Carnival Liberty, the Key to Family Fun

A daily guide to entertainment at sea

Carnival Liberty

They don't call Carnival "The Fun Ships" without a reason and the newest ship in the line, the Carnival Liberty lives up to this distinction. Sailing from Europe to Florida, in November, the ship with the bright red tail, entered service in July, 2005, and recently made a huge splash at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

It's big, the 110,000-ton ship carries up to 2,974 passengers, but the size isn't a deterrent to having fun. The massive size allows the ship to offer a myriad of services for the entire family that just aren't available on the smaller ships.

For starters, there is Camp Carnival, a spacious 4,200 square-foot enclosed play area that includes a 16-monitor video wall continuously displaying movies and cartoons; an arts-and-crafts center with spin and sand art and candy-making machines. There's a soft play area with padded play equipment for the under-2 set; a computer lab with educational computer games and game consoles for the older kids and a children's library with youth orientated books and magazines.

The play area also is the site for many Camp Carnival activities, including an art program, where kids can create their own artistic masterpieces while learn techniques employed by professional artists. Also on Carnival Liberty is a music program that introduces kids to different musical instruments.

Carnival Liberty

Kids also have special menus and can choose from chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a pizza parlor that never closes. There is also a Fountain Fun Card that provides one a one-time fee of $28, unlimited soft drinks throughout the cruise.

Older kids also have a myriad of activities. There were dozens of teens dancing the night away in the teen club called Without Batteries, which in addition to a d├ęcor of giant old-time toys, includes a dance club with a DJ and state-of-the-art sound system, a must for sophisticated teens. There is also a library of popular teen-orientated books and magazines, video game units and computers loaded with gaming software.

Carnival Liberty

There's even a teen shore excursion program where kids ages 12-17 can partake in just-for-teens shore experiences during Carnival Liberty Cruises. The ship is spending the winter in Fort Lauderdale and will be doing six and eight day cruises to the Caribbean, November through April, and will cruise the Mediterranean in the summer.

Not just kids loved the new mega screen on the pool deck. There were concerts under starring skies and men, women and children of all ages enjoyed watching a Tina Turner rock concert. Being a Tina Turner fan, I watched the concert twice, once in the evening and again in the daytime. The Carnival Liberty is the first Carnival ship to have this mega screen and judging from its popularity among the passengers, they are bound to have more of them in the future.

Carnival Liberty

Dining is always a part of the cruise experience and Carnival has plenty of options for dining. Casual dining is available on the Lido Deck at Emile's. Emile's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has buffets, a huge salad bar, Mongolian-style buffet, a deli, serving hot and cold sandwiches and a different international cuisine each day. There are also two formal dining rooms.

I enjoyed Harry's, Carnival Liberty's reservations-only supper club. Modeled after upscale steakhouses, Harry's serves hand-cut prime cuts of beef and lobster, along with creamed spinach, wasabi mashed potatoes and a variety of upscale appetizers including six different kinds of escargot.

Carnival Liberty

The Las Vegas style reviews in the Venetian Palace Showroom were top drawer. Talented cast members, beautiful scenery and sets, as well as live musical orchestras make Carnival Liberty entertainment a standout in the cruise industry. And the shows were family orientated, not just fur and feathers.

There is a coffee bar on the ship, a bustling casino, a piano bar and a karaoke bar. There is also a full service spa and health club as well as a beauty salon. There's just no way not to have family fun on a carnival cruise.

Carnival Liberty

Several seniors were on the cruise with us in Fort Lauderdale and were enjoying themselves as much as the baby boomers. But the ship is large and filled with noisy activities and lots of kids.

Getting off the ship was a bit of a hassle because all of the passengers on the ship were told to disembark at the same time creating long lines, but this was an inaugural cruise and probably Carnival cruise officials will fix this problem in upcoming cruises by assigning passengers color coded cards for their disembarkation.


Call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit their website.