Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Kevin Kelly Western Caribbean February 11, 2007
Introduction: After reading every review I could find, it became apparent that all reviews are, by nature, personal. Hence, I want to briefly describe myself so you can better interpret my thoughts relative to your own circumstances. This was our first cruise. My wife and I have 5 active sons, three over 20 and two teens. I have been lucky enough to have sufficient means to allow us to afford reasonable items, but not so much that "value" isn't critical to the enjoyment of our vacation.
Dining: I always go by two mottos when dining out – (1) don't expect more than the kitchen can produce and (2) order to the restaurants strengths, not necessarily your own desires. If you adhere to these rules, you have better chance of a good meal. The first night, as a first-timer, I blew both rules. I ordered a steak (against the recommendation of our waiter). Unfortunately, it had been heat-lamped. That's my fault, feeding 3,000 in three hours is going to require some pre-cooking. That night, as our waiter informed me, steak isvery high on the list. From then on, I explained my likes and dislikes to our waiter, and let him choose. Everything was excellent – no exaggeration, from appetizers to dessert. (I actually got an excellent steak later in the cruise – the waiter let me know that they were make them to order that night.)
By the way, don't be afraid of unusual things – they are apt to be prepared well, in that they aren't pre-cooked, and if you don't like it, just set it aside and order something else. (Note – this is a comment from a first-timer – most of you already know that, but it was strange at first for us.)
Same rules apply to buffets. The Liberty offers a huge buffet area, which at first glance looks like many similar buffet lines. Wrong. There is a "Mongolian Grill", fresh Asian grille, traditional grille, a pizzeria, a fresh deli sandwich line, a fish and chips bar and a daily, themed "international buffet". On the traditional buffet lines, you have to expect that food will start to taste similar and will vary in temperature. Nobody can help that. Hence, select what you can watch them prepare. In this manner, the Mongolian Grille, the Asian Grille, the deli sandwiches and the fish and chips were all excellent. Note that they were all "made-to-order". Other things were acceptable, if they had just come out of the kitchen, otherwise, stay away. Not a problem, there are more than enough choices.
As for other food items – note that room service does not offer hot dishes. I suspect that is for the same reasoning noted above. The BLT that I ordered at 3:00 AM was excellent and delivered in less than 10 minutes. The sushi bar looked inadequate in terms of options. We have very fine sushi bars at home, so we opted not to try anything. So to be fair, since we didn't order anything, so I cannot comment on the actual quality.
As for the price of adult and some of the other beverages, I found everything to be reasonable. On ship, you are paying for convenience, as well as for actual ingredients. Some have mentioned that soft drinks were too expensive. But I would counter that they are no more expensive than at any other theater, sports stadium, etc. This is not a grocery store; it is an entertainment venue. Plus, they DO offer the soft drink card, if you are a heavy soda drinker. While we don't drink alcoholic beverages, we were very pleasantly surprised at the variety and quality of "virgin" drinks. We treated ourselves to several throughout the course of the week. Finally, there were plenty of limitless, "free" beverages available at all times (fruit punch, lemonade, hot chocolate, milk, coffee, teas, etc.).
Be smart and you will be rewarded.
Public Rooms: The Liberty is dazzling. We thoroughly enjoyed noticing the artists' and architects' embellishments. Some have noted that the décor borders on gaudy. I prefer to characterize it as enlivening. Make no mistake, this ship is not meant to have the staid, understated elegance of the traditional, "shuffleboard" set. Rather, this ship is designed to be lively and fun. Success achieved!
Cabins: We wanted the privacy of a large balcony and were able to find Cabin 7445 available. It has a wraparound balcony at the back of the boat. It was a wonderful room, and we heartily recommend such to those that want a quiet place to getaway from the crowds. Our traveling companions had an Oceanview room on the first deck. We were surprised to see the amount of extra space, even larger than our room (but without the generous balcony). We also looked at several interior cabins (planning for our next cruise with the kids). They were sufficiently large and very bright. I can see where one would be happy with them, particularly if you're one to be found on deck or in the bars or casinos for much of the time. We were particularly happy that we had selected a room with residences both above and below; we had no noise issues, whatsoever.
Entertainment: The main show room was spectacular. We attend many theater events at home and were a bit leery of what could be accomplished at sea. The theater occupies the forward portion of three decks. The lighting and sound is as good as I have seen in the finest of "land" theaters. The stage rotates in multiple sections, rises and lowers and provides some sort of "fly" space that I am still trying to figure out. Because of the large size of the theater, there are several pillars creating obstructed views – go early to get the better seats. The seating on main floor and in the first couple of rows of the balcony are laid out in comfortable "bench-style" seats, allowing you to snuggle with your sweetheart. Waiters wander in and out before the show, providing beverage service on the main floor.
The dancers had various levels of capabilities – noticeable, but not necessarily detracting. The two vocalists of the revues, were excellent. The male one even had a large dose of showmanship which really added to the shows.
The shows, themselves, were very energetic and high-paced. The musical selections were all more than acceptable for a family audience. I must admit, however, that some of the costumes were a tad bit suggestive, for those who might be sensitive and to children. To Carnival's credit, they were overtly clear about that, noting it in the daily newsletter and even assigning a "PG" rating for "Las Vegas-style dancing girl costumes".
Comedians were hit and miss, though two of them had us literally laughing from beginning to end of their respective 30 minutes.
The entertainment in the lounges was also hit and miss. The classical trio in the Flowers Bar (the main lobby) was excellent and added a touch of nostalgia to the cruise. The jazz trio in one of the back lounges also was very entertaining and quite talented. Unfortunately the sing-along in the piano bar was less than adequate. Perhaps one shouldn't expect quality in such a setting, but the piano man's singing was painfully out of tune, enough so that I could only tolerate it for a few minutes.
Finally, the Liberty offers a massive LCD screen above the pool on the Lido deck. At night they offered relatively new releases. It was like going to an outdoor movie at home – very fun. Our wives wanted to turn in, so my friend and I stayed up to watch the midnight showing, complete with hot chocolate and popcorn.
Spa and Fitness:As first-timers, we were overwhelmed at the amount of things to do, both in and out of port. We actually didn't have time to visit the spa or the gym, but I did manage to go for a walk on the jogging track, late one night. It was a very nice surprise, a rubberized, inlaid track along the outer edge of the highest deck above the buffets. Maybe a reason why the two are so close?
Family and Children:We didn't bring our kids on this one, but we were informed that there were over 300 kids on the cruise. Never once was there a "kid" problem – that should be a ringing endorsement. Another point – all public shows were rated so that one could avoid offensive items. For example, the "R"-rated comedy shows at midnight, were performed by the same guys that performed the best family-oriented shows. Obviously, Carnival keeps a close eye on what content is being delivered and when.
Shore Excursions: As first-timers, we were very nervous about getting on and off the ship in time, quality in excursions, etc. Hence, we purposely selected only Carnival excursions. We realized that we would pay more, but the security and peace of mind was well worth the added expense.
In the Bahamas, we opted for a guided Jeep tour. It was extremely well run and very interesting and entertaining. We learned a lot about the islands and the people. We also had fun. They offered a "lunch" at the end that was, unfortunately, disappointing. If you plan on this excursion, get a good breakfast before leaving the ship. Finally, when we returned to our home base (about 20 minutes from the port), our return-trip bus was nowhere to be found. We waited over 40 minutes. But since we had purchased the excursion from Carnival, we were not concerned and just let things happened – we were on vacation, after all.
