Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Liberty
by KEmery
Eastern Caribbean
March 7, 2009

My boyfriend and I (ages 29 & 34) just returned from a 7 nigtht Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Liberty. Overall, it was a very nice vacation. This is our second cruise together (my 4th) and first on Carnival. I will try to make my review brief (if possible) and will leave my email for anyone that has questions at the end.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and took the Carnival Transfer to the port in Miami. The transfer was easy. Several Carnival reps wait in the baggage claim area and you see them when you arrive. You can also purchase transfers at the airport if you need to I guess. They will lead you to a bus. We had to wait about a 1/2 hour at the airport before we left, but that's not bad.

Embarkation

Was pretty simple. Long lines of course, but move pretty quickly. Only complaint is there are a lot of stops at different points before you actually step foot on the ship. But who cares, you're ALMOST on vaction.

We arrived on the ship around 1:30 PM and were able to get into our room right away. We had ocean view room #2395 on deck 2. The room is very clean and very spacious. Tons of closet space and several drawers. I was suprised as it has not been this way on past cruises. We even had empty drawers. There is only one outlet by the vanity, and nothing in the washroom that I noticed. The is a hairdryer in the room. The washroom is small, but workable. Better than past ships I've been on.

The Ship

The ship is a beautiful ship. It really is. I don't see how anyone could be disappointed. It's clean and I thought the decor was interesting and fun. One complaint I had though was it was difficult to get anywhere using decks 3 or 4 because there was a dining room located directly in the middle and it was usually closed off during the day. So if you want to move from front to the back of the ship, stick with deck 5. It was sort of frustrating though since I always kept coming face to face with this dining room! And I still never figured out the layout of the ship even after 7 days!

The Food

The food at the buffet was just OK in my opinion. My boyfriend thought the desserts were terrible. And I tend to agree. However, the chocolate melting cake is the BEST. I had that every night. Pizza is just OK, and the fish and chips were pretty good. The dining room food was good, but we only ended up eating there about 3 times. We had the late seating -- 8:15 -- and ended up wishing we had done the earlier seating. We ended up eating dinner in the buffet area just because we were so hungry and often times just felt like staying "casual." The service in the dining room was great.

The Shows

These were terrible. For the most part anyway. They had one great comedian who did a main show and then a late night adult show that was very good, but that's about it. I mean, some of the shows were cute when they involved passengers, but overall not impressed. And my expectations weren't very high to begin with.

The Pools/Sun Deck

There are two pools (I think). One towards the back of the ship meant to be adults only and then the more lively pool in the center. The pools were nice, but small -- but never too many people in them. The sun decks do get crowded early though. If you want to sit on the level of the pool you need to get out there early. We would get out by around 10AM and be sitting on the upper deck. We would get a chair without a problem, but it would be full in a short amount of time after. They do have many deck chairs available around the ship though, so that is nice too.

Bars/Lounges

The different bars/lounges were all very nice. The dance club/disco would not get lively until about 1AM, and it was mostly filled with young adults in their very early 20's. It was still fun to hang out and watch them all interact. But there are several other more quiet places to sit and have a drink with other musical entertainment.

Ports of Call

We visited San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Marteen. In San Juan we just walked around on our own since we didn't arrive until 5PM. The roads are narrow and a little rocky in some areas, so wear comfortable walking shoes. There are several shops to go into. We also stopped and had a drink somewhere and an appetizer. The shops and everything are not far from the cruise ship. There is also a hotel/casino across the street from the port for those that would like to do a little gambling off the boat. Do not go into Senior Frogs! We paid to get in, and then ordered one drink each and it cost $37.00! I didn't want a drink THAT bad and really didn't want to stay there to finish it. What a waste.

In St. Thomas, there are several shops right on the peir where the boat docks and it's very easy to catch a cab if you want to drive into town (10 minutes) or go to a beach. We ended up doing the shopping/Magens Bay Beach excursion, but in hindsight we should have just done it on our own. The shopping in St. Thomas is not great unless you are there to buy diamonds and jewelry. That's basically alll that's there -- store after store after store. And usually pressure to come into a store and look at their diamonds. We ended up sitting at a nice coffee shop waiting for our bus to pick us up so we could go to the beach. We paid $33 each to do this excursion where we could have paid $8.00 to be taken to Magens Bay Beach on our own accord. The beach was very beautiful, but crowded (which is expected). I beleive you could rent chairs if you wanted, but we just brought 2 towels each from our cabin and used one to lay on instead. Which seemed to be what most people did. There is also a place to buy food -- hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, etc.

The next day we were in St. Marteen, and we decided to just head to the beach on our own. It was very easy here too. We wanted to go to Orient Beach so when we got off the ship we walked over to a taxi area where it was organized by different popular destinations. We got in line and were put into a shared taxi van with others going to the same place. It was about 20 minutes to Orient Beach and it cost us $6.00 each one way. I love this beach. It is very beautiful. But keep in mind it is a clothing optional area. There is one part of the beach that is completly nude, and you will definitely see others walking around in nothing but their birthday suit on the other part. At this beach there are several beach bar/restaurants. In front of them they have lounge chairs, so you pay for the use of the chair, get a free drink, and have use of their washroom facility. It was $7.00 per person at the place we chose to sit. It was GREAT. We spent the whole day here until it was time to return to the ship. We walked over to the taxi area and there was someone there directing us into a van to take us back. Worked out perfect.

The next two days we were at sea, which felt a little long. I wish we had one more stop. But it was a great trip.

Debarkation

Worked out great. Best I've experienced on a cruise line actually. You have the option of keeping your own bags with you to carry them off the ship yourself, or you can debark the traditional way by tagging your bag and setting it out in the hallway the night before. In the morning, they started the process by calling the people carrying their own bags first. They went floor by floor. We were allowed to stay in our cabin until we were called, which I thought was nice. If you did it the other way, then you waited in a public area. Our ship pulled in around 7AM and once they started the debarkation process we were off within a half hour. And our floor was called towards the end. And getting off went really smooth. From the time we left our cabin, we were outside in 15 minutes. We were then directed to the bus area where we were put on a bus to be taken back to Ft. Lauderdale Airport.

Lastly, about the airport -- it was CRAZY. All the cruise ship passengers are trying to get home of course! We stood in a line that took us OUTSIDE of the airport -- and waited for 2.5 hours just to check our bags. Thank goodness we had a 2:30PM flight. We never would have made it otherwise. My suggestion is to stay over one more night if you can and leave the next day very first thing in the morning before the cruise ships arrive -- especially if it's a Saturday or Sunday. It was INSANE.

Ok, I know that's a lot of information, but if there is anything I can possibly answer for you I am more than happy to. Email me at kathyemery1@gmail.com