Carnival Reviews - Cruise Ship reviews by Cruisemates Readers

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Liberty
by vince819
Western Caribbean
September 26, 2009

Being a past Carnival passenger, six months ago I scrolled through their website in search of bargains. I figured these being rough economic times that they would be out there. Boy, was I right! At $771 incl. taxes and port charges, for two travelers, I jumped on it. You know like whip out that 2.9% Master Card! True, this was for a nicely appointed minimum cat. cabin. How much time do you spend in there, anyway? So this is my experience on the Fun Ship Carnival Liberty. Here's a tip, if your driving to Miami don't pay the ridiculous port parking fee of $160 for a seven night cruise. Use the airport parking service and save almost half the cost. They will shuttle you to the pier and back all inclusive.

Embarkation is a breeze about 40mins. if you have your papers in order. You MUST do all of it online, the days of getting those nice before you sail packs are gone. Some sort of Carnival going GREEN thing! Don't have a printer? Your out of luck! Once on board explore the ship! The Liberty is spotless and reminded me of the Triumph I sailed six years ago, only larger. Deck 5 runs the length of the ship. If you use it, it leads to everywhere, casino, main theater, bars etc.! You won't get lost! Especially accessing the dining rooms, which can be tricky.

The Liberty's decor is cheerful and not quite as gaudy as some of her sister ships. Polished brass abounds! Deck 9(lido) is the other must have deck. This deck includes the loud midship pool, the more subdued aft(rear)pool and the all important Emiles buffet restaurant. Which brings me to the food. If you want to aggravate yourself all week then eat at the Emiles buffet, where mile long lines reside. The quality and selection of the food is the same as one of your home town all-you-can eat buffet restaurants.

I preferred the deli for say, a nice freshly prepared reuben sandwich or the pizza parlor for a sausage/cheese filled calzone. Good burger/hot dog station too! These food venues moved swiftly and were tasty. Beverage stations with cold lemonade, ice tea, coffee, and hot cocoa were near by. Bar drinks averaged about $7 bucks per, including tip. Soft frozen yogurt and ice cream in cups and cones available free most of the day.

Skip breakfast and go right to lunch! Never did get to try the oriental stirfry or the fish and chips station, darn lines were too long! For dinner I did the anytime dining, which is kind of new for Carnival. I focused most of my dining on dinner, so I could leave the ship the same pants size I came on with. I think the food is better prepared for the dining rooms and it's a more relaxing environment.

Where on land can you get a lobster tail and an entree of roasted duck, to create a most unique surf and turf. A steak was on the menue every evening. Be careful though, medium-well means well to the guys in the kitchen. However I had a perfect Chateau Briand in the middle of the cruise. Try the Classic Carnival ST. Louis pork ribs and be surprised! Some of the salads featuring crumbled cheeses with just the right amount of dressing were delicious. Escargot anyone? Most of the deserts were bland seemingly missing something, same for Emiles buffet too! Carnival's signature warm chocolate melting cake was the go to desert if all else failed. The anytime dining was generally a good experience. Dinner was nicely paced usually about an hour and a half, except one night they got slammed and the staff had to rush.

The Liberty's supper club "Harrys" requires a crazy cover charge of $30 bucks per person. I would of paid $20 to try it! As a result of the steep charge it was nearly empty most of the time. So anytime dining helped us get to all the evening entertainment with time to spare.

The entertainment in the Venetian Palace(theater)was grand indeed, featuring showgirls and guys, with a live band. Not piped in music! They put on a terrific "Around the World" show early on and the latter part of the cruise "Rock, Rock, Rock" with music from the 50s to the 90s. All with lavish costumes, lighting effects, and sets. Other nights featured a comedian and first class comedy juggling two man team. Both gave hilarious R rated midnight performances too! The last show was performed by passengers impersonating celebrity singers. Some were pretty good! I enjoyed the Big Band Sound of the Liberty's house band in the Cabinet Lounge. This was a more intimate club with subdued lighting, but all the smoking by a few ruined it. Same for the sing-along piano bar!

When it got late the "Hot and Cool" disco night club was the place to be to dance off the calories. I lost count of the flashing TVs after my third cocktail. Did I forget to tell you about the ports of call? Get to bed early if you've booked excursions. You pay a little more when buying an excursion thru the cruise line, but everythings set for you and at least you know you'll get back to the ship. Cozumel was our first port and I've done the Mayan ruin stuff in the past. Try "Twister" for something different. This is a sleak speed boat that takes you to the secluded "Isla Passion". The boat reaches speeds of 60 miles per hr. and does 360 degree turns on a dime, splashing the 20 passengers inside. It also hydroplanes on the waters surface and does 45degree cuts side to side to the screams of those inside. You will get soaked! The island is a tropical paradise with palms and sugar white sand.

There are beach activities or just relax and do nothing. A small buffet is included along with an open bar for specialty drinks and sodas. Then you speed your way back to the pier doing more wild turns. The excursion is about 5hrs. and is one of the best I've ever done, a good value! Next port was Grand Cayman and I've done Stingray city and gone to HELL on past cruises. This time I opted to join a crew of pirates, sail on their gallion and attack the Liberty with cannons blazing. After the dirty deed, I walked the plank and dropped into the pristine Carribean for a refreshing 45min. swim. Then back with rum punch in hand to the pier for a photo shoot. Would I do this again? Last port was Ocho Rios, jamaica home of the Dunn River Falls. I tortured myself climbing the 600ft. falls. You must be sure footed to do it and it is easy to slip or twist an ankle. You can take some spectacular photos on the way up. That's if you can stand up long enough to pull the shot off. This excursion included a shopping stop before the falls get you soaked.

In conclusion: For a ship with 3000 passengers I was always able to find my lounging space, plenty of deck chairs and deck space. Nicely thought out shaded areas too. The passenger mix was as diverse as diverse is possible. I did not really witness any rude behavior and the cabin was quiet.

These new beds and duvets were extremely comfortable after a full day of activities. The cruise director Butch did a great job getting people to mingle and never overdid annoucements on the ships PA. Service was generally excellent throughout. Some of the bar staff was a little pushy on double shots and stuck me twice with unwanted souvenir glasses. Large bottles of bottled water on all the dining tables were a crude attempt to add profits in place of free poured water. All this aside Carnival dose a marvelous job. Who can complain and all for around $60 per day.