After a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean on the 2,974 passenger Conquest class Carnival Liberty I found the new Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades a welcomed addition. The 2011 renovation program included added bars, eateries, and comedy club with comedians hand-picked by George Lopez. The addition of Food Network’s Guy Fieri’s burger joint was a huge hit as well, and a hard option to ignore when lunch time came rolling around.
The Lido deck is full of eating options, especially at lunch time. Besides the buffet and all its variety, we had the option of getting a sub sandwich from the deli, eating a delicious burger from Guy’s Burger Joint (the seasoned fries with this burger were excellent), waiting in line for a fresh Chinese dish from the Mongolian Wok, or grabbing a burrito or taco from the Blue Iguana cantina. Near Emile’s buffet you can also eat from the “fish and chips” station or get something sweet to eat from the “Sweet Spot” that has daily goodies from truffle cakes to cake pops.
The great thing about the buffet was that even if you didn’t care for some of the food there, there were plenty of options to find something you liked i.e. Guy’s Burgers=).
The food in the main dining room was fairly good and the service was top notch. We had a table for 10 and the wait staff was not only excellent at giving us what entrees we wanted (even when we ordered way too many) but they also took the time to memorize our names and play games with napkins at our table. And before you think they just used cheat sheets to make us think they knew our names, we ran into our main server on the private island while walking by and he still remembered our names.
The two food items you can get 24/7 are the pizza from the Pizza Pirate and the soft serve ice cream. This is thin crust pizza which I’m not a huge fan of, but the flavor in the Quattro Formaggi was very good. Just be prepared to wait in line most of the time as they make these pizzas as you order them.
Our main issue with the food on the ship is it’s availability on different decks. If you want something to eat it’s only available on deck 9. Even the sports bar on deck 5 does not offer wings or cheese sticks or any food items. Drinks are the only things you can get on different decks other than the lido deck.
Free drink selections included orange juice, apple juice, coffee, lemonade, and of course water. You can bring your own 12 pack of soda aboard, one 12 pack per cruiser. Otherwise a soda card will cost $6 per day.
There are two formal nights aboard a 7 day cruise on this ship, and the dress code for these nights is simply no flip-flops, gym shorts, or sleeveless shirts for guys, and definitely no swimwear.
Video Tour of the Carnival Liberty
Carnival Liberty Fun Times:
Carnival advertises itself as having the “fun ships” and after hiring George Lopez to integrate better quality comedians aboard they can also be known as the “funny ships”. The comedy club sessions were a welcome part of the cruise. Two comedians did a couple gigs the first few days and then two other comedians were brought on board to replace the first two. There was a family friendly show at 8:15pm and then an adult only show later at night. The comedians we watched during the family sessions were quite funny and well worth attending after dinner.
The evening shows in the main auditorium (Venetian Palace) ranged from dancing musical numbers to physical comedy sessions. I only went to a couple of these and walked out on several shows that were simply not my cup of tea. A bunch of dancing to random songs is just not entertaining to me.
What’s on the Carnival Liberty?
For a 110,000 ton ship there is a lot to do. The sports deck has a tiny basketball court and volleyball court, both much smaller than regulation. Right above these courts is the 9 hole mini golf course, and around this deck is a running track. There are also 2 ping-pong tables and cornhole (bean bag) boards.
Our only beef with all the above is the times they are open. After 5pm the entire sports deck is closed. You cannot play basketball, volleyball, ping pong, or even mini-golf after 5pm. Our group was VERY disappointed in this because the best time to play basketball was after 5pm when it was cooler anyway. If Carnival wants to make their fun ships more fun they should allow cruisers to play pin-pong or volleyball whenever they want. By the way, shuffle board is available 24/7, but it’s in a very dark area at night.
The Liberty has a nice fitness center, but getting there is a little awkward. Men and women must enter the gym separately and walk through the shower rooms to enter the gym on opposite sides even if all they want to do is use the treadmill for a few minutes. The steam room and dry sauna were both very relaxing in the spa, however.
