Carnival Liberty - Eastern Caribbean: Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by staylor

Carnival Liberty 5
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Carnival Liberty - Eastern Caribbean

Sail Date: February 2006
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Carnival Liberty 02/04/06 8 Day Eastern Caribbean

I will start with a little about us. We are a 41 and 42-year-old married couple. We cruised this time with our 25-year-old son and his girlfriend. This was our eleventh cruise, eighth, with Carnival. We are members of Cruise Critic and had plans to hook up 2 couples we cruised with last year and with about 20 of our new online friends. It was a FUN group and we have already booked a cruise together for next year. Thank you Cruise Critic for being responsible for new friendships and pre-cruise and post cruise fun!

Getting There: We flew out of Akron and into Ft. Lauderdale. I had great direct flights booked with Air Tran out of Pittsburgh and 2 weeks prior to sailing they changed them to flights with layovers and poor flight times. The airline had us getting into Ft. Lauderdale so late that I would miss an exhibit that I had tickets for. We switched things around and flew out of Akron instead. It was not a good start More to my vacation as I had to spend an extra night in a hotel, but we made the best of it. We stayed at the Hampton Inn by the airport. It was nice and clean. I would stay there again if I ever fly out of Akron again.

The Night Before: We always fly in the day before. We had a close call in the past and wont take that chance again. We usually cruise in February and the weather can be unpredictable. We had reservations at the Hampton Inn Airport North in Ft. Lauderdale. We picked this hotel because of the excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. We also wanted to use the complimentary shuttle service they offered. The hotel did not live up to my expectations. It was clean, but looked very old and needed to replace some things. The carpet looked ancient. It was conveniently located though. There was a grocery store, a liquor store, and a Subway sandwich shop within walking distance. We had sandwiches in the room and then hung out at the pool for the rest of the afternoon. We had tickets for the King Tut Exhibit at the Museum of Art. We took a taxi there. It was an awesome exhibit. Then we walked around the shops for a while and ate dinner at the Ugly Tuna Saloona that was there on the waterfront. The seafood was fresh and very good.

Embarkation: We had planned to get the port by 10:00am. We had read that you can start boarding by 11:00, but the earliest shuttle we could catch was 11:30am. The lines were very long by that point and we stood in line over 70 minutes before we were able to board. I think this port could use a little more organization and some seating. There were several older couples that were struggling with the long wait.

The Ship: I think Carnival Liberty is the prettiest of the Carnival ships that I have been on. The dEcor on Carnivals two newest ships is really toned-down compared to the ships of the past. The dining rooms were elegant. The Victoria Lounge was very pretty and had plenty of seating for Karaoke each night. The disco was art deco but was interesting. The cabins are the same as always. We enjoyed the Jumbotron out by the pool. It was a great place to watch the Steelers win the Super Bowl with all of our Cruise Critic friends!

The Ports: The best part of cruising for me is the ports. I love to explore new places and Liberty offered some great ports with plenty to see and do. Our first port was San Juan. We arrived in San Juan at approximately 4:30. The view going into the harbor was beautiful. You could take some great pictures of the fort El Morro. You could see the contrast of the colorful Old San Juan and the new, modern San Juan. We ate a late lunch and opted to skip dinner in the dining room since our time at this port was short. We met several in our group when we got off of the ship and headed over for some shopping and to spend the evening at Senor Frogs. Prior to sailing, I read reports of San Juan being unsafe at night. We stayed in our large group at all times and I didnt feel uneasy for even a second. We spent several hours at Senor Frogs drinking, dancing and laughing. A great time was had by all! We returned to the ship and went to the Midnight Deck party and the Mexican Buffet.

Our next port was St. Thomas. We had plans with several in our group to go to Coki Beach. Cab fare was $9 per person each way. Some were diving, some were taking the beginners scuba course and some were just snorkeling. The sun wasnt shining and it sprinkled a little. We didnt let it put a damper on our fun, though. We had first time snorkelers who had a great day! My son and his girlfriend went scuba diving for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They cant wait to go again. We stayed about half of the day then went shopping and for lunch at a little cafe over looking the cruise ships in Charlotte Amalie harbor. We returned to the ship to get ready for dinner. That nights show in the Venetian Palace was singer Marcus Anthony. He was very good and did several Motown songs.