In the Cayman Islands, we opted for some shore snorkeling time. The town was WAY too crowded with tourists. Eight ships and 22,000 passengers were in port. We prefer quiet exploration to shopping, so we won't stop at this port again. The snorkeling was mildly adequate, though we didn't pay much, so "you get what you pay for". We brought our own snorkeling gear (bought at Costco for $35). It was FAR superior to anything the excursion was offering. I highly recommend that approach, as you can also control the hygiene, as well. In the future, we will look for good beaches and go on our own.
At Costa Maya, we chose the shorter, four-hour Mayan ruins trip. It was exceptionally hot the day we were there; hence, we were thrilled to see that our one-hour drive to the ruins would be in an air-conditioned bus. Once there, we were treated to a very interesting tour through active excavations, as well as through several restored and/or uncovered sites. Some of the guides were better than others; it was difficult to determine how to get the good ones. We didn't particularly like the ending – the guide explicitly asking for tips. Maybe they have to do that to get most people to realize that it is appropriate. We left a small one, as her skills were not as good as our guide in the Bahamas. (We left him a rather generous tip, because of his efforts and the quality of his presentation.)
Bottom-line – we like the fact that the Carnival excursions have some sense of "guarantee" about them. Hence, we will probably keep doing that, rather than go out on our own – at least for the next few cruises.
Enrichment: Here was a major surprise. My wife and I had a free hour so we wandered into an art lecture. It was not only educational; it was also entertaining. I've never known much about art, but I learned plenty. We were interested enough to go to both art auctions and actually bought a few pieces for our home – daily reminders of the fun we had.
Service: On my business travels, throughout the world, I have had time to stay at some of the finest hotels. None could compare to the friendliness and efficiency of our cabin steward. More than polite, he always seemed to be just around the corner, treating us as if we were his only concern. I really can't even guess how many rooms he was assigned to. Plus, he helped us understand some of the little nuances of cruising; never making us feel out of place for asking silly questions.
Our waiter was second to none. In fact, we wrote to Carnival, to see if they already have waiter assignments for August so that we could come to his table again. As I mentioned above, we let him run our dinners. He had a sense of humor that fit exactly with the four of us at our table. His selections were always well done, even if we didn't care for them. In fact, he seemed to have a hidden microphone – every time someone shared a particular dish that another really liked, he would have another one right on the spot for each to have their own. Plus he was more than happy to answer many first-timer questions, like where does the staff stay, how long are their shifts, whom did he leave at home, etc. (We just got some small T-shirts from home to send to his 11-month old triplets in Poland.)
Value: This is always very important to us. And we were blown away. For the relatively low cost, we received the best vacation we have ever had. The only sad part was the day we had to leave. It's been a week, and we've already booked another 7-day cruise on Carnival for six months from now.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Bob Bush "The Wack" Eastern Caribbean November 25, 2006
I have just completed my 14th cruise, and the 4th on a Carnival ship, and my second 8 dayer. My group comprised 11 adults: 3 married couples (30-50yrs) a 35yr old couple, and three single adults 28, 26 and 21yrs. I selected this ship because it was new and I loved the itinerary. I had read so much about the Noro virus that was prevalent on this ship on its trans-Atlantic crossing, but I was not concerned in the least as I figured Carnival DOES not want folks to get sick, a little common sense will go a long way. If some folks cancel, it will result in more fun and more room for me to enjoy.
Embarkation: The normal mass confusion, but I was standing in the shade, and once inside the main building processing moved quickly, Carnival needs to invest in a microphone system for a few supervisors so they could make announcements instead of shouting at the crowd. We got to the port about 11:30 AM and were on board by about 1:00 PM.Expect to wait and be a little hot, but I have yet to go through a painless embarkation, just go with the flow.
Cabins: I always book the cheapest inside; but got a great price on an outside cabin and booked it. The rest of my group except for one other couple had inside cabins and everyone was happy. I had read stories about the small size of the bathrooms, I am average size person and so is my wife, but it was never a problem. Do not expect a large bathroom; the ones provided are ample in size. The rooms are nicely decorated and there are a few new features within the room, like ordering pay per view TV movies. Also, you can check your ship charges and the different dining menus, plus you get a sports channel. The room is well laid out with lots of storage space, a small couch, dresser. The bathroom had a nice soap and shampoo stocked dispenser as well as some nice complimentary toiletries. Note: the seas where a little rough with high winds, so if you have a balcony -- Good luck! I.d rather save the money to spend on something else.
Dining/Food: Overall, dinner food in the main dining room was my biggest disappointment. I ate breakfast at the Lido buffet and got so fed up with standing in line that I switched to the dining room and I am glad I did. Service was commendable and you do get a few items not served in the buffet (for example, salmon locks, eggs benedict). Lunch included a variety of buffet stations on the Lido deck, but once again I recommend you check out the lunch at the dinning room before deciding, some items are different. Be warned that some lines at the LIDO buffet are excessively long and move slowly (this is hard to describe, but this process seems flawed). The dinner menu presented the biggest disappointment: meat dishes were very tough and overcooked. Even lobster was tough! The majority of the other dishes were fair to middling and nothing to brag about. Appetizers were average, mind you some of the fish dishes were excellent, but after experiencing so many fine meals on my other cruises (including my Carnival cruises) I was highly disappointed. I did not eat at Supper Club as I thought the $30 price was steep.
Public Rooms: Simply beautiful! The ship was decorated in a garden-like atmosphere and the atrium is fabulous. The ship is designed with its 4th and 5th decks serving as the main hub of activity, i.e. with shops, a casino, lounges, photo, library main traffic area. One of the newest onboard attractions is a HUGE TV screen on deck #10 overlooking the pool. This screen displayed various scenes of aquatic life during the day, but evening showings included movies and some important football games. This TV caught a lot of attention -- a novel idea.
Entertainment: In the evening, you will find music playing at several locations throughout the ship. There is a piano bar, also variety music in the Victoria Lounge, and Karaoke at the stage lounge was jam packed each night I went. In addition, the Atrium features a band that plays into the wee small hours of the morning. During the afternoon at the Atrium there is classical violin music and it is a great place to have a drink while people watching. The disco was disappointing and the casino is the casino they even have a 7 card Texas hold em table (expect a wait). I was disappointed in the shows offered at the Venetian place (the main stage) which consisted mainly of dancing. There was one comedian, but the rest was singing and dancing. I am not a fan of nightly singing and dancing. I would like more variety, oh well!. A fun night was the final Legends Night where some wannabe Karaoke passengers performed and had a ball. There was a midnight adult comedy, but overall the shows were lacking.
Excursions: We embarked at three terrific ports. I never take the ship excursions because I think they are too expensive. I usually go on my own excursions which tend to be on the adventurous side and not for everyone. On this cruise, however, I experienced three wonderful and unique excursions that I recommend to anyone who has a sense of adventure. Drop me a thread and I will elaborate.
Activities: The variety of usual ship activities (trivia, bean bag toss, newly not so newly wed games, etc.) are offered, but not much in terms of athletic or survivor type games. Bingo (I always play bingo) is offered at a reasonable price which include decent money pots for the winners. There is more than enough to occupy you, and you can always attend the art auction and drink free champagne. You can also window shop in the Mall area.
Disembarkation: Much improved. You can take your own bags off during the first hour, otherwise it goes by deck and numbers, no real issue, just hated to get off. Expect the normal hassle getting a cab.
