A good, but not great, trip on the Liberty: Carnival Liberty Cruise Review by FlaMilkman

Carnival Liberty 4
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A good, but not great, trip on the Liberty

Sail Date: January 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
Our family just returned from the January 14th Western Caribbean sailing on the Liberty. My wife and I are in our mid-40s, our children are 15, 13 and 12 and we travelled with my in-laws who are in their mid 60s. This was my wife and my 9th trip with Carnival (around 18 cruises overall), but the 1st in two years. Overall we had a very good time for the price, but certainly noticed many changes on Carnival since our last cruise -- most of which were for the worse.

We booked three cabins -- two balconies and an inner across the hall on the Upper Deck. The cabins were in excellent shape and our cabin steward was amazing. We never saw him except for the two times that we needed to see him he magically was right outside our cabin. Absolutely one of the highlights of the trip.

We live about an hour from Miami and got to the port around 11:45am. The check-in process, from the time walking through the door to the time crossing the gangway, was 55 minutes. As many More people have written in the past, the decor of the Liberty is one of the nicest in the fleet. The two new bars on the Lido deck, along with the two new eateries were welcome additions and were always busy on the trip.

As mentioned, as the trip progressed we noticed many changes from prior cruises that disappointed us. First, the change from the live steel band on the Lido deck to a DJ was quite noticeable. If you are into heavy beat, nightclub type music being continuously played during the day than this might be a welcome change. However, for the majority of people I talked to at various points of the cruise, it was nearly impossible to simply lay out and read with the volume that the music was playing (even well beyond the main pool areas). Second, prior to the evening shows there used to be a large number of people taking drink orders. This cruise most nights had only 3 people working the ground floor of the theater. Most times I ended up walking back to the main bar by the glass elevators to bring back drinks to our party.

The biggest changes that we noticed were in the dining room. The best way to describe the change is that the dining room has become far more casual than in the past. I am not talking about people not wearing suits on formal nights. I am talking about the vast number of people wearing shorts, jeans and flip flops to dinner every night. Okay, comfort is fine, especially on the first and last nights of the cruise, but compared to every other cruise in the past this shocked us. Another noticeable difference is regarding the dinner menu in the main dining rooms. Much has been made on the various cruising boards of replacing everyday items such as shrimp cocktails with fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. These changes have absolutely cheapened the experience. Finally, our wait staff at dinner was horrible. The head waitress obviously had too many tables, had multiple changes of her assistant waiter during the cruise (not necessarily her fault) and the management staff (which was located right near our table) did nothing to assist her. On most nights we were still eating our main course as everyone was walking out after dessert and the dinner show because of the slow service.

Our teenagers enjoyed themselves on the cruise; especially the late night movies by the pool. The Liberty may not have all of the bells and whistles of the newer Royal Caribbean ships, but they felt that they had enough things planned for them when they wanted to participate in the organized activities.

Upon our return to Miami we opted for the regular debarkation. We were off the ship in a timely manner but had to wait out a REALLY long line to clear Customs (obviously not Carnival's fault).

Overall, for the price Carnival provides a very good experience. However, I believe that the cost cutting measures implemented in the past couple of years have reached a tipping point where our family may start to look elsewhere for future cruises. Less

Published 02/06/12
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: 8A6211 Balcony

We stayed in cabin 6211. This is a balcony cabin located in the extreme forward portion of the Upper Deck. I loved this cabin!!!! In addition to having almost no foot traffic outside of the cabin at any time of the day, we were two doors down from the "secret door" leading to the front of the ship. Being just under the bridge, the views from this vantage point (especially entering and leaving port) were amazing.

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