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Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Liberty

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Feb 23, 2017

Review of Carnival Liberty

Melodie Shepherd Age: 51 Occupation:Nurse Number of Cruises: 2 Cruise Line: Carnival Ship: Carnival Liberty Sailing Date: 2016-06-28 Itinerary: Caribean We had unexplained itinerary changes prior to departure. Did not get to port in cozumel which is main reason for trip and we were told they were aware of the issue (ship thrusters ) prior to departure. . The only port we got to go to - Progresso is not worth going to, murky, dirty beaches. Long

lines, Mediocre food at best Average cabin Horrible , you can only sit through so many trivia and bingo games... very few pool activities , tiny, tiny pool , small water slide only open half the time Well since we had to cancel ours , due to carnival not going to port - No advice except don't book with carnival

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Nov 21, 2016

Crowded party ship

First cruise and based on the experience, maybe the last. It was crowded and the food was quantity over quality. Plenty of partiers but not much fun. Best entertainment was a casino band.

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Jun 27, 2016

Caribean

We had unexplained itinerary changes prior to departure. Did not get to port in cozumel which is main reason for trip and we were told they were aware of the issue (ship thrusters ) prior to departure. . The only port we got to go to - Progresso is not worth going to, murky, dirty beaches. Long lines, Mediocre food at best Average cabin Horrible , you can only sit through so many trivia and bingo games... very few pool activities

, tiny, tiny pool , small water slide only open half the time Well since we had to cancel ours , due to carnival not going to port - No advice except don't book with carnival

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By Paco_CR

  • New

Dec 17, 2015

Eastern Caribbean

This was the first time my wife and I had taken a cruise. We booked our cruise over the phone with a cruise specialist from Carnival who helped us make our cabin selection. It was our 30th anniversary during the cruise, which made this a very special event for us. All in all the cruise met or exceeded most of our expectations. Other than the muster drill and being stacked in like sardines for 30 minutes, it was a fun and exciting romantic adventure

for us. The food was average in the Lido Buffet. However the burgers from Guy Fieri's Burger Bar were very good. The burritos from the burrito bar were tasty also. Dinner in one of the main dinning rooms was spotty at best. Formal nights the service was a bit slower but nothing to get angry or upset about. We did choose one night in the steakhouse, which was worth the upcharge, as it was our anniversary night meal. Pizza was was hit or miss as were the deli sandwiches. Room service for breakfast was nice but the food was warm at best. The room met our expectations. Clean and roomy enough for two. We had a balcony room on the Panorama Deck (level 10). We were on the starboard side of the ship and were able to see Old San Juan the whole time we were sailing out of port. Our cabin attendants kept the room top notch the whole time and provided towel sculptures every afternoon after making up the room. Our son paid for a "Happy Anniversary" decor online for us as a gift, this was put up the afternoon of our anniversary. There were plenty of activities to take part in throughout the entire cruise. We watched a Rock-n-Roll show one night, went to the comedy club a couple of other nights, gambled in the casino several times. We even spent some time one evening watching a Filipino hard rock cover band in one of the small lounges. Most of the passengers were friendly and only a very very very small percentage were ever rude or rowdy. The Thursday night Spanish Trivia, Gender Challenge, Bingo and Marriage Game in the main theater were the highlight of the trip. Even though our Spanish was limited we did well for that contest. I played on the men's team for the Gender Challenge and assisted with a couple of tough answers to help with the win. We did not do well on Bingo but we were selected as the middle couple in the Marriage Game. That was the most fun we have ever had as a couple! Don't miss the very inexpensive cab ride to The Boatyard in Barbados.Only $10 to get there per couple by shared taxi. $20 pp entrance fee, gets you a free drink, chairs and umbrella on beach. Food was good, drinks were strong and sassy, beach was clean, water clear and calm. Free ride back to cruise ship included. The best $50 per couple investment for a great beach party!Beautiful ship, great staff, disappointing cruise. Expensive but worth it was the Dolphin Discovery Swim in Tortola from the St. Thomas port call. It was $150pp but included fast ferry to Tortola, expedited entry through BVI customs and immigration. Quick ride to Dolphin Discovery. Spent 30 minutes in water with 3 other couples and had a blast! Pictures available for purchase on CD were a bit pricey but worth it. Purchased lunch there for about $12. We also received a free marine biology class on dolphins that are kept there while waiting for ride back to ferry. Easy out through BVI customs and immigration. Quick and slightly choppy ride back to St. Thomas. Nice long and tedious wait to get through US Customs and Immigration - nearly 1 hour for the whole group was the only downside. This was the first cruise for both my wife and I, so we have no other similar experiences to compare other than land only trips to San Juan. We are a married couple in our early 50's from Texas. We arrived in San Juan early morning on Saturday and was granted an early check in a no extra charge at The Condado Lagoon Villas at The Caribe Hilton, which was just a short 5 minute ride to the cruise terminal in Old San Juan. this is very nice place to stay for a night or a week, which we have done several times. Day One - Sunday - Embarkation in San Juan We arrived at the cruise terminal at 12 noon and as expected the line to embarkation was already about 150 people long. The union porters took our luggage and tagged them with a colorful ribbon indicating "Faster to Fun" or F2F. A Carnival agent spotted our Cruise Critic hats we were wearing and asked if we were F2F (this was not the only time our CC gear garnered preferential treatment). We happily responded with a yes and were whisked to a much sorter line off to go left. This was one a couple if instances were F2F was worth the $50 fee. We proceeded through all the checkpoints quickly, received our Sail and Sign Cards and entered the ship within 15 minutes of arrival. Our cabin was ready to go as soon as we boarded, another F2F perk. The cabin door and interior were decorated with Happy Anniversary decor, which was pre-paid by our eldest son. The cabin, 1043, had a very nice balcony and great view starboard from deck 10, Panorama Deck. Our luggage had not yet arrived, so we decided to ho grab some food. We stopped off at Guy's Burger Joint and were very impressed by our meal. All staff interactions were met with great smiles an a willingness to exceed expectations. after lunch we tried to explore as much if the shop as possible, before making a late afternoon run to the CVS just a few blocks west of the terminal for few sundry goods and a case of bottled water. Upon our return our checked baggage had been delivered to our cabin door. We put away our garments and necessities and relaxed a bit in the cabin. Dinner was open seating on this first night and again our expectations were exceeded by the staff in the Silver Olympic dining room. Afterwards we decided to explore some more and found ourselves chilling at the Serenity deck right before being called for the mandatory muster drill. This was actually the only low point if the cruise. Even though it was mandatory to attend, the high humidity and temperature, even at 9:30 in the evening, combined with thousands of bodies in a tight space, made it very uncomfortable for many of us for well over 25 minutes. Due to our center location for muster we were unable to gain a decent rail view up topside, so we decided to do a more subdued send off from our balcony. We had a great view of the ship backing up and turning to port and watching Old San Juan fade away over the next 15-20 minutes. On a scale from 1-10, I would rate the first day as an 8 due to the "sardines in a can" feeling during muster. Day Two - Monday - St. Thomas We had pre-scheduled the Dolphin Discovery excursion to Tortola an had an 8 am call in the Venetian Showroom. We hit the Lido buffet at 7 am and found the varied selection for food quite satisfying an plentiful. Coffee was a bit strong but with some real cream and natural sugar, it was doable. We then headed to the Venetian and our group of about 24 followed our guide off the ship and straight to our ferry ride. We made the slightly choppy ride to Road a Town in about 45 minutes. A quick trip through custom/immigration for the BVI and then we loaded into a large limo van and headed to the Discovery location. After a brief discussion on expectations we were split into groups of about 8 people. Our expectation again were exceeded as we spent nearly an hour in the water with our dolphin, Gracia. We touched, held , rode on her belly and we were pushed from behind. I even was asked to give her some if her fish rewards. Afterwards we were able to purchase snacks and drinks while choosing if we wanted photos of the excursions, which were a bit pricey, but such a great keepsake on CD, thumb drive a 3 prints. We even received a conservation session which included the lineage of all the dolphins at this location. We then headed back to Charlotte Amalie where there were some computer snafus that delayed entry through US immigration and customs by about 30 minutes. Then back to the ship for some sun in the Serenity area. Dinner was at Diamond's Steakhouse, as it was our 30th Anniversary day. We enjoyed a nice and relaxed 3 course meal with excellent service. The food was top notch and the cheesecake was completely decadent. We then booked a couples massage at the spa for the next evening. We knocked off early at about 10 pm as the previous 3 days of non-stop action in San Juan and the Liberty had us drained. Day Three - Tuesday - Day at Sea We slept in a little and had breakfast on Lido deck. Omelette were very well prepared your way, coffee still very strong. We then proceeded to the Venetian for a very informative session on the various ports and excursions available. Felipe, the cruise director, discussed each port and the top 5 excursions for each. There was an excursion for each port of call given away via raffle after Felipe discussed the individual ports. We did some more exploration and found ourselves on the Serenity deck once more. Lunch was deli sandwiches made to order on the Lido deck. We rested some more on our balcony and then headed to our assigned dinner in the Silver Olympic dinning room. Tonight was elegant night and while most passengers were dressed appropriately, quite a few were not, which was a bit disappointing. We met our assigned waitstaff of Carlos, Abdul and Samuel. They never missed a beat, taking orders, filling glasses, pulling plates and changing flatware as needed. They took the time to ask about us and where we were from. We felt very welcomed by these gentlemen. They even sang Happy Anniversary to us! The food was great and we even made conversation with fellow diners nearby. We decided to eat light due to our scheduled couples massage later in the evening. Just before we left the dining room we were entertained by the entire waitstaff dancing all over the room. After dinner we strolled the Promenade deck and took in the casino for a few rounds of slots before heading to the cabin to change into gym clothes. The couples massage was just the right touch to end the day, I took the bamboo massage while my wife had the hot stone massage. When we booked the day before the staff at the spa knew it was our anniversary and offered an extra 25 minutes for both of us at no extra charge! After the pampering received at the spa we called it a night again at about 10 pm. Day Four - Wednesday - Barbados We awoke early and hit breakfast at 7 am on the Lido deck. We did not book an excursion and decided to grab a cab and head over to The Boatyard. It was a wise choice as we were able to split a cab with 2 other couples and only pay $5 each for the short 10 minute trip. Entry into the Boatyard was $15 each, which included a chair,an umbrella and return cab ride back to the ship. The water was very calm, clear and inviting. Food and drinks were available for purchase and there were clear restrooms on site. This was a very good bargain. We stayed about 4 hours and headed back for a late lunch on the ship. We decided to try Guy's again and were just as thrilled this time as we were on day one. We roamed around again and visited the Rum Bar for some Caribbean Coladas that hit the spot! Dinner again at our assigned table and with our 3 great servers. More merriment at the end with dancing and signing all around! We made the late showing of the Rock and Roll Show in the Venetian, which was well presented by some very talented singers and dancers. Afterwards we headed to the comedy club to Azeem for the last performance if he night. He was freaking hilarious. Initially he followed his routine but not even 5 minutes into into if he was interacting with several guests and next thing we know us he was improvising god last 20 minutes with some extremely funny adult humor on the fly! After that we hit the casino for a while and then hit the hay. Day Five - Thursday - St Lucia The night before we booked an excursion through the TV in the room and picked a beach trip to the northern side of the island. Our tour guide LeeAnn, a native Lucian, met us in the Venetian and escorted us to our tour bus. She was very informative during our drive to the northern tip where we stopped to take pictures of some great breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. We then headed to Pigeon Island National Park Beach, where we spent over 3 hours on a small secluded beach. Lounge chairs were included. We found a shady spot and enjoyed our time talking with fellow passengers in the very calm and clear water and on the beach. We then headed back to the ship and readied up for dinner. Again, we received excellent service as well more signing and dancing, afterwards we caught the tail end if Spanish language trivia in the Venetian, followed by name the TV theme song trivia. we stayed for the Gender Game, pitting a group of 15 men against 15 women answering opposite gender specific questions. I joined the men on stage for this fun event. After that we stayed to play some bingo and then waited for the Marriage game to start. Initially a couple with the least amount of married time was selected with only 3 days under their belts. Next came the couple with the most years, which happened to be their 50th anniversary. The final slot was contested by about 9 couple ranging in married time from 20-30 years. We decided to try for that slot. There was an initial "kiss off" that pared it down to us and another couple. The final "kiss off", Felipe the Cruise Director, challenged us to make it passionate. Well I just grabbed my wife and started kissing and spinning her around like ice skaters. We were selected based on our "high energy"! The game proper was similar to "The Newlywed Game" in that the husbands were led offstage and the wives answered 10 questions. Then while backstage the men were asked the same question. This led to some very funny and "R" rates responses. In the end all couple received a Carnival ship trophy, but the 50 year married couple also received some very nice jewelry for her, compliments of Felipe. We hit the sack again after all the festivities. One thing I noticed was that at all times there were staff members cleaning in all areas all of the time. Not once during the whole cruise did we see anything that could even be considered as dirty. They even painted the sides of the ship in every port where the tugs scuffed the white paint of Liberty. Most impressed by this attention to detail. Day Six - Friday - St. Kitts Breakfast in Lido again with omelettes. Very consistent with good food quality. We did a spur of the moment excursion to Cockleshell Beach in the southern part of the island . After a 30 minute twisty and up and Finn ride with outstanding views, we arrived at the beach. We received a welcome fruit punch drink and had access to chairs, umbrellas right on the water. We had a great view of Nevis about 3-4 miles way. The clear, warm and calm waters were just perfect. Our driver picked us up on time after a 3 hour stay. We caught late lunch again at both Lido buffet and Guy's. It was during lunch that several passengers recognized us from the marriage show as it was replayed on the ships channel all day long. We asked at guest services if a DVD was available of that event but was informed they stopped that program a while back due to very low interest. We hit the casino a bit before dinner. It was the second elegant night of the cruise. This time more passengers were better dressed for dinner that the previous elegant evening. More signing and dancing ensued and again another tasty meal. We spent some time walking around later as well as hit the casino again before going to sleep. Day Seven - Saturday - St. Maarten Breakfast as usual and a jaunt down to the cab stand for a cab ride to Maho beach. $8 each and we were grouped with 2 other couples. We were dropped off at the Sunset Bar and Grill. We laid $20 for 2 loungers and an umbrella. We watched the planes fly 50 feet overhead while landing at Princess Julianna Airport. We stayed from about 10 am until another 1:30 pm. Beach was quite rocky and inclined dramatically into the moderate surf. By the time we left the were about 600-700 people in the area, compared to about 50 when we first arrived. Lunch again on the ship at Guys and the spent the afternoon on the aft pool area which is adults only. Last night of dinner with the finest waitstaff afloat. They even got me get up and dance Gundham Style with them. Afterwards we said our goodbyes to the staff and fellow diners. Throughout the day debarkation instructions were on ships TV. We had F2F and need edit as we had an 11am flight out in the morning. We hit the sack about 10pm. Day Eight - Sunday - San Juan The ship arrived at about 6am to the dock. We hit the Lido buffet about that time and headed back to our room to take all our luggage to our assigned F2F area in the Olympic Gold dining area. At about 6:50 we were herded to Zero deck and we're off the ship and through customs by 7:30. Made it to the airport by 8am! All in all I would give this cruise 9.0 out of 10.0. Our cabin was kept tidy by our cabin steward and he provided some very cute towel animals and such. He kept ice in our ice bucket every evening and we never once had to call for service on the room. I used the Landry services to press my shirts, slacks and jacket and a nominal charge. I was not disappointed with this service also. Actually other than a couple of rude and obnoxious passengers and the muster drill, everything else exceeded our expectations beyond belief. We will cruise on Carnival again, as we decided this morning to come back in two years with our adult sons. Until then Bon Voyage to all who sail on Liberty"

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By Tina_CR

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Sep 15, 2015

Caribbean

This was my first cruise. It was ok because of the travel group I was with. The travel group regularly books trips throughout the year with Carnival. Every day the group had their own fun activities planned (line dancing, dominoes, card games ect) and every night there was a theme party. This was the best part of the trip. Had I not been with the group I am positive I would not have had as much fun. The group already has their 2016 Carnival cruise

planned and I would love to share their company again but I cannot see spending money with Carnival. Real Low Budget Experience. After the third day, I was tired of the same menu. The food was warm when I picked it up. By the time I sat down, it was cold. On one occasion during breakfast, I had to get another serving of food because the eggs were cold as well as the pancakes. During the formal dining nights, the service took forever and once again the food was barely warm. At some point I decided to skip formal dining. Late one night, I decided to get a snack. The only thing available was pizza which was paper thin and unappetizing. Not to mention having to stand on line for 25 minutes. As for fish, there were only two options. Barely warm fillet from the buffet or heavily battered greasy fried Talapia. I had no choice but to purchase dinner when visiting the ports or eating wraps which I eventually got tired of like the rest of the food. The alcoholic drinks were watered down and over priced. The stateroom was clean but there was rust on the balcony which indicated the ship was in need of a serious make over. The onboard activities were boring and anything worth doing was crowded. For the type of money spent, Carnival provided a low budget experience. When purchasing duty free liquor on the ship, I was informed that Carnival changed the policy and no longer delivered purchases to the room the night before departure. Instead you had to stand on a line on the morning of departure to retrieve your liquor. I was on line one mile long from 6:30 am until 8:30 am. The whole procedure was chaotic. People who purchased liquor on Carnival were able to go to the front of the line whereas those who did not purchase liquor on Carnival had to wait. Need I say the amount of tension surfacing from those on the line. It was as if Carnival was punishing patrons for purchasing alcohol outside of the ship. The entire system was disorganized. Over all, I made the best of it but I would think twice before going on another Carnival Cruise.

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Feb 17, 2014

Eastern Carib

Had a GREAT time.Had everything taken care of at the airport,entrance was easy. Loved the workers,very friendly. Josh the cruise director was great,loved the music & magic duo,they don't get any better than those two. And Mike & the Liberty Big Band,can't say enough about him & the Band,I wish there was a way I could follow them on the web.,or facebook,but can't find anything.Anyway the cruise was excellent.Can't wait form

my next one. Oh yes,met great dinner guest at our main dinner. Thank You for the great time great food very nice cabin very good entertainment, loved the live music we only took a couple tours,the walk in Puerto Rico was very good I spoke earlier in this column loved the Music & Magic Duo singers,& Mike & the Liberty show Big Band,it doesn't get any better than those guys.

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Mar 28, 2013

Eastern Caribbean

Though I was disappointed in this cruise we did have a great time. Some of the problems, like weather were no fault of Carnivals. We did not realize when we booked this cruise that it was in the middle of Spring Break. I had also heard that most Spring Breakers take shorter cruises and not 7 days. Our ship was packed with groups of College students. Impossible to use the Jacuzzi"s as they were always packed with the young party goers. We did not

have the best weather. Food was mediocre at best. Our waiter was Peri from India. He was amazing and so entertaining. He knew everyones name by the second night. One thing new that we did enjoy was the Taste Bar which has replaced the Sushi Bar. It was open 5 nights before dinner usually sampling a soup and treat. The first night was a tomato type soup with a BBQ beef crochet. Very tasty! I found this ship to rock more than normal. Many people were sea sick during the week. One grandson was sick the first night and the other was sick the last night. It is very obvious that Carnival has cut corners to save money. Our next cruise in April will be on NCLs new Breakaway. I will definitely be paying attention to detail and most likely will choose a different cruiseline in the future until Carnival goes back to the way they used to be. I found the food mediocre at best. Carnival has really gone down when it comes to food. No more midnight buffets. Lunch buffet closes ate 2:30 so if you come back from a day in port after this time you will be limited to burgers, pizza and room service. I ate twice in the buffet for breakfast and once for lunch and was not impressed. Choices are very limited than in the past. For the other 5 breakfasts I ate at the Blue Iguana which serves breakfast burritos. Though good they were always cold. I did enjoy their toppings bar. Guys Burgers were not bad. First one was good but second was burnt all around the edges. I did love their fries with chipotle sauce. Probably one of the best things I had on the ship. Dinner in the Silver dining room was just OK. On the last night 3 of my family members ordered the Flat Iron Steak which is on the everyday list. They all said it did not taste right and smelled bad. They had ordered it during the week and enjoyed it. We brought it to our waiters attention and he offered to get them something else but they declined. The pizza style has changes. It is now a thin crust pizza. I loved the old pizza. We ate at the Diamonds Steakhouse one night. It was very good but not the best I have had onboard. The service was very good but almost intrusive as every 5 min they came buy to see how we were doing. A little over kill. But better too much than not enough. My daughter said the lobster was better in the dining room. Our stateroom was the typical small room but it was clean. We never met our room steward but he always kept it tidy though he did not fill the ice bucket on 3 occasions and once I had to go to the Lido deck to get ice myself. Enjoyed the towel animals every night. We did not use the min bar though we did put our own soda in to keep cool. Does not really get cold. My daughter took on can of soda from her minibar which was about $2.25. A few days after returning she got a letter from Carnival saying she owed $18.96. (She had done a cash deposit) Her balance on the morning of debarkation showed she had a $4.00 credit. She requested that they send her a statement showing the new charge and it turned out to be a mini bar charge for $19.44 that were added after debarkation. Now she is fighting to have that removed. Funny, we stayed at a resort in Miami before our cruise. When I checked out they had added $18.00 mini bar charge to my bill which we had not used. Hmmm! On board activities were lacking or boring. One thing that this ship and maybe all Carnival ships have done away with is the Calypso bands on the Lido deck. We were entertained only by a DJ. Part of my enjoyment has always been listening to the band and the steel drums while enjoying the scenery drinking a Blue Iguana. I guess this is another price cut. The entertainment was a BIG disappointment. Used to have entertainment in the showroom every night. Not this cruise. We only had shows maybe 4 or 5 nights and they were high school musical quality at best. many people got up and left during the shows. The Punchliner club was good the 4 nights it was open but seating is a premium. The casino was the norm. Not many winners. They have two computerized black jack tables that must be rigged in their favor. When the black jack dealer gets 5 black jacks in a row and you cannot win on 20 something is amuck. We did not do any excursions this cruise so cannot comment here. This was a family cruise to celebrate my 60th birthday and my daughter and son-in-laws 25th anniversary. 11 of us total. My youngest daughter decorated our cabin doors and passengers stopped by to sign the poster on my door. That was a nice touch. Passenger across the hall stopped me one day and wished me a Happy Birthday and said that they use the poster to find their room. I told them so do I. The weather was not the best. Both sea days were chilly as was Half Moon Cay plus raining and windy. Though the weather was not the best it could have been worse. Our last stop was Grand Turk where we all spent the day at Margaritaville and had a great time. The morning of debarkation my husband became sick as did my daughter and brother. We also met people at the elevator and on deck 3 who were also sick. I brought this to the attention of Customer relations not knowing if it was food poisoning or a virus. 2 more would become sick a few days later. After reading blogs on the internet I found out that they were temporarily not going to Grand Turks as there seemed to be a virus that was affecting passengers on several cruise ships.

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Mar 13, 2013

Western Carribbean

While this was my sixth cruise and fourth with Carnival, it will be my last with Carnival. The steady decline of the line in the past 4 years ended on this last cruise with the worst trip I've ever taken. Not only were their safety issues but medical issue too. The trip began with my sister getting hurt on the water slide because no one removed the board at the bottom they use to close the slide. The attendant let her go down and luckily she went

down feet first. She hit the board and it flew up and hit her in the forehead leaving a nice lump and welt. Ok, stuff happens. Next, the food in the buffet was barely warm and the offer pretty much the same each day. The 'Guy' burgers were good. The best meals were in the dining room and they were good but not great. The shows on board were bland at most., The best was the last day with the assistant cruise director. Even though it rained all day, she kept things lively in the theater. I wish the rest of the crew members had her enthusiasm and joy. The last night we didn't get a chance to get to the dining room and decided just to order sandwiches from room service. NEVER order tuna salad on the last night of any cruise. My mother and I got sick as we both ate the tuna salad. She was worse then myself as she passed out and hit her head in the bathroom the morning or our debarkation. It was a serious head injury which involved a hospital stay of over a week. Luckily, we are from Florida and I was able to drive her to the hospital because getting help from anyone on the cruise lines during debarkation is impossible. No one answered phones and I finally got her dressed and took her down to the service deck in a wheelchair. They informed me that the medical center was closed and they could try to round up an RN if there was one available. I should go down to deck 0 and wait. After numerous attempts I came back to the desk and said I could not get to deck 0 without assistance as it doesn't let me go lower than deck 1. Finally, I said I was taking her off the ship myself. They told me I couldn't because if I didn't leave when my zone was called I wouldn't get my luggage. REALLY??? Like I cared about luggage by this time? I've send a letter and an email and don't expect to get any answer from Carnival. This is my farewell message to them.....Carnival's owner needs to stop putting money into his Miami Heat and start fixing what is wrong with his cruise line. Cold and bland food. Stateroom and attendant were great. Same boring hairy chest contest each cruise. Excursions are cheaper if picked up on shore than from the ship. Worst cruise of my life. I'm finished with Carnival. I guess you do get what you pay for. I guess if drinking and a tan are your only incentives for cruising, then Carnival may be perfect.

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Nov 18, 2012

Western

Horrible! This was out 9th carnival Cruise and 18th overall. We has to wait over two hours from getting our room key to getting on the ship. The dining room waiter never introduced himself and never learned our names. For 3 dinners there were 8 people at the table sharing two menus. We had to constantly ask for more water or coffee, We had no napkins or silverware at dinner. All of the starters were delivered to the table at once. Some nights

we never get get the food we ordered, The service was very slow. The food was fairly bland, The meat and lamb were tender but not seasoned. The buffets were soggy and some food was cold, like hit digs, that are supposed to be hot. The lobster entree at dinner was two bites, The Guts burgers were good, but we did not go on a cruise to eat hamburgers, The sugar free desserts at dinner were bland and did not taste good, My husband is a diabetic so that was all he could eat, The cabin was too warm. We booked directly through carnival and were NEVER told our room was over the Karaoke Lounge, We did not sleep due to noise and heat in cabin. We complained but we were only offered a down graded cabin, Our room was "in range of normal temperature." we finally got less than $200 dollar credit and 10% off next 7 day cruise. If you did not get off the ship on port days there was very little organized events to do on board, We did not do excursions on this trip.

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Sep 14, 2012

Western Caribbean

I used to be a dedicated Royal Caribbean (RCCL) cruiser. I have since switched due to Carnival being basically the same experience with a lower price and better food. As always, I have returned home feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work. Living in South Florida makes cruising a cost-effective, stressless option. Carnival has made me a happy customer. This cruise took us to Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, and Grand Cayman

The food was 95% of the time, top notch or it met my expectations. The food temperature was 9/10 correct. I love Carnival's variety of foods, and flavors. I've noticed that RCCL makes more bland tasting food. Carnival takes chances, using Indian spices in some of their dishes. The "taste bar" was a great idea, serving small plate dishes. The items served were always off the beaten path, so it was a fun treat. The main dining room had the usual cuisine that always puts a smile on my face. Anything you want can be arranged for you. The portions were adequate, and you could always ask for a second helping. For some odd reason, we had two assistant waiters and one main waiter. It was weird, because they all took turns taking our orders, filling drinks, running food, etc. It was like they operated as a unit, instead of one guy in charge of drinks and bread with the main waitor doing everything else. The staff was a bit cold, which I have never experienced before. Every cruise I have always been on, the waiter always learns your name. Yes, my service was good, just not as personable as previous sailings. I also ate at the Diamonds steak house. Totally elegant, and first rate service. Combine that with impeccable food, and unreal meats, and you have a happy vacationer. The burger and pizza areas actually serve some great items. The pizza was thin crust, and made a great snack. The burgers were a tad dry, but add fixings and cheese, and I was pleased. Their french fries were to die for. The buffet was the usual cruise variety. After so many cruises, the buffet loses its shock and awe. It wasn't bad, but gorging myself isn't my main focus during a cruise vacation any longer. The only let down about the food is the hours of the dining room and buffet. They close at 2:30pm. This is an unwelcome surprise after returning at 4pm from an excursion. This cruise also lacked a midnight buffet. I guess these cutbacks are the signs of the time. Not a huge deal, since I rarely take part in these late night offerings. The staterooms was always kept clean, and our towels were promptly replaced when we left them on the floor. In past cruises, my stateroom attendant has been very visible. Whether saying, "hello" in the hallway, or knocking on my door to see if I needed anything, the SA on my past cruises was there. This cruise, not so much. I saw my SA in the beginning of the cruise, and on the last day when he told me we had to vacate our room an hour prior to the time listed in our "Fun Times". Once again, not bad service, but not as personable as I remember in past cruises. Our cruise director Karl was great, and his staff kept the party going. If you are bored on a Carnival ship, then you need some psychiatric help. Whether it was hairy chest competitions, or the "Love & Marriage" show, there was always something going on. The casino is fun, but I think it's rigged. NO ONE in my group won any money. Then again, I think all cruise ship gaming is rigged. The food tasting at the Diamonds steakhouse was outstanding. I think the Carnival stage show is absolute cheese. The two singers are good, and the dancers are okay, but the shows themselves on the Carnival Liberty are god awful. For instance, one night was "Rock N' Roll" show. This show consisted of some staples from the 1950's, but then it went heavy into disco, Abba, and Phil Colins. Really? A rock and roll show with a 4 song medley tribute to Abba? Cheese! We did two excursions: 1. Cave tubing in Belize 2. Beach Buggy/snorkel in Cozumel Cave Tubing was fun, but kind of disappointing. The hike to the caves was nice, and we learned about some of Belize's jungle ecology along the way. The rock path was adventurous, but one could easily roll an ankle if not paying attention. I ate termites, and saw a bunch of leaf cutter ants. The water was cool and refreshing, but this is where it sucked... We had to wear life jackets and helmets. We also had to stay seated in the tube, and were tied together in groups. I wanted to get away, and float on my own in the cool water, but it was a no go. There are lockers, and places to change at the end. It was nice to see, but I was not thrilled with this excursion. Beach buggy in Cozumel was fun. You ride in a 4 seater Polaris ATV, and you ride long a road that goes to a park. At the park, you see crocs, ancient ruins, and a cool light house. We also snorkeled a pretty reef. We saw many types of marine life, and the water was the perfect temperature. Swimming out and back to the reef is for strong swimmers or first time snorkelers. They also fed us lunch, and you could get alcohol beverages for cheap! I would recommend this excursion. In Honduras and Cayman, we went to the beaches. Both were excellent. Cayman had better water, but both blew me away. Honduras tip: There is a beautiful beach next to the cruise ship. If you go there, go all the way down to the end of the beach. The lounge chairs on that end of the beach are FREE!!! I would book with Carnival again, but it seems like the service level has declined. I'm not sure why. I think my next cruise will be with a different line. Not because Carnival is bad, but just to try other lines. One thing is for sure... I LOVE CRUISING.

