When I learned my 85+ year-old parents wished to travel with us for their last cruise, I wondered if Carnival would be up to the task. We have experienced 27 Carnival cruises including this Liberty sailing. My parents would be joining us, along with our daughter and son-in-law (30-somethings), and our friends (50-somethings).
My worries were many. Daughter and son-in-law had sailed the Liberty about 1 year ago, same itinerary/same cruise director, and they called it a party ship which pleased them! Wondered if the ship would be too rowdy. Would my parents find an orchestra or just a few single or duet acts with electronic backup? Would the food entice them or be more or less blah? Could the party atmosphere accommodate the slower pace of the elderly? Could they relate to the entertainment? (I needed them to feel welcome.)
We have had many experiences on Carnival ships and most of them positive, but we have seen changes over the years also.
Enough background. The Liberty and its staff proved itself over and over for all three generations. The food was much better than average; the ship sparkled with its cleanliness; there was a 10-piece orchestra that nearly blew us out of the lounge (OK, that could be dialed back a notch); the lounge show costumes wowed the parents, and these were new shows for us also. Staff seemed genuinely pleased to be working on this ship and would start conversations if it seemed any of us was in the mood to learn about their lives and their homelands.
And finally, we had one experience that might have been a bit dicey if not for the willing and able shore staff in Grand Cayman. One parent became overheated. We were able to return to the terminal and a wheel chair and Carnival staff person was readily available to assist us and get both parents back on the tender and back to the ship. (The younger group was able to remain on shore for a while longer, knowing our loved ones were well taken care of.) Watching your parents--who might have bitten off more than they could chew by getting off the ship--aboard that tender back to the ship was a very good feeling. When the tender delivered them back to the ship, a staff person called an elevator for them and made sure they were doing better.
Carnival gets a lot of press and mostly when there is a problem. It was time for me to speak up with a positive review--by and large we have been extremely happy with the service/product that Carnival offers. We also had a wonderful trip to the Baltic in June/July of this year. We have cruised other lines, and we have enjoyed those also, but we come back to Carnival time after time for the value.
Embarkation and Debarkation were remarkably easy even though the oldest generation needed wheelchairs due to walking and standing difficulties.
Finally--any day sitting on a cruise ship in the middle of beautiful blue water is so much better than your best day at work!