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Liberty 3-day Trip Report with Pictures

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I'm posting more of a journal than a review but since there aren't a lot of reviews on Liberty, I hope some people will find it helpful. For background, my husband and I are in our late 40s. Really, really late. :) We take mostly short weekend cruises and leave our long vacations for land-based trips. This was a low-key cruise for us because I've been having some medical issues for the past few months. We were just happy to have a change of scene for a few days!

 

Here we go...

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Port Canaveral

 

We were supposed to be in Cancun for Cinco de Mayo, not the Bahamas. But between all the doctor appointments and not knowing how I was going to feel on any given day, I didn’t think I was up for the logistics of airports, layovers and a week away from work. So we cancelled our trip to Mexico and booked something simpler - a 3-day cruise on Carnival Liberty out of Port Canaveral.

 

We checked in at the cruise terminal just before boarding started at 11:45 and didn’t have to wait long before we were on the ship. First stop was the aft bar on Lido Deck to purchase the soda package for Ron and a “welcome aboard” mojito for me. Vacation starts when I have my first mojito. :) Now what was for lunch? Liberty had plenty of options. In addition to the usual buffet, there was a Blue Iguana Cantina, which served tacos and burritos, and a Guy’s Burger Joint. We’d never been on a ship with either a Blue Iguana or a Guy’s Burger so I was looking forward to trying them both. We decided on Guy’s Burger first. Ron had the “Straight Up” burger (with lots of jalapeno peppers from the toppings bar) and I had the “Chilius Maximus”. Yummy!

 

Fortified with cheese, grease and rum, we were off to explore the ship. The layout of Liberty was very similar to Carnival Victory. But while Victory had a water theme with seahorses and mermaids, Liberty’s theme was “Great Artisans and their Works”. There were lots of wrought iron pillars along the Promenade Deck walkways and an enormous wrought iron chandelier with color-changing lights on the ceiling of the atrium. It was pretty in a Carnival-ship way. I especially liked the lights.

 

Atrium

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Promenade

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Normally on the first day of a cruise, I run all over the ship taking pictures of anything and everything. Eventually, Ron gets tired of following me around and parks at a bar until I’m finished. :) But I really wasn’t feeling all that energetic this time so we just took a quick tour of the main public areas before heading to our cabin to relax. We were actually lucky to have a cabin at all! Since we booked the cruise at the last minute, the ship was almost full. When we checked for availability, there were no balcony cabins left and only three oceanview cabins. We’d planned to go through American Airlines since we had a credit from cancelling the Mexico trip, but by the time we’d gone through the whole booking process online, we found out that we couldn’t use the credit for a cruise AND they wanted to charge a processing fee. So we started all over on the Carnival website, but by then all the oceanview cabins had been snapped up. We checked balcony cabins one more time and, lo and behold, one cabin had opened up! The last cabin on the ship. It was definitely not in an ideal location – directly across the hall from the aft staircases and underneath the 24-hour pizza station. But we had a cabin! And a balcony!

 

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Sail away was at 4 o’clock. The Lido Deck was crowded for the sail away party so we opted to watch from our balcony. On the way out of the channel, we passed the large barge that SpaceX uses to land their rockets after a launch. That was pretty neat! In the distance, we could see the launch pads at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. One day I would love to be at the Cape for a rocket launch. We can see the contrails from our coast but it would be amazing to be up close.

 

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We had passed the jetties and were heading out into the open ocean when the ship slowed to a stop and suddenly a bunch of brown mud stirred up from the bottom. Ron commented that the captain must have turned on the thrusters to hold the ship in place while the pilot got off. But after several minutes, we still hadn’t moved. Hmmm… We decided to go up on deck to find out what was going on. There were a few other people at the back of the ship looking down into the water so we went over to join them. From that vantage point, we could tell what had happened by the trail of mud. The ship had turned south and out of the channel before it had passed the last set of channel markers and had run aground. The captain was trying to wiggle us off the sandbar but we weren’t making any progress. I thought, “Well, this might be our shortest cruise ever!” Fortunately, we were still close enough to port that we could be towed back before we ran out of food and alcohol. Priorities, right? :)

 

Finally after about an hour, the captain managed to maneuver the ship enough to get us into deeper water and we were once again steaming towards Nassau. Ron and I guessed that 95% of the passengers never knew there was a problem. Most people were partying by the main pool or had gone inside to get ready for dinner and didn’t even notice.

