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Review: Carnival liberty – september 20, 2015 – southern itinerary out of san juan,


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This is going to be a long and very picture heavy review of our recent cruise on Carnival Liberty on the September 20, 2015 sailing out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is a very port heavy itinerary and the schedule included: St. Thomas; Sea Day; Barbados; St. Lucia; St. Kitts; St. Maarten.

Before really getting involved in the review, I’ll introduce ourselves. On this cruise will be my DH, 52, and myself, 50. We have now been on seven cruises total, six with Carnival and one with Royal Caribbean. Our first cruise was on Carnival Festivale in 1992 for our honeymoon. The next wasn’t until eight years later, then every few years until 2013.

We were on Carnival Liberty in April 2014 for a Western Caribbean cruise and this is the first time we’ve ever repeated a ship. We were also on this same itinerary, out of San Juan, in May 2013 on Carnival Valor. I did reviews for both of those cruises but I promise this one will be different than my past two reviews. On this trip, we did visit some of the same places, but we were able to do and see a lot more on this cruise, so it will be different. For anyone interested in “food porn”, I do have some but not a lot. We went to the first formal night of the cruise and have pictures from that meal, in addition to some others that I was able to take.

Before I go ahead and get started, if any of you have an upcoming cruise on Carnival Liberty out of San Juan before I get this finished, I recommend the following reviews. Even though some of the ships are different (Valor and Victory), the itinerary is the same. Some of the earlier Victory reviews also had a stop in Dominica instead of a sea day, but the other islands are the same. I have read all of these reviews and all are very well done and include some really beautiful pictures:

Valentinebaby1 (Liberty and Valor). Valentinebaby1 and her DH, JKirkN, were on the Liberty cruise with us. Her Liberty review is still in progress but almost done.

Trippingpara (Liberty and Victory)

Dirkgun (Valor and Victory twice)

Stinger-pr (Liberty and Valor)

Deladane (Valor and Victory)

MegnJoe (Valor)

Edited by pghsteelerfan
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Now onto the actual review. Getting the opportunity to go on this cruise is somewhat of a surprise for me…no, it was a huge surprise for me. We cruised on Carnival Liberty last year, April 2014, out of Miami, FL to the western Caribbean and we did this same itinerary, out of San Juan, PR, on Carnival Valor in 2013. After our cruise on Liberty last year, DH stated that we would not be going on another cruise in 2015 because, and his words, he “didn’t want to get burned out on cruising”. He said he wouldn’t mind going on a cruise every couple years, but not every year. He was thinking an all-inclusive resort and I was game with that but I had really been wanting to go on another cruise on the southern itinerary out of San Juan. DH didn’t understand why since we’d just done that itinerary. My reasoning is that, #1, it’s my favorite and to me, the most scenic; and #2, there is just so much to see and do and you can go on multiple cruises on the itinerary and there will still be something new. I told him that if he needed a break then I’d be fine with that. There had been some “arm twisting” on my part for this cruise and he’d just laugh at me and say “you’re unbelievable”.

Since DH just started a new job at the end of July 2014, the earliest we could possibly take a vacation was August of this year, after he’d been in his job for at least a year. By the end of June, we decided on an all-inclusive resort and DH was going to book it that weekend. That same weekend, the weekend before the July 4th holiday, DH proposed three other options for our 2015 vacation…three cruises that were either September 13 or September 20 since we had too much going on in October. Option #1: Carnival Conquest/September 13/Port Everglades, FL (Fort Lauderdale) to Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba. Option #2: Carnival Dream/September 20/New Orleans to Jamaica, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. He stopped there and I asked him what the third option was, then he told me. Option #3: Carnival Liberty/September 13 or September 20/San Juan to St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. Before I made my decision, I asked him if we took the Dream out of New Orleans, would he have enough vacation days to maybe stay two extra nights in New Orleans before or after the cruise, but he didn’t. He has the time, but if he did he wouldn’t have any left to take during Christmas. We were in New Orleans for a week in 1996 and we LOVED it. I told him “don’t you dare tease me with a cruise OUT of New Orleans but no extra time to spend IN New Orleans.” He told me to take a week and think it over. I asked him why the change of heart on a cruise this year…he said he wanted to do this for my 50th birthday (a few months late). He had a feeling I’d choose the Liberty cruise but wanted to include more options. I do have a good DH. Time to start thinking and the more I thought about it that night, the more excited I got…my mind was made up – Liberty out of San Juan. The next morning I told him I didn’t need a week to think, my mind is made up and told him Liberty out of San Juan. We realize that September is prime hurricane season and we have not had the best luck when it comes to hurricanes and vacations with five out of six September vacations affected by a hurricane in one way or another, including a mass evacuation for Floyd in 1999. We’re mainly vacationing in May or summer now. Wondering why book a cruise in September with our history of hurricanes? This year was different…the weather forecasters kept mentioning “El Nino” and that we were definitely in an “El Nino” year. The good thing about El Nino years is that hurricanes have a hard time developing and making it to the Caribbean or east coast due to the strong westerly winds that keep them from forming. We decided to take our chances.

