Ports of call: Half Moon Cay on Little San Salvador island, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, San Juan Puerto Rico, Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos.
We chose the itinerary based on the Islands visited, and the Ship itself. We sailed on the Carnival Liberty, which is a very elegant ship in the Carnival fleet. For the first time we tried an inside cabin, which is advertised as being the same size as a balcony cabin. We feel this is not true, as the balcony cabins have a small sofa in the cabin, and the inside cabin barely had enough room for the bed and two very small night stands. While the seas were a little rough due to the storms in the region, we enjoyed the "motion of the ocean", which for us is relaxing. Half Moon Cay is a beautiful island, which fills the niche of ocean and beach very satisfactorily, with plenty of time to enjoy both. The lunch served on the island was good, but not quite as good as past cruises to this island. We next went to St. Thomas, which for the first time, we did not do any shore activities there, instead we went to Tortola BVI, and did the Dolphin excursion. This is an expensive tour, but well worth every penny spent. Swimming with the Dolphins is a very exciting and memorable thing to do. They are very intelligent, and gentle, with incredible personalities. We returned to Charlotte Amalie, and did some shopping before returning to the ship. We went next to San Juan, PR. which for us always means exploring the old city. Carnival could improve their shore tours more by including the Segways which are located on Pier 1, and are a fun way to see the old city. We ate at El Toro Salao, which is only three blocks from the pier, and is some of the best Tapas to be found in the old city. We next went to Grand Turk, and chose to swim in the area right next to the ship, which also is right next to Margaritaville. Both are very fun to enjoy, and the fried Conch in Margaritaville is very tasty.
Overall, the cruise was exactly what we like to do, which is spend time on beaches, swim, and enjoy the local foods. On the ship, we normally eat in the formal dining rooms, which on past cruises was the best cuisine afloat, however on this cruise, the food was not quite as good as in the past, lacking some of the more enjoyable of the dishes such as the Delice of the ocean, and other seafood dishes we used to enjoy. It seems that Carnival also has trimmed the serving staff in the formal dining rooms. Our table server was very good, but she was taking care of four tables of 10 guests, and clearly was very hard pressed to keep up. Her assistants seemed to be new, and were not as efficient as she was, which added to her workload. The Mongolian grill was very good, and their spicy hot dishes were delicous. The Deli made very good Reuben's, and Corned beef sandwiches. Guy's burger joint was average hamburger fare. We enjoyed the alchemy bar on the aft promenade deck. The martinis were exquisite, and the atmosphere was relaxing. Embarkation and debarkation were both easy and required little more than patience keeping in mind that they are moving approximately 3000 guests in a very short time frame.
We next went to Grand Turk, and chose to swim in the area right next to the ship, which also is right next to Margaritaville. Both are very fun to enjoy, and the fried Conch in Margaritaville is very tasty.
White beach, the bluest ocean, warm water and gentle waves. Shore tours are limited, but this port is all about the beach and ocean. Food is catered from the ship, and is good. You are tendered ashore, which in rough weather would make this port of call unacessable. A very picturesque location, and very memorable. Please remember to take cameras as you would regret not having any pictures.
Explore the old city! Carnival could improve their shore tours more by including the Segways which are located on Pier 1, and are a fun way to see the old city. We ate at El Toro Salao, which is only three blocks from the pier, and is some of the best Tapas to be found in the old city. Also across from Pier 1 is the DonQ museum, a self guided tour through the very small museum with a free rum drink at the end. Make sure you see El Morro, and San Cristobal forts, which are national parks. You have to pay a $3 fee per person, and are self guided tours. Soldiers plaza is also worth seeing as well as El Paseo de la Princesa (Walk of the princess). This walk lets you see the best of the old city's walls and the last remaining city gate. Once through the gate you continue up the hill to a very old and very beautiful church. This church is still active, so do not enter during a service unless you want to stay for the service.
This is an expensive tour, but well worth every penny spent. Swimming with the Dolphins is a very exciting and memorable thing to do. They are very intelligent, and gentle, with incredible personalities. You do have an hour ride in a water taxi over to Tortola, and you do have to surrender your passport to get it stamped, and have to fill out a customs form for the British island. The return trip also means you have to go through American customs, which is not as pleasant as going through the British customs. The American customs feels more police state and not as friendly as their British counterparts.