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sailawaybellaluna

Photo Review! Just off the Carnival Liberty 4-day Bahamas Cruise!

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Hello fellow cruisers!

 

I just returned from a 4-day Bahamas cruise onboard the Liberty, and thought I'd write a quick review!

 

Just testing this pic and I'll be back!

 

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Edited by sailawaybellaluna

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A little about me...If you've read any of my previous reviews (links in sig), you'll notice that I typically travel with my husband, two kids, and my parents. We try and go a couple of times a year together, and have a blast!

 

This trip was a bit different, since I was traveling with one of my childhood best friends. She lives in Seattle, and I'm in Southern California. So, she flew down here and we flew together to Orlando the night before boarding the Liberty.

 

I'd never sailed out of Port Canaveral before, but realized it was about 50 minutes or so from the Orlando airport. Given that we were coming all the way from the West Coast, we'd be arriving late with very little time to do or see anything.

 

I had read on CruiseCritic about Cortrans Shuttle service from Orlando to the port. I looked at the various hotels/motels they service, and decided on the Holiday Inn Express by the airport. No frills, very basic, but my husband had points so it was almost free. There was only a 7-11 next door, but we were able to get our case of water and two bottles of wine. (I wouldn't recommend buying wine at a 7-11, but luckily they had an Apothic red that was decent, and a Clos du Bois Chardonnay). Everything else was kind of questionable. :classic_smile:

 

We ordered in Chinese food, painted our nails, and got ready to be picked up by Cortrans early the next day.

 

Our pickup time was 9:50am - 10:10am, and they arrived promptly at 9:50am. I was glad we were in the lobby and ready!

 

It was a very convenient shuttle service. They carry a large trailer behind the shuttle for everyone's luggage. At only $20/person/way I thought it was a great deal!

 

More to come...

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We made it to the port around 10:45am. We saw the Liberty as well as the Norwegian Epic, Disney Wonder, and a Royal Caribbean ship (I can't exactly remember which one).

 

I was excited to check in for this cruise, not only because it would be my 25th cruise (!!!), but because I realized I would be Platinum this time around! My friend who never cruises was laughing at me over my excitement, but she definitely got the perks of boarding early!

 

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Check-in was a breeze! They quickly looked at our passports, sent us through security, and we went to a small lounge where other Platinum/Diamond/Suite guests were waiting.

 

By around 11:20am, we were being escorted onto the ship!

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I was very excited that my cabin would be ready upon boarding! One huge perk of being Platinum this time around!

 

Now my friend and I took a cruise together back in 2005 on the Carnival Fascination. It was also meant to be a 4-day Bahamas Cruise, but as it happens, Hurricane Katrina came barreling through Miami as a Category 1 (at that time) storm, and ended up creating a wake of damage. Our cruise only turned out to be a 2-day cruise - a quick trip to Nassau and back. The entire situation was quite stressful, and up to this point, had been her only cruise experience!

 

So we considered this a little do-over! I had booked it nearly a year prior when searching for a girls trip that would work over the President's Day weekend. I found a great deal (it turns out I had a casino offer, which was ironic since I don't gamble that much), but it was a steal, so we booked it!

 

We were in Aft Balcony 6450. I absolutely loved this cabin! It is a different layout from a traditional balcony since it is at the very back, flush up against the extended aft corner balconies. Our cabin was shaped like an L, and had two large windows as well as a glass door.

 

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The balcony was amazing! It was so long, and had two chairs, a table, and a chaise lounger! You can see my friend was excited!

 

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More to come...

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We dropped our carry-ons off in the cabin, and made our way up to the Blue Iguana for some burritos! By this point it was beginning to get crowded, with more and more people on board. Blue Iguana was great, as usual!

 

Once we finished eating we decided to head back to our cabin to check out the luggage situation. When I printed my luggage tags, I noticed they said PRIORITY on them. At check-in, the gal mentioned they'd be one of the first delivered. I wasn't too stressed about it since I didn't necessarily need anything from them. However, if you've read about our experience on the Vista in Europe (link in sig), you'll understand why I have a fear of cruising without my luggage showing up!!

