Review of the Carnival Liberty Sailing: Sept 15, 2007 Eight Days
My husband and I are both in our 40's. We have sailed for a total of 7 sailings so far. These have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney. We are from the Midwest and therefore, our perspective is not one of the big city or the deep south, rather a middle of the road perspective. We took ship tours and did not do our own thing.
Goals of the cruise: Relax and do as much snorkeling as possible. Eat some great food and have nightly entertainment that we would enjoy.
We arrived at the port very early due to an early flight in from Michigan. We had no where else to go so an early arrival at the port was unavoidable. We would not recommend getting there before 10AM to others due to chaos with the previous passengers still departing from the area. We did not have long to wait though and were in the first group to board the Liberty for the much anticipated vacation. We took the standard boarding photos and were officially on vacation.
Once on board:
We entered the ship and checked out the décor and found it to be nice and reflected a Carnival ship. It was not the classy look of a RCI ship but it was not meant to be. It looked nice and our first contact with crew was inviting. We stopped first to get the much needed Fountain Fun card. Being mostly Coke drinkers, it was an absolute necessity.
After we handled the above matter, we ventured up to the Lido deck to check out that area and see what we could eat. We found the Asian area and the Deli and had a wonderful first meal on the ship. We also had our boarding drink and there were some great crew members who took our picture and even got in on a few.
Being that it was so early, we could not get into our room yet. This was anticipated so we found a bathroom to use to change into our shorts and/or swimwear. We then went back out on the pool deck and lounged around a bit. While we were lounging, we met some people and shared several beers while sitting in the pool. We finally moved on shortly before the muster drill and found our room.
We had an ocean view room, #2362. It was a nice room with a lot of space which is a great asset on a Carnival ship. We unpacked our carry on and got ready for the muster drill. The room was right by the elevators and was extremely convenient in that respect. As the trip went on, we found it was easiest to follow deck 2 either direction on the ship to get to the side we wanted before going up. The layout of the ship is very inconvenient and many times you "can't get there from here" and have to go up to go down or go down to go up.
Sail away was pretty fun with a conga line forming and a small but fun group of participants. We enjoyed ourselves and started the trip off well. I found that having so many steps on the lido deck could be both a good thing and a bad thing. It could be somewhat of a tripping hazard with so many groups of stairs. It did make it nice for those who have a hard time with stairs though because they could go up the couple and have a flat area before having to go up more steps. This was a decent sail away compared to most others I have experienced. The one on Disney was very energetic with crew and guests really joining in. The one here had guests participation but little or no crew to make you feel like family.
Now to more grouped material:
We always went to the buffet for breakfast. We did not feel like having a more formal breakfast although I would think that the food might have been better. The food was average and the same daily for breakfast. While the omelet station was good, the lines were outrageous. The omelet stations on this ship were the slowest we have experienced. When we were on Jewel of the Seas a year ago, the omelets were made quickly and the lines were always moving. Here, we always had a long wait. Once, it was a whole 20 minutes just to get the omelet.
The lunch and dinner buffet food was average but nothing better when we had it. I would highly recommend going to the deli or the Asian station as these were always excellent. We also ate a lot of hamburgers, pizza, and French fries while on board. Normally, we do not need these extras when the buffet is available but it just was not good enough food to be satisfying.
Dinner was not the experience we would have expected either. Some of the food was very good but most was only average. The cuts of meat we were given on this trip were poor and it is one of the only times that I did not even want the steak due to the one I had the night before. We never did learn the waiter's name or where he was from. On other ships, the waiter always introduced himself and gave suggestions as to what to order each night. We did not experience this type of treatment ever in the dining room. While the service was satisfactory, it was not excellent.
Room Service: Not much variety here and nothing hot unlike other ships we have been on. The service was very fast though and the quality of what we received was good.
We did not go to the midnight buffet. It did not appear worth the incredibly long lines. We thought maybe our reluctance was due to a "been there, done that" attitude.
Our nightly entertainment consisted of many comedians, a few shows, and a surprise guest, Keith Bryant. (a country singer). The comedians were funny and the midnight shows were great. The Broadway/Vegas shows were okay but not something I would write home about. Keith Bryant did an excellent job especially considering how many people walked out while he was trying to put on a show. I realize that country is not everyone's cup of tea (not mine either) but walking out in droves was rather rude. I don't know if it was the crowd make up that caused it (mostly black) or what. I thought he had a good voice and I was happy that he was there.
