Read to the near the end to see why I am a number 1 believer of getting to know your Cruise Critic Roll call friends. Just start one! I started one and 1364 messages later it really helped me out! I will be writing about the October 13th, 2007 Liberty - 8 day cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. This was our third October Carnival cruise in a row! Cheap, nice weather, and hardly any kids! Included in our cruise were two couples from Rhode Island, and my husband and I from Colorado.. Made for a fun "baseball playoff" week! We started our pre-cruise night at the Ft Lauderdale Comfort Suites Airport/Cruise Port on Stirling. Nice pool, clean room, and a great bartender. She even came in early the next morning to bring a few autographs of some baseball players for a DD of one couple. I had my Colorado Rockies T-shirt on so right away some CC members recognized me! The hotel provided free transportation (and fast) from the airport and to the cruise port. They even sold us $7 post -cruise transportation back to airport at end of cruise, which we found RIGHT away! Sign up for the transportation to the cruise port as soon as you check in! Across the parking lot is a Taco Bell, McDonalds', 7-11 and a Mall with Kmart (bought pop here for cruise), Home Depot and many other stores. We ate at a pub behind the Home Depot. Pretty nice, good drinks, good food. After a good nights sleep we had their continental breakfast, and got in line for the bus! Waited about 10 minutes and we were off! The hotel is about 10 minutes from the port.
Boarding was pretty quick, the lines only look long! The only confusing part, we had to fill in two custom forms for return, yet only took one form, our fault. Oh, and it only took about 2 extra minutes to find one and fill it in. From the start to finish I would say the boarding procedure took about 30 minutes! We were on board by 11:30! The Liberty is beautiful! Having been on Valor and Destiny I feel the Liberty and it's garden theme was the nicest one yet! We found the buffet, (steak sandwich area was not open until 1:00), and relaxed until our room was ready at 1:30. We stayed in cabin 7202, a great room. It is an obstructed view room right on the front of the boat, under the bridge. All of us stayed right in that area, and right outside the room is a big public balcony. We would start our mornings there and end our nights there! Our room steward always met us with a smile and good morning! No complaints.. quiet area of the boat. Fridge, hair dryer, TV (which carries all the Denver channels - so I got to stay up with my Rockies during playoffs, and watch the first snow of the season) and shower.. all worked great! Luggage fits under the bed. We decorated door with Halloween eyes and Rockies logo. Always mark your door to make it easier to find.. all the doors look the same. The walk to the elevators was a little far, but the balcony (without the balcony costs) was worth it! As far as dining... we believe in, if you don't like something, try something else! We jockeyed back and forth between the buffet on the Lido deck and the dining room for breakfast. The omelets in the buffet are outstanding! The line was a little screwy- sometimes I would have to backtrack to get a few a things, but how could I complain when someone else was doing the cooking! LOL. For lunch, if we were on the boat we would do the pizzas, buffet or steak sandwiches.. oh and the deli sandwiches were delicious too. The days we were in port we would either not eat or the last days we ordered room service in the morning and packed them in plastic bags for the beach. We chose the 6:15 dining time and were assigned to a table for 6 in the Golden Room. We loved our wait staff, Imade and Kat. They were always smiling and never giggled as we sometimes ordered 2 or 3 entrees at a time. The only thing I didn't like in the dining room was the New York steak the first night, so I ordered something else. The lobster was great. I had heard the pumpkin soup was great, but I was a little disappointed, it was a little bland. The Chocolate Melting Cake was unsurpassed, I think I had it every night. Kat always had my tea ready when I sat down! This is the first time we actually met the Maitre D. He always stopped by to crack a joke with us! We attended many of the shows at night. They were great! The costumes and singing were top notch. I was impressed by the show with Marcus Anthony, the Motown show! The midnight comedian was pretty funny! I was disappointed in the Legends show, except for Cruise Critic's own Mr. October! We also went to the karaoke bar one night.. the drinks were so strong I think they either wanted us to sing or stay and listen to the singers! We would end up in the Casino every night! We won $1500 the second to last night between my husband and I and cashed it out.. enough to pay for the next cruise! We did the "On Deck for the Cure" mile walk and enjoyed being part of something very special. The cruise director KARL with a K was pretty funny, but when he made announcements over the intercom system, you could never quite understand him, but whatever he was saying you could check in the Capers and find out what he was talking about.
These were the best selection of ports that we have been to. We don't usually book excursions, we love to sit on beautiful secluded beaches and snorkel from shore. We walk off the boat and then walk PAST the initial group of cabdrivers and negotiate with a cab driver that we find likable. They give us great tours on the way to the beaches. We usually have a beach in mind but occasionally listen to the locals, although I find that sometimes they want to only bring you to the populated beaches. We were only in San Juan from 5:00-12:00. We decided to eat in the dining room then go out. We walked around trying to find a brew pub that we went to last time. After about an hour of walking the streets the guys and girls separated. The guys went to find the bar (they wanted to buy some cool glasses that they didn't but the last time), and the girls found the horse drawn carriage rides. We selected a white carriage and white horse called Jersey. They charged the two of us $15 a piece (we each kicked in 5 for tip). The ride was about 20 minutes and was priceless. The driver pointed out the governors mansion and different important buildings. People were taking pictures of us so we had our best queen waves! After the ride we visited the local casino and then walked along the main street and took night pictures of the Liberty. We didn't look forward to this port (been there, and thought what are we going to do for a few hours at night), but surprisingly we had a wonderful time.
