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Jay Freedman

Age: 49

Occupation:self-employed

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Liberty

Sailing Date: December 10th, 2005

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Liberty Cruise Review
Eastern Caribbean

Jay Freedman

We have been on 5 Carnival cruises, including the Conquest in Summer, 2004, from New Orleans. This is the sister ship of the Liberty. We traveled with a group of 8, and we had a blast. I will review the ship, the ports, and the entertainment, but our (my wife and I) experience is that people make a great cruise. We had great company, the rest is icing on the cake. Please remember this in considering the rest of my comments.

Embarkation: Long, tiresome, impersonal. Still better than Miami.

The ship: Gorgeous, immaculate, well laid out. Facilities are first class. Only difference between Liberty and Conquest was the addition of a huge Jumbotron and sound system, facing the pool area on the LIDO DECK. Very cool!

The room:
Had a balcony room. Well worth it. Our cabin steward was nice, but others complained about impersonal service.

Service: This is where it really fell apart for me. Service problems were rampant, including among experienced staff. Wait staff was OK, but service on Carnival has gone down all over. In little ways: napkin in your lap, crumbs cleared from the table, slow refills on coffee, etc. They actually scolded us at Breakfast because we wanted to save two seats for friends who were on their way down to eat. Not enough for me to avoid Carnival, but you can tell. Again, a new cruiser would never notice, but I did. Especially since we on the Conquest 18 months before-essentially the same ship. Our waiters at dinner were awful, and they were very experienced, so they should have done better. We were always last served, some requests ignored or forgotten. They rushed and spilled, were short with some of us, like there were insufficient staff. Not my problem, just fix it.

Entertainment. Worst we've seen, both big shows were lame. They reused the sets in one big show from a show I saw on the Conquest in 2004. The piano bar singer was brand new and was awful. The lounge singer in the Casino was pretty mediocre. But more than that, there was actually less entertainment than usual. The Lido deck band played only one set a day (they were pretty good). I like live music at the pool, so it was missed. There is a piano in the dining room, on a mezzanine, for a reason. I was told by the head waiter that the cruise director had the piano player in the cigar bar during dinner, instead of in the dining room. Didn't hear a note all week in the dining room. Wouldn't have missed it EXCEPT it was there every evening on the Conquest. The din of a large dining room just isn't the nicest atmosphere. Clink, clink, blah, blah. Like i said, little things, but everyone I spoke with noticed. At the captain's cocktail party, passengers were practically heckling the speakers, so we were not alone.

Food:
Some companions complained, I thought it was just fine. I didn't go hungry, and Carnival has the best pizza afloat. Carnival has very good food, some gourmet, most just very good. Two exceptions. The upgrade restaurant Henry's was SPECTACULAR. I was against it at first, but I'm sold. Service was the best, food was as good as anything on shore in the US. That good. Well worth the $30 each. The entertainers there were BY FAR the best on the ship. Shame to hide them from the crowds. The midnight buffet is officially a joke now. On the Conquest it was at least in the dining room. Now it's two lines in the casual buffet on the Lido deck. And there really aren't any other midnight buffets, so I suppose it is the GRAND BUFFET only by comparison. Just skip it, unless it's your first cruise. If you've been on other lines, well, you will see what I meaAntigua: Took the 4x4 jeep excursion. Best excursion we ever had. Laughed continually (the red punch may have helped). Our driver got a flat in the jungle, it was still fun.

Tortolla: Again, the 4x4 jeeps. Not worth it. Non. But, who cruises just for the midnight buffet back roads, just paved roads. Nice views, but save money and take a bus.

St. Thomas: Rented a bus, private tour for eight. Well worth it.

Nassau: Walked to the water tower, but it was closed due to hurricane damage. Walk up the Queens Staircase, the souvenir vendors at the bottom and at the top near the water tower have much better prices that at the cruise terminal.

I like Carnival, I'd go again, but this ship had problems with service. I think the smaller ships may have better service. I hope the size of the staff does not interfere with the level of service customers expect.

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