 

We decided to go and explore the ship a bit, and also take a tour of the spa! I've actually never done the spa tour, but my friend was interested so we thought, why not?

 

Now, the tour was pretty much a sales pitch for every area of the spa. You have a tour "guide" that walks you to the hair salon, nail salon, acupunture area, ionithermie treatment area, etc. Each specialist gives their talk, and then awkwardly asks who would like to sign up. The first few specialists actually tried handing out a clipboard getting people to sign up for teeth whitening ($129) or a haircut ($69). Errr, no thanks. For me, the best part of the spa tour was the delicious orange infused water I kept helping myself to. 🙂

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The spa tour was meant to last 15 minutes they said, but after about 40 minutes, I was kind of over it. My friend was hoping to get a free sample massage and enter her name in a drawing, but it was now around 3:10pm and I knew the muster was at 3:30pm. I decided to go one more time and check the luggage situation.

 

This would be my third time to ask the luggage porters and guest services if anyone had located our luggage. When I called again, they said one suitcase was missing and couldn't be found. YIKES. 

 

Again, not something I'd normally worry about at this point in the day. But we were sailing by 4pm, so I just wanted the assurance that our luggage was onboard somewhere, even if that wasn't in my cabin!

 

Luckily, right before heading to the muster, both suitcases arrived and both looked like they'd traveled to Cartagena and back! Huge dents in one! At check-in, this was the first experience I've had where one porter is taking luggage for ALL the different ships! We both think it's quite likely our luggage was sent over to the RCCL ship, and returned back to us, just in time! Nevertheless, we were thankful to be sailing with both suitcases!

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Between running back and forth between the spa and our cabin, I did explore a few areas of the ship to grab a few pictures before all the venues were crowded! Here they are!

 

Deck 5 Promenade where the club, Alchemy Bar, coffee shop and casino are located. I actually found this level incredibly smoky! Even when not sitting right outside the casino! As soon as we went down the stairs, you were hit with a layer of smoke. Something to keep in mind if you have a sensitivity.

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Main atrium, and Flowers Lounge:

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Venetian Palace:

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Silver Olympian Dining Room:

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Antiquarian Library:

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Alchemy Bar:

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Piano Bar:

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Casino:

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Edited by sailawaybellaluna

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Around 3:30pm it was time to head out on deck to our muster stations for the safety drill. These are always a drag, but on this particular ship, it was so unorganized and the communication was really lacking. No one in our area was paying any attention, and you really couldn't hear or see any of the staff. Thankfully, we didn't hit any icebergs on this sailing. :classic_smile:

 

One bummer about the safety drill was that we actually left port and started sailing while we were all out there lined up! I was really disappointed by this because I usually enjoy watching the sailaway from the Lido or my balcony!

 

We quickly returned to our cabin, popped open some wine, and watched the ship as it sailed out of Port Canaveral. 

 

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On this evening, we got freshened up and changed before heading to the Golden Dining Room for dinner. We had anytime dining, but we found ourselves getting hungry, so we headed up around 6:15pm.

 

We got a beautiful table for two by the window, and it was so nice to watch the sunset!

 

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Our waitstaff during dinner on this evening was very nice. Service was a bit slow (a solid 2-hours), but I counted on that. I really enjoy the proper dining experience, and don't mind the extra time it takes.

 

I'm afraid I didn't take any food photos on this evening, but I recall having the mahi mahi and it was just ok.

 

After dinner we popped into the casino to play the slots! The machines were either quite old or very new and expensive to play. Oh well, we had fun. My friend never ever gambles and won $15 on a $0.30 spin, so she was happy!

 

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By the time we finished in the casino, we were feeling pretty wiped. Neither of us slept well in the hotel in Orlando the night before, so we decided to head back to our cabin, do face masks and enjoy the balcony for a bit. :classic_smile:

 

Tomorrow we would be arriving in Nassau at 10am!

