Occupation:Director of Sales
Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Liberty
Sailing Date: December 23rd, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Liberty Cruise Review
After reading the reviews on this ship, we were a little apprehensive about this cruise – our 4th cruise but the first on Carnival. It turned out that this was one of our best cruise experiences, and this ship and this crew deserve a little praise.
Face it: getting 3,000 people to do anything within a couple of hours is a difficult task, but still the embarkation process went pretty smoothly and we were on board within a half hour. Our luggage was delivered within about 2 hours. Departure was delayed 3½ hours because of flight delays for several passengers.
We were on the 6th deck in a balcony room (6339). Plenty of room, plenty of storage. We are hooked on balconies: it’s the perfect place to relax and just watch the world go by, and a great quite place to sit and read on at-sea days when the pool areas are over-crowded. Our cabin featured the new Carnival Comfort Bed which was quite wonderful.
Our cabin steward – “Tonto” – did a great job of working around our schedule. On other cruises, the steward would try to get us to make the room available when it was convenient to them, not to us, but “Tonto” never rushed us. Everything was “no problem” and he always greeted us warmly by name.
The décor is very interesting. There is a video on the TV about the design themes of many of the rooms, but I only saw part of it. Try to watch the whole video early to appreciate the designs in the lounges and restaurants. The ship layout confused me, and I had more trouble finding my way on this ship than any other. Even after 8 days, I still got lost (twice) during the debarkation process. More and better signage would have been helpful.
The one major problem we had with this ship – which is the same problem that we’ve encountered on other ships – is getting a lounge chair at the pool. By 7:00 AM on days at sea, there are towels and things on most of the lounge chairs. By 9:00 AM all of the lounge chairs by the pool are “occupied”, even though there is nobody using them. The result is that you are relegated to an obscure location on an upper deck, and they are all gone by 10:00 AM. It’s frustrating, and there has to be a better way.
Todd Wittmer was our cruise director – and he seemed very likeable and even a little familiar. If you’ve been on other cruises, your probably already heard the jokes and seen the routines, but Todd still did a great job of delivering them. When we got home New Years eve, and turned on the TV, we saw Ryan Seacrest (from American Idol) and it immediately became obvious that these two could be brothers.
Much of the entertainment comes from the passengers who are brought up on stage. Todd was at his best talking with them and bringing out the humorous comments.
We were impressed with the regular entertainment: 3 comedians and 1 hypnotist. They were hilarious in their regular shows and then there were 3 midnight shows for adults that were well worth staying up for.
The 2 big production shows were among the best we
have seen on any cruise. They are billed as “high energy” and they sure are. The
Liberty singers and dancers are extremely talented and you just can’t help but
get caught up in the excitement that they generate.
We love to end each evening on board in the piano bar, but we were very disappointed with Robert in The Piano Man. The sound was too loud and his singing wasn’t good. We couldn’t stay there for more than 10 minutes.
The menus may not be highly imaginative, but the food was good, and some of it was outstanding. Of course, we define a good meal as one we didn’t have to shop for, prepare or clean up after.
We had breakfast and lunch at Emile’s buffet. Breakfast was okay, nothing outstanding. Lunch had a variety of foods, and the salad bar was always fresh and good. We gravitated to the hamburgers from the Grill (which were wonderful) and the pizza (which was equally fantastic – and you could get a really good Caesar salad with the pizza). It took 2 days to find the Fish & Chips that everybody raved about in other reviews – it’s hidden upstairs from the buffet. It was good, but we preferred the hamburgers & pizza.
Dinner in the Golden Olympian (late seating) was always good. We had trouble every night deciding what to have. Some nights, everything offered in every course looked great. Some nights, we could find an appealing starter, and if we ordered the wrong thing and wanted to try something else, our waiter “Cappy” was only too glad to bring it. Desserts were all good, but the Crème Brule was truly memorable. It was only offered once, so if you see it – order 2.
The Deli sandwiches were also excellent. We never made it to the Oriental window.
All in all, in spite of resolutions to the contrary, we still found ourselves eating 6-7 meals a day.
Here’s a tip: When you are looking at excursions, and you keep seeing the word “rainforest”, stop for a minute and think about what that means. One thing you can count on – this would not be a place where you would want to spend the day at the beach.
We signed up for the 7-hour tour of the Panama Canal, which was expensive, but well worth every penny. Going through 2 locks and almost halfway through the 50 mile canal was a thrilling experience that we will always remember.
We didn’t do much in the other ports. Costa Maya had a nice shopping complex at the end of the pier. We were cautioned not to wander around Costa Rica, so we just walked through the flea market at the end of the pier. It was raining, and nothing was appealing, so we walked around a little, but hurried back to the ship.
We cruise over the Christmas break because the timing works out for us. This is usually a tough week for crews on the ship because they are surrounded by families that remind them of their own that are far away. On our last cruise (on the Caribbean Princess) the crew seemed melancholy but that was NOT the case on the Carnival Liberty.
On the Liberty, they kept talking about the crew as “family”, and this was something that you could see. They were happy, interacting with each other, and it created a warm, friendly atmosphere on the ship. Every crew member we passed in a hallway or encountered on an elevator smiled and said hello.
If there is one thing a cruise line knows how to do, it is get you OFF the ship at the end of the cruise. Very smooth, and by 10:30 AM we were at the Ft. Lauderdale airport.
Although we were hesitant about Carnival, we had a wonderful cruise experience and we wouldn’t hesitate to sail with them again.