 

 

So that week after my decision was made, DH started checking through Carnival’s website for cabins. We wanted a starboard balcony and you’ll see why once the review progresses. There wasn’t much of a selection so he contacted family friends who are TA’s who specialize in cruises. For the same price, they had better cabin selections available. We discussed our options and he got back to them on July 2nd to go ahead and start booking process. On July 4th, before heading to our friends’ for a cookout and fireworks, we were making full payment on our cruise. I went into Carnival’s website and logged in to check my VIFP status but the cruise wasn’t showing yet but I wasn’t surprised. The next morning, I went to the Carnival site again and there it was, “77 days”. Let the countdown begin!!!

 

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Except for our July 4th festivities, the rest of the weekend was spent booking airfare, which turned out to be a major task as there were no direct flights, many were almost booked, and many got us into San Juan later than we’d like (more on the flights later). We also had to book the hotel for our one night pre-cruise stay in San Juan, the Courtyard by Marriott, Isla Verde (San Juan), which is directly on the beach across from the airport, where we stayed the night before our cruise on Valor in 2013.

 

We had a very busy summer and before we knew it, September was here. I had gotten on the Cruise Critic roll call but hadn’t been very active on that. A couple that I’ve gotten to “know” through CC (we hadn’t actually met) was going to be on the same cruise and invited me, through a “social networking site that I will not mention”, to a roll call there for our cruise, which was more active and where I spent a good amount of time messaging with them and several others that would be cruising with us. I will refer to the “social networking” roll call as “that other” roll call from now on. The excitement was building for September 20. In the meantime, we were checking the website for the National Hurricane Center and sweating bullets each time a tropical wave developed off the west coast of Africa. Some never developed, some stayed way out at sea and then there was “Danny”, which affected the islands on our itinerary a few weeks before our cruise. That forced Carnival to change Liberty’s itinerary and cancel one of the five ports, St. Kitts. One that I have been wanting to get back to since it rained most of the day our first time there.

 

Packing…it was two weeks before our cruise and I had gotten some things together but really hadn’t started packing. What was I waiting for??? The last minute??? Then on the morning of September 7, I happened to be on CC and saw the thread about Liberty being evacuated and the cause for the evacuation was an engine fire while they were docked in St. Thomas. HOLY CRAP!!!! We’re supposed to be on Liberty in two weeks!!!!! I, along with the others on our “social networking site” roll call (which I will refer to as “the other” roll call in the future) were constantly monitoring that thread for updates. We did not expect an answer about our cruise, but any information might give us some idea on whether or not our cruise would be affected and how and whether we should put a back-up plan in place, just in case. We had non-refundable airfare so we were flying to San Juan regardless. So, as a “just in case”, we booked the Courtyard/Isla Verde the additional 7 days (9/20 – 9/27) with no penalty for cancellation if done by September 17. Granted, it wouldn’t have been the cruise I’d been really looking forward to but a week’s vacation in Puerto Rico is not a bad option, at all. We’d have extra time to really explore Old San Juan, and the forts, and have time to be able to finally see El Yunque, Vieques, possibly Culebra & maybe a drive over to the west coast. I’ve heard a lot about Isabela, PR, from a friend who spent time there this past January. I felt terrible for several others on our “social network site” roll call since they had booked their cruises way in advance and one had worked many hours of overtime to make this vacation happen. We continued to follow the thread on CC for updates and a few days later, the good news came that Liberty would be sailing back to San Juan. Most of us on the “that other” roll call were watching the webcams as Liberty pulled away from the dock in St. Thomas that night and headed back to San Juan, on her own. We were hollering and cheering…well, that was me, I couldn’t hear the others. We still weren’t sure if our cruise on the 20th would be affected or not, so we waited to see how the September 13 sailing went, since Liberty was set to cruise as scheduled. September 13th rolled around and Liberty set out on her regular itinerary out of San Juan. Time for me to start packing!

