sweetliberty13

sweetliberty13
First Mate

Hometown: Martinsburg, WV
Joined: 01/13/2015
3
Cruises
3
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6
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About sweetliberty13

Married to Brenda since 1987. We have two wonderful children and a son-in-law. We also have a pair of dogs that we spoil rotten. That is the most difficult part of cruising for us, leaving the pups in the kennel. Still, we have always enjoyed travel for the quality time it provides our family. I am also a rabid Packer fan. In addition to working for the second largest printer in the world for the past 20 years, I am a full time grad student, a little over half way finished with my Th D in theology.


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sweetliberty13's Past Cruises

Carnival Breeze

February 2016 - Carnival Breeze to Caribbean - Western

Great Ship/Great Cabin

First, our sailing was actually January 24-30, 2016... but this cruise is not listed? 

 

The highlight of the cruise was most definitely our cabin. We stayed in Cloud 9 Deluxe Oceanview, cabin 11203. It was oversized with plenty of room for three people. In addition, it came with access to the Cloud 9 Spa (services sold separately). We also had a semi-private balcony mere steps from our cabin door.

 

The buffet choices on this cruise seemed rather limited compared to others, including the Carnival Sunshine. The food in the main dining room was comparable to other cruises. 

 

Service was excellent. Both housekeeping and the wait staff were friendly and went above and beyond to make our stay special. The entertainers were first, though the newer shows (Piano Man and another so unmemorable the name escapes me) featured below average musical scores that appealed to a very few. Mike Pack was a total disappointment as cruise director.

 

When it comes to the Western Caribbean, I much prefer the 7 day itinerary. Ocho Rios was a worthwhile stop. The Dunns River Falls climb was a lot of fun. Grand Cayman was just okay. Cozumel is always awesome. This time around we avoided the heavy crowds and took a private excursion to Punta Sur. It was a beautiful area and the seclusion was priceless.

 

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Carnival Sunshine

January 2015 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Western

Excellent Itinerary

The itinerary was the main selling point for us on this cruise. Cozumel and Isla Roatan did not disappoint. Cozumel had forty plus excursions to choose from, both land and water based. There was something for every age group. While Isla Roatan was more limited in number, there was something to accommodate a wide range of tastes. We opted for the Pirates, Birds and Monkeys exhibit. This was a highly interactive tour, capped off with first a macaw, then a Capuchin monkey perched on our shoulders. The monkeys were characters, one clinging to my daughter's hair, another trying to find his way into my son-in-law's small back pack. Meanwhile, another grabbed a water bottle from someone and headed up a tree. Isla Roatan also has an amazing private beach area steps away from the pier. We had the opportunity to utilize the beach fro a couple hours prior to our excursion.

Belize was not a great port. We didn't purchase an excursion, as the majority of these required 3 hour round trip transportation. After similar experiences at both prior ports, we were looking for something a little closer to no avail. We did tender in and were disappointed that there was not much aside from a couple of crowded shops. Costa Maya was a step above Belize. If you chose not to participate, you could still watch the dolphin swim from the end of the pier. There were several shops available as well.

The ship itself was a small step down from the Norwegian Breakaway. I preferred the layout of the Breakaway with its more open feel. others may prefer the more compartmentalized feel of the Sunshine. Jamie Dee was a very good cruise director, though a small step down from Sinan on the Breakaway. The food choices and quality on the Sunshine were outstanding. My son loved Guys Burger Joint. My son-in-law loved JiJi's Asian and the burrito bar. The dining room has a fantastic chocolate melting cake. The four chocolate eaters in our party were hooked from day 1.

As far as entertainment, comedian Al Ernst was outstanding. We saw his act three times on consecutive days. Each performance was 100% new material. The Primetime cast was exceptional. We saw their Motor City Review, Latin Nights and Epic Rock. Unfortunately, the fourth show (disco/soul train era) was canceled for safety concerns. The winds were extremely heavy, the Sunshine rather tipsy.  The best of these was Epic Rock. While Rock of Ages on the Norwegian Breakaway was somewhat better, I take nothing away from Epic Rock. Unlike the cast of Rock of Ages, the Primetime cast must be able to sing and dance...and they wer excellent on both ends.

I would take this same cruise again. I would also take the Sunshine on a different itinerary. My personal recommendation would be to add a second day at Cozumel and eliminate either or Costa Maya.

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Norwegian Breakaway

December 2013 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Bahamas

Great First Cruise Experience

At our cruise time, this ship had only a few months under its belt. My wife, son and myself had never been on a cruise before and were fairly clueless what to expect. My daughter and son-in-law at this point had been on two Carnival cruises, so they could shed a little light on the experience.

 

The worst part of the experience was departing after a moderate snowfall in New York City. The temperature was anything but pleasant. I am not sure I would ever depart from a northern port during the winter months again. The first and last day of the seven day cruise were spent in cooler temperatures.

 

The cruise director, Sinan, was absolutely awesome. The entertainment, especially Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor, was fantastic. The comedy was not my taste, as I am not a large fan of improv. The food was excellent. While the ocean-view cabin was not huge, it wasn't less than I expected. The service staff was friendly and committed to the passenger experience.

 

The entire family had a great time. This experience sold us on cruising. 

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sweetliberty13's Tips

Cozumel, Mexico - If you are looking to get away from it all, head to Punta Sur.
Falmouth, Jamaica - Dunns River Falls climb was awesome. Don't shell out the $40 for the DVD. Poor quality combo of stills and video that wasn't worth $4.
Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras - The Pirates, Birds and Monkeys of the Caribbean excursion was an excellent value and a lot of fun. You can have a parrot and a Capuchin monkey perch on your shoulder. Photos are taken by staff and sold by the disk for a reasonable price. You cannot use credit or debit cards - so take cash for lunch.
New York, New York - Rating would be different if we hadn't departed after a moderate snow fall. My wife and kids had never been to New York, but it was snowy and the wind was cutting right through us.
Cozumel, Mexico - Went to Xtapa Resort on the mainline. It was a great resort. The ferry ride was very rocky. between ferry and bus, we had transportation time of 2 1/2 houtr round trip. The underwater cave was the hihglight for our group.

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