Categories
Blogging Food Photography Travel

My Carnival Liberty Vacation 2022

And now Week 7 of my 7-week series on my 8-day fun-filled vacation on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami Florida.

If you missed any of the previous weeks of this series then you can click here: Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6. (If you missed all of them then start with Week 1 and work your way forward.)

You know I disembarked the Carnival Liberty 46 days ago, and I’ve been reliving my 8 days on that fun ship every #TravelThursday since then. When I walked off the ship and into the terminal building at PortMiami I thought to myself – that was a great cruise – just as great as my previous Carnival cruise of nearly 3 years earlier. I was already thinking about when my next Carnival cruise would be. More to come on that !

What do I actually do on a Carnival cruise ship ? Well I don’t drink or party. Those days and nights ended on – ironically – a Carnival cruise ship in 2007. I drank alcohol for the very last time in my life on that ship coming out of the Mediterranean Sea and entering the Atlantic Ocean on its way across the sea to Miami. I drank for 22 years from age 18 to 40. I quit drinking 14 months after the start of my salvation in Christ.

Here’s what I do onboard when not in port. I eat a lot. I walk a lot. I eat and walk more than twice as much on a cruise ship as I do back at home and at work. I watch people, and I meet people. Carnival does a fantastic job in encouraging activities where you meet and talk with new people that will hopefully become new friends. I play trivia. I play BINGO. I attend nearly all of the shows in the main lounge. I laugh a lot. I applaud a lot.

I also pray a lot and dive-in to God’s Word while watching and listening to His marvelous seas. On some cruises I even write sermons; although, I didn’t do so on this cruise because of all of the activities that I was participating in.

This was a very unique cruise in that it was only about 40% full (my estimate – not based on any actual data). There was plenty of open space with very few people at all times during this cruise – both inside and outside on the open decks. I think on my next cruise it will be back to normal – at 100% full capacity.

And so now my big announcement. Exactly a month ago – just 18 days after disembarking the Carnival Liberty – I booked my next Carnival cruise. I’ll be sailing on their newest and biggest ship ever – the Carnival Celebration. It’s still under construction in Finland. It makes its maiden Transatlantic voyage from 06 to 20 November 2022, and she arrives in Miami as her new homeport. I’ll be sailing on her about a month-and-a-half after her arrival. It’ll be the newest cruise ship I sail on in my entire 30+ year history of cruising. (I sailed across the Atlantic on the Carnival Freedom in 2007 – 8 months after her maiden voyage.)

Next #TravelThursday a new short series (not 7 weeks) begins at the scene of my next vacation. It won’t be too far away from home – just 60 to 90 minutes away – north up in Broward County. I’m attending a couple of concerts, and I’m spending some fun times with my family (visiting from North Texas).

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Blogging Food Photography Travel

My Carnival Liberty Vacation 2022

And now Week 6 of my 7-week series on my 8-day fun-filled vacation on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami Florida.

If you missed any of the previous weeks of this series then you can click here: Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5. (If you missed all of them then start with Week 1 and work your way forward.)

As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve been on Carnival (15 cruises), NCL (6), Royal Caribbean (once), and Disney (once). All of these cruise lines specialize in something different. Carnival has the best (and most) fun activities for all ages from early in the morning until late at night. NCL has the best professional entertainment at sea. Royal Caribbean has the best innovations that you won’t see on any other cruise line. Disney has the best food, and surprisingly I had some fun at the dance club late-night on my one Disney cruise (in 2018).

My favorite cruise line (by far) is Carnival, as I enjoy all of the fun activities at sea. Carnival has a reputation of being the “Walmart” of cruises. Hey – I like Walmart. You get a good deal for your money at both. If you want to go on a fancy cruise ship then don’t go on Carnival, and you can pay three times the amount for your cruise.

Carnival also has a reputation of being filled with drunken college kids running rampant. Yeah – maybe if you go in March or April – which I would never do. My 2ND week of January cruise had very few kids on it, and not too many in their 20s or 30s either. In fact – as a near-55-year-old – I think a little more than half of the cruisers were older than me. Go in March, April, June, July, or August, and meet a different demographic. January is a fantastic time to take a cruise (for me anyway), as it’s back-to-work and back-to-school for most people.

Carnival is not really known for their spectacular food quality, but I enjoy eating a lot of good food onboard. It’s certainly better than anything that I can get here in my hometown. Most of the food on Carnival is free (part of the overall cruise price). On my cruise I actually did eat at both of the “upcharge” places a couple of times each. Their steakhouse cost $38 (all-inclusive). You get a lot of food there – HUGE portions – and it really is the best food on the entire cruise ship.

I was assigned a 6 PM (early) seating at a large table in one of the two main dining rooms. I ate there 5 out of 8 nights. As Carnival typically does when you’re a solo cruiser (like myself) I was seated with other solo cruisers in my age group (which turned out to be 50s, 60s, and 70s). I enjoyed the company of each and every one of them, and we got along great as dinner companions. We ate. We talked. We laughed. We looked forward to seeing each other each night at 6 PM.

I ate a lot of good food on my cruise, and I did a lot of walking around the ship and in the 3 ports-of-call in an attempt to burn off a bunch of those calories. I typically eat twice as much food – (OK maybe even more than that) – than I do back on land at home and at work. Of course I also get more exercise walking on cruises (and on vacations in general) than I do during my normal everyday routine.

Next #TravelThursday – the journey concludes as I reveal my next cruise (already booked). I’ll also reveal my next vacation (on land) which will be much closer to home.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Blogging Photography Travel

My Carnival Liberty Vacation 2022

And now Week 5 of my 7-week series on my 8-day fun-filled vacation on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami Florida.

