Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by Rencruiser3: Had a wonderful time. It compared really well with Disney and Holland
Overall Member Rating
Had a wonderful time. It compared really well with Disney and Holland
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
This was our third cruise. We started with Alaska on Holland America then went to Bahamas on Disney and now Western Caribbean with Carnival. Much to my surprise they really compared well and in areas surpassed Disney. We really had a great time.
I’ll start with
Embarkation : Boarding was a breeze. We did come on about half an hour before our assigned time ( 1:30) and found our room was ready although of course the luggage took time to arrive.I was glad we brought carry-ons . I had ordered decorations for our Anniversary which had been hung and (although a lil tacky in a way) made a festive mood. Our tickets for excursions and all info we needed was easily located. The room was bigger than I expected and very comfortable.I knew I would need my clothes ironed for the first formal dinner the next night. Be AWARE ...you need to ask the steward for clear costs.I was told by the steward that he could have them ready by the next day and would pick them up in the More morning. The mis-communication came when he neglected to tell me that by picking it up the next morning it would be SAME DAY pricing. I only needed one outfit the next day..I was charged same day for all outfits which was exorbitant...be careful. I did get this ironed out later(excuse the pun).
Food: We used the dining room each night for dinner. They are very clear about dress codes on dress up nights but dress casual all other times. I wanted separate seating but didn't arrange it before- hand . I am now glad because we made some great friends at dinner. The food was fantastic. The dining room was elegant, the staff well versed in service and the late dining gave us the ability to take our time. Also we did excursions that would have made it difficult to get to early dining. I thought the food stood well against Holland America and was actually up a notch from Disney. It was plated very professionally and creatively, was fresher when served and portioned very well. The quality and variety were high end 4 star with the exception of the roasted vegetable and succotash…a little overdone.
We did two brunches . The choices were not complicated (basically the same as room service which, it being an anniversary trip , we used most other mornings). The food choices on Lido are almost better than the dining room at breakfast because you can pick and choose more. My husband enjoyed the make your own omelet window. At lunch my favorite was the burrito buffet. Awesome sauces and broad variety of ingredients. My husband took to the Guys Burgers right next door and although the fries could be crisper , he was satisfied . I tried the stir fry wok meals once but the sauces were way to hot(spicy) for my liking. You can ask them to tone it down. HINT: don’t miss the tasting bar on dress nights…awesome.
Entertainment : We tried the big shows in the Venetian Palace. I enjoyed hearing the live band as opposed to the half canned music elsewhere on the ship .The horn section was wonderful and from what I understand they want to cancel the orchestra…Big Mistake. It was what made it seem like a real show. It was “vegas floor show” style but the voices were well trained and the dancers well practiced. I enjoyed the around the world one best. It felt very Radio City Rockets. A little less pole swaying type movement might have given it a bit more class but overall it was entertaining .
The comedians...not so much. The female literally had passengers warning each other to stay away. We took the warning. I found the male to be OK but he stayed with one theme and kind of worked it to death , we didn't stay to the end.
The various bands around the ship were actually a combination of live and prerecorded assist. They all had specific genre’s that they performed well. The oldies, piano bar , jazz, Latin and karaoke were all just a bit dated but very professional. The Latin band really drew people into dancing although more members with live instruments would have been better for those that don’t dance. Two other couples we spoke with that had gone Holland America also ,mentioned the classical quartet as a missing piece here and I have to agree…at least it was all live and authentic.
The casino was exactly what you want from a gambling establishment. There was a good variety of options from .25 cent on up. Although some machines advertised penny games the minimum bet was 30 cents so it actually is in keeping. The décor was grand and lively , although I could have done without the indoor smoking .
On Board Activities:
Movie under the Stars : great place to watch movies. The choice of movies was so so. I don’t know what royalties they have to pay but an upgrade of choices would be good. Maybe an early evening kids movie Pixar or such and then a later time for something more adult…not x or R rated just something like Men in Black or other adult comedy. Drive in’s always offered double features like this. The popcorn…pretty bad. Maybe a choice of caramel corn or regular...adds some salt and butter guys.
Spa: great people. Hard workers. My husband got a nice haircut at a reasonable price. The other amenities were in my opinion way over priced. I think the staff really lost out because of the cost, as did the cruisers.
Serenity adult only area: A private quite place to be pampered by personal service for free. Nice comfy furnishings and slow peaceful pace.
Miniature Golf : very fun. Good for families looking to occupy the kids or adults looking to be kids again.
Director lead activities : if you get Corey for a cruise director you’ll enjoy some fun. He ran several activities such as: A murder mystery game that was televised on your cabin T.V.. He lead games on stage that I won’t spoil by exposing them but they were really funny to watch. He did a Meet and Greet for the Cruise Critics and arranged rooms for them to meet in throughout the cruise. He let everyone know what to expect when one day ashore was canceled and created a number of substitute activities.