Overall: Very nice ship with a terrific itinerary. Carnival seems to be working hard trying to come up with new and innovative ideas, but seems to miss on the small items that make a huge difference during a cruise. Example, there were far too many onboard announcements promoting, hawking Carnival products. Tipping at the end of the cruise is minimized as each passenger is assessed a charge to their rooms bills. I found this to be a major improvement and a change for the better. I think everybody needs to consider this ship; it was one of my best cruise experiences, and I would not hesitate to recommend this ship to anybody. The Wack
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Laura Western Caribbean March 12, 2006
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the evening prior to the cruise and had a room booked at the Hampton Inn - Airport. When we arrived they had overbooked and after 45 minutes of trying to find a room for us they finally found one which was much nicer and closer to the port.
On Sunday a.m. we arrived to board the ship at 11:45 a.m. There was already a long line, but it moved quickly and check-in was a breeze. Upon boarding the ship we were greeted by two violinists and a pianist. The ship is absolutely beautiful and we were amazed at how clean the ship was. We always saw crew members cleaning, waxing, painting, etc.
We went to the Lido Deck where we enjoyed the most delicious burgers and fries along with the drink of the day. Following the muster drill we finally began to cruise!!! We had a 6:15 p.m. dinner time and so enjoyed our singing waiter, Erich. He was a doll and aimed to please. Following dinner we played Bingo (which we found out rather quicklythat we wouldn't be participating in this activity.) The Cruise Director, John Heard was wonderful. He had everyone laughing throughout the entire evening. We were very tired so we decided to retire for the evening.
MONDAY was a day at sea. We enjoyed breakfast at Emille and set out to see more of the ship. We took in the shops (don't get to excited) and spent time on the Lido Deck as well as the casino. We attended the Captain's Cocktail Party which was a farce (we never saw the Captain and never could get a waiter to come to our table to receive a drink.) We then went to the Captain's Dinner and once again our singing waiter, Erich entertained us as did all the waiters. The food was so delicious and we did have our picture taken.
TUESDAY - Freeport - Don't waste your time getting off the ship. What a disappointment this stop was. The island has been damaged extensively by one of last season's hurricanes. Not much shopping either. Can't speak about any excursions as we didn't take any. We decided to eat supper at Emille's and went to the Broadway Show which was very entertaining.
WEDNESDAY - Grand Cayman - Much nicer than Freeport. We decided not to do any excursions, but did take in the shops. Shopping was o.k., but nothing to get excited about. The beaches were very nice. Ate supper at Emille's.
THURSDAY - Costa Maya - Our favorite stop! Very clean and the shopping was great. Again, we didn't sign up to do any excursions. Ate at Emille's again. We spent most of the evening in Glove's Bar watching the NCAA Tournament.
FRIDAY - Day at Sea. - Not to much to do on this day. Bingo is an option for those interested. We spent quite a bit of time on the Lido Deck and in Glove's Bar, again watching the NCAA Tournament Games. We ate supper in the formal dining room and said goodby to Erich. We attended the embarkation program with our Cruise Director, John.
SATURDAY - We took advantage of the self-assist program and were off the ship by 8:30 a.m. Going through customs was not difficult at all.We really enjoyed our cruise on the Liberty. We had a balcony room on the 10th floor and it was quite spacious. We were very close the elevator and really didn't hear to much noise, except for an occasional door slamming. The crew was extremely nice and helpful with any questions that we had. There was tons of college kids on spring break on our ship. They were very well behaved and we never once saw any one drunk or acting stupid, but did see quite a bit of security, which was a good feeling. We grew very tired of the same breakfast food at Emille's and basically the same food for supper. A variety would have been nice and wished that the grill would stay open later than 6:00 p.m. The chocolate buffet was wonderful. Felt that this boat was fairly easy to get around once you figured out the deck plans. We would definately recommend the Carnival Liberty ship.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by tmc Western Caribbean February 17, 2007
Carnival Liberty 8 Day Exotic Caribbean-Costa Maya, Limon Costa Rica, Colon Panama Room: 1394
AIRPORT/EMBARKATION: With snow in the Midwest our flight was an hour late arriving. Baggage claim didn’t seem extremely crowded, but for some reason Carnival had trouble loading buses. We stood over 45 minutes waiting on a bus. The guides kept saying they were waiting on buses. A driver walked in and someone asked if he had room on his bus. The bus had sat there with 10 people on it waiting for passengers. Seems to be a problem with the Carnival reps who take your coupon and tell you where to wait. Still we were on board by 2pm. The lines were long but they moved quickly. This is the first time we went to the dining room to activate our sign and sail.
ACCOMMODATIONS: We booked a 1A guarantee and received a 4A on the Riveria deck. The room was had three large closets that lined the entrance of the room containing plenty of storage, there was also a refrigerator, safe, and bathrobes. We really enjoyedthis location on the rough days at sea (2). There was more than enough storage in the room.
PORTS OF CALL/SHORE EXCURSIONS: Costa Maya: Since our last time in Costa Maya (2001), a pool has been installed in the town area around the shops. We found a beach chair under an umbrella and spent the morning there. Hit a few of the shops and then were back on board by 1:00. There was plenty of chairs by the pool and the restaurants weren’t crowded that afternoon. Scheduled a spa appointment for that afternoon. It Limon, Costa Rica: We booked a canal tour thru Oscar Brown. The Rain Forest was a beautiful experience. They also took us to the beach, areas to see the monkeys, and the banana plantation. Costa Rica is really a beautiful port that I hope cruise ships continue to visit. Colon, Panama: We booked the Two Oceans by Railroad tour and had a great time. The train was beautiful and a wonderful way to sight see. We did get to see two cargo ships lock up at the Canal.
DINING/FOOD We had all our dinners in the Golden Olympian Dining Room. The dining staff was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. Several days we had open seating breakfast and lunch in the Silver Olympian dining room. We enjoyed Fish and Chips several days. Pizza and hamburgers were available at Aft pool area.
ENTERTAINMENT: While we didn’t make all the evening shows, we did enjoy Singin with the Big Band, the comedian Carl Faulkenberry, and Rock Down Broadway. We also enjoyed the Piano Bar and Karaoke. Having seen the Carnival Legends twice, I wish they’d just bring back the passenger talent show. Princess even has a crew talent show that is a big hit.
SHIP: This ship is simply beautiful. The atrium lightening changes colors along with the wall lighting. The atrium area contains the shops, casino, library, photo gallery, and lounges. The Lido deck does have a large TV screen. Evenings they had concerts and one afternoon the Daytona 500. During the day there was some type of scenic displays on the TV. Not sure why Carnival does not play movies during the day. Still it’s a nice addition to the LIDO area.
DEBARKATION Debarkation was a breeze. Our color was called around 9am and we were at the airport checked in and thru security by 9:45.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Robert Ksiazyk Western Europe October 21, 2006
Below is the letter sent to Carnival Cruise lines along with their Survey card.
Dear Sir or Madam:
We are taking this opportunity to include additional comments to the enclosed comment card, regarding the recent European cruise on board the Carnival ship Liberty. The entire trip was booked through CCL so no travel agent has been involved.
The timing on the flights could not have been any better. Other than the enormous lines, which are normal these days, the timing, seating and choice of airlines could not be improved upon.
We retrieved our luggage at the airport and placed them with the other luggage as directed. At that time our three pieces of luggage were in good shape. Later that day when they arrived at our cabin, one wheel and part of the frame was missing from one of the pieces. I immediately asked the cabin steward where I would go to claim the damage. I was told that the ship is not responsible and there is no one to go to.
Cabin 8448 is a corner cabin with a balcony,which is what we had requested and hoped we would get. A few days into the cruise, we received a notice that the following morning maintenance would be working on the balconies so we should make sure our drapes are drawn shut for privacy. Being in the casino late at night, we put out the "privacy please" sign so that we could sleep as long as we wanted. It was approximately 7:30 AM when the noise started. Scraping, hammering, sanding etc. was more than enough to wake us up. The maintenance people were working on the cabin balcony next to us, replacing window glass that required removing the caulking material with electric grinders.
