We (My husband and I and another couple) just returned from the Carnival Liberty to St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Puerto Rico and Half Moon Cay.
We arrived at Port at about 11:00 a.m. and were on the ship by 12:30. We had an inside cabin and the rooms were very nice. The bed is very comfortable, except for where the two beds join and it has a hump. It makes it uncomfortable to snuggle in the middle of the bed.
We had a beautiful day on Half Moon Cay. It is a very nice Island. The water is beautiful and the sand between my toes always makes for a great day. The buffet that Carnival offered was just ok. They were cooking "jerk chicken" over an open flame grill but 3 of the 4 of us had chicken that was still raw by the bone. I found this a lot with the meat during the entire trip.
This is my 2nd Cruise on Carnival and unfortunately, probably my last. I was just somewhat disappointed with my whole cruising experience this trip. I believe it all started when we were unable to go to St. Thomas b/c of one of the ships engine's breaking down after we left Half Moon Cay. We had to putter at a very low rate of speed to San Juan, Puerto Rico in order for them to fly a specialist in from Germany to fix it. For this reason, we were unable to make our scheduled stop at St. Thomas. St. Thomas was the ONLY reason I booked this particular Cruise. Several people on board stated the same thing!
We arrived at San Juan and approximately 4 p.m. and were told to be back on board by 10:30 p.m. and they would let us know then how the rest of the trip would go. We opted to take a city tour, not realizing that the sun would be going down in less than an hour. So, half-way through the tour that we payed for, we could see absolutely nothing. Although, I think this may have been a good thing b/c I felt that old San Juan was dirty and it reminded me of old Mexico. Usually I find the locals enchanting but not this time. I think it also had something to do with the fact that the minute you walked off the boat, you had several people sitting in the middle of the walkway begging for or approaching you for money. It is one thing for them to be on the side of the walkway but when you have to walk around them, it is not that pleasant of a situation. As we started off the tour, we went through a couple of area's that looked very scary. Run down buildings, boarded up windows, graffiti everywhere. I asked the tour guide about safety and he pointed out a couple of area's that you "shouldn't walk through."
The good news, once we were back on ship was "the engine was fixed" but the bad news "St. Thomas port was full" so we got to spend a 2nd day in Puerto Rico. My husband and I took a local taxi tour to the Rain Forest and it WAS beautiful. We hiked to the waterfall and took some awesome photos. I highly recommend this b/c it is the nicest thing you will see in Puerto Rico. Although, the hike to and from the waterfall was kind of strenuous. It was approximately a 30-35 minute hike to get there. It was up and down on a paved path but still was trying and we had to stop several times to catch our breath and we are both used to walking a lot. Then you had the trip back... The tour guide took a few people who couldn't walk it to a different area and they saw some other sites so I would not let that deter you from going.
Our next stop was Grand Turk. I was actually looking forward to this stop b/c I had seen such cute pictures of Historic downtown. When we got off the boat, you immediately enter into a huge shopping area that Carnival owns, complete with Margaritaville and $8.50 beers. We exited this area and took a taxi "downtown" to see the shops. Seriously, what a joke.... Historic downtown consists of approximately 10 little huts that 3 people can fit into, each selling the same thing---none of it local crafts, 2 places to get "local" food and a place to get your hair braided!!! We went back up the Island by the Cruise ship and found a local cabana bar on the beach that had beers for $3.50 and some VERY STRONG rum drinks. The view was beautiful and again the sand between my toes was awesome but Seriously..... it was just another one of Carnival's private Islands. There is a hut to get a massage on the beach and I have to HIGHLY recommend it!! For $40.00 you can have a 30 minute massage on the beach and the girl that did mine was AWESEOME!!!
I realize a Cruise is what you make of it and this was my 5th so I know what to expect but it just seemed like my husband and I and the other couple with us were bored frequently during the day. The activities during the day just seemed lacking and the activities in the evening didn't usually start until 10:00 p.m. or later. We did attend a couple of the production shows and the male lead singer was very good but I didn't think the female lead singer could sing that well at all. We did attend all 4 adult comedy shows they offered and they were decent. A couple of them being much better than the other two. We did attend a "Dive-In" Movie one evening but there was a big crowd of people standing around the hot tubs making so much noise that you couldn't even here the movie, despite having the staff turn it up twice.
We spent most of our time on the Spa deck reading, which was nice and relaxing but also boring at times because we couldn't find anything else on the ship to do. If you don't drink to get wasted and you don't gamble or play Bingo, you are pretty limited to what you can do. We did ask about the "behind the scenes tour". It was $85.00 a person......... HOLY COW.... we did the galley tour on RC our last cruise and it cost a big whopping $0, NADA, NOTHING..... Needless to say, we passed on that one also!
Now the food.... all I can say is it's a good thing that they have all the specialty food spots because the food on the buffet left A LOT to be desired. I AM NOT a picky eater at all but I'm just mystified of where they come up with some of the stuff they put on the buffet. One dish was raw broccoli and beets mixed together? I like both broccoli and beets but together? The meat off the carving station was either so tough you couldn't eat it or so bloody that I couldn't look at it, let alone put it on my plate. The muffins and pastry's were always dry and hard to swallow and the temperature of the food was usually lukewarm, regardless of rather it should have been hot or cold. I have NO IDEA how anyone with kids, fed them this past week unless they survived on pizza, burgers and ice cream.....
The burrito bar, the pizza place and the deli all had good food but I didn't really go on a cruise to eat that kind of stuff the entire week(but I guess I'm thankful they did because between that and Frosted Flakes, I survived). The omelet bar was also great and they would make fresh eggs anyway that you wanted them. It was frustrating though not to be able to get hot toast to go with the eggs. This was also the first Cruise I have EVER been on that the fresh fruit was tasteless. The pineapple was so sour you couldn't even eat it and the Cantaloupe and Watermelon had no flavor at all.
We did eat in the dining room 4 nights and the food in there was better. I had the fried chicken on two of those nights and it was VERY GOOD.
The staff aboard the Liberty were all VERY friendly and spoke and said "hello" or "good morning" every time they passed us. I was just not impressed with the ship. I can't tell you how many times I got lost trying to get from one place to another b/c it was almost impossible to find a deck that went all the way from one end of the ship to another. It just seemed like the boat was chopped up funny. I got caught behind the one section of the dining room that has "no thru access" and it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get around it.
I know I am probably going to get bombarded b/c of this review but I just felt cheated the entire cruise. I paid for St. Thomas and booked this Cruise especially for St. Thomas. Yes, we were reimbursed $50.00 for not being able to make it to St. Thomas but considering I spent over $2000.00 for Cruise and Airfare to take this Cruise, I don't really feel that $50.00 is going to make much of a difference. I certainly can't make it to St. Thomas on that $50.00....
I hope my fellow Carnival cruisers had a better time than we did on this Cruise but I think I'll go back to Princess or just switch to "all inclusive" resorts from here on out. Apparently Carnival is not what I'm looking for.