Carnival Liberty - Western Caribbean: Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by lourspolaire
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Liberty - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarkation was a breeze. Due to advanced arthritis, my wife travels with her electric scooter. Carnival had been made aware that our party included a handicapped person. We were met at the counter by a very nice attendant, who made sure we boarded the ship as soon as passengers were allowed on board. The process could not have been more painless.
My wife can hardly walk anymore. Well, she may as well have been invisible while riding her electric scooter. Fellow passengers consistently showed blatant disregard for the scooter More and her handicap throughout the cruise. They would cut across her path, sigh heavily when stuck behind her in the corridors and get impatient when she boarded or left elevators. I sincerely believe they would have attempted to jump over her, if they thought they could have gotten away with it. I have never seen that on another ship before. Our previous sailing experiences showed that people were caring, considerate and helpful. Could we have encountered a lesser quality of cruisers on that trip? One can only wonder.
Our cabin was an inside stateroom, as requested. My wife sometimes sleeps the day away when her arthritis bothers her. The room was of very acceptable size. There was even enough room for my wife's electric scooter to be kept and recharged in our stateroom. We had ample closet space, enough hangers, 4 good size drawers, a desk, 2 night tables, a safe, a telephone, a refrigerator and a television set. We enjoyed that stateroom. It fit our needs very nicely. The bathroom is the standard utilitarian size bathroom one finds on cruise ships. We never had a problem with that. The room's steward quickly understood that he would not be able to do the room until his 2PM run. He was very gracious about it.
When you enter your stateroom, you find 2 blue towels. Those are your pool and excursion towels for the trip. Your cabin steward will replace them with clean ones every time you request it. You need only drop them on the bathroom floor. You must carry those with you when you go to the pool because the towel hut is chronically out of towels. You must also make sure you bring them back to the room at the end of the day because if they go missing, you will be invoiced $22 per missing towel. The way I see it, $22 is a lot to pay for misplacing a used towel.
Let's talk about the ship. She is huge, which some people enjoy. Sheer size seems to be an indicator of quality in these troubled times. We believe it's not the size but the quality of its design that counts. The ship failed to impress us on many counts. There is not one room, either forward or aft, where you can get a panoramic view of the sea around you (or your port of call) while quietly sipping the beverage of your choice. Oh, we did find the Victoria room but it has been taken over by these ubiquitous art auction at sea people. The drapes are constantly drawn and the room is useless to passengers not interested in having artworks schlepped at home at the end of the cruise. My recommendation: move all that framed stuff into The Cabinet room. That room is as boring as a corporate conference room and not much takes place in there, anyway. Better yet, tell these art at sea people to take a hike and keep these two rooms for the passengers' benefit. Don't hold your breath folks. The way I see it, that's not about to happen.
Anywhere you go on the ship, there are row upon row of columns:, a veritable forest of columns. Some of them are definitely structural. Many more are plainly decorative. You encounter columns in the middle of hallways, all around the lobby, the dining room, the casino, the promenade: everywhere. I counted 16 columns in The Venetian Palace room alone. That make for an awful lot of obstructed view seats in the ship's theatre.
One major and annoying flaw is the fact a such a large facility as the Golden Olympian is located a little forward of midship. It completely blocks off decks 3 and 4. The ship is built like a maze. To get from one end of the ship to another, you may need to get to deck 5 (Promenade), travel forward or aft and take another elevator to take you to your destination. There are ship's maps on every floor near the elevators. They are about 18 inches long and require reading glasses to interpret.
The ship's overall decoration is, in one word, extremely repetitive: impressionist flowery garden behind an imitation convoluted wrought iron grill. It seems to say: See the nice garden. You can't go there. Tapered columns with fake terracota tiles, surmounted by a classical terracota urn full of plastic bougainvillia can be found all over the ship. When wandering the corridors, you have no way to easily tell if you're going forward or aft. I remember the carpets on another ship having a coral reef design. The fish all swan forward. You never walked in the wrong direction on THAT ship.
I read the various reviews fellow past passengers of the Carnival Liberty have written before sailing. Many people were criticizing the cuisine on board. Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with the food unless you expect Chaine des Rôtisseurs quality for a small price. My wife and I can cook up a storm and we are no strangers to american, european, asian and middle-eastern cuisines. We have sampled dishes from all those categories and have never had a bad experience. One thing, though: all foods are served at tepid temperatures, rather than hot. That is a shame. Our waiter and his assistant took extremely good care of us throughout the cruise. Being happy with the dining room's fare and service, we didn't visit the Supper Club.
Another thing is the flatware in the dining rooms. Your plate is flanked by a fork, a knife and a small spoon. If you return them with your plate, the waiter or his assistant will gladly supply another one automatically but I do enjoy having 4 forks, 3 knives, a large spoon, etc, in front of me at the beginning of the meal. It feels special, somehow. Nonetheless, we were never stuck without utensils.
