboard and off to San Juan

The last (and only time) we were in San Jaun was a short 5-8PM stop and we didn't see a lot. This time we had all day so we walked from the pier to Del Morro Fort. Is was a long walk and very hot. But is was a very interesting one. Saw a lot of the local flavor and folks were very friendly. We didn't feel uncomfortabl;e at all. The fort is a great piece of work and its history is very colorful. We managed a free trolley ride back to the downtown area and a short walk to the pier. I would recommend that San Juan be visited in the winter months as it wou;dn't be as hot.

Grand Turk was well Grand Turk. Last time we were there was in Jan 09 just after Hurricane Ike had passed through in Sep 08. I must say the recovery is nothing short of a miracle. Sure there are still a few houses with the familiar FEMA blue tarps on them but the locals have made remarkable progress. We had done snorkeling and Margaritaville last time. This time we wanted to go to the north end where the lighthouse and old navy base is. I spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy and the Grand Turk Naval Facility was one of several Caribbean islands with sensitive intelligence missions. If you go to these various bases (now closed) they all appear to be exactly alike with the buildings. It was a wonderful surprise to find that when the USN turned the base over to the Grand Turk Gov it was turned into a community college. We are also lighthouse freaks and try to see any and all where we travel. The lighthouse has a unique history. It is a little shabby and needs some TLC and paint but it still made for wonderful photos.

And then off to Miami.

Good points: food was great both in the dining room and the buffets; wait staff was very attentive and quick; room stewards were also great. My wife likes to sleep in on sea days, sometimes until 11:00 so. The stewards took this in stride and never bothered her. We did tip them a bit extra. Saw two shows, one OK (a juggling team: not my bag) and a lavish high energy Rock and Roll review that brought the house down.

The only downside we had was the debarkation. We chose to self debark. It sounded like a great way to get off the ship early. We were on deck 8. They started with deck 1 and worked up. By the time they got to us, the elevators were jammed with folks from the floors below us. We eventually had to take an up elevator and stay on it as it went down. I am writing a letter to Carnival recommeding they change the way the self debark. And another big problem, not Carnival's this time, was the LARGE amount of luggae that the self debak folks had. One girl had 3 suitcase, a garment back and a back pack. Folks need to use a bit more common sense.

All in all a fun week. Next up is the Miracle to the Western Carib and Panama in November.

A new subject: we talked with a few folks who have reached VIP status having sailed 10 or more times with Carnival. Several of them had taken 4 or 5 short (3-4 day) cruises so they could get the cruise credits quickly. While I applaud thier ingenuity it seems a bit unfair that Carnival awards the same credits no matter how short or long the cruise is. Does anyone have any thought on this.

Smooth seas and following winds to all
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Old September 7th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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Chief, the self debarkation in my opinion has turned in to a free for all, as witnessed by the girl whom you said had 3 pieces of luggage , a carry on and a backpack. It started out to be for those who packed and traveled light with minimal luggage but as you have seen, people try to carry, drag, push and pull, both getting on and off, all their worldly goods. We have priority debarkation as we are double platinum and the last couple of times when they called the platinum members to disembark, it was jammed with self-disembarkers crowding in front of the platinum members, etc. and no one tried to control it at all. In the future, I'll simply wait until all the people in a heated rush have gone on and then get off in a sensible manner.
As far as common sense, you can fogettaboutit!! It ain't going to happen.
Anyway, Glad you had a good trip-- and many more to follow.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 03:15 PM
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Hey Chief, sounds like you had a GREAT trip. I'm glad it worked out for you. Me and the lovely Mrs. Jones are sailing "Liberty" in January, and we haven't been aboard her for a couple of years, so I'm happy to hear she's still in excellent shape. I agree that the parking in Miami is a rip-off, and a joke! The last time we sailed out of Miami, (Triumph last Feb.) we sat in line to get ripped off by the garage for nearly an hour,,,engine idling, wasting gasoline, and making ozone! They only had one cashier at the entrance to the garage which was handling the traffic for 3 or 4 ships! GREAT management I'd say. Can't wait to get back aboard "Liberty". We'll meet you one of these days.

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Old September 7th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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I sail the Liberty in 3 weeks, and so looking forward to it, now even more, thanks.

The self debark in Galveston was a nightmare for us, would NEVER do it again...so glad you had a ball!
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Old September 7th, 2009, 08:11 PM
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We self embarked from the Liberty at Miami without an issue. Very fast.







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Old September 7th, 2009, 09:44 PM
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Master Chief:

We just returned from the Victory 7 day cruise out of Old San Juan, and we also chose to self-debark. By ATTENDING the Debarkation Meeting you will find that you don't have to wait for your number/floor to be called, you can leave at any time. I'm not sure why those who choose to carry their own luggage should upset you, whether 2 or 10 bags as long as they are carrying them unaided. Live and Let Live I say.

And regarding VIP status: Carnival rewards cruisers for repeat patronage, NOT time/dollar amounts spent. I can book a 4 day suite that costs more than a 7 day inside stateroom. Should I be penalized for a short cruise?

All in all, I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise, as did I and my family, but it seems like your focus may be a bit blurry regarding what others may choose to do with THEIR vacation.

Happy Sailings.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:01 AM
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Two years ago, on the Conquest, no one, self embarking could just walk off when they wanted to..Everyone had to go to the theater and we waited quite a while before we were allowed to leave, as one HUGE pack of people and luggage!! People with just 2 bags were having issues, so imagine if you had as much as that girl did, trying to carry all that.