Our third port was Antigua. We did Carnivals tour, Mini Boats and Hidden Beaches. We were taken by bus to the beach. After a brief orientation we were ready to go. It was a blast. We had a 45-minute trip through the beautiful waters of the southern coastline of Antigua. We saw wildlife and pretty mangroves. We then arrived at a beach at Bird Island. There were only 20 of us and we had the beach to ourselves. It was secluded and beautiful . There was a lady on the other side of the island selling cold drinks and t-shirts. It was just a short hike away. After about an hour and a half it was time to head back. There was some racing on the way back. It was a lot of fun and I would recommend this tour to others. We stopped at the shopping area before returning to the ship. I found the people of Antigua to be the friendliest of all the places we went. They were polite and always smiling. No one was pushy at all. Shopping was a pleasure there. We had dinner in the dining room and decided to skip the Big Band show. Instead we spent time in the casino, Karaoke bar and disco.

Our fourth port and my favorite by far was Tortola. After much pre-cruise debate we decided to take the ferry to Virgin Gorda and go to The Baths. Since the ship was leaving port at 3:30 this day, we were worried about our time limitations. We took the 9:00 ferry with Speedys. It was a short walk from the ship. A round trip ride to the Baths was $28pp through Speedys. The ships tour was over 3 times that, but you got to spend a little more time over there. We had to take the 12:30 ferry back to be back on time. Most of us were upset that we didnt have enough time there. It was so beautiful there. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. We found our way through the giant boulders to the pretty beach. We snorkeled and had a great day. We took the ferry back and shopped a little at the colorful cottages and tents near the ship. That nights show in the Venetian was the Guest Talent Show. We also skipped this one to hang out with our group in Karaoke bar and disco. The Seaside Theatre Big screen was showing a Cher concert, a Billy Joel concert, and Spiderman 2.

Our fifth port was Nassau. We have been there many times and usually go to Blue Lagoon. They didnt have tours to Blue Lagoon this time, so we chose the Pearl Island Treasure Hunt through Carnival. It was over-priced, but a lot of fun. We took a ferry to Pearl Island. My sons girlfriend remarked that it looked like a My Little Pony island. The buildings were all painted with pretty pastel colors. It looked charming! We put on our snorkel gear and searched for oysters. Three ladies in our group found one. I was lucky enough to be one of them. I also found a huge conch shell. If you take this tour, I suggest you get out there really fast, the water gets cloudy real fast with everyone searching the same areas. I know the oysters were planted there for us to find, but it was still a challenge and we had a good time. Our guides taught us how to cut into the oyster to find the pearl . He then prepared a conch salad and I was surprised to see people eating raw conch, including my husband and son! We had lunch there as part of the tour and unlimited rum punch. We were then returned to the dock. We shopped a little at the Straw market, battling with the extremely pushy venders, before returning to the ship. The Carnival Legends show was that night. There were auditions all week for James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Britney Spears and several others. We passed on this show as well. It was our last night with our Cruise Critic friends and we spend most of the night in the casino watching one of them win around $3500. It was a fun way to end the cruise!

Other things worth mentioning:

We were in cabins 7436 and 7438. These cabins are aft and are in a very convenient location. It was just two flights of stairs up to the pool on Lido and two flights down to the Promenade Deck, which is where we hung out most of the time. It was a great spot for us.

Our Cruise Director was John Heald. He was good, but I would have to say that he was not the best cruise director I have ever had. He was funny for the most part, but at times I thought he was a little arrogant. Some of the routines appeared to have been staged.

The Captain was Marco Nogara.

Dwayne was the piano player in the Piano Man Piano Bar. He was almost an hour late one night because he was sleeping. He was horrible.

The live band was Music Society. They were on Valor when we sailed last year and are excellent.

The food was above average in the Silver Olympian dining room. The service was good and not as slow as I remember. I like getting in and getting out. There are several alternative choices for lunch and dinner. Many choices at the Grand Buffet, Chinese food from the Oriental, great pizza from the Pizzeria, seafood from Fish and Chips, burgers and more from The Grille, and specialty sandwiches from The Deli. The room service BLTS are to die for!

I had another wonderful cruise with Carnival and met some wonderful new friends. To my family, it was great to spend the whole week with you seeing and doing new things together. To my new friends and old friends, if any of you are reading this, I would like to say that you guys made this cruise special, very special for me. Thank you! You managed to bring me out of my comfort zone a little and it was nice to try new things. I cant remember the last time I laughed so hard!!! I am forever grateful and cant wait to see all of you in February 2007 on Miracle! Less

Published 04/01/06

Cabin review: 4b7436

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