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DarthGrady

Carnival Liberty, 09/19/09: A pictorial review.

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We just got back yesterday, and had a great cruise. There were only a few minor problems that I will discuss later on in the review. I am putting the final touches on, but I will go ahead and get it started. It may take me a few days to get it all up since I have a lot of pictures go go through and match them up to days. Hope you all enjoy it:

 

Introduction:

My wife and I booked this cruise in early 2009 after finding it for a really great price. We were booked on the Carnival Fascination, but cancelled that booking when we found this cruise. Both went to Half Moon Cay, but Liberty was also going to San Juan, Grand Turk and St. Thomas. This was very appealing since we have never been to any of those ports, with the exception of St. Thomas. We had also never been on the Liberty, so it was a chance for me to explore a new ship which I always enjoy. We booked a category 1A room (with portholes), and paid $450 per person after all fees were factored in.

 

Our first glimpse of the ship at Port of Miami

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Embarkation:

This is one area where the Port of Miami really shines. Their embarkation process is really top notch. This was especially noticeable since we just went through the general disarray that is the embarkation process at the Port of Vancouver. Upon arriving at the pier in Miami and dropping off the luggage we entered the security area. I was expecting to wait in line with everyone else, but the signage indicated that there was a separate line for VIP guests (I am Platinum with Carnival). We were able to bypass the long check point line and went right to the front. This was great, and exactly what I felt Vancouver needed since you have to go through security and Customs. After the screening we were directed to the VIP check in lounge, and the man at the door took our names for his list. He said that we could sit and wait, and we would be called to the desk when they were ready for us. They had the lounge set up very nice, and even had a little lemonade dispenser. After about 10 or 15 minutes they called us to the desk and checked us in. This took all of a few minutes, we got our Sail and Sign cards and were then off to the gangway. From the time that we parked the car, to when we boarded the ship was a half hour at most. The Port of Miami should be the model for all other Carnival embarkation operations.

The VIP Lounge

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Can't wait for your review with pictures. I read your last one and if this one is half as good, it is going to be great.

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Our Cabin:

We booked room #1212 on Riviera deck. This is a category 1A room with upper/lower bunks and two porthole windows. This was a great deal for us since we got an ocean view at a price less than an interior. We didn’t mind not sleeping in the same bed, so the wife took the pull down bunk and I had the twin bed.

I loved this room or the same reason that I loved our 5A on Inspiration, the portholes! They are a great compromise between interior cabins and ocean view. I can close the porthole hatches to make it dark like an interior room for sleeping in late, and then open them for a view outside. Everything in the cabin worked fine except the TV. The set itself was fine, but at least six or seven channels never worked. Some of the ones that did work would cut in and out intermittently.

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Can't wait for your review with pictures. I read your last one and if this one is half as good, it is going to be great.

 

Thanks!

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The Ship:

I found the Carnival Liberty to be a very nice and clean ship. Its layout is virtually identical to the Carnival Glory which I had been on previously. The lobby and public areas are very bright, especially when compared to other Carnival ship I have been on. There is a lot of white faux rock with wrought iron pillars and acres pastel watercolor paneling. The rest of the public areas have that same Tuscan inspired theme. The bars and lounges all had standard setup and décor. The chandeliers around the ship, including the large one in the atrium, change colors in sequence and are a nice touch.

 

The Grand Atrium

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The Aft Atrium

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I think I would fall out of the top bunk! I am used to a queen...that will keep us from booking this room!

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The Promenade on deck 5 is the central entertainment area of the ship and is the home of the Czars Palace Casino. It has the Liberty’s main disco, the “Hot and Cool” lounge, which was curiously decorated with giant plastic arms sporting various forms of tattooing. I immediately had flashbacks of the Sensation’s piano bar that has giant plastic hands. The teen club “Without Batteries” was right next door, which also includes the arcade. I’m too old to hang out there, but it looked nice and had a very decent collection of arcade games. The “Piano Man” piano bar, “The Stage” jazz club, “Paparazzi” wine bar and the “Victorian Lounge” cabaret are all on the promenade also. The Liberty promenade also has the “Origami” sushi bar, the Jardin Café coffee bar and the Carnival Loyalty and Future Bookings desk.

The Promenade

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Coffee and pastry counter

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"Without Batteries" Club O2 Teen Lounge (Notice the Duracell product placement)

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Loyalty and Future Bookings Desk

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Promenade live entertainment stage

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Great review so far. Looking forward to the rest of it. We are on the same itinerary in less than 3 weeks so really appreciate this particular review. Nice pics too!:D

 

What time did you arrive for embarkation? Were the regular lines really long?

