We just returned from our 12 day Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Carnival Liberty.
First of all, the ship was lovely. I guess I would call it "bold elegance." Still somewhat "glitzy", but not wild and gaudy like other Carnival ships. This was our 6th Carnival cruise. Let me say that we have not sailed Carnival in many years as we had a bad experience once, and switched to other cruise lines.
We decided to give Carnival another try as we liked the itinerary.
We flew from Chicago to Rome. My husband and I could not get seats together ON ANY LEG OF THE TRIP, which neither one of us liked. We were very disappointed in that as we had mad our reservations directly with the cruise line.
Although extremely tired when we arrived in Rome, we took the Holy Rome tour which was fantastic. Tired, we arrived at the pier, and began the "cattle herding" experience. A Carnival representative kept insisting we sit....for some reason she did not want us to remain in a line. However, if we did that, all of us would have lost our places in line, so needless to say, there were about 50 or so people that were getting pretty cranky, because we were tired and hungry.
After a long delay (seemed like it anyway, but in actually only about 20 minutes)because the computer system broke down, we finally made it onto the ship.
Our cabin - 8452 - located on the very back of the ship was very nice. We had an extra large balcony. There was plenty of closet space, and we stowed our large suitcases under the bed to get them out of the way.
All of the shore excursions were fantastic. One of ours was cancelled, so we had to make another selection. Our favorite was the gondola ride and dinner at the Hotel Monoco on the Grand Canal in Venice. Yes, this is a pricey tour, but most enjoyable. Everyone I talked to enjoyed their excursions, so I don't feel you will go wrong on any of them
Be really careful of pickpockets....they are abundant...even little kids who seem sweet and adorable will distract you and are very adept at their craft. My husband did not carry a billfold, nor I a purse. I wore a wallet on a string which I kept inside my blouse, and we both wore money belts to keep a little cash and our credit card. I carried a backpack which I carried in front.
Watch for distractions like someone will "spill" something. Another person will offer to help clean it up....that's the distraction...and the whole time he is picking your pocket. Also, they will cut the strap of fanny packs so be careful there too. Some other things to watch for are 2 woman with a baby. One lady screams that her baby is sick, and she shoves the baby at you, the other one gets your stuff. They will also stick a pizza under you nose and try to get you to buy it. but you can't see what they are doing under that pizza box. JUST BE EXTRA ALERT.
Counterfeit merchandise is everywhere...Rolex, Prada, Gucci, you name it they are selling the counterfeit version. Here's the catch. in Venice, it is NOT illegal to sell this stuff, but IS illegal to buy it... The fine is quite stiff if you get caught. In Pisa however, it is not illegal to buy it.
Food on board.....well that leaves something to work on. As a veteran of 15 cruises on several different lines, the food is of poor quality. Hot food is barely hot, cold food is barely cold. Steaks were tough, and grainy. As a registered nurse, I observed everything from an infection control standpoint. I did not like the "spoon in the jelly jar." It would be much safer to serve portion control jelly, peanut butter, and syrup rather than the spoon so everyone handles it. needless to say, I did not partake of any of these condiments.
Now for the entertainment. The cruise director, John Heald is very funny and entertaining. However, the entertainment is sorely lacking. There was not even a show every night. Oh sure, there was the guest talent show, the karaoke show, the married show, the "carnival legends show (yes, starring the guest again). Seems as though Carnival is trying to get by on the cheap with the shows as compared to other cruise lines.
They talk about the "carnival comfort bed" a lot. There are several brochures left in your cabin, encouraging you to buy one. I guess as far as ship beds, it is not too bad, but I got a little sick of the sales pitch for it.
We really had a fiasco on the day of debarkation. We were the first group off the ship. It was raining, so they announced that they had put our luggage ON the bus, so that we would not have to stand in the rain.
What they did not tell you, was they put our luggage somewhere on any one of the 41 buses headed for the airport.
We arrived at the airport and 2 and 1/2 hours later, standing in the pouring rain, we finally located ALL of our luggage spread out on 4 different buses. Our last suitcase was found on the last bus (number 41) to arrive. Carnival was anticipating a problems as they had us fill out a lost luggage paper on the trip to the airport!!!
Picture 3,000 people all milling around in a downpour looking for luggage. NO EXCUSE FOR THIS MESS!!!!
Would I cruise Carnival again? Probably not. Overall, they lack attention to detail that other cruiselines have. Customer service is poor, food quality poor to medium, entertainment poor. BUT SHORE EXCURSIONS EXCELLENT!
Bon Voyage, maybe I'll see you on another cruise line in the future!!! Getting through security, check-in etc. took another 1 and 1/2 hours. We nearly missed our flight, thanks to that luggage nightmare!!!!!