They worked all day on all the cabins but ours. I'm assuming that is because of our "privacy please" sign. Our neighbor who had left his cabin for breakfast before maintenance came, was surprised to come back to open doors through to the balcony, tools in the cabin along with an extension cord running to a battery charger on the bed. When he left the ship for the day, he returned to all the scrapings on the deck that had not been cleaned up. He had to call the cabin steward to clean it.
Naturally, with the maintenance going on, we could not use our balcony the entire day. We have cruised on the Ecstasy, Imagination and the Sensation. All of the cruises have been perfect for us, which is why we keep coming back to CCL. We have never had any complaints about the food but the food on the Liberty was a huge disappointment for us. I am including the dining room food and the Lido deck food.
First time cruisers may have found the food to their liking, but this was not the case with us, or our dining partners. There were too many times that we were asked if we would like "something else", because of the amount of food left. Without going into too much detail, I will say that most of the food served in the dining room, the meat especially, was dry and tasteless.
The food on the Lido Deck was similar. No matter what the theme, the food tasted the same.
There were also service issues that I would like to point out.
Running out of food: For breakfast raisins were available for the cereal. Half way through the cruise, when we asked where they were, we were told, "we're out of raisin and butter too".
Orange Juice, which I feel is a staple for any breakfast was non-existent or hard to find. We didn't see any for three or four days and when we did, when I went back for a second glass, I got more water than juice. No other to be found anywhere.
The same coffee and juice stations are being used by both, the service staff and the passengers. There were times that I came upon a line for coffee because we were waiting for the staff member to fill the pots and pitchers. The last time this happened, I went for a cup of coffee while she was still there and found the coffee was empty. I told her that is was empty and she told me to go to the other station. I asked if I could get a cup from the pot on her cart and was again told to go to the other station. Why don't they fill them in the kitchen area??
The fresh sandwiches from the deli rates an A+ and the pre cooked hamburgers from the grill rate an F.
We booked this cruise to tour Europe and we enjoyed that very much. We also enjoyed the entertainment including the casino action. Beyond that, I have to say that this was not what we would consider a "Fun Ship".
Thank you for taking the time to read about our experience and I hope these complaints will prompt some improvements on the Carnival Liberty.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Vincent the Dutch boy Western Mediterranean May 19, 2006
I flew into Rome the day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Sun Park Bay Hotel in Civitavecchia; I had also stayed there six months earlier. It’s a nice hotel -- nothing special, but a good place to stay for a few nights. The best thing about this hotel is the breathtaking view from your balcony to the Mediterranean sea. European breakfast is included. It’s only five minutes to the port by taxi.
Embarkation, I arrived at the cruise terminal at noon, and there were no lines at all. Check-in took a few minutes and than I had to wait until 12.30 p.m. to board. My group and I had our welcome aboard photo taken, and the Carnival photographer remembered me from my cruise last year, so we had a talk and a good laugh. Boarding the ship was very easy and pleasant.
Cabin I booked a balcony cabin 8301 (category 8C). I always book a mid-ship cabin because I think it’s the most stable part of the ship. The cabin itself was great again.I never saw my room steward, but the room was always clean and the towel animals were a lust for the eye.
Cruise director The first thing I did on the Liberty was to go to my cabin and look at the Capers newsletter. That’s when I did another happy dance: I was thrilled to see that John Heald was the cruise director again. I had so much fun with him last year; he is the best cruise director of the entire fleet. I never noticed the CD in the past until I had John as a CD. You just know that you're going to laugh all through the cruise, and we did!
I looked forward to see the morning and afternoon shows with John, as well as all the other shows he did. On the first formal night (the Captain’s cocktail party), the first sea day, I saw John and thought maybe he still remembers me from last year. And yes, he still remembered me. John introduced me to his Dutch wife Heidi and we had a nice talk in Dutch. Heidi lives in the Netherlands only a few minutes from my home address. What are the odds? I recommend to everybody to take a cruise with John Heald. He told me that he was leaving the ship after this cruise for vacation, but he will be back in a few months, and next year he will be the CD on the new Carnival Freedom.
The Ship The Carnival Liberty is new and is in excellent condition. Off course you have to like its interior. I thought it looked great. The lights in the Atrium and promenade change colors, but somehow it was not disturbing to me at all. The layout is not as good as on the Spirit Class ships (they are the best, with two unobstructed decks from front to aft), but if you have cruised Carnival before, you can easily find your way around the ship.
The food The food on board was just excellent, with plenty of choices. All the food was very tasty, fresh and warm. I cruised the Triumph two years ago and the food was not half this good, so I was pleased that they improved this. Harry’s Supper Club was also of good quality. The only thing I didn’t like that much was the desserts. Overall I think the food in the dining rooms and the supper club are the same. That says a lot about the excellent food in the dining rooms -- and you don’t have to pay the extra $30. I was in the Silver dining room and the service there was even better than last year. Our table had fantastic waiters -- Roberto and Lady from the Philippines -- and they really worked very hard to serve us.
Ports of Call. First we went to Naples. I didn’t go ashore. I had only been onboard a few hours onboard and I went on deck to get a tan. It was nice and quiet, and even the slide was open in port so I enjoyed myself with that. The other members of my group went to Pompeii and they liked it very much. When other guests returned, I heard everybody speak of Capri, the island. It must be an amazing, beautiful place. But I'm from Europe and if I want to go there I can just drive to Naples.
Dubrovnik, Croatia. This was the port that impressed me the most. What a beautiful country -- lots of mountains, and Dubrovnik is a very nice town. I took a taxi for one hour (40 euros) and did some sight-seeing. We went up in the mountains and had breathtaking views of the sea and Dubrovnik itself. Hard to believe that there was a war going on only 10 years ago. We could still see some damage but 99 percent was very nicely rebuilt. All the houses with orange roofs were damaged in the war and rebuilt. (Well, almost every house has an orange roof). Then the taxi took us to the city center and we walk around for a few hours, did some shopping, some drinking on the terraces and walked on the city wall. Then took a taxi back to the ship for 10 euros.
Venice A great port of call. The ship arrived at the entrance of the Canal at noon, and then took a one hour “drive” through the canal to the docking area. It was just beautiful to see the ship go right through Venice and all its sights. You get an excellent idea of Venice before you get off the ship. The ship docked at 2 p.m. and we got off at 3 p.m. We took the shuttle bus (5 euros roundtrip) to get a Vaporetto (waterbus) -- public transportation in Venice because there are no cars in the city . You can take a water taxi but that will cost you lots of money. The waterbuses cost 5 euros per person one way. We went to see all of Venice and ended up in the famous St Mark’s square with all its pigeons. Then we went back to the ship for dinner in the Lido restaurant, and afterwards we went on the Gondola tour at night. Although it rained it was a fantastic experience, but expensive -- $100 per person -- to go through the narrow canals, with great live music. We ended again at St Mark’s square where we had 1.5 hours of free time before we were taken back to the ship. We were a little wet from the ride in the gondola so we decided to have a cappuccino. We ordered three cappuccinos and had to pay 32 euros, or about $40. We knew this in advance but the music was very nice, and life’s worth it.