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Emile’s restaurant on Lido deck is the ship’s buffet area. The area is almost identical to the Red Sail on Glory, except that they eliminated the stairway up to the Supper Club for the Liberty. The restaurant was very light and open. We ate in the upper area where the Fish and Chips counter is located. That area is much less crowded than the lower area, I assume because most folks don’t want to ascend the stairs to get up there. Emile’s also has a burrito bar which serves hand made burritos with chips and salsa. I tried it the first day and liked it a lot, not up to Moe’s standards, but few are.

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The lido area was tweaked slightly at some point between the Glory and Liberty. The two central whirlpools and the main (middle) pool are right next to each other on Glory. On Liberty they have moved them next to the tiered seating area, flanking the doors that lead to the atrium. They also eliminated the raised stage area and its cover. I assume this was done to create more open seating area for Liberty’s Seaside Theater screen that is above the main pool. Whatever the reason, the result is a cleaner looking area that flows much better.

The aft pool area

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The Liberty's main pool area

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The Glory's main pool for comparison

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The slide

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Great review so far. Looking forward to the rest of it. We are on the same itinerary in less than 3 weeks so really appreciate this particular review. Nice pics too!:D

 

What time did you arrive for embarkation? Were the regular lines really long?

 

We got there around noon, and the regular lines for security and check in were fairly long. They had lots of staff on hand though, and it appeared to me moving along fairly well.

Edited by DarthGrady

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Thanks for the review it is great. Did you have any noise with the room being that far up at the front of the ship?

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The other Liberty (of the Seas) parked behind us

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The aft pool with the dome closed

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The aft pool sans dome

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The exterior promenade on Lobby Deck 3

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Lifeboat embarkation area, Deck 4

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The Bow

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Thanks for the review & the great pictures. Can't wait to read more, we sail in 33 days!!!!

I love the look of the disco & the piano bar. Was on The Valor last year & the set up looks a bit more intimate on The Liberty.

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Thanks for the review it is great. Did you have any noise with the room being that far up at the front of the ship?

 

There was noise during high seas, you could hear the waves breaking on the hull. It was not extreme, but noticeable.

 

I actually kinda liked it, almost like one of those "Sounds of the Seas" relaxation tapes. ;)

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Emile’s restaurant on Lido deck is the ship’s buffet area. The area is almost identical to the Red Sail on Glory, except that they eliminated the stairway up to the Supper Club for the Liberty. The restaurant was very light and open. We ate in the upper area where the Fish and Chips counter is located. That area is much less crowded than the lower area, I assume because most folks don’t want to ascend the stairs to get up there. Emile’s also has a burrito bar which serves hand made burritos with chips and salsa. I tried it the first day and liked it a lot, not up to Moe’s standards, but few are.

 

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The lido area was tweaked slightly at some point between the Glory and Liberty. The two central whirlpools and the main (middle) pool are right next to each other on Glory. On Liberty they have moved them next to the tiered seating area, flanking the doors that lead to the atrium. They also eliminated the raised stage area and its cover. I assume this was done to create more open seating area for Liberty’s Seaside Theater screen that is above the main pool. Whatever the reason, the result is a cleaner looking area that flows much better.

 

The aft pool area

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The Liberty's main pool area

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The Glory's main pool for comparison

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The slide

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You're right, it does look a lot better on The Liberty. I can't remember if the Valor was like this or The Glory. You have done a great job at keeping your pictures organized. I am a photographer & don't think I could have done this well over a several day span.

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The position of the "hot"tubs on Lido is different than the deckplans on CCL website. Interesting. I think I like that setup.

 

Maybe they either used a stock photo of a sister ship or they have done some redesigning after the original photos. I agree, this looks much cleaner & more organized. I can see how the flow would be better.

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Thanks Darthbrady for answering my question on the noise in the 1A room, I like that sound also and the room looked like it was about the size of an inside. For the difference in the price I would like to try one of the 1A rooms, I have to have some type of window just so I don't feel closed in.

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Day 1: Miami, Fl.

Most of the first day has been covered by the above. We mostly explored the ship and hung out in the room as we were both pretty tired. We did go up on deck for awhile to watch sail away from one of the forward observation decks. Carnival added two large suites on Lido deck right above the bridge which eliminated access to the bridge wings. That is where I usually like to spend sail away, but life goes on. The upshot of this is that the observation deck above those new suites (Panorama Deck) is now very large, since they had to add onto it to make the suite’s roofs.

We selected “My Time Dining” for this cruise, but ended up eating a snack at Emil’s and then ordering room service. After getting some rest I went up to the aft pool for our Cruise Critic group meet and greet. It was well attended and I got to meet lots of nice folks that I had been talking to for months on our roll call.

