It has been three years since our last Carnival cruise, and after 12 years of cruising we decided it was time to take a cruise that included New Years Eve. We drove to Miami, parked at the port, and embarkation was quick, easy and efficient. Kudos to Carnival for that.
What a fantastic time we had on the Carnival Liberty. We are so glad we chose this ship. No cruise line or cruise ship is perfect, but this cruise came very close to being perfect. We never had a bad meal the entire week. Our favorites were the new things that Carnival has added - Guy Fieri's Burger Joint,(best burgers, fries, onion rings & condiments anywhere) the pool deck Mexican cantina, the Comedy Brunch, Fish & Chips, Alchemy Bar, and the Taste Bar. All fantastic. Even though my husband won't go to it, I really love to go to the elegant afternoon teas that are held on sea days. It's also wonderful that they offer delicious gluten free bread, and their special multi grain bread called Norlander. Both were delicious. I wished they would have had a lunch available in one of the dining rooms, but they only did breakfast, and the comedy brunch on the two sea days.
Quite a few children on this sailing, but not as bad as the Christmas week cruise we did three years ago. There were a few occasions of out of control children we saw in the evenings whose parents let them run wild, but it didn't happen very often. We especially loved the Serenity Deck, and the adults only section of the Lido Deck with it's adults only area which included a pool, hot tubs, bar, and snack bar. The Serenity Deck was very popular, and I wish it was larger and had more seating. This ship does not have an outdoor walking/jogging deck that goes the entire way around the ship. Walked around in the early mornings on two of the decks, and supplemented with a few minutes on an elliptical machine. If you use the stairs you can have plenty of exercise.
Karl, our cruise director, was one of the best! He is a very friendly dynamo and was every where. He coordinated a fantastic New Years Eve party that even included some of the Liberty's crew which we thought was very nice. Our captain was especially friendly, also. All of the crew members were friendly, outgoing, and gave us impeccable service. Loved the new changing light system in the huge and gorgeous ship's atrium, and down the interior promenade deck.
As far as shore excursions, Grand Cayman was a HUGE and EXPENSIVE disappointment. We had been there in 2001, and loved it. It's not so great any more and the tender boats are awful. All the other places, Belize, Cozumel and Mahogany Bay in Roatan were fantastic. You can do nothing, or you can choose from many excursions. On Roatan the Gumbalimba Nature Park was a fantastic place. We really enjoyed interacting with the wild parrots and monkeys. It was about a 45 minutes van ride from the dock, so we got to see a lot of the island as well.
Entertainment on the ship was very excellent, and we really enjoyed the Comedy club and the comedians and the shows. As a negative, here was way too much cigarette smoke in the interior of the ship. I could smell it in the atrium, inside promenade, stairwells, and hallway anywhere near the casino. Because the casino opens up into the promenade deck and they allow smoking in the casino, it really can be a problem. I cant understand why they allow interior smoking at all. I did not go to the casino at all and refuse to as long as it is filled with cigarette smoke. We also stayed away from the nightclub because it too allowed smoking and we could not stand being in it for longer than a few minutes.
We were skeptical about taking another Carnival cruise because we have had some mundane experiences in the past. We met some fantastic people at our dinner table at early seating in the Silver dining room. There was also a large group of singles cruising on this ship and we enjoyed meeting a lot of them. This New Years cruise was incredible, and we had one of the best parties and best times we have had in our life.