 

The rest of that week was spent packing and taking care of other last minute things around here, going over last minute details with our neighbors who were watching our cats and taking care of mowing the lawn while we were gone. Then on Wednesday, September 16, we received an email from Carnival with “Important information regarding your Carnival Liberty September 20, 2015 cruise” in the subject line. Oh no!!! Was this bad news about our cruise? I was afraid to read it, I didn’t want to read it but I forced myself to. It was an email reminder to register for the cruise ahead of time (done) and that check-in for the cruise was from 2:30PM – 8:30PM and for comfort and convenience, not to arrive for check-in prior to 2:30PM as seating in the terminal is limited. WHEWWWW!!!!!! Not cancelled, no itinerary change, just the friendly reminder to register and when boarding time was. This would come into play later. When DH got home from work on this evening, he cancelled our hotel reservation that we booked as a “just in case” from 9/20 through 9/27.

 

 

Finally, the Friday, September 18th was here! We get up at 5:30AM normally, and it was a “work day” for DH. At 6:00AM, we did the online check in for our flight the next morning, 23 hours in advance of our flight. We knew this flight was almost booked when we made our reservation and are well aware that the airlines overbook flights. We did not want to take any chances of being “bumped”, so that’s why we did the on-line check in 23 hours in advance. By this time, I’m packed but DH hasn’t started yet, but this is nothing new. My day was spent doing all of the house cleaning because I know I’ll be facing “Mt. Washmore” (laundry) and ironing when we return. I get DH’s suit case out while he’s at work. He had a “team building” exercise at work that day, which meant they’d be leaving early, getting him home between 4 and 5PM instead of sometime after 7PM. I mentioned the flights and that fiasco earlier. We ended up with a 5:10AM flight out of Washington Dulles that had a connection in Charlotte, NC that would get us into San Juan at 11:50AM. Out of all the already booked flights (the direct from Dulles to San Juan, on another airline, was no longer available – booked), long delays between flights, etc., etc., this was the option that appealed the most to us. OK, ask me that again when our alarms are going off at 1AM the morning of September 19. Most weekend nights where we are still up at 1AM or in the process of getting ready to go to bed. DH gets home at 5:30PM and tells me about his day, does a little packing, break for dinner, does a little more packing and before we know it, its 9PM. Nope, not happening. That was when we wanted to be in bed. We’ll try for 10PM, any later we might as well stay up. Finally done with packing and all last minute things. It’s 10PM and turning the lights out – that goal met, success.

Edited by pghsteelerfan
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Saturday, September 12, 2015 (Pre-cruise)

 

 

1AM….Beep, beep, beep, beep!!! The dreaded alarm. What were we thinking when we booked a flight at this crazy hour way before the buttcrack of dawn!!! Normally I’d be excited. We’re going on a cruise! But this morning I didn’t feel it because three hours of sleep is just not enough, I was tired and just wanted to crawl back into bed. But there was no time for that, we had to get ready then get everything loaded into the car. We each had a larger suitcase to be checked in at the airport, a carry-on for each and my camera bag as my “personal item”. Tired as we were, we accomplished this and were in the car pulling out of our driveway at 2:20AM.

