Carnival Liberty Review - March 29 to April 6, 2008, Eastern Caribbean
We booked this cruise about a year out from sail date. The anticipation was exciting as we waited to cruise. My husband and I had cruised before on Carnival, but this was going to be a first cruise for our 20-year-old daughter.
Although we live in Florida, we chose to travel the 4 hours to Fort Lauderdale and stay in a hotel for the night before. We stayed at the Homestead Studio Suites in Tamarac, which is about 20 minutes outside of Fort Lauderdale. Since we drove our own car, we didn't need to worry about a shuttle to the port (and this hotel didn't have a shuttle to go to the port). The hotel was very nice and clean and comfortable.
We reserved a parking spot at the Park N Fly near Port Everglades, which was very convenient and easy and was a lot cheaper than the terminal parking. We paid around $75 for 8 days of parking. We drove into the lot and parked our car and within 2 minutes, a porter with a shuttle bus was helping us load our luggage onto the shuttle for a short drive to the pier.
We arrived at the pier at 11:15 am and were completely through embarkation and on the ship by 11:50 am. I am a diabetic on an insulin pump and could not go through the metal detector, so once we got inside the building, I asked a gentleman there what I needed to do and he personally escorted me through where I needed to go, and I was well taken care of, and he allowed my family to join me and not be separated from me. I was nervous about asking for this before we got to the terminal, but it went smoothly.
I had spent the last year planning this cruise and finding out as much as possible about Carnival Liberty and things I wanted to see and do. I joined Cruise Critics during that time and learned a whole lot of good information to help me better plan our cruise. I met a great group of people through the roll call for our cruise too. We set up a couple meet and greets, and I got to meet a few of them in person. It was great to finally put faces to names. It was nice seeing them all over the ship during the cruise too.
The Liberty is a beautiful ship. It is very colorfully and tastefully decorated. It is a very big ship, and we certainly got plenty of exercise each day when exploring the ship. It was a little difficult to get used to navigating around the dining room and galley on decks 3 and 4, but once we got the hang of that, it was easy. Being a family of artists, we were very impressed with the tasteful artwork all over the ship.
After getting on the ship on the first day, we went to the Lido deck and got something to eat at the buffet. The dining area was wonderful and the food very good. Burgers and pizza were very good, as was the sandwich window. We were able to buy our soda cards in the pool area with no problem at all. We were able to get into our cabin around 1:30 pm. We had an oceanview cabin on the Main deck and it was very spacious with plenty of drawer and closet space for 3 people. Our cabin steward, Gerry, was very pleasant and called us by name after just the first day. He always had a smile and always kept our room in great shape. The towel animals were so cute too.
We ate breakfast and lunch in Emile's buffet and really enjoyed it. No problem finding something good to eat. The lines were never long, and we always found a table without waiting. We had 5:45 seating at the Silver Olympian dining room at table 303. Our waiters Danillo and Milos were very good. Any time we went to the dining room our drinks were waiting for us and they even knew which types of bread we preferred each night. The food was excellent. On formal night, the lobster was delicious and not rubbery, and the steaks were awesome. We had a seat by the window, so we were able to watch the sunset while we ate. If you eat in the dining room, you MUST get the chocolate melting cake for dessert.
There was always plenty of activity on the ship, and the cruise director Steven Knisley was very good. We attended all the shows in the theater in the evenings and felt they were very good and professionally done. We give a lot of credit to the dancers because the ship was rocking a few nights due to slightly rough seas. The first comedian onboard was replacing the scheduled one who was sick, and we felt the replacement one was hilarious. Later in the week, the scheduled one came back and we didn't care much for him and didn't attend his second show. We spent quite a lot of time in the casino. I am allergic to smoke and yet the smoke didn't seem to be too bad at all. Bar service on the ship was good anywhere we went.
Ports: There were lots of them.
San Juan: We got in around 5 pm and got off the ship and took a short stroll across the street to buy a small souvenir and got back on the ship. Wasn't too impressed. Watching the ship come into San Juan was a different story. It was beautiful and we were on one of the top decks watching it all.
St. Thomas: This was our favorite port. We were really impressed with the people on this island and how friendly they are. We booked the Sunny Liston tour and had an AWESOME time. We highly recommend it. We spent some time at Sapphire Beach, which was beautiful. The water was very rough with a cold front passing through, but no rain and beautiful weather otherwise. The roads on this island are interesting and narrow. Made for some interesting driving. I can't wait to go back to St. Thomas.
Antigua: We like this island too. We booked the Carnival excursion Best of Antigua. We got onto an air-conditioned tour bus right at the end of the pier and were given a narrated tour of the island. We found it to be very interesting. I would stop here again.
Tortola: I really didn't want to book a tour here because I had heard how bad the roads were here, but my daughter talked me into it and we booked Carnival's Sightseeing and Cane Bay tour. The roads were very narrow and steep, but we felt safe all throughout the tour. It was a great tour and we had some beach time at Cane Garden Bay and got to go into the water since the waves were not so big here. Snorkeling was not good here that day due to the water being so rough a few days prior. That was a little disappointing, but it was a beautiful beach.
Nassau: Been there, done that. We didn't even get off the boat. It was nice and quiet having the boat to ourselves while others were enjoying the port. We don't care for this port too much.
Disembarkation was a bit confusing. When we arrived back at Fort Lauderdale, it was pouring rain. They changed from disembarking at deck 0 back up to deck 3. It went very fast from there. Once out in the parking lot, that was a nightmare. No sense of order whatsoever. It was raining and nothing was organized. Our driver from Park N Fly didn't get there for 30 minutes to pick us up and there were a lot of people still waiting for transportation when we left.
We had an awesome week on the Carnival Liberty. We would definitely like to sail her again. We will certainly be booking with Carnival again, hopefully soon. Can't wait to cruise again !!!