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By Doug_CR

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Dec 26, 2011

Western Caribbean

Carnival needs to be investigated. They have poor business practices and the casino games are fixed. Someone needs to see what oversight the cruise lines have at the casino's? Who can you go to complain about the way customers are being cheated? Food was OK. Not great, but acceptable. Stateroom was fine. Not large, but you don't spend much time in your room. Activities were good. Excursions can be great. I would recommend

that you purchase on the islands and not thru the cruise lines. You can find a much better deal on your own. We ran into multiple issues with Carnival and the casino activities. Problems with the $10,000 bingo (Fixed), Casino games that were also fixed. When you complain they could care less. Your only on the boat for a few days and some new person comes along.

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Aug 14, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

WOW, what an adventure. I have taken many cruises before but never had an experience this poor. The prices on cruises, including this one, are about the same as I paid 25 years ago. But the experience is very different. The Liberty provided so so service combined with so so food. It felt like a cattle call. The buffet on Lido deck was horrible. The breakfast buffet had no waffles and to get smoked salmon you had to order room service, 1 1/2

hours, or eat in the main dining room. The buffet at dinnertime was even worse. I am not a fan of Ryans or Hometown Buffet but they were like 10 times better than the Liberty buffet. And if you just wanted a burger, forget it. No burgers on room service, and the grill on the Lido deck closes about 7PM. Now on to cabins. My group had 4 cabins that were located in the front part of the ship on deck 6. BIG MISTAKE!! The main showroom on deck 5 is just below and we could feel every drumbeat. So, if you stay up late every night, these deck 6 forward cabins are ok, but if you are in bed at 11PM and want to go to sleep, forget it.

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May 29, 2011

Western Caribbean

I was disappointed in Carnival compared to previous cruises with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. I fell on the ship due to sloppy maintenance when ice cream had melted on their marble floor and had not been cleaned up. I saw the ship's doctor but Carnival ruined my white pants 'cleaning' them for me after the incident. They refused to accept resonsibility for ruining my pants and said I could write corp a letter when the cruise was over. I spoke

to several staff about my fall but they left me with the impression that they did not care and all they were responsible for was ensuring I saw a doctor (several hour process). Their lack of concern and poor handling of cleaning my pants left a bad taste in my mouth. I will never choose Carnival for any future cruises. I would recommend either Celebrity or Royal Caribbean cruise lines over Carnival, even if the cruise was slightly higher in price. This was NOT a 'fun ship'. It was a drinking ship and the staff/services overall were unimpressive and even poor at times. Very mediocre. Breakfasts never seemed to vary and the lunch selection at the buffet was weak. The fruit was not fresh. Dinner service took at least 2 hours every night. Way tooooooo long. We had a fun table but because we had to wait so long for dinner service, we missed some of the evening entertainment. Most of the food was really average which is a huge disappointment on a cruise. Pizza was terrible, oatmeal was awful and some of the entrees were bland. Stateroom was fine and service was fine. Very weak unless you liked drinking in bars. Nothing on board talked about the ports of call unless you wanted to buy things at the Carnival 'approved' stores. I would have appreciated some background on the countries/ports of call during our days at sea. Nothing intellectually stimilating-bring a couple of books cause you will be bored. Enjoyed the swim with sting rays in Grand Cayman and our excursion on Cozumel. Jamaica was a major disappointment with the 'approved' tour to Dunns River Falls/Paradise Beach Party a HUGE disappointment. Save your money and don't do this excursion. My son and I were separated at the falls and no one ever tried to assist in getting us connected. We wasted over an hour and a half. EVERYONE wanted money from us in Jamaica. Loved the Caribbean water. The cruise itself was a disappointment as was the service. I expect more from the world's largest cruise line. I will not be a repeat customer and plan to share my experience with fellow travelers to help them decide which cruise line to use for future vacations.

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Apr 10, 2011

Eastern Carribean

Overall, the Carnival Liberty was a great experience. The waiters and cabin staff were excellent. The food was great and plentiful and the entertainment was very good. We enjoyed the shore visits even though we did not sign up for any excursions on the ship. Concerns: you are able to bring a bottle of wine onboard ship. No one tells you, however, that the wine must be on your carryon luggage when you board. Although we had it in our carryon

luggage, the luggage handlers suggested checking it when we arrived at the port and did not share this information with us so our wine was confiscated until the end of the trip. Also, the guest services staff were not always well informed and gave a person in our group inaccurate information about her debarkation at the end of the cruise causing confusion. The food was excellent. You can choose multiple dishes; however, if you wanted steak with your shrimp, you would get two full meals and could not just get the extra steak or shrimp which was wasteful. The number of food stations was amazing. I was never able to get to all of them. Our stateroom was clean and worked for 3 of us. There is however, only one outlet, so i was glad that I brought a powerstrip along. There is a mini refrigertator in the room stocked with liquor and soft drinks for a fee. Our cabin staff was awesome and our requests were handled almost immediately. The onboard activities were fun. There were 3,500 passengers onboard ship and there was something for everyone. I enjoyed the wine tasting, bingo, casino, and nightly shows, piano bar, dance club and comedy acts. We did not sign up for any excursions as we took advantage of some of them on our previous cruise. We were able to walk to downtown Nassau (a disappointment, expecially the famous straw market, burned down a few years ago, has not been rebuilt to its previous size is located under tents and very difficult to walk through the aisles...very unfortunate). Paradise Island can be reached via taxi for a few dollars and Atlantis is worth the visit. We also bargained for a taxi ride around the island of St. Thomas (nice tour and stops for photos, plus a 2 hour stop at the beach, for $15 a person). We took at tour when we debarked in San Juan for $20.00 and felt the tour was worth it. We were dropped off in Old San Juan for shopping and could walk back to the ship. Do wear a watch to insure that you get back on board ship on time if you don't take a ship sponsored excursion. It was a memorable cruise and a pleasant surprise. Even though there were 3,500 passengers you never felt like there were that many people on board. There was plenty of on deck seating and a separate pool/bar area for adults. The number of food stations also kept congestion to a minimum.

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Mar 16, 2011

Exotic Eastern Caribbean

Overall, I would say our experience was okay. We had sailed with Carnival in the past and it was absolutely horrible so I was pleasantly surprised this time around. The ship was very clean and the rooms were the largest of any ship I have been on. However, the ship itself felt a little small. The public areas seemed very crowded most of the time. On sea days, it was impossible to find a chair on any of the open decks. There is also nowhere to find

a chair in the shade except for at the open air dining tables. For this reason, it was difficult to find tables to sit at to eat sometimes because people were lounging at them all day. The pools themselves were small but not crowded because the few people I saw use them said they were very cold. The hot tubs were warm but also a bit crowded. We used the one at the adults only pool. I have seen other reviews that said there were kids in the adults only pool, but I did not see that on this cruise. There were often kids around the pool though because the pizza restaurant is beside the adults only pool. ( a poor design oversight). The shopping onboard was pretty typical cruiseline stuff. One store that sold cruiseline souveniers and another that sold duty free items such as liquor, perfumes and jewelry. The casino was mostly slots which we did not play but during the time we looked around the casino, I did not see any pay out. The casino and the sports bar were very smoky and I did see cruiseline staff smoking in the sports bar in uniform. The staff was mostly indifferent to passengers. The room stewards and housekeeping staff were the only staff who were consistently friendly and helpful. We had an incident while onboard where my husband was splashed with dirty mopwater while the balcony above ours was being clean and when he complained about it, the guest relations staff offered to launder his clothes but never aplogized or offered to inform anyone in the future of cleaning above their balconies. Because of the really poor service and average everything else, we will most likely not travel with Carnival again. The food on the cruise was average. The only thing that made it gourmet was the presentation. The menu was not as varied or as exotic as I have experienced with other cruises. I ordered the flatiron steak which was on the menu every night twice because the specials on the menu did not appeal to me at all. Shrimp was offered as an appetizer several nights and one night as an entree but there were few other seafood options. In general, the food was bland and repetitive. The buffet food was typical cold salads and a meat carving station. We did not eat at the steak restaurant and didn't hear any comments from anyone else about it. The pizza restaurant had pretty good pizza and a good ceasar salad. The fish and chips were good. The burrito station was also good but the ingredients were also bland. The room service food arrived cold and was not good at all. The room service menu is also quite limited. We did the anytime dining which was convenient for us because we always ate as soon as the dining room opened but sometimes the wait seemed quite long for those who were eating at popular dinner times. The dinner service is very slow. It took on average an hour and fifteen minutes per meal. The stateroom was the only real redeeming factor of this cruise. The room was larger than others in the industry and comfortable. We had a balcony which we used often since our son goes to bed very early. The balcony itself was very small. The chairs had to be aligned perfectly or the door wouldn't open. There were lots of closet space and drawers to put items in and many shelves in the bathroom. We actually had unused storage space and plenty of room to store our two large suitcases, car seat and stroller. The room steward Yupin was excellent. The onboard activities were lacking. We really didn't find anything to do on sea days. There was the typical offering of Bingo and slot tournaments but really didn't see much else going on. The kids club was good for our two year old who really enjoyed it but the hours were odd and often inconvenient. It was closed on sea days from 1-4 for lunch and sometimes during other times for special activities like Build a Bear. It was closed during the returning cruiser cocktail party so we were unable to attend. We did do a couples massage class in the spa which was too crowded and overpriced for the 30 minute class. The other spa services were very expensive (about twice as much as at home and about 25% more than other cruises I have been on). Because we were traveling with a young child, we were unable to participate in most of the excursions because they have a minimum age requirement. We did do the ultimate St. Thomas excursion which was good but probably could have been done by taxi for about half the price. Magen Bay was not to be missed. Blackbeard's Castle is actually not a castle at all but does have several museum type places to see. I would not advice paying for the walking tour in San Juan because it can be done on your own for free. The cruise was average, nothing at all special. The service was terrible except for the room steward who was great and the dining room waiters who were acceptable. The ports of call were really good and we enjoyed each of them. Overall, it was a great itinerary which I would recommend to anyone just not with Carnival. If your travel days are flexible, you can find a similar itinerary with other lines.

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Mar 1, 2011

eastern carribean

We had a really great time on the Carnival Liberty. Everything was great, staff, ship entertainment. The ship is easy to get around and clean. The food was really good. The only thing our group thought the steaks lacked flavour and the cheesecake was a dissapointment, but everything else was delicious! Make sure you try the Molten Lava Cake Mmmmmm No complaints here. The rooms were roomy and clean. They have everything you need.

So much fun and well planned out. I do think the Bingo was a lttle expensive and wish they played more than one game on the card, but it was still fun! I would not pay for the excursion in St. Thomas....shopping and Maggen's Bay. It would be cheaper if you took a cab, just like the people we were with and you can do it on your own time. Fabulous!!!! Our waiters, stewart and bartenders were all great!!!! The waiters in the casino are fast and remember your drinks and the casino hosts Freddie and Eva are so much fun!!!! This is our second time sailing with Carnival and we will do it again in a heartbeat. It really is the fun ship!!! The only dissapointment was not being able to get chairs by the pool. People go down at like 5 in the morning and save them all day! :( that was the only frusterating thing.

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Mar 1, 2011

eastern carribean

We had a really great time on the Carnival Liberty. Everything was great, staff, ship entertainment. The ship is easy to get around and clean. The food was really good. The only thing our group thought the steaks lacked flavour and the cheesecake was a dissapointment, but everything else was delicious! Make sure you try the Molten Lava Cake Mmmmmm No complaints here. The rooms were roomy and clean. They have everything you need.

So much fun and well planned out. I do think the Bingo was a lttle expensive and wish they played more than one game on the card, but it was still fun! I would not pay for the excursion in St. Thomas....shopping and Maggen's Bay. It would be cheaper if you took a cab, just like the people we were with and you can do it on your own time. Fabulous!!!! Our waiters, stewart and bartenders were all great!!!! The waiters in the casino are fast and remember your drinks and the casino hosts Freddie and Eva are so much fun!!!! This is our second time sailing with Carnival and we will do it again in a heartbeat. It really is the fun ship!!! The only dissapointment was not being able to get chairs by the pool. People go down at like 5 in the morning and save them all day! :( that was the only frusterating thing.

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Mar 1, 2011

eastern carribean

We had a really great time on the Carnival Liberty. Everything was great, staff, ship entertainment. The ship is easy to get around and clean. The food was really good. The only thing our group thought the steaks lacked flavour and the cheesecake was a dissapointment, but everything else was delicious! Make sure you try the Molten Lava Cake Mmmmmm No complaints here. The rooms were roomy and clean. They have everything you need.

So much fun and well planned out. I do think the Bingo was a lttle expensive and wish they played more than one game on the card, but it was still fun! I would not pay for the excursion in St. Thomas....shopping and Maggen's Bay. It would be cheaper if you took a cab, just like the people we were with and you can do it on your own time. Fabulous!!!! Our waiters, stewart and bartenders were all great!!!! The waiters in the casino are fast and remember your drinks and the casino hosts Freddie and Eva are so much fun!!!! This is our second time sailing with Carnival and we will do it again in a heartbeat. It really is the fun ship!!! The only dissapointment was not being able to get chairs by the pool. People go down at like 5 in the morning and save them all day! :( that was the only frusterating thing.

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Mar 1, 2011

eastern carribean

We had a really great time on the Carnival Liberty. Everything was great, staff, ship entertainment. The ship is easy to get around and clean. The food was really good. The only thing our group thought the steaks lacked flavour and the cheesecake was a dissapointment, but everything else was delicious! Make sure you try the Molten Lava Cake Mmmmmm No complaints here. The rooms were roomy and clean. They have everything you need.

So much fun and well planned out. I do think the Bingo was a lttle expensive and wish they played more than one game on the card, but it was still fun! I would not pay for the excursion in St. Thomas....shopping and Maggen's Bay. It would be cheaper if you took a cab, just like the people we were with and you can do it on your own time. Fabulous!!!! Our waiters, stewart and bartenders were all great!!!! The waiters in the casino are fast and remember your drinks and the casino hosts Freddie and Eva are so much fun!!!! This is our second time sailing with Carnival and we will do it again in a heartbeat. It really is the fun ship!!! The only dissapointment was not being able to get chairs by the pool. People go down at like 5 in the morning and save them all day! :( that was the only frusterating thing.

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Feb 1, 2011

Western Caribbean

We had a great time. The staff was awesome, the shows were better than I expected and very enjoyable, the comedians were for the most part very funny, the band in the casino - Blood Power - put on a great show and our stateroom was decent sized with the bonus of an extended balcony. Once we figured out the system, it was very satisfying. I would suggest hitting up the omelette line for breakfast, they are worth the wait. For lunch, the Mongolian

stir fry was awesome. Along with the deli sandwich station which has one of the better pastrami sandwiches that I have had. Pre dinner we would hit up the sushi bar, which according to my girlfriend, was pretty good too. We hit up the cruise elegant dining a couple nights in the Golden Olympian dining room. The service was excellent and food was above par. We did go to Harry's, the ship's steakhouse one night and can highly recommend it. I had the New York Strip and it was fantastic. If you are feeling lazy, room service is also an option with a fair selection. We ended up with an aft stateroom that included an extended balcony, which came in handy when the top deck lounge chairs we full. The stateroom was well appointed and maintained. The balcony was nice not only for laying out, but also during embarkation and debarkation as we could roll out of bed in the morning and watch as the ship came into port or at night as the ship was departing. The house keeping staff was very friendly and efficient and kept the stateroom spotless. If you are bored on a cruise ship, it is your own fault. We hit up all the shows, some better than others. Ditto with the comedians. In the casino there is a stage where bands played every afternoon/night. Aside from the dumb name, Blood Power was a very good cover band. We even played bingo a few days. The gym/spa was better than expected and after the first day, wasn't overly crowded. One grip would be that deck chairs were a pain in the ... to get. Contrary to the stated policy of unattended chairs being policed up after 30 minutes, there were many that stayed that way all day. So if you want a good location, show up early. My other tips would be to bring a bottle of wine on board with you and if you drink beer, stick with Grolsch as it costs the same as domestic beer, but comes in a 16 oz bottle and is a much better lager. Cozumel was our first port of call and we did our own thing. We rented scooters and cruised the southern side of the island. The windward side is very beautiful, has numerous blowholes and is not very crowded so it isn't hard to find a nice area on the beach to chill out and enjoy the scenery. Coconuts is a pretty cool bar/restaurant that is on the top of a bluff and offers some great views. Grand Cayman was next, again we did our own thing. We paid a couple bucks and caught a cab to 7 mile beach where we walked til we were out of the crowded areas on the beach and set up camp. We had an excellent time swimming and laying out. Prior to getting back on the ship we did hit up Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and had a blast. Our last port of call was Ocho Rios where we did go on the Zipline/Tubing excursion. The excursion was very organized as all you had to do was show up and listen. The Zipline was fun but too quick to really recommend. However, tubing down the White River was worth every penny, the Jamaican guides were very funny and personable, the scenery was awesome and the river was crystal clear. Good times. We had a great time on Carnival Liberty and are already planning our next cruise incorporating the lessons learned from our maiden voyage. Aside from the minor inconvenience of the "saved" deck chairs the only other issue I had was the short amount of time the ship was in harbor at Ocho Rios. We only had enough time to go on our excursion and get a cup of coffee. Thanks Liberty staff for the great time!

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Jan 28, 2011

Western Caribean

This was the first cruise for me. I was somewhat apprehensive as I am use to doing my own thing on my own schedule. As it turned out, that was hardly an issue. The gym/spa were excellent and far better than expected and after the first day wasn't overly crowded. The food was fine and ample and after figuring out the system, actually very good. The staff was very friendly and provided excellent service. The decor is....unique...The only negatives

would be that clowns love to save deck chairs by placing towels on them and then never materializing, so getting a decent spot becomes a challenge. And the number of days at sea, it would have been nice to have had at least one more port of call. Overall, I look forward to going on more cruises. Harry's Steakhouse is worth every penny! The steaks were awesome and the service top notch. The buffet on the Lido deck was pretty straight forward with multiple choices allowing you to eat as healthy, or not, as you want. For Breakfast, the omelette's were worth the wait. The Mongolian stir fry is also very good. The Panini / deli sandwhich station had one of the better pastrami sandwiches that I have had. Before dinner we would hit up the sushi bar, which according to my girlfriend, was pretty good. We did the cruise elegant dining a couple times in the Golden Olympian and had good meals and great service both times. We ended up in the aft section with an extended balcony which allowed both of us to lay out and enjoy the sun when the deck areas were full. The room was bigger than I anticipated and everything was well kept and functional. If you are bored on a cruise ship you will be bored pretty much anywhere. There were a ton of activities going on throughout the day. We hit up all the shows, most of the comedians, played bingo more than a few times, hit the gym most mornings, hung by the pool when not in port, won a few dollars and watched the bands in the casino, and hung out on our balcony when during embarkation / debarkation. Good Times.... We did our own thing in Cozumel...rented scooters and did the loop around the south side of the island. The windward side is very scenic with blow holes and fairly deserted beaches. Coconuts is a great bar if you go that route. Same goes for Grand Cayman, caught a cab and headed to 7 mile beach, found a nice patch of sand to lay out on and swam in the Caribbean. We did go to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville prior to boarding the ship and had a blast. At Ocho Rios we went on a Zip Line / Tubing excursion. The zip line was fun, but was too quick. The tubing down the White River was well worth it. The only complaint would be the amount of time spent in Ocho Rios...not enough. We only had time to go on the excursion and board the ship. Would have been nice to have three or more hours...

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By Doc_CR

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Jan 28, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

Excellent. Being our first cruise, I have nothing else to compare it to, but.... I have traveled the world - on the military side of things. The cruise was fantastic, very relaxing and interesting. The gentle motion of the ship, the places we visited, and ships crew all made for a very enjoyable and relaxing trip. I work in a very dangerous and stressful job. Just getting away in this environment cleared out the mind, straightened out the perspectives

and got me "back on track". The crews attentiveness, friendliness and general great attitude made this an experience we will definately do again !!! Great food, fantastic selection and enough of a selection to keep everyone content !! The Steak House was awesome, the food, service and atmosphere would be hard to beat anywhere !!! One of the children in our "group" didn't see her favorite snack - raspberries. One of our "Servers" happened to overhear the conversation (kind of hard not to given the service being provided) and the next night there was a large bowl of raspberries waiting for her at dinner. If you don't see what you like, there are plenty of choices available !!! When I first saw the room it hit me as being way to small - after all it's smaller than your average motel room.... But it didn't take to long for the feeling to go away. The rooms(we had a balcony room) are just right. We didn't spend alot of time there, but when we where in the room, it was very comfortable and just right for the two of us. The only issue was people smoking cigars on their balconies near us and forward of our cabin made for a smelly time and made spending time on the balcony limited at times. Plenty to do for everyone !!! If you don't like it, walk a little bit and you'll find something else !!! Entertainment was great and if you don't like it, go somewhere else - the decks,pools, plenty of bars and the casino are great for the "people watching" form of entertainment !!! The Sting Ray Encounter on Grand Turk was awesome - the crew who "Led" the excursion where knowledgable and by themselves - very entertaining !!! Shopping in St. Thomas - my wife did a lot of "damage" !!! It was all good !!! The glass bottom boats on Half Moon Cay - the crew was very knowledgable, funny and made the excursion well worth it !!! "The Baths" in the BVI - awesome !!! I didn't see or hear of any bad experiences other than time crunches, but that didn't distract from the experience !!! And with time concerns, if it's a cruise "Sponsered" excursion - they won't leave without you - and if they do, there are alot worse places to be left !!! Will do it again !!! The service, whether it was in the stateroon (the bed being turned down each night with the towel characters and mints - Great !!! The table service in the dining room - awesome !!!! The things to see and do on board - Fantastic !!! Expect to spend lots of money, but what vacation doesn't cost $$$ - it won't surprise you or let you down !!! Some people will complain no matter what, so take that with a grain of salt !!!

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Jan 24, 2011

Liberty Cruise

The overall cruise experience was very good. My husband and I brought our daughters who are 14 and 11 with us and they had a great time, however the kids entertainment rooms were pretty boring. Not a lot of kids attending and when they were there they were playing board games or watching tv, things you can already do at home basically. I thought they could have had some dancing or karaoke going on for the kids but never saw any of that. The ship

was clean but very crowded. The food was just ok. We had prime rib and lobster tail one night which was very good. Other than that there wasn't really anything special on the menu. The fettucine alfredo was dry and they only have margerine, no butter for the rolls which kind of surprised me. You think they would have served both. The burrito bar was the highlight, my husband and I ate there 3 times for lunch. The service however in the dining room was horrible!!!! After the 2nd night my kids didn't want to eat there anymore since it took so long to get anything. If you ordered extra dressing for salad we had to wait 10 minutes (no joke and no exaggeration). Same with mustard or ranch for the kids chicken strips. It was ridiculous. If you ordered Kahlua and coffeee, you could plan on receiving your Kahlua atleast 5 minutes after the coffee was served. You had to order your coffee from one waiter and liquor from another. The dessert menu pretty much stayed the same which was fine with me since thed had warm melting cake every night which was to die for. My hustand ordered a rum and coke and the waiter had no idea what rum was and brought over a drink menu to have him point it out. The wait staff did not understand some english which was frustrating. Always clean. It seemed like there should have been more to do. The dance clubs didn't get going until after 10:00at night, dont know why so late. The one show we decided to go to that had singing and dancing was interruped 3 times for technical difficulties and they couldn't even finish the show. That was disappointing. We did go to 2 comedy shows and both comedians we saw were really funny!! If you are going to snorkel, definately do it in the Cayman Islands vs. Mexico. There were way more beaufiful fish in the Cayman Islands and not much going on in Mexico. Not sure if I would sail Carnival again but if I did it would be a different ship other than the Liberty. We met some people on the Carnival Fantasy boat who raved about their service on the boat in the dining room. I must admit I was a bit jealous.

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By Joy_CR

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Jan 23, 2011

Western Caribean

This was our second cruise and everything was great from the time we arrived in our cabin through the whole week on the Liberity. Food was wonderful in the main dining room and the breakfast and lunch bars had a good selection to choose from. This is a beautiful ship and only felt crowded when at the pool area. The decor was beautiful done. I will complain about the last excursion to OchoRios. This port excursion should be eliminated from the cruise

lines itinerary. We were hustled from the time our feet touched the ground. We were quoted the incorrect price for a tour to the Falls. Don't even bother to get off the ship. You won't be missing anything.

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Jan 17, 2011

Carribean

The cruise was overall an enjoyable and relaxing experience. We usually go on caribbean cruises in january to get away from the bad weather at home. Luckily the weather this time was amazing and really enhanced the trip. This was my eigth overall and sixth with carnival and it did live up to my expectations of carnival. Before moving forward, I am a firm beliver that whether the cruise is fun or not is up to the the cruiser..whether they are a fun

or boring person. I believe fun, outgoing people can have fun anywhere, especially on a cruise, and boring people will be bored or dissatisfied wherever they go. I recomend you go on this cruise, or anyone for that matter, with fun people who you will have a good time with. But anyways I've been mainly going on carnival cruises because there is tons of activities and shows, lots of food, and overall good value (not including drinks onboard). And this not something you can take for granted on other cruise lines. Everything you need to have a great vacation is provided on the ship, and what you do with it is up to you.. I have mixed reviews for the food.. Overall the food is mediocre and I understand it us hard to specialize in one type of food when you're making so many different kinds for so many people on a ship. There was however a huge amount of selection.. ie. burrito bar, mongolian, fish n chips, sushi and your regular buffet which changed each day. There was even a chocolate buffet the last day. There was certainly no shortage or selection of food, however nothing really popped up and suprised you as amazing. The soups and deserts, particulary the ones served for dinner were excellent and a couple notches above the rest of the food. We usually get either an inside stateroom or ocean view rather than a balcony; we don't spend much time in the room anyways and use it mainly for sleeping and to keep our stuff. Why would you go on a cruise to spend time inside a room anyways? Theres so much to see and do; and you'll have time to sleep and do nothing once you get home anyways. The rooms had a bed and thats all I care about. The room was kept very clean the entire time by our friendly stewardess as it always is on each carnival cruise. There was always a many activities and shows going on the entire crusise so there is no reason to be bored. They had everything from pools, outside large tv screen by pool (where I was able to watch the nfl playoff games), many different comedians, production shows, gameshows, dance clubs, casino etc. I have to say tho, the shows were not as good as I had seen on previous carnival cruises. They did have a ton of comedians they would bring in each day, some of whom were pretty funny, but the production shows were only decent, and not great like they usually are. And the cruise director and staff who usually are funny and entertaining people were not so much this time around. Overall there was plenty to see and do and keep you occupied, just nothing spectacular. The only excursion we did was undewater motorskiing in St. Thomas. It was very enjoyable and and fun. I got to snorkal and swim with exotic fishes and go a a scenic yacht ride to the destination. And the staff on board were cool people also. We mostly swam, walked around, shopped, and took pictures which was actually fun. The islands had beautiful beaches and provided the best getaway. Overall I had a good time and was satisfied with the ship and activities. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and the service was top notch. Getting on and off the ship was pretty fast and easy (one of carnivals strengths) and there were no issues or complaints. If carnival would only slightly step up the quality of their food and entertainment, this would be a perfect cruise. Everything you need to have a great and relaxing vacation is on this ship. Just have a positive attitude and open mind and you will have an amazing and memorable vacation :)

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Aug 7, 2010

Western Caribean

My husband and I went on this cruise as a late honeymoon. We were very disapointed with our cruise and won't be doing another one again. There was a lot of information that we did not know about until we were there which I will list some below. The food was not good at all. The pizza I couldn't even finish. The burrito bar was very americanized. Everything was very plain. The best thing I had was probably a sandwich and the salad bar.