Messina Italy We went on the new Carnival tour -- the Etna 2,900 Meter Tour goes straight up the mountain by cable car and 4x4 trucks, to 9000 feet. We walked around for about 30 minutes. The view is incredible but you have to be in good condition to do this tour. There the temperature was really cold, but they told us in advance, so I was prepared. I was wearing jeans, a sweater and a nice thick winter jacket. The temperature was at the freezing level, because we had lots of wind. The tour guide told us that it was possible to rent coats at the cable car station in case somebody forget to bring warm clothes. The weather must be clear, otherwise it's a waste of money. There is really not much to do in Messina itself. You have to go on a tour in this place. I heard a lot of good things of Taormina, and you can also do both tours in one.
Barcelona Barcelona is a great city. We went on our own tour. We took the Carnival shuttle to La Rambla and there we took a taxi. Taxis are very cheap. We visited the Sagrada Familia, the famous church designed by Gaudi. The church is 100 years old but still isn’t finished. But you get a great impression of this immense place and you can go up the two towers (2 euros per person roundtrip) and see Barcelona from above. From there we took another taxi to the famous shopping street La Rambla with all its terraces and shops. We ate tapas and drank beer. What a great city.
Cannes Cannes is the only port where we had to tender. The Liberty can’t dock there. We just walked around Cannes, did some shopping and relaxed at one of the many sidewalk cafes. We would have loved to go to Monaco, but the day before was the Grand Prix, and it was a mess in Monaco so we just stayed in Cannes.
Livorno We didn’t go to Livorno. The weather was too bad and the ship couldn’t dock safely. It's safety first, so the ship went farther south and we had an extra day at sea, which wasn’t that bad. There are so many ports on this cruise that it was nice to have the extra day at sea and relax, because it was the last day of the cruise.
I had a blast from day one until the end. It was my eighth Carnival cruise and definitely not my last.
Feel free to ask me any questions or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent The Netherlands Cruise History: 1990 Mardi Gras, 1993 Jubilee, 1998 Imagination, 2002 Fantasy, 2003 Carnival Spirit (panama canal), 2004 Carnival Triumph, 2005 Carnival Liberty (transatlantic) 2006 Carnival Liberty (Mediterranean)
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by sunlover Eastern Caribbean March 4, 2006
Spent a week in Palm Beach before cruise and the great weather got us all excited!! This was our 4th cruise and our 1st on Carnival. We were pleasantly surprised. Will break it down into categories to try and keep it short! Embarkation-a snap--there around 11:00 or so, on the ship by noon! Did seem crazy the people getting off and trying to find a cab.
Ship-We thought it was very nice, easy to find our way around. Had a drink at a bar every night before supper, and we enjoyed the many different ones they had on board. Must see them all! Our cabin was an inside. We had plenty of room--on the Upper Deck(6). Heard no noise other than the usual banging of doors or people in the hall. Husband wore ear plugs and was fine. This ship had much more movement than any other we have been on. I was sick one night. Everyone we talked to commented on the movement all week. We had bathrobes even in the inside cabin.
Food: The best we have hadon any cruise, except the selections in the formal dining room we felt, went downhill after the first 2 days. You can get a steak if you do not like anything. Also, my husband wanted a shrimp cocktail every night and our waiter said no. When we saw another table with it on a night not offered and questioned him, he then said we had to put in a special order with the maitre'd. We did and he had one every night after. The service was slow in the dining room, but not that bad. They are definitely overworked. We felt our waiter had way too many tables. Fish and Chips were great. Also at the deli the hot turkey and cheese and the rueben was great. Hamburgs were good and so was the pizza. I came home with 6 extra pounds so it must have been!!
Ports: Did a nice carriage ride in San Juan.
In St. Thomas did the BOB underwater excursion and we were disappointed. A lot of money and it wasn't worth it. Didn't see much at all. SHould have did an island tour. We also did the trolley and that was great and you should do it at least once to see the view. We did NOT dock at Havensight. Be careful when getting on a taxi. The man at the dock assured us we would be taken to the trolley and the taxi stopped downtown(halfway), said he could go no further.(These were the big taxis at the dock.) We walked rest of way.(we are walkers so no big deal.) When we got one back we made sure he would take us all the way to the ship.(Cost was 5.00 from Havensight)
In Antigua we did the 2 man power boats. Alot of fun and it was great. This was the port I will never shop at again. They were way too pushy at the market.
Tortola was absolutely beautiful. Our favorite stop although we would never do the Baths at Virgin Gorda again. Again, waste of money. It was rough, ferry ride was a little scary and we didn't get much time there. Next time, again we would do an island tour. Found good shopping right off the ship. Never once did anyone bug us. We would ask a price, bargain and it was a nice day!!
Nassau-went to the public beach and parasailed, looked at Atlantis, and shopped. Nice day here too, except we have been there 3 times before. If you want to do any parasailing or beach things, grab a cab(4.00) and go to the public beach. Plenty of time to do it on your own. Had lunch at Senor Frogs for something different, as always that was fun and right down from the ship!
Entertainment on the ship was ok-The comedian, Percy was fabulous. Also in the bar The Stage, they are great, go see Motown and their Beatlemania. Cruise Director Butch Begovich was ok, nothing great. Also found the activites around the pool were constantly interrupted because of equipment failure or announcements which could be annoying.
Sorry, people who hate chair savers. If you plan on laying out, I found at 7 a.m. people were already doing it,especially on sea days. I would get up get 2 chairs and read out there till my husband came. Only one time we had a couple save 2 chairs beside and never came back till they just came to gather their stuff. That is annoying and ridiculous. Never used the chairs and someone else could have. The chairs were full all over the ship everyday.
One gripe I have is this: Example, my husband drinks Odouls. At one place it would be 2.75 and at another it would be 3.50. ?? it but never got a straight answer from the bartender. Went to the piano bar for the captain's greet thing. Never saw him, but the whiskey sours were good and free!!
Disembarkation-a snap and we were off at 9:30 and was in no hurry since we were staying the night in Ft. Lauderdale.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. We will definitely sail Carnival again.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Sea Trekker Panama Canal February 18, 2006
The Liberty is a mega liner,120,000 g.t. A really beautiful ship and easy to get around. We departed Ft. Lauderdale on time,5:00pm for Costa Rica, Mexico,& Panama. We found out schools were on winter break for N.Y. so lots of familys on board. No problems with kids and all were well behaved. The pools were very crowded so we spent our time aound the aft where it was adults only. the big screen t.v. showed movies at night and music during the day. Once I looked at the screen & saw a flight over an Alaskan ice field and heard the Beach boys singing surf songs.Had a good laugh.
Food was suprisingly very good. Other CCL ships we did not like it. Most of our meals were in the Silver Olympian dine. We tried the buffet, but the selection was limited. Also enjoyed the deli, oriental,fish & chips,Pizza.Shopping on board was great with specials every day,ie: gold & jewerly,t-shirts. The shows were fantastic! The dancers really work hard. The star act was Chris Allan Grave who did a tributeto Frank Sanatra, Sammy Davis. Very good show. There were some rough seas for a day.On lido deck,the crew kept everything nice and clean. In fact you had to guard plates if a table mate got up to get something else.I will post a review of the shore excursions on ports of call.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Vincent & Mary Finelli Western Caribbean January 29, 2006
The Liberty joins the Conquest Class of Carnival's Fleet of 21 ships. She is the first Carnival ship to cruise the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. From July to October 2005 the Liberty sailed out of Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy offering eight twelve day round trip cruises to Naples, Messina, Venice, and Livorno, Italy; it also sailed east to Dubrovnik, Croatia and west to Cannes, France and Barcelona, Spain. From these ports of call passengers were offered over 80 different excursions to famous destinations such as Capri, Venice, Pisa, Florence and even Monte Carlo, Monaco. This was the Liberty's maiden cruise itinerary, which Carnival augmented with pre or post cruise packages of one to three additional days in Rome. This is very attractive since Rome, the Eternal City, should never be a one day trip! We know this for sure after living in Rome, while on sabbatical in 1981. We found the academic year (9 months) not sufficient for the many beautiful attractions of Bella Roma. Three extra days will at least provide an overview of the grandeur that isRome.
