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Carnival Liberty Trip Report: Day 1 – Embarkation



Ever since I sailed my first Carnival LIVE sailing, I knew I wanted to do another one. When I saw that Tim McGraw was headlining two shows, I knew I HAD to go – but which ship? Since I’m in northern Florida, the only obvious choice was Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral. This is my three-day trip report from Carnival Liberty.

It’s been said that I’m a cruise addict. There’s no denying it. I go to the port to watch ships leave, I take massive amounts of photos (to the tune of over 100,000 now) and will book a cruise 18 months out, just so I have something to look forward to. Not to mention, countless amounts of weekly texts from friends and family members asking every cruise question in the book. So it’s no surprise that when I saw a cruise on Carnival Liberty for $199 and it was a Tim McGraw concert sailing, I had to book it.

photo: Carnival

Being that I live two hours from Port Canaveral, I drove down there the morning of the cruise. I made it in two hours flat! Parking at the pier was $64 for three nights; a bit of a rip off if you ask me. I’d suggest using an offsite parking lot like GoPortCanaveral for half the price and efficient shuttle service. Port Canaveral is known for sticking it to the cruiser, and the latest price increase is more proof.

Once I checked my bag, entered the cruise terminal, and made my way through security, I went to the check-in area with the rest of the platinum, diamond, and Faster to the Fun guests. The check-in process was flawless and I waited for about 15 minutes before boarding. Once they started boarding, things moved very quickly. Almost no one stopped for photos. From checking in to boarding the ship was 30 minutes.

The ship was a throwback to what I remember back in 2011, after her Fun Ship 2.0 renovation, and then again in 2014 when she first came to Port Canaveral. Interesting decor with colorful chandeliers and lights. A lot of dark colors in the atrium. The first stop was to the main theater to see the layout for the Tim McGraw show. Then it was off to the stateroom – an oceanview room on the second deck, midship. Since I am platinum, my stateroom was ready. I ordered two cases of bottled water for the voyage ($4.50 per case). Normally that is in the room waiting for you, but it didn’t wind up arriving until later that night.  

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The ship had a BBQ joint upstairs where the old fish and chips station used to be. I was excited, but not excited enough to skip Guy’s Burger Joint. I grabbed a burger there and then went upstairs to check out the BBQ joint. This isn’t a Guy’s branded BBQ yet, though I expect it to be in the future. They have the same sauces and meat selections as Guy’s Pig & Anchor BBQ on Carnival Vista. The burger and BBQ were both awesome.

The lifeboat drill was about 30 minutes and then it was time to cruise! We started moving as soon as we were released from the muster station. That’s when I went up to the top deck to get some sailaway pictures. The last few times I was at Port Canaveral, it was to watch the sailaway from Fish Lips, so it was nice to be on the ship itself this time. Disney Cruise Line had a ship there and they sailed after us, so we had the harbor to ourselves.

Carnival has this special where if you book the steakhouse on the first night of the cruise, you get a free bottle of wine, so that we did. The steakhouse reservation was at 5:30, and it was excellent as always. Even though the menu is the same across the other Carnival ships, this steakhouse had a darker feel to it. The food was delicious as always. Instead of going for the 18 oz cowboy cut, I went with the petite filet and lobster tail.

Dinner was over by 7:30 and it was off to Dr. Seuss’ birthday party. Hosted by the cruise director Donkey, they had a balloon drop in the main atrium followed by a ton of cupcakes, cookies, and cakes. Even The Cat in the Hat made a special appearance. There seemed to be a lag of things to do between dinnertime and the first welcome aboard show because after the birthday celebration, there were no activities until 10:45.

Not gonna lie, I was in bed by 9 pm after going non-stop all day. Am I getting old or what?

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Carnival Raises Faster to the Fun Price



The good news: When sailing on most Carnival Cruise Line ships, you can still purchase the Faster To The Fun package. The bad news? On many of those ships, taking the happiness highway’s express lane is gonna cost you a little extra.

How Much Faster To The Fun Went Up

Carnival quietly boosted the price earlier this week, although news of the change spread quickly across social media. Some proclaimed that they didn’t mind paying the extra fee for the program — which offers numerous benefits, including priority embarkation — while others thought there were better ways in which they could spend the money.

So how much did the price go up? Previously, the cost — which is per cabin, not per person — ran between $49,95 to $79.95, depending on the ship and the length of the sailing. The price has now gone up to between $69.95 and $99.95.

