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Carnival Liberty

Overview of Ship and Mediterranean Ports of Call

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Carnival Cruise Lines launched the Carnival Liberty in 2005, and the Conquest-class ship is one of over 20 cruise ships in the Carnival fleet. The Carnival Liberty mega-liner is huge in comparison to many cruise ships, carrying 3,000 passengers on a action-packed cruise. After all, Carnival doesn't call its ships the "fun ships" without backing up the slogan!

I sailed the Mediterranean on the Carnival Liberty, and have to admit I had some trepidation about the cruise at first. However, we all had a wonderful cruise vacation. The quality and value were excellent, and Carnival runs a Mediterranean cruise as well as one in the Caribbean. I was cruising with my brother and his wife (Rick and Nancy) for the first time, and their interests are sometimes much different than mine. My mother, who is a wonderful traveling companion, but in a different generation, was also along. It was Rick and Nancy's first trip to Europe, but their fifth Carnival cruise. This cruise was the perfect opportunity to test my often-espoused theory that cruising is the perfect multi-generational vacation for a group of diverse people.

Carnival's itinerary for this cruise was exceptional, especially for those who have not traveled to Europe before. As Nancy best described it, she wanted her friends and family back home to "have heard of" all the ports of call on the cruise. Carnival had a great mix of large cities, natural wonders, and small European villages on this Mediterranean itinerary.

However, before I discuss the ports of call, join me on a tour of the Carnival Liberty.

First Impressions and Embarkation in Civitavecchia

Carnival Liberty
Carnival Liberty
Our Carnival Liberty Mediterranean cruise embarked in Civitavecchia, the port closest to Rome. We stayed in Rome at the charming, centrally located Hotel Concordia for a few days before our cruise, and used Roma Shuttle for our transportation into Rome from the airport and from Rome to the Liberty in Civitavecchia. We were extremely well pleased with both of these choices, which we booked over the Internet.

We arrived at the Carnival Liberty in the mid-afternoon. We dropped off our bags and proceeded to the check-in line. Since we had completed our cruise documents in advance, we thought we would be able to board quickly. However, there was just one very long line for everyone but the VIPs. When someone asked a Carnival rep what it took to be a VIP, she was uncertain. Since ours was the first cruise of the season embarking from Civitavecchia, most embarking passengers were good-natured about the wait and lack of knowledge among the staff. I had heard from others who had cruised the Carnival Liberty in the Mediterranean the previous year that they found the embarkation process in Civitavecchia to be very efficient, so maybe it was just the timing and inexperience of the staff. After finally checking in, we boarded the huge ship, walked through the huge atrium, and went off in search of our cabin.

Carnival Liberty - Cabins and Accommodations

Carnival Liberty Cabin #8309
Carnival Liberty Cabin #8309
The Carnival Liberty has over 20 cabin categories, ranging in size and price from interior cabins (no window) on the lower decks to nice suites on the upper decks. Over 500 of the 1400+ cabins have a balcony. The standard Carnival Liberty cabin is good sized, with twin beds that can be converted into a queen-sized, a sofa, small table, flat screen television, and vanity desk. The baths have a shower with curtain and a gift basket filled with sample sizes of a variety of bath amenities.

Carnival Liberty - Common Areas and Public Rooms

Carnival Liberty Promenade
Carnival Liberty Promenade
At first glance I thought that the interior common areas were way over done. For example, the atrium and elevator lobbies had flowered wallpaper covered with wrought iron and silk flower urns on the walls. Just a little too much for me! However, the more of the ship I saw and experienced, the better the design seemed to fit. Designer Joe Farcus chose an artisan theme for the Carnival Liberty, with each room celebrating a different type of artistry, ranging from ceramics to leatherwork to photography.

Although it took me a couple of days to appreciate the overall interior appearance of the ship, I loved the decor in the bars and lounges immediately. It was extremely imaginative, and we had a good time trying to guess which artisan was being featured. In addition, the "over the top" design went perfect with Carnival's "fun ship" mission. Anything less might have been overwhelmed by the people and constant activity. I guess that you could say that I started out as a skeptic, but became a convert to the design.

Although most areas of the Carnival Liberty are filled with happy, fun-loving passengers, I was surprised that you could always find a quiet corner to relax and have a drink or read a good book. Although I often retreated to the balcony of our cabin for solace, the ship had quiet areas on deck and in many of the small public rooms such as the library. The interior design allowed for both activity and solitude.

The outdoor deck areas of the Carnival Liberty offer plenty of fun at the swimming pools, sports deck, miniature golf course, bars, and the adults-only Serenity.

Carnival Liberty Photo Galleries

Carnival Liberty - Dining and Cuisine

Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Liberty
Guy's Burger Joint serves up the best hamburgers at sea (in my opinion)
The dining options on the Carnival Liberty are varied and the food quality ranges from good to excellent. The ship has two elegant main dining rooms, one dedicated to fixed seatings (6 pm or 8:15 pm) and the second to "your time" dining when guests can have dinner anytime between 5:45 pm and 9:30 pm.

The ship also has various casual dining options, most of which are near the food court on the Lido Deck. These eateries feature fast food items from around the world and are great for breakfast and lunch.

The Carnival Liberty has two premium dining experiences--Harry's Steakhouse and the Chef's Table, both of which have an extra fee. Both will provide a memorable dining experience for less than you would pay ashore for a comparable meal.

Carnival Liberty Dining and Cuisine Photo Gallery

Carnival Liberty - Mediterranean Ports of Call

Murano Picture (c) Linda Garrison
Murano, Italy near Venice
The Carnival Liberty's Mediterranean itinerary was exceptional and included a perfect mix of ports of call. The diversity of ports was especially good for first-time European cruisers, since I am sure that this 12-day sample of the Mediterranean has most of them already planning another trip to Europe.

The Carnival Liberty spent her first two summer seasons in the Mediterranean. However, she returned to the Caribbean in November 2006 to sail from Miami year-round.

We all hated to see our Carnival Liberty cruise come to an end. The cruise ship and her crew did an excellent job of overcoming my original trepidations. Europe can be very expensive, but a cruise like the Carnival Liberty, which featured good quality food, clean accommodations, and excellent onboard activities and entertainment can make it very affordable.

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