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A First-timers Review: Carnival Liberty 5-2-2009 (with photos and capers)!


Hollybelle

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We recently returned from our 7 day Liberty cruise to the Western Caribbean and I thought I’d write a report detailing our first cruise experience! I’m new around here and new to cruising; however, I’m not new to chronicling our adventures in an online journal/trip report fashion. My boyfriend, Brett, and I (both 27) are avid Disney fans and we usually spend our vacation time at Walt Disney World. So, if you’re interested in a little background on us, or just curious about Disney, you can check out my most recent trip report for Disney’s Marathon Weekend 2009 over on another forum: http://forums.wdwmagic.com/showthread.php?t=404473. I hope its okay that I post this link here; if not, would someone please let me know and I’ll gladly remove it.

 

An Introduction:

The cast includes myself, Holly, and my boyfriend Brett (both cruise newbs), as well as my parents, Rick and Kim, who have logged four cruises in the past two years. At this point they’re just feeding the addiction for a habit they're kicking themselves for not picking up long ago! And I can’t forget Panchito Beakman, the colorful parrot Brett befriended a couple years ago and brought home to me. He might just make a few appearances throughout this here report, considering he stowed away in an effort to visit his Caribbean roots.

 

Myself and Brett, winos:

 

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My parents, Rick and Kim, cruise junkies:

 

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Panchito Beakman, stowaway:

 

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Itinerary (Saturday May 2-Saturday May 9):

Port of Miami

Fun Day at Sea

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Fun Day at Sea

Cozumel, Mexico. No wait… Roatan, Honduras. Just kidding… Belize City, Belize.

Fun Day at Sea

Port of Miami (aka “It’s All Over but the Crying” Day)

 

Staterooms:

My mom, who is insanely good at shopping around for cruise deals, booked this one in early March for the low price of $399 per person. It was an inside cabin, which I believe was somewhere on Riviera Deck 1. A couple weeks later the price appeared again, but for staterooms on Panorama Deck 10. After a quick phone call to Carnival we were booked for inside rooms 1039 and 1041 on the Panorama Deck!! The rooms were incredibly clean and quiet and in a prime location with easy access to all things Lido… we couldn’t have asked for more.

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Day 1, Saturday, May 2: Airport Drama, Cruise Check-in and Mom’s Birthday!

 

Our flight was scheduled to leave Charlotte (CLT) at 7:50 am and arrive in FLL by 9:50. We arrived at CLT and took our time parking the car. Trying to check in at the kiosk, we faced some issues so we went up to the desk. At this time it was 7:06 or maybe 7:07 depending on whose watch you were referencing, and the check in attendant informed us that we were too late to make the flight, seeing as how we were not the requisite 45 minutes early. News to us! And believe me when I tell you I’m a worrier and like to always be early when I’m going somewhere. So are my parents, so this is totally uncharacteristic of us not to be aware of the rules (if we’d known, we would have been closer to two hours early). Lesson learned. We take full responsibility for not knowing the rules and it was our fault we were late (albeit, by 1-3 minutes), but the attendant could have been more sympathetic to our plight and at least provide us with options for what to do next. We were willing to be split up and some of us fly to FLL, some to MIA, whatever would get us there. But she kept telling us our only possibility was to hope we could go standby on the 9:50 flight, which was already overbooked.

 

Long story longer… seeing that we were getting nowhere with her we made our way through security and found the airlines’ customer service desk where a supervisor provided us with the options we were hoping for. Without getting into the horrendous details that resulted in us having to leave security, make arrangements on the other side and get back through security, all while running through the airport and begging like crazy “amazing racers,” we miraculously boarded a 9:50 flight to MIA. Believe me when I tell you it's much more exciting to watch people do it on tv. I wasn’t comfortable until the wheels of the plane left the ground and even then, I was doubtful that our luggage would meet up with us in Miami. Shock of all shocks… someone must really be on our side because the luggage found its way to the carousel at MIA baggage claim. Can I get a “Hip Hip Hooray!” for the grounds crew at CLT!?

 

Afraid that something else would happen before we got on the ship, we quickly hopped in a shuttle, bypassed the grocery stop we were going to make (for wine) and arrived at the Port of Miami by 12:45. This is what we found:

 

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The line snaked through the whole terminal, through an outside queue, and around the building. Apparently, someone on the previous sailing was contagious (I think I heard noro, not swine flu) and they weren’t taking any chances. The ship was literally being disinfected from top to bottom and the boarding process wouldn’t begin until 1:30.