 

Speaking of dinner…because we’d booked last minute, the only dining option available was late seating. Ugh, I hate waiting till 8:15 to eat. Plus since I wasn’t feeling 100%, I really wasn’t looking forward to holding up a conversation with a table of people I’d just met. We took a peek at the menu posted outside the dining room and nothing on it looked enticing enough to be worth the hassle, so we ate dinner at the Lido Restaurant instead. Ron picked up some vegetable lasagna and salad from the buffet while I ordered a sushi roll from the Sushi At Sea counter. Apparently, Sushi At Sea was just added to Liberty in the past few months. It offered four different kinds of sashimi for $1.50 each, as well as rolls for either $5 or $7.50. I had the spicy tuna roll and it was pretty tasty.

 

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We spent the rest of the evening in Czar’s Palace Casino, playing Black Jack at one of the $6 tables. The dealers were a lot of fun and we ended up playing for almost two hours. The pit boss even offered everyone at our table a free drink, which I don’t think has ever happened to us on a cruise ship before! That was a nice surprise. By the time we were ready to head to bed, I was up $50 and had added a new $1 souvenir chip to my collection. Yay!

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Love your review so far! Going on Liberty at Christmas. Thanks for posting all the pictures!

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Forums mobile app

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Thanks for the review and updated information on the ship. We sailed on her for the Christmas Holidays last year, getting off the ship on Christmas, and spending the day in Disney before driving home (30-40 minutes from the port and Disney). We're booked on her again for the end of June, which will be a birthday and graduation celebration. We decided this time it'll just be us, no family or friends, just time to kick back and relax and enjoy the weekend getaway.

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I'd love to read more. Is "Donkey" still the cruise director? He was great in March. I will be sailing the liberty again in June with my son. We are so excited. Did you try the steakhouse? Also what dive in movies are they playing these days. Any excursions?

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I'd love to read more. Is "Donkey" still the cruise director? He was great in March. I will be sailing the liberty again in June with my son. We are so excited. Did you try the steakhouse? Also what dive in movies are they playing these days. Any excursions?

 

Yes, Donkey is still the cruise director. We didn't eat at the steakhouse because I wanted to try out the new (for us) dining room menus. If it had been a longer cruise, we would have.

 

I believe the movies change each month. Someone recently posted the June movies but I don't remember what they were. You could do a search. They showed odd movies on our cruise - Nacho Libre for Cinco de Mayo and Sea Biscuit for the Kentucky Derby. I think they normally play more current ones.

 

Have a wonderful cruise with your son!

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On to Day 2...

 

Nassau

 

In the morning, we pulled into Nassau Harbor right on time, despite our little detour on the sandbar. Our plan for the day was to get a day pass at Sandals Royal Bahamian. It’s funny how even when Ron and I choose a cruise over an all-inclusive vacation, we still end up at an all-inclusive. :) We decided we’d take a taxi to the resort since that would be quicker and easier than taking the bus, but when we got in a taxi we found out it would be $25. Eek! Prices had gone up!

 

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Soon we were driving up the long flower-lined driveway to Sandals. It was great to be back “home” again. We were there for a week in 2009 and things hadn’t changed much since then. I did notice that they had toned down the pastel blue and yellow paint with more muted colors. And the Manor Building where we had stayed (now called the Balmoral Building) had been remodeled, with balconies added to the oceanfront rooms.

