We sailed as a family of four, my