The stateroom was actually decent. We had the balcony which we never used so if we were to do it again (which we won't) we would do the window stateroom. The only negative was that it was alittle small but it wasn't too bad. They were very on top of keeping your room made up for you which was really nice. There was alot of them. Most shows were good and entertaining. Some cost extra like bingo, etc. So make sure to keep an eye on your account because they add up quickly. Stay away from Carnival cruise lines all together. Unless your looking for more of a kid cruise and like to be on a big time schedule. Don't miss Jamaica. Their zipline and white river rafting was one of the best and funniest things we did by far. On board-The cruise members were very friendly and they made the cruise alittle better. We really enjoyed our waiter and cabin crew member. Alcoholic Drinks run about $6-8. Sodas were like $1.50. Our ship had three swimming pools they were consistenly crowded and they were straight salt water. The slide seemed fun but the line was huge so we didnt even try it. The spa was nice but my husband and I got an 70 min treatment which ran us $350. On shore- First off, the time one board is different than the time on the islands. So when we thought we were going to be on the island from 9-4 you were really on the island from 8-3 which the shops are open and our tours weren't until later so basically we had an hour or two to sit around and waste. We also felt that there was not enough time to get a true feel of the island. In mexico we did one excursion and did an all inclusive resort for a few hours and we still only had an hour to shop. FYI make sure to bring cash in Cozumel, Mexico most places don't accept credit/debit cards. Grand Cayman was fine, a little expensive, and nothing that wowed us. Jamaica was the best island of all, in our opinion, however we had about an hour in a half to waste in the morning due to the time difference and nothing was open yet. After we did the white river rafting which was actually pretty calm, but very interested and fun, the bobsled, and the zipline which was insane and very fun. We only had literally 20 mins to shop and never was able to eat anything on the island. All the people in jamaica were very friendly. The weather the entire time was odd. It was very humid. We come from 115 degree heat in the summer but never experienced anything like that. It would rain for like 10-15 mins every few hours. However that did not really bother us.

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By Lee_CR

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May 29, 2010

western Caribbean

Great Cruise, beautiful destinations. Everyone had a wonderful time. The food was very good. An omelette bar was a daily option for breakfast which was great. Dinner in the dining room offered many selections and the food was always good. Everyone in our party (15) was disappointed in the desserts, except for the icecream outside of the main dining room for dinner. They were very bland. I so want to pass on a few cheesecake recipes.

The rooms were fine. We had a total of 7 rooms. We had great room servers. They learned our names the first day and spoke to us by name each time they saw us. OK. We didn't really participate in any. We enjoyed the music, the nightly shows, putter golf and the walking track. My husband and I participated in a cycling class offered in the gym. First time; great workout. Don't miss the beach in the Cayman's; Seven Mile Beach was beautiful and the Royal Vista offers free beach access. Also, try snuba. Great Experiance in the Cayman's. Our party of 15 participated, ages ranging from 14 to 80. Everyone said it was a blast, would do it again. It was worth the money. We enjoyed each island. 4 people in our party booked a highlight /shopping excursion in Cozumel and an Enchanted Botanical Garden/Dunn River Falls excursion in Ocho Rios. They enjoyed both. The rest of us went as a group on our own. In Cozumel, Chakanaub National Park was a great place to go to swim with dolphins, Sea Lions or Manatees and there is a beautiful pool (non-salt water) there. In the Caymans, we took a taxi for $2.50 a person to the Royal Vista on Seven Mile Beach. This offered free access to the most beautiful beach. Chairs were $7 and umbrellas were $10. There was a restaurant/bar on site as well as restrooms/showers. It was very clean. Water activities were also available. In Ocho Rios, we paid a cab driver for the day. He was Awesome! We went river tubing on the White River and then to Dunn River Falls. The days at sea were enjoyed as well. The weather was sunny and we spent most our time in the sun. We chose open dining time for dinner. It worked very well for us. We went to dinner between 6pm-6:30pm nightly and never had to wait. We had the same table for all but one night so we were able to get to know our servers and they were great. Overall, we all had a wonderful time!

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May 27, 2010

Western Caribbean

Very satisfied. Above average food, quality and fresh carvings in lunch buffet, spacious rooms with well equipped bathrooms, top entertainment and best value . Only negative. is extremely crowded in pool area and poor supervision of people who smoke in the unsmoking areas. Best boarding and debarking of any cruiseline for platinum members Average in dining room and at lunch buffet it's budget, but the fresh carvings at lunch buffet are tops.

Very large and comfortable. Good beds, bathrooms are well equipped, and you get 4 fluffy towels, french soap and a few goodies in the basket. Carnival has cut down on pool entertainment. The caribbean band now has only 2 members assisted by a boom box. The pool games are worn out, and too many people are around you. I take advantage of the new pool hours of the main pool which opens now at 7am. Sadly, the towel staff doesn't start tii 8am. The big screen is a plus. Don't use them I've been on some premium lines and I still get a good cruise on carnival. From friendly staff to spacious ships and tasty food,you can't go wrong.

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By Skip_CR

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May 26, 2010

eastern caribean

This was our 1st Carnival cruise and we had a great time. The shows and live music on board were top notch. The Jim Henson band and Blood Power stood out to us. The excursions were well organized. The staff we very friendly and the Cruise Director "Butch" was very entertaining. The food was average and the balconey room was very nice. I would recommend this cruise. The food was OK. I think the quality is better on other lines, but there were enouph

selections that I could always find something to eat. The staff in the Golden dinning room was very attentive and took good care of us. The room was very clean and spacious for the 2 of us. We had a balcony room on the 6th floor. The room was cleaned nicely everyday. The bathroom was good sized and the hot water and water pressure were good. The safe worked well. I enjoyed the shows very much. The production was top shelf and the music from the Jim Henson orchestra was awesome. They had a great big band concert in the cigar bar as well. The "Blood Power" concert surprised us. We thought it was just going to be a crazy load average "bar band", but they really rocked the house! Also the man and women who played in the lobby most nights were very good. They had a great selection of tunes to dance to. Overall the music was on of the best parts of the trip. The cuise director "Butch" really did a great job. He was a great MC and had us rockin late on the deck for the "Carnival color" party. The water slide was more fun than expected. We even played putt putt. We enjoyed the onbaord activities very much. Did the stingray trip on Half Moon Cay. It was OK? The snorkel trip on Grand Turk was better. We did the 5 hour island tour on St. Thomas and enjoyed it very much. It was delivered as promised. We did our own thing and walked off the dock in San Juan. Once we got passed the taxi hounds, we found the island tram that took us to the forts and then we walked through Old San Juan and shopped before returning to the ship. Had a great time. Would do it again.

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May 3, 2010

Western Caribean

We criused in a group of 10 to Cozumal, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. 5 first time cruisers. They all had a great time.The weather was perfect. Dry and very hot. Lots of pool time,3 sea days and 3 ports, perfect for us.Pools and hot tubs,and buffet lines not overcrowded, stayed in adults only section(at back of ship) when at the pools. Much quieter there. The food was very good. The dining room offered more selections than before,and there were

appitizers, entrees,and desserts which were on the menu everey day, along with new selections nightly. Of course there were the buffets for breakfsat ,lunch and dinner,which were very good. I especially loved the french toast. It was excellent. Basic stateroom for the 2 of us, nice size,beware of very hot water,needed to adjust temperature way down. Hot for sleeping,didn't seem to be any A/C. Activities were good. Trivia cintests, bingo, games,shows every night. Lots to do if you want, or just "pool it" Don't miss swimming with the Stingrays in Grand Cayman. Most awesome thing I've ever done. Also, climbing Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios was a blast. BEWARE however, Jamacian hucksters(just say no thanks and keep moving), and DO NOT BUY DVD of yourself climbing the falls. DVD's are know to be BLANK! This was our 3rd Carnival cruise, and the Liberty is the most beautiful ship we have been on. The service and food were excellent as usual, and it it the most budget friendly line. We definately would cruise with Carnival again.

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By Jake_CR

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Mar 10, 2010

western carribean

This was the first cruise for both my girlfriend and I. Normally we to the all-inclusive resort route. But after this cruise I can say that we are cruisers from here on out! We started from the port of Miami and for those flying in I would suggest getting there the day before and staying at a hotel (Airport Regency) so you are not rushed on cruise day. We embarked on a Saturday and that was about a 1/2 hour process waiting in line. We boarded the

ship and it was HUGE! By day 6 we were finally used to the lay out of the ship. We got our our balcony room....loved it! Definitely worth the extra $$. The ship was beautiful. Rarely was it crowded all in one area considering the 3,000 plus guests. The pool areas were great. Get there early to get a chair. Our stops were in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Coz and Grand Cayman were great. Jamaica was OK, but I hear cruise lines are starting to get away from this port. Great food, great shows, great staff. Debarkation was smooth and fast. I would recommend the self check out where you carry your own luggage off the ship. We were called at 745am to leave and we were at the airport by 9am. The food was excellent, and plenty of it. Buffets had a great variety and the dining room food was excellent. They had different special dinners everyday, the usual fare, and a light menu. I'd recommend Harry's steakhouse. It is $30 per person but well worth it. Huge steaks, lobster tails, and as much as you want. Our stateroom was great. Much bigger than I expected. We loved the balcony. The staff kept it clean and well stocked. I had a problem when we first got there; the mini bar was locked and the safe was locked. I called guest services and someone was there within minutes and unlocked both. They always brought around fresh ice, and we loved the turndown service. There was plenty to do, or nothing to do. Your choice. The shows were well down, the pool activities were fun, and the many bars had their own entertainment. There was definitely something for everyone. In Cozumel we rented a Jeep and headed to the east side of the island. Away from the beaches the other 9,000 cruisers were near the port. For $90 you get the Jeep for the day. The east side of the island has miles of free, beautiful beaches. We parked on the side of the road and laid down the towels and had the beach to ourselves. We hit 3 of the bars in that area; Mazcalito's, Coconuts, and the Rasta Bar. Be very cautious of the margarita's.....very strong! Spent 9am to 5pm at that side of the island, had the Jeep back for 6pm, hit the shops at the port, and back on the boat. Highly recommend this. Grand Cayman almost didn't happen. The ship usually anchors at Georgetown but the waters were so rough the captain either had to by-pass the port altogether or anchor on the opposite side of the island. He chose the latter and we had a great day on the 7-mile beach and in town. The tenders were quick and easy. Margarittaville in Georgetown is a must . The only excursion we did through Carnival was Dunn's River Falls and the bamboo Beach Club. It was pricey, but worth the experience. Jamaica is definitely not as nice as it used to be. I would highly recommend this ship. It was great.

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By rjs_CR

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Mar 1, 2010

Eastern Carribean

What a disappointment! We sailed on the Carnival Victory in 2002 and used that wonderful experience for the standard to judge other cruises we have taken. None of the other cruise lines met the expectations we had from the Carnival Victory experience so we decided to sail with Carnival again. Needless to say, along with the cutbacks the cruise industry has been making Carnival has cut way back on their services and quality of experiences as well.

The ships are larger now but the support staff has been cut. We had to wait one hour and 45 minutes in the entertainment auditorium for a tender to take us to the first stop Half Moon Cay. They only had 3 small tenders running so we waited impatiently in the auditorium where they kept us captive. Carnival did nothing to entertain those folks waiting so the tempers of the passengers were flairing. A group of spanish speaking travelers got very restless and staged a mini protest by stomping their feet and yelling in unison. The Carnival crew member who was manning the microphone asked everyone to be patient and told the group he would bring a Spanish speaking crew member out to address them but never did. Crying, impatient children made the situation worse. Cheap, unappetizing "all you can eat" buffet style food. Very salty. The cheap food was extremely salty and obviously chuck full of fillers to stretch the meal. We ate cereal for breakfast and lunch most days because the food was so bad. Most all of our group suffered from water retention (swollen hands, feet and joints) after 2 days of eating it. We were assigned the late dining which was too late for our eating habits. We attempted to ask the Maitre'd to change but were told that he didn't have time to come talk to us. We were not given a time when it would be more convenient, just a very abrupt, he had no time for us. I agree with some of the other reviewers regarding the food. The maitre d wouldn't change our seating for dinner even though there were plenty of empty chairs from other unhappy diners who didn't show up during their assigned seating time. Very nice. Roomy, clean, well arranged. Not enough of them. We had very little activities and most of those involved an expense. Carnival is amazing at how they find ways to dig into your wallet. The lack of entertainment, the requirement that we be back on the boat by 5:00 p.m (latest) and usually 3:00 p.m. and 2 full days at sea made it a very boring trip. There were no night time stops, only day tours for a few hours. Our family felt trapped for 7 days. It will be a long time (if ever) that we will chose to spend our money on a cruise. The catamaran at St. Thomas was an awful experience. Not at all the way they described it on the brochure. After we paid for the tour of the rum factory we found out that it was actually a free tour. We basically paid for a very expensinve bus ride. Sorry we wasted the money on this trip. We had a large group and most were ready to get off the ship after the 3rd day.

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Sep 15, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

We took the Carnival Liberty for an amazing 7 day cruise in the height of hurricane season. It was the best cruise of the 10 we have taken to date. The food was very well prepared and served hot every time. The Fish and Chips, the Burito Bar, as well as pizza and ice cream were always ready. Our stateroom was always clean and ready for us upon arrival. We had double balconies and they took the partition down for us so we could go from one

cabin to the next. We don't join in the onboard activities much but we love to hear the people doing their thing and laughing. There was a lot to do that kept us to busy going from one thing that interested us to the next. The Half Moon Cay island was the best. I was so sorry didn't take a camera, the view was great. The water was so warm and the BBQ on the island was wonderful. It was such a relaxing day and we just played in the water. St. Thomas we knew to go right off ship into the strip mall and get us a open cab that took us to Megan Beach for $4.00 pp and $3.00 to get in the beach. They have cabs there that go back every 15 minutes for same, they dropped us off in town to shop. To take a cab from there is $2.00. We got off at Puerto Rico and walked around the Princess walk way to the Red Gate, through it up the hill to the San Jose Church that Juan Ponce de Leon is buried in. Then we walked to Del Morro and walked through that and took a trolley (free) down to the other fort San Cristobal and went through that for free as we had the tickets from Del Morro. Then we walked across the park to Fortaleza and there is a wonderful little trinket shop with great prices. Then back to the ship a couple of blocks. You need good walking shoes but you see it all. It's not all free, but $7.00 for both forts is a very good price. The forts are awesome. In Grand Turk we got to swim right next to the ship. Then Margaretta Ville to watch the guys loose their swimsuits on the flo rider, all free even the pool. We took a snorkeling excursion, but it was just so so. No pretty fish to see. I was worried about going at Hurricane Season, but the Captain did an amazing job of keeping us away from the storms and we got all our ports of call where one ship high tailed it to Mexico. Everyone of the crew was wonderful and felt like we were being welcomed to a family gathering. I would hightly recommend this cruise, hopefully you get the same crew members we had.

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Aug 10, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

This was our family's 4th Carnival cruise. We've previously sailed on Glory, Triumph and Fantasy. Embarkation from Miami was smooth and organized. We were on the ship within 1 hour of arrival. The cabins are adequate size and we love the comfortable beds. We stayed on Deck 2 for this trip, and did not notice any difference in movement from previous cabins on higher decks. The food was good, with the exception of steaks, but we were not disappointed

in the overall value. The dining room staff was fun, efficient and very welcoming. The Karaoke and piano bar was our biggest disappointment of the whole trip. Silly as it sounds, we plan for months what songs we might sing at karaoke, because on the Glory & Triumph, Linka (the karaoke host) made it a blast for everyone. I can't remember the name of the karaoke host on Fantasy, but she was a lot of fun too. Aretha on the Liberty was not too friendly and did not engage the crowd. We felt she didn't want us there, which was very odd. John in the piano bar was grumpy and if I had to guess, I would say he was counting down his days until he got off the ship. Now for the good stuff... The casino staff were friendly and very accommodating. The shows were good, especially the comedian. Noonan, the cruise director, did a great job and I was impressed at how he participated in so many things! Destinations...Half Moon Cay was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The sand is soft and very fine and the water is as clear as pool water. We were concerned about getting a shell to rent for shade, but there were plenty. St. Thomas was just okay. We were glad we planned an excursion or we may have been bored. We did the barefoot catamaran sail to shipwreck cove. It was fun, but there was not much snorkeling time - we kept in a group and followed the guide around the cove. Advice for Puerto Rico - I do not recommend getting off the ship and taking off on foot, especially if you arrive early (7:00a.m.). We tried this and we were approached by a man who gave us a story about how he had arrived on an earlier ship (there wasn't an earlier ship) and his father was beat up and in the hospital. He wanted us to follow him down the street to the police station to confirm his story. He said he needed $12.00 for something, but by that time, I was rather scared and knew that he could potentially be dangerous. We beelined it back to the port and found Alberto, who gave us a bus tour for $10 a person. It was definately worth it. At first the bus drivers will tell you $20 a person, but hold out for the $10. The fort at El Morro was very cool - we all enjoyed exploring it. After seeing the fort, we went shopping and found some great values. Grand Turk was nice. We found chairs near the end of the "cruise center" area next to a little bar on the beach. The drinks were half the price as Margaritaville and they had live music, which was great. The fun days at sea were great, but the servers really push the drinks. The big screen on lido asks that people do not "save" seats, and I noticed that there was less saving of seats than previous cruises, but you still need to be on deck by 9:30 or so to get a seat, especially if you have a large group. There were not as many Lido deck activities, such as contests, as previous cruisings, but the band was good. Debarkation was as smooth and efficient as embarkation. Overall, I'd say that we had a great time, but if possible, we will probably verify the entertainment hosts before selecting our next ship.

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Aug 1, 2009

miami

My overall cruise was just ok. I have cruised on two other lines and I would put this one at the bottom. The service was excellent, the food in the dinning room was very good and our room was cleaned twice a day and kept in great condition. But that is what our expectations were and from there went down hill. The dining room food was excellent. All though they advertise "dine at your time" we requested this and when bording the ship were told

our dinner was at 6pm. We prefered to eat later and spoke to the Maitre'de and he told us he could not accomadate our request for a later seating or for the advertised "dine at your time". The buffet was set up with one line of stir fry that always had 50-60 people in line at all times and I never could try it. The next line was always a foriegn food that I could not recongize or pronounce. Then two lines of traditional salad bar and one meat. Also an outside grill with hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza. If you slept in and ate a late breakfast around 10:30-11am like most of the cuisers on sea days your were pretty much out of luck for lunch. They shut down all the lunch lines at 3:00 and did not open them until dinner at 6pm. The only thing to eat was the grill hamburgers and hot dogs or pizza. But these are located next to one of the small pools that had all 2,900 cruisers smashed around and all trying to get a hot dog at the same time! I found a seat at one of the two bars by the overcrowded pool and when I asked the bartender for a drink she said the bar was closed. She then proceeded to dust off all the bottles from 3:45-6pm. Remember this was one of only two bars by the pool where all passengers were packed on a sunny sea day! My stateroom was very clean. I had an inside room by choice, I was hoping to catch up on some sleep. The thing that anoid me the most about the room was that there was not a clock. I couldn't find a clock anywhere on the ship except for the staircase. So even though they give you an itinerary, you have no idea what time it is. Our in cabin refridgerator was locked the whole time and we could not use it. The TV remote was broken too and had to do it the old fashioned way. The activities on board where all for children. The shows were either to lame or very boring. We caught the tail end of a commedian (missed it because we didn't have a clock in our room) he seemed funny but the room he was in only held a small number of people and there were a couple hundred people standing in the hallway trying to hear him, including me. Our cruise director was very annoying! I understand that they make announcements all of the time and you can't avoid that but he would get on the overhead radio and ramble on and on for 10-15 minutes several times a day and night starting as early as 7:45am. The singers on the ship were some of the worst I ever heard. The Casino was nice and we made several friends there. But the old guy who didn't know the words to most of the songs he tried to sing was very painful. We actually clapped when he left for brakes! He took one night off and a latin band played instead. Now I don't care for latin music myself but many people were dancing, singing and having fun and I enjoyed watching them and prayed the old guy didn't come back, but he did. I'm not a big excursion person, just wanted to relax at some beaches and take in some sun. The beaches in Jamaica were not good, I would not suggest trying to do a beach day there. They will take you to a tourist trap as they did me. In Grand Caymen however there are several beautiful expansive beaches where you can just relax and not be bothered but still have food, beverage and bathroom close by. If you are going on this boat with children you will have a great time. You see you don't have to watch your children as it is ok for them to run the ship and scream at the top of their lungs and no one will stop them. No one has to follow the dress code or even be polite and cover up their swim suits to enter the dinning room. You can run, yell and eat in your briefs and Carnival doesn't care. As a matter of fact they encourage it by organizing screaming matches! They gather as many teens and children as possible and divide them into three groups, RED,WHITE & BLUE then they have the teams meet in different areas of the ship and see who can screem the loudest! Then the next day they get all these screemers back together and organize a ship scavenger hunt. Now the screeming people are running as fast as they can around the ship, stomping and yelling, looking for something. If you brought a book to read, forget about it! There are three very small pools, the ship holds 2,900 passengers, you do the math. In an entire week I could only find a lounge chair by a pool once. I was so mad at this I actually counted 60 people in the pool and 350 empty chairs with towels, while I walked around endlessly on 3 decks looking for a chair. The lido deck staff would not remove the towels so others could use the chairs. I had enough of the overcrowding screaming and running so I decided to book a spa treatment. I get to the spa and the lady tells me to have a seat in the hair salon. I asked her for a robe and explained that I had sunscreen on and wanted to rinse off in the locker room and use the steam room before my service. (I was an hour early) figured it would be a quiet place. She shook her head at me in discust and pointed towards a door. When I entered the door I was in the locker room with rows of benches and lockers along with thirty 9-11 year old girls. (They too were having a spa day) Howerver there were NO chaperones, only two nail techs. The girls were screaming cheerleading chants and jumping off of the benches and they were chaising each other through the locker room. I asked an attendent that was wiping off sinks where the showers and steam room as well as towels and bathrobes were, she did not speak english but directed me to the showers and pointed to the towels. When I got out of the shower the three towels were not gone off of the shelf by my shower and the little girls were still screaming and jumping. I put my clothes back on my dripping wet body and proceeded back to the front desk. (by the way the massage rooms were also in the locker room) I felt bad for the ladies who has just paid over $200 for a relaxing massage. When I tried to speak to the girl at the front desk was very rude to me. I went back to my room to dry off and called customer service, they tried to transfer me back to the spa but they didn't want to discuss it and disconnected me instead. Do not go on this ship if you are hoping to relax. It is over run with screaming running kids and no supervision. Also, I want to warn you, upon check in they ask you for a credit/debit card or $250 cash deposit. I asked the lady if they would charge my card as I intended to pay cash at check out. She assured me that they do not charge your card. Well they lied. When I got home I checked my bank account and every swipe of my room key on board the ship came immediatly out of my checking account back home. I obviously did not know this and paid off my balance in cash at check out. I am now fighting with them to get my money back into my checking account. They tell me it could take up to a week. You are better off to give them the $250 cash deposit, you will for sure have at least that much in charges and you won't have to deal with this aggravation when you get home.

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Aug 1, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

We had a great time on the Liberty. She is a beautiful vessel and the crew could not have been nicer! The ports of call were beautiful and very scenic. The food was plenty and delicious. The food was wonderful. On the Lido Deck, there was always a wide array of different salads, pastas, meats and desserts. Honestly there was not one thing that I ate that I didnt like. Formal dinner offers about 5-7 starters and about 8 main courses. The wait staff

always ensures that you are in for a wonderful dining experience. Our waiter was not only funny but honest in what was delicious and what was not so enjoyable. For example, the rack of lamb is medium rare, he told one of our relatives that she probably would not enjoy the meal and he was correct, She ordered it anyway and returned it for another dish. All the meals look as though they are prepared individually by a world class chef. Our stateroom was clean and well attended too. In fact, they made our beds 2 - 3 times a day. Each afternoon we were pleasantly surprised with a beautiful towel animal creation. They even host a class on how to create towel creatures at home. The beds are soft and very comfortable. We had a hard time getting up every morning because the beds are so comfortable! Carnival even sells the mattresses to the public and trust me once you sleep in one of them, you will want to purchase one for your home. The bathrooms are a little small, but extremely clean. They provide you with more than an adequate amount of hand towels and bath towels. On the days when you went out for on our excursions, they provided big soft beach towels. Please remember to return them or you will be charged $22.00 for them. There is a vast array of onboard activities, everything from the beautiful casino on the 5th deck to comedy or variety shows. They even have a 10 piece orchestra. They host a big dollar bingo game daily where you can win up too $1200 for a ten dollar bingo card. On the promenade deck there are 3 pools and a waterslide for the children to enjoy. If you are bored on this cruise, it is because you want to be. Stay away from Jamaican cab drivers, I am sure that they are some reputable ones, but the one we had in Ocho Rios took us for a ride literally. We paid him $160 in American dollars for 1 hour worth of time. Once he found out that we were done tipping his friends he took us back to our pier. The excursions run an average of $70 per person. Some being more and others being a lttle less. They are quite expensive, but there are some you can enjoy for little or nothing. Dont let the price scare you away from the time of your life. Our trip was great and I cannot say enough good things about the cruise experience. If you dont do anything else before you die, you MUST go on a cruise at least once in your life. It is an experience not to be missed.

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Jul 11, 2009

Exotic Eastern Caribbean

As a first time cruiser I was extremely disappointed in our cruise selection. The ship catered to families and was absolutely not for couples just wanting to relax. Carnival did not enforce dress codes, which was disappointing to those of us wishing to experience something a little classier than usual, nor did they enforce the adult only area which would have been the only tiny part of the ship for peace and quiet. As far as the Lido deck buffet,

it was terrible and plentiful. The selection was limited, tasteless and all around poor. The dessert bar was nothing more than what you can buy in the freezer section of your local supermarket and actually not always even that good. The pizza bar was comparable to arcade pizza establishments at best. The fish in the fish and chip shop was nasty (talapia) and the chips were again frozen french fries which were under cooked. We ate most meals in the dining room where the food was better even with the very limited selection. The service in the dining room was excellent. Some evening meals were supplemented with the courtesy room service which mainly consisted of sandwiches, but thank heaven for that option. We did dine at Harry's Supper Club one night and it was as perfect as the other food was bad. That was the highlight of the food experience and I highly recommend it to everyone willing to pay the $30/pp plus tip. Our stateroom was very nice and clean. It was very roomy even though we didn't upgrade to the more expensive cabins with views. The cleaning staff came by twice a day and kept our cabin and bathroom facilities very clean. Of course the towel animals were adorable and we looked forward to what we would find in the evenings. All staff on board were very friendly and respectful. The entertainment was very poor for our taste. The lounge singers were so boring that no one went to the lounges. I think the busiest night at the Piano Bar had maybe ten people in there. Most nights as we would walk by the two pianists would just be standing there talking to each other because the lounge was empty. The presentations were often so late at night that we couldn't participate. We couldn't find anything to do onboard that kept us awake long enough to see a midnight show. The two exceptions to that were the hypnotist and the salute to Frank Sinatra/Sammy Davis Jr. Those two shows were excellent except for the fact that the teenagers were the first ones on stage for the hypnotist, so once again if you just wanted to see teenagers be entertained then you would have enjoyed this performance. The ship only had a few very small pools and the same twenty people hung out by them all day each day because that's all they could accommodate. We considered the "Fun Days at Sea" painfully long and boring. The champagne catamaran sail in St Thomas was nice but overpriced and not exactly as advertised. It sounded glamourous and like something adults could enjoy as a luxury with the thoughts of champagne, bread and cheese and island tunes, but it ended up being one milk jug of rum punch, cheap supermarket bread cut up, hot cheddar and pepper jack cheese (warm from sitting out in the sun) and a little cut up fruit. As for the island tunes, we were asked if we wanted to listen to reggae or rock and roll. At $99/pp, this was a rip off. Take a cheaper excursion; you won't miss a thing. We are in our mid-forties and wanted a relaxing vacation without breaking the bank. We were so disappointed by this whole experience that we probably will never take another cruise but for sure will not sail with Carnival. It was low budget and geared to families or those who simply wanted to drink more than they probably should have and didn't need anything form of entertainment other than expensive, bad booze.