The next port, St Thomas, has been our favorite port in the past. Coki Beach is picturesque, quiet, and has great snorkeling! They come around and serve you drinks right on the beach. We had arranged with a cab driver to go to Coki Beach in the morning and then try Megan's Bay in the afternoon. The cab was about $17 a person for the day. We had heard that Megan's was "THE" beach to go to. Although the water was nice, and the sand nice, it was much more populated. After going to both beaches we would take Coki WAY over Megan's. Cab driver was great. It always amazes me that they come back at the exact time that you arrange.
The following day we went to Antigua. We went to Long Bay Beach by cab (about $15 round trip) and had an extremely enjoyable day. The water had incredible colors of blue, the sand was like sugar. There was lots of great snorkeling, some shade too! A small bar with bathrooms was right there. On the beach, within walking distance, there were outdoor shops. The prices were about the same as in town. We were there most of the day, then our cab driver met us at the time we told him and took us back to town. After doing some more shopping in town, we met up with husbands and visited the outside colorful bar in the downtown area. Another perfect day!
Tortola is now probably where our minds will wonder on a snowy winter night. We had in mind Smuggler's Cove but knew from researching that most cab drivers do not like to take you there. With this in mind we got off the ship and went right to a "cab" desk right off the ship. The girl tried to talk us out of Smuggler's but we told her we would "think' about going to the beach she was steering us to. We continued up to the next block and found someone that would take us to Smugglers. Cab driver Danny at 284-499-7622 told us he would take us. He was wonderful! He showed us lots of the island and brought us to where we wanted to go. The last part of the road was very narrow and pretty rough, but he had his wife's van so he had no problem (LOL). When we got to Smuggler's Cove there were only two other people there (come to find out, they lived in the white house that is right there). We found some old chairs and dragged them under some trees. The beach was unforgettable. So many colors of blue, the ocean and the sky. Again, white sugary sand. There were lots of rocks on one side of the beach, great for spotting many fish while snorkeling. A little while later a guy showed up and set up a full bar right on the beach. We asked him how much we owed him for the chairs, he said nothing, just buy a drink! A few hours later, after a couple of Mind Erasers, snorkeling and sunning, we took lots of stunning beach pictures and Danny came back to pick us up. He continued the tour and asked us if we wanted to shop in town or near the boat. We said in town... wrong choice-the walk was too far, we had to take another cab, $3.00 each to get back. When we got back to the ship, there were lots of tent like shops right there, with lots of the same stuff, but a much shorter walk. Our last port was Nassau. Getting off the ship we passed thru a little area of shops. Be sure to go to the FAR back corner and get a cheese danish roll at the little bakery booth. They were outstanding! After going thru these shops we found the area where the cabs were. We found a nice driver to bring us to a local beach, called Cabbage Beach. The ride also took us past Atlantis. We got out of the cab, walked up a sandy path and looked for a spot on the beach. At this point I realized I must have dropped my black leather pouch that had all my money, credit cards, ID, etc. PANIC.. by the time we ran back the cab had taken off. A very nice cab driver took us back to the port and helped us for quite a while. Everyone kept asking "What was his name, did we get the license plate number, what did he look like." Well, the only thing we remembered was the air conditioning was broke so the windows would be open. My dear sister in law (wearing only her bathing suit) and I walked around and around trying to look for the cab (there must have been a hundred of them). We had no money or ID with us at the time. The cab driver that took us back did not even worry about getting paid. THIS is where getting to know our Cruise Critic Board members came in handy. In the middle of my panic back at the port, I saw Pat (and husband Dave), one of the regulars that I had been writing with over the past year on our board. We had all met the first night on board the Liberty. I walked to her and blurted out my situation and asked if I could borrow $20. Without hesitation she took it out of her wallet and wished us luck. A while later we saw my husband and our friend that had booked an excursion. He gave me some more money and reminded me that at least we were all right we had insurance for everything else! At that point our friend pointed out the driver! YES! it was him! AND the pouch was still on the floor in the back of the cab! Lesson learned... Definitely do a Meet and Greet with CC members, you never know when they might help you! Remember the name of drivers AND get name and even license plate of cab drivers! The ONLY annoying part of the cruise was the music out on the Lido deck... it was ssssssssssoooo loud! They need to calm it down. It wasn't too bad when you first get on the boat, but after a while it starts to grind on you!
We put our luggage out at about 8:00 the night before debarking. We took our time getting off the boat, found our transportation right outside the door and were at the airport at 10:00. Knowing that we could not check in our luggage that early we told the airport we would like to fly standby so they took our luggage and rewrote our tickets for an earlier flight. Even though we could not get out until our original time of 3:15, we walked around, ate lunch and read without lugging our luggage around. I know you will love cruising on the Carnival Liberty! WE sure did!