 

Some pics as we were leaving port:

 

Miami Beach

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USCG boat

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RCI and Celebrity buildings

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Miami

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Carnival's old cruise terminal

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You're right, it does look a lot better on The Liberty. I can't remember if the Valor was like this or The Glory. You have done a great job at keeping your pictures organized. I am a photographer & don't think I could have done this well over a several day span.

 

Thanks! I am an amateur at best, but I do love snapping lots of photos.

 

I kind of go with the machine gun photography method, take enough shots an you'll eventually hit somehting worth while.:D

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Day 2: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

After a late wake up we decided to skip breakfast and head for the island. The line for tender boarding was very long, backed up several decks from the bottom. I took advantage of one of my Concierge Club perks, priority tender boarding. The fellow at the Platinum guest counter seemed confused at first, saying we would need to go to the Victoria Lounge and get tickets. I think he simultaneously remembered what to do, because he then said to follow him and he would escort us. He took us down to the gangway and had one of the other crewmen put us into the line. This is a very nice perk for ports like Half Moon Cay when so many people are trying to leave the ship at once. I was very grateful for it, and found it to be yet another reason that I will continue to cruise with Carnival.

I simply cannot express how much I liked Half Moon Cay. My previous experience with private islands was limited to Royal Caribbean’s Coco Cay. Everything that I liked about that island was present on Half Moon Cay. The clean atmosphere, provided lunch and lack of pushy junk hawking natives were the main points. But I put Half Moon a little beyond Coco Cay for one reason, the beach. Coco Cay’s beach was very nice, but Half Moon did not have all the sea grass on the bottom. At Half Moon the entire swimming area has white sand beach and smooth sandy bottom. This combined with the crystal clear water make it like a very, very large swimming pool. We spent the day on the beach and swimming after meeting up with the folks we met on Cruise Critic. After the tender ride back to the ship and hit the hot tubs following a couple of trips down the water slide.

We went to the main dining room for dinner, using our “anytime dining” option and heading there at a very-early-for-us 6 PM. They were able to provide us with a two seat table and we had a very nice dinner. The only noticeable difference between anytime and regular dining was that there was already a basket of bread on the table. The food on Liberty is very good, on par with the food we have had on other Carnival ships. The seaside theater movie for this day was 007: Quantum of Solace which I really wanted to see. However, it was showing at 6PM which is still pretty hot and sunny so we decided to skip it.

In the evening we headed to the piano bar and stayed for an hour or so. Duane the Piano Man is very good and kept the crowd constantly going. He had a good mixture of new, old, fast, slow, and many different genres. Afterward we saw the Rotten Brothers Human Side Show (think comedy mixed with side show stunts). It was their R rated material; the show was silly but also pretty funny.

After a full day of listening to him, I really began wishing that Butch the Cruise Director was not allowed to speak on the intercom. He is a good and energetic CD, but when he gets started talking it doesn’t stop for what seems like five or ten minutes. He drones on and on about everything that is happening around the ship. This information is already given in the Carnival Capers daily newsletter, so the announcements are mostly unnecessary. I understand that they have to do this, but I wish he would keep it as brief as possible. Other Cruise Directors we have had were not nearly as long winded, keeping their announcements fairly concise.

 

From the tender:

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Parasailing

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Already your cruise came up?!? I'm glad & enjoying your review. Planning on going on the LI next year if I can't get the Dream or Freedom.

 

Came and went. :(

 

Have fun next year, I'm sure either ship will be great.

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Day 3: At Sea

The morning of day 3 started out much as day 2 did, with Butch gabbing over the intercom at 10 AM like a teenage girl on a telephone. Now had this been reserved only for the open decks and public areas I would have been fine. But it gets blasted throughout the halls and subsequently resonates into the cabins. So everyone on the ship gets a wake up call, whether they want one or not. I debated with myself briefly about going on a covert raid and stealing his P.A. microphone and throwing it into the ocean. I decided not to only because I determined that he would likely just find another one and that I would probably be locked up or set adrift in on a small wooden raft.

Later in the day we had our Cruise Critic group meet and greet. We all decided to pay extra and have an open bar party in one of the lounges. We all had a great time and the Carnival staff did a wonderful job bringing the drinks out to us. We spent the rest of the day hanging around the pool and having a great sea day.

After dinner, I went to the Ault Comedy show featuring Phat Kat. After that we spent some time in the Piano Bar, but it was fairly empty so it wasn’t a late night.

 

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OUTSTANDING pictures and love your review. ALWAYS wanted to go to Coco Cay. Don't think it will happen, so enjoying seeing it thru your eyes! :cool: Can't wait to read more! ;)

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Love all the pictures, especially of the beach at Half Moon Cay!!

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