Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by IanAber: The party ship, not for the discerning cruiser.
Overall Member Rating
The party ship, not for the discerning cruiser.
Destination: Western Caribbean
Information about ports of call was sparse at best with no maps of any real use. It was just about the organised trips which while good are too expensive to rely on for every port of call.
Afternoon tea, held at 3:30 not 4:00 as is customary where such practices were developed, was very disappointing. Instead of scones and cream with jam they had 'scones' that were more like cookies and filled with cream cheese. Others sweet treats were laden with fake cream and sickly frosting. I am not one to complain about food but nobody we met who went to the tea was impressed by it. Carnival should not have bothered. Compared to the equivalent on the Carnival cruise we took out of Jacksonville of a couple of years ago it was a total flop.
Many of the announcements made in the theatre and elsewhere were done by people who have English as their second or third language. A valiant effort on their part but it results in total confusion as most English speaking people were having More great difficulty understanding them.
The Serenity area aimed at those adults who don't want to be subjected to the mega-noise of the party ship was arranged right next to the children's play area. We found ourselves being stared at and giggled about by little kids peering through the divider. Whilst they were not out there all the time, when they were playing the pool it was hardly serene!
The cabin itself was very nicely appointed and quite spacious but there was constant noise from the disco four floors above and the mechanicals below. We were in 1397.
Beware of the buffet open times. Despite many people trying to get something to eat and the fully stocked buffets having plenty of food, they were all closed promptly at 2:30PM leaving only a couple of speciality options such as the deli and the pizza. On a sea day this resulted in much consternation from frustrated guests who were turned away. Not just a couple of people here but loads of them. Activities were arranged at meal times that made it difficult to eat and partake, eg. the Art Auction on the second sea day.
Dress code enforcement in the dining room was non existent with everything being tolerated. Youths with Jeans, hooded sweatshirts, hood up, and earbuds in at dinner is not socially acceptable in a classy restaurant.
If you are a party animal who doesn't go in for dressing up, fine food or etiquette. If you don't need sleep at night and you love to drink to excess then this is probably the perfect cruise for you.
Some aspects of the cruise were very good. Getting on and off the ship in port was very efficient and the entertainment in the theatre and comedy lounge were well above average although the timings could have been better arranged to allow more to be enjoyed. Many of the staff tried very hard but you did get the feeling that they were not impressed with the level of the guests and had little respect for many of them. I am not sure that all the guests really deserved respect though to be fair.
Disembarkation, or debarkation as the Americans insist on calling it for some odd reason, was incredibly slow due to the Miami authorities. This was not Carnivals fault at all of course but nonetheless caused much frustration for those of us who just wanted to get on our way. It was after midday by the time the last of us made it out to the ground transportation. Less
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Cabin interior was spacious and very well appointed. Bathroom was above average size and the linens were very good. Cabin steward did an excellent job. Noise from the Disco 4 floors above was quite noticeable until 3 or 4 in the morning so you should look for a cabin much further forward if you want to sleep.
Port and Shore Excursions
Xunantunich is quite a trek from the port, a two hour coach ride, but well worth the effort. To fully appreciate it you will definitely need to be relatively fit so you can climb up to the top of the ruins or at least make it to the base which itself requires a fairly energetic uphill walk.
The guides were excellent and displayed great knowledge and enthusiasm for their cultural heritage. The stop for food was brief, not wanting to take away time from enjoying the main attraction. The food was an appetising and interesting dish of rice and beans with seasoned chicken and fried plantain. No drinks were provided so expect to spend $2 on a local beer which is well worth it, and 1$ on an excellent local ice cream.
This trip will consume the entire day so you won't get much opportunity to buy souvenirs but it is well worth the effort.
There was no information provided on the ship for Cozumel unless you took an organised trip. The town is a taxi ride away and there are only a few bars and the usual cruise port facilities within easy walking distance. There are a couple of bars along the water front with diving facilities and quite nice places to sit and enjoy a margarita. Beware of the prices though. The drinks on the ship were less expensive and better quality!
The port of Georgetown is packed with the obligatory jewellery and souvenir stores with all the familiar and monotonous Diamonds International, Tanzanite etc. facilities represented. There are a few local bars but beware of expensive prices. Breezes on the Bay looks like an interesting stop sitting on the second story of the main shops overlooking the port. At first glance the prices look a little steep at 8.95 for a Hurricane, but when you add the automatic 18% gratuity and then factor in the Gran Cayman dollar to US dollar exchange rate (prices quoted are NOT US) you are projected into the stratosphere spending almost $26 US for two Hurricanes that were average at best. Better to go back tot he ship and have a couple for $16 which you will enjoy more for price and taste.
Grand Cayman is know for its sea activities and water is definitely incredibly clear and teeming with life. I would recommend taking a trip to experience this location at its best.
The port at Mahogany Bay is very nicely appointed. There are the mandatory Dufry's duty free, Diamonds International and Tanzanite stores amongst others. Then there is a bar run by Fat Tuesdays'. A very expensive chair lift ($12 per person for a one day pass) will take you to the beach area. It's only a short walk which is quite pleasant and there is a nature trail route alternative which is also very pleasant to stroll through. A lot of effort is being put in to keeping this place in tip top condition and it shows. The beach is very well stocked with free loungers. You can hire shades and floats if you like or just sit on a lounger with your ship supplied towel and do your own thing in the crystal clear water. A roped off area of water keeps people from straying to far out but there is plenty of room for everyone. More Fat Tuesday run bars and food are available at the beach and prices and quality were competitive. Look at this experience as being similar to the private Bahamas Islands beach stops popular with the Royal Caribbean crowd.
To see anything else in Roatan you will need to take a taxi or an organised trip.
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