Liberty, Give Me Liberty
September 26 – October 4, 2014
Cabin #7268 (Ocean Suite)
Had to start these notes early, because there was so much happening. On other cruises, we unpacked as soon as we made it to our cabin — not on this cruise. It was midnight before we started the unpacking process. If you plan on finding your jammies, you have to unload the bag; if you’re gonna unload the bag, you might as well hang them up or put them in a drawer. No door decorations this trip, although I kept promising myself that I would put up the whiteboard to write notes on.
Slow Down — Let’s Talk About the Flight Down!
Let’s go back to the flight down. Flew out of Syracuse into Atlanta and then on to Orlando. I spent months on the computer every Tuesday looking for great deals on airfares. It paid off because I found a first class ticket on Delta cheaper than the regular fares that day. Hit the send key, made the reservations, and never saw that rate again. Don’t know if was a “glitch” or great shopping on my part – but let the fun begin.
This year we chose to stay in Orlando rather than going directly to the port (just to be different and also we got a good hotel deal). We took the hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel – Homewood Suites by the airport.
We got an excellent rate using Military Family rate. But the added bonus was that they had free dinner (Mon.-Thurs.), wine and the next morning, free breakfast. It was very good, I must say.
I should add that directly next door to the hotel is a Longhorn Steakhouse if you prefer and also across the street is an IHop. The temptation to go to iHop was great, but then in the interest of saving some money for the slot machines on the ship, we chose to stick with the free breakfast at the hotel.
The next morning, we took the hotel shuttle back to the airport, where we went to the Carnival Transportation desk. We had purchased the round-trip transportation for before and after the cruise. I think we were there about 9:00 am and the desk was just then opening. The bus would not be coming until 10:00. The time passed quickly as we sat and became friends with a very nice woman from Georgia. We talked the entire time and that hour went by so fast.
The Moment is Finally Here
Bus trip was quick, 50 min! That’s not bad at all because we are very anxious (can you tell?). Once inside the terminal, it was a madhouse. We went to the VIP lounge to wait to be called to check in – that only took a few minutes. The wait to finally board the ship was a bit longer; they were not yet boarding and the crowds were getting much larger as we waited (delicate way of saying things were getting a bit uncomfortable). Later on board, I learned they were having their Coast Guard inspection. I also overheard an employee in the terminal saying there were 600 Diamond, Milestone, and Platinum guests waiting to board. That seems like a big number, but I suppose it’s possible. We were escorted upstairs to the actual “final hurdle” to the ship (the base of the ramp going up onto the ship). There were mobs of people up there and some of them were getting rowdy because I heard our leader telling them that we were all Diamond, Milestone, or Platinum. My feeling is that these people were the ones who purchased Faster to the Fun. They were out of the general passengers, but had to wait for others to board first. It’s hard on the port employees, they’re just trying to keep everyone happy and I give them a lot of credit for patience.
Suddenly we were onboard and off to our cabin we went (we are Platinum). This was our first Ocean Suite and we were so excited. We’ve seen other suites and they are so very nice, but never within our budget. How did we rate it this trip? Actually we had to pay a bit more. The “upsell fairy” called and made us an offer – we said no. A few days later, they called again and John did some haggling with the man and it was then a little more affordable for us. You never know when you’ll get the opportunity again, so we jumped on it. We decided to make this trip our all-out fling! After all it only happens once a year. The most immediate advantages we could spot when we first entered cabin were 1) more walk-around space, 2) more storage areas – drawers and closets everywhere, 3) brighter because of all the glass and mirrors, and much more. We fell in love.
No matter what category cabin we select, we always try to be as close to the mid elevator as we can. It just saves time in walking the full length of the deck and makes our life easier. On this trip we were right behind the elevator on the port side of the ship. I have read about people complaining of the Atrium noise when there is band playing– we never heard the music unless we opened our door and walked out into the hall. Not a problem (nearly every time, the music was quite enjoyable).
The first person to knock on our door was the Supervisor of Housekeeping for our deck. She brought us our pins for the Liberty and free drink coupons. Next up was the Asst. Steward, Agus, followed by the Steward, Putu. As always, the employees couldn’t be nicer.
Bags Are Stored – Where to Next???
Traditionally our next stop is Fish n Chips; oh how we look forward to that on this class of ship. On the Liberty, go to the Buffet area on the Lido, head to the staircase with the peacock. The Fish n Chips is at the top of the stairs right behind the blue wall.
Fish n Chips is a favorite of our friends, so it’s a great location to arrange for a meeting. Our friends were driving down from Charleston, SC so we weren’t quite sure when they would be there. Had to grab an early bite of lunch because we were all going to the Steakhouse for dinner after sailaway.
Before I forget, I’ll post this here.
Click on the date below for today’s Fun Times 092614 Port Canaveral
The muster drill went very well and it appeared that everyone was making their way to their stations fairly quickly. But I say this based on what was told to us by others in our group. Because of walking difficulties, John was taken to a special area for a “handicap muster drill” (is that phrase okay, do you think? I don’t want to be insulting in any way). In this case, we went to the Library and were given our instructions. It should be noted that although you’re in the Library for the Muster Drill, should a real emergency on board occur, you would go directly to your lifeboat not the Library.