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By Stan_CR

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Jun 30, 2009

Western Caribbean

I sailed on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami on 13 June 2009. This was my 7th cruise overall and my first cruise as a single guy. I was part of a group of 53 singles that booked with a company called singlescruise.com. Our ages ranged from mid 20's to early 50's and the group was nearly split 50/50, women to men ratio. Of course, the ship itself had many other single cruisers, but you could only participate in our groups activities if you were

a part of the singles group. The port of Miami is easy to get to and parking your own car there was $140 for the cruise duration. Check in was painless and fast as I arrived at the terminal at 1100 and was on board by 1215. The buffets were open once I boarded and the fun began. Please remember to go check out all your food options before stopping at the first line you see. It's always funny to see a long line at the burger station because people don't realize the good stuff is behind the sliding doors. My stateroom was ready at 1330, which was an inside cabin with no windows. It's nice for sleeping in; just bring a small flashlight so you can see your way to the restroom without waking your cabin mate. The weather on this cruise was great. The ship rode fine and there was minimal rocking. I really enjoyed being up on deck when we were leaving port and entering a new port. It's a great experience and a fun time to meet and talk to folks. Alcoholic drinks on board are expensive, but that shouldn't stop you, you're on vacation. I only drink beer and they charge roughly $5 for a 16 ounce one. If you buy them by the bucket, they are a little cheaper. Remember that the tip is already added in to your drink prices (look at the receipt you sign). The soda cards are a good deal if you drink a lot, I would just get someone in our group that had one to get me my one morning soda each day. I thought the food onboard was very good, but I'm not real picky either. The one place I really enjoyed was the sandwich station located along the side wall between the buffets. Great hot and cold sandwiches to tie you over till dinner. A group of us ate at Harry's (the fine dining) at a cost of $30 a piece. It was very nice but does take a long time for the whole experience. We had one guy in our group that enjoyed exploring the ship as it was his first cruise. Every time I saw him I would ask if he had found a certain spot yet (I've sailed this class ship before). He would report back with his findings and ask for more things to look for, so go explore the ship. If it doesn't have a “crew only” sign on it, open the door and see where it leads. First stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Most of our group did the tubing and Dunn River Falls excursion. I enjoyed the tubing the best and elected to just hang out on the beach at Dunn River instead of standing in a long line to climb the falls. We left there and stopped at Margaritaville to enjoy the party prior to boarding. It is within easy walking distance back to the ship but you have to weave through shops to get there and back. Second stop was Grand Cayman. I have been there before and swam with the stingrays (great experience), so I didn't leave the ship until around noon. Several of us went to Margaritaville and hung out. I have no problems walking by all the shops and not buying a thing! The tender boats are nice and efficient at getting you on and off the ship, so get off the ship just to experience the view of the ship anchored, if nothing else. There were a total of four ships anchored so the island was crowded. Third stop was Roatan, Honduras. I thoroughly enjoyed the island and its people. We traveled by vans to the other side of the island (roughly 45 minute drive) to a private beach resort and spent the day playing beach volleyball, swimming, snorkeling, and of course eating. The ride through the hills there and back was an excursion in itself. We had time to shop along the street adjacent to where the ship docked and go into several bars that went out over the water for a nice view of the island and ship. The island is a very authentic and not yet highly commericialed, but will be as more ships are going there. The people there are pushing you to buy their goods, but just be polite and move on. I felt safe there walking the streets. Several of us sat at a bar just outside the check in area to the ship and watched everyone board and were the last few to board ourselves. It was fun to watch the people and that whole boarding process. Recommendations: a bungee cord works great to hold your balcony door open (if you have a balcony), explore the ship and marvel at its ability to float, go all the way forward on deck 9 to the outside railing for a great view, when you first board don’t stop at the first buffet line you see (explore all your options), go outside on deck 3 for a nice place to relax without the crowds, see the shows and the comedians and if you don't like them leave, check out all the bars and other areas to decide which is the best for you, bring a cheap hole punch and lanyards to wear around your neck for your sail and sign cards, sneak booze on board in your luggage if you want to, order two entries (food was great), tip extra they work hard seven days a week, and remember there's no such thing as a bad cruise, it's just that some are better than others!!! Read reviews and learn all you can before you go, have fun and enjoy!! All in all, a great cruise. If you have any questions shoot me an e-mail at Stanley.skipper@ang.af.mil and if you are considering cruising single, check out singlescruise.com. You can't go wrong; they are a great company and provided fun activities all week long!!

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Jun 10, 2009

Western Caribbean

For our 1st cruise ever my wife and I along with 2 friends had our experience on board the Liberty. At first we were going to cruise around the Eastern Caribbean but Hurricane Ike had better ideas but Carnival made some adjustments and we went west instead. Our embarkation was a breeze seeing how we're 4 of the last 6 people to get on the boat so there were no long lines at all. Our bus from Miami International had some mechanical issues so we

did a blazing 10mph to the port. Once on the Liberty the wow factor was beyond my expectations the design was great and the ship was huge a floating city you could say. Basically the best place you could spend a week and for get you have a job, kids, pets, or anything else you're running away from for that week. As for the food, dinner was our first of many cruising cuisine experiences and in the Silver Olympian Dining Room. We met our two personal wait staff Bagus and Igusti yes these gentlemen are running around to just more than our table but they make you feel like royalty when they are standing in front of you. The food was great every night there was something different to try like 5-star restaurant $50 a plate meals. The best part: WARM MELTING CHOCOLATE CAKE. Breakfast and on lunch on the lido deck hit the spot also they had the traditional goods bacon and eggs, burgers and fries, and maybe some of the local delicacies from the areas we traveled. Our cabin was nice we decided to go with a balcony since it was our first time cruising and a word of advice unless you plan staying closed up in your cabin the entire time you're on the ship the balcony cabin can be a waste of $. The cleanliness of cabin was unbelievable housekeeping will adjust to your schedule everyday if your gone for more than 30 minutes your cabin is clean. Nothing is out of place fresh towels even your clothes are taken off the floor and folded neatly. Onboard there was plenty to see and do games, stage shows, movies and so on. For me I enjoyed the casinos and late night comedy shows, my wife and a friend were voted members of a city I can not name during the Mardi gras party we had on the lido deck by the pool. Our ports of call we did something together on all but one stop. In the Cayman Islands we went snorkling with stingray. I was scared but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.In Couzmel, Mexico we went shopping now that was different I enjoyed cuban cigars while one of our friends purchased clothing from a very friendly shop keeper. My wife learned that the tequila is a bit stronger there than it is back home. Belize city we went cave tubing that was a treat as long as you listened for "BUTTS UP" from our guide if you didn't want a belizian butt massage. Isla roatan,honduras we just took in the local scene for a short time because it was HOT. It's official I'm a cruise junkie we are going back in july to do the itenerary we missed out on due to hurricane season.

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May 25, 2009

Exotic Eastern Carribbean

We took this cruise to get married through Carnival's funship weddings. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! My husband and I highly recommend a Carnival wedding. Like everything Carnival does, your wedding will be big, detailed and beautiful for a VERY affordable price (they even permit non-cruising guests to come aboard for the wedding). We arrived at the ship in the port of Miami, FL early (10:30am for a 4pm sailing) with our wedding party and all guests. Our

entire group was sent through VIP boarding (love that!) and straight onto the ship. The guests were permitted to wander the ship as the bride got ready and the rest of the wedding party ran through a short rehearsal. The wedding itself is handled by Carnival's subcontractor, The Wedding Experience. Wonderful ladies, that had the wedding down to a science and it went off without a hitch. They really cater to you! Our ceremony was short (the way we like it) about 20 min and then we were off to an hour and a half reception with plenty of food, cake, open bar and dancing in the Hot & Cold club (disco). A carnival photographer followed us every step of the way and we have tons of beautiful pictures because of it. When the reception was over, non-sailing guests disembarked and we went back to our cabin to change. The rest of the cruise/our honeymoon we had a blast! We traveled to Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and San Juan. What an amazing vacation and we left longing for more. On top of getting married on the ship many of our guests also went on the cruise. Many of my friends questioned what it was like to go on your honeymoon with your friends and family. What I say to them is SPECTACULAR! On a ship of nearly 3000 passengers, there were times when we didn't see anyone we knew until dinner when we all sat together. Then dinner was great too, we got to blab about our excursions and all the phone things we had done that day. Everyone had a great time! FYI: With 40 guests at our wedding, the entire wedding, reception, cruise, and excursions ended up costing us right at $4000. YOU CAN'T BEAT THAT FOR A WEDDING THESE DAYS. The kids that came to our wedding still rave about the light up dance floor. We joke and say we had a 7-day all you can eat wedding! Food was great! Lots of variety and plenty available all the time. The only issue we saw was the number of people flocking to the chicken tenders, burgers and fries on the Lido deck. Clearly Carnival did not expect that area to be the most popular because it was always flooded with people waiting and a long line due to the limited size of that area. Luckily we weren't there for the plain old food and wanted to try things with more variety. I've been on several cruises and we had some problem locating the Fish&Chips area. Sounds crazy, but it was right in front of us the whole time, we just didn't look up to see it. Our stateroom was very clean and well taken care of. We arrived to two kissing towel swans, a towel heart, rose petals, champagne and mints. Granted we got married on the ship...but when booking tell them it's your wedding or honeymoon and they'll do the same. As for size, it's just enough. If you're going on a cruise to stay in your room all the time (why are you going on a Carnival cruise then? You're better off on another more posh line), then upgrade to a suite. However if you're there to have a great time and enjoy the activities and inside cabin is perfectly fine! My husband is 6'9'' and 260lbs, it didn't even seem too small to him, just low ceiling for him in the bathroom. Our inside cabin was right under the aft pool. We were not in the room much during the day so I can't tell you what it was like then...but at about 7am you could hear them getting the pool furniture out and dragging. Not terribly loud at all, but you would notice if you were a light sleeper. This was no problem for us as we are early risers. Onboard activities were great...we're only sorry we couldn't participate in all! We were even in one of the game shows (afternoon entertainment). Evening shows were spectacular, we only wished we could have had more! Dune buggies on Grand Turk were great fun. I highly recommend a more adventurous excursion there, the island is very depressed after all. The salt fields there stink a bit (think salt marsh) but it was wonderful getting muddy and speeding around! If you don't like getting dirty, don't do the dune buggies ;) Half Moon Cay had great snorkling, but half the entertainment was watching a man pop out of the water and nearly walk on water to get away from a barracuda (a barracuda which cared nothing about us). If you have large feet (above a size 13 shoe) bring your own fins. They make you wear the fins and the largest size nearly cut off my husband's circulation (he wears a 16, we should have known). Half Moon Cay is also the best beach I have ever been to, the sand is like walking on clouds. The buffet lunch prepared by Carnival was delicious and the sights are wonderful. San Juan didn't impress us and from what I understand from other people in our group that is because we did not tour the rainforest which they say was something they will never forget. We will do that if we ever go back. St. Thomas was all about the shopping for us and there was plenty of it to do. We had great fun there and I got some nice jewelry.

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By Tami_CR

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Apr 27, 2009

Virgin Islands

Carnival has really cut back on entertainment, only a couple of bars open at a time, no live calypso music pool side through out the day, no music videos on the outside theatre, if you bought the drink card none of the wait staff wanted to wait on you (they weren't getting the 15% gratuitites), very little evening entertainment. 5 of us went and we were actually bored! No chocolate buffet which is a Carnival tradition. The "virus" broke out on ship,

affected about 500 passengers and 1/3 of the crew. Awesome-Putu took excellent care of us. Not enough to do, only one or two activities going at a time, extreme cut backs on the entertainment and activities. Captian Nauticous Snorkeling adventure rocks!!! By far the best I had ever been on! Too many cut backs and not enough to do.

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Oct 24, 2008

Western Carribean

The Liberty is one of Carnival's new ships and I would say one of the best looking overall ship in there class. We boarded the ship fast with VIP.Our cabin had an inch of dust on the tv and was never cleaned. The food on the lido deck was the worst of any Carnival cruise we've taken in the past. The dining room food looked great but had no taste and the meat as un eatable. They keep one of the three pools closed every day and the two main hot tubs

were never open. The shows were great like always and the casino was the largest I've seen on any Carnival ship. There just seemed to be something missing there was no action on the lido deck the biggest thing going was the giant tv. WE HAVE OVER 10 CARNIVAL CRUISES UNDER OUR BELT AND THE LIBERTY IS THE ONE WE WILL STAY AWAY FROM. Our room was very dusty and our cabin boy never cleaned it as asked. Most of the excursions were canceled because of the high seas but the staff did nothing to take up the time onboard. One word say it all boring

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Oct 17, 2008

Exotic Eastern Caribbean

This was our 6th cruise with Carnival and the best. We were celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary as well as my 60th Birthday. The staff and crew were attenative and very professional. They addressed us by name and were very helpful, remembering our celebrations. The itinerary is one of the best available sailing to Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. It was our second cruise with this itinerary. Unfortunately, Grand Turk

had not yet recovered from Hurricane Ike and we therefore visited Nassau instead of Grand Turk. Carnival may be know as the "FUN SHIP CRUISELINE" and advertises to families and younger cruisers but it is definitely a cruiseline for seniors. The food was amazing. Great choices in the dining room, lido deck, fish & chips, deli, grill, pizza and stir fry stations. If you can't find something you would enjoy, you would be a very picky eater. We splurged for a Category 11 suite and were knocked over. It was larger than a hotel room with a whirlpool bathtub and double sinks. Much more storage space than we needed and now we may find it hard to go back to a balcony cabin. It was beautifully appointed and spotless. The onboard activities were your typical cruise activities. If you prefer quieter activities, as we do, you will enjoy the trivia, bingo, wine tasting and other low-key activities. Of course don't miss the casino, I think it misses me now, spent alot of time and money in there. These ports lend themselves to exploring on your own. We have booked shore excursions through the ship in the past but this time just wandered around on our own. Half Moon Cay is paradise and once off the tender the beach is right there. On past visits to St. Thomas, we have opted for excursions to St. John. This time we took an independent St. Thomas Island Tour and were completely amazed and the scenery. Old Town San Juan is right at the Pier and is a nice walking tour. Finally, Nassau is great to discover on your own.

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Nov 24, 2007

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Spyros Alvonellos EMBARKATION Real smooth and quite organized. When you drive up they guide you into one of six drop off points. You unload your luggage and they stack it in the metal carriers which are fork lifted onto the ship. I tipped the baggage handler at the cage $10.00 and he was very happy, wad in hand. I then drove my car to the multi-story parking

building. There is a sign at the entrance that says “Parking Lot FULL”. Just ignore that and proceed in, getting your ticket and drive around until you find a parking space. I was directed to an open space by one of the attendants in a golf cart. With passports in hand we waited in one of two lines for ½ hour to check into the terminal. There were quite a few people already in line and it looked like it would take long but the line actually moved quickly. The initial two lines are for passport and ticket checks. Once that was done we queued into another much faster line for security/x-ray of carryon. Finally you walk into a much larger hall where the familiar long check in line is. It zig zags several times and we were in that line at least another ½ hour. I had completed all the online check in but it still did not matter because of the sign and sail card and credit card agreements. Once this was complete we went right to the boarding line for the sign and sail card picture process. We were up on the gangway and walking into the ship about 2:30 pm. THE SHIP You enter the ship on the Lobby Deck (3). Immediately welcomed, you proceed along into the lobby and bar. At first it is quite confusing and we looked for elevators to our cabins on the Riviera Deck (1). Speaking of elevators, there are 12 of them forward and 8 aft. I believe eight of them are the main elevators, 4 on each side and another 4 are the glass elevators which face the entire atrium from deck 3 to Deck 9 (Lido). We primarily used the main elevators and it is quite confusing at first what orientation you are in when you exit the elevators. Just remember that as you exit an elevator, the staircase represents the bow or aft of the ship, so you don’t step out looking at the bow or aft, a turn towards the staircase will be towards the bow on the bow elevators and towards aft on the aft elevators. It takes a few days to get used to this. This ship is HUGE, actually, huge really doesn’t do it justice. I can see where it could take more than a week to find everything. Our cabins were ocean view rooms with the interconnecting door. Many people hang out on Lido deck (9) where the pools are. There is one aft and one forward with many Jacuzzis and the huge water slide. From this deck you can go up stairs to deck 10 and 11, all exposed to the sun. There are two dinning rooms called Silver Olympian and Golden Olympian. We were assigned to Silver and had a great table overlooking the fantail aft. I personally like to be on the forward observation deck and I really had a hard time finding it and getting to it. If you go to Deck 10 there is one access door on the port side. I think the observation deck on the Celebration was much more accessible. One hidden and secluded area on this ship is the promenade on Deck 3 (Lobby). Few people ever go there, I think because it’s not readily evident there is access out of the lobby onto the promenade. If you want to get away from the crowds and have a close bar, this is where to go. This is where the muster stations are and few people ever return there after the safety drill. All of the shopping areas are on Deck 4 and Deck 5, towards the lobby area. The casino and several other bars are there as well. The Venetian theater (Deck 3 forward) is real nice and easily seats 500+. All and all, it takes a while to get used to how large this ship really is. Looking back, I think I really prefer the simplicity of the Celebration. PORTS OF CALL For our cruise, Cozumel was substituted for Costa Maya. The remaining two ports were Limon Costa Rica and Colon Panama. We decided to be on our own for Cozumel and booked excursions for Limon and Colon. Cozumel is real touristy, lots and lots of tourist traps in port, really kind of overdone and quite expensive. Really not many good bargains in the Cozumel port area. The ship will either be at the International Pier or the Langostura Pier. Liberty was at the Langostura pier and by coincidence Freedom was at the International Pier. I made car rental reservations at both piers so we would not need to take a taxi. The plan for Cozumel was always to rent a car and drive around on our own and this is exactly what we did! The ship docked at 0800 Monday and we disembarked for our all day family tour of Cozumel. We walked about 3 blocks to “Less Pay” car rental and John Devries set us up with a sedan for about 55.00 USD including insurance and fuel refill. Cozumel is very easy to get around in, basically almost no way to get lost on this island. Our first stop was the San Gervasio Mayan ruins on the road that transects the midsection of the island (carreterra transversal). Cost for our own admittance was 5.75 USD per person. The ruins are pretty interesting but not large (like the Pyramids of Giza). The Mayan ruins walkabout was a 2 hour event. At the largest ruin, way at the back end of the tour path is a kid who apparently was just guarding the area. We asked him to take a picture of us and after that was done I tipped him 5.00 USD. That’s when he volunteered to show us a hidden area through a small path. In that clearing, we saw a huge Mayan hacienda, all with well, main house and kitchen area, it looks as if they were still clearing that area up and it wasn’t meant to be displayed yet. We left the Mayan ruins and continued on the midsection road to the back end of the island. The road ends at the ocean (facing east) and there is a small bar/shopping area. We stopped there for drinks and we bought some souvenirs there. From there we drove on the east end of the island, going south and passed several restaurant/beach areas. We stopped on the 4th one where there were not as many people and had lunch there (Playa Bonita). The children and I swam in the ocean for about 1.5 hours. We had drinks, guacamole salad and chips and salsa, all for 16.50 USD. This beach area is the same one you see in the Corona Beer commercial, it is really hidden, out of the way and after we left this place and continued south to the tip of the island and then west, then north on the western side of the Island, where the large commercial hotel chains are. It was pretty clear; after we passed the commercial hotels that we would have spent a lot more money to swim at those beaches. We drove back to the pier and dropped the family there for shopping and then returned the rental car. I stopped at Senor Frogs to see what it was all about…pretty easy to see how people could get real drunk there. There are some people who get so smashed on Cozumel that they don’t make it back on the ship. We had one couple (husband & wife) who were unable to return. We boarded the ship after walking through the “duty free” shopping area. Really no bargains to speak of on Cozumel. The ship slow boats from Cozumel towards Limon Costa Rica and you arrive in Limon Wednesday, 0700 (there is a 1 hour time change). Limon port is a very poor, very dirty looking area but the best shopping deals on this cruise were found there. Our excursion for this port was the Adventure Canals and Banana plantation at 1130 am. So we disembarked at 0945 and walked in the port area, followed the crowds outside the port area and there is an open market there with hundreds of tables with people selling souvenirs, many of them at good prices. Unfortunately, just as we got shopping frenzy the sky opened up and rained unlike anything I’ve seen in many years and it rained pretty much to the time we boarded the bus for our tour. I would suggest people bring some umbrellas for this port, or at least a light rain jacket. We were soaked long before we ever contemplated going back to the ship and there were only a few tents out in the port area to hide under. We could not board our tour bus for shelter because it was not there yet. Eventually our bus arrived and we waited in there. The Adventure canals tour is really nice, well worth it, and quite organized once you get started. The first stop is at a small pier area where there are several river boats. You board the boat number that is the same as your bus number. The tour on the adventure canals is about 2 hours. We saw various bird species, crocodiles, sloths, and monkeys. I recommend people bring binoculars. The tour guide and specifically the boat captain look for wildlife and stop close to it. They spend 5-10 minutes trying to get all guests to spot the animal and so it takes some time for everyone to “see it”. The tour guide will give instructions using reference points. It was a lot of fun and our guide was awesome. After the canal tour you arrive to a pick up point (which your buses traveled towards while you were on the canals) and this is where a very nice fruit lunch is served. I have not had pineapple that fresh, ever in my life. The lunch stop is about 45 minutes and then you board the bus again for the banana processing plant tour. During the ride to the plant the tour guide points out quite a bit about the local area, mostly all farm areas and it’s easy to see people live in enclaves around processing plants. This is where Chiquita banana comes from. The banana plant tour was very interesting and our guide was very good, really cared about what he was doing. We arrived back at Limon port at 4pm and unfortunately no more time for shopping. The little shopping earlier in the day was all that we were able to do there. Costa Rica is a very pretty country and there is much more to see. The ship leaves Limon and slow boats it towards Colon Panama. For the first time, the seas were a little choppy (white caps) but nothing troublesome. I did not know it before but our Costa Rica tour guide told us it is a 3 hour trip by car from Limon, Costa Rica to Colon, Panama. Why it took the ship all night to get to Panama or why we could not have stayed in Limon until later in the evening, say 9 pm is beyond me. The ship arrives at Colon, Panama around 0545 am and we disembark at 0700 for our tour. Since there are so many people going on the Panama Canal excursions (400 people on the canal tour alone) they have everyone meet up in the Venetian theatre (deck 3 forward). From the Venetian, they release people by rows and after you disembark you are quickly met by tour guides who collect your ticket and guide you towards the right buses. There is no opportunity to shop at this time. Our tour guide Armando was awesome. The bus ride is approx 2 hours to the outskirts of Panama City where we board a fairly large ferry boat that takes us towards the canal. Just to be clear, there are so many people on this tour that there are actually two major groups going through the canals. Our group was the one which traveled from the pacific side and went trough the Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel locks. I think the other tour group started their ferry ride on Gatun Lake (going towards the Pacific). Both ferries pass each other on the Pedro Miguel Locks. Our ferry stops where the other group was dropped off and we take these buses back to Limon, for was supposed to be another 1 hour bus ride but turned out to be 2 hours because of traffic. The ferry ride through the Canal Zone was like going back in time. The engineering is clearly 1900s, I mean you can see the riveting on the gates, imagine all steel construction in the 1900s was the same. There’s quite a bit of history on the hydrology involved to make the locks work properly and our tour guide covered this well. We arrive in Colon around 5 pm and the ship leaves soon after the last passengers arrive. We did stop at the duty free area inside the port for liquor and wine and t-shirts. This was a hurried shopping stop as well. The ship leaves Colon, Panama and I could not help but wonder, as we pulled away with some daylight, why we could not have stayed any longer to explore the duty free zone outside the port and maybe even enjoy the evening in port. There really was a lot to see in Colon and we missed out on all of it. The seas were 10-15 feet leaving Colon and dining that evening was touch and go, many people did not come to dinner. Our grandson felt a little sick but the rest of us were fine. They did have to postpone the main show to the next day because of the swells. So for the next two days we were at sea, and it felt like come hell or high water, this captain and Carnival were going to get us back to Ft Lauderdale. Most of the time we were cruising at 25 knots, sometimes 26 or 27. Honestly I felt from Panama on we were basically cargo and they could not wait to get back to Ft Lauderdale so they could load another 3200 guests. Those two full days at sea were pointless and it is really beyond me why Carnival would not schedule at least 1 port on the way back. We arrived in Ft Lauderdale early Saturday and you could tell because the speed was cut in half Friday night, we could see the Florida coast and I actually think we might have been parked out in the water during the night. I’ll say this; it was very disappointing to be rushed back. If anything, we should have rushed to Cozumel, and rushed to Limon so we could stay longer in Limon and Colon and include at least one stop on the way back. I will be very careful with any itineraries on cruises from now on. DINNING We had a very nice table in the Silver Olympian dinning room (Deck 3 aft). The other dining room was Golden (Deck 3 forward). The quality of the food in the dining room was excellent. By the way, you can eat in the dinning rooms 3 times a day. Breakfast and lunch is open seating whereas dinner is at your reserved table. There is Mongolian BBQ everyday and the chefs are quite good. Of course there is always a variety at Emile’s (Lido deck 9), basically open buffet style. I was amazed many people ate there when dinning was possible in the formal dinning room 3 meals a day. The sushi was “ok”. I’ve had much better…we had that one night, for dinner (2nd formal night)…just did not feel like dressing up a second time. Our waiter in the dinning room (Annan) was from Thailand and he really did a great job entertaining us and making sure we were looked after. They do the same dinner show/dancing and singing they always do. ENTERTAINMENT There was a main show every night except the rough night out of Panama. We attended two of them. The Liberty Dancers are great and the children were able to see 2 Broadway quality shows, which was important for them although it was hard to pull them away from their friends on board. There were some comedy acts but really too late for us to stay up, especially considering the early wake ups for ports of call. The LIDO deck (9) is the main pool area and this is where the main TV screen is. They have music there and of course movies at night free of charge. Yes, it is loud there and hard to carry on a conversation. Our kids must have spent at least 200.00 USD in arcade games (I think it’s a crime for these games not to be free for kids). Our grandson was involved with Camp Carnival and he really enjoyed all their activities. There was gambling on Deck 5 but we really don’t gamble that much and in any case we could not stand the cigarette smoke smells in there. GENERAL ITEMS OF INTEREST/IMPORTANCE This ship as wonderful as it is has one basic safety issue I believe are important to point out here. There is quite a bit of marble on the floors, especially on the pool deck (9) and we saw a few people slip/fall pretty hard. Elderly people might have broken bones. They do put signs out but there are quite a few kids walking in and around the bar areas with wet bathing suits, water dripping. People with walking problems really should take care walking around deck 9 pool bar areas, maybe even into Emile’s restaurant with the marble on those floors. DEBARKATION We chose the self assist and were off the ship at 0830 am, in our car by 0900 am and on the road back to Atlanta area for our 8-9 hour drive back. For those wanting help with luggage they now assign you zones (1-35). They assigned us zone 21 so it was clear our luggage and our debarkation would be later in the morning and we really did not want to get home much later than 5 pm. Customs was a breeze, a CBP officer just asked me if I had liquor or tobacco and let us go on our merry way. OVERALL CRUISE IMPRESSION This was a great cruise overall and we had a good time for under 5000.00 USD when all the charges, fees, tipping, shopping, passage fare, parking, fuel, hotel and excursions were calculated. The Liberty is a very nice ship, lots to do on her but I’m not so sure large is better after this trip. I feel like the Celebration was more cozy and our ocean view cabin was a little wider. I think the crew on the Celebration was more easygoing. I will carefully scrutinize itineraries from now on and think though the logistical consequences of each port of call. Also, 8 days is a long cruise when you are sitting on a ship for 2 full days at sea on the return. I am also considering trying out a different cruise line for our next trip to Alaska.    

