Carnival Liberty - Western Caribbean: Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by lawofraven
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Liberty - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Lets start at the beginning. We flew down on the 3rd of December to be able to explore Ft Lauderdale a little bit. We had a reservation for the Days Inn. We booked it through our trip rewards program. Well the hotel no longer exists, they are in rebuilding mode. Yes I had confirmed reservation before we went. Problem is I checked through trip rewards and not the actual hotel. Lesson learned. So our wonderful cab driver informed us that the only rooms he knows of were at the Hard Rock Hotel at $350 a night, because of the motorcycle Christmas drive. So we called and were able to get a room. It was a costly mistake but it was very cool. I highly recommend this place. If you are able to book ahead of time the rooms arent quite as costly. The hotel has a More restaurant, casino, and an outside shopping plaza that includes other eateries and clubs. It is about a $25 van ride to the pier.
Embarkation: We stood in long lines and waited in 3 different areas until we got to the actual checking in part. There was a group of travel agents touring the ship and we had to wait til they were done. But once we started moving it went very quickly. When we got on the ship there was a crew member handing out deck plans instead of a line of people waiting to help you find your way to cabins. Needless to say we got lost. Eventually we found our cabins on the main deck. I missed not having an escort or at least someone to answer our questions as to which way we should go.
Cabins: We had two cabins. One for us and one for mom and son. This was the first time we booked an inside cabin and I loved it. My mom said it was nice but next time she wants a window. My son, Dan, would leave the TV on to the forward camera channel so they knew when it was light or dark outside. The TV channels were the 3 main networks, TNT, CNN and two movie channels. The movies were the same movie played over and over on that specific day and was listed in the Capers. The cabins were tastefully decorated with warm wood tones for the cabinets and colorful artwork on the wall. Our rooms had refrigerators as part of a locked cabinet. You have to ask your room steward to unlock them because it is a mini-bar, but you can move things around and make room for your own stuff if you need to. The rooms also have hairdryers and a safe. The safe is locked and unlocked with a credit card or your sail and sign card. The same card that locks it must be used to open it. This caused several problems for my mom and Dan. My mom wasnt able to get her credit card out to go shopping in Grand Cayman because Dan had left early to go diving. The bathrooms have 3 shelves with ledges on each side of the sink and plenty of counter space. Dan was amused by the toilet and the whooshing sound it makes (hes 16 and it was his first cruise). We had some problems with our showers. In my Moms room the drain was clogged and in our room the shower head was broken. Our fabulous room steward Carlos called maintenance and everything was fixed in a couple of hours. The only problem I had was the bedding. The pillows are large fluffy and synthetic. I know some people love these pillows. I hate them. I couldnt sleep well all week because I felt like I was being suffocated. Also as soon as I would lie down my nose would stuff up and I would wake up coughing and sneezing every other hour or so. I asked the pursers desk if they had any other kind of pillows but all they had were big fluffy feather filled ones. If I could have slept out on a deck chair I would have been better off. It was a shame because the beds themselves are very comfortable. Whats funny is halfway through the cruise a pamphlet is left in your room telling you where you can purchase the bedding you are enjoying, not!
Dining: We asked for late seating and we were in the Silver Olympian room on the upper level. Our table was a booth at the railing overlooking the stairs to the lower level. The wait staff was wonderful and would entertain the room every evening. The first formal night was our first day at sea (Tuesday) and the second formal night was Thursday but it was optional as it was a port day (Costa Maya). Dont believe Carnival when they tell you it's total choice dining. When it comes to supper you chose to either eat in the dining room or go hungry. Except for one night there is no buffet in the evening. Your other choice is Harrys supper club at $30 a pop. Not worth it. Same menu every night and no vegetarian offering. Harrys is a beautiful room though. It is inspired by Winstons jewelry, and there are showcases with some of his pieces on display. Im not sure if the special chef was only for this week because of the wine club event or if he is going to be permanent. The food was mostly blah. I would recommend the Essence of Japan to anyone because it was the only good entree all week. The soups and deserts are excellent but overall I expected better. We ordered room service a few times and were happier with that food then the dining room. The buffet is another matter. This area is called Emilies and is broken up into several stations. 4 main lines and 6 sub stations. The sub stations are scattered along the sides (Deli and Oriental), upstairs (Fish and Chips), and the very back is pizza and grill. Also a stir-fry station near the front. Each day was a different Taste of a Nation. We all really enjoyed Chocolate nation day. Never found a dining room open for lunch. Breakfast it is either open seating in dining room or the usual breakfast buffet. There are drink and ice cream stations all over the buffet area. Sometimes there were lines but they all moved quickly and because its all broken up it isnt congested.
