Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by sunshine022: Carnival Liberty New Years Cruise!!!
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Carnival Liberty New Years Cruise!!!
To preface my review, this was my 7th cruise, 2nd on Carnival with the other 5 cruises with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. I was traveling with a group of 12 people for my Mom's 50th birthday, 4 of which had never cruised before!!!
We stayed at the Comfort Inn Airport/Cruiseport on Stirling Rood in Hollywood (Fort Lauderdale), FL for one night prior to our cruise out of Port Everglades. We chose the hotel because of the free hotel and cruise port shuttle service and lower hotel room rates. We had 3 rooms for our group, rate ranging between $120 to $160 depending on number of guests per room. The shuttle picked us up within 10 minutes of calling them from the airport baggage claim. They had an extra trailer attached to the bus for luggage since this was their busiest time of year. The bus was very full, but we were to the hotel within 15 minutes of being picked up. The lobby was CRAZY. There were 2 big groups in front of us complaining when we More arrived. It took nearly 30 minutes before someone got to me for check-in, and there were at least 5 other groups behind me waiting also. Apparently 3 maids quit that day so they did not have rooms ready for check in yet. Luckily, we did get our rooms, but those behind us were not going to be so lucky. The rooms were very average, but clean and quiet. Nice pool area with a bar next to it and grill where they were making burgers, etc. for reasonable prices. There was a Taco Bell and McDonalds right next to us, along with a little shopping area within short walking distance. My uncle, who arrived the day before us, got our group of 12 people signed up for the first shuttle to the cruise port on sailing day, so we didn't have to take care of that! The next morning when the shuttle was ready for us on time at 10:30am, loaded all the bags and we were off to the cruise port by 10:45! Embarkation
We were at the cruise port a little before 11:00. Porters quickly grabbed our large bags and we were thru security and in line for check-in within minutes. At first, we were in a line with only 4 people checking-in, but at 11:45 they opened up a huge room with about 25 people checking in and the line went VERY fast. We got our Sail and Sign cards and were onboard the ship right at noon. Cabins were not going to be ready until 1:30 so we headed to Lido deck 9 for lunch of course!!!
Cabin Our cabin was number 6394 balcony aft. Roomy and nicely appointed, very similar to the last balcony cabin we had with RCCL. Did have a mini bar (which we kept locked so we were not tempted), a safe with credit card locking access, sofa and queen size bed. Balcony seemed a big narrow to me depth wise, but was still wonderful to enjoy on sail away and for docking at ports! Our room steward was Nofi and she was amazing! She new our names by the first night and was always very excited to see us! She worked very hard to keep our cabin clean and make us feel welcome. She got my husbands shirt cleaned and pressed in a hurry for formal night too!!!
Dining We were seated at a large 12 person round table (#400) in the Silver Olympian Dining Room for the 8:00pm seating. There were 2 dining rooms on this ship, both looked very much alike just with different colored dEcor. Dinner seatings were at 5:45pm and 8:00pm in the Silver Olympian and at 6:15 and 8:30pm in the Gold Olympian. Our dining room servers were Sherwin and Ida and they were very nice, but very reserved and quiet. From past experience I had high expectations and did not feel we got the same service I have received before. They did not keep drinks refilled or bring more bread. Did not learn our names or favorite drinks to have them at the table when we arrived. Very slow service at the beginning of the cruise, but they sped up as the week went on. Overall, service could have been better in the dining room for us, but it was adequate and not worth complaining. Food was very comparable to past cruises. I do have to comment on the lobster - it was a larger lobster tail than I'd had in the past, probably a 6oz tail and it was FABULOUS. I had 3 of them! Emile's buffet on the Lido deck was good, always a salad bar and several hot offerings. There was a Fish and Chips station, which I did not try, but my family loved. Also an Oriental stir-fry station that was always super busy! We did wait in line one day for it about 40 minutes, and ended up not liking it at all. Also, a burger bar and deli available over lunch, both made to order and very good. Each evening from 5:30-8:30 there was a sushi bar open... I'm not a big sushi lover, but I did try it and it was not bad. MANY people took advantage of the sushi!!!!!!
We did try Harry's specialty restaurant one of the nights for a change of pace. It cost $30 extra per person but was WELL worth it. We LOVED it!! I had the Prime Rib steak and my husband had the Beef Filet. Both were prepared perfectly to our order and very tender. Caesar salad was wonderful and prepared at the table. If you like French Onion soup, it was the best we'd ever had! Just an all around wonderful experience!!!! Would highly recommend!!!
One perk of Carnival is their fountain soda card. Cost was $33 for our 6-night cruise, which I found to be a bit less than previous cruises. Also, they give you a can of soda instead of a glass full of soda from a 2-liter bottle, which can be flat.
Ports of Call
Nassau, Bahamas - Arrived at 7am and departed at 1pm. I have been to Nassau several times before and opted not to get off the ship and spend the day lounging by the pool. Not many people stayed on the ship so I got a great spot to relax in the sun! My family did adventure into Nassau and shopped at the market for a while and bought some knock off handbags and beaded jewelry.