 

RELIEF! We were all so completely fine with standing in line no matter how long it took, because we’d made it. And there was a time that very morning when I didn’t know if we’d be getting on the ship at all. We got really lucky.

 

We were quite possibly the happiest four people you could find standing in the heat outside the cruise terminal that day:

 

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Disclaimer: "Good hair days" were on hiatus for the duration of this cruise!

 

While waiting in line a Carnival representative came through and handed out information on the itinerary change from Cozumel to Roatan and asked us each to fill out and sign a short notice that we had not been exposed to swine flu. After about an hour the line began to move and we made our way through security and upstairs to another line for our Sail and Sign card. Then we had a seat and waited for our zone to be called so we could board the ship. Shortly thereafter we found ourselves entering the lobby on deck 3.

 

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I believe we were on the ship by 3pm. All told, I’d say it took us an hour and a half to get through once the line actually began to move. Not too bad, considering the mass of people they had to move through each area before boarding.

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While waiting for you to post more I read your WDW Marathon report and have to say that was an amazing report, very well written and the pictures were great!

Can I ask what type of camera you have ??

 

Thank you! The camera I am currently using is an Olympus Stylus 800, and is actually quite a few years old. The camera used during the actual marathon is an even older one (we were a bit afraid to carry the good one the whole way :eek:), but was also an Olympus.

 

Many of the pictures I take receive some kind of "post processing" in photoshop. Just the basics, like cropping and tweaks to brightness/contrast.

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Oh my gosh, we were on the same cruise! Wish we had met you and your parents - husband and I are in our early 50's and have also cruised four times in the past two years. We were on Liberty in February and decided to go again in May - I would leave on a cruise tomorrow if I could, having serious cruise withdrawal. We were on Lido in a balcony cabin and loved it. Isn't a cruise wonderful!?!

Pam in KY

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This is starting out as a GREAT review...can't wait to read the rest--the Liberty was my last cruise, and some of our party actually had 1041. I was in 1051, just a few doors down and across the hall! :)

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Great review so far. I would love to see the capers if you have time. We will be on this itinerary in August on Liberty! What nights were the formal nights?

 

Thanks! I'm going to post the capers at the beginning of each day. However, if you'd like to have the actual scans PM me your email address and I'll send them.

 

Formal nights were Sunday (Sea Day 1) and Thursday (Port Day 3-for us Belize City). I was a little surprised the second formal night wasn't on Wednesday, seeing as it was also a sea day.

 

Oh my gosh, we were on the same cruise! Wish we had met you and your parents - husband and I are in our early 50's and have also cruised four times in the past two years. We were on Liberty in February and decided to go again in May - I would leave on a cruise tomorrow if I could, having serious cruise withdrawal. We were on Lido in a balcony cabin and loved it. Isn't a cruise wonderful!?!

Pam in KY

 

Small world, indeed!! Ooh, I bet the balcony cabins on Lido were great... the convenience and location of those upper levels just can't be beat. And yes, I've been won over by cruising. I'm ready to book another one!

 

This is starting out as a GREAT review...can't wait to read the rest--the Liberty was my last cruise, and some of our party actually had 1041. I was in 1051, just a few doors down and across the hall! :)

 

Thanks so much for the compliment! I was really satisfied with 1041. Not once did we experience any kind of noise or other issues. Putu wasn't, by chance, your room steward was he? He was fabulous!!

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Thanks for the interior pics! I just booked her for January!

 

Im glad to see a Liberty review and pictures, we're cruising on her in Septmeber. Looking forward to the rest.

 

Great review so far...looking foward to the rest (and more pictures of course)!!!

 

 

Thanks everyone!! I'm so excited to get this report going!

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I need to stop reading cruise reviews when they are still on the first page. Especially when the review starts off this good.

 

That's high praise coming from you! Thank you. I really enjoyed your recent review of the Victory.

 

Question... for you or anyone else who might know the answer. It looks like I can only multi-quote three posts at a time. Is this a forum set up or something I can change in my personal settings?

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Starving like everyone else who'd been standing in line, we made our way up to the Lido deck for some food and cold beverages! I noticed Purell hand sanitizers attached to the walls and I thought nothing of it other than, “hey what a smart idea,” until my mom said she’d never seen them on the ships before. So they must be a response to all the swine flu chaos, but I’m thinking they should leave them up even after the outrage dies down. Effective or not, it certainly can’t hurt.