 

It was 11 o’clock by the time we got checked in so all the chairs around the two main pools were either occupied or marked “Reserved”. Fortunately, I remembered that if a reserved chair wasn’t used by 11 o’clock, it was up for grabs. Goodbye “Reserved” sign, hello Susan’s toosh. :) Our chairs were in a great location close to the activities pool’s swim-up bar, where we could watch the staff organizing beer-drinking games. We spent the day just relaxing – Ron mainly hanging out at the swim-up bar while I alternated between reading on my lounge chair and floating around the pool or the ocean. We had lunch at the Royal Cafe, the open-air restaurant between the two main pools. Of course, I had to order a Dirty Banana. No one makes Dirty Bananas like Sandals!

 

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The ship was scheduled to set sail at 6 o’clock, which meant everyone was supposed to be back onboard by 5:30. Ron and I decided that we should leave Sandals at 4 to give us plenty of time to get to the port and maybe do a little shopping at Festival Place before boarding. We took the bus back since the $2.50 bus fare was a lot less painful than $25 for a taxi. All went well until we passed the east end of Cable Beach. Then suddenly, the bus driver turned off the main road and started to weave through residential neighborhoods. Uh oh... We’d accidentally gotten on the #10A bus instead of the #10! Both buses ended up downtown but the 10A took a much more circuitous route.

 

After about half an hour of stopping at what seemed to be every few feet, I started to get really worried. I had no idea where we were or how far we still were from port. I could just picture us on someone’s YouTube video, running down the pier yelling “Wait!” as the ship slowly pulled away from the dock. Ron didn’t seem very concerned though. He said if we missed the ship, we’d just spend the weekend in Nassau. With no passport, money or clothes? No thank you! FINALLY after 45 minutes, we crested a hill and I could see the smokestacks of the cruise ships below. What a relief! No time for shopping. We were back on the ship with 15 minutes to spare. Moral of the story: not only should you give yourself plenty of time to get back to port, make sure you get on the right bus!

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SIDE NOTE - we weren't even close to being the last ones back on board. We were on the ship at 5:15 and Guest Services was still paging people after 6 o'clock. At 6:20 there was still one missing man but we left port anyway. I don't know if they found the guy or not. I hope he was just sleeping in his cabin or something. That was too close for my comfort though!

 

Here's a random picture of the pool deck in the morning before all the chairs were taken:

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Yes, Donkey is still the cruise director. We didn't eat at the steakhouse because I wanted to try out the new (for us) dining room menus. If it had been a longer cruise, we would have.

 

I believe the movies change each month. Someone recently posted the June movies but I don't remember what they were. You could do a search. They showed odd movies on our cruise - Nacho Libre for Cinco de Mayo and Sea Biscuit for the Kentucky Derby. I think they normally play more current ones.

 

Have a wonderful cruise with your son!

 

I think the themed movies is a pretty neat touch. Had no idea they ever did that!

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Liberty is my favorite ship decor wise. LOVE all the lights that change colors! Wish she did better itineraries.

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Thanks for the great review and pictures.

We've been to Sandals Montego Bay 4x and Sandals Royal Bahamian once.

Love Sandals!!!!!!!!!

Patiently waiting for your next post:')

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Sushi At Sea counter. Apparently, Sushi At Sea was just added to Liberty in the past few months. It offered four different kinds of sashimi for $1.50 each, as well as rolls for either $5 or $7.50. I had the spicy tuna roll and it was pretty tasty.

 

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We're sailing on the Liberty for the first time in August. I'm thrilled to learn there's sushi!! Enjoying your report very much.

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Thanks for your pics on Sandals resort! I wasn't sure if day passes were still available as there have been no remotely current reviews of, and there is nothing on thier website referencing them either. Did you contact the resort and pre-purchase or just show up and purchase onsite? Last price I saw was $110pp....is this still correct? I think I saw another thread lately with bus info on it....hoping not too difficult to figure out, as it would certainly be more cost efficient than the $25 taxi there and back! Thanks for any info!

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Thanks for the great review and pictures.

We've been to Sandals Montego Bay 4x and Sandals Royal Bahamian once.

Love Sandals!!!!!!!!!

Patiently waiting for your next post:')

 

We just rebooked our "Mexico trip" except the hotel we wanted to go to was full. So now we'll be going to Sandals Royal Caribbean instead. We love Sandals too. Mexico will have to wait till next year.