There is not much traffic at this hour, so we made it there in 20 minutes but by the time we parked and got to the airline’s check-in counter, it was just about 3:00AM. There are others waiting in line and we got in line behind them. One of the check-in agents told us we might as well have a seat because the check-in counter doesn’t open until 3:30AM. We took a seat for about five minutes then others got up and started forming a line, so we got in line behind the first groups so we wouldn’t be toward the end. The same ticket agent told us to use the airline check-in kiosks when the counter opened at 3:30AM and then when finished, he instructed us to take our check-in suitcases to the counter. At 3:30AM, another check-in agent got to the counter and said they were now open. There were about five kiosks in that group, but all were being used by those who were in front of us in line. When one of the others finished, we took our turn but it didn’t seem to be working. The agent came over and asked if we needed assistance and helped us out. The “problem” was because we had already done the on-line check-in and prepaid the $25.00 for each suitcase (total of $50, which was right on the sheet DH had printed out) that was to be checked-in. We had the paperwork printed out, including boarding passes. The agent told us that we didn’t need to use the kiosk check-in and that we just needed to take our check-ins to the counter. Why didn’t he say so before? He escorted us to the other gal working the check-in counter and they asked if we had one or two suitcases to be checked in and we told them “two”. Only one was coming up when we used the kiosk that wasn’t necessary for us. He asked us where our flight was to and we told him we were flying to Charlotte, NC, where we would be getting our connecting flight to San Juan. He asked if San Juan was the final destination and we told him it was. He asked if both of us were flying to San Juan…”YES, both of us.” He took my suitcase and gave it to the other gal who put it on the weight scale (40 pounds) and put the stickers on it. Next he took DH’s suitcase, also well within the weight limit, but he didn’t have the sticker that needed affixed to the suitcase, so he grabbed a sticker from the counter in front of the female check-in agent and attached that to DH’s suitcase. Finally!!! We were officially checked in and made our way to security. Security was a breeze and I do have to hand it to the TSA at Dulles, they keep it moving fast and as a bonus, they’ve always been polite and actually friendly. Once through security we were on our way to the gate. We got to our gate at 4:00AM then checked around to see if any places serving a quick bite to eat were open. Nope, too early. There were some coffee places but I decided to wait for coffee.

 

 

Washington Dulles International Airport at our gate right after we took our seats:

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Our plane:

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DH went to get something to drink that we could share and then we waited to board our flight. We boarded our flight around 4:50AM and got our seats and the flight left right on time at 5:20AM.

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The flight to Charlotte, NC, was uneventful and smooth and was only to be an hour and a half. It was a smaller plane but when they came around with the beverage carts and asked what we’d like to drink, we each asked for a “Coke”. Surprise, surprise, they gave us each a whole can in addition of the plastic cup of ice that isn’t much larger than a shot glass. Wow!!! Usually the just fill that little glass up and that’s all you get.

 

On the plane

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Yours truly and DH

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View from the plane

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I am sure you will love this itinerary, it's my favorite. Thank you for following.

 

 

Yes, I will!! I sailed the exact itinerary and week last year but on the Valor. I'm excited to see Liberty with upgrades. Also looking for different things to do on each island so I look forward to see what you're doing!

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We got into Charlotte a little earlier than scheduled. When getting off the plane, we actually had to use stairs down to the tarmac and then enter the airport that way. Even though our connecting flight was through the same airline, we had to walk all the way over to the other side of the airport. It was at least a half hour walk!!! By the time we got to the gate, we only had about a half hour before we’d start boarding our 8:00AM flight to San Juan.

 

 

The plane that would take us from Charlotte to San Juan

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The time went pretty fast and we were boarding and on our way, on schedule, to San Juan!

 

 

My plan was to catch a few zzzzz’s on the flight to San Juan, but that wasn’t happening. There was a very talkative toddler a few rows behind us that proceeded to talk, non-stop and loudly (in that high pitched, squeaky toddler voice), for the first two hours of a four hour flight. Making it worse, this kid would suddenly start shrieking, and it was ear piercing. It would start with a growling sound, then turned into a full on shriek. I’m guessing that this is when the parents/guardians were trying to encourage the toddler to use an “inside voice”. I have nothing against kids, but I was tired and just wanted to get some sleep. Since our flight was scheduled to land in San Juan at 11:50AM, and our hotel was a five minute taxi ride to the hotel (we did this in 2013, so we knew) we’d hopefully be able to be in a lounger on the beach by 12:30 or 1PM and I could get a little cat nap in there.