 

 

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We woke up to a gorgeous day in Nassau! We decided to head up to the Blue Iguana for burritos and bring them back to our cabin to eat on the balcony! One quick note about breakfast...I absolutely love drinking coffee in the morning, but I really struggle with the taste of the coffee onboard Carnival. Yikes. So I took my French Press this time, with a bag of freshly ground dark roast coffee. What a game changer! Every morning when we went up, I had the grounds already in the French Press and simply filled it with the boiling hot water at the coffee stations. It was delightful sitting on our balcony each morning and drinking GOOD coffee! 

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Such a great decision! This was our view during breakfast. The colors were amazing - no filters on these pictures!!

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Nassau was beautiful in terms of the weather! 80 degrees, sunny, and breezy! 

 

Unfortunately there were FIVE ships in port, including the Ecstasy, Liberty, Elation, Disney Wonder AND the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas! SO MANY PEOPLE! It was pretty frantic in town! I've been to Nassau a couple of times prior, but was actually happy we booked an excursion for this day.

 

We were doing the VIP sailing (offered by Carnival), but our tour wasn't leaving until 12:30pm. So we had a couple of hours to do a little walk through town, hit the straw markets and such.

 

Here we are, heading out to explore!

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Around noon we headed back to meet our tour right alongside the pier by our ship.

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There was supposed to be 20 of us doing the VIP Luxury Sailing excursion. We purchased it online from Carnival's website several months prior to sailing. The cost was $105/each and it was described as: Welcome aboard! Start your day with a short one block walk to the marina, where bathroom, changing room and lockers will be available for you. After a quick morning briefing, you will board the beautiful Beneteau Cyclades 50’, a unique French Sailboat. Sail away to the Caribbean for 2.5 hours while enjoying good music and an unlimited variety of cocktails, beer & sparkling wine. Soak up the sun as the attentive crew takes you, weather permitting, to a unique stop where you can dip into the water for a refreshing swim or a quick snorkel session. Enjoy brightly colored corals and tropical sea life while the Captain prepares a delicious lunch onboard served on an original Japanese Bento box with homemade bread basket on the side. After a healthy feast, you can lie back and relax, or join the captain and learn new navigation skills as you sail back to the marina.

 

More to come...

 

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It was a beautiful day, and we were excited to get on the sailboat! As we arrived in the marina, I actually didn't see any lockers or bathrooms, so keep that in mind if you're planning a similar excursion.

 

As we waited, there wasn't a sailboat there, so we actually ended up leaving about 20 minutes late.

 

My first impression upon boarding the sailboat was that it was going to be quite crowded. In fact, 30 passengers were put onto the boat in addition to the 3 crew members, making it a little dicey.

 

We headed out for our sail, and Captain Leslie, a young local guy, gave us a very animated tour of the homes we passed and a history of the island. Meanwhile, one of the crew below started pouring drinks for everyone. The primary beverage they were offering was rum punch, but we opted for champagne. A few others chose beer.

 

Here I am, happy with my champagne and the beautiful turquoise waters!

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I've actually never done an excursion like this, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. 

 

Despite it being a pretty breezy day, we actually motored out, past the homes of many celebrities and finally, to a spot with a reef below. We didn't actually use the sails. They had music blasting pretty loudly, but for the most part they were songs I liked, so I wasn't bothered. Everyone seemed to be having fun and found a little area to sit, since it was quite crowded. 

 

One disappointment was that they didn't actually have enough snorkeling equipment on board for everyone, so that was kind of a bummer. Luckily, people didn't stay out snorkeling too long, so as they returned the gear, others had the opportunity to go in.

 

They had a small kitchen in the galley below, and one crew member worked on making simple sandwiches for everyone. Lunch was served in a bento box, however, it was one box for two people. Kind of awkward if you weren't traveling with someone or if you had a food allergy.

 

There was a small bathroom below with a pump toilet. It was very small, but fine. Unfortunately, as I was heading back up to the top of the boat, part of the glass door (with a huge metal padlock) had slid forward a few inches and my head slammed right into it as I climbed the stairs. Probably not a huge deal for most, but I suffered a pretty bad concussion last June, so this really shook me up and kind of put a damper on the rest of our afternoon. 