Entertainment: Mom and I went to several shows. The comedian Percy Crews was tears rolling down our faces funny. The Rock n Roll on Broadway show was very good and the special effects were grand. More than I thought would be possible onboard a ship. The orchestra sinks into the floor and there are small fireworks. There are small themed bars all throughout the ship. Some are smoker friendly and are listed in the Capers. Gloves is the sports bar and the only place to watch ESPN. We liked the football couches but the bar stools shaped like baseball gloves are not comfy for long term seating. Jeff and Dan spent most nights in the Piano bar. This has to be the coolest piano bar ever! Duane the piano man has a huge repertoire and encourages sing alongs. He can also turn his piano in circles on a moving platform. The Stage is where they had a Beatlemania night. My mom was all about this. Small dance floor but that didnt stop her. The Victorian lounge is a larger room and had Karaoke most nights. The Empress room is a beautiful and small oriental decorated room. I dont know what this room was used for in the evenings but during the day I liked to sit in here. It is dark and quiet and has long comfortable couches. The Hot and Cold disco is funkadelic! I cant even describe the decor you have to see for yourself to believe. The music selections left much to be desired though. Very new music, not to our liking. It is similar to those NY dj mixes of redone dance music. Club O2 is the area for teens. It is a combined dance floor and arcade. Parents beware, except for 2 near the back door, all games are a $1. Dan was disappointed as there never really seemed to be any activities going on. He did take great pleasure in playing games with the crew members after hours and wiping out the crane machine of stuffed animals (at least 6). The big outside screen would show different things all day or live shots during the deck parties. They showed Rocky Horror Picture Show one night at midnight and other movies were listed in the capers. During the day it is difficult to find a place on deck where you can see the screen without the suns glare.
Ports: Freeport, Bahamas Not that great. Jeff and Dan went diving and had a great time. Mom and I just browsed in the little shopping area right off the ship. There were no excursions that we found of particular interest. Grand Cayman Jeff and Dan went diving at Eden rock. Dan was not impressed. Jeff says a guide for diving here would be money he wishes he had spent. The hurricane season really seems to have done a lot of underwater damage. Mom and I booked an island tour through Carnival. It was awful. We were scheduled to stop at The Tortuga rum factory, the Turtle farm, and Hell. Well it was hell all right. There were 20 or so people on our bus. The buss A/C dripped all over my mom, the woman in front of us, and our souvenirs. When we got to the Turtle farm we were not allowed to enter because our drivers boss had not given our paid ticket stubs back for entrance. The driver had to call his boss, have info faxed to the office and finally we had 10 minutes to wander around with our driver who told us nothing about the place. Some of us followed a different driver who was explaining all the tanks and such. By this time 2 of the couples had arranged for alternate transportation back to the ship rather than finish the tour. We then got to stop at Hell for 10 minutes before we had to hustle back to the ship to stand in a very long line for the tenders. Our 2 hour tour turned into 3 hours of disgust. One of the fellow passengers had an employee at the turtle farm write a letter explaining what transpired. We all put our room numbers and how many tickets we purchased on the letter. The group complained to the pursers desk and the shore excursion desk. Carnival resolved the issue quickly and with much satisfaction. Our monies were refunded and we received a letter of apology with a promise to forward our comments to the appropriate department for the information. Thank you very much to Vaughan Bronner, the manager who was able to sort through the mess and fix the problem.
Costa Maya: My only complaint was we were not there long enough. This port substituted for Cozumel. Jeff and I have been here before and were quite tickled that not much has changed. The area has not been over developed like Cancun. We spent the day hanging out at the Tequila Beach club. Drinks and food were included in the price but beach service left much to be desired. Go to the bar, directly to the bar, and dont pass go. Stronger drinks and food were to be found there. While you can snorkel from the shore Jeff, Dan, and I paid extra to participate in a boat trip further down the reef. It was money well spent. Jeff has been on a quest for 5 years to see a turtle in the ocean and he was finally rewarded. We had an awesome guide that knew the reef very well. He brought a sea urchin up from the bottom for us to hold and many large shells to investigate. He would then return them to their proper place when we finished picture taking. But too soon it was time to go back to the ship.
In conclusion, I know you are thinking it is about time. This was the first cruise for my mom and Dan. Jeff and I would only rate this trip a possible 6 out of 10, mostly because of the piano bar and the staff that went overboard (pun intended) to make every passenger feel special. Mom and Dan rate it an 8 and look forward to cruising again. Jeff and I will be cruising in April with Norwegian. It will probably be a while before we cruise with Carnival again. Not that is was bad but we like NCL better. Freestyle dining has us spoiled. Carnival has many activities and things to do but many of them are at the same time and you have to chose between food or activity. With NCL we never worry about when to eat and participate in activities. I cant imagine that I missed anything but if I did please ask and I will answer if I can. Less
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