About a year ago, I was trying to fill in a gap for my 2017 cruise schedule. I already had a couple sailings without the family so I knew leaving my wife home with the kids for another one was not an option, and we weren’t ready to bring my two year old son on a cruise quite yet. This was when the idea of a daddy daughter cruise was conceived. My daughter would be four at the time of sailing and I figured it was about time to try sailing with her again after our first attempt when she was about 20 months old. I would be lying if I wasn’t a little concerned about traveling with a four year old and having some flashbacks to the first time we took her. The cruise has now come and gone and I would love to share with you how we fared and what we thought of the Carnival Liberty.
So I know you are all dying to know, did we have fun and would I do it again? The answer is: yes, in a heartbeat. We both had a ton of fun and she by far exceeded my expectations of a four year old traveler. The trip ended and it had me wondering why she doesn’t behave this well at home!
Both the flight to Florida and the flight home were uneventful and were mostly spent watching videos on a tablet. I was so thankful that she never got bored or felt the need to release any energy. As I mentioned in my pre-cruise blog post we would be doing one way car rentals between MCO (Orlando Airport) and Port Canaveral. We did not run into any issues doing this, and the longest we had to wait for a shuttle was about 20 minutes to get back to the Avis location post cruise. I had purchased a travel booster seat by Bubble Bum prior to the cruise. It was very easy to use and served its purpose well in the rental car. Both of our stays at the Radisson Port Canaveral (Pre-cruise) and Disney All Star Sports Resort (Post-cruise) met my expectations and I would certainly stay at both locations again if sailing from Port Canaveral.
Our pre-cruise stay consisted of dinner at Sandbar Sports Grill, some great photo ops at Cocoa Beach, and a helicopter tour the morning of embarkation day. The helicopter tour was clearly the highlight and I would certainly recommend it if you want some great aerial photos of your ship. For this tour we used Florida Air Tours and we really enjoyed the experience. We did the 6 minute tour of Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach this time, as I wasn’t sure how my four year old would handle it. She was a little nervous getting in but was content the rest of the ride. I would love to do a longer tour in the future!
The Carnival Liberty itself was a great home for our three days onboard. We had an inside cabin on Lido deck (deck 9). The location was really ideal having a little one in tow. We were never far from the pool or lido deck food options. We encountered great service from everyone on board and I really can’t even think of one thing to complain about service wise. We were able to utilize the main pool while it wasn’t too crowded each day. After about noon on the sea day it was so packed that I wouldn’t have even attempted to get in. Fortunately we had already ventured in during the morning. The highlights onboard for us included pool time, mini golf, Dr. Seuss Breakfast, the Seafood Shack, and Camp Ocean.
Since I’m sure most of you reading this have kids and want to know a little more about Camp Ocean I will touch on it in a little more detail. Pre cruise I had talked to my daughter about the kids club quite a bit. She generally loves structured programs and activities so I knew she would most likely enjoy it but I didn’t want the idea of me dropping her off to be a surprise on board. She was a little hesitant the first night when camp opened so I told her to at least check it out and I would be back in a half hour to get her. When I showed up a half an hour later she essentially told me to go away! She didn’t actually use those words but that’s what it felt like! She stayed another half hour and I picked her up a little after 9 pm. The second night she asked to stay longer so I left her from 7:30 pm (after dinner) and picked her up at 9:30 pm. We would follow that same routine for the third night as well. Each night they had different themes. Night two she came out dressed up as a princess and night three as a pirate! Every time I picked her up she was smiling ear to ear. I was really impressed with the Camp Ocean experience and was so happy that she loved it.
I’ll touch briefly on our time in Nassau. Due to it being crazy hot and humid we only spent about two hours off of the ship. This was my 20th visit to the island and we would be doing something new for the first time. I had decided pre-cruise that we would visit Ardastra Gardens. I really would have liked to be able to walk there and avoid a cab ride with no car seat, but it’s over a mile away from the cruise terminal in Nassau and in the heat I knew it was just not happening with a four year old. We took the $12 taxi ride each way and fortunately didn’t have any issues. In hind sight, I should have brought the Bubble Bum booster seat with us, as both taxis were relatively new and had functioning seat belts (I just didn’t expect that to be the case based on prior taxi rides there). I would have had a little more peace of mind if we had brought it along. We spent about an hour looking around Ardastra Gardens. The flamingos are definitely the highlight and we got some great photos. I would definitely like to go back again on a visit with some cooler temperatures.
Our post-cruise stay included a visit to Ron Jon Surf Shop, a quick stop to get some photos of Oasis of the Seas in Port Canaveral, pool time at Disney’s All Star Sports, meeting up with a friend who lived nearby, and dinner in Disney Springs. We had a pretty relaxing day before catching our flight out early the next morning.
We both had so much fun on our daddy daughter vacation. I can certainly see many of these in our future. I would recommend everything we utilized or did this trip including pre-cruise and post-cruise hotels, transportation options, cruise ship, and excursions. If you have a specific questions please do not hesitate to send me a message on my contact page above. If you enjoyed following along be sure to subscribe and get email notifications of future blog posts.