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October 17, 2015 / oneworld82

Honeymoon, Part III – Carnival Liberty or A Floating Town

So, it was finally time to start our Honymoon cruise. As with anything new, we were excited about the prospect of sailing the Southern Caribbean sea in total comfort and relax. Again, this is not my favorite type of vacation, but given that we were expecting a baby this seemed like the best option to relax and see different places.

Around 2pm, we took a taxi from the Condado Hilton to the pier, in Old San Juan. As I came to realize later on, the Sheraton Old San Juan is directly across from the Carnival pier – so if you are looking for a non-beach, super convenient location for your cruise, look no further.

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After handing over our luggage to the porters and tipping them a couple of $$ (we would find our bags delivered to our cabin later on), we lined up for security and check in, and in about 45 minutes we were aboard the ship.

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Now, this was my first cruise, and I am not exactly sure of how the Liberty compares to other cruise ships. What can I say is that this ship really IS a floating town! Eleven decks, 900-odd cabins, more than 1,000 crew members. Just, wow! You always hear about cruise-liners, but you can’t really realize how big they are until you stand right there in front of them.

In St Lucia

In St Lucia

Overall, the ship was alright – think three star hotel, Vegas style. There are many bars (piano bar and latin music bar included), a board game room, art auctions, various restaurants and dining outlets, two pools and various Jacuzzis, a state-of-the-art gym, a spa, a salon, a casino… Really, everything you can imagine was there. While the décor ranged from tacky to cheap in most cases, as long as you set your expectations right you will not be disappointed. Think Holiday Inn, not St Regis here.

The upper decks were reserved to restaurants and pools/jacuzzi. I felt the pools were not big enough to handle so many people – there definitely were more bars than pools, which is not a good sign. This applies to the hot tubs as well. One of the main issues I noticed is that it was clear that this was the first “real” holiday for many people on board; think about reserving with various clothing an entire row of sunbeds or sitting in the hot tub for hours without caring for fellow passengers. The unfortunate thing is that the staff did not seem to care.

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Aside from that, there was an “adult only” area with sun beds and jacuzzi. This part tended to be less crowded and more relaxing, and we ended up spending most of our time here.

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The fitness center was big and very well-equipped. Extensive locker rooms were complemented by saunas. A popular (and expensive) massage center was also on the premises.

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Breakfast was served every morning at the main buffet restaurant on the Lido deck, and consisted of American and Continental options – it was pretty exhaustive. A breakfast taco and burrito stand was also open.

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Lunch options included the buffet restaurant as well as the taco bar, pizza, deli sandwiches, Guy Fieri’s burger bar, Mongolian Grill, and a Fish & Chips restaurant. Guy Fieri’s place was certainly the best – as the burgers were really good and filling (think: over-flowing with butter!). The deli sandwiches weren’t bad either, while the fish and chips stall was a bit disappointing. Overall, lunch had the best choices – an oddity in my mind, as most people were out and about exploring the islands anyways.

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Dinner was served ar both the buffet or at a more formal dining room, with waiting service, where more refined dishes (albeit not always well-executed) were served. Overall, quality was average and pretty inconsistent, ranging from bad to good. The head chef was Italian, as was most of the senior crew (including the captain, Giuseppe Giusa).

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Chicken fried chicken

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Caesar salad

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Roast beef

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Gazpacho

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Seafood curry

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Since we knew we would not spend much time in our room we opted for an interior cabin. Since Thuy was pregnant we were assigned an accessible room on the Superior Deck (Deck 6), which was fine. Our “king” bed consisted of two twins pulled together; the beds were comfortable enough, the room temperature adequate. There was enough storage room for two people, and the restroom was spacious. The TV had cable. Overall, this was a decent room, comparable to a three star hotel. The cruise included room service as well, consisting of continental breakfast and a selection of sandwiches.

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Every night after leaving the port of call of the day entertainment was offered in various shapes and form throughout the vessel. From DJs and line dancing by the pool, to Jordan our excellent piano man, from casinos to comedy clubs, from rock bands to karaoke, you are sure not to get bored aboard the ship until the wee hours of the morning. The rock band playing by the casino bar, in particular, was very good (every member was from the Philippines).

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Mob dancing

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So, what are my final thoughts on this ship? Well, it was big, and it certainly had everything you can wish for in terms of entertainment and food. From casinos to stand up comedy – you really couldn’t have a chance to be bored. Yet, the quality of everything – from the room, to the food, to the entertainment, to the shore excursions – was only average. While this would be great for families (given the overall informal feeling of the ship), I feel that couples seeking some romance would have better luck elsewhere.

3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Anisa / Oct 18 2015 5:40 am

    I have never been on a Carnival Cruise but your post is pretty consistent with what I’ve heard. I would suggest trying another cruise line. Personally I go on Royal Caribbean.

    • robertocusato / Feb 26 2016 12:56 pm

      Yes, I will go with Royal Caribbean or Princess next time – but I am not even sure IF there will be a next time! 😉

  2. Anisa / Feb 26 2016 12:57 pm

    Awe! You should give it a another chance!

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