I did not attend the game shows except for one on the Lido deck, Fear Factor. This was not what I expected but the participants appeared to have fun.
The casino seemed very busy but it was far too smoky for me to stay long. Sometimes I cannot breathe if there is too much smoke and I did not want to take a chance.
Some people thought that the cruise director had too many announcements. I did not find that to be the case however, when he starts talking, he can get very long winded. He did a good job though.
Service was average. A few of the bar staff were great but others seemed to be robotic and not real happy to be there. There was one on the Lido deck who would not serve us with our Fountain Fun cards and would send us to the other bar. He would always wait on those with "paying drinks" though. We were very unhappy about this and made sure that when we were buying drinks, we stayed far away from him! The room steward was okay but right before the muster drill, I mentioned that I wanted to meet him that day or the next and talk a bit. He never showed his face by us again. The room was clean though. The wait staff is mentioned in the food section.
While many people seemed to be unhappy about this stop, I can say that it ranked high on my list. We did the Bioluminescence Bay Kayak tour and had a great time. It is something I would recommend. Because the stop is at night, taking a sightseeing tour is silly but this was perfect.
We took the BOSS Snorkeling tour and this was also fun. It was a bit expensive for the amount of time we got to spend on the scooters but the experience was great. We got to do a lot of snorkeling and the staff on the excursion were fun and tried to get everyone involved and having fun. While this was not the best snorkeling due to the limited variety of fish, we had a lot of fun anyway.
We also did a trip to Paradise Point and Magen's Bay while we were here. It was a nice tour and believe it or not, Magan's Bay was not crowded. We watched someone set up a wedding on the beach and had a great time enjoying the warm water.
We did the "See Antigua by Sea" tour here. We met some people and had a ball with them. The snorkeling was terrible but this was only a brief part of the trip. We had a nice lunch on board and got to swim and sight see from the water. This is where we saw several jelly fish in the water. This was the first time I have noticed the jelly fish while I was swimming or snorkeling so it was a good reminder to watch for them. The catamaran was nice and the bathrooms on board were great but I don't know that I would take this excursion again.
Here we did a snorkeling tour that went to Norman Island. This trip was through the company Dive Tortola and we had a great time. The snorkeling was awesome with a lot of variety of fish and other underwater sights. I was proud that when the barracuda was swimming around us, I did not jump right back on the boat. We had a great time here and may return in the future. I wish I would have seen some of the island though to get more perspective. I have heard that Tortola is beautiful and I have also heard people say that they would never go back but I am not sure what they are basing these opinions on. If a return trip were solely based on the snorkeling, I would be back in an instant.
We have been here a few times. We went on the Yellowbird Party boat which we had also been on in the past. We had fun but the drinks were very watery especially if we compare it to our previous experience. I think we should have done a snorkeling trip here too but we did have fun with the couple we spent the day with.
We took the Everglades tour due to a late flight out. It was overbooked and the luggage did not all fit on the bus. We sat on the bus for over an hour while they shifted things and people around before finally shoving luggage in the aisle and going forward. It was a terrible end to the cruise. The tour itself was nice because we got to see the gators. However, the airboat we were on was not working properly and could not go even remotely fast.
The weather was fantastic. We couldn't ask for any better.
So, to sum it up:
Ship Layout: D
Sail Away: B
FOOD Food in buffet: C Food in Dining room: C Asian food: A Deli: A Pizza: B Grill: B
SERVICE Dining room and buffet: B Bar Staff: C Room: B Purser: C Head waiter: (never spoke to us) E
Evening entertainment: B
San Juan: A St Thomas: A Antigua: B Tortola: A Nassau: B Port Everglades: D
Highlights were: • Weather • Table mates for dinner • Ports
Things that need to be improved: • Way too much smoke in the common areas. The lido deck was always full of smoke as were the promenade deck and the casino areas. It was overpowering and the worst I have ever experienced on a ship, by FAR. • Food quality • Service not as expected
Would I sail Carnival again when I compare it with other experiences? I am not sure. If there price were right, I might. The overall experience just wasn't spectacular as it has been in the past. It may have been the mix of this particular group of people or just lowering standards. Are these problems across the industry now due to the popularity of cruising and the outrageous amount of ships out there? Probably this has something to do with it.
I hope this review helps some people. It was not a bad experience but it just wasn't the experience I expected.