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We're sailing on the Liberty for the first time in August. I'm thrilled to learn there's sushi!! Enjoying your report very much.

 

I thought it was a nice alternative to the buffet or dining room and not too expensive. It was open from 12 pm to 10 pm every day so you could have it for lunch or a snack too.

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Thanks for your pics on Sandals resort! I wasn't sure if day passes were still available as there have been no remotely current reviews of, and there is nothing on thier website referencing them either. Did you contact the resort and pre-purchase or just show up and purchase onsite? Last price I saw was $110pp....is this still correct? I think I saw another thread lately with bus info on it....hoping not too difficult to figure out, as it would certainly be more cost efficient than the $25 taxi there and back! Thanks for any info!

 

Day passes are still $110 a person. We called the day before (from Cape Canaveral) to make sure they had availability. The number is 242-327-6400. We paid at the front desk when we got there. I don't think you can purchase in advance.

 

If you take the bus, just make sure you get on the #10, not the #10A or #10B. We've taken the bus several times so we should have known better. :) When the bus pulled up, the driver said "Downtown", which is where we were going so we didn't look close and hopped on.

 

I read that the taxi rates went up on May 1. I need to look for the current prices.

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Time to finish up Day 2...

 

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That night was Elegant Night. We watched a pretty sunset from the balcony while we got dressed for dinner and then headed to our assigned dining room, the Silver Olympian Restaurant. We were seated at a table for four but no one else showed up so we ended up with the table to ourselves. Since our Victory cruise, Carnival had rolled out a new set of dinner menus called “American Table/American Feast” (American Feast for Elegant Night and American Table for the other nights). When the menus first came out, there was a big hullabaloo on Cruise Critic because tablecloths were no longer going to be used on American Table nights. A lot of people felt (strongly) that tablecloths were part of what made cruise dining elegant and special. I figured I’d reserve judgment until I’d had a chance to check things out myself. Honestly, I was more interested in the food than the table decor. I hadn’t been impressed with the first night’s American Table menu and was hoping American Feast would be better!

 

It turned out that the American Feast menu was the same menu they’d started using in 2015 for 3 and 4-night cruises (the one I called the “no more lobster menu”). I ordered the scallop risotto appetizer and grilled shrimp, which were both good although on the small side. The only new item I tried was the malted chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert, which I liked a lot. It had a warm, crispy crust on the bottom and was topped with chocolate hazelnut sauce. Ron went with his old stand-by, the chocolate melting cake. Thank goodness Carnival hadn’t gotten rid of the melting cake. I could only imagine the outcry on Cruise Critic if that ever happened! :)

 

The problem with dinner was that it took FOREVER. It’s hard enough for me to wait till 8:15 to eat, but our appetizers didn’t even get to the table until 9. I was getting pretty cranky by then. Fortunately, there was a large group of guys sitting at a table behind us who kept us entertained. Every time the waiters started to sing the “Happy Birsary” song, the whole group would get up and run over to “help” sing. There were a lot of birthdays being celebrated that night so I don’t know when those guys got to eat their dinner. The waiters seemed to get a kick out of it though.

 

Here's a link to the American Feast menu: http://www.susancrow.com/pdf/AmericanFeastMenu.pdf

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By the time we finally got out of the dining room, the comedy show I’d wanted to see had already started, so we went to the piano bar instead. Liberty’s piano bar was decorated in black and white, with tables and chairs that looked like piano keys. I thought it was cute. Better than the creepy hands in Sensation’s piano bar, anyway! It was a full house around the piano and the musician, Tommy G, had everyone singing along, especially when he played “Come Sail Away” by Styx. He could really hammer those keys! At 11 o’clock he switched to the adult portion of the show and played “The Pussycat Song”. I’d never heard the song before and apparently neither had the girl next to me. We both got the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing. Tommy G pointed out that there are no actual dirty words in the song. It’s just your warped mind. :) We stayed at the bar until 11:30 before calling it quits.

 

Tommy G

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