 

Nevertheless, I did manage the snorkel a few minutes. This was actually my first time jumping from a boat and snorkeling (I've always snorkeled from shore). I guess I expected it to be amazing, but it was just ok. The waves were pretty severe and with the head bump, I opted not to stay too long in case I started feeling queasy.

 

Once everyone was back on board, all the bento boxes were distributed and lots more drinks were passed. I'm a wine girl, and unfortunately, there was no wine on board. But others continued with the rum punch, shots, etc.

 

They motored up again and finally put out one sail for around 15 minutes.

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It was a beautiful day and we spent about 45 minutes making our way back to port.

 

Overall, it was a good experience, but not sure I'd opt to do it again.

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After returning back to port, we decided to pop over to Starbucks for a drink and a little free Wifi to call our families!

 

We got to the pier and took another pic before getting back on board! Right as we were about to take this pic, the Ecstasy honked their horn and we both jumped! It was so loud!!

 

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We quickly made it back on board and ordered a bit of room service to eat on our balcony while we prepared to sail away. I also got some ice and iced my head! 

 

Tonight would be elegant night, so we took a bit longer to get ready before heading to dinner.

 

We arrived at the dining room around 7:15pm, only to be given a pager and told the wait time for a table would be 30 - 45 minutes. Bummer, but something I've come to expect on formal nights. It seems most people opt for the dining room on this evening, and tonight was no different.

 

Finally, around 8pm we got a table. Service was quite slow, but the staff did put on one of their "fun shows" with dancing, and it was entertaining to watch. Food was fine, not spectacular. I had the Spanakopita which was kind of appetizer-sized. Luckily I had some chocolate melting cake and ice cream to fill me up afterwards!:classic_biggrin:

 

We took a few fun selfies, explored around the ship a bit, and headed back to our cabin. We actually didn't leave the dining room until 10:20pm or so that night!

 

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I think being on the sail boat for the afternoon in the sun kind of took the energy out of us, so we were settled back in our cabin by 11pm. 

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The next day was Princess Cays! And oh my goodness, this was our favorite day of the cruise by far!!!

 

Princess Cays is a tender port, and when we went to sleep the night before, the room steward had left a letter on my bed explaining the tendering process for Platinum guests. Apparently, there isn't a need to wait in line. Rather, you go to Guest Services and are escorted onto the tender. However, this was only available between 8:15 - 9:30am. 

 

We decided to have a relaxing morning on our balcony with our Blue Iguana burritos, so we didn't rush off to get the special tender service.

 

We finally got in line around 10:15am and found ourselves in a huge line, but it did move rather quickly. The tender boats in Princess Cays were the largest I've ever been on, and they were very fast and efficient in getting guests to the island.

 

I wasn't sure what to expect of Princess Cays to be honest. It isn't a private island per se. It's actually part of Eleuthera island. My previous experience of a similar island was CocoCay back in 2011. While I liked that, it did feel kind of manufactured to me.

 

I really wasn't prepared for just how beautiful Princess Cays really was!

 

This was the scene as soon as we stepped off the tender boat.  No filters were used on this photo - that's really how colorful it was!

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As soon as you get off the tender, there are lockers, bathrooms, and a nurse's station. There is also the option to buy bottled water or a few "straw market" type of souvenirs. We had taken a case of 24 water bottles on board when we first got on the ship and just kept refilling the fridge with them. So we packed a bag with 6 to take to the island with us this day.

 

There are tons of lounge chairs spread out throughout the island, and all are free to use. The clamshells and cabanas do require an additional charge.

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More to come...

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We decided to walk down to the very edge of the island, and found a few lounge chairs hidden between some plants and trees. We plopped down and barely had a soul walking by us. It was heavenly!

 

I joked that I felt like we were in a screensaver. Here's the view from my chair, no filters:

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After relaxing and taking in the view, we decided to walk to this little bar hut nearby and order pina coladas. The small was $10 and the large one in the funky cup was $15. Sail and Sign cards worked for our drinks, but those with the Cheers package still had to pay. Cheers wasn't applicable on island. 