They also offer Bingo with reasonably good cash prize amounts.
Cruiser Specific activities:
AA meeting places were made available. No chapel or religious activities .
Health care was very good. Due to a new medication, I was overly sun sensitive. Although I used 50 sun screen I still got a particularly bad burn in one spot. The nurse on board took care of it and I must say the rates are somewhat reasonable as listed on the sheet in the facility. I would have been more pleased if they could find a way to take insurance cards. The care was kind and I was grateful.
Debarkation: PUT your belongings in the hall the night before by 10. If you don’t you may be awake all night worrying. I had to finally go into the hall at 3 in the morning and find a steward who (like the person I called earlier) assured me they would be taken down. This person (kind as he was) actually saw to it right away. The rest of the process well organized. Keep in mind that just because your assigned time later in the morning if you don’t have a flight or ride to catch, that doesn't mean you can linger in your room. They need to get ready for the next cruisers who start boarding as early as 11 if they bought the FASTER TO THE FUN pass. Wish I had. Less
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Cabin review: 8416
I was very concerned about noise because this room is right under the restaurant and aft pool on lido deck. I had no need to worry. The noise element was non-existent . The room was most conveniently located right next to the elevator which made it easy to find . The balcony was spacious and the views were fantastic especially at sunrise and set of course. The bathroom was the biggest of any I have experienced on Disney or Holland America.
Port and Shore Excursions
In Belize we took the Altun Ha ruins and Wallace River ride offered by Carnival. This was an excellent choice. We more than got our money’s worth. I am thrifty and was concerned but couldn’t recommend it more. Our guides were very informative. They made the bus ride fun and educational. My husband and I could not decide if it was the 2 hours we had been told it would be or not because it went by so fast. The ruins are climbable (some are not) and the history, geography and company were great. To climb the ruins you need to be somewhat in shape. I surprised myself but was told my face was a bit flushed when I finished. I have to admit the stairs are high and unforgiving. Lunch was served at a local resort which in keeping with Belize had grass covered huts and amazing scenery and gardens. Some howler monkeys joined us in the trees of the garden and ate lunch while looking at us funny. Great pics.
The river ride was so fun that when we landed at the dock we were all cheering for more … literally... people were looking at us funny when we pulled in. We saw wildlife of every kind. We even came upon Tapir, the national animal of Belize, locally it is known as the Mountain Cow. The guide said they are seldom ever seen. The photo ops are wonderful but wear rain gear if you are to sit in the back of the boat. The monologue during every phase was so informative. The one reason I would only take this excursion offered by the cruise company is that it is a full day and should anything detain you the boat
Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
We went off the beaten path here. I booked an excursion with a local group called Native Choice. It was the right choice for us. It was a guided tour of the Chacchoben ruins and an opportunity to explore the local culture at the Mayan community villages inland. The first thing we were told is that the Mayans are not extinct. The culture was altered by invasions of other cultures but the Mayan people are alive and well and living in Belize. They are making every effort to resurrect as many of the old traditions as possible and keep them alive for future generations. What we saw and learned was presented by the community itself and offered an inside look that is rare and very special for just a one day journey. Our guide Joel gave us so much to think about and feel when showing us the ruins. They were very extensive and exposed a view of the realities of Mayan life historically. The drive into the countryside to the villages laid out the contemporary lifestyle the Mayan people are living. You can’t get that from a short drive around a city. The lunch and quick lesson in cooking local cuisine was fun and our hosts were so kind. The kitchen was old traditional woodstove and gave great flavor to the food. The level of cleanliness and care was impeccable. I wish my kitchen were always that clean and organized. I also wish Carnival would give back by hiring this company for their excursions, they did a great job. I wanted this to last longer. This port deserved much more time than Carnival gave it. We were feeling rushed and there was no need as the trip back to Florida left us with much time to spare.
We had predetermined our destination as an old mission we wanted to see. I had heard there were local people with horse drawn carriages available. We did not want the 1 or 2 hour city tour, just a ride to and from the church. Although a cab may have been cheaper the older gentleman with his carriage seemed more right . The price everyone was yelling was 45 American each but because we only wanted a short ride with one stop we got it for 45 for the two of us and we tipped 5 dollars. The ride was sweet and gave us a good look at the neighborhoods. Afterward I took advantage of the free wifi at three Amigos on the dock. If you buy food or drink they give you the password. I sat and sent pictures home. When being aggressively approached by local retailers remember this is their key source of income. They are very willing to bargain for prices that are reasonable.
Check the http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/honduras-travel-warning.html state security level . Be warned and decide for yourself.Excluded due to weather although we had planned not to leave the ship anyway due to government warnings and personal stories we heard of violence against cruisers and cruise staff.
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