The Breakdown


Screenshot via Carnival.


  • The program will cost $69.95 on 5-day sailings, except on the Sensation, where the price is $59.95.
  • For 4-day cruises on Carnival Conquest, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Paradise, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Valor and Carnival Vista is $69.95.
  • For 6- and 7-day sailings, Faster To The Fun will cost $89.95.
  • On sailings lasting 8 days or longer, the package will now cost $99.95.

When Carnival first rolled Faster to the Fun out in 2012, it was $49.95 per stateroom across the fleet. In 2016, the line switched to the tiered pricing system which remains in effect to this day.

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What does Faster to the Fun include? 

A limited number of Faster To The Fun passes are sold, which is one of the reasons many believe it to be worth the price, as it allows for faster boarding thanks to separate security screening lanes and an express boarding lane upon embarkation. Those who purchase FTTF also have immediate access to their staterooms, which generally are not available immediately upon boarding. The perk also includes priority luggage handling, access to priority tendering in ports where applicable, a choice of disembarkation times and priority dinner-time assignments.

Do you generally purchase Faster To The Fun? Will the change in price impact your decision to do so in the future? 

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Queen Latifah Named Carnival Horizon’s Godmother



The newest ship to join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet also just became the coolest with the news that Queen Latifah has been named the Carnival Horizon’s godmother.

When The Queen Will Reign

Carnival Ho

Photo: Carnival

Beloved by millions, the actress/singer/author/businesswoman said it was “an honor” to be selected, especially given the line’s longtime association with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.”

Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, said that “with her fun-loving spirit and positive, can-do attitude, Queen Latifah embodies our brand and knows how to Choose Fun in everything she does. Knowing that she is a long-time supporter of St. Jude and has performed on and won Lip Sync Battle made her the ideal candidate to serve as godmother on our newest ship.”

READ MORE: Sneak Peek At The Carnival Horizon [Photos]

Latifah will officially assume her duties at the naming ceremony, which is set to take place during an invitation-only overnight gala being held on the Carnival Horizon in New York City on Wednesday, May 23. During the ceremony, St. Jude will be presented with a check representing funds raised at various Carnival events, both on ships and on shore. The atrium-grounding Dreamescape funnel will also feature artwork created by dozens of St. Jude patients.

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The gala will also see Latifah taking part in a special event titled Lip Sync Battle: Horizon which will showcase the ship’s authentic reproduction of the hit TV series.

Over the past few years, Latifah has… well, pretty much done it all. She’s won awards from groups as diverse as the Teen Choice Awards and the Screen Actors Guild, not to mention a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and two NAACP Image Awards. She was also the first hip-hop artist to be honored with a star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, and now runs a production company — Flavor Unit Entertainment — which produces a wide variety of programming.

After The Gala

Following the naming ceremony and Gala on May 23, the Carnival Horizon will spend the summer sailing out of New York City before relocating in September to Miami, where she’ll sail year-round cruises to the Caribbean.

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Carnival to Offer New Cuba Cruises in 2019



Carnival Cruise Line will be offering 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019. The five-day voyages will be the line’s first to operate round-trip from Miami and feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops in other popular ports.

The voyages complement a series of sailings to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018 and 2019. Sensation‘s Cuba schedule includes:

  • four 5-day sailings to Havana and Grand Turk departing May 20, Sept. 9, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 2019
  • five 5-day voyages featuring Havana, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 23, and Nov. 4, 2019
  • a 5-day cruise to Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays departing April 22, 2019
  • seven 5-day cruises to Havana and Grand Cayman departing May 6, June 3, July 1 and 29, Aug. 26, Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, 2019

A Cuban taxi driver, piloting a vintage car, pulls up to the El Morro Castle while the Carnival Paradise cruise ship is docked in Havana, Cuba. (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line)

The 2,052-guest Carnival Sensation underwent a massive dry dock last year and a variety of venues were added, including Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar, and Cherry on Top. Already onboard was a Serenity adults-only area, 24-hour pizza, the WaterWorks aqua park, and the Seuss at Sea program.

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Guests sailing on Carnival’s cruises to Cuba can choose from almost 20 shore excursions that showcase the island’s culture, beauty, and architectural landmarks. There will also be Cuba-themed parties, games, and activities onboard. To learn more, visit

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