If you missed any of the previous weeks of this series then you can click here: Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4. (If you missed all of them then start with Week 1 and work your way back.)

It’s Thursday January 13TH 2022. It’s Day 6 of the cruise, and we arrived at the port of Willemstad Curaçao just after 7 AM ship’s time (Miami Florida) / 8 AM local time. I had an early shore excursion that morning, and I was one of the first off the ship to get in line for my tour of the island. In fact I was the first in line behind our tour guide.

Of the 3 tours of the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao I think this one was the best, and it was led by the best tour guide. We visited a historical museum, a liqueur distillery, Fort Nassau, and Hato Cave. It was quite the fast-paced tour, and it was a little too fast-paced for some of the participants of our tour. They became a bit vocal on our bus – accusing our tour guide of rushing through the stops. She could’ve gone off the rails and clapped back at the hecklers, but she took it all in stride. She calmly explained that it’s the tour company that determines the stops, the order that they will occur, and the exact number of minutes per stop in order to return to the port at the predetermined time set forth by Carnival.

I think on each of the tours of the 3 islands there were a few – oh – I’ll call them troublemakers – who represented the “ugly American” character well.

Here are 6 photo memories of Curaçao:

With this visit to Curaçao I completed my journey through all 3 of the ABC Islands – one right after the other – in alphabetical order. It was the main reason why I booked this cruise in February 2020. I wanted to return to both Aruba and Curaçao for a 2ND visit, and to discover Bonaire for the first time.

We departed Curaçao at around 4:45 PM (ship’s time), and we began our 61-hour journey back towards North America and PortMiami.

Next #TravelThursday – the journey continues with fun and food at sea.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Blogging Travel Photography

My Carnival Liberty Vacation 2022

And now Week 4 of my 7-week series on my 8-day fun-filled vacation on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami Florida.

Back in 2019 when I was thinking about booking my next Carnival cruise after a fun 7-day cruise on the Carnival Glory I knew that I wanted to return to Aruba and Curaçao on my next cruise. The last time I visited new islands for the first time on a cruise was back in October 2012 on the Carnival Valor when I stepped foot on Dominican Republic, Curaçao, and Aruba on 3 successive days. That was an awesome 8-day cruise – seeing and exploring new lands for the first time ever.

When I saw that the Carnival Horizon (a new ship) was sailing from Miami to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao – I was intrigued. Bonaire was the missing link from that October 2012 cruise. I’d be able to conquer all 3 of the ABC Islands if I booked that cruise. Bonaire is a fairly new port-of-call for Carnival (since January 2015), and it appears that they will be sailing there more often – and perhaps to Curaçao less often.

So I booked that Carnival Horizon cruise to the ABC Islands in February 2020 for January 2021 that was ultimately canceled (due to the pandemic). I then rebooked it for exactly a year (52 weeks) later in January 2022. The older Carnival Liberty replaced the Carnival Horizon for several sailings in January (including mine). Despite the downgrade in the ship – I was still excited about this cruise to the 3 small islands down at the south-end of the Caribbean. I would have loved to sail on that much newer cruise ship, but the bigger reason that I booked this cruise was the unique itinerary to all 3 of the ABC Islands on 3 consecutive days in alphabetical order.

So back to my story. It’s Day 5, and the 2ND-half of my cruise has begun.

Fun Fact: I embarked onto the Carnival Liberty shortly after 11 AM on Saturday January 08TH 2022, and I disembarked shortly after 8 AM on Sunday January 16TH 2022. That’s 189 hours. Half of that is 94½ hours. That would place the exact halfway point of my cruise shortly after 9:30 AM on Wednesday January 12TH 2022 – Bonaire morning !

The Carnival Liberty was the only cruise ship in port that entire day. We had the entire island to ourselves – and the 20,000+ permanent residents of the island.

We arrived in mysterious Bonaire early on that Wednesday morning just after 7 AM ship’s time (Miami Florida) / 8 AM local time. I didn’t have a shore excursion until 12:30 PM, so I had plenty of time to relax on the ship, and to take some nice photos of the island from the top decks.

The port, capital, largest city, and population center is Kralendijk. It’s on the upper-southwest coast of the island that measures about 24 miles from northwest to southeast. It’s about 3 to 5 miles wide at all points. It has a mountain range on its north side with peaks of up to nearly 800 feet above sea level. Bonaire kinda-sorta looks like a distorted Florida geographically that’s been elongated in its panhandle and squished a bit in its peninsula. The mountain range extends from “Pensacola” to “Jacksonville”, and Kralendijk is right along the “Big Bend” area.

I took a nearly 4-hour bus tour of the island (via a Carnival-sponsored shore excursion). I think it was the most popular tour. Our bus driver and tour guide were 2 older Dutch gentlemen with a weird and wacky sense of humor who often derided each other in a somewhat loving way. They were very protective of their somewhat primitive island, and they want it to stay that way and not become another congested Aruba or Curaçao. They did appreciate us (as tourists). They seemed very bitter that (in their general words) the Netherlands gives all of the money to Curaçao to distribute evenly between themselves, Aruba, and Bonaire; yet, Bonaire gets very little of that allocated funding – just a tiny percentage of it. Perhaps some of their comments out loud should not have been so, as they did a bit of political commentating rather than presenting their beautiful island to us.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the tour of the island from the salt flats of the southeast to the mountains of the northwest. I hope to see it again in the future !

I took almost 50 photos of the island. I’ve selected six of the best to present here:

Next #TravelThursday – it’s on to Curaçao.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp