This Carnival Liberty 9/15/07 eight day cruise was our 5th with Carnival. We have also cruised with Royal Caribbean ( Radiance, Navigator), Princess and Celebrity. Nine cruises total. My wife and I are in our 50's and were sailing with our son who just turned 18 years old the day of the cruise. We were looking forward to a relaxing vacation which unfortunately did not happen to our liking. I won't bore you with the pre-boarding info and just get right to the main points that may help you.
I can tell you.... if you do not like the smell of smoke then avoid the Liberty. The entire main promenade deck near the casino was over taken by smokers and smoke. You had trouble getting away from it. This area was also where most of your formal pictures where taken. Not the greatest feeling when all dressed up to feel like you are in a stale vegas bar and casino. When eating breakfast-there were smokers. The out-door movies where ruined by cigar smoke. it just seemed that every where you went-there was smoke. Anyway, check some of the other reviews and you will read the same complaint. Carnival needs to limit the smoking to a few select areas. My wife is a light smoker and it bothered her because she could not breath or get away from it. It ruined the cruise for us.
The Food. I can say that the food was good to excellent with the exception of the lobster which was like rubber. Omelet stations where great as well as the Asian food. We decided to shine on the alternative Harry's since the dining room food was good.
Service. The service was mixed. Many of the ship employees had no clue to the meaning of service. I had to "bus my own table" one morning. The attendant just stood there and watched as I cleared some plates from previous diners so we could just sit down. The worst experience was in the Silver main dining room. Our head waiter was the worst. We were a few minutes late the evening of San Juan. Our seating time was 6:15 and we arrived at 6:30.The next seating wasn't till 8:15. The waiter told us as we arrived at the table( # 333 Lower level). "I can only serve you the main course, no salads or desserts". I got up from the table and reported him to his superiors and then proceeded to go eat upstairs in the buffet. Since Carnival likes to put their tips on your sign and sail card, I went to the pursers desk and had the waiters tips removed from the Sign and sail card. He was so rude. We tried to get moved to a new table but that never happened. They just blew us off. My wife always looks forward to the evening dining room experience. Not this cruise. Service is everything.
The layout of the Liberty is designed for more cabins.. Period. The ship is chopped up with many areas having low ceilings. Something you do not normal see on ships of this size and age. RCCL newer ships in contrast have such a nice open feeling. Not to mention the lack of cigarette smoke. The Liberty had several decks that did not go through from the back to the front. You would have to go up a floor or two and then back down. The is due to the placement of the ship's galley.
Movie Screen- The pool areas where un-inviting and the tiered seating with the Movie screen by the pool was a joke in our opinion.It seemed Carnival cut corners on having good poolside music. The Caribbean cruise music was terrible. Not relaxing and just plain annoying. Also, in the evening, they would play Johnny Cash videos on the screen. Now, I like Johnny Cash alot, but not on a Caribbean cruise when relaxing by the pool. It just didn't fit.
The people- There were many nice folks on this ship.I can say that the guests were much nicer than the crew.
Since this was a September 15th cruise there where only about 45 kids on board. Our 18 year old had trouble finding anyone to hang out with. finally on the 3rd night he met someone to dance, talk and hang out with.
Ports of Call
San Juan-there is really nothing to see and no time in port.Just a big waste of time. Maybe they re-fuel there or something
In conclusion, IF YOU DO NOT LIKE CIGARETTE SMOKE THEN LOOK ELSEWHERE! Do not let the Liberty's size fool you. It is bigger for one reason. To pack in more cabins and people. The ship does not have an open and airy feeling like the RCCL newer ships. If you have any questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org