We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 10:00 am and us SAS shuttle service ($15/person) to head to Port Miami. Although we were advised not to check in until 1:00, we had no problem checking in around 11:30. Process was smooth without much waiting. We did have to wait several hours for our luggage to arrive (it wasn't there until after the safety drill, hours after it was supposed to arrive),which was a minor inconvenience.
Overall impression of the ship: as other reviewers have mentioned, the Liberty has a weird layout. The only decks that go all the way across are 5 and 9, which makes navigating a bit tricky. The hot tubs (besides the one nearest the slide) are not quite hot enough. It's impossible to get away from the smoking areas. You have to walk past the casino to get to the Silver dining room every night, and it is always full of smoke. That was our biggest complaint about the cruise. Second biggest complaint was the crowds. There are some areas (deck 5 specifically) where it was hard to get around, especially on Elegant night, as there are many people waiting to get their pictures taken. There just aren't enough common areas that aren't right in walkways.
Food-The food quality was quite good. We typically ate breakfast at the burrito stand (the breakfast burritos are awesome).Breakfast in the dining room was also quite yummy if we had the time to sit down for that. The lunch buffet wasn't great, and we were rarely hungry before 2:30 anyway, so we were left with Guy's Burgers (which were yummy, but not always what you wanted to eat after a big breakfast) or the pizza, which was just okay. We ate dinner every night in the dining room and enjoyed many of the dishes there. One of our servers found out we liked apple juice with our meals, and always had some waiting for us when we got there. None of us liked any of the beef dishes, but we all liked many of the seafood dishes. There was always something we loved every night. Desserts were good, but nothing was better than the warm melting chocolate cake. I only wish I hadn't been so full when it was served every night.
Entertainment-Carnival has earned the reputation as the "party boat," and it is well-deserved. The crowd is much younger and so there are a lot of activities tailored to people who want to dance, limbo, participate in hairy chest contests, etc. There are musicians all over the ship, playing music and encouraging dancing. That was fun. The shows were fairly good, some better than others (we liked Edge, the juggler extraordinaire). We really enjoyed the comedy of Cowboy Bill, and imagine he won't be doing cruises much longer, as he is just that good. We also participated in some trivia games and Scattergories and those were a lot of fun.
Tendering in Belize and Grand Cayman was a bit of a pain. We had excursions booked in both places (not through Carnival) and had to wait in long lines to get on the boats. In the future, I would take breakfast down to the lounge to wait before the time you are supposed to be there, to ensure you make the first tender boat. Both times we made it to our tours just fine, as the boats run often.
We had fabulous weather, until our final day at sea, when it rained all day. That was a bit of a bummer, but there was plenty to do to keep us busy. We checked out Yahtzee from the library and played. Karl was an energetic cruise director and the Love and Marriage game on Friday was one of his highlights. Not to mention his impression of Dolly Parton in the Friday night show.
Overall, it was a fabulous vacation and Carnival exceeded our (admittedly low) expectations.