There is a great place called The Grille on deck 9 aft where they make wonderful hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, minute steak sandwiches and chicken breast sandwiches. Their french fries are ordinary. That place is very busy all the time. There is also a soft ice cream machine in that area that produces an awful lot of soft serve ice cream in the course of one day. Also located on deck 9 aft is The Pizzeria, serving good pizza around the clock.
There are 2 adult pools on the ship. The midship pool area is noisy, crowded and a lot of activities take place there. The aft pool area is quieter. Both pools are ridiculously small for a ship that size. Nevertheless, you get people in there with their swim goggles doing 15-foot laps in 4 ½ feet of water. You find them in every pool, on every ship. These people should be keelhauled.
On embarkation day, I purchased a soda card. My wife does not drink sodas. I find I got a good value for my money. The soda itself comes from a can rather than a fountain so quality is always optimum. Also, you don't have to sign your name to a bill every time you get a soda.
Emile's is the buffet on deck 9 aft. It's a very large room with 4 buffet lines, an oriental hole in the wall and a deli hole in the wall. Food in these 2 establishments is good but their location seems more like an afterthought, consisting merely of a hole in the wall. At the buffet, the coffee machines are frequently empty, or there is not a coffee cup in sight. Same goes for glasses for the ice and water machines or the juice dispensers: not a glass in sight. Ask an attendant and you'll be told Oh, they are coming.
Generally speaking, I found the staff to be a tad on the apathetic side. For example, I was looking for smoked salmon in the buffet one morning. I felt like having a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I was told that Only the dining room has smoked salmon. I thought How exclusive. When I asked why, I was told: It's like that. The next day, I had breakfast in the dining room. I got my bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I asked why there was no smoked salmon at the buffet and I was told: It's like that. Well, that explains it well, doesn't it? What a concept. I'm glad they clarified that for me.
Let's consider the entertainment on board. We have seen 3 shows and they all stank. I'm sorry to say this but it is the truth. One night, we saw a hypnotist that managed to put me to sleep in my seat (from boredom, not his art). My snoring woke me up. A lady in front of me, who seemed to be enjoying the show immensely looked at me with fire in her eyes. I toughed it out, thinking the best part of the show was coming. It didn't. Then, there was this stand-up comic who impersonated the NBA by squeaking his running shoes on the stage floor. Are we having fun yet? He was scheduled to do the R-rated comedy show the following evening at midnight. That stank even worse than the two other shows.
The cruise staff is very busy keeping cruisers occupied during every waking hour of the cruise. Mr. Cruise Director (I forget his name) enjoys speaking on the public address system. He is also in love with the sound of his own voice. His voice can be heard blaring all over the ship many times every day, calling the faithful to bingo, sandbags, pool games, napkin folding, art auctions, slot machine tournaments, etc. The cruise staff managed to slip that tired If I were not upon the sea, a common trollop I would be song into the debarkation talk. Is there a maritime law stating that this schtick must be included at least once into every cruise? Come on, cruise staff: get those thinking caps on and find something new to perform, for once in your lives. The noon-hour captain's report could also be scrapped. Who honestly cares about our current latitude and longitude, or how fast we are sailing, or how much water there is under us?
As far as live music on the ship is concerned, a trio of classical musicians was very entertaining. They played in the lobby every night, to everyone's delight. The Piano Man room was kept rocking by a very talented pianist that played with great vigor. Situated halfway between the classical trio and the Piano Man room, stood a 60-ish pitiful guitar scratcher/harmonica blower who sang 60s and 70s hits in a monotone voice that could induce depression if you stayed within earshot more than 10 minutes. Set against the continuous ringing of the casino's slot machines and people walking to and fro on the Promenade, his music didn't stand a chance. The question was: Where did they find that guy?. The mystery remains whole.
On every cruise before this one, it seemed that the staff was into origami (japanese paper folding). I have been folding origami figures since the age of 8. I have always had a good time sharing origami models with the ships' staff and learning a thing or two from them. Well, folders, leave your fancy paper at home because no one seems to have even heard of origami on the Carnival Liberty.
We didn't book any excursions, having visited all three ports of call previously. Carnival went out of its way to tell everyone that unless you are accompanied by one of the ship's tour guides, you are in grave danger in these ports of call. It may not be as dangerous as they claim. I went for a walk out there and no one put a machine gun to my head. If those places are so dangerous, why do they go there? That's another question that bears asking.
Debarkation was uncontrolled pandemonium. Things looked so organized at the debarkation talk the day before: colored tags, precise instructions spelled out for even the densest passenger to understand, etc. However, it didn't happen like that. They called passengers with 3 different tag colors to all come down at the same time. There were people in the stairs, people in the elevator's foyer, people in the halls, people unable to get out of the elevator because the doors opened to a packed crowd, people everywhere creating a bottleneck that takes over 30 minutes to negotiate. Instead of calling 3 color tags at the same time, why not announce that only people with turquoise tags will get off the ship at this time, then move on to another color 5 or 10 minutes later? That process needs rethinking. Once youre off the ship, things are much easier. The Customs and Immigration process is quick and one easily finds his suitcases in the terminal.
When all is said and done, one question remains: would we sail with Carnival again? My wife and I agree to say no. Less
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