Just got back from my first and last 7 day cruise on the Carnival Liberty. The ship was beautiful, accommodations 1st rate. Service very good. So why will I not be cruising on a big ship again? I was very disappointed by several things.
1. There were far too many people. I managed to get a deck chair only once in the 7 days and that was because I stayed aboard ship while docked in Jamaica. I paid $400+ for airfare and $800+ for my cabin. That is an awful lot of money to pay for the privilege of sitting on my towel on the deck for 6 of the 7 days just to get some sun. The mid ship pool with the big screen TV was so loud and crowded it was impossible to have a conversation without yelling. Our party stayed around the adult pool which was much quieter but just as crowded. Walking through the promenade in the evening was impossible. Not only were 2900+ people trying to walk through the area, the ship photographers were taking seated portraits and blocking off much of the aisle.
2. The food was very disappointing. I have had better in the local restaurant in my small town of 800. Our head waiter Peter and his helpers were wonderful. The service we received from them was terrific. We ate one evening at Harry's and the food and service were spectacular. However, our head server rolled up a cart of raw meat and proceeded to tell us about each cut. If that wasn't bad enough they then placed the cart of raw meat directly behind our party so I was looking at raw meat throughout my dinner. One of our party is a vegetarian and was not pleased. We did request moving the cart which was done, but halfway through dinner it reappeared. Yuck. On our last day at sea I stood in line for 35 minutes at lunch to try the Mongolian Grill. My plate of food looked amazing, yet I managed to eat 3 bites. Even after a lot of salt and pepper the stir fry was so bland it was inedible. I felt terrible about throwing away a large plate of food, but I could not eat it.
3. We arranged through Carnival for a tour of Discover Mexico and also snorkeling. Our tour guide Tania was amazing. She not only was beautiful, personable and knowledgeable, she went above and beyond to try and show our group of 6 a great time. Unfortunately our snorkeling trip was a total ripoff. On top of our $50 per person tour fee we also had to pay $10 for our snorkeling equipment. We were then informed that wearing a life vest was required and that fee would be $2 extra. I am a certified lifeguard and declined the vest but still was required to pay for it. I asked the vendor just how someone could rent the equipment for $10 when it was mandatory to "rent" the life vest for an additional $2. I got a smirk for a reply. The equipment was ill fitting and they didn't have fins small enough for my sister-in-law who wears a size 4 shoe, but she was till charged the entire $12. The area we snorkeled in was extremely rough and honestly we saw 25 fish, all the same species. A local woman working in the changing area was obviously having a bad day. No smiles just glaring looks and she actually pulled a rubber rug I was standing on out, from under me. Back aboard ship I spoke with shore excursion crew who tried to give me a song and dance about cooler weather killing the fish, etc. Yet when I told them that we had spoken with 3 other groups who had gone to different areas in Cozumel to snorkel and they said it was like swimming in an fish tank there were so many species, all I got was a blank look and silence.
4. My final complaint... Carnival states in their brochure, etc. that the ships can accommodate 110 plug ins. I suffer from sleep apnea and use a machine called a CPAP to help me breathe at night. I went to plug it in the wall between our beds and the plug in was 220. I spoke with our room steward who suggested going to the infirmary to see if they might have an adapter. We were on deck 7 in the aft part of the ship. The infirmary is on deck 0 in the front of the ship. After a very long walk I arrived to find the infirmary closed. It reopened 1/2 hour later. I spoke with a not so friendly nurse who told me they had nothing and suggested I go to guest services. So I waited for an elevator to take me up to deck three and walked to the mid part of the ship to find a line of 30+ people waiting to talk to guest services. After another 1/2 hour wait I was assured that they would send something up to my room that would work. I even had my machine with me so they could see that the plug prongs are flat and the wall outlet would only accommodate round prongs. I arrived back in my room around 9pm and lying on my bed was a 40 foot industrial orange extension cord which was 110 not 220 so it would not work. Fortunately I had brought a smaller extension cord with me so I would plug it in the only 110 outlet across the room at night and then unplug it in the morning. You would think on a ship that holds 4,000 people they would either offer adapters or sell them in the gift shop. I was also very surprised that the gift shop offered such a limited selection. You would think that they would offer magazines, mints, candies, adapters, etc. The selection was very limited and if someone did need something they had to leave the ship while in port to purchase whatever they needed.
Final thought. I guess I was very spoiled by my only other cruise which was on a 4 masted Windjammer schooner . It held 100 passengers and 50 crew. We would sail at night and spend 10 to 12 hours at a new island each day. It was very casual. Don't get me wrong, the Liberty is a beautiful ship and the crew are well trained and very helpful. If you like to dress up and don't mind dealing with lots and lots of passengers, I would recommend it. I had lots of fun with my gal pals and really enjoyed a week of 80+ degrees, sunshine and the ocean. It has been tough to come back to 35 degrees and cold driving rain.