ABOARD CARNIVAL LIBERTY — According to the calendar, it’s Monday. But somehow at sea, all days seem alike.
We are moving, slowly but surely, toward our first port of call — Nassau. In the meantime, the fun goes on for the several thousand passengers aboard.
Our first stop is the Silver Olympian Restaurant, the two-story main dining room, where they are serving brunch. It’s a beautiful room, ornately decorated in an art deco style that harkens back to the theaters of the 30s and 40s. We had dinner here the night before, and found the food very good to excellent.
At brunch we share a table with another couple from Tennessee. This is their second cruise on Carnival and they are big fans of the Carnival app, which has helped them plan their activities for the week.
Afterwards, not really seeing myself as a serious contender for the “Hairiest Chest” competition at the pool, I take the stairs up to Deck 14 and the adult refuge known as “Serenity.” Restricted to guests 21 and older, it offers chairs and loungers where guests can read a book, sunbathe or just relax at the highest point on the ship.
I order a drink at the Serenity Bar and join the others watching the waves go by, blissfully unaware my better half is participating in her own private shopping spree on Deck 5, where they have rolled out tables of bargain merchandise at prices too good to be true. Power relaxing or power shopping — Liberty has something for everyone.
Of course, all that relaxing and shopping makes one hungry, so it’s soon time to check out the dining options on Lido.
With the pools and food venues on one deck, Lido is Liberty’s version of Grand Central Station. But whatever your taste or fancy, you can probably satisfy your hunger at one of these:
* Guy’s Burger Joint: Yes, from one and the same Guy Fieri of the Food Network. The burgers here are thick and juicy and you customize the trimmings. Find it by joining the longest lines by the pool.
* BlueIquana Cantina: Go South of the Border. One line for tacos, another for burritos. Very fresh ingredients for your Tex-Mex cravings.
* Mongolian Wok: You pick out your perfect noodle bowl and pair it with the meat and sauce of your choosing; the chefs do the rest. It’s popular and not as fast as a burger or burrito, so be patient.
* Old Fashioned BBQ: I do love me some BBQ, and this fills the bill. Located above the Lido buffet on Deck 10, choose chicken, pork or brisket and don’t miss the molasses beans.
Then there’s the buffet itself, which runs the gamut from blue plate specials and salads to Italian and deli favorites. And you can’t walk by The Sweet Spot without trying at least one, and probably two, of the desserts.
With lunch accomplished, Pam has her sights set on the casino, located on Deck 5. Lady Luck wasn’t very kind on the first night, but her luck changed today. Win some, lose more is our typical day at the slots.
The dress code of the day is “cruise elegant.” That translates to no jeans, shorts or flip flops in the better dining rooms. It’s also the “go” signal for the ladies to break out their finery (guys, too). And this evening, the glitz and glam is on full display, including a tux or two. Photographers are swarming like ants on the Promenade Deck to capture the moment for posterity, and have all the business they can handle.
Tonight Pam and I head up to Deck 10 where we have a reservation at one of Liberty’s two specialty restaurants, Diamonds Steakhouse. It’s not cast in your typical dark wood and country club motiff, but more in the mode of “cruise elegant.” The wait staff was very friendly and attentive — Daria from Ukraine took good care of us — and the food excellent. As non-steak eaters, our sea bass was expertly prepared, as was the rest of our meal. It was well worth the $35 upcharge, especially for devoted steak lovers.
Afterwards we headed for the Venetian Palace, the showroom at the front of the ship, to see “Flick,” a multi-sensory tribute to Hollywood. On the way we pass by the giant outdoor movie screen where the “dive-in” Seaside Theater is showing “Kong Island” to several hundred huddled in deck chairs.
“Flick” featured some amazing visual effects, as well as some great voices. But we never quite figured out what the role of the guy with the Frankenstein-look and glittery hair was supposed to be.
We end the evening with a champagne toast in our room (you can bring two bottles of non-hard liquor aboard). Good news: Our mini-frig is working again. It took less than five minutes for the service person to diagnose the issue: Someone had turned it off.