 

View from the plane right after we took off from Charlotte

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On flights, I always try to get a window seat. For the views of the Old San Juan, the forts, and the piers, a seat on the left side of the plane is what you want. I was on the left. About a half hour after takeoff, I noticed we were flying over a large body of water, a lake. Santee Lake/Lake Marion? There was a bridge over a narrow section of the lake – could that be I-95 where it crosses over the lake? I confirmed later that it was in fact Santee Lake/Lake Marion and that was the I-95 Bridge that I saw over the lake. How did I know? I’m all too familiar with that trip when we take I-95 down to Hilton Head, SC, where we’ve spent umpteen family vacations over the years and that’s one of the narrowest, if not the narrowest, spots on the lake.

 

 

I believe this is Lake Norman, right outside of Charlotte, NC

 

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From my seat on the plane

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Santee Lake/Lake Marion, South Carolina

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South Carolina's low country

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Yes, I will!! I sailed the exact itinerary and week last year but on the Valor. I'm excited to see Liberty with upgrades. Also looking for different things to do on each island so I look forward to see what you're doing!

 

We also loved Valor. Even with the upgrades, Liberty isn't much different than Valor and the only noticeable changes that we saw are on Lido Deck with the Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. We LOVED the Guy's Burgers. Liberty's decor is also our favorite, beautiful atrium.

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We also loved Valor. Even with the upgrades, Liberty isn't much different than Valor and the only noticeable changes that we saw are on Lido Deck with the Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar. We LOVED the Guy's Burgers. Liberty's decor is also our favorite, beautiful atrium.

 

 

Good to hear. We loved the Valor too, but I'm looking forward to tryingGuy's burgers. Will you be posting pictures of menus/fun times?

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Shortly after that, I could tell we were flying over South Carolina’s “low country”, the coastal areas by the landscape with all the little rivers. Less than 10 minutes later, I noticed off to the left a large inlet. I knew we were south of Charleston and know there is a large inlet between Hilton Head Island, SC, and the other islands just to the north. Since we’ve vacationed in Hilton Head, we know that the island is referred to as a “foot” for directions (it’s in the “heel”, “toe”, etc., etc.). Well sure enough, that next island I could see in the distance was in fact, Hilton Head!!! My first time seeing it from the air.

 

Hilton Head Island, SC

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Now over the ocean. The sky was beautiful.

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We flew out over the coast somewhere in Georgia a few minutes later. Not long after that, I noticed land again. Bahamas? No, wait…launch pads! We were flying over Cape Canaveral, FL. I’ve seen mention of seeing if from planes in other reviews and even some pictures of it from a plane several years ago in a review. Now we got to see it too! I was only able to get one good picture.

 

Cape Canaveral, FL

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I knew that one of our old friends, Carnival Valor, would be at Port Canaveral that day since she cruises from Saturday – Saturday mostly now. If we’d have flown a little more to the south, I may have been able to see her in port from the plane, but I wasn’t able to. Maybe someone on the right side of the plane could see her though.

A short time later, we were flying over the Bahamas, but which islands I didn’t know. I decided to use my smart phone and get on the wifi through the airlines and used “Map Quest” just for kicks. It worked!!! It tracks where you are and where you’re headed. We were currently over the northern section of the Bahamas’ Island of Great Abaco.

The Bahamas

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After flying over Great Abaco, it would be open ocean until we got to Puerto Rico, with a mix of a few clouds here and there. At one point I noticed something in the water below us…a cruise ship! At the time I had no idea which one it was but could tell through the camera lens that it was one of Royal Caribbean’s. I later referred to one of my favorite cruise ship/port schedule websites and it had to have been Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, returning to Fort Lauderdale from St. Kitts.

Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas

 

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Zoomed in

 

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It got me to thinking about our cruise and the excitement was building. The rest of the flight there was nothing to see except ocean and a few clouds. Just before 11:30am, the announcement was made that we’d be landing about 15 – 20 minutes ahead of schedule. At around 11:30AM, we got our first glimpse of Puerto Rico.

