Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Liberty
Sailing Date: July 31st, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Liberty Cruise Review
My wife Linda and I arrived tired but upbeat at the airport in Rome. Our first encounter with the Carnival staff was about well-meaning employees in the midst of airport chaos. A 45 minute bus trip later we entered the ship. More friendly employees. So far so good. We had a nice cabin with a terrace. The ship was big and gleaming. Unfortunately, there were big disappointments. The dining room had a slow kitchen and served mediocre cafeteria level food. The Informal food areas also had a limited range of plentiful but mediocre food. The shows and entertainment were on a college show level. The common areas of the boat were a riot of colors and themes with every kitch cliché thrown in. Nothing worked. The ship lacked a central bar area that could be a social meeting point for its large population. Most of its little bars and meeting rooms looked like abstract paintings and were uninviting. They were also always empty. The cruise staff did nothing to promote socialization through the use of cocktail parties and special social events. One central lounge on the third deck, doubled as a lobby during the day and had carpeting on a small dance floor. Few people could fit in that space.
The philosophy of the cruise seemed to be to pull as much money out of each traveler as possible. They promoted their port cruises, art auctions, special dining room (at extra cost) shop sales, photography, cd's, special drinks etc. without stop. It seemed that everywhere you turned they had set up a profit center and were promoting it to the max. Nothing was for free.
We went on a guided tour in each port. Despite the sweetness and intelligence of the guides, it all seemed to be about the shopping. Almost everywhere there was an ancient town that had been turned into a tourist shopping experience; a theme mall. Most of the time on these tours we were told to explore these 'malls' and shop. After a while, they all looked alike. I found this to be most disappointing.
Would I cruise again? No. Would I recommend this cruise? No. Why, you ask? I did not like my life controlled by their schedules. I did not like the food. I did not like the entertainment. I did not like the tours. I would have liked fewer locations with more time to explore them. I did not like the ships interior design. I did not like the constant pitching that went on. I did like the staff and the gym and the pizza station that was always open. Finally, I think that the cruise insulates you from the countries you are visiting and minimizes your experience. A McDonalds cruise with Mc Donald's food and ambience.
If you want to do a quick check on your e-mail while on board, have patience. The internet café “The Web” is situated behind the bar in The Cabinet Room which is a designated smoking bar. I applaud the fact that there are designated smoking areas on the ship, as there should be, but to have others subjected to it when there is only one path of access to an area is not right. Internet access onboard can be hit and miss. Loading pages with multiple animations is extremely slow. Fees are hefty at $0.75/minute or you can buy plans which reduce the cost to around $0.55/minute. But be sure to use all your minutes by the end of the cruise because the lower rate is bought in incremental packages of 100 or 200 minutes. There were a couple occasions when the WEB was inaccessible because there were art auctions taking place in the Cabinet Room. After the auction started there was no way to get to The Web Room until they were finished with the auction. Times varied so be forewarned. If you are an internet junkie and can’t live without it, bring your laptop along.
I was also disappointed in the food at times that was served in the dining room. Veal Picatta was served with no hint of lemon at all in the dish. I had a bagel and lox for breakfast one morning that had definitely been sitting out on the counter for too long. The bagel was cold and chewy and the slice of red onion and tomato were dried out. No sense complaining, because it would take too much time to get a replacement and we would miss our land excursion. Skip the broccoli and cheese soup! Inedible!
There was also one instance where our tablemate at open seating breakfast had ordered half a grapefruit and was given citrus sections…which she reluctantly accepted. Then when her main course came, the waiter had gotten the type of dry cereal wrong. When she complained, the waiter told her it was all the same. This time she stood up for herself and requested the correct cereal. When the waiter returned, he had commented to her that he had to go all the way up to the Lido Deck and back just to get her cereal. Gee isn’t that too bad? No apology given.
The last complaint I have about the ship was that an envelope was included in the evaluation form for tipping the Matre’d. If he did something special for me, I would have tipped him. But why don’t they include him in the general service gratuity added to the shipboard tab?
In conclusion, I think that this Fun Ship should rethink their service options when cruising to Europe. Skip the waiters dancing on top of the service islands at dessert. The Fun Ship atmosphere is more conducive to the Caribbean than the Mediterranean.