The ship has multiple lounges, a piano room with live music at night, a lounge for teenagers, a mini-shopping center, promenade (that is too crowded at night with so many photographers in a long narrow space), a casino, arcade, and a large outdoor screen for nightly movies.
If you want to use Wi-Fi aboard the ship it will cost $.75 per minute if you pay by the minute or you can buy larger quantities of time for cheaper rates. Of course keep in mind the internet will be slow so more time may be needed. The cyber café on the ship is in a ridiculous place that seems almost like an afterthought, being hidden to the port side of the Cabinet Lounge on deck 4.
Swimming pools and hot tubs
There are two salt water pools on the pool deck as well as a small pool at the bottom of the waterslide. One of the pools is on the back of the ship and has a retractable roof that closes at night or when there is rain. This is one of my favorite parts of the ship as it has a spa like feel when the glassed roof is closed, and the 2 hot tubs behind the pool are very inviting.
We counted a total of 7 hot tubs, so it was not too hard to find one that was empty or not loaded full of people. There are 2 at the aft of the ship, 2 next to the main pool, 1 under the water slide, and 2 in the adults only serenity area
We found our balcony cabin to be very spacious and clean. Our room steward did a great job of not being intrusive but keeping everything just nice and tidy. The room had a new feel to it, but during more choppy weather the ceiling seemed to creak a little. This must have been a problem for other cruisers as well because I noticed shims in the ceiling to keep it from creaking as badly. We had the balcony divider opened with the room next to us and this provided a nice big balcony to enjoy, just not as much privacy. Not all rooms are able to connect like this, but if you are on a group cruise and know your neighbors you can simply ask the main desk to open the divider for you.
If you want ice in your room you can simply ask your room steward for it and he/she will provide a fresh container of ice in the mornings and at night.
Our room had a king size bed, a comfy couch with 2 drawyers underneath it, a flat screen television, two lamps on either side of the bed, a mini fridge, and a safe which can only be opened with a credit card or license. This was kind of a pain because I wanted to lock up my wallet. So I had to keep a credit card out so I could use it to access the safe and lock it up.
There is only one electrical outlet in the room so you might want to bring a power strip. Three big closets allowed for ample space for our clothes. The bathroom was elegant and fairly typical for a cruise ship. The shower had soap and shampoo dispensers and a clothesline so we could hang up out swimsuits to dry. There was also a magnifying mirror in the bathroom. There is a hairdryer in the top drawer in the room.
Check out a video of our cabin:
Overall we enjoyed the Carnival Liberty. The ship was extremely clean, and we always saw the staff cleaning something. Guest services was also helpful when my wife lost her “Sail and Sign card”. In 2 minutes she had a new card again and her old card which was lost was rendered useless, just in case someone picked it up and tried to use it.
I also injured my thumb during the cruise so I was able to make use of the medical services aboard the ship. The doctor was actually American and the facility was very nice. I ended up with a thumb sprain and it cost me $125 for the consultation. Carnival will not take your insurance, but they give you a receipt so you can apply for reimbursement through your insurance company.
Favorite things about the Liberty:
- Guys Burger Joint had some amazing burgers, just be prepared to get your entire calorie intake quota on one meal.
- The comedy club offered some high quality talent, and our group enjoyed laughing our heads off after dinner.
- Our wait staff remembered our names, even though we could barely pronounce theirs.
- Water fountains are all over the pool deck. I mean all over.
- Lots of trivia, games and things to do on sea days.
- 7 hot tubs, steam sauna, and dry sauna.
Least favorite things about the Liberty:
- The sports deck closes at 5pm. Whoever came up with that idea should be fired.
- The lights on the pool deck are blinding when you are trying to watch a movie on the big screen at night.
- Food is not readily available except on the lido deck.
- Separate doors to the gym that make you walk through the shower rooms was a bit awkward.