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Nov 18, 2007

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Connie Getting on board the ship was a breeze.  We arrived at Port Everglades and they let us in check in immediately and we only waited less than 30 minutes to get onboard but we could not access our rooms until 1:30.  We had some drinks and ate lunch on the Lido Deck.  Went to our rooms at 1:30 and freshened up a bit.  Bring a carry on bag with a change

of clothes.  Don’t check all your bags.  Sometimes they don’t arrive till 2 to 3 hours later, which is not bad considering they have 3,000 people on board. I was a little disappointed in the ship’s décor – kinds of tacky but the cabins were nice (inside) – great for sleeping in because it is very dark so you don’t know what time it is when you wake up unless you program a wake up call, which we did. Staff was excellent!!!!!!!!!!!! Two formal nights – ate in the Silver Olympian – very nice – food was okay – lots of choices.  The buffets have good food too with lots of choices.  Starbuck was onboard too.  Yummy. Casino was okay – not a lot of payouts on the slots – played slots and roulette.  Won more money on roulette. Shows were okay – nothing spectacular. Recommendation:  Do not go on Thanksgiving week if you don't want  a lot of kids onboard. Over 1,000 kids were onboard and you could tell. Didn’t even get to go in the pool – too crowded with kids. Nassau, Bahamas – Been there about 5 times – nothing great but people are friendly and don’t bug you too much to buy there things at the craft flea market.  We just walked around on our own – shopped and ate. Grand Cayman Island – Very nice place but not a good place to shop for high end stuff like jewelry – very expensive.  We did the tour where you swim with the stingrays.  The ship does not dock due to the preservation of the coral.  We took a boat from the ship to get on the island and then took a party cruise boat to go and swim with the stingrays.  It was awesome.  I was scared at first and watched the other people do it and then got it the water myself.  The boat takes you way out in the ocean on a sandbar and put life preservers on you.  Stingrays are all around.  I even kissed and petted one.  Glad I did it.  Ended up in Margaritaville for lunch and some shopping.  The shopping district is next to the pier and pretty safe to walk.  We were not bothered at all by the local people asking us if we wanted to purchase drugs. Ochos Rios, Jamaica – Fun and friendly place.  We took a tour and went to Dunn's River Falls but did not climb the falls.  Too treacherous.  You have to go with a guide and hold everyone's hands and form a chain.  It’s very steep and slippery.  You need water shoes.  They rent them for $5.00 U.S. dollars.  There are steps you can climb to get to the top, so we did that.  At the top, they have a craft market and refreshments.  It was fun.  After the tour, we walked in the shopping district. Disembarkation – Very well organized – ate breakfast on the Lido deck and we were off the ship by 10 AM and went through customs very smoothly. Rating this cruise 1 - 10, I would give it a 7.    

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Aug 3, 2007

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Richard Shakour Best value for the money, great kids club, excellent food and beautiful ship. This was an eight day cruise with stops in Costa Maya Mexico, Limon Costa Rica and Colon Panama (Panama Canal).  We traveled as a family of five with three kids:  11, 9 & 8. This was our fourth cruise within the last four years and we had previously cruised

on Celebrity, Disney and Royal Caribbean.  I must say that we initially hesitated about Carnival.  Actually, one travel agent told me straight up to just ‘forget’ Carnival, that we would not like it.  However, after reading many reviews we decided to give it a chance and I must say, overall this was an excellent cruise.  Especially when you consider it cost about half of what Disney would have cost. Getting on Board: We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and got a taxi for under $20.  The port is very close and there are lots of taxis.  I strongly suggest taking a taxi since it is the fastest and cheapest way to go.  If you are a large family and have to take separate taxis, make sure that each person in your cab has proper ID to get into the Port Terminal.  They check ID and it has happened to us were one person had all the passports in one taxi and the other taxis were not allowed in because they had no ID.  Also, be aware that there are people who go into the airport to try to sell you a ride to the ship usually for much more than a taxi.  Don’t waste your money. Once we arrived at the cruise terminal we had to wait in line for over 35 minutes at the Carnival check-in boarding area.  We had our Fun Passes all completed and printed out but it basically made no difference; total waste of time.  When we asked why things were so slow the attendant said it had to do with ‘so many international travelers’.  I found this hard to believe.  It was the worst check-in of any cruise by far and the worst part of the entire trip.  Carnival should really get their act together here.  We never waited more than 5 minutes on any other cruise. Finally on Board: Once we got on the Liberty, we immediately fell in love with her.  She is one the most beautiful ships we had been on and definitely the largest.  She is big! All the décor is styled in a Venetian theme and the colors are vibrant and cheerful.  Carnival really built a very beautiful and well organized ship here. Our rooms were at the very front cabins on deck 7 (Empress) on the Port side (left).  We had two balcony rooms that had an interconnecting door.  We had to have two rooms because the maximum number of people in each room is 4 on Carnival. Our rooms were wonderful.  We had one room with two twins and a sofa and another with a queen and a sofa.  The sofa acts as another twin bed.  Having connecting rooms was really nice.  Not only can you keep tabs on the kids but, you have two bathrooms and two TV’s.  Also, you can call the Pursers desk to have them remove the separator between the balconies for one large balcony.  The beds were also very nice and firm and very comfortable.  The entire cabin was very clean and modern and had a mini-bar/refrigerator, blow dryer, phone, table etc.  The bathrooms were very modern and clean and quite large. Our cabin attendant was fantastic!  He took care of a broken hairdryer within hours and constantly brought ice and always asked if there was anything we needed; very friendly and helpful.  Overall, the room and our service were outstanding. Food and Restaurants: I was pleasantly surprised with the food on Liberty.  Not only was there a lot to choose from, but the quality was very good.  There is a buffet called Emile’s that has a forward and aft serving line.  We usually only ate lunch there and there was plenty to choose from.  Try the Mongolian grill forward and the carving station aft.  Also, in the back you can go upstairs and try the fish and chips.  There you can also get ahi tuna and a very nice bouillabaisse.   In between the aft and forward sections there is also a very good Chinese station and a deli. Liberty has two main dining rooms: Silver and Golden.  We were seated in Silver and it was very nice and lavishly decorated.  We had breakfast and dinner there almost every night.  The food was very good.  There was plenty to choose from for dinners and breakfast.  This cruise had two formal nights.  At all dinners (not just formal night) in the dining rooms men must wear long pants, so remember to bring some.  At first I was a little surprised about this dress code but after the first night I thought it was an excellent idea.  The wine list is also very good.  We also brought our own wines which incurred a small corkage fee.  The waiters were fantastic; very friendly and extremely polite and efficient. Also try the sushi bar from 5:30-8:30 on the promenade deck (5).  That’s if you like sushi. We went to the upscale restaurant on our second night.  It is called Harry’s Supper Club and there is an additional $30 fee.  The food here was exquisite.  Allow 2 hours for dinner and reserve it early. Overall the food on Liberty far exceeded my expectations.  No, it’s not a 5 star restaurant but it was definitely on par with any other cruise line we had been on before.  Maybe only Celebrity was a little bit better. The Decks: The main pool deck is the Lido deck on 9.  This is the main hangout on the ship, especially during sea days, and is where the live music and giant outdoor TV screen are located.  We sat here the first day at sea but there isn’t much shade and it does get loud with people and music.  Of course, people reserve their seats (as on all cruises), however, there are plenty of other areas on the ship where you can relax in quiet and have shade (I like some shade).  The best part of the Lido deck may be at night when they show concerts and movies on the giant screen.  We sat out several nights and watched Casino Royal, Bee Gees, U2 and the movie The Prestige.  However, there were other nights that we thought the selection of movies or music was not very exciting.  They had one night with a Humphrey Bogart movie followed by a Pavarotti concert.  Then, they repeated Casino Royal and the Bee Gees concert.  Overall, I thought the movies and concerts should have been more ‘Fun Ship’ oriented and there should have been more of them.  On Disney they had movies all day and night and never a repeat.  But, we did enjoy the large screen and sitting outdoors to watch.  It was great. The giant waterslide is located in the Lido deck area also but you must go to deck 12 to get on.  It was fun and the lines were usually short. There are three pools on Liberty: two in the Lido (deck 9 & 10) area and one aft.  The pools are not that big and certainly not big enough for a ship the size of Liberty.  Frankly, I think they should remove the two hot tubs behind the main Lido deck pool and enlarge it using that space.  The hot tubs could easily be moved elsewhere and that would really help. The promenade deck (5) is the main inside hub of the ship.  Here you will find many bars, shops and the casino.  Since we had kids and my wife got a cold we weren’t able to enjoy much of the night life.  I visited the casino on several nights.  They had lots of slots (which I don’t play) and also plenty of table games.  I never waited anywhere for a seat.  They also have a Texas Hold 'em table but it is an electronic one which only takes your on-board charge card.  They also have two slots and black-jack tournaments during the sailing days. All of the decks are also serviced by a large number of elevators.  Three sets altogether and while they do get busy, they do handle the load adequately. Camp Carnival: All of our three girls loved Camp Carnival.  Both Carnival and Disney know how to keep the kids happy.  There were tons of activities and our girls actually begged to go there the ‘entire cruise’!  That has never happened before.  The counselors were very good and the entire schedule and communication was good.  We only had one problem trying to sign-out my youngest one day.  My wife had signed her in and not added me as a sign-out person.  You must write in each day who can sign your kids out.  They will not make any exceptions.  My other two girls could sign themselves out. While we did not opt for this, you can also buy or rent these phones on Liberty which you can hand out among your kids or whoever and use them as communication devices.  We saw a lot of families with these. Our girls all met lots of other kids and made friends.  We hardly saw them.  On the last day at sea, the kids all put on a talent show and our two cabins where rehearsal central.  Overall, Camp Carnival was fantastic. Internet & Phone on Board: You can now use your cell phone on board.  I had to make only one call but it was a lot cheaper ($2.45/minute) than the $7/minute regular in-cabin phone.  The only thing I noticed is that my phone did not work in any ports-of-call. There is also wireless internet available throughout the ship and an internet café on deck 4.  I used the wireless for my laptop since I am forced to keep in touch with work even on vacations.  The speed was good and I opted for a 100 minute plan for $55.00.  However, I had a problem.  You must make sure you log-out of Carnival’s Internet service after you are done using the Web.  Merely turning your PC off or disabling your wireless will not log you off and you will use up all your minutes.  However, on my laptop even though I logged out it still stayed connected and we never found out why.  I went to the Internet Café manager and he suggested some things and, of course, credited me with my unused time.  He was very helpful. The Shows: The theatre on Liberty is called the Venetian palace.  It is quite large and very nicely decorated.  We only saw one show there (Sammy Davis & Frank Sinatra act) and it was ok.  The show was actually good but, again, we thought this was geared more for the older generation.  When we saw that the following night would be a Glen Miller tribute we skipped the remaining shows altogether and instead opted for the outdoor screen.  While the acts were nice and professional, we just thought they were more for retirees and not a Carnival Fun Ship.  But, again, we didn’t see all of them to be fair. Ports of Call and Excursions: All the ports of call on this cruise were non-tendered (i.e. The ship was docked). 1. Costa Maya, Mexico: This was our first stop and we did not plan an excursion.  We were told that this was going to be the best beach stop of the cruise.  However, we did not visit the beach but instead just walked into the little town by the pier.  This was your typical Caribbean tourist trap.  What was nice though, it had a giant pool in the middle of town and we just sat and swam.  Luckily no one bothered us like they do in Jamaica.  Mexico is pretty good that way.  We did hear from some people that the beach was nice though but the wave runner rentals almost ran over swimmers.  If you do hit the beach here I heard the best way is to just go into the town and hire a $3 taxi.  Overall, Costa Maya was so so. 2. Limon, Costa Rica: Limon looked like a poor city and it was also dirty.  We took the Canal and Banana plantation tour and it was very good.  Our tour guide was excellent and so friendly and cheerful.  On the Canal tour, we saw every animal they advertised (Sloth, Croc, Birds, Monkeys etc.).  The girls loved it.  We also heard some people booking their own tours here with private guides at half the price.  You may want to check into this.  Finally, this is not a beach town from what I could tell. 3. Colon, Panama: This was our final stop.  Colon is also not that clean.  It seemed that in Costa Rica and Panama the nicer side is the Pacific.  Anyway, we took the Two Oceans by Railroad Tour and, while it is pricey, we enjoyed it a lot.  You basically get on a bus at the pier and then take a 10 minute ride to the Panama Railroad Terminal.  There, you get on a vintage looking train that takes about an hour ride to the West Coast just outside of Panama city.  Along the way you see Lake Gaton and ships entering the Canal.  It’s very nice and comfortable and our guide was again excellent.  At the end of the train ride you again board a bus that takes you to the Mira Flores Locks where you go into this large building that overlooks the locks and you can actually see the ships go in and out.  There is also a audio-visual show you can watch in the theater.  Then you get back on the bus and visit some little islands off of Panama City which was nice.  Then it’s back on the train to the ship.  Overall this was a nice tour but the crowds at the Locks were a bit thick. Disembarkation: Getting off the ship was very efficient and well done by Carnival.  Instead of Color codes, they used these zones that actually gave you an idea of when you would be getting off the ship.  They also had a self-disembarkation from 7AM-8AM where you can take your own luggage (regardless of size) off the ship.  So, if you have an early flight, that’s a great option.  While we did have a 10:40 flight back, we still just did regular disembarkation and asked them to give us an early zone which they gave us no problem due to our early flight.  We got off the ship around 8:30 and were at our airport gate by 9:30; plenty of time to spare.  I wish getting on the ship was as easy as getting off. I again suggest you take a taxi back to the airport (if you are flying, of course).  Again, if you are a larger family, the taxi guy at the pier will try to steer you to one of the vans.  Insist on a regular tax since the vans are more expensive. Summary: Overall this was an excellent cruise.  The ship is beautiful and the crew was first-rate.  I think that both ship and crew are on-par even with Disney which we always thought would be the best.  I would definitely recommend Carnival Liberty. Overall a great vacation and well worth the money.    

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Feb 11, 2007

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Kevin Kelly The Liberty was everything we had hoped for; more than we expected. For once, my vacation was relaxing and refreshing. Introduction: After reading every review I could find, it became apparent that all reviews are, by nature, personal. Hence, I want to briefly describe myself so you can better interpret my thoughts relative to your own circumstances.

This was our first cruise. My wife and I have 5 active sons, three over 20 and two teens. I have been lucky enough to have sufficient means to allow us to afford reasonable items, but not so much that “value” isn’t critical to the enjoyment of our vacation. Dining: I always go by two mottos when dining out – (1) don’t expect more than the kitchen can produce and (2) order to the restaurants strengths, not necessarily your own desires. If you adhere to these rules, you have better chance of a good meal. The first night, as a first-timer, I blew both rules. I ordered a steak (against the recommendation of our waiter). Unfortunately, it had been heat-lamped. That’s my fault, feeding 3,000 in three hours is going to require some pre-cooking. That night, as our waiter informed me, steak is very high on the list. From then on, I explained my likes and dislikes to our waiter, and let him choose. Everything was excellent – no exaggeration, from appetizers to dessert. (I actually got an excellent steak later in the cruise – the waiter let me know that they were make them to order that night.) By the way, don’t be afraid of unusual things – they are apt to be prepared well, in that they aren’t pre-cooked, and if you don’t like it, just set it aside and order something else. (Note – this is a comment from a first-timer – most of you already know that, but it was strange at first for us.) Same rules apply to buffets. The Liberty offers a huge buffet area, which at first glance looks like many similar buffet lines. Wrong. There is a “Mongolian Grill”, fresh Asian grille, traditional grille, a pizzeria, a fresh deli sandwich line, a fish and chips bar and a daily, themed “international buffet”. On the traditional buffet lines, you have to expect that food will start to taste similar and will vary in temperature. Nobody can help that. Hence, select what you can watch them prepare. In this manner, the Mongolian Grille, the Asian Grille, the deli sandwiches and the fish and chips were all excellent. Note that they were all “made-to-order”. Other things were acceptable, if they had just come out of the kitchen, otherwise, stay away. Not a problem, there are more than enough choices. As for other food items – note that room service does not offer hot dishes. I suspect that is for the same reasoning noted above. The BLT that I ordered at 3:00 AM was excellent and delivered in less than 10 minutes. The sushi bar looked inadequate in terms of options. We have very fine sushi bars at home, so we opted not to try anything. So to be fair, since we didn’t order anything, so I cannot comment on the actual quality. As for the price of adult and some of the other beverages, I found everything to be reasonable. On ship, you are paying for convenience, as well as for actual ingredients. Some have mentioned that soft drinks were too expensive. But I would counter that they are no more expensive than at any other theater, sports stadium, etc. This is not a grocery store; it is an entertainment venue. Plus, they DO offer the soft drink card, if you are a heavy soda drinker. While we don’t drink alcoholic beverages, we were very pleasantly surprised at the variety and quality of “virgin” drinks. We treated ourselves to several throughout the course of the week. Finally, there were plenty of limitless, “free” beverages available at all times (fruit punch, lemonade, hot chocolate, milk, coffee, teas, etc.). Be smart and you will be rewarded. Public Rooms: The Liberty is dazzling. We thoroughly enjoyed noticing the artists’ and architects’ embellishments. Some have noted that the décor borders on gaudy. I prefer to characterize it as enlivening. Make no mistake, this ship is not meant to have the staid, understated elegance of the traditional, “shuffleboard” set. Rather, this ship is designed to be lively and fun. Success achieved! Cabins: We wanted the privacy of a large balcony and were able to find Cabin 7445 available. It has a wraparound balcony at the back of the boat. It was a wonderful room, and we heartily recommend such to those that want a quiet place to getaway from the crowds. Our traveling companions had an ocean view room on the first deck. We were surprised to see the amount of extra space, even larger than our room (but without the generous balcony). We also looked at several interior cabins (planning for our next cruise with the kids). They were sufficiently large and very bright. I can see where one would be happy with them, particularly if you’re one to be found on deck or in the bars or casinos for much of the time. We were particularly happy that we had selected a room with residences both above and below; we had no noise issues, whatsoever. Entertainment: The main show room was spectacular. We attend many theater events at home and were a bit leery of what could be accomplished at sea. The theater occupies the forward portion of three decks. The lighting and sound is as good as I have seen in the finest of “land” theaters. The stage rotates in multiple sections, rises and lowers and provides some sort of “fly” space that I am still trying to figure out. Because of the large size of the theater, there are several pillars creating obstructed views – go early to get the better seats. The seating on main floor and in the first couple of rows of the balcony are laid out in comfortable “bench-style” seats, allowing you to snuggle with your sweetheart. Waiters wander in and out before the show, providing beverage service on the main floor. The dancers had various levels of capabilities – noticeable, but not necessarily detracting. The two vocalists of the revues, were excellent. The male one even had a large dose of showmanship which really added to the shows. The shows, themselves, were very energetic and high-paced. The musical selections were all more than acceptable for a family audience. I must admit, however, that some of the costumes were a tad bit suggestive, for those who might be sensitive and to children. To Carnival’s credit, they were overtly clear about that, noting it in the daily newsletter and even assigning a “PG” rating for “Las Vegas-style dancing girl costumes”. Comedians were hit and miss, though two of them had us literally laughing from beginning to end of their respective 30 minutes. The entertainment in the lounges was also hit and miss. The classical trio in the Flowers Bar (the main lobby) was excellent and added a touch of nostalgia to the cruise. The jazz trio in one of the back lounges also was very entertaining and quite talented. Unfortunately the sing-along in the piano bar was less than adequate. Perhaps one shouldn’t expect quality in such a setting, but the piano man’s singing was painfully out of tune, enough so that I could only tolerate it for a few minutes. Finally, the Liberty offers a massive LCD screen above the pool on the Lido deck. At night they offered relatively new releases. It was like going to an outdoor movie at home – very fun. Our wives wanted to turn in, so my friend and I stayed up to watch the midnight showing, complete with hot chocolate and popcorn. Spa and Fitness: As first-timers, we were overwhelmed at the amount of things to do, both in and out of port. We actually didn’t have time to visit the spa or the gym, but I did manage to go for a walk on the jogging track, late one night. It was a very nice surprise, a rubberized, inlaid track along the outer edge of the highest deck above the buffets. Maybe a reason why the two are so close? Family and Children: We didn’t bring our kids on this one, but we were informed that there were over 300 kids on the cruise. Never once was there a “kid” problem – that should be a ringing endorsement. Another point – all public shows were rated so that one could avoid offensive items. For example, the “R”-rated comedy shows at midnight, were performed by the same guys that performed the best family-oriented shows. Obviously, Carnival keeps a close eye on what content is being delivered and when. Shore Excursions: As first-timers, we were very nervous about getting on and off the ship in time, quality in excursions, etc. Hence, we purposely selected only Carnival excursions. We realized that we would pay more, but the security and peace of mind was well worth the added expense. In the Bahamas, we opted for a guided Jeep tour. It was extremely well run and very interesting and entertaining. We learned a lot about the islands and the people. We also had fun. They offered a “lunch” at the end that was, unfortunately, disappointing. If you plan on this excursion, get a good breakfast before leaving the ship. Finally, when we returned to our home base (about 20 minutes from the port), our return-trip bus was nowhere to be found. We waited over 40 minutes. But since we had purchased the excursion from Carnival, we were not concerned and just let things happened – we were on vacation, after all. In the Cayman Islands, we opted for some shore snorkeling time. The town was WAY too crowded with tourists. Eight ships and 22,000 passengers were in port. We prefer quiet exploration to shopping, so we won’t stop at this port again. The snorkeling was mildly adequate, though we didn’t pay much, so “you get what you pay for”. We brought our own snorkeling gear (bought at Costco for $35). It was FAR superior to anything the excursion was offering. I highly recommend that approach, as you can also control the hygiene, as well. In the future, we will look for good beaches and go on our own. At Costa Maya, we chose the shorter, four-hour Mayan ruins trip. It was exceptionally hot the day we were there; hence, we were thrilled to see that our one-hour drive to the ruins would be in an air-conditioned bus. Once there, we were treated to a very interesting tour through active excavations, as well as through several restored and/or uncovered sites. Some of the guides were better than others; it was difficult to determine how to get the good ones. We didn’t particularly like the ending – the guide explicitly asking for tips. Maybe they have to do that to get most people to realize that it is appropriate. We left a small one, as her skills were not as good as our guide in the Bahamas. (We left him a rather generous tip, because of his efforts and the quality of his presentation.) Bottom-line – we like the fact that the Carnival excursions have some sense of “guarantee” about them. Hence, we will probably keep doing that, rather than go out on our own – at least for the next few cruises. Enrichment: Here was a major surprise. My wife and I had a free hour so we wandered into an art lecture. It was not only educational; it was also entertaining. I’ve never known much about art, but I learned plenty. We were interested enough to go to both art auctions and actually bought a few pieces for our home – daily reminders of the fun we had. Service: On my business travels, throughout the world, I have had time to stay at some of the finest hotels. None could compare to the friendliness and efficiency of our cabin steward. More than polite, he always seemed to be just around the corner, treating us as if we were his only concern. I really can’t even guess how many rooms he was assigned to. Plus, he helped us understand some of the little nuances of cruising; never making us feel out of place for asking silly questions. Our waiter was second to none. In fact, we wrote to Carnival, to see if they already have waiter assignments for August so that we could come to his table again. As I mentioned above, we let him run our dinners. He had a sense of humor that fit exactly with the four of us at our table. His selections were always well done, even if we didn’t care for them. In fact, he seemed to have a hidden microphone – every time someone shared a particular dish that another really liked, he would have another one right on the spot for each to have their own. Plus he was more than happy to answer many first-timer questions, like where does the staff stay, how long are their shifts, whom did he leave at home, etc. (We just got some small T-shirts from home to send to his 11-month old triplets in Poland.) Value: This is always very important to us. And we were blown away. For the relatively low cost, we received the best vacation we have ever had. The only sad part was the day we had to leave. It’s been a week, and we’ve already booked another 7-day cruise on Carnival for six months from now.    

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Dec 23, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Bill Appel 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. EMBARKATION 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. THE CABIN 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 SHIP 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. ENTERTAINMENT 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 FOOD 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. THE PORTS 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. THE CREW 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. DEBARKATION 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.    

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Oct 21, 2006

Transatlantic

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Grand Mediterranean - Transatlantic John Wilson As promised, here’s my review of the ship. If you want the full review/BLOG it’s here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=447527. This part of my review will be limited to the shipboard experience only. For those of you that have not sailed on a Conquest class ship, they are BIG. Statistics from Carnival’s

website are here: http://www.carnival.com/CMS/Onboard_Activities/Liberty-Onboard_Exp.aspx I was attracted to the Grand Med and Transatlantic cruise for the itinerary. I’ve never sailed on a mega-ship. I had read a lot, good and bad, about the experience. As they say “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” Well, I tried it. For those readers that only want to hear good things, or can’t stand anyone expressing a negative opinion of their beloved Carnival, stop reading now. The outward appearance of Carnival Liberty is that of a soviet-era apartment building with a funnel and pointy bow stuck on. Absolutely no thought or effort went into making it a good-looking ship. None. Sadly, this is the current trend in ship design. Embarkation was a breeze. I got to the ship around 3:00 PM and was onboard in five minutes. Cabin 8209, inside cat 4E, was quite nice. I was traveling solo so there was adequate space. Nice sized bathroom, shower only, with lots of shelves around the vanity mirror. Everything was very clean and in working order. The beds were together, but there was a noticeable hump in the middle. There are nice, soft cotton linens on the bed. There is one chair for seating. There are 4 drawers in the desk/vanity area and a spot for the safe beneath the regular 17” TV. There are 4 closets, one of which has shelves that can be folded up for more hanging space. Service My cabin steward, Randall, and his assistants, Darwin and Oscar, did an excellent job the entire 28 days. I was always greeted by name. The servers on the Europe segment, Daniel and his assistant Sarmite, were excellent. On the transatlantic, our servers, Desislava and her assistant Francisco, were adequate. Both teams remembered I liked an espresso after dinner. Michelena, hostess in Golden Olympic dining room was the nicest person on the ship that I met. She really cares. I would hope that she is promoted to Maitre ‘d someday. She was far nicer and genuine than Lloyd Lewis, the current Maitre ‘d. I found the pursers helpful and caring, especially Rowan and Chief Purser Laura. They do try. Bar service was very poor throughout the ship. Generally, if you wanted a drink you had to get up and get it yourself. The exception to this was the Cabinet Bar where the service was very good. Lido service was very poor. The tables would go for an hour or more without getting cleaned which made it difficult to find a table. Many times I had to call the purser’s desk and request they send someone to clean the place up. To their credit, they did. Silverware and condiments were almost never put on the tables around the main pool. Public rooms I’d read this ship wasn’t the typical “Joe Farcus” experience. It is. Most areas are over-the-top, overdone and garish. I watched Joe’s video explaining the design theory – a tribute to artisans. Overall, the public spaces seemed small for a ship this size. I’ve sailed on ship’s carrying less than half the passengers where the public rooms are roughly the same size. The halls are narrow and the ceilings are low. Traffic-flow is poor. This is especially noticeable entering or exiting the elevator lobbies. I’ve posted pictures of many of the public rooms so there is no need for a long description. The link to my photos is in my signature. Food The food was the worst food ever on a cruise. I lost 4 pounds on this cruise. I was not expecting gourmet, but I thought it would be at least as good as the local buffet type restaurants (Old Country Buffet, Sizzler, Bonanza, etc.). A land-based restaurant serving the caliber of food on this ship would be out of business in short order. Tough, flavorless meats and rubber poultry were the order of the day. I don’t eat seafood but judging by the way my tablemates had to saw at their lobster, it was overcooked as well. Many nights I would have to order 2 or 3 entrées to find something edible. The grill and sushi bar served consistently the best food on the ship. I can count on one hand the number of meals I thought were good throughout the 28 days. The chocolate melting cake was delicious. Entertainment The two production shows, Rocking Broadway and Around the World, were the best production shows at sea that I’ve seen. The costumes and staging were outstanding. There is no excuse for having the guest lack-of-talent show as the featured entertainment on a cruise ship. Obviously the talent show was just another venue for the egomaniacal John Heald to be in the spotlight. I did not go to any of the other entertainment. After dinner I went to the Cabinet where an excellent jazz group was featured. The volume in almost all venues, especially around the pool, was very LOUD. It was impossible to have a conversation without shouting. Activities If you like beanbag tosses, trivia, bingo, shopping talks or heavy drinking this is the ship for you. Fortunately, I’m satisfied with a deck chair and a good book. The only quiet area you’ll find in on deck 3, beneath the lifeboats. Random Gripes and Compliments The ship did not sink or break down. We made it to all our ports on schedule. Butter, butter, who’s got the butter? It was a challenge getting butter at the Lido buffet. Sometimes there would be the grease and chemical concoction known as margarine available. I did speak with the head Lido chef about this, and to his credit the situation did improve after that. Dinning room “entertainment” – I remembered this after I booked and almost cancelled because of it. I resolved to just leave the dining room when it started. It got very tiresome being rushed through 4 courses in an hour and 15 minutes so service could be stopped for the ‘show’. Fortunately the practice of dancing on the food service areas stopped after the CDC boarded. The ports were outstanding. You can check my BLOG/review for details. The outbreak of the norovirus on the transatlantic was handled OK. The 3rd day of the outbreak, the largest ever reported on a cruise ship, John Heald started making daily announcements on the PA system that it wasn’t that bad. The crew did an excellent job of cleaning and I appreciate their efforts. I do not understand why the beverage and continental breakfast areas remained self-serve; it negated all the extra work of the servers in the buffet area. Smoking areas were limited on this ship. The aft, quiet pool is entirely non-smoking. I didn’t use the casino, but it reeked of cigarette smoke from when passing by. Ashtrays are hard to come by; they are not put out on tables, even in smoking areas. One morning at the Lido buffet fried egg station, Hong told me he would not make scrambled eggs for me, that I had to go to the other line and eat the pre-made scrambled eggs. I tried those eggs one morning, and they are made from powdered eggs. Horrible. I had him make me a plain omelet instead. I did go to the purser’s desk, which spoke with the Lido chef. The request was not denied again. I’m not a ‘pool person’ but for those of you that are, the pools are very small. I’ve seen bathtubs on crib’s that were bigger. Disembarkation We docked in Ft. Lauderdale at about 5:30 AM. Customs required that the entire crew be cleared before any passengers. That made me wonder what Carnival had done to anger the customs officials. I’ve never seen this before. They began letting passengers off about 9:15. My color was called at 11:30 AM. I made it through the herds and danced off the ship at 12:30 PM. Final Thought Overall, I loved the ports but hated the ship. That’s what I put on my comment cards. It’s highly unlikely I’ll recommend Carnival or sail with Carnival in the future. My vacation time is just too valuable to risk it.    