Leaving the ship, and going into the terminal, with ramps, was not easy for many. The young, strong and 2 bag passenger may have no issues, but, families with kids, & older passengers. I would say, don't do it...
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Redwyvern:

The cruise director (Noonan) at the debarkation talk (which I did attend) was most adament that all self debarking personnel WAIT until their decks were called. And when calling the decks they were called by numbers. So perhaps things have changed.

As far as the number of bags a person has, I really don't care as long as they DO NOT IMPEDE those trying to get off. Several time those with too much baggage had to be assisted by other folks in order to get on the escalators, over the gangways, etc. It was like the airplane passenger with 3-4 carry ons who takes up all the overhead storage bins. Anyway at the time it was a bit frustrating to not just me but a lot of other folks.

And lastly, I realize you can spend more on a suite on a 3 day cruise than a balcony on a 7 day cruise. However, I was talking to folks that booked inside cabins and paid as little as possible just to gain the VIP status.

Have a great day.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 12:40 AM
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Default self debarkation

I applaud the crew and INS for how quickly the Destiny ship clears. We cruised Destiny in October 2008 and May 2009 and people were able to self-debark starting at 7am and the ship was totally clear of passengers by 9:30am! If I was a local, I think I'd be taking this trip every four months and I'd still be able to make it to work Monday morning!
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Old September 10th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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Unless you have an impending engagement, emergency, or early flight, relax...the buffet is open for breakfast. Your cruise has come to an end and the hustle and bustle of your life begins again, enjoy the last breakfast you don't have to cook before you jump back into your routine.

As far as long cruises vs. short cruises to qualify for Platinum status, the program is structured by Carnival. Someone sailing on a short cruise may spend a lot more money than I do on a longer cruise so it all evens out, I think.

We have also seen people using self-debarkation who are almost balancing suitcases on their heads...they're tripping, dropping items, people are dodging and weaving around them. I saw one gentleman dragging a huge garbage bag full of dirty clothes which split open in the middle of the terminal.

I'm so glad you had a good time..the Liberty is one of our favorite Carnival ships and I'd love to sail on her again.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Chief
Redwyvern:

The cruise director (Noonan) at the debarkation talk (which I did attend) was most adament that all self debarking personnel WAIT until their decks were called. And when calling the decks they were called by numbers. So perhaps things have changed.

As far as the number of bags a person has, I really don't care as long as they DO NOT IMPEDE those trying to get off. Several time those with too much baggage had to be assisted by other folks in order to get on the escalators, over the gangways, etc. It was like the airplane passenger with 3-4 carry ons who takes up all the overhead storage bins. Anyway at the time it was a bit frustrating to not just me but a lot of other folks.

Quote:
And lastly, I realize you can spend more on a suite on a 3 day cruise than a balcony on a 7 day cruise. However, I was talking to folks that booked inside cabins and paid as little as possible just to gain the VIP status.
Have a great day.

I book inside cabins because I am single and with the single supplement I probably pay as much as you do. I also have 10 cruises with Carnival already but 2 do not count as they were taken before Carnival started keeping track. I used to have the invoice for the first cruise and many pictures to back that up. I also had many pictures to back up the second one. All of those things are no longer in my possession. So I am planning to take a few short cruises to make up the difference of 2 cruises paid for and taken and including air from Boston at the time.

Laura
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Old September 10th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Cruzenut2:

I think what I said (or meant to say) has been a bit misconstrued. I was talking to folks who scheduled several short cruises with Carnival specifically to gain the VIP status. I didn't mean folks, like yourself, who are single or perhaps really can't get away for a long cruise due to work demands, etc. My only thought was, that given all things being equal, I thought it unfair that a short cruise counts as much as a long cruise. I know that the 14 day cruise I took in Jan 09 with Princess (yes, I was a traitor ) with a travel group from the community where I live, counted as 2 cruises. I don't think Carnival does that.

Anyway. it isn't a big deal, I will get over it and I don't want to upset anybody.

So, everybody have smooth seas and following winds .
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Old September 10th, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Is anyone sailing on Liberty from Miami on May 1, 2010? I can't wait!
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Old September 10th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Master Chief, I think we were on the same cruise. I was on the Aug. 29th sailing, had a very good time also. I thought we really lucked out on the weather, but you are right it was extremely hot and humid this time in San Juan. I tried the self disembarkation once because we had an early flight and what a nightmare, the elevators were not functioning at the port terminal so we had to carry our heavy large suitcase (70 lbs. back then) down a flight of stairs, never again. I did enjoy the Liberty, we had been on her a couple of years ago and we did this same cruise last year on the Triumph, but I would still do it another time if given the opportunity.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Chief
Cruzenut2:

I think what I said (or meant to say) has been a bit misconstrued. I was talking to folks who scheduled several short cruises with Carnival specifically to gain the VIP status. I didn't mean folks, like yourself, who are single or perhaps really can't get away for a long cruise due to work demands, etc. My only thought was, that given all things being equal, I thought it unfair that a short cruise counts as much as a long cruise. I know that the 14 day cruise I took in Jan 09 with Princess (yes, I was a traitor ) with a travel group from the community where I live, counted as 2 cruises. I don't think Carnival does that.

Anyway. it isn't a big deal, I will get over it and I don't want to upset anybody.

So, everybody have smooth seas and following winds .
I completely agree with you, while I might get flamed for it. I think the loyalty program should be counted in nights sailed like some other lines do. If they do not want to do it by night, then do it by cat. sailed. Regular for Inside, double for outside, triple for Balcony, quadruple points for suite. That way if you booked a 3 night suite (no point) then you can get the same credit as somone who books an inside 7 day.

Not that it matters because they aren't going to change anything.

<stepping down off the soapbox>

Michael
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