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Our First Cruise: Carnival Liberty 4/17-4/24


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After reading so many helpful posts before we took our first cruise, I think I should do my part and attempt to write a review myself.


Cruisers: Me, my husband and my 9 year old son

Cruise: Carnival Liberty-Eastern (Miami/San Juan/St. Thomas/St. Maarten)


Day 1: Getting to Miami

I decided that we should travel to the port city the day before the cruise just in case, so we left Friday night 4/16 after work. No problems at all with flights and we arrived at MIA at 11:45pm as scheduled. I had booked a room at the Embassy Suites Miami International since we were getting in so late, I couldn't see traveling to the downtown area. There was a free shuttle to the hotel and we got it within about 15 minutes. We were in our beds and asleep by 1am. So far so good. :)


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Day 2: Embarkation

We slept in a bit the next morning and had breakfast at the hotel that was included around 9:30. The breakfast was quite good-it is a cooked to order breakfast. Better than I had expected.


We checked in with the main desk to see what time the shuttle to the port would leave. My package that I booked included port transportation, but if the times were bad or if we had to make a bunch of stops we would just take a taxi. The shuttle was to leave at noon, which was check out time and exactly when we planned on calling a taxi. I asked if it made a bunch of stops and they said-no right to the port. So, we decided to save our money and do the shuttle.


My husband took my son to the pool area-which was very nice, however lots of planes going up b/c we were so close to the airport...no big. I went back to the room packed the bags back up and got ready to go for noon. Took the shuttle- no problems, in fact the shuttle driver was really nice and pointed out where the NBA team plays for my son. We were the first drop off. There were two other couples with us for a Celebrity cruise.


A porter found us checked that our bags were tagged, we tipped him and we headed into the terminal. As I had read on cc there were ropes to wind through so we jumped in and started our wait. The entire process from dropping the bag to entering the ship took exactly one hour(12:25-1:25)-again as expected from what I read on cc. I didn't find it too bad of a wait.


First thing we did when we entered the Atrium:



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We get in pretty late as well. Flying from Ca. If you dont mind, how much was your room for the night?


Can't wait for the rest of the review!!:D


With taxes and fees/b'fast/airport transfers/port shuttle for 3 I was charged a total of $155. I think I got a lot for what I paid. I hope I can get a deal as good next trip.

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So my first Funship Special was pretty good...I decided I should try them all to decide which one was my favorite...;) Not all at once though HA HA! My husband just got a Budwiser.


We sat in the Atrium for about 5 minutes or so and looked around-pretty cool. After that we headed to our cabin. We were very excited to check it out. It was 1:35 or so by that point. It was very easy to find our cabin because we booked a corner aft wrap port side. We just got on an elevator and walked ALL the way to the back of the ship. Cabin 6452-Awesome cabin!!! We were SO surprised at how big and roomy it was. I don't think it was bigger square footage wise-but b/c it was configured in a corner it left a lot of open space in the middle. Then we went out on our balcony-my gosh! That balcony was about 40' long and about double the width wider than I expected. All three of us were very, very excited.




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We then headed up to the Lido for some lunch. My son wanted fish and chips so we went up there-again-had it not been for cc I might not have known about it. He really liked his fish. I had some sort of appetizer there that was tuna and watermelon. It was good. I then went through the buffet. I was surprised how good the food was.


After we ate a little we walked out to the main lido pool and the cruise director Noonan started announcing that we needed to start heading to our muster stations. I think we were the only people that moved. When we got to our muster station someone put a wrist band on my son and told me that I had to put my Funship Special on a little ledge by the lifeboats. We waited about 30 minutes for the drill to even start! The staff said that they had to wait for everyone to get here and people weren't moving to their stations. It was a little muggy, now I know why people complain about the muster drills. 45 minutes later of standing shoulder to shoulder 4 layers deep of people (one women actually started having a bit of an anxiety attack and was able to leave) I was reuinted with my warm Funship Special. Note to self-next time-drink the drink well before we get to the muster drill.


We thought sail away was supposed to be 4pm. It was now 4:15 and we were still getting fueled. We decided we wanted to do sail away on our balcony. We waited and waited...a Celebrity ship behind us pulled away and we waved to them:



After waiting some more we realized it was 5:35pm and there was a Camp Carnival orientation at 5:30pm ALL the way in the front of the ship in the Venetian Palace. So off we go as quick as we can. Of course, my drinking has gotten me in trouble again:o-the staff member from the camp said I couldn't go in with my drink...I was on my second Funship Special at this point. We determined that since I already did all the paperwork on line at home before we left, there was really nothing for us to do at this meeting and we could go. So, we made our long journey back to our cabin and when we returned we went out on the balcony to find out that we had left port. So much for being there to see the ropes drop. Oh well.