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Oct 21, 2006

Western Mediterranean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Mediterranean Jerry Atkinson This was our 14th cruise and our 4th cruise with Carnival returning after 8 years to see if was still a Fun Ship. It didn’t meet expectations in this regard. Though John, the Cruise Director, brought tears to my eyes through his humor and the antics of the passengers he brought on stage, it was soon realized that this was all a preplanned

setup. That Willie Banger and Anneta Banger were not their real names and that it was not a coincidence that the first two prize winners did not respond when their names were called. Arriving on time in Rome, we spent an hour watching the baggage handlers throw the Carnival passenger’s bags in the back of the transfer trucks before our shuttle was scheduled to leave for the port. On arrival to the ship we found that we would not have access to our cabin for 2.5 hours. After arrival in our cabin our 4 bags arrived 1 bag each hour with the usual damage. We didn’t see our cabin steward for hours. We had become accustomed to meeting our cabin steward early on to obtain their names and discuss features of the cabin and individual requests that we might have. One request was made 3 times without satisfaction. It appeared that the cabin duties were handled by more than the cabin steward, his duties being the bed and towel animals. Our cabin was midship on the main deck. During our first few nights we realized that being under the galley resulted in noises from the night crew during the early AM hours. Later in the cruise the window area required repair and the shower height adjustment failed. These were taken care of immediately by Julia, our deck maintenance supervisor. The ship takes some time to navigate. You can not pass through the length of the ship on decks 3 and 4 which contain the dining rooms and other services such as purser and tour desk. Some areas can be entirely missed. Fortunately we were within steps of the stairway to our dining room and the elevator that would take us to the Lido deck. The dinner offerings were better than expectations with a good variety of menu items that changed each evening and alternate choices that remained the same. The bread was the best of all, soft and tasteful. Table service attentiveness was superior. Emile’s on the Lido deck offered 4 buffet lines, an oriental and deli window. Farther aft was a grill with burgers and a pizza counter. On the deck above was located the Fish and Chips service. Also soft serve ice cream was provided. The disappointment was that at 6 PM all food service with the exception of the deli and pizza ceased operation. Another failure was that on our last day to leave the ship at 5:45 AM the Lido deck buffet service did not begin until 5:30 AM. Only breakfast cereals, juice and coffee were available. The entertainment was uneven. The production shows were performed well but the sound was at a high level, the music overwhelming the singers voices. Their were two male singers that performed once and were never seen again. One had just joined the ship that day in Venice. Word was that the production dancers and singers had finalized their contracts and left the ship. The entertainment tailed off as the cruise ended. The last 4 nights contained the passenger talent show, a passenger performed legends show (Elvis, Madonna, etc.), a has been violinist with a bad attitude where the audience left before the show ended and no final night entertainment. John, the Cruise Director was never seen again, only his voice over the PA system. As to John he could be hilarious but failed to pass on information to assist passengers such as that the public transportation system would not run on the Sunday we would be in Messina, Sicily. He will be the Cruise Director on the new Carnival Freedom in 2007. It was if the cruise was ending and though they said that the ship was our home for the 12 day cruise the experience did not last the full 12 days. The entertainment dissolved and the dining experience was shut down. The crew was making ready for the next group of passengers before we left the ship, shining the brass and chrome and being sure that we would be off the ship by 8:30 AM.    

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Jul 30, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Terry Richards 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.    

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Jul 5, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Thomas Trunzo This was the 3rd cruise for my wife and I and the first in about 20 years. I am a high school principal and she is a township supervisor/secretary/treasurer from Pennsylvania so we are just ordinary folks that save up for trips and hope to get our money’s worth. We expect things to be very nice but also understand that no trip is going to please

everyone. So hopefully that gives you a little perspective on us and will help you understand where we are coming from with this review. Recently I became an independent travel agent with GTI (Global Travel International) out of Maitland, FL and decided to book some family trips before to see if I made a good choice. Actually I was very pleased with the assistance I got from GTI and of course, I made commissions by booking this trip, tax write off also but that is another story. We decided to book everything including airfare with Carnival. Going to Europe we did not want to take the chance of flight delays and miss the ship. So Carnival had us flying Air Canada from Pittsburgh to Toronto to Rome. This was OK but I was unable to do any of my boarding passes online and when we got to Toronto we had to do some extra paperwork because our names were messed up in the computer. There were a number of couples that had the same flight documentation and had the same problems. It was minor but still a little inconvenience. The Toronto airport is under construction that made things a little hectic but that is not Carnival’s fault. The flight was very good and we enjoyed the airlines, decent food and they treated us well. We left on Tuesday, July 5 to arrive in Rome the next day for our Embarkation. Wednesday, July 5 – Thursday, July 6 – Flight Arrival/Embarkation I was very pleased with the amount of Carnival Representatives at the airport in Rome. Once we got to the luggage claim area we gathered our suitcases and were instructed to pile them in a certain area along with the other Carnival passengers and wait. Eventually various Carnival Reps took groups at a time to the busses to head toward the ship. We had previously signed up for the Rome at a Glance tour and were instructed to go to a specific area. We had faxed in the Pre-Tour information but it did not really seem to matter because they never looked at that paperwork (possibly it was just to give them a count). The tour itself was as advertised and we did get to see what was advertised but the majority of the sites were just seen from the bus (the Coliseum, Circus Maximus, etc). Since it was not crowded in Rome that day they did take us past St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican, which was not actually included on this tour. First Mistake: I should have booked a 2-day pre or post package to spend some time in Rome. I had hoped to take a full tour but my flight times did not allow it and when I finally got my flight times all the pre/post packages that Carnival offered were booked (there is a limit). I would recommend the extra days and expense to make your trip complete. Upon conclusion of the tour we were taken to the Liberty. With Fun Passes in hand we were promptly signed in/registered given our ID Cards and boarded. Very smooth and painless. Our luggage was not yet at our cabin so we toured the ship. It was big and we felt very impressive. We went to the Discover Europe Talk and was introduced to our Cruise Director John. Very personable, funny and quite a salesman. He did provide a lot of information but it is evident and was so throughout the cruise that they are out to make money (but it is a business). We did take his advice and when we got back to our cabin (our luggage was there) we ordered the Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii tour using the interactive TV system. This was quick and simple and really efficient. We received our tickets later that evening. We then had to go through the mandatory life-preserver drill. At that point, somewhat exhausted, we showered and went to supper (dress code was waived for the first evening due to the fact that we were delayed in our departure due to a flight problem, it was a Carnival arranged flight so we did wait for the people). On cruises long ago pop/soda was free but no longer. At dinner, anything other than water and coffee went to the bar bill. You can buy a Fountain Fun Card for $5.50 a day which is a good deal if you plan on having more than 3 drinks a day since a pop is $2.00 a shot (this includes the automatic 15% gratuity that Carnival applies to all drinks). This upset me at first but really wasn’t a big deal once I did some calculations and figured I would be tipping the waiters/waitresses every time anyhow. Since the service and hospitality of the entire crew throughout the time we were on the ship was excellent I did not mind tipping these people. Food was fine although other people we met throughout the cruise felt it was not up to the standard of some of the other more expensive cruise lines (which might be because of the price). My wife and I thought the food & service throughout the 12 days was very good – maybe we aren’t picky enough. Time for bed and the pillows & bed were wonderful (great sleeping throughout the cruise)! No alarm clocks so bring your own to back up your wakeup calls and just for convenience. Friday, July 6 – Naples Tour: Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii Got our wakeup call, showered and hit the Breakfast Buffet on the Lido Deck (same deck we stayed on – very convenient and would do that again). Food was fine, I am always happy with omelets made to order. Started the tour by going to the Venetian Palace Showroom, which is where you grouped up for your tour – pretty efficient I thought. It was an expensive tour but well run. The boat ride to Capri was very nice (weather was great) and the tour was good. Left there and went to Sorrento and had a wonderful lunch which was included with the tour price (then the rains came). The weather pretty much limited us in Sorrento but nobody’s fault. We boarded the bus and by the time we got to Pompeii the rains had stopped. We went to the cameo factory and then to the ruins. Very interesting. We did find our quickly that toilettes (water closets, bathrooms) can be difficult to find and you need to have some spare Euro’s because it will cost anywhere from 2 to 3 to use the facilities. This was pretty common throughout the cruise so be prepared. We came back after a long day, prepared for dinner and attended the show for the evening. It was good. Most of the entertainment was OK, not outstanding but not bad, depends on your taste so I will not spend a lot of time on my thoughts. Spent some time at the Piano Man Bar for some relaxing, late night fun. Saturday, July 7 – Day at Sea Slept until 10:00 and hit the buffet for breakfast. Went to the travel talk and then to spend sometime on the deck. It was crowded but relaxing. Signed up and used the Internet Café for awhile, costs are not too bad and I did not have trouble connecting, it is a little slower than what I am used to but it should be expected. Stopped at the pursers and picked up stamps to mail some postcards ($1.00 a card) and quarters to do some laundry. We walked the decks checking out the backgrounds for pictures and decided which ones we wanted to use. It was the first formal night so we got ready and had time to get the pictures taken before dinner. That worked out well. We attended the Pre-Dinner Cocktail Party – the complimentary drinks and snacks were fine, just did not want to spoil my appetite. Dinner was good (lobster/prime rib, etc.) and a tux was not necessary. There were some but 10% might be it (actually some of the dress I saw I would not consider formal). Big Band Show and then to bed. Sunday, July 8 – Dubrovnik, Croatia No Tour Took the transfer to Dubrovnik, 10 Euro Roundtrip (easy way to do it), no tour booked. We were told we would need Kuna, which is the currency of Croatia but everywhere we went they took Euros. Very interesting place, it was hot so we spent 4-5 hours touring on our own, walked the wall, not a bad thing to do but was hot. Definitely a port worth seeing. Most people toured on their own and did not seem to have any trouble, some found a beach, others took taxi tours so there are things to do, just need to decide what you want to do. Good thing to research. Shuttled back to the ship, hit the Aft deck for cheeseburgers/hot dogs & ice cream then used the pool & hot tub. Relaxed and took an afternoon nap on deck. That night we had a real good meal and show. Dinner was not crowded because it seemed like everyone was up on the Lido Deck watching the World Cup finals on the big screen. Monday, July 9 – Tuesday, July 10 – Venice No Tour Dining Room Breakfast, it was OK – we were served but will use the buffet the rest of the cruise. Washed some clothes and relaxed as we waited to pull into Venice. Everyone seems to be on deck to watch the entry and it is neat to see. Once we got into port the entire boat must have gone to eat and the buffet lines were pretty long. It was explained to us how to be transported into Venice. You need to take the Vaporetto (water taxi). It was a 10-15 minute walk to the Roma Pl station in which you can buy a 24 hour pass which is nice because then you can use it the next day also, it is not just a 1 day pass. There is a $5 bus from the ship if you do not feel you can make the walk. The confusing thing is that there is a station to pick up a Vaporetto close to the ship but you cannot get 24 hour passes plus we had trouble figuring out how to return there if it is even possible. Even though it was hot the walk and the 24 hour pass was the route to go. I had booked an evening Gondola ride through www.viator.com since it was half the price of the Carnival tour and I went to confirm it. Not knowing Venice it was a little further than I first thought and in reality once we got there it was not necessary to confirm so I wasted some of my afternoon doing that. We then decided to explore the other side of Venice (instead of the most popular spot – St. Marco Square). We were previously warned not to buy from the street vendors – it is legal for them to sell things but illegal to buy them. The maps are not very good, after running around Monday, it was easy to navigate on Tuesday. Sightseeing was good and then we stopped and ate at an outside café before we went on our Gondola ride. Even though there were 6 in a gondola and a convoy of gondolas with one singer, it was great. We enjoyed this and would do it again. You can just go without prearranging a ride and probably get one but costs vary so it depends on what type of risk taker you are. Returned to St. Marco Square, got some ice cream and went to the top of the tower, nice view. Other main sites St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace were closed. Went back to the ship, a little confusing as to which Vaporetto to get on since they are similar to bus lines or undergrounds and you need to check the map routes. It seemed that #82 had less stops so it may be the way to go. Hit the Lido Deck for wings, etc and a late night snack. Took the Vaporetto back to Venice and went to St. Marco Square. The line for St. Marks Basilica was long so we skipped it and went to the Doge’s Palace. It was excellent. They offer a ticket to all 11 museums but unless you plan on hitting 4 or 5 of them it isn’t worth it. The remainder of the day we just did some sightseeing and shopping. The further you get from St. Marco Square the better the prices are for most things. We bought some masks and other souvenirs. Went back to the ship, had lunch and relaxed in the pool & on the deck. The Broadway Show was really good and we ended up at the Piano Bar again. If I did it again, I would hit St. Marks Basilica on Monday, take a gondola ride Monday evening and do Doges Palce & sightsee most of the day Tuesday. Live and learn! Wednesday, July 12 – Day at Sea These are good – slept in, bought opals for my wife, shore excursion talk, went to an Art Auction (just wanted to experience one), did some line dancing and relaxed poolside. Did some laundry, relaxed some more, ate dinner and went to the show. Comedian left a lot to be desired. Got a good night’s rest and was ready to go. Thursday, July 13 – Messina Tour: Taormina/Mt. Etna Another long tour – Taormina and Mt. Etna. There is a lot of bussing on this tour and actually was not one of my favorite days. The Greek Theater was OK to see as was Taormina but not exactly real exciting to my taste. The lunch was very good again on the way to Mt. Etna and once we got to the volcano we were running late and so we did not have a lot of time to explore. Not that there was that much to see unless you had the time to go to the top of Mt. Etna. We were halfway up only. Not terrible but I would either go on a tour that went the whole way up to the top or find an alternative I think. Normal routine – showered, dinner and show. Friday, July 14 – Day at Sea My wife and I got up early to watch the sunrise. We liked that and it was definitely not crowded on deck at that time of the morning. Total day of relaxation and another formal night. There are plenty of things to do these days and evenings – Spa, Golf Lessons, Casino, Contests, Dancing (all types), Bars, etc. We just prefer some days of doing nothing. Saturday, July 15 – Barcelona Tour: Monserrat by Rail Normal routine for a tour day. Breakfast on the Lido Deck, prepare for the tour. We decided to do the Monserrat by Rail tour and then Barcelona on our own. There were other options but the only thing we missed was the Sagrada Church and it is supposedly very nice. We did enjoy Monserrat, the home of Franciscan Monks and the Black Madonna. You need to check out the tour explanations and decide what is best for you. When we came back we walked La Rambla which is interesting with the living statues and the vendors. Walk far enough and you can go to the Hard Rock Café, if you are interested. Back to the ship and our nightly routine. Shower, dinner and show. Sunday, July 16 – Cannes Tour: Monaco/Monte Carlo Took the tenders into Cannes – just a boat that comes out to the ship to transport you in to Cannes. No big deal. Basically another day of sightseeing. Interesting places – a lot of history & money in both places and of course another great lunch. The tour lunches were wonderful. Went to the casino in Monte Carlo, lost a few Euros but we are not big gamblers. Next time I might just hit a beach. Dinner and skipped the show (Magician). It started to sink in that the trip was almost over. Monday, July 17 – Livorno Tour: Pisa/Florence Another tour with a lot of bus time but two places you want to see. Pisa was fun to see with the Leaning Tower and the Cathedrals. We should have gotten our entrance tickets from the tour guide, skipped her historical lesson (which was much too long), and gone on our own. We would have accomplished more that way. The prices for souvenirs in Pisa are probably the best and we did not have enough time to really look at them. We bought things but were rushed. When we got back to the bus to go to Florence a couple of passengers were not there. We waited and then started to pull out and saw them coming. We waited some more and finally took off. We encountered an accident on the way to Florence (might have missed it if everyone had been on time) and were stuck for almost an hour. Of course, this threw off everything. Lunch was later but very good but we had a limited time to explore Florence. What we saw was excellent. Back to the ship, last night of dinner, packed for debarkation, set out our luggage and went to the Piano Bar to say goodbye to friends we had made on the cruise. Debarkation instructions were explained thoroughly and the end was near. Tuesday, July 18 – Debarkation Breakfast buffet and waited to be called for debarkation. Our luggage was in a holding area, we found it, loaded it on the bus and headed to the airport. Our flight was delayed and we were a little concerned about our connecting flight in Canada. It worked our for us but not for some others who were headed to California. My daughter picked us up in Pittsburgh and we made it home safe and sound. Summary – Overall Thought: I have heard some people feel Carnival is too relaxed and not fancy enough but for my wife and I it was fine. I mentioned anything that I felt was annoying but I would not hesitate to use them again. I hope to go to Alaska in 2 years and I will consider Carnival as one of my choices. The flight arrangements were the worse part of the trip. The security procedures were excellent. Getting on and off the boat your identity was constantly checked in an unobtrusive manner and you were treated well. I did realize to buy a big bottle of water eventually, about $4.00 and then continually refill it from the buffet to take on the tours. This saved a few bucks and was very convenient; although when you spend this much on a trip buying a few bottles of water isn’t a big concern. Plan on spending an extra $100/$150 a day per person. This includes tours, gratuities, drinks, etc. If you are a gambler you may spend more. We are pretty frugal and thrifty and spent this easily. The cruise was great but I could have easily spent 2-3 days at each place we visited which is normally the case when you opt to go on a cruise. It was a great way to get a real taste of Europe and I recommend it to anyone. Just do some research and determine what you want to accomplish and you should be very pleased with the outcome. Like I said I joined GTI and made commissions by booking my own trip – if interested in booking a trip or viewing trip options visit my site at topsail.globaltravel.com or if you are interested in finding out more about becoming an independent travel agent email me at topsailtravel@comcast.net and I can maybe start you on a new adventure of your own!    

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May 18, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Carribean Pat Silverman My husband and I cruised the Mediterranean on the Carnival Liberty at the end of May. We chose this cruise for the Itinerary and the price. We wanted to see Italy and this itinerary was perfect. At each port we had booked an excursion…sometimes more than one a day. We came to see the country and that’s what we did. Since I had researched this

trip online at www.carnival.com, the majority of our excursions were pre-booked. Our tickets were delivered to our stateroom which eliminated the need to stand in line at the excursion desk. However, it is a good idea to attend the port talks given by the cruise director, even if you have booked in advance. Our cruise director, John, gave excellent advice on all of the ports of call. Speaking of John, he was fantastic. He was funny and engaging. He had a great program of nightly entertainment put together for after dinner fun. We never laughed so hard as when we were in the Venetian Palace theatre. We booked an inside cabin for this cruise. Our philosophy is to splurge on the activities on the vacation rather than the accommodations onboard the ship. Everyone has equal access to all the common areas of the ship. If you are only using the cabin to sleep and change clothes…why spend the extra money for a window? If you want to see what’s going on outside, either turn on the TV and look at the “bridge cam” or take a walk to one of the common areas, or out on the deck. That being said, our beds were configured side by side into a king and were very comfortable with 2 pillows per person. The storage space was quite adequate. Hint: slip your empty suitcases under bed for more room. The bathroom was roomy with the nice touch of having shampoo and body wash dispensers inside the shower. Now for the gripes about this ship. First off, we, and many people we spoke with had the same problem, having difficulty finding our way around the ship. Our cabin was located mid-ship, our dining room, the Silver Olympian, was located at the back of the ship and the Venetian Palace was located at the front of the ship. In order to get from one place to the other, we were required to go up 2 decks, go over to either the front or back of the ship, and then go down 1 deck to the entrance of the room you were attending. Make sure you pick up a map of this ship and keep it with you at all times. It would have been nice if this map was provided in the cabin. It was only after seeing another passenger with a map that we even knew that they were available. Oh, there are maps at the elevator banks, but beware, some elevators do not go to all decks! The décor of this ship was annoying. There was every color of the rainbow lumped together in many of the common areas. I mean gaudy in a bad sense! The signage used about the ship was extremely difficult to read. The letters in the signs were made up of tiny light bulbs that changed colors while you were trying to read them. It took me a little while to realize that the triangles in the signs were arrows indicating that you had to proceed up or down one deck to locate the room you were looking for. Don’t even get me started on the common restrooms. There was one ladies room where I had to open 3, count them, 3 doors, before I even got into the restroom. That did not include the door on the stall. The common ladies room situated just outside the Silver Olympian dining room was another design flaw of this ship. (You can tell there were no women consulted on the design of this ship. LOL) Upon entering the ladies room the automatic hand dryer greets you with a puff of hot air because it is situated too close to the entryway. If someone else is finished and trying to exit, I hope she’s the friendly type, because you will be brushing up against each other making body contact as you try to eek past each other. By all means, do not wear your form fitting dress and the highest heels you own because you will have to either straddle the bowl or jump on top of it to close the door in the stall. There is not enough clearance to stand in front of the bowl and swing the door. The doors swing into the stall!! I’m still trying to figure out the décor in the Silver Olympian dining room. What were those blue lights supposed to be? I figured out that the silver trappings along the walls and ceilings were gigantic silverware handles. I felt like I was Alice in Wonderland at times. The Promenade deck was gaudy and we had to pass the smoky casino each time we went to dinner. The black wrought iron chandeliers had lights that changed colors every few seconds. And didn’t they ever wash the windows from the outside while we were in port? The only saving grace of the Promenade was the Sushi bar which was complimentary and open before dinner. Could someone please tell me why Sushi is complementary and there is a charge for popcorn on the Lido deck by the pool? I was charged $1.00 plus the 15% gratuity for a quart sized bag of popcorn!!! Shameful! Petty! But I could walk a few feet and get a hamburger and fries covered on the meal plan. If you want to do a quick check on your e-mail while onboard…..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.    

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Feb 18, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Susan Rogers After not having cruised on a week long cruise on Carnival in many years, the Liberty's interesting itinerary enticed us to give Carnival another try. Although the overall experience was acceptable, I do not think that we will be going back on Carnival anytime soon. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly: The Good: Embarkation, pool area, friendliness

of crew. The Bad: Overcrowding, dinner service, beach/pool towels, dining room design. The Ugly: Deck chair situation Embarkation: We live in Florida, and drove down to the port, arriving at 1pm. We immediately were greeted by a porter to unload the luggage, parked the car and were ready to go. We always book a suite, and there was a VIP entrance for suite customers. We entered that area, and were called to the desk to check in within 30 seconds. We had filled out the Fun pass prior to arriving, and spent less than 1 minute at the check-in desk before we were on our way. It was amazing. We were in our cabin less than 15 minutes after arriving at the port. It took our friends, who did not book suites, about 30 minutes to check in. Our luggage arrived within 10 minutes of entering our cabin. The the northeast schools, and the ship was loaded beyond capacity with families with children, who often ran wild in the corridors during all hours of the day and night. The dining room design as awful, with a narrow upper dining room that felt very crowded. The main pool area had a drive-in movie type screen that soared above the pool, and played movies, CNN, etc. all day and evening. The casino was large and very Smokey, but had enough tables and slots to satisfy everyone. The slots were the tightest I have ever seen on a cruise ship. I can count on one hand the number of big winners for the week. People became very frustrated with the slots and stopped playing mid-week. The decor was gaudy, to say the least. Elegance was definitely not a priority on this ship. Cabin: We booked a Category 11 cabin on deck 7. The cabin was smaller than I expected, having spent our last 5 cruises on Holland America, whose suites are unbelievable. Our cabin had a wood floor entrance, marble bath with a Jacuzzi and double sinks, dressing area, balcony area with 2 windows and French door and ample balcony furniture. The cabin was decorated nicely with crown moldings, a leather sofa, one TV and a very comfortable bed. There was more than ample closet space for 2 passengers. The bathroom was well designed, with the usual bizarre Carnival samples in a tray upon arrival. The showers had shampoo and soap dispensers in the wall that were always full. The bath towels were plentiful and thick. On the negative side, there was only one phone in the room, and that was across the room from the bed on the desk. Bedside phones need to be added. Food: The meals were so-so. Dinner in the dining room was OK, nothing great. The desserts were mostly bland. Our dining room service was horrendous, with most tables ordering dessert prior to us getting our salad. Our waiter disappeared half-way through the cruise, and no one would tell us what happened to him. We then had a hodge-podge of fill-ins, until the last evening, when he appeared again. Very strange. Each person at the table was given one dinner roll, and then the basket was taken away, never to return. We were encouraged NOT to order more than one entree or appetizer by our waiter. If we did, he told us that it would only be served IF we finished our first appetizer or entree. We felt like children. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet was average, but the grill with burgers, the Chinese food station and the deli station were very good and worth the wait (and sometimes the wait was 45 minutes.) The pizza was good, and available 24 hours a day. Room service was very limited, but promply delivered. We attemped to make reservations at the specialty restaurant on the second day, but it was already sold out for the week. Towel/Deck Chair Situation: Horrible. Each stateroom was given two beach towels that were to be used daily. There were limited or no towels available on the deck. The deck chair situation was almost comical. IF YOU DID NOT GET A DECK CHAIR BY 7AM ON A SEA DAY, YOU DID NOT GET ONE. People were getting up a 5am to reserve chairs. There were near fights over deck chairs. In all my cruises, I never experienced anything like this in my life. People were lying HORIZONTALLY across chairs to save them. It was just ridiculous. With 4 full sea days on this cruise, chair saving got to be comical. It was awful. Port 1 - Costa Maya. We were supposed to go the Cozumel, but because of hurricane damage, we went to Costa Maya. Have been there 3 times before, and you can walk the entire village in about 10 minutes. Neat and clean and safe. Best deals on jewelry at Diamonds International - better than Cozumel or St. Thomas. Did not do an excursion this time - just shopped and ate at one of the small cafes. Most of the excursions take you to a beach, but is usually about an hour bus ride to get there. We actually got to lay by the pool on the ship in peace while everyone else got off the ship. When everyone else started to come back on, we got off. It was perfect timing. Costa Rica: White water rafting was FABULOUS. Had never done it before, and were nervous, but we loved it. River water was cold, but guides were great and we had a ball. Would highly recommend to anyone! Panama: Very poor, and I did not feel safe there. If you are going off the ship, take a ship tour. Do not go off by yourself. We took the Grand Tour to the Panama Canal, and toured the locks, etc. It was interesting. The rest of the tour was a waste of time. It included being dropped off at a hotel gift shop for an hour, visiting an Indian tribe, who sold homemade trinkets (boxes under the table said Made in Taiwan) and a boat ride to look at monkeys. It was then back to the hotel gift shop for another 1/2 hour. I would have been happy to see the Canal and come back to the ship. No shopping to speak of, and pier front was full of kids begging and questionable characters. We saw the Canal, and probably will never go back. Debarkation: Began at 6:30am for people will to carry off their own luggage. Started with the colored tags at about 8, and we went off prior to our color being called with no problem. Customs was a breeze. We were off the ship by 9:20am and back home by noon. Conclusion: My husband and I go on a cruise with 3 other couples every Feb. and leave the kids home. We take a cruise with our 14 year old son every June. This cruise would have been perfect for him, but it was not for us. We have cruised NCL, RCCL, Princess, Holland America, etc., and this ship did not meet our expectations. It was too crowded (3300 plus passengers) and too impersonal. I expect certain amenities when booking a suite, and outside of the priority embarkation, none existed. I think this cruise would be OK for families with children, because it appears that all the kids and teenagers had a ball. Our weather was PERFECT, so I cannot complain about that. Overall, if asked to rate the ship, I would give it a B- or a C+. It was always clean and tidy, and the crew was helpful and friendly, but it is definitely geared towards families, and not couples. We are taking our son on RCCL Mariner in June, and I am expecting a better experence.  

