And now Week 2 of my 7-week series on my 8-day fun-filled vacation on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami Florida.
So I sailed on a ship that was built between 2003 and 2005. It was my first sailing on the Carnival Liberty, but it was my 7TH Carnival cruise in a row (going back to February 2010) that was on the nearly identical Conquest class ship (Glory, Valor, Liberty, Freedom). The flagship of the class – the Carnival Conquest – I’ve actually never sailed on.
This ship definitely had its issues. It was leaking from the ceiling above on various decks / floors. With a drip-drip here, and a drip-drip there. Here a drip. There a drip. Everywhere a drip-drip. Actually it wasn’t that widespread. Just a few drip-drips in a few spots around the ship, and perhaps a few flooded cabin bathrooms and deck corridors.
I had a few issues in my own cabin. Shortly upon arrival I realized that my mini-fridge had power (a light on), but it was not cooling at all. It appeared to be completely defrosted and warm to the touch. I notified my cabin steward when he introduced himself to me on that first afternoon, and while I was enjoying my fancy steakhouse dinner up on Deck 10 my mini-fridge was swapped out and replaced with one that actually cools. Oh – and my cabin steward left behind my first towel animal of the cruise:
I also left behind a note to my cabin steward on the 2ND morning of the cruise due to barely lukewarm water coming out of the shower and faucet in the bathroom. A technician was there within a few hours, and he fixed it almost immediately. I enjoyed hot showers every day after.
I’ve sailed on Carnival, NCL, Royal Caribbean, and Disney, and all cruise ships have their assorted problems – more so on the older ships. It’s how they respond to the problems that’s important. After 2 Norwegian Epic cruises just 13 months apart in late-2011 and early-2013 I haven’t been on another NCL cruise ship since. The 1ST Epic cruise was fantastic during the week leading-up to Christmas (2011). The 2ND Epic cruise was not such a good experience for me – due mostly to some maintenance issues in my cabin that went unresolved for the entire cruise. I also encountered condescending customer service on that cruise.
But let’s get back to my Carnival Liberty cruise. My cabin steward (Ketut) was awesome. Every time he saw me out in the hallway (which was every day) he enthusiastically greeted me by first name, and I did the same with him. Customer service all around from the cruise staff was wonderful. The “Fun Squad” was friendly. The Cruise Director – Dustin Gabriel – was perhaps one of the most visible and personable Cruise Directors I have encountered on any cruise ship I’ve been on. He was everywhere. I saw him numerous times per day all around the ship. He led many fun activities. He was funny and sarcastic at the right times, and he was also informative and serious when he needed to be. I hope he’s my Cruise Director on a future Carnival cruise !
The itinerary for this cruise included 2 full days at sea (after embarkation day) – followed by Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao (in that order) – and then 2 full days at sea en route back to Miami. Sailing south and east towards and into the southern Caribbean on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday was a bit unsettling for some on the ship as we were sailing against very strong and gusty southeasterly winds the entire way due to a wide pressure gradient between low-pressure and a series of cold fronts to the north – and strong multiple high-pressure centers to the east. The ship did a little bit of rocking and rolling during this early part of the voyage, but then the winds and the seas calmed a bit as we slowly approached Aruba on Tuesday morning – Day 4 of the cruise.
I rarely get seasick on a cruise ship, and I didn’t this time either, but I was ready with the Dramamine on-hand in the event that I did. (I never had to take it.)
And so next #TravelThursday I’ll tell you all about the first port-of-call – Aruba.
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