We stayed outside for a while and looked at the sights as we pulled away from Miami:

nice little house and "boat":





Next I started to unpack our luggage. We had the 8:15 dining, so I had plenty of time. I was also nervous to see if I'd get seasick. All three of us were fine the entire cruise. At some point my husband called me out to the balcony. He told me to look at the water. It was so blue. We had no idea the waters outside of Miami were so blue. We knew the water was light blue b/c it was being stirred up by the ship-but outside of that, the water was so navy blue-my pictures didn't capture that, but the wake is pretty.



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OMG this is toooo funny.


We were on the same sailing and right above you!!


The aft wraps were awesome!


Enjoying your review!


Wow-so cool! Hope you had as good of a week as we did.

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Theres 3 of us as well. Did you book directly with the hotel??


Great revies so far. LOOOOVE the balcony!!



I went to their web site about two weeks before we were to leave. There were "cruise Packages" I booked one of those-I did have to pay upfront and it was non-refundable-but I took the gamble.

We actually had our TA book us just a room there originally and it was $190 w/o the taxes and fees and no shuttle. When I saw this online, I canceled the original booking.

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Wow-so cool! Hope you had as good of a week as we did.


We had a great week as well.


Love seeing the same cruise through someone else's eyes!


It was our 2nd time on Liberty and we really like the ship and crew.


I see you liked it as well and booked her again!! Good for you!

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I unpacked all of our luggage. I was surprised at how much storage space there was. I think I did okay with the packing and didn't go too crazy. I will say that I had a power strip and an extension cord that I debated packing-I decided to pack the extension cord...and never used it once. I'll never pack that again. Also, the hair dryer in our cabin was just as good as the travel one I brought-another item I won't bother with next time.


I was pretty impressed with our cabin, the linens, the storage space, everything so far. Having never cruised before I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Also, Carnival just seems to have a bad association for so many people. Many people kind of gave me the impression that it was on the substandard side of cruising. I guess I don't have anything to really compare it to, but we were very happy.


We went to our dinner and met our table mates. They were very nice and we had a very nice dinner. I didn't take pictures in the dining room-sorry. I had: cured salmon and tomato/Chicken a la grecque/the orange spa cake

It was all good. I was again surprised how good it was. The food the entire week was better than what I had expected.


We were tired, but we decided to walk around and see the ship a bit after dinner. My son wanted to find the famous 24 hour ice cream machines-we found it:



The ship was like a ghost town. I guess everyone else was tired and wanted to unpack. There was a movie on the Lido screen and there were a few people wrapped up in blankets watching.


I don't remember what time it was-11:30 maybe when I convinced the guys to head to bed for the night. When we returned to our cabin we found this guy:



We had a great first day and were looking forward to the next one.

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We had a great week as well.


Love seeing the same cruise through someone else's eyes!


It was our 2nd time on Liberty and we really like the ship and crew.


I see you liked it as well and booked her again!! Good for you!


I see you are going somewhere the exact same day as us next year-Liberty or a different ship?

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Day 2:

We slept in a little-every morning I was always the first up. We had hung the room service hanger out the night before for our breakfast to arrive between 9-9:30. I thought I'd sleep until 8:30 or 9, but I was up by 8 and wanting to go outside and check out the balcony and the sea. I tried to go out as quiet as possible. It was so nice to go out there every morning. by about 8:30ish my husband came out.

Here was my son:



We had brought on two bottles of champagne and had one on ice, but the ice had melted in the night and the champagne wasn't very cold. I didn't want to bother our room steward for more ice, but...so eventually our room service came and the ice came and we were having breakfast and mimosas on our balcony. Ahhh. We NEVER want to leave!


The weather has been a overcast since we left Miami here's what it looked like on our first Sea Day:


Not exactly what we had expected, but whatever-we were having a blast just being on this big ship-we weren't about to let some clouds and a little bit of sprinkles here and there get us down. So we decided finally to venture out. My son wanted to go on the slide. We went there and he got two runs in before the weather turned even winder and they closed the slide.


I'm glad he got to go a few times before it closed. I think that was the only time that it was scheduled to be open that it was closed for the entire cruise-so not too bad.


At this point the seas seemed to get a little rougher-but it didn't seem horrible to me. I could see the main lido pool slouch back and forth pretty good-the kids were having fun in there.


Even with the weather being less than optimal-the Chair Hogs were still out. My husband managed to snag one chair while I followed my son around the pools and then we watched the ice carving demo.



