SHIP & FOOD: My family and I just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Liberty. We arrived at the port at 12:15 and were on the ship by 12:45, but were not allowed to enter our stateroom until 1:30.
I was impressed with the decor of the ship...very elegant, especially for a Carnival ship. I expected a lot of loud color and neon, but it was not like that at all.
We had a balcony stateroom on the 7th floor and thought the room was a nice size. We had our kids with us ages 5 & 7 and we still had ample closet/storage space. I also thought the bathroom was a nice size.
This was my 10th cruise and only my second on Carnival....I haven't been on Carnival in 15 years because of a bad experience at that time. I've been a huge Royal Caribbean fan (also loved the Disney Cruise), but went back to Carnival this time because of the price (it was 1/3 the cost of the Disney Cruise). I think the service is better on RCCL and Disney, but overall, I still thought it was a very good value.
The food in the dining room was pretty good and the variety was decent. The Lido deck buffet (Emelie's Restaurant) had good food for breakfast and Lunch. The 24 hour pizza is nice for a late night snack and the Deli has great fresh, made to order sandwiches.
PORTS: We visited Freeport, Grand Cayman and Costa Maya. In Freeport we did the Nature Kayak Tour through the ship...only because we couldn't book it on our own because the cruise ships bought the kayaks for the day. The cost was $89 each (even the kids were $89), but it was a great tour. It did take us all day...6 hours..so we weren't able to do anything else all day.
GRAND CAYMAN: We went to stingray city with Moby Dick Tours. We booked in advance on our own and paid $35 adults & $30 for the kids. They were pretty good, but we felt really rushed at both Stingray City and the snorkel site. There were 42 people on our boat called MORNING GLORY, we were not on the boat they show on their web site. The bad thing was that the port authority of Grand Cayman said we needed to have the last tender at 2:00 due to bad weather coming in, so we lost 3 hours there. Moby Dick tours stated we were rushed because of this, not because of them....but they were not willing to give us any refund for the limited time at the snorkel site and Stingray City.COSTA MAYA: I could not find much on this place when I was looking, but I thought it was beautiful. It's like Cozumel before it became really commercialized. There is plenty of shopping right at the port and a nice beach area with beach chairs and a pool. It's great for kids and adults. I wish we could have spent more time there, but due to high waves we needed to get back on the ship after only 2 hours. It's a great place to just do some shopping, have a few drinks at the beach and relax!!
Oh, if you have kids...the Camp Carnival is pretty good. They have decent activities for the kids most of the day from 9am to 10pm. They are closed for 3 hours during the day, but when they are there they have a decent amount of activities for the kids and parents get a pager so they can be contacted if the kids want to come out. THe Disney Cruise's kids camp is MUCH better, but I guess you would expect it to be. My kids went in 3 times for a total of about 7 hours and they did enjoy it.
Overall, I'd try Carnival again...mostly because of the price.