 

First views of Puerto Rico

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Edited by pghsteelerfan
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I remembered seeing that same area from our last cruise out of San Juan and knew that Fort El Morro and Old San Juan would be coming up and would be visible from the left side of the plane. As we flew over, I got a lot of pictures and continued getting pictures. Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas was docked at the Isla Grand cruise terminal. There were no cruise ships docked at the Pan American Pier, where we’d be getting on Carnival Liberty the next day. I got more pictures as we got closer to the airport then saw the Courtyard just before our plane landed. I hear the beach calling!!!

First views of San Juan as we flew in:

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Fort El Morro

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Old San Juan and cruise ship piers, where Liberty will be tomorrow

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Edited by pghsteelerfan
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Keep up the great job with the pictures! We just visited San Juan, and it's really interesting to see the views from above. Your review is very unique and a different style from most of the others, love the attention to detail. Subscribing to this review.

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Keep up the great job with the pictures! We just visited San Juan, and it's really interesting to see the views from above. Your review is very unique and a different style from most of the others, love the attention to detail. Subscribing to this review.

 

Thank you, I do appreciate that you're enjoying the pictures. San Juan is just beautiful, even from the air. I'd love more time here someday. I typed up a journal after our cruise, mainly for me, but decided to use that for the review. It's much easier to cut, paste and insert pictures.

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After we got off the plane, we made a quick pit stop then went directly to baggage claim. By the time we got there, the luggage was already on the carousel. The carousel at San Juan airport is kind of like a serpentine and I saw my suitcase over on the other end. I told DH I was going to get mine then ran over to it. Another gal noticed that I was trying to get it and asked if it was mine and I let her know I was pretty sure it was and she grabbed it for me. That was very nice of her and I thanked her. Yes, it was my suitcase. DH made his way over to where I was since that was the back end and it was crowded at the other end. We waited and waited and still no sign of DH’s suitcase. After about 20 minutes, all of our fellow passengers had collected their suitcases and had left the baggage claim area. There was on black suitcase that continued around without being claimed. DH had checked that one before and it wasn’t his. We waited about five more minutes, just in case, but no suitcase. DH checked that other suitcase once more as it came around. Definitely not his.

We made our way over to the baggage claim counter and let the girl working there know that DH’s suitcase was missing and gave her the baggage claim stub. She asked for a description and DH described it to her. She handed us a brochure with all different shapes and sizes of suitcases, so we showed her the one that resembled his the closest. She put our information into the computer and was able to track DH’s suitcase…it was definitely not in San Juan or even in Charlotte, NC. It was in Louisville, KY. Louisville, KY?!?! What the heck?!?! How did it end up in Louisville, KY????

Remember the ticket agent back at Washington Dulles who instructed everyone to use the kiosks to check in without notifying those of us who did on-line check in prior to arriving at the airport? The same check-in agent who seemed confused that both of us were going to San Juan? That same check-in agent who just grabbed one of the luggage stickers off the counter in front of the other check-in agent and put it on DH’s suitcase? He grabbed a sticker that was supposed to be on another traveler’s suitcase and put it on DH’s. That traveler was going to Louisville, KY. That lone suitcase that was left circulating over and over on the carousel in San Juan was probably supposed to be in Louisville, KY, and DH’s was supposed to be in San Juan.

After the gal working the baggage claim desk made a few phone calls, she informed us that there were no other flights from Louisville to San Juan and informed us that DH’s bag would be on a flight leaving Louisville, KY, at 8:00AM the next morning, scheduled for arrival in San Juan at 1:00PM. From there, it would be delivered to the ship (we had provided all of our hotel information, our cruise ship and the schedule). She also asked for our itinerary, just in case it didn’t get to San Juan on time so they could arrange to have it sent to one of the ports, so we gave her that information. She took both of our phone numbers that they could call with updates and also gave us a website where we could check on status. She said the airline would call us once the suitcase arrived in San Juan and was on its way to Carnival Liberty. He was also told that he’d have up to $300.00 to spend on clothing IF the suitcase didn’t get to him within X number of days. I forget. We asked her what would happen if the suitcase did not arrive in time for Liberty’s departure and she said they’d contact us and try to make arrangements to have it sent to our first or second port.