We were having a lot of fun. The atmosphere was like a fun party. Fun music, lots to see and do. I was a little surprised at how much fun we were having. I guess that's why they call it the Fun Ship! We watched the mastermixologist and a guy from Syracuse won!


I noticed a block of about 4 or 5 chairs the entire time we had been there were constantly empty with the exception of an item holding the chair. After we were there about 2 hours one of the chairs opened up and I took it. I looked at my husband across the way and told him that the chair next to me had been unoccupied for at least 2 hours-maybe he should abandon his chair and sit in the one next to me so we could be together. Well, out of nowhere comes this woman-"This is my chair!" and plops her I'm guessing 85 year old father in it to "hold" it so my husband won't sit in it. Whatever, we are leaving in about 20 minutes anyway to get changed to take my son to his first Camp Carnival activity. She then asks me when I am planning on leaving AND when I do leave, she'd like me to put her hat on my chair to save it!!! :mad: OMG! Why??? So both chairs can sit empty until dinner??? SO glad I have lounge chairs on my big balcony or I'd probably be really stressed right now.



We left to get changed so I could take my son to a 3pm activity at the camp. Up until this point, he hasn't been too interested, so I "nudged" a bit and tried to sell him on the penny boats activity. He agreed to go, but he didn't seem to excited. He could have stayed until 5pm, but he told me to pick him up at 4:30 after the penny boats. Well, at 4:30 he was asking if I could come back later...he was hooked. He liked it. I'm so glad, I wanted him to be able to have fun with kids his age. From that point on, the Camp became the main focus of what he wanted to do.


That night was Elegant night.


My son wanted to go back to camp, but I wanted him to go to dinner with us. I struck a deal, if he went to dinner with us tonight he wouldn't have to go with us to dinner the rest of the cruise. Sold. He made it though the entrees and then I walked him down to the camp and I returned for dessert. For dinner I had: pumpkin soup, I ordered the stuffed mushrooms and never got them-oh well. Lobster/shrimp/ and warm melting chocolate cake. All very good. I was surprised to see that the lobster tail was Maine lobster. Our servers were very nice and very, very busy.


After dinner we got our son from camp, changed clothes and wandered the ship. We ended up at the aft pool area for ice cream for my son...we will visit this place often during the week!


We did get another towel animal this night-we had one every night of the cruise, I just didn't take pictures of them all.




2 days down and it is getting late...I'll return for day three tomorrow night. I can't access photobucket at work...and oh yeah, and I'm supposed to be doing work at work!

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I see you are going somewhere the exact same day as us next year-Liberty or a different ship?


We booked Dream! I wanted to book Liberty again as I LOVE next years itinerary but was "talked" into Dream. This will be my daughter's graduation cruise!

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Im happy to hear that you enjoyed the Liberty! I had a wonderful cruise last October on Liberty, and would sail on her again. Thanks for your review and pictures. Looking forward to more.:)

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I am enjoying your cruise review as well as your photos. We will be on the Liberty the last week of August...It is so much fun reading everybodys reviews, thanks for posting..looking forward to your next installment:)

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Ok, I see I've got my day numbers a bit messed up...I'm technically now on:


Day 3: Monday

Port today: San Juan, Puerto Rico (5pm to Midnight)


We decided before we left that since we would be in San Juan so late in the day, we would just stay on the ship. From what I understand, there were restaurants, bars, casinos, and some little street vendors that we would miss. We decided we wouldn't miss those things and booked a dinner at Harry's Steakhouse for 7:30pm that night. We were really looking forward to it.


During the day we just kind slept in a bit, then we had breakfast in the MDR. I thought it was very good. This was the only time we did that, my son decided he liked the lido buffet better. I would have liked to have had breakfast in the MDR a few more times. My eggs benedict were very good, could they have been better? I guess a little, but not much, they were quite good. The entire breakfast was very nice.


We hung out at the lido pool for a while, near the water slide, my son loved the water slide. We did witness the Hairy Chest contest-great people watching. It is the Fun Ship and people were having fun. Had DOD. I can't remember much else, we started to fall into a little pattern for the week:

-sleep in a little, b'fast, Lido pool area/lunch/DOD, afternoon drop off to Camp Carnival, nap, Camp pick up, lido pool again, dinner for my son, Camp drop off, 8:15 dinner for us, Camp pick up, wander the ship, bed.


We were loving our time on the ship and didn't care if we ever got off. When we pulled into San Juan, the cruise director Noonan made an announcement. That was good or I would have missed seeing the fort. I took a few pictures from our balcony:





We docked and it started raining. Not a big deal-we're going to the supper club and glad we aren't going into port in the rain. My son discovered his love of room service grilled cheese and chocolate cake tonight-it will be his first of many.:D We then took him to camp for a while while we went to dinner.