 

After burgers and beer (mmm… beer!), we went to check out the staterooms and saw that our luggage had arrived.

 

1041, Panorama Deck:

 

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As you can see, our stateroom was made for two! There weren’t any drop down bunks and the bed took up all the floor space, with enough room to walk around it on either side. While you can’t use the word spacious to describe it, it was certainly large enough for the two of us and there was plenty of storage space with lots of shelves in the bathroom. Brett can be a little claustrophobic and I was worried about this with a small room and no windows, but he was perfectly fine and never bothered by it. I wouldn't hesitate to book this exact same room again. It was also nice and quiet on our hall.

 

Not wanting to waste any time we headed back out to Lido (our room was so conveniently close!) where we found some comfy chairs and a wonderful young man heading our way with a bar tray…boy, was he ever a sight for sore eyes! He took our order and was back in a flash with two cold coronas for the guys and heavenly classic margaritas with a splash of blue curacao for the birthday girl and myself!!

 

Yay cruise… I am loving you already!

 

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I believe we were closing in on 5pm when they blew the horn for muster drill. Reluctantly, we gave up our seats and headed back to the cabin for our life vests.

 

Panchito Beakman was clearly concerned about the ship going down… crazy bird, doesn’t he know he can fly??

 

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We were some of the first people down to our deck and ended up in front of one of those massive fans. The air was blowing so hard I was afraid I’d lose a contact as my eyes kept drying up. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long and we were soon able to return to the upper decks for sail away.

 

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Let me just tell you how in love I was with the view of Miami from the boat. Yes, I know it’s a ship, but throughout the whole trip Brett and I continually referred to it as “the boata” (for those of you out there who are Top Chef fans, just pronounce it like Fabio, the Italian from Season 5 who kept reminding everyone he was fresh off the boat with that thick accent of his).

 

Maybe my favorite panorama I’ve ever stitched together… you couldn't have scripted a more beautiful day:

 

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I really wasn’t expecting to be so blown away by Miami. It makes for a great backdrop in this photo (I should totally photoshop those other passengers out of there!):

 

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And when I turned around, the view of Lido wasn’t half bad either:

 

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I thoroughly enjoyed watching as the city disappeared in the distance. And the view from the Sky Deck was phenomenal.

 

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I have to say… it was probably at this moment when I decided cruising agrees with me! Even on day one I was already beginning to understand my parents love for it.

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After bidding farewell to Miami we made our way to the Golden Olympian Restaurant on Deck 3 for our early dinner. We were seated at table 204; it was a booth for four which was perfect. Before cruising, I thought I would prefer the 6:00 dining because I don’t usually like to eat after 7. But on our next cruise I think we’ll be going for the late seating to give us more daytime hours to play, as that’s more important to me than having extra after dinner hours. Regardless, we still had a great time.

 

Our servers were Kamsi and Anat, who I believe are both from Thailand. And they were fabulous throughout the entirety of our cruise. I looked forward to going to dinner every night as much to interact with them as for the food.

 

And yes, I'm one of those crazies who takes picture of food; I'm really bad about this at Disney. Kamsi walked by as I was taking a shot and Brett told him I don't get out much! Sad, but true! But I'm willing to bet some of you out there will appreciate the food porn.

 

Snapper:

 

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Sweet and Sour Shrimp:

 

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Flat Iron Steak:

 

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And Creme Brulee:

 

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Looks like everyone else dug into their desserts so fast, I didn't get a chance to take a picture.

 

After dinner we were spent and decided the hot tub on Lido was just the ticket. I wasn’t so much into the movie selection (House Bunny), but how cool is it to watch a big screen movie from the hot tub of a moving vessel with your whole vacation laid out in front of you?! Rhetorical question… because I think I already know the answer: pretty damn cool J!

 

That night we unpacked our things and settled in for the week. It had been a long and hectic day, so the lights were out early in anticipation of our first fun day at sea!!

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Hey, awesome review. I have been on 8 Carnival cruises and leaving Sept 12th on the Liberty. It never gets old reading great reviews. Thanks!

 

Thanks Bernie388! While I have no other cruises to compare it to, I'd say you won't be disappointed with the Liberty. She's a beautiful lady!

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And I almost forgot… Capers from Day 1:

 

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Okay, so I know they're way big, but if I go with the next size down you'll need a magnifying glass to actually read them!

 

Next up... Day 2: Fun Day at Sea. But it will probably be tonight before I start posting those.

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