My First Cruise!

Life is strange and full of surprises.  I never wanted to go on a cruise. Why would I want to be herded along when I’m fully capable of traveling on my own?

I have a new job and a wonderful new relationship, and my marketing job decided to take us on a retreat – a cruise to the Bahamas!  It’s hard to turn down a free trip to the Bahamas.

The Carnival Liberty was a pleasant surprise in every way.  This ship was sparkling clean, the service was amazing, and it very rarely felt crowded.

Our cabin was larger than expected and housekeeping came by to introduce himself and take any requests.  Get a robe – they are free to use and super comfy. Gratuities are automatically charged to your Sail and Sign card, but if you feel that someone goes above and beyond, they would love a small tip!  You also use your card to purchase anything that is not included in your cruise.

So what’s included?  Our cruise included unlimited food from the buffet including water, juice, and coffee.  Dinner in the formal dining room was timed and tables are assigned so it is never overcrowded.  You can also eat tacos, deli sandwiches, and Mongolian wok noodles made fresh in front of you, all included.  You are welcome to bring one (normal size) bottle of wine each, and a twelve pack of 12 oz cans (not bottles!) of non-alcoholic drink.

WiFi, alcohol, sushi, the steakhouse, and special coffee drinks are extra.  You can purchase drink and internet packages, and if you think you’ll spend more than $50 a day on drinks, it’s a good deal.  The mixed drinks at Alchemy are excellent and would be $10-$12 each.  The bartenders are also lots of fun!

You’ll need either your passport or your driver’s license AND your birth certificate.  If something happens and you need to fly back to the states, you will need a passport to board a plane.  I have no idea how I managed it, but I did lose my driver’s license, so be sure to make copies of your ID and keep them in your handy room safe.  Do not lose your ship card!

The Liberty has several pools and hot tubs, a comedy club, a small dance club, a nice gym with exercise classes, and lots of deck seats. For an extra charge, there is a casino and spa. It was windy on deck!  Take advantage of Serenity, an adult only area of the ship.

We had two ports of call in the Bahamas, Nassau and Freeport.  Getting on and off the boat is easy, but the piers are a bit crowded with souvenir stands and tourists unsure of where to go.  Sign up for at least one excursion  ($60-$100) to get out and see some of the island.  In Nassau, hire a taxi ($4) to take you over to the other side of the island. Bum around Atlantis resort, and you can either pay to use their beautiful beach, or Cabbage Beach is open to the public.

We stumbled upon The Green Parrot marina bar, which was very nice.  Try a local beer – either Kalik or Sands.

Our snorkeling excursion in Freeport included a bus tour of the island.  The trips from A to B are not super scenic, so it was very nice to have a local guide to talk about the area.

We really enjoyed our first cruise, and while I prefer to travel in small groups and get a better feel for local haunts, don’t turn down a free ride on Carnival Liberty if the opportunity presents!