Just got off the Liberty 8 day cruise out of Port Canaveral to Aruba, Grand Turk, Curacao. Me, wife, 2 sons (20 and 22) and girlfriend. We have cruised ~15 times on Carnival, RCCL, Princess, etc. Here are some highlights:
Embarkation - we stayed in Titusville (up the road) after driving down from SC the day before. Went to the boat around 11 am and got right on. Got in cabin around 1 pm.
Cabins - had 2 balcony cabins (floor 6 and 7) in rear of boat. Both were fine and clean. Room stewards did their job but were not overly friendly. Only issue with the cabins is there were on the right side of the boat and at each port the left side faced the island and the right side faced the ocean. We like to be on our balcony as we are arriving at islands and when docked there so I would highly recommend left side balcony cabins on this itinerary.
Food - lido buffet was good along with Fish and Chips and Guys Burgers. Ate in the dining room for breakfast a few times and More
it was fine - typically breakfast menu. We had 6 pm seating at a table for 6 next to a window. Our servers - Alphonso and Jun were outstanding - among the best we have had in 15 cruises. The menu was the new American Table version. Most of the appetizers and soups were quite good - like in the past. The entrees were hit and miss - some were good, some were pretty bad. Desserts overall were average at best. Overall, I would say the new menu items are worse than in the past although some were as good. It does appear Carnival is trying to cut costs on meals by reducing selection and some quality. Also ate the the fancy Steak restaurant one night - appetizers were great. Steaks were good but for example several of us go the Cowboy rib eye and it was quite fatty. Desserts were excellent. We have eaten at the specialty restaurants on all our cruises for the last 10 years and I would rate this lower than previous ones. And the cost is now $35 each so in the future I would really question if it is worth it.
Casino - all our group spent a lot of time there. This cruise was a "Premier" member cruise so there were a lot of high level gamblers (spending several $1,000 per night) so the casino was always packed. Overall enjoyed being around all the gamblers who knew what they were doing and were very friendly. The dealers on the other hand were like robots - zero personality and no fun. We go to Vegas often the dealers there are for the most part very friendly and helpful. When I asked dealers on this cruise for advice they would just stare at me. Got the distinct feeling they hated their jobs and could not wait for their shift to end. Carnival needs to address this.
Aruba - was there on vacation for a week a couple of years ago so had no need to see the island. Went to Bugaloe's bar on the beach for a couple of hours and then took the Jolly Pirates sunset cruise which was 2 hours of crusing around and swining off their famous "rope swing". Had a great time.
Curacao - took the Indie Tours 3 hour tour of the island on an open air bus which was great. Very nice island and beaches. Would highly recommend their tours.
Grand Turk - got off and headed down to Jack's Shack where we rented chairs/umbrellas for a few hours and had a few drinks and played with Topher there dog. Had a good time. On the way back stopped and Margaritaville where the US world cup game was on. Place was packed (2 ships in dock that day). Found a table and ordered nachos and 3 watered down margaritas. Bill was $60. Will never go back there - food and drinks were very poor and way overpriced. Jimmy Buffet has a good brand but it will decline after gouging customers at this place.
Debarkation - we did walk off and they said it would not start until 8 am. Went down to exit point around 7:15 to get in line and they let us off starting at 7:20. We had a 10 hour drive ahead of us so that was great. But - we parked at Terminal 6 and arrived at Terminal 10 so we had to take a bus over to Terminal 10. They were large buses so had to wait 20 mins for it to fill up. All luggage was loaded under the bus. When we got to Terminal 6 parking lot, the driver told us to stay on the bus until the luggage was unloaded. There were 8 people (workers) in the parking lot when we arrived and they all stood there while this poor bus driver unloaded all the luggage himself which took a while. I got off and asked the group why they did not help him and the answer was "he don't need no help". Very poorly managed system by the port authority.
Drive home was long as it was a Saturday and lots of vacation traffic (start of July 4th week).
Overall, Liberty is a great boat and the crew overall was very friendly (except the casino dealers). Itineray was also great. Would definitely take the cruise again. Hopefully Carnival will address their new menu and fix the problems. Less
Carnival Liberty Cruises to the Southern Caribbean