Harry's Supper Club was very nice. We had a wonderful night out together-like the "old" days. The food and service were excellent. We had some nice wine. I had the tuna appetizer-it was huge-too much-but I'll find out that is how it is in the supper club, b/c next I had a tomato and cheese (can't remember what kind-it was very good) salad that I could barely eat a 1/3 of...I ordered surf and turf-very good. My filet was very tender and the lobster was better than what we had in the MDR by a little bit. I did think my lobster in the MDR was very good though. For dessert, I had cheese cake-and this piece of cake was HUGE! I ate maybe a third of it. We stayed quite a while, very nice relaxed evening. The club was not busy-but there were about 5 or 6 other parties in there.


Afterward we stayed in our dressy clothes and wandered around a bit. We made it to the Atrium and sat down and had a drink while a women was singing adult contemporary type music. She had a really good voice and she was singing some pretty tough songs to sing-Whitney Houston, Celine Dion stuff. After a while, a break dance duo came in and did a little show, it was cute. We then decided we should probably go get our son and get to bed. When we picked him up, he wanted ice cream (surprise) so, we went to our cabin, changed into shorts and got in our elevator to "DEEK 9 LEEEDOO" Ha Ha! We loved the elevator voice all week-especially-"DEEK SEEKS-UPPPEER DEEK"


We then went down to the Promenade Deck where a large group of people were celebrating 80's night learning how to dance the Michael Jackson "Thriller" dance-lots of fun people watching-everyone was having a great time. I almost wanted to jump in myself-but, I held back-looked like fun though-I had a blast watching.


We decided to head to our cabin for the sail away around midnight from our balcony. The rain had cleared out and it was a beautiful night on our balcony. And I must say-a very comfy night of sleeping-the beds were great and the gentle rocking of the ship-I loved it!


St. Thomas tomorrow. This time we will get off the ship. I'll be back with that tomorrow night with pictures of the pretty blue waters of St. Thomas.

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I am enjoying your cruise review as well as your photos. We will be on the Liberty the last week of August...It is so much fun reading everybodys reviews, thanks for posting..looking forward to your next installment:)


Have fun! I can't wait to go back next April.

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We booked Dream! I wanted to book Liberty again as I LOVE next years itinerary but was "talked" into Dream. This will be my daughter's graduation cruise!


We seriously considered the Dream, that ship looks like it has some neat things on it. I think exploring the ship is half the fun.

We really want to go to HMC though-heard it is great and we've never been, so Liberty it is.

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Day 4: Tuesday

Port: St. Thomas


I woke up as I heard us getting into port and headed out to the balcony to get my first glimpses of St. Thomas:






The weather was looking a little iffy. Not sure if this is normal or what. The guys finally wake up and we go to the Lido buffet for breakfast. Then off the ship:




Long before we arrived at St. Thomas we decided that we wanted to take it easy and relax during our week, so we wanted a beach day. I know Megan's Beach is the beach to go to...but I got nervous over reviews that it gets really crowded. I heard about Emerald Beach and saw some pictures. We decided that we wanted to go there. I also heard that the hotel there does day passes and has a pool. My son has always made a big deal about not liking salt water, so I thought this would give him one day of the cruise to swim in a pool without salt. We booked the day room. We had use of the room from 9am-3pm, the chairs and umbrellas on the beach were included as were towels from the front desk. We got a taxi at the end of the pier. It was a car not the open air jeeps that a lot of people talk about and it was just the three of us. The car was pretty run down and dirty..oh, and no a/c. Lucky for us it was not horribly hot and the windows down were fine. It was about a 20 minute ride to Emerald Beach and we saw the "sights" on the way. Everything was kinda dirty and overgrown. Not what I really envisioned as "paradise".


Soon we were dropped off at the resort and we checked in. I think it was almost 10am at this point and it was really overcast and sputtering rain on and off. Ugh. Went to the room to change then down to the beach. There were maybe 2 or 3 parties on the beach. We grabbed two beach chairs under an umbrella as it sprinkled and my son played in the sand.





The beach slowly started filling in with people. It seemed like the weather may start to improve a bit. Eventually we started to see a lot of Royal Caribbean towels...oh yeah, Oasis of the Seas, the largest passenger ship in the world was docked with us that day. I think it holds around 6000 guests alone-plus all of the crew! yikes! That's double what we have on the Liberty. I can't imagine that I would like that-but who knows? I guess Oasis had to change its port schedule b/c of having to wait a long time on the first night for flights? Not sure if that was true or not. I was a little interested in at least seeing it. They had to dock at Crown Point and we were at Havensight.

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