Before boarding Carnival Liberty, one almost expects a rhinestone-bedecked Uncle Sam to greet you at the gangway—but the ship’s name actually doesn’t hint at a patriotic décor theme. As the first ship in the entire fleet to receive Fun Ship 2.0 updates, Liberty introduced several concepts and programs in 2011 that would become standard over the next few years: from the extremely successful partnership with Guy Fieri to the multi-set family-friendly comedy format. While several new ships have come into service since, this Conquest-class ship continues to be a great contemporary option offering some of the best value at sea. She currently sails out of Galveston, Texas on short Caribbean circuits, with some one-week itineraries offered in fall/winter.
The main dining rooms onboard Carnival Liberty are Golden Olympian and Silver Olympian. Both of them are set up to accommodate flexible “Your Time Dining” for the formal evening meal, as well as offering two assigned dining times to people who want to pre-arrange their dinner hour before setting sail. Menus change daily, though there’s a section of permanent offerings and a selection of lighter and vegetarian dishes. Breakfast, lunch and sea day brunch are also served in at least one main restaurant—these are open seating, with table service.
Guy’s Burger Joint has proven to be one of Carnival’s most successful Fun Ship 2.0 concepts, and the hand-cut burgers loaded with toppings continue to be a crowd favorite. BlueIguana Cantina also has plenty of fans for its fast Mex-American fare.
Guy’s and BlueIguana enhance the ship’s already strong lineup of daytime dining options on the Lido deck. Other choices include stir-fry to order at Mongolian Wok, a New York-style sandwich deli, the 24-hour pizza counter and Fish & Chips, which is hidden up a flight of stairs and therefore a bit of a “secret” on the few ships that have it.
These specialty food stations are located either near or inside the main Lido buffet. Because these venues are all within close proximity of each other, it also means peak times draw larger crowds. On this ship, the buffet is called Emile’s, and spans two levels for a more spacious seating experience.
Another contender for most popular restaurant, in spite of carrying a $35 per person surcharge, is Diamond Steakhouse. The set menu includes four courses, with entrees ranging from lamb chops to surf ‘n turf. Oversized desserts end each meal on a high note.
Bars & Lounges
The Fun Ship 2.0 enhanced Lido pool bars—BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar—are perfectly set up for day drinking in the sunshine. If you want to be indoors for a bit, hit the Promenade deck, where SKYBOX Sports Bar and Alchemy Bar offer completely opposite experiences: either beer drinking and big screens, or swanky cocktailing and chit-chat.
Carnival’s standby lounges are the ever-lively piano bar, the lobby bar (great for pre-dinner drinks), the intimate cigar bar (not just for cigar lovers, contrary to its name), and the karaoke room. The casino bar onboard this ship is a favorite when the cover band takes the stage.
The main showroom on Carnival Liberty spans three levels and presents a mixed program of song-and-dance revues, variety acts, and audience-participation shows. Unlike some of Carnival’s other ships, it does not feature the Playlist Productions short format.
Punchliner Comedy Club holds top billing in the second and much smaller showroom—and though a typical comedy night will offer five shows, the room gets packed, even as the hour gets later.
Czar’s Palace Casino is popular not only because of the action at the tables, but also because of the bar. The house cover band there is quite the crowd-pleaser.
Hot & Cool Nightclub is worth swinging by late-night—not only for its music, but to look at the décor. This features street art-looking murals and a Burning Man-style giant hand reaching up from the front edge of the dance floor.
One can never overlook the Lido deck when it comes to a good time. This poolside party hub regularly brings DJs out to play, stages boozy contests, or hosts themed parties in the afternoon/early evening. It also hosts the popular Seaside Theater movie nights.
The mid-ship pool is the designated activity hub. The sundecks spreading out from this relatively small pool are often scouted by Carnival activity staff, where they rally cruiser participation for daily contests, trivia games, scavenger hunts and dancing. For actual swimming, either of the two other pools toward the aft of the ship (Versailles and Coney Island) are more suitable options. The Versailles pool is the calmest, while Coney Island sees activity from the teen-favored two-story Twister waterslide which leads riders into this pool.
The Serenity adult deck occupies space on two top deck sections on board. While there is no dedicated pool in Serenity, it does have two whirlpools.
This ship has a Cloud 9 concept spa and a complimentary fitness center. The sports deck has a volleyball court and basketball half-court, plus miniature golf.
People who require a quieter setting in order to sleep can have a very difficult time on this ship, as noise from the night spots filters into many cabins.
Queues for the Lido lunch offerings tend to get very long, no matter what specialty counter you pick.
This ship does not have a full WaterWorks aqua park.