I have to laugh here — after the drill we were going back to our cabin and were waiting for the glass elevator. A large group of us got on and the doors began to close. Several more people jumped on and the alarm went off – we were overloaded and the doors wouldn’t close. So the last couple got off. Would you believe that two women got on and again the alarm went off. So people in the elevator told them that the doors wouldn’t close until they got off. One woman refused and said “She can’t go unless I’m with her.” Several people explained that the doors were not going to close until they got off. She flat out said she wouldn’t get off and her friend needed her. Well normally my patience lasts a little longer, but the alarm was really getting on my nerves, so I started yelling “TAKE HER WITH YOU.” It took a few more minutes, but they finally exited the elevator and we went merrily on our way. Oh, I know what you’re going to say “Why didn’t you get off?” Well, we were stuck all the way in the back being the first ones on. And anyone up front couldn’t get off because the women were stuffed in the doorway and not moving. SIGH — I get so tickled by human nature!
Okay, enough of my ranting. Next topic
First Drink On Board (didn’t do the DOD this trip)
Twilight Zone (left)
- 1 oz Bacardi Light Rum
- 1/2 oz Melon Liqueur
- 1 1/2 oz Coconut Cream
- 5 oz Crushed Ice
- Float of Blue Caracao
Blend all ingredients, except Blue Caracao, until smooth. Then float Blue Caracao on top. Garnish with a pineapple slice.
The Cruiser (on right)
- 1 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Coconut Rum
- 1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
- 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
- Blend all ingredients together. Pour over ice. Garnish with orange slice.
Both of the above recipes were taken from http://www.cruisin.me/ There are a number of variations on the internet but these appeared to be the best matches.
Have you ever seen the view from the port camera in Port Canaveral at the cruise terminal?
Click here for the webcams. It will open up in a new window, so don’t get lost — come on back! Port Canaveral Webcams
The week before we sailed, we happened to see it just as the Liberty was sailing out. It was great — you could actually see some of the people who were waving from the deck. We talked to my brother, Larry, who loves technology as much as we do and he was ready for our sailaway. Although he didn’t video it, he did take screen shots as photos and sent them to us.
I left the last few photos as larger sized ones so that if any of you were on the boat with us, you might want to look for your own happy, smiling faces. Isn’t that the absolute best feeling in the whole world — like the Carnival drink cup says “Look at me — I’m on vacation.”
We made reservations for 6 pm and the six of us met at the steakhouse entrance. This was the first time we have been on the Liberty, so I wondered what the steakhouse would be like on this ship. Diamonds Steakhouse is on Deck 10, mid-ship. First night out, you get a free bottle of wine and because there were six of us, we were given two bottles (kind of hoping for one bottle per couple, but that didn’t happen).
We missed out on a table by the window and we were in the very center by the serving areas. That didn’t take away from our enjoyment, but I must admit that we really didn’t have much of a view. The more I look at the photo on the right, the more I think that the table pictured was the exact same table that we had.
The wait staff were very good, even the hostess who brought us to our table stopped by periodically and we had some great conversations. Between appetizers, salad, drinks, and main course, I never have enough room at the end of the meal for those wonderfully decadent desserts. The majority of our group had lobster, one had steak and lobster, and I had the lobster ravioli (just to be different). It was alright, but next time I’m going to try another selection. I would have taken photos of the other delicacies that were being served, but I find that when people are hungry they don’t deal well with a camera coming between them and their food!! Just kidding!
It’s Been a Long Day – Bedtime
To make it easier (and safer) to find our way around the cabin at night, we normally leave the bathroom light on and the door ajar just a bit. On this trip we found a “new” way of doing it — we left the bar lights on low. Very restful, isn’t it?
What’s Next on the Itinerary?
Sea Day — Sea Day
Click on the date below for the Fun Times
Aren’t Sea Days Boring; There’s Nothing to Do???
Quite the contrary. For example, here’s a list of just a few things to entertain you during the day:
- Sleep in late
- Texas Hold’em Tournament
- Shore talk/Shopping Shows
- Assorted trivia and games throughout the ship
- Ladies Pamper Party
- Carnival Clue – Murder Mystry begins
- Hip Hop Dance Class
- Pool Games
There’s more, but my brain can only hold so many. For those who want to totally relax and chill, the absolute best spot on board is the Serenity area where you can stretch out in the sun, play in the hot tub, swim in the pool…. We see other cruisers playing cards, reading, talking, sleeping or all of the above! But no matter what any of us are doing, the name of the game is RELAXATION.
They’re not shown in the photos below, but there are hot tubs in the Serenity area.
Where you choose to spend your time is really determined by the activities that you like to participate in. Many of the young people (and the young at heart) like to sit by the main Lido deck pool. It is the absolute Mecca of activity, contests, music, bars, food — there’s always something happening. We prefer the quieter areas where we can relax in the sun and read (and don’t forget the occasional adult beverage).
How could I forget another great sea day activity —
Meet & Greet
Within the year before sailing, we usually make “online” friends with other cruisers who will be joining us on a particular ship. Usually all you know about these fellow travelers is their screen name. We all mutually agreed on a time that we could all be free and one of us contacted the cruise line to arrange for a meeting spot. Once on board the ship, a Meet & Greet was held where we all came together and finally enjoyed each other’s company and had a few drinks (alcoholic or not). On this cruise, we actually had two M&G sessions. The one we planned prior to sailing was an open bar that we each paid for in advance. But since some were going to be busy at that time or were not drinkers, we had an informal M&G at the aft pool area bar immediately following the sailaway. Both events were fun!!
Open-Bar Meet & Greet – Stage Lounge (Aft)