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By John_CR

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Feb 12, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean John Sailed on the Carnival Liberty to the Western Caribbean on February 12. There were 14 of us and we had seven cabins. This was my 12th cruise and it was the first cruise for about ½ of our group. All of the first time cruises loved the ship and the cruising experience. The Liberty is a beautiful ship. The interior design is nice and uses lots of color;

although, I felt some of the interior spaces and passageways were a little dark. The cabins were standard for a modern cruise ship. Nothing special, but certainly comfortable and sufficient. I liked Carnival’s new bedding. The cabin safes are locked and unlocked with your Sign & Sail card. This worked fine, except that the exact same card that locks the safe must be used to open it. We had one of the best cabin stewards we have ever had. He was very friendly and the cabin was always clean. The exercise area was large and had plenty of equipment. It was always busy. The pool area was nice with lots of lounges. There were lots of other areas to find loungers if you did not want to be by the pool. The music/speakers by the pool are too loud. Heard other passengers complaining of this also. Do not know why they are so loud. It was really very irritating. The show lounge is large and adequate. The entertainment was standard for a cruise ship. One outstanding staff member was the cruise director John. He was the funniest and most entertaining cruise director I have ever seen. He did an excellent job. The dining rooms are your standard ship dining rooms. Our waiter and assistant waiter were some of the poorest we have had. Our water glasses were often allowed to run dry and it was difficult to get an additional roll/bread. I have had much better service on other cruise lines. I thought the dinning room food was pretty much what you would expect. Nothing great but not bad either. The buffet food was also adequate, and like others have said, the fish and chips are pretty good. Do yourself a favor and find the fish and chips on the 2nd story of the buffet area. Did not use the casino or bars, so can not comment on them. The internet connections on the ship work fine and are fast, but I thought the charges were too high. Although some of the crew members did an excellent job and were very friendly, others were clearly only doing their job and did not go out of their way to be of service. However, as my wife and I discussed it, this could be a response to the way they are treated. On past cruises we have always seen a few guests who treat the staff poorly and are rude to them. However, on this cruise, there were many more guests who treated the staff poorly. I am not sure if the staff was responding to the passengers or if the passengers were responding to the staff, but either way it was very noticeable and service was lacking. Visited Freeport, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. Freeport was okay, just did a little shopping. When we were in Grand Cayman there were six ships in port. This made for a very crowded island. We did the stingray sandbar tour which was excellent. I was a little disappointed when I found out we were going to Jamaica. I was last there six years ago and was not excited to go back. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Jamaica this time. They have cleaned up the island and built several nice shopping areas. There were also police everywhere and very visible. You get the feeling that they understand the importance of tourism and are trying to do what they can to make Jamaica a safe and enjoyable place to visit. One unusual aspect of this cruise was that on the second night a passenger became gravely ill and needed immediate medical care. The captain came of the P.A. system about 11:30 at night and said that the passenger would be airlifted off the ship by a Coast Guard helicopter. Around midnight a Coast Guard helicopter arrived at the ship. He circled the ship a few times and then began hovering over the aft and port side of the ship. Between the speed of the ship and the winds that were blowing, the wind across the deck must have been 30 to 40 mph. A Guardsman was lowered down and then a stretcher was lowered down. The helicopter then continued to circle the ship while the patient was loaded into the stretcher. The helicopter then returned to its position hovering over the ship. A basket was lowered down and a nurse was picked up that would accompany the passenger. Next the stretcher was picked up and raised into the helicopter. Finally the Guardsman was lifted back aboard the helicopter. The helicopter then transported the patient to Miami. I must say that I was very impressed with the skill and bravery of the Guardsmen to pick up a patient from a moving ship in the black of night with such high winds. Overall it was a good cruise and Carnival is doing a good job. I think however that Carnival is not the cruise line for us and we will be going on Princess and/or Celebrity in the future.  

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Jan 29, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Vincent Finelli The Liberty joins the Conquest Class of Carnival's Fleet of 21 ships. She is the first Carnival ship to cruise the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. From July to October 2005 the Liberty sailed out of Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy offering eight twelve day round trip cruises to Naples, Messina, Venice, and Livorno, Italy; it also sailed east to Dubrovnik,

Croatia and west to Cannes, France and Barcelona, Spain. From these ports of call passengers were offered over 80 different excursions to famous destinations such as Capri, Venice, Pisa, Florence and even Monte Carlo, Monaco. This was the Liberty's maiden cruise itinerary, which Carnival augmented with pre or post cruise packages of one to three additional days in Rome. This is very attractive since Rome, the Eternal City, should never be a one day trip! We know this for sure after living in Rome, while on sabbatical in 1981. We found the academic year (9 months) not sufficient for the many beautiful attractions of Bella Roma. Three extra days will at least provide an overview of the grandeur that is Rome. Significantly, on October 12, 2005 (Columbus Day), the Liberty made its first transatlantic crossing and began it inaugural season in the Caribbean. April 2006 the Liberty will return to the Mediterranean and her European cruise itinerary. This new Carnival itinerary is an exciting one for Americans and the Liberty was designed for it. Its decor celebrates artisans and their wonderful creations. EMBARKATION With Sunday Traffic on I-95 at a minimum, Ft. Lauderdale is only twenty-five minutes from our home in Boca Raton, Florida --- an excellent place to live for "Frequent Floaters." The baggage drop off was peculiar; even though our auto was clearly marked handicapped, we were directed to the left; even though there were right side drop offs. After depositing our luggage, we had to cross over through traffic to get to the entrance. This was harrowing. Once on the other side, we were sent through the VIP entrance with the wheelchair. From here on boarding was a cinch. We were given assistance with the wheelchair after check in, and we were in our stateroom in twenty minutes. This was our third cruise on a Conquest Class ship in the past five months, so we are very familiar with its layout. Thus, our first bit of business was to change reservations from the Silver Olympian Dining Room, which was all the way aft, to the centrally located Golden Olympian Dining Room. This would make our dinners more pleasant, since the only wheelchair accessible staterooms with balconies are located all the way forward in the prow of the ship. More on these logistics later. Our reservations were easily adjusted for us by the dining room staff, we went directly to the excellent buffet. THE SHIP The Carnival Liberty, launched the summer of 2005, was christened by Mira Sorvino (Hollywood and Oscar fame). The Liberty was built at the venerable Fincantieri Shipyards in Italy. She is hull number 6,111 and is a beauty. Among the largest cruise ships in the world, she is equipped with 22 lounges and bars; a stunning 1,500 seat Venetian Palace Theater, plus a Seaside Theater for watching films and concerts under the stars (featuring a 270 sq. ft. Jumbo screen and a state of the art 70,000 watt sound system providing concert quality sound), a novelty at sea first seen on the Caribbean Princess. This cruise featured concerts by Tom Jones, Placido Domingo, and James Taylor among others. The Liberty is 952 ft. long, and 116 ft wide and weighs 110,000 tons. She has 1,487 staterooms of which 60% are ocean view and 60% of these have balconies. Capacity is 2,974 (two passengers per cabin) and a maximum of 3700. Joseph Farcus, Carnival architect, commissioned a group of artists to create pieces which celebrate "great artisans and their works." In a series of 6' X 9' aluminum panels, made specifically for the ship's central staircases, artist Calman Shemi features iron workers, sculptors, glass blowers and jewelry designers at work. Artist Virginia Ferrara created 6' X 15' tropical views of South Florida with palm trees, floral and water allusions, which were placed by the stair landings. Luciano Vistosi's colorful blown glass pieces are illuminated from the rear. Placed near the swimming pools on Deck 9 are the bronze sculptures of Susanna Holt: an Anhinga bird drying its spread out wings in the sun; Sea lions lounging; and a standing Stag and Doe. The Anhinga is very appropriate to South Florida, but we wish it had been much larger like those over the El Rio Canal in our back yard. Mr. Farcus carries out his homage to true craftsmen by exploring a particular craft in each room on board, which then is combined in the whole ship. The first expression of this is found in the Grand Villa Garden Lobby (9 decks tall) with the black wrought iron around columns and balconies in a "curlicue" pattern design. The same pattern is repeated in the 20 feet in diameter black wrought iron chandelier with torch lights which constantly change colors. The chandelier is best viewed from Deck 5 while the changing colors add ambiance. It is a tour de force of iron working! The potters' world is also displayed here with hundreds of terra cotta medallions and wall pottery jardinieres filled with lavender bougainvillea vines. The extensive use of marble and tile flooring throughout this ship make it easy going for those in wheelchairs. Deck 0 houses the Medical Center and the tender facilities. Riviera Deck 1 and Main Deck 2 are all staterooms. Lobby Deck 3 forward has the beautiful Venetian Palace Theater with two gigantic Harlequin clowns flanking the stage. Decorations include classic Venetian masks worn during carnival season. There are Murano red and gold glass tiled walls and of course, the traditional striped poles where gondolas are moored. Excellent theater, except for those seats behind several columns which contribute to passengers playing "musical chairs" in order to locate seats with a clear view of the stage. Midship are the Information & Excursion Desks, and the Lobby Bar in the Atrium. Next, there are two small Dining Rooms ---- the Persian and Satin Rooms. The Golden Olympian Restaurant is located here with three huge Venetian Murano Crystal Chandeliers with interesting lavender flowers (daffodils?). There are 16 smaller matching chandeliers on each floor of the restaurant. There is a golden balustrade circling the room and a double staircase to Deck 4. Accent lighting above the chandeliers gives a warm red glow to the room, as if it were a red and gold 18th century theater! Fine flatware are showcased in vitrines around the walls. Next, going toward aft, is the galley followed by the Conservatory Atrium (three decks tall) and then the Silver Restaurant, decorated as the Golden, only the colors match the names. Atlantic Deck 4 forward is the theater, then, toward midship is the Photo Gallery & Studio. Next is the Antiquarian Library only open two hours per day. After which is the Empress Club and the balcony of the Golden Restaurant. Aft are three highly individual rooms The Tapestry, Web and the Cabinet (this last features Cabinetry in the German Biedermeier style) and finally the second level of the Silver Olympic Restaurant. Promenade Deck 5 forward is the balcony of the theater; midship are the Fashion Boulevard Shops, Formalities and the interesting Sports Bar featuring leather gloves worn in all sorts of sports (the many red leather boxing gloves are great). There is the Origami Sushi Bar (Excellent! Serving daily from 5:30 to 8:30pm). Aft there are three more bars each unique: Hot & Cool Disco, features body art and tattoos on body parts: hands, arms and legs. There is the Paparazzi Wine Bar with a series of Leica M-3 Cameras lenses, like those used by the Paparazzi of the 1950s. The Piano Man Bar has the undulating piano keys around the ceiling of the room and modern white leather chairs. WOW! Upper Deck 6, Empress Deck 7 and Verandah Deck 8 are all staterooms. Lido Deck 9 has staterooms forward, then the Stage, Tivoli Pool, and aft Emile's Buffet Restaurant, an excellent Pizzeria (pizza made on order too) & Grille and finally the Versailles Pool and Bar with a sliding dome. Panorama Deck 10 forward has staterooms and midship the Coney Island Pool and Harry's Club, an upscale restaurant with a menu by the well known French Chef Georges Blanc. There are not enough positive adjectives to describe his contribution to the Liberty's cuisine. In Harry's (named after Harry Winston, jeweler to the rich and famous) neatly displayed in vitrines are dozens of copies of Mr. Winston's highly prized designs. Aft there is the Fish & Chips; away from the crowd, this is a nice area frequented by very few passengers. Spa Deck 11 forward has some suites and the Spa and Gym; aft is the Sports Deck and the Jogging track. Sun Deck 12 has the children's areas, the Kid's Pool and Camp Carnival. There is no Deck 13. Sky Deck 14 has the entrance to the water slide. This is a big ship with many beautiful venues and lots to do. SERVICE & FOOD Naturally, the most important person on board is the Captain because he spearheads the service on board. Captain Marco Nogara (Italy) is a very active and friendly commander. His bearing is one of an excellent host, but also one of authority. He has the appearance of just stepping off the cover of "GQ" Magazine. Hotel Director Guna Chellan (India) is very knowledgeable about the ship and her many amenities; he graciously answered all of our questions. Guest Relations Director Leslie Baland made herself available to all passengers. Her assistant Christine Budaha was a whiz at making our cruise a pleasure. When we just asked of a possibility --- it was done! Fantastic. We dined the first evening on the main floor of the Golden restaurant with wonderful service from our waiters Dan and Ivan. However, Maitre D' Suresh, in order to accommodate a large family group, requested if he could moved us to the balcony of the Golden. Must be Karma, because we now had a beautiful table for two overlooking the grand staircase and two of the nicest servers: Lady and Lucio. The dining staff Manager Branimir Plovanic (Croatia) enthusiastically told us about Monsieur Blanc's contributions to the new menus on board, and we certainly approved of the French influence and style. Magnifique! The portions and presentation were much improved. Carnival President & CEO Bob Dickinson has made a special effort to improve the level of cuisine on board, and we feel he has achieved it with the world-renowned Chef Georges Blanc, who has had for many years a three star rating by Michelin. We feel this was a great move since the Carnival Liberty spends her summers in Europe. President Dickinson has also started a new Presidential Wine Club which is for both novices and connoisseurs. It is sort of a Wine of the Month Club aimed at introducing members to various famous and new wines. Vincent believes that Carnival has an excellent wine selection. The food on board is fresh, delicately seasoned and elegantly presented. Food and service in the main dining rooms and in Emile's Buffet and elsewhere on board is very good. In this review we will give the specifics on Harry's Club, Panorama Deck 10 ($30 per person fee). This is a must do for passengers on the Liberty. We have only seen one other restaurant at sea that was as elegant as this one: The Olympic on Celebrity's Millennium, which had the original wood paneling and wine cellar from the White Star Lines Olympic (sister ship to the doomed Titanic). At Harry's we had a wonderfully special evening: wined and dined and the lovely Hostess Isabella filled us in on the fabulous Harry Winston jewelry featured in the many vitrines and pointed out the gigantic "diamond" light necklace which surrounds the room and displays huge emerald cut "yellow diamonds" as pendants. Beautiful music, delicious food and excellent cuisine, it was just perfect! There are two menus, a traditional A La Carte that Vincent enjoyed and the special "Degustation Menu" which Mary savored immensely. While the Sommelier Ciprian (Romania) and the excellent waitress Tina served us so elegantly, the eight courses from Georges Blanc's menus just kept coming. This is more of a taster's presentation: small portions of exquisitely prepared delicacies. If this is not your cup of tea, there is always the 24 oz. Porterhouse steak! Having dined in the degustation manner many times in Italy, we know it is for gourmets who really want to taste, not gorge. Here we go, the eight courses are as follows: 1. Chilled Asparagus soup. 2. Shrimp and salmon appetizers. 3. Creamy Lobster Bisque Veloute` with Brandy. 4. Succulent Chilean Sea Bass and olive cake. 5. Campari and Citrus Sorbet to cleanse the palate. 6. Chicken with Fois Gras, oyster and mushroom sauce. 7. Filet Mignon, and Beef Tartar with chilled Bernaise cream. 8. The Grand Finale, Chef's special dessert Chocolate Tartufe with fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries) with sherbet. Vincent's appetizers, sides and veal chop were also perfectly prepared and served. But, every night in the main dining rooms the food and service were also wonderful. The new Georges Blanc contribution to Carnival is a culinary triumph. It brings new food opportunities to Carnival passengers, but still maintains some classic American standbys. CABIN Stateroom #6208 is one of only two wheelchair accessible cabins with a balcony on board. All other wheelchair accessible cabins are obstructed view or inside. It is situated in the prow of the ship; even more forward than the Bridge. From our balcony we looked toward the rear above us to see the Bridge. This was most obvious when checking the Liberty Deck Plan. This cabin is as far from the elevators and ship activities as possible; needless to say it is not physically appropriate for people with limited mobility. Recently, we have cruised on three ships of this class and have decided that in the future the best way for us to cruise on these ships would be in a cabin close to the elevators, near the center, possibly a suite. This cabin has an automatic door, which is very convenient. Upon entering on the left is a single armoire and straight ahead is the huge bathroom with an oversized shower with safety rails all around. There is a single sink with a mirror, but not enough shelves for toiletries. There is a queen size bed with two night stands. On the right side is a double armoire, a personal safe, refrigerator, TV, and a lighted mirrored vanity/desk with an upholstered stool. There are two coffee tables and an upholstered arm chair. The far wall is glassed with a door that opens onto the minuscule balcony with two chairs and a table and not much room for anything else. Fortunately, Alla our wonderful stewardess removed the table, so that we could more easily utilize the balcony. The colors were red, orange and gold, the walls were decorated with two brightly colored Shemi paintings of artisans practicing their craft of printing. Alla surprised us with hand made towel animals and wonderful white puff quilts and linens with romantic maps and designs --- very chic! Thank you, Alla. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Brent Mitchell has a busy group. The main show "Wonderful World" on the first formal night was a terrific review of music and dance from around the world. The costumes were sumptuous and the featured singers Adrian Hull and Jassen Allen sparkled. The John Piazza Jr. Big Band sound is full and very enjoyable. During the cruise there were two featured entertainers, who were funny and worthy of mention: Comedienne Carol Hughes as the average house wife, and Jerry Goodspeed a clever ventriloquist. The variety of entertainment was a good mix. The "TODAY" at a glance is a list of events, times and places on a small handy tear out sheet. The "Fun Ship" lived up to its motto. DEBARKATION The procedure was made simple and painless. Friday night, we put our luggage out at 11pm with VIP tags; we were told we could debark whenever we were ready after 8:00am. We had Continental breakfast in our cabin, and at 8:30am we called down to the Guest Relations Desk and a crew member came up to help us with the wheelchair. We were off, collected our luggage, through passport check and customs in less than fifteen minutes. We had an uncomplicated ending to a lovely cruise. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. FT. Lauderdale, FL Sail Away 5:00pm Day 2. Freeport, Bahamas Arrive 7:00am Depart 3:00pm Day 3. At sea Day 4. Grand Cayman Arrive 8:00am Depart 4:30pm Day 5. Costa Maya, Mexico Port was closed due to high Seas. Day 6. At sea Day 7. FT. Lauderdale, FL Disembarkation begins at 8:00am SUGGESTIONS This was our fifth cruise on Carnival ships and every time we have returned we have found improvements. This time the upscale restaurant Harry's Club is definitely a plus in the rating of the ship. We had a wonderful cruise and we'll definitely cruise again on Carnival ships. However, the location of our stateroom was not optimal, since it was the first cabin at the bow, far from the elevators and the center of the ship which is an added problem for those of us with limited mobility. In addition we could not use the balcony much due to exposure to strong wind especially when the ship was in motion. In the future, if we book again on this class ship, it will be in a suite, since the location of wheelchair accessible cabins is inappropriate for us. We feel that Carnival, as well as Costa, have to put some effort in designing appropriate accommodations for disabled passengers in regard to comfort, location and number of wheelchair accessible cabins by emulating those lines, such as Princess and RCI, which offer more user friendly accommodation to the growing number of cruisers with limited mobility. Our next cruise will be on the Costa Mediterranea on March 5th, and since this will be our third cruise on her, we know that the only wheelchair accessible cabins on this ship are either inside or obstructed view, thus we have booked a suite. Happy Cruising!  

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Jan 21, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean P & B Hamel Traveling from Toronto, this was our fourth Carnival cruise, which we found quite deserving of a 4.5 star. Much of our comparison will be with the same class GLORY last year. The 8-day cruise to Panama was a very appealing itinerary on this new ship. Our transfer from Ft. Lauderdale Airport was held up over an hour because of apparent delay at

the ship. Despite the crowd, embarkation went reasonably well and we were on Lido deck for lunch by 2 pm. One disappoint again was being assigned a late dinner despite an early dinner request when booking last summer. The Maitre’D was unable to grant a change after a long wait. Our balcony cabin was very spacious and comfortable again, with a bar fridge so bring along some beverages. Our steward Daniella was extremely attentive. The LIBERTY is big, bold and beautiful even if some décor is not to our taste. Our dining experience throughout was remarkable. Our few breakfasts and all dinners in the Silver Olympian Dining Room were outstanding. Also impressive again was the quality and great variety of foods available at Emile’s on Lido deck. From the deli, pizza, burgs / dogs fries, fish & chips, Asian plus up to 3 alternate buffet areas. Aside from some brief waits, I can’t imagine any significant complaints regarding food on board. One disappointment – baked Alaska no longer offered. We chose not to reserve at the optional Harry’s. We found the entertainment throughout the ship to be the best yet. Most of the shows in the fabulous Venetian Palace were first rate; particularly the Vegas style ones along with an entertaining 10-piece orchestra. Poolside, Lobby and Promenade deck venues were much better than Glory offered last year. Costa Maya was a bust because of a very rainy day. Limon Costa Rica was a repeat for us so we spent time shopping on shore. Colon Panama offered some very interesting tours including the canal. We chose to arrange our own tour but beware of cons – perhaps better to be in a group for good value. We were pleased that the public address announcements and sales pitches were barely half of what we suffered through on the Glory. Also, we are pleased that smoking is getting more controlled for the benefit of majority of passengers. Debarkation was fastest ever. We chose self-assist and were able to leave around 7:30 am. However, that only increased the pain of having to wait at the airport longer. Most disappointing aspect of the trip was that Carnival chose the last of 3 Air Canada flights back to Toronto – even after my appeal. We could have easily arrived home Sunday PM – instead Monday AM. Never allow Carnival to arrange our flight again. A most inconsiderate end to our vacation. Overall this Liberty cruise was very impressive even though the weather was quite windy and rougher than normal. Staff members were friendly, informative and helpful especially Serg from Russia who located us hours after my wife lost her sunglasses. Incredible selection of quality photographers available although I can’t believe the lack of incentives to buy multiple photos.

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Jan 21, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Carribean Lisa Smith This was not a very good experience for a first time cruiser. I did not enjoy the trip and don't know if I ever want to go on another cruise. We did the 8 day trip to Panama with ports of call in Costa Maya and Costa Rica. This was indeed a big, beautiful ship. The cabin was more comfortable than I expected (outside room, no balcony) and I spent

a great deal of time there mainly to avoid the crowds. If you don't like crowds, you won't like spending a week on a ship with 3000 other passengers! There were long lines for everything and fellow passengers were unbelievably rude. We were pushed, shoved and jostled everywhere we went. We were crushed into elevators, cut off in buffet lines and nearly knocked off our feet going down the gangway at the ports of call. Deck chairs were "saved" by folks who threw a towel on a chair and expected it to be their own personal chair for the rest of the day whether they were occupying it or not. (The crew should intervene in this situation.) The food was good, but I missed dinner a few nights due to the heavy seas. The ship heaved and rolled a lot more than I would expect from a vessel of this size. Even the evening entertainment was cancelled one night because the pitching of the ship would have knocked the dancers off their feet. The entertainment varied between mediocre and downright stupid. (A Hairy Chest Competition and a bawdy version of the Newlywed Game.) The exception was The Mozart Trio who played light classical selections in the Cigar Bar and the atrium. Very enjoyable. Our room steward and dining room servers were extremely polite, helpful and attentive. Service from the staff in the public areas varied, however. Although we expected to be charged extra for beverages, gratuities, etc., we were outraged at the fees to use wireless Internet access on our laptop. At fifty cents a minute, the cost was prohibitive,especially when the connection was not especially fast. Five dollars would just about buy you time to read a couple of emails. We booked our excursions through the cruise line for each port of call. The tours were a little tedious, being cooped up on a tour bus after being cooped up on the ship. The highlight of the trip was seeing the Gatun Locks at the Panama Canal. My complaint with Carnival was that no information was supplied on the ship prior to arriving at the ports (other than the brief descriptions of the tour packages.) It would have been interesting to learn a little about each place before we visited there. With the big movie screen up on the Lido Deck, why didn't they show some kind of documentaries about the Panama Canal and other places we visited? If they can find time for Bingo and Trivia, why can't they offer some mini sessions or even some reading material about the ports of call? Even some documentaries on the closed circuit television in our cabins would have been enjoyable. Although the ship itself was spacious and comfortable, a week at sea is simply boring. If you don't enjoy the "Vegas" atmosphere and don't care for crowds, then this kind of cruise probably isn't a good choice for a vacation.  

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By Andy_CR

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Jan 15, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Andy We returned home from a cruise on the Liberty 01-21-06 and our experience was such that I must write. Having been on 4 other Carnival cruises this was by far the most disappointing vacation we have ever taken. The problems we encountered are. Not enough open deck space to accommodate the passenger load. All available deck chairs taken by 10:00 AM most

with just towels or shoes on them to hold for later use. Dining room dress code was nowhere near being enforced. Shorts and sandals at dinner? Jeans and T-shirts for formal night? This really took the ambiance we were used to on other Carnival cruises to very low level. Our tour in Grand Cayman was quite an unpleasant experience. We took the beach club tour and were met with poor facilities and rude staff. We left quite early and took a cab back to town to do some shopping but were met with a sea of people. Where is the wisdom in choosing a port of call that 4 other ships are using the same day? Freeport was as the Bahamas can only be. My only complaint there was the cab ride but feel the Bahamas should be dropped by Carnival on any 6 or more day cruise. Costa Maya held the most promise but due to adverse weather we were forced to return from our tour early and I in no way fault Carnival or the ships captain for that and we were reimbursed for the tour plus $25.00 each and we appreciate that. Entertainment was another disappointment. A guest talent show for evening entertainment is not my idea of a “Vegas style show” One midnight comedian and one PG comedian the next night by the same performer. Where did the midnight comedians go? Where did the midnight buffets go? Yes there was one but nothing like cruises past. Where did the singing and dancing dining room staff go? What about the different country theme night? I have always recommended Carnival Cruise Lines in the past but will be hesitant to do so again and will defiantly not suggest any cruise on a Mega Ship as the personal cruise experience is gone.  