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By this time, the BBQ had started. They had several lines (which moved rather quickly) and were handing out paper plates. They were serving hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and salsa, potato salad, broccoli salad, some chicken and a variety of desserts. I recall from the BBQ I had on CocoCay that the food wouldn't be amazing, and I was right. It wasn't that great, but I wasn't bothered at all! The views and the weather were so amazing, I figured we could just eat back on the ship!

 

Also, as soon as we filled our plates with food, tons of black flies descended upon us. So we took a few bites and got rid of it. I hated wasting the food, but at that point, we just couldn't eat it!

 

More to come...

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I had read on CruiseCritic that the shores on Princess Cays are rather rocky, and to bring water shoes. Luckily we did this, and were prepared! I had also packed a bag of snorkel gear, so we decided to walk straight down from our beach chairs and give it a shot.

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There were two designated snorkeling areas, but they each had about a dozen people in them, so we thought we would try down by where we were instead.

 

And I'm so happy we did! It was a slow walk out there, with the rock structures and trying not to step on or damage any sea life, but the moment I stuck my face in the water I was surrounded by brightly colored fish! It was beautiful and the perfect place to snorkel!

 

In case you don't have your own snorkel gear, they did have a little hut on the island where they were renting it out. I'm not sure what the prices were though...

 

After snorkeling, we enjoyed the view from our loungers for as long as we could before heading back to the queue for the tender. The last tender was leaving the pier at 4:15pm, so we went and got in line around 3:45pm. The line was long and didn't move too fast, but it didn't take too long before we were headed back to the ship.

 

The views from the tender were gorgeous!!!

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13 hours ago, Alh0126 said:

Oh man!  Princess Cays looks beautiful!  Ours is going to Nassau and Freeport.

I was so surprised by the beauty of Princess Cays! I'd do another cruise to the Bahamas just to stop there again! Enjoy your trip!!

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I'm loving your review!  Your pictures are fantastic and it looks like you two had a great time. 🙂

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Once we got our tender back to the ship, we stopped quickly at the casino bar and purchased wine to take back to our cabin.

 

Our plan was to enjoy the balcony and watch the sail away. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a medical emergency and the captain delayed our sail away by approximately 2.5 hours. We never heard what had happened to the passenger, but I hope everything turned out just fine and they got the medical care they needed!

 

This evening we got to the dining room a bit earlier - more like 6:30pm and didn't have any problem getting a table for two.

 

The food this night was DELICIOUS! There was a thinly sliced Caribbean-style flank steak with rice and beans that was to die for! We also shared the baked ziti, which was wonderful! I wish I would have taken photos!

 

After dinner we listened to some music in the Flowers Lounge and wandered around some of the shop. The Variety Violin Music with Eureka Strings often played there, and we really enjoyed it!

 

Later this evening we went to the Love & Marriage Show in the Venetian Palace. Now I always go to this show on all of the various cruiselines, so I felt like I knew what to expect. But oh my gosh, this was the most crass one of all! :classic_blink: It was funny, but we were definitely ready to go once it was over!

 

I thought NoNo the Cruise Director did a great job from transitioning from hosting the show, to hosting the "Mega Deck Party"! I never go to those things (not really my scene), but we decided to check it out. It had been moved from the Lido deck to the Flowers Lounge in the Atrium. 

 

Her ability to entertain and involve a crowd is amazing! She has SO MUCH ENERGY! The DJ was also really good, and we enjoyed doing a little people watching. We didn't head back to our cabin until around 1am. It was a great day!!!

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Thanks for the great review so far!  And great photos!

 

We did this cruise last March (2018), sort of - the swells from Nor'Easters the week before closed the Port of Nassau the day we were originally supposed to port there, so we had a sea day to start, then went to Princess Cays, and then Nassau.  PC is definitely a beautiful place!

 

With you being a wine gal I assume you didn't go to Alchemy Bar too much - the Mixologists there were great on both Liberty cruises we've taken, but undoubtedly there has probably been a change in staff, with other great mixologists taking their place(s).

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