My wife and I, both in our early 50s, recently sailed on the Liberty and had a great time.This was our 15th cruise and our goals for cruising are to have fun, get some sun and relax. We achieved all three goals and then some! I am not going to belabor the embarkation and debarkation process expect to say that they both were smooth and without any problems. We stayed in Miami two days before and three days after the cruise.
We sailed to Half Moon Cay, San Juan PR, St Thomas and Grand Turk. We have sailed to all of these ports before, so we knew what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go. The only excursions we did were in San Juan, ATV Adventure. It was well worth the time and money. In Grand Turk we bought the Governors Beach excursion. It too was nice. It includes your lounge chairs and snorkel gear. There are plenty of trees if you like to be in the shade. Half Moon Cay is one of our favorite ports. The sand is great, the water is beautiful and clear. In St Thomas we took a taxi to Magens Bay, rented some chairs and hiked to the far end where hardly anyone goes. We had the beach and water to ourselves. I was disappointed that they have now begun to charge an admission fee to the beach. The ports were excellent.
The ship and crew were for the most part great! There are a few members of the crew that were crabby, but you get that anywhere. 90 percent of the crew would smile and talk to you when you were walking down the halls or in any of the public areas. The Cruise Director, Karl with a K, was one of the best I have ever sailed with. On many cruises, you very rarely see the CD, but Karl was everywhere! You can tell he enjoys his job. Our Cabin Steward, Johnny, was great. We never had a need for anything. Our Waite staff was good. Not the best or the worst we have ever had, we always got the food we ordered, and hardly had to ask for anything. These are the people that always get the recognition. This cruise i did something a little different. I watched for the crew members that don't usually get the spotlight.
I made it a point to see these crew members in a new light. Every day I watched for one of them to be my Liberty "Hero" of the day. Here is what I came up with.
Reka, a photographer (I know the Photo people are everywhere, and some of them can be a bit pushy), was excellent! She really liked her job and made us laugh every time we had our pictures taken with her. Because we were relaxed our pictures came out great!
Wendy (Philippines) was working the Towel Hut on the Serenity Deck. She was so bubbly and friendly that it made it fun just to go get a towel. She has the type of personality that is infectious. If you needed to feel good, your on a cruise and I can't imagine why you would be feeling down, all you had to do was go see Wendy. She kept the area clean, the chairs straight and was ready with a friendly smile and greeting every time you saw her. It didn't matter where you were. Once she met you, she was your friend.
Fadilah (Indonesia) was the guy at the fantail pool. He's was the one with a mop and he would mop the deck every time anybody came out of the pool or the hot tubes. He would mop, smile and say hello every time someone walked near him. Not only was he friendly, but he kept the deck from getting too slippery. I watched one day as he helped an elderly woman get to a table with her tray of food. He never stopped.
Pratiwi (Indonesia) worked at the taste bar. She was so excited to show you what Carnival could do with food. I made this my appetizer to my appetizer. I stopped by the taste bar every night before going to the dinning room. She always had a smile and would explain the "Tastes" that you were about to sample. She was great and friendly.
Maria Elaina (Mexico) was our dinning room bar server. What a joy she was. After the first night, she had my wife's Diet Coke on the table either before we sat down or right after every night. She made it a point to ask how our day was and shared her day with us. She came back several times to make sure my wife had enough to drink. I must say now, that we purchased a bubble sticker, and she was not getting a tip for each drink she brought. She did this because she cared that she had enough to drink.
Wahyu or Jimbo (Indonesia) worked at Guys Burgers (more on the burgers later) I found Guy's Burgers on the first day. In fact, I had been waiting since the new 2.0 upgrades to taste one of these burgers. Jimbo was always working when I went to get a burger. There are two lines to get your burgers, and I always went to his line because he was always so happy. After the second burger, I didn't have to tell him what I wanted. He would look up, greet me, smile and say "Straight Up!" and I had my burger and fries. Even when I wasn't in line to get a burger, he would wave and greet me. I walked by one day, and the whole crew was line dancing to "Gangnam Style" during the Groove for St Jude. What a fun group of people!
Verslis (SP) Maitre D in the Silver Dinning Room. We like to be at a large table out in the open so we can meet as many people as we can and enjoy the performance by the Waite staff. This trip had us at a table for 4 on the second level of the dinning room. Not only were we at a small table, but where we were you couldn't see what was going on. We spoke with him the day of embarkation. There was a group of 900 on the ship, and they had been given priority at the large tables on the first level. He told me that it would be difficult to move us. I took this in stride and had my mind set that we would make the best of the table we were given. The first night, we were on the second level and he passed by several times. During one of his trips by, he asked if we were doing alright. We were. That night, I got a letter from him moving us to the first level. It was another table for four, but we could see the performances and really enjoyed our new table.
Now for Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana Burritos. All I can saw is "Darn you Carnival!" I gained 5 pounds on this cruise because I couldn't decide if I wanted a burger or a burrito, so I had both!!! The burgers and burritos are excellent. We always had them for lunch and if we made it before they closed we had them as a late afternoon snack (We ate dinner at 8:15). If you don't try these, you are missing out!
Overall the food in the dinning room was good. I was disappointed in the Prime Rib. Both times I selected it for my dinner, it was dry. It seemed not to be the best cut of meat you can get. Everything else I had was great. We even had the Creme brulee twice. All we had to do was request it for our last night and "Poof" it was there! I must say that the Chocolate Warming Cake is still my favorite! We didn't have any problem ordering extra appetizers or main courses as I have read in some of the posts here. In fact, I love shrimp cocktail (Thanks Carnival for putting it back on the menu), and ordered two every night. On Prime Rib and Lobster night, they didn't bat an eye when we ordered two main courses.
I must say that overall this was a great cruise. My suggestion is that you take some time to get to know the crew and you will have an exceptional time.