I do have to note that this evening was formal night and New Years Eve. Carnival did a GREAT job entertaining us on New Years Eve, with the NYC countdown to 2008 being showed on the big screen by the pool on Lido deck, free champagne and a loud ship horn at the strike of midnight! Lots of food and dancing on the Lido deck, I think everyone on the ship was out there! It was cool to see all the people!
Georgetown, Grand Cayman - Arrived at 8:00am. Before we could get off the ship, there was an announcement that due to potential rough seas, the port would be closed at 2pm so we had to get back on the ship early. It was a tendering port, so we did have to wait about 20 minutes to get off the ship after we picked up a tender ticket. We did not have a booked excursion but got off the ship about 10:00am. Went to Public Beach, which is a part of 7-mile beach. There were 10 of us that went and took a taxi for $4 per person. I had read reviews on Cruise Critic about this beach and I thought it was supposed to be pretty secluded, but it was PACKED!!! Public Beach offers showers, bathrooms, food, beach chairs for rent and a few shopping vendors. Very beautiful beach, lots of room for sun bathing. We only got to stay for about an hour as rain clouds were slowly rolling in. Went back by the pier and shopped for about an hour as there is lots of shopping nearby there. Because of the early departure of our ship, there was a line about 600 people long to get back on the ship! Luckily it looked worse than it was and only took about 40 minutes to get on a tender boat back to the ship! Shortly after we were back onboard the ship, an announcement was made that the ship was going to have to relocate to the other side of the island for the rest of the guests to tender safely. The seas had gotten very rough and it was no longer safe for people to board off tender boats. It took another 3 hours before the remaining guests got onboard, very wet, motion sick and tired.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica - We arrived in the area of Jamaica around 7am, but due to the very rough seas (12-15 ft swells) we could not dock and had to miss the port of Jamaica. Many people were very upset! We had booked a private tour and excursion thru Marva Shaw that we did not have to prepay, so we did not lose any money. Carnival did reimburse each guest $75 on their Sail and Sign cards for missing this port! A nice surprise!!!!
This was our second formal night - people didn't get as dressed up this night as they did the first formal night!
About the Ship The Carnival Liberty is one of the newer Carnival cruise ships. The ship dEcor was very bright and festive, almost like a Mardi Gras theme in the public areas. We really liked the 5th deck Promenade where all of the bars and casino were located all in a row. Very easy to hop spot to spot for a drink! The slot machines in the casino seemed very tight to me, but they had a wide variety of games that were fun to play so that made up for my disappointment in losing money! My husband did end up ahead on Blackjack though. The casino was always busy in the evenings! The lido deck was laid out very nicely. The main pool was always busy with people, and lounge chairs EVERYWHERE!!! I've never seen so many lounge chairs. I thought the pools were very small for such a big ship!! There was also a small pool on deck 9 aft which I wish was an adult only area like those on the RCCL ships we've been on. One major problem I encountered was people saving the lounge chairs! I'm sorry, but it is just plain rude and inconsiderate of people to save 10 chairs for hours upon end until they decide to come sit on them. I had a couple of days where a good chair was no-where to be found because 80% of the chairs had people's crap laid on them to be saved. Be kind people, don't save chairs unless it's for a quick run to the bathroom!!!!!!!!!!! And I am not afraid to move people's stuff from the chairs if it's been sitting there for a long time, sorry! There are signs posted to NOT save chairs and I agree with that policy!!!!!!!!!!!
Other areas of the ship that were worth noting - the theatre was 3 levels and beautiful. Entertainment was bleak; we only went to 1 show the very last night, which was called "Rock Down to Broadway". That show was AMAZING! Usually I go to shows almost every night but nothing else interested us. The staff also had BINGO in the theatre which was very fun and the cost was reasonable - $20 for 3 cards for 7 games. We didn't win, but had a fun time playing!
I did not get to the spa, but my parents had a couples massage and LOVED it. Cost for that was approximately $300 total with gratuity.
Apparently there is very small area on deck 10 or 11 that is swimsuit top-optional and adult only for those of you wanting no tan lines!
Debarkation Luggage was put out the night before debarkation before 11:00pm. We had to get express tags to get off the ship as our flights were changed by Delta to an 11:20am flight! Got up early to eat a quick breakfast before departing the beautiful ship. Had to be out of cabins by 8:30am. We waited in the theatre for our bag numbers to be called, which only took about 15 minutes! We were off the ship by 8:45am and on our way to the airport! Very quick and easy!!!!!! Grabbed a cab and were off to the airport! Cost us $9 per person for the transportation.
Final Notes Overall, we had an absolute BLAST! Having been on 6 cruises, I definitely have high expectations! In my experience, I feel that RCCL provides far superior and consistent service throughout the ship compared to Carnival. Also, there are 10 times more children on Carnival than on Royal Caribbean. Being a 27-yr old newlywed, my husband and I like a little more peace-and-quiet! I would only choose Carnival again if the price were significantly less than a comparable Royal Caribbean, which was the reason we were on Carnival this trip.
A long review, I know! But hopefully it gives some good advice!!! I am happy to answer any questions you may have! Bon Voyage! Less
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