This is just great. DH brought a carry-on but only had a bathing suit, the travel documents we needed (Fun Pass, hotel, etc., etc.), an I-Pod, a couple sports magazines, and his camera and video camera in it. No extra clothes…nothing, zilch. What was he thinking?!?! I always have extra, always. Why didn’t we “cross pack”? Well, I prefer to pack at least a few days before whereas he prefers to wait until the last minute. That would not work. I pack what I need in the carry-on, but I pack extra, a few days extra, just in case.

Once that got squared away we made our way to the exit and the taxi pick-up area and got a cab for two to the Courtyard, which is only about a five minute ride since it’s basically right across the road from the airport. The total came to just about $15.00 (fare to hotel was about $12.00, $1.00 per bag, and $1.50 fuel surcharge). It was a very short ride to the hotel, about five minutes. Our driver was a super sweet gentleman who actually talked to us. The weather came up and he said that they really needed rain, asked about the cruise, which ship and where we would be going and such. The “engine fire” came up and we laughed and said “yeah, that’s our ship” and let him know that as far as we knew, we would still be cruising. The ride went quick and before we knew it, we were at the hotel. It was so good to be back! We really enjoyed our stay the last time and this will be our “go to” hotel for any future cruise we take out of San Juan. Our driver got our luggage out and DH handed him a $20.00 and when he went to get change, we told him to keep it. We thanked each other and said our goodbyes.

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Right before we entered the hotel, the porters took our luggage then asked “only one?” and DH told him about the airline shipping his to Kentucky by mistake. Once we got inside, we went to the check-in counter where we were greeted by a really sweet gal. We knew that check-in wasn’t officially till 3:00pm, but we figured we’d try.

Brochure for the Courtyard by Marriott, Isla Verde

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We were able to check in, even though it was around 12:30pm. As we were going through the check-in process, DH asked the gal if the hotel provided “emergency kits” that had a toothbrush and tooth paste. She said they had them for sale in the gift shop and asked DH if he forgot his and he told her about the airline losing his luggage. She said they did have those and grabbed a set under the counter. It included a toothbrush, a very small supply (in a packet) of tooth paste, sample sized mouthwash and deodorant. The sets under the desk only had women’s deodorant, so she went to one of the back areas behind the counter to get a deodorant for men.

 

It seemed to take a while, at least five minutes, but she finally returned. At that time, she let us know that she was giving us an upgrade on the room to a junior suite that would have an ocean front view. Wahoooooo!!!! Things were starting to look a little better. She also had the men’s deodorant with her and gave that and the rest of the supplies to DH. We had originally booked an ocean view room that was to be on a lower floor. We had an ocean view on our last visit but were on the 8th floor and thought the view was great. Before she handed us the keys, our front desk clerk asked if she could assist us any with the lost luggage situation and asked if it was going to be delivered to the hotel, but we told her they were sending it out the following morning and it was supposed to be delivered to our ship. DH asked if there were any shopping areas nearby where he could pick up a few extra items of clothing and she told us about two malls that were close by. We let her know that we were planning on enjoying the beach, but would need to make a shopping trip that evening. She let us know that there would be plenty of cabs outside the hotel and just come down when we were ready. She let the luggage porters know that we were on our way to the room and let us know our luggage would be there shortly. We thanked her and made our way up to the room.

Edited by pghsteelerfan
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Hey Holly! Remember me? I am SO GLAD you had a chance to cruise on Liberty again. She is my FAVORITE ship. I am so bummed she is going to TX! After we sailed Liberty in January, we got a great deal on Pride and sailed her on a B2B in May. We are booked on her again for next March, but my heart still belongs to Liberty! :p I LOVE ALL your pictures and am always so amazed that you can identify where you are from way up in the air! And how awesome it must have been to look down and see a ship cruising along in the middle of the ocean. :eek: Thanks for sharing yet another great adventure. Can't wait for more! :):)

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