Significantly, on October 12, 2005 (Columbus Day), the Liberty made its first transatlantic crossing and began it inaugural season in the Caribbean. April 2006 the Liberty will return to the Mediterranean and her European cruise itinerary. This new Carnival itinerary is an exciting one for Americans and the Liberty was designed for it. Its decor celebrates artisans and their wonderful creations.
EMBARKATION With Sunday Traffic on I-95 at a minimum, Ft. Lauderdale is only twenty-five minutes from our home in Boca Raton, Florida --- an excellent place to live for "Frequent Floaters." The baggage drop off was peculiar; even though our auto was clearly marked handicapped, we were directed to the left; even though there were right side drop offs. After depositing our luggage, we had to cross over through traffic to get to the entrance. This was harrowing. Once on the other side, we were sent through the VIP entrance with the wheelchair. From here on boarding was a cinch. We were given assistance with the wheelchair after check in, and we were in our stateroom in twenty minutes. This was our third cruise on a Conquest Class ship in the past five months, so we are very familiar with its layout.
Thus, our first bit of business was to change reservations from the Silver Olympian Dining Room, which was all the way aft, to the centrally located Golden Olympian Dining Room. This would make our dinners more pleasant, since the only wheelchair accessible staterooms with balconies are located all the way forward in the prow of the ship. More on these logistics later. Our reservations were easily adjusted for us by the dining room staff, we went directly to the excellent buffet.
THE SHIP The Carnival Liberty, launched the summer of 2005, was christened by Mira Sorvino (Hollywood and Oscar fame). The Liberty was built at the venerable Fincantieri Shipyards in Italy. She is hull number 6,111 and is a beauty. Among the largest cruise ships in the world, she is equipped with 22 lounges and bars; a stunning 1,500 seat Venetian Palace Theater, plus a Seaside Theater for watching films and concerts under the stars (featuring a 270 sq. ft. Jumbo screen and a state of the art 70,000 watt sound system providing concert quality sound), a novelty at sea first seen on the Caribbean Princess. This cruise featured concerts by Tom Jones, Placido Domingo, and James Taylor among others.
The Liberty is 952 ft. long, and 116 ft wide and weighs 110,000 tons. She has 1,487 staterooms of which 60% are ocean view and 60% of these have balconies. Capacity is 2,974 (two passengers per cabin) and a maximum of 3700. Joseph Farcus, Carnival architect, commissioned a group of artists to create pieces which celebrate "great artisans and their works." In a series of 6' X 9' aluminum panels, made specifically for the ship's central staircases, artist Calman Shemi features iron workers, sculptors, glass blowers and jewelry designers at work. Artist Virginia Ferrara created 6' X 15' tropical views of South Florida with palm trees, floral and water allusions, which were placed by the stair landings. Luciano Vistosi's colorful blown glass pieces are illuminated from the rear. Placed near the swimming pools on Deck 9 are the bronze sculptures of Susanna Holt: an Anhinga bird drying its spread out wings in the sun; Sea lions lounging; and a standing Stag and Doe. The Anhinga is very appropriate to South Florida, but we wish it had been much larger like those over the El Rio Canal in our back yard.
Mr. Farcus carries out his homage to true craftsmen by exploring a particular craft in each room on board, which then is combined in the whole ship. The first expression of this is found in the Grand Villa Garden Lobby (9 decks tall) with the black wrought iron around columns and balconies in a "curlicue" pattern design. The same pattern is repeated in the 20 feet in diameter black wrought iron chandelier with torch lights which constantly change colors. The chandelier is best viewed from Deck 5 while the changing colors add ambiance. It is a tour de force of iron working! The potters' world is also displayed here with hundreds of terra cotta medallions and wall pottery jardinieres filled with lavender bougainvillea vines. The extensive use of marble and tile flooring throughout this ship make it easy going for those in wheelchairs.
Deck 0 houses the Medical Center and the tender facilities.
Riviera Deck 1 and Main Deck 2 are all staterooms.
Lobby Deck 3 forward has the beautiful Venetian Palace Theater with two gigantic Harlequin clowns flanking the stage. Decorations include classic Venetian masks worn during carnival season. There are Murano red and gold glass tiled walls and of course, the traditional striped poles where gondolas are moored. Excellent theater, except for those seats behind several columns which contribute to passengers playing "musical chairs" in order to locate seats with a clear view of the stage. Midship are the Information & Excursion Desks, and the Lobby Bar in the Atrium. Next, there are two small Dining Rooms ---- the Persian and Satin Rooms. The Golden Olympian Restaurant is located here with three huge Venetian Murano Crystal Chandeliers with interesting lavender flowers (daffodils?). There are 16 smaller matching chandeliers on each floor of the restaurant. There is a golden balustrade circling the room and a double staircase to Deck 4. Accent lighting above the chandeliers gives a warm red glow to the room, as if it were a red and gold 18th century theater! Fine flatware are showcased in vitrines around the walls. Next, going toward aft, is the galley followed by the Conservatory Atrium (three decks tall) and then the Silver Restaurant, decorated as the Golden, only the colors match the names.
Atlantic Deck 4 forward is the theater, then, toward midship is the Photo Gallery & Studio. Next is the Antiquarian Library only open two hours per day. After which is the Empress Club and the balcony of the Golden Restaurant. Aft are three highly individual rooms The Tapestry, Web and the Cabinet (this last features Cabinetry in the German Biedermeier style) and finally the second level of the Silver Olympic Restaurant.
Promenade Deck 5 forward is the balcony of the theater; midship are the Fashion Boulevard Shops, Formalities and the interesting Sports Bar featuring leather gloves worn in all sorts of sports (the many red leather boxing gloves are great). There is the Origami Sushi Bar (Excellent! Serving daily from 5:30 to 8:30pm). Aft there are three more bars each unique: Hot & Cool Disco, features body art and tattoos on body parts: hands, arms and legs. There is the Paparazzi Wine Bar with a series of Leica M-3 Cameras lenses, like those used by the Paparazzi of the 1950s. The Piano Man Bar has the undulating piano keys around the ceiling of the room and modern white leather chairs. WOW!
Upper Deck 6, Empress Deck 7 and Verandah Deck 8 are all staterooms.
Lido Deck 9 has staterooms forward, then the Stage, Tivoli Pool, and aft Emile's Buffet Restaurant, an excellent Pizzeria (pizza made on order too) & Grille and finally the Versailles Pool and Bar with a sliding dome.
Panorama Deck 10 forward has staterooms and midship the Coney Island Pool and Harry's Club, an upscale restaurant with a menu by the well known French Chef Georges Blanc. There are not enough positive adjectives to describe his contribution to the Liberty's cuisine. In Harry's (named after Harry Winston, jeweler to the rich and famous) neatly displayed in vitrines are dozens of copies of Mr. Winston's highly prized designs. Aft there is the Fish & Chips; away from the crowd, this is a nice area frequented by very few passengers.
Spa Deck 11 forward has some suites and the Spa and Gym; aft is the Sports Deck and the Jogging track.
Sun Deck 12 has the children's areas, the Kid's Pool and Camp Carnival. There is no Deck 13.
Sky Deck 14 has the entrance to the water slide. This is a big ship with many beautiful venues and lots to do.