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Jan 15, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Emily Gregg To Whom It May Concern: I just returned from sailing on your ship, The Liberty. Overall, I was not impressed with the trip and would like to explain to you the disappointments I had. #1 – The odor in the hallways. Each day a different section of the hallway would have a very strong odor of raw sewage. This smell was literally nauseating

and unavoidable. There really didn’t appear to be a way around it, no matter which path we took to our stateroom each day, we encountered this horrid smell. #2 – The room steward. I have previously sailed with Carnival and was under the impression that the steward was to introduce themselves and become familiar with their guests. By the end of the trip, I never knew who our room steward was. The only interaction we had was the several times that some type of staff walked into our room while we were in there. They would knock slightly and then just enter without waiting for an answer. #3 – Hot & Cool Club accident. One evening while in this bar a woman was cut on her foot. There was a very large amount of blood covering a large area of the floor as she walked out of the club to get help. This appeared to be a huge health hazard, yet the club was left open and the cleanup did not appear to be sufficient, especially since many of the guests were dancing barefoot on the same floor that had been covered in her blood. #4 – The boat movement. As I mentioned before, I had sailed with Carnival previously and barely noticed boat movement. This trip, I can’t recall a time when I couldn’t feel the boat moving dramatically. It felt like we came into contact with something more than once. Our cabin was terrible, always shaking heavily and rolling quite a bit. Motion sickness, which has never been a problem for me, was a constant struggle. We avoided our room constantly and couldn’t do much other than sleep there without getting sick. We visited other rooms and did not have the same experience there. #5 – Bar service. My experience was that the bartenders in various areas of the ship were not interested in the least in providing quick service. They all know that they are entitled to a gratuity automatically, and so it often took 5-10 minutes just to be acknowledged and place an order, even if the bartender was available to prepare drinks. #6 – Ports of call. I understand that weather is something no one can control, but having to cut our land time short as well as cancelling a port was horribly disappointing. The situation with Costa Maya was really the end of my patience. Within an hour of leaving the ship we were told to get back on. It seems that this situation could have been anticipated a bit, even if earlier that morning as the ship had such a hard time docking. All of the passengers I spoke with were dreading getting back on the ship. The only bright side we could see was that maybe we’d get back to Ft. Lauderdale sooner and be able to get off the ship. The $25 credit offered was an insult to my senses. I have heard of similar situations in which guests were given a replacement cruise as an apology for the experience. Because of my previously positive experience with Carnival, I would be willing to give it another try if this were offered. I hope to replace the memory of this past trip with something more positive. #7 – Our safe would not work. I placed two calls for service and no one arrived to fix it. #8 – Wireless internet. I purchased 100 minutes of internet time as I had very important work to be done while on the trip. The internet was horribly slow when it did work, I found it very unreliable. I called the purser who gave me the extension of the manager. I placed several calls with no response. About halfway through the cruise, the internet stopped working entirely. I called the pursers office again and was given the extension and was told that it was down, but would hopefully be up the following day. The internet usage was never restored. I lost at least $1000 because of the internet not being accessible during the trip. I was not offered a refund for the severe inconvenience. I have disputed the internet charge on my credit card and am expecting a refund. #9 – Gratuity. I arranged to have the automatic gratuity removed from my account prior to disembarking. Upon my final statement, the gratuity was still in place. I have also disputed this charge with my credit card company and look forward to the refund.  

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Jan 15, 2006

Western Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review Western Caribbean Cliff Hayes Boarding process went smoother than other cruise that I have been on, lines moved well and service was friendly and efficient. Rooms are very nice, we had a balcony and found the layout very spacious based on previous experience. We were pleased with the room staff as well, always kept very well. We used the silver Olympian dining room ( early seating)

every night for dinner and were pleased with selection, service and quality of food. We were traveling with our daughter and son in law who is limited in his food preferences but who was never disappointed with his meals. Buffet dining on upper deck was often crowded and a bit disorganized but choices and quality were good. By checking other stations you could usually avoid lines. Deck layout is a bit cramped and good seating hard to find. I am an early riser and one morning while out walking on deck a found people reserving deck chairs a 5 in the morning in order to get a good location. I used the exercise facility every day and was pleased with equipment. Hours of use are limited as there are rooms below. For me personally I wish that they had thought about this and located differently. We had some bad luck on shore excursions as the weather was very windy. Bahamas stop: We went to tranquility beach for four hours and spent a cool morning there. Rented wave runners and had a blast. Lunch was standard beach fare of hamburgers and hot dogs with salads, in hind sight I wish we had ordered food from the bar / restaurant there as it loaded far superior to what we received after waiting in line for 25 minutes. Freeport: Due to high winds the port authority advised that all ship tenders would have to stop at 3 pm, an hour earlier than our scheduled departure. We went on the stingray safari / snorkel tour and had a lot of fun ( wind not a problem). When we retuned to the port after a circulars bus ride we were confronted by a huge lineup. We decided to shop a bit and when we realized that the line was not moving we decided to have a drink and lunch at a second storey patio bar overlooking the line and had a pleasant time while waiting ( over a hour). From reading other reviews this seems to be a common problem here. End result was that the ship left on it's original scheduled time. Costa Maya: The itinerary originally called for a stop at Cozumel but was changed to due storm damage. The captain got the ship there early to make up for previous day's problems but wind delayed clearance for two hours. Communication was very poor in this matter as we waited 45 minutes on lower deck for scheduled clearance before an announcement was made. When we were finally allowed to go ashore and load the bus for our tour we were advised that all tours were cancelled and we were advised to return to the ship. It required about three hours to get everyone on board and depart. The next day our cruise director, Brent announced the another carnival shipped had been unable to land at any port for 5 days due the weather. I had purchased a block of time for computer / internet use but a technical problem forced closure of computer room for last three days of cruise. My son in law , who is IT specialist for a large credit union in our area found it hard to believe that the problem could not be fixed. Lack of the ability to communicate with my business back home did create some concern and annoyance for me. Again communication of problems seemed be slow in coming. We were quite concerned about debarking due to an early flight home and we made two trips down to the purser's deck to enquire about the proper procedure. Both times we received different instructions but the lady who helped us the second time was very helpful and we left our rooms at 7 to meet in the Venetian room as instructed by the purser's desk and the printed instructions in our room. When we arrived at the Venetian we were created by Ian ( Social host) who very offhandedly said we were an hour and a half early and to go wait in our rooms until called. I tried to explain that we self assist and that we were told to meet here at 7:30 to which he replied that it didn't matter and to go back upstairs. We did as instructed but checked minutes later and found that they were in fact allowing self assist passengers to leave. From that point on things went very smoothly with taxi and airport. Summary: Due to some unavoidable issues our vacation did not go a well as hoped but the ship, food and service was acceptable. They do need to work on communications in some areas. I do not think that I would travel on Carnival again as my experiences have been far superior on Royal Caribbean ships that I have been on.  

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Dec 31, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Liberty Cruise Review 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Marci Ridley First Time Cruiser – As a first time cruiser, I was disappointed with the information that I received from the reviews I had read, and found most of them incorrect in light of my experience. Then again, what you receive from your experience will depend on your expectations and past experiences. We cruised on the Carnival Liberty (Jan 1 –

Jan 7, 2006) and my vacations was nothing less than spectacular. My biggest complaint would be the rudeness of the other passengers, which was unbelievable! It’s too bad that standard manners are not a prerequisite to booking a cruise. We had a group of (8) traveling from Idaho, and the flight arrangements had much to be desired. We weren’t even all on the same plane. Upon arrival in Ft. Lauderdale, we checked in to the hotel and took a shuttle to go get an uneventful dinner (New Years Eve). In the morning, we all met outside with another very large group from Canada while waiting for the busses to transport us to the pier. This was a very disorganized process that could be easily fixed by Carnival if they chose to do so. Four Greyhound busses and a couple of hours later, we arrived at the Pier. Point of Order: You need to get on the bus that your luggage is put on, and then you will not be allowed to get off the bus until your luggage has been unloaded. They load the luggage by Carnival color-coded tags. Suggestion – Patience. It all works out! Once you get off the bus, you simply check to make sure that your luggage is accounted for, and they do the rest. Then, the line starts! The line was long, and I believe we waited 1-1/2 hours before we reached the ticket agent, but the line moves very quick…it’s just 3 buildings long. (And there are chairs and restrooms in the terminal) The ticket agent was professional and personable. This is when you give them your credit card…Automatic 150.00 pp – Make sure you are prepared for that. You then go through security – Point of Order: You are allowed (1) bottle of champagne or wine; no spirits. They will go through your carry on and confiscate any. I did watch a person carry in two cases of bottled water…? For the Embarkation process, I can’t think of any improvements that they could make. We had a balcony room, and I must say, for myself, it was worth the extra money! If you have ever seen a dog with his head out the window of a vehicle, then you know what I looked like! Everyone in my group had their luggage by 6; I saw mine about 8pm. Don’t stress about the luggage – It will get there. The first night, the dining room allowed us to come dressed as we were because some of us didn’t have the chance to change! We were in the Silver Dining room (seated together!) at the early 5:45 dinner time! Perfect for us. Richard was our waiter and Vit was his right-hand man and they are phenomenal. What a wonderful dining experience. We had three young men with us that weren’t used to the “fu-fu” food, but they always found something good. You order appetizers, soup, salad and the main entrée. Don’t be afraid if you want to order two – there is a night that surf & turf consists of two entrees. Dessert is very good, exquisite in fact. But they always have the good old stand by of ice cream if all else fails. Service, menu options, presentation, taste – not much that could’ve been improved on. There is also some entertainment – singing and dancing! Just plain fun! We purchased the soft-drink cards – unlimited supply of fountain soft drinks – for like 40 bucks. Pepsi drinkers beware – only Coke products served. That being said, I didn’t partake of 40 bucks worth of soda on the trip – there is always water, juice, coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the Buffet restaurant, Emily’s. I would not have purchased one if I’d known. The buffet restaurant, Emily’s was good. Variety up the wazoo. There were hamburgers/hot dogs, deli sandwiches, stir fry, Chinese, 24-hr pizzeria, and Fish and Chips (upstairs towards the back of the ship – hard to find, but worth the effort) in addition to the regular fare of food. If you are unable to find something with that in mind, you may be in trouble. Room service is also available, and we did use continental breakfast service one day due to an early stop in Freeport, Bahamas. Our room was very comfortable. The beds are twin size, but the comforters are cozy and they give you two pillows. The only two suggestions I would have is the phone is too far from the bed and there is no clock. Set yourself a phone-alarm one morning and you will understand about the phone, and I know you are on vacation, and may not want a clock – but with specific departure times for ports-of-call, shows, and activities, it would be nice to know what time it is. On the television, there is a channel that shows the direction of the ship, it’s speed, the wind speed, temperature, etc. Very informational! There is also a way to see what the menu for dinner is, along with excursion information, room charges, messages, etc. We were even able to catch an episode of our NBC soap opera while at sea! Our ports of call were Freeport, Bahamas, Grand Cayman, and Montego Bay, Jamaica. (Jamaica was a pleasant surprise substitution for Cozumel). Freeport was nice – not a lot to do if you don’t book an excursion – lots of shopping! We arrived at 7am and left at 2:30pm. And the sand on the beach is so-o-o fine and the water is so-o-o blue! Do your homework, and book an excursion here. Grand Cayman, is a tendered stop. You have to ride a smaller boat to get to shore. There is a lot of money in the economy, and they haven’t built a dock for the large cruise ships, yet. Some doubt they every will… GO PLAY WITH THE STINGRAYS! – You won’t be disappointed! Even if you are a bit squeamish, they are easy to see and you can avoid them most of the time if you chose. If you go on a good excursion, your tour guide will catch one and you can touch them and even hold them if you choose. Don’t worry – they are safe except their tails! An opportunity of a lifetime. The snorkeling is phenomenal! The tropical fish are so colorful, the coral and other marine life are amazing. You may get lucky and see a lobster, or even a turtle! PS – salt water helps you float, but the tour people should give you a small blow-up life vest that helps keep you afloat. There is so much to see here, and so little time, do your homework on the excursions so you know what is available. In Jamaica, which was not our originally scheduled port-of-call, we spent the day at the beach and at Margaritaville! I am not a drinker, and loved the atmosphere and entertainment at Margaritaville! They have this 100’ slide that shoots you in the bay, and what a hoot! Food is good, too! There is a lot to do here, even if it’s just a sightseeing tour. The more you know about the area, the better prepared you will be. Jamaica is a very big island, and a trip to the falls (very popular) was an all-day affair. As you walk along the shoreline, there are not many shells, but there are pieces of “coral” everywhere! Lots of good shopping, here! Days at sea were filled with lots of activities. The shows with the Carnival dancers were excellent – the costumes are so very colorful, choreography was wonderful and well executed, pit band/orchestra did an outstanding job. We saw a ventriloquist that was great, the ship talent show was ok, and the village idiots were entertaining. Hard to believe all this happens on a gigantic moving piece of steel…They had camp Carnival – a day camp for the small ones that appeared to be lots of fun. I wouldn’t bring my small children on a cruise; I’ll reserve that for Disneyworld. They had a spa/gym with outstanding facilities. And the message chairs aft of the casino – worth the 1$. There are many activities – from Bingo, hairy-chest contest, not-so-newlywed game (not to be missed), fear factor, etc. Lots of dance lessons – and Butch, Ass’t director, is amazing! There will be people taking pictures of you every time you turn around – let them take as many as they want! Go have your picture taken – formal or informal. You only purchase what you like, and you’re bound to find a picture that you will like somewhere. You don’t have to buy them all. Point of order: Be patient, you will stand in many a line. Remember, you are on vacation, and so are the other 2499 people on the ship. No worries, mon! Disembarking was pretty simple – Put your luggage outside your room by midnight, and they will take care of it from there. All you have to do is get up, eat breakfast and wait for them to call your tag color. It is explained very well in a meeting the day prior. You make your way down the gangplank, go through customs (show your passport), find your luggage, and make your way to the busses that take you to the airport. Overall, I had an amazing experience, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have at marci4tony@yahoo.com. Out of five stars, the Carnival Liberty would receive 5-1/2!  

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Dec 10, 2005

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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Dec 10, 2005

Eastern Caribbean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty Cruise Review 8-Night Eastern Caribbean George Taylor Embarkation - fairly smooth Cabin - Very nice. Had balcony on Lido deck # 9214. Very clean and nice. Best beds I've had on any cruise. We went with a group so we had staff open up balconies. Great for gathering and private party. Food - Average. It was eatable. That's all I care about. Not one of those food mongrel cruisers. I have

better things to do while on vacation. I don't as others do, rate eating and food as the primary purpose of my trip. I never went hungry. Service - Acceptable and that's a bit generous. New ship also came with new crew. Very inexperienced. Several instances there would be no bowls, cups, spoons etc.. Very unorganized on lido deck. They would only have part of the food areas open, which caused very long waits to eat. I have never seen anything like it on a cruise ship before. Kind of reminded me of driving by soup kitchen lines at the local YCC's. Very frustrating. I would hope that this will improve over time. But the staff definitely looked lost. Dining Room - very nice, Service there was acceptable but far from the best. Entertainment - Shows were very good. great sets on stage. Comedian Percy Crews a must see, extremely funny.Band at the Stage Lounge was very good. They do several theme nights. Disco, Beatles and Oldies. Ship - Beautiful. Nicely decorated. Casino is quite large compared to other ships. Shops are nice. Lounge areas, Sports bar, Piano bar are all very nice. We rousted up Duane at the Piano bar several nights and had a good time. Did lots of sing a longs and specialty songs. Ports - San Juan. Very nice to sail into and that is about it. Wandered into town for a couple hours and returned to ship. Good liquor deals at the port building. We were there at night so our options for activities was limited. Had been there twice before and would just recommend walking around town. friends of ours went on the night kayaking tour, and they said it was ok. St Thomas - Again have been there several times. Went to Megans Bay this trip. Beautiful place to go to spend day on the beach. All the facilities you need are readily available. Coki beach however was better. Went there last year. The have a beginners Scuba class and dive tour right there. Give yourself a few hours to wander through town and shop. good deals available on diamonds if you know how to shop for them. Antigua - First visit there for me. I was pleasantly surprised. Beautiful Island. Locals were very friendly. I would recommend the Catamaran Beach and snorkel tour. Not the best snorkeling in the Caribbean but was pretty good. Shopping is Ok. Most of it is right off the boat. Tortolla - Unbelievable !! What a Gem of an Island. we went out to the Baths at Vigin Gorda. This is a must see and do. However the ship charges 69.00 dollars a person. We did it on our own for only 35.00. Just get off the boat and walk into town, catch the ferry. Its a 30 min. ride to Virgin Gorda. Absolutely stunning beauty. When you arrive at the dock a cab will take you to the baths. If you like hiking this is the best. Once you get to the baths after a ten min. hike you won't believe the scenery. Make sure you get off the ship as early as possible though. You will need to catch the 9 am ferry going, and the 1:30 coming back. If you dont get on the 9 am don't bother going. We caught the 11 am and only got to spend an hour at the baths. Very regrettable. Nassau - Been here several times also. Lots to do here. Shopping is good. Went to Atlantis resort and local beach. Cabbage Beach is beautiful with some decent waves for body surfing. Just beware of all the locals trying to sell stuff. Once you get settled on the beach they pretty much leave you alone. Cant recommend tour because I haven't gone on one there. Summary - I wanted to keep this as short as possible. We had a great time as always, but were very disappointed in the crew and service. Still beats my best day at work though. I decided in the future that I will not go on a new ship again. As nice as the ship was it certainly cost us in the services we are used to seeing on other ships. There were just a lot of not so normal things that happened on this cruise. A lot of what would seem to be petty things, but they add up. I will spare the details in this review, but feel welcome to E mail me with any questions. I would be glad to answer. If you are booked, make the best of it. You will have lots of fun. Just don't expect to much from the crew.

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Oct 22, 2005

Transatlantic

Carnival Cruise Lines Liberty Transatlantic - Rome to Miami John Galligan My wife and I boarded the Carnival Liberty in Rome after a transatlantic flight. The transfers purchased from Carnival for the airport-ship were satisfactory. Bags arrived in time, although we found one bag down the hall in front of someone else's door. First, the plus's about the Carnival Liberty: The food was excellent, as good or better than three

other cruise lines. The food choices were noteworthy. Besides the dining room and Lido deck, the ship offered a sushi bar, Chinese bar, Thai/Mongolian BarBQue line, fish and chips bar, gourmet deli bar, pizza bar, ice cream and yoghurt stations. The drink waiters were always courteous and helpful, but never hounded anyone to buy drinks!! The stateroom was very nice and spacious, with a very large bed, couch and adequate shower. Cabin stewards were exceptionally courteous and friendly. Only thing wrong in the cabins is the heavy comforters. They are so heavy, they spend most of their time on the floor. Now the downside: Perhaps our biggest disappointment was the layout of the ship. Except for the 3rd deck, underneath the lifeboats, there were few quiet places to read, expecially in the shade. The ship erroneously believes everyone wants to lay/sit in the full sun. A billboard size TV screen, similar to a football stadium, arises above the main pool. On it were old movies, some concerts and clips. Fortunately, there were 25 lounges beneath the lifeboats on deck #3 on each side of the ship. Deck 10 offered about 15 on each side of the ship. There was no place to sit and eat overlooking the stern or the water. Everything is glassed in. Our first impression after 3 out of 16 days was the ship is uncomfortable, noisy and boring. The cruise director might believe the billboard TV screen is going to entertain the guests. Until the last 3-4 days, there was no band around the pool to entertain the guests. They finally put a duet up there to sing and play. The cruise director spends his time in front of a camera reading fan mail and this was displayed on the TV screen 1-2 times per day. The cruise director and his staff were out of touch with the needs/desires of the guests. Events were frequently cancelled and there was no cruise staff in sight. The cruise director gets on the intercom with the volume twice as loud as it needs to be and greaty irritates the passengers. (The captain's intercom volume is just right). We expected to dance and enjoy a band in a lounge, but there was nothing in the lounges for the baby boomers. The ships entertainment staff of 8 females and 4 guys was great, but that occupied only 3 days. The ship's band was excellent. There was no lecture series on the ship, a point I heard discussed among many folks. The service and food quality in the dining room was outstanding, with super nice waiters and bus personnel. The MaitreD' insisted in taking up time each night with his talk, jokes and entertainment. Several times, the wait staff sang and put on a nice show, but, by in large, the MaitreD's program only succeeded in making dinner two hours and causing us to miss some events beginning at 7 and 7:15. On the Lido deck, the only significant problem is the eggs-to-order/omelet stations hold up all the lines. People waiting in line block the rest of the food (fruit, cereal, scrambled eggs, bacon, etc.) while one person at the head of each line waits on the eggs. Big problem! The library has some nice books, but no travel books on the ports we were to visit. Unlike other cruise lines, Carnival only published daily info on their excursions, nothing about the history and sites to see in the ports we were to visit. The ship had a very short stay in Barcelona due to a protest in the port, so we did not think 2-3 hours was worth the trouble of going ashore. The island of Majorca was nice and we enjoyed a walking tour of the old city. Malaga was of little value. We took an open air bus which did little more than ride around the city (30 Euros). The walled fort on the top of the hill was of minimal value. On the contrary, the island of Madeira was very nice and scenic. We arranged our own taxi tour for 70 euros and saw many of the scenic points. Highly recommended--too bad the ship did not stay in Madeira for 2 days. On St. Maarten we took the Pinel Island snorkling trip which was very nice. St Maarten was well worth going downtown for shopping as there were many bargains. In summary, except for the exceptional dining choices, the nice cabin, the quality of the food, the ship's entertainment company/band and friendliness of the wait and cabin staff, I would not sail on the Liberty again. The ship is laid out poorly and the TV billboard is no excuse for lack of poolside entertainment. The cruise staff missed the boat.

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Nov 30, -0001

Mediterranean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty Inaugural Mediterranean Cruise lorna Morris We traveled on the inaugural cruise with the Liberty it set sail from Rome, it was a terrible cruise, there were over 140 pieces of luggage lost getting to the port. I booked my entire trip through Carnival and had to fly stand by on most of the flights, I got detoured to Paris just to try to make it to the ship. The pool on the ship sprung a leak

and flooded the casino and some cabins, not mine fortunately. We did not get our luggage on the ship for 5 days, it was disastrous, carnival as of yet has offered no help or compensation for our lost days on the cruise and for airline issues, my luggage was also lost on the way home from Rome to Florida. This was the worst cruise I have ever taken. It was too long and with no clothes for half the cruise it was miserable, the food was okay not great, the ship was clean and very pretty. The crew was not helpful and seemed to be always frustrated, the pursers desk was terrible with no information available, all the announcements seemed to be about lost luggage. Never again will I take a first time cruise, we arrived at the ship just in time to pull out of port, there were still 25 people missing that I believe got on at the port of Naples. I feel for you if you have booked this med cruise.

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Nov 30, -0001

Mediterranean

Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty 12-day Mediterranean cruise Edgar Lupa August 1st, 2005 Carnival Liberty is one of the newest ships of the fleet. It was impressively big. Being a new ship it was very nice and clean. We found our stateroom with a large queen to king size bed (probably 2 twin beds put together) with comfortable down pillows and down comforter. The bathroom was a good size, clean, great water pressure, and

plenty shelving for all your amenities. Good closet space. Being in a stateroom on the 1st deck was impressive compared to other 2 cruise ships we have been on with windows and the other with a port hole. Although during the last few days we noticed the smell of fumes in the early morning followed by the scent of flowers to cover up the smell. You can probably sleep through it unless you wake up too early in the morning. I am unsure if its due to being on the 1st deck. I think Carnival put a lot of emphasis on comfort no matter what room you’re in on this new cruise ship. This ship is quoted to be a “Family Fun Ship” so there were a lot of kids running around on board. If you’re not used to kids running around this is not for you. But this ship does have activities for kids and teenagers. The crew was very pleasant. Practically every crew member said “hi” to us as we walked around the ship. Our room was always kept clean. The cruise director , John Heald, does put the “F” in “Fun ship”, he was very entertaining. The entertainment was top notch in their main theatre, it was hard to find seating especially if you have the late dinner seating. The other lounges were not very busy. We are age 40 and 38 and we love to dance. The dance club was pretty much empty (disappointing for us) as were most lounges during the 12 day cruise. The piano bar/lounge always had a lot of people. I guess the age group could have determined which lounges would have been packed. The casino was a very good size as compared to other ship casinos. The buffets had a good variety. But need improvement in the dessert department. We were not impressed with the late night buffet. The late night buffet, which was held on one of the pool decks, was just grilled burgers, hotdogs, pasta, an occasional meat platter, fruits, dessert and pizza. Pizza was served 24hrs a day. There were only 2 nights that the ship actually had a late night buffet in the buffet room. Having gone on 2 previous cruises, we were not impressed with this ship’s sit down dinner. The service was so slow. It took two hours to serve a 5 course meal. We missed a part or sometimes all of the main shows due to being served so slowly. We were kind of upset that we were told to show up on time for dinner so we can be served on time. The first 2 days we were 15-20 mins. late for dinner. So we showed up early and it still took 2 hours to finish dinner. Granted we are not slow eaters. There was one night that we actually finished dinner in an hour. But as I looked around many of the tables were empty. So we started eating at the buffet for dinner instead. One night we paid $30 dollars to eat at the supper club. We were impressed at their attentiveness at first because as more patrons arrived the less attention we got. The desserts at the sit down dinner and supper club were the same desserts being served at the buffet. They really need to change their dessert menus. The sit down dinner and supper club meals were good, with sometimes weird combinations, but it might not be for you. The airline had lost my wife’s luggage for this trip and didn’t receive it until 3 days before the end of our trip. My wife was of course upset having all her clothes and formal wear missing. Being petite in size the gift shop did not carry any undergarments in her size. Nor did they sell any bathing suits. She was able buy some work out shorts and a t-shirt. Fortunately her sister of the same body size was able to spare some of her clothes. The ship did supply toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, shampoo, and soap. They did everything they could to locate our luggage but communication between the pursers were lacking. We always got a different story when asking about our luggage. The excursions were nice and a little rushed on some of them. Currency can be changed on board the ship. Try to change your US dollars for Euros the day before your excursion. It is important to attend the informative meetings about the different excursions to help you decide. Buy a large water bottle to take with you on excursions, then refill the bottle to save money. Sometimes locals will increase the price on food so just beware. The customer (Tourist) is not always right here in Europe. Got charged extra in Barcelona on food we didn’t order. In Venice we got charged for 3scoops of gelato when we only got 2 scoops. Best Gelato is in Sicily, the gelato is much creamier. Important to try to schedule your flight to accommodate a tour in Rome. Tour excursions are offered after you receive your itinerary. Two tours are offered on the day of embarkation last tour is scheduled at 12pm. Tours are also offered at debarkation depending on your flight times. Of course you can tour Rome on your own. To tour Rome it would probably best to be there a day before embarkation or have a late flight out of Rome on your last day. Excursions were built to suit you from history to shopping and both. If you are in Cannes, France and like to shop, then just disembark and go on your own. Venice is another great town for shopping. The spa on the cruise ship was of good size. Although they decided to glue the mats down during a day at sea and was unable to work out in the weight area that day. The basketball hoop and volleyball area is built over a supper club so no activities in that area after 6pm. All the bouncing could be heard in the supper club. So we were chased out from shooting basketball to find alternative activity. Wish they had built it someplace else. I was disappointed that there were no basketball tournaments/activities scheduled. Golf lessons were given in the upper deck next to a giant fan area of the deck. Golf packages were expensive but I believe the bigger the group the cheaper the golf package gets (per brother-in-law who went golfing). My brother-in-law enjoyed the greens he played in Venice and Barcelona. Overall experience: Very clean and comfortable state rooms. Very good entertainment. Nice large casino. Nice large exercise room and spa. Very friendly crew. Buffet food good, desserts not so good (it’s a tasters choice). Too many kids running around during our cruise, may differ during your cruise. Servers during sit down and supper club dinner friendly but service was slow. Dinner meals were fine. Wish soda was free. Disappointing late night buffets. Enjoyed all excursions but hated getting ripped off by locals. Did not see or get picked-pocketed. Need sports activities for adults during days at sea. Comparison to other cruises taken, on a scale between 1-10: State room= 10 Ship=10 Excursions=8/9 Crew friendliness=10 Buffet=9 Sit down dinner meals/Supper club=7 Sit down dinner waiters attentiveness=5 Supper club waiters attentiveness=7 Waiters friendliness=9 Entertainment=9/10 Ship activities=8 Late night buffet=6 Lounges/Night clubs=4 Casino=10 Pictures taken=10 Exercise room/spa=10  

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Nov 30, -0001

San Juan St Thomas and St Marteen

The ship is wonderful, the service as well as the personnel. I cannot say enough good things about it. Food was above average, it was always hot and fresh, didnt have anything that had to be sent back. We had a ocean view and it is 220 sq ft vs 180 sq ft in the inside, and the extra 40 sq feet makes a big difference. I was please with the arrangements in the ship. Two of the scheduled shows got canceled due to the acts not arriving at

the port in time. We did not do any excursions but we had fun exploring the cities. For the money spent, it was a bit high, but still alot of fun.

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Nov 30, -0001

Carnival Liberty

This was a first time cruise for my husband and second for myself. I cruised on the Carnival Festival back in the 80s but was not sure if my husband would enjoy a vacation like this. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. The night shows were great. We enjoyed the ports of call. I was very impressed how the cabin boys would attempt to remember our names and call us by our first names as we passed them in the hallways. The dinning staff was

great as was the food. We felt we were totally pampered and feel it was the best vacation for our money. We plan to cruise again in the near future. The food in the dining room was great. The food on deck was typical of buffet style, but we appreciated all the selection. We chose the least expensive stateroom which was small but we found to be totally functional. We totally enjoyed the shows in the main theatre each evening and always looked forward to. The entertainment was of the highest caliber. We cruised from Ft. Lauderdale to three islands. We chose the cruise we were on because my husband was intrigued with Mayan ruins and was hoping to tour some of them. He claimed it exceeded his expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and wish to cruise again in the near future. Our only concern about cruising again, is where to go.

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