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Carnival Liberty Dining

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81% of cruisers loved it
  • Huge refurb in 2011 added bars, eateries, comedy
  • Build your own burgers at Guy Fieri's burger joint
  • Pool deck boasts two bars and a burrito station

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Carnival Liberty Dining
On Carnival Liberty, the main dining rooms offer either a traditional dinner scenario with set times and tablemates (open-seating at breakfast and lunch) or flex-dining, via Carnival's "Your Choice Dining" program. With the flexible option, passengers can have dinner in the main dining room anytime between 5:45 and 9:30 p.m. (though these times may vary slightly). Dining assignments, which you select before the cruise, are made on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you have your heart set on one or the other, consider booking earlier rather than later.

The Silver Olympian Restaurant is the nicer one in that it's located aft and framed by three walls of windows; the Golden Olympian is located in a more central spot. Both offer the same menus. At dinner, low-carb and vegetarian fare is offered, as well as Spa Carnival choices. When we say that the highlight of our meal one night was watching the effervescent servers don wigs and jump up on serving stations to energetically dance to the strains of Lou Bega's "Hey Baby" (and they were awesome), well, that should say it all.

The two-level Emile's, a buffet venue, offers hot and cold buffet fare for breakfast and lunch (though we would advise folks in the mood for eggs to take a turn at the omelet station rather than eat the premade stuff). The food itself is displayed mostly in cafeteria-style lines, with desserts (and sometimes salads) occupying a kiosk of their own. A separate station also offers deli sandwiches; a "Taste of the Nations" station offers varying international cuisines. Don't miss Fish & Chips; located on the second level of the Lido, it's easy to bypass, but the offerings -- from calamari salad to scrumptious fried oysters -- were delightful and prepared upon request. Adjacent to the Lido, in the aft pool area, is the pizzeria.

To one side of the main pool on Lido Deck, you'll find the BlueIguana Cantina (open 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on port days, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on sea days and noon to 2:30 p.m. every day), a new fee-free venue that was added, along with the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, as part of the line's $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 initiative. Choose from chicken, fish or pork tacos and beef, chicken or shrimp burritos. Toppings run the gamut from lime-infused rice and pico de gallo to beans and corn. The soft taco shells are made fresh on-site by a machine that can crank out up to 700 shells per hour. There are also separate bars for toppings and hot sauces.

On the opposite side of the pool, you'll find Guy's Burger Joint, a Fun Ship 2.0 enhancement backed by Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Choose from one of five burgers on the menu, or simply build your own with the help of a nearby toppings bar. There's no charge to scarf down as many burgers and fries as you'd like, and you can do so from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

On the Promenade, you'll find the Jardin Cafe. The coffee is great, and the pastries and desserts ... well, let's just say they're irresistible.

Harry's Supper Club, a reservations-only gourmet experience, levies a fee of $35 per person -- and it's worth every penny. Harry's specializes in quality cuts of filet mignon, lobster, veal chops, lamb chops and Chilean sea bass, and its wine list is solid.

For an even more exclusive dining event for just 12 guests, book the Chef's Table through the ship's information desk. For $75, diners can attend a multicourse dinner, hosted by one Carnival's master chefs. The evening begins with a private cocktail reception and a tour of the galley, led by the chef, and concludes with a sumptuous dinner in a nontraditional dining venue, such as the galley or the library.

We tried Liberty's 24-hour room service numerous times (and even found ourselves ordering tuna sandwiches at 3 a.m., testing the actual around-the-clock quality of the operation), and it was exceptional. Items are fairly limited to salads and sandwiches (and continental breakfast, unless residing in a suite), but they were fresh and well-made.
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