SERVICE & FOOD Naturally, the most important person on board is the Captain because he spearheads the service on board. Captain Marco Nogara (Italy) is a very active and friendly commander. His bearing is one of an excellent host, but also one of authority. He has the appearance of just stepping off the cover of "GQ" Magazine. Hotel Director Guna Chellan (India) is very knowledgeable about the ship and her many amenities; he graciously answered all of our questions. Guest Relations Director Leslie Baland made herself available to all passengers. Her assistant Christine Budaha was a whiz at making our cruise a pleasure. When we just asked of a possibility --- it was done! Fantastic.
We dined the first evening on the main floor of the Golden restaurant with wonderful service from our waiters Dan and Ivan. However, Maitre D' Suresh, in order to accommodate a large family group, requested if he could moved us to the balcony of the Golden. Must be Karma, because we now had a beautiful table for two overlooking the grand staircase and two of the nicest servers: Lady and Lucio.
The dining staff Manager Branimir Plovanic (Croatia) enthusiastically told us about Monsieur Blanc's contributions to the new menus on board, and we certainly approved of the French influence and style. Magnifique! The portions and presentation were much improved. Carnival President & CEO Bob Dickinson has made a special effort to improve the level of cuisine on board, and we feel he has achieved it with the world-renowned Chef Georges Blanc, who has had for many years a three star rating by Michelin. We feel this was a great move since the Carnival Liberty spends her summers in Europe. President Dickinson has also started a new Presidential Wine Club which is for both novices and connoisseurs. It is sort of a Wine of the Month Club aimed at introducing members to various famous and new wines. Vincent believes that Carnival has an excellent wine selection.
The food on board is fresh, delicately seasoned and elegantly presented. Food and service in the main dining rooms and in Emile's Buffet and elsewhere on board is very good. In this review we will give the specifics on Harry's Club, Panorama Deck 10 ($30 per person fee). This is a must do for passengers on the Liberty. We have only seen one other restaurant at sea that was as elegant as this one: The Olympic on Celebrity's Millennium, which had the original wood paneling and wine cellar from the White Star Lines Olympic (sister ship to the doomed Titanic). At Harry's we had a wonderfully special evening: wined and dined and the lovely Hostess Isabella filled us in on the fabulous Harry Winston jewelry featured in the many vitrines and pointed out the gigantic "diamond" light necklace which surrounds the room and displays huge emerald cut "yellow diamonds" as pendants. Beautiful music, delicious food and excellent cuisine, it was just perfect!
There are two menus, a traditional A La Carte that Vincent enjoyed and the special "Degustation Menu" which Mary savored immensely. While the Sommelier Ciprian (Romania) and the excellent waitress Tina served us so elegantly, the eight courses from Georges Blanc's menus just kept coming. This is more of a taster's presentation: small portions of exquisitely prepared delicacies. If this is not your cup of tea, there is always the 24 oz. Porterhouse steak! Having dined in the degustation manner many times in Italy, we know it is for gourmets who really want to taste, not gorge. Here we go, the eight courses are as follows:1. Chilled Asparagus soup. 2. Shrimp and salmon appetizers. 3. Creamy Lobster Bisque Veloute` with Brandy. 4. Succulent Chilean Sea Bass and olive cake. 5. Campari and Citrus Sorbet to cleanse the palate. 6. Chicken with Fois Gras, oyster and mushroom sauce. 7. Filet Mignon, and Beef Tartar with chilled Bernaise cream. 8. The Grand Finale, Chef's special dessert Chocolate Tartufe with fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries) with sherbet.
Vincent's appetizers, sides and veal chop were also perfectly prepared and served. But, every night in the main dining rooms the food and service were also wonderful. The new Georges Blanc contribution to Carnival is a culinary triumph. It brings new food opportunities to Carnival passengers, but still maintains some classic American standbys.
CABIN Stateroom #6208 is one of only two wheelchair accessible cabins with a balcony on board. All other wheelchair accessible cabins are obstructed view or inside. It is situated in the prow of the ship; even more forward than the Bridge. From our balcony we looked toward the rear above us to see the Bridge. This was most obvious when checking the Liberty Deck Plan. This cabin is as far from the elevators and ship activities as possible; needless to say it is not physically appropriate for people with limited mobility. Recently, we have cruised on three ships of this class and have decided that in the future the best way for us to cruise on these ships would be in a cabin close to the elevators, near the center, possibly a suite.
This cabin has an automatic door, which is very convenient. Upon entering on the left is a single armoire and straight ahead is the huge bathroom with an oversized shower with safety rails all around. There is a single sink with a mirror, but not enough shelves for toiletries. There is a queen size bed with two night stands. On the right side is a double armoire, a personal safe, refrigerator, TV, and a lighted mirrored vanity/desk with an upholstered stool. There are two coffee tables and an upholstered arm chair. The far wall is glassed with a door that opens onto the minuscule balcony with two chairs and a table and not much room for anything else. Fortunately, Alla our wonderful stewardess removed the table, so that we could more easily utilize the balcony.
The colors were red, orange and gold, the walls were decorated with two brightly colored Shemi paintings of artisans practicing their craft of printing. Alla surprised us with hand made towel animals and wonderful white puff quilts and linens with romantic maps and designs --- very chic! Thank you, Alla.
ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Brent Mitchell has a busy group. The main show "Wonderful World" on the first formal night was a terrific review of music and dance from around the world. The costumes were sumptuous and the featured singers Adrian Hull and Jassen Allen sparkled. The John Piazza Jr. Big Band sound is full and very enjoyable. During the cruise there were two featured entertainers, who were funny and worthy of mention: Comedienne Carol Hughes as the average house wife, and Jerry Goodspeed a clever ventriloquist. The variety of entertainment was a good mix. The "TODAY" at a glance is a list of events, times and places on a small handy tear out sheet. The "Fun Ship" lived up to its motto.
DEBARKATION The procedure was made simple and painless. Friday night, we put our luggage out at 11pm with VIP tags; we were told we could debark whenever we were ready after 8:00am. We had Continental breakfast in our cabin, and at 8:30am we called down to the Guest Relations Desk and a crew member came up to help us with the wheelchair. We were off, collected our luggage, through passport check and customs in less than fifteen minutes. We had an uncomplicated ending to a lovely cruise.
PORTS OF CALL
Day 1. FT. Lauderdale, FL Sail Away 5:00pm
Day 2. Freeport, Bahamas Arrive 7:00am Depart 3:00pm
Day 3. At sea
Day 4. Grand Cayman Arrive 8:00am Depart 4:30pm
Day 5. Costa Maya, Mexico Port was closed due to high Seas.
Day 6. At sea
Day 7. FT. Lauderdale, FL Disembarkation begins at 8:00am
SUGGESTIONS This was our fifth cruise on Carnival ships and every time we have returned we have found improvements. This time the upscale restaurant Harry's Club is definitely a plus in the rating of the ship. We had a wonderful cruise and we'll definitely cruise again on Carnival ships. However, the location of our stateroom was not optimal, since it was the first cabin at the bow, far from the elevators and the center of the ship which is an added problem for those of us with limited mobility. In addition we could not use the balcony much due to exposure to strong wind especially when the ship was in motion. In the future, if we book again on this class ship, it will be in a suite, since the location of wheelchair accessible cabins is inappropriate for us. We feel that Carnival, as well as Costa, have to put some effort in designing appropriate accommodations for disabled passengers in regard to comfort, location and number of wheelchair accessible cabins by emulating those lines, such as Princess and RCI, which offer more user friendly accommodation to the growing number of cruisers with limited mobility. Our next cruise will be on the Costa Mediterranea on March 5th, and since this will be our third cruise on her, we know that the only wheelchair accessible cabins on this ship are either inside or obstructed view, thus we have booked a suite.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty by Jacqueline Western Caribbean January 21, 2006
In the early morning hours of saturday January 21 we gathered (50 people) at a parking lot to wait for the bus driving us down to Fort Lauderdale. You can imagine that nobody was really wide awake at 06.00 and most of us slept during the drive.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 11.00 hrs after a dreadfull drive in an old buss with a smelly toilet, happy to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. We got in line at 11.30 and we were on board at 12.30, which is fairly quick for Carnival. My cabins was not ready yet, it was kindly requested it would take another hour or so. After that we went in, changed clothes and found out that the remote control of the television did not work and the showerdrain was blocked, we had our own tidal wave.
Our cabin steward, whom I never saw during the cruise, was not to be found and my DH asked chef Housekeeping what to do and he took care of it all. We got our remoteback later in the afternoon and the plumber came when we were on the Lido deck. Our cabin steward never came to introduce him/herself and there was also no nametag inside the cabin telling who your cabin steward is, like we had on former cruises. That was the first time we raised our eyebrows.
When we went to the Lidodeck, we always team up with our friends on the aft deck, we saw that the coffee machine was "ounder maintenance" and this was not fixed during the whole cruise, another eyebrow. The good thing is: the ice machine never failed to give ice.
The coffee machine above the buffetline at the fish and chips department had always good strong coffee, the coffee machines at the lido deck and at Emile's gave yuk coffee, just a bit of dark water ...... I know that the ships coffee is not to our taste, so I brought my own instant coffee to keep me from withdrawal symptoms.
After the musterdrill we sailed away at 17.00 hours and we had 2 seadays ahead, which we very much like. For us it is a good way to relax and get around the ship. We had a friend from Holland with us and she got lost several times, it was her first time cruising, we had a few laughs about her being lost.
Saturday night in the dining room we had to wait almost an hour to be served, which is not acceptable. Not only our table, but the table next to us, different waiter, but with our TA seated at that table, had the same problem. She was furious. It turned out that our waiter was not capable of handling two big tables and two tables for four and our busser was only 3 out of 7 8 nights visible, so our waiter was very busy. Another eyebrow.
On sunday we had breakfast at 9 aft, as always on a ship, and it took more than an hour before tables got cleaned, basically we have cleaned our tables ourselves by bringing our trays to the waiters station on the deck almost every day. Another eyebrow.
In our cabin one panel under the sink was twisted away a little, we made a remark of that, but nothing has been done about it. Another one ..
Positive thing is that the Pursers desk staff was very friendly and tried to help out on several occassions.
Another gripe is the roof over 9 aft. When there was only a little rain in sight one of the staff closed the roof immediately to leave it closed for hours. 9 aft becomes very humid, because of the pool and the hot tubs and is sickening damp. There is no other ventilation then the doors to Emiles. After a few remarks the roof was opened again, nobody gets hurt from a few drops of rain. The few staff members who were present at 9 aft where nauseas with the roof closed.
The whole Lido deck from forward to aft was not cleaned properly during the cruise, the aft deck went sticky with all the water and ice spilled on the deck. The tables were not cleaned and were sticky.
Arriving at Costa Maya it still rained, but the temperature was good. At the end of the morning we took our change, and walked down the pier to look at the shops and get the DI bracelet charm, yes I am a collector too. We had been to CM three years ago and liked it very much, but the prices have gone up trippled, which is no fun to shop. We had planned to go to the beach at Mahahual, but for the rain nobody went. We walked around a little, and went back to the ship. Some of our group did go to the beach to snorkel and had a good time. We gathered in the hot tub on 9 aft. There is no better feeling to be in the water on the water when sailing away.
We made it a habit to get to the hot tubs on the Lido deck with the big screen to watch a movie after dinner. That is very relaxing and had a good talk with some of our fellow passengers, it is nice to meet other people.
On our last night we tried the hot tub under the slide and boy, that is really HOT HOT. I could not get in, but one of our friends was very comfortable in that hot water and teased us with not getting in.
Costa Rica is very pretty, although the town is poor, but they are trying to make something out of it in bits and pieces. We booked our own tour on land and we had a great guy named Roy who took us for the city tour, tortuguero canals and a banana plantation. We saw a lot of sloths in the trees, leguana's, aligators and a lot of birds who are not in my biology book ïS That was really nice. The nature of CR is just as beautiful as Belize. It is an option to go back there and see some more.
A couple from our group went white water rafting and had a blast, for the daredevils under us.
Panama Canal was our next and last destination. I always wanted to see the locks there and this was my change. To be on the safe side we booked a ships tour which took us after a bus drive to the Pacific side to a ferry, who went through the Miraflores locks. Ofcourse here in Holland we have our locks too, but that is peanuts compared to Panama Canal. I really enjoyed the tour. The ferry was big enough with chairs on the decks. It was strongly advised to stay seated and not stand at the side, so you do not block everybodies view. You can stand there to make a picture or video tape some but then get back to your chair. Lunch and drinks are provided. The ferry takes a couple of hours, and it was a hurry back to the ship to be back at 03.30. This tour is well worth the money. I spoke to others who took the train tour and they were content also. Our Floridian friends went on their own, hired a cab and watched the locks on the Atlantic side, they went not through it. After that they went shopping, had some nice things and cheap boozz, they felt not safe enough to take a stroll around Colon and after the shopping they went back to the ship.
Then back to Fort Lauderdale with 2 seadays. We played Mexican Train dominoe a lot and had a good time.
I went to two shows in the theatre. One sing and dance show, the other was a comedian. I am always a bit hesitated about comedians, for past experience learns that we Europeans do not often understand the American jokes, for they are about persons we do not know. But this one was a hoot, I had a good laugh.
I hoped to meet John Heald, he was supposed to be back on the Liberty the 21st but we had Brent Mitchell.
Another gripe: children in the hot tub on 9 aft. There are signs the these tubs are Adults only and again, to our disappointment, we had to conclude that Carnival does not have any security staff around the Lido deck to see that these rules are obeyed by. Only on the first day (saturday) there was one officer who send them away but that was the last time too. On our last day at see (also saturday) a man with two little girls came into the tub and ignored the fact that another couple shook their heads. I asked this gentleman friendly if he did not know that kids were not allowed in these tubs but were free to go to the other deck, he gave me a loud mouth, for which I was not impressed. He threatened that if I touched his kids he would do something to me, and I yawned, yeah rite. I told this gentleman very friendly that I did not need to touch his children, and felt sorry for them to have him as a father and that I would call security to get him and his kid out of the tub.
Read this very carefully: on the deck there was one carnival staff member, I asked him to call security for me, because of the kids and the man being rude. This guy did NOT SPEAK english at all. And there I stood, being Dutch, trying to get it clear to the man that he need to call security and he did not understand me. Is it not mandatory for ships employees to speak at least english? I speak english, don't I?
Well, so many things have bugged me on this cruise, but it did not spoil the fun of being on a cruise. We had a great time anyway, the ports of call were good, I absolutely loved CR and PC, and would advise anybody to do it at least once.
Debarkation was very smooth, because we travelled with 50, our TA arranged same coloured tags for all of us. We had to be in the Venetian Palace theatre at 08.00 and we were off at 08.45 and back in the bus up to Deland. Another cruise gone.
Any cruise is good and we will book Carnival again in an instant, but Carnival need to do something about their staff and sloppyness on the Liberty. We were not the only ones who were complaining about this.
Well, so far my review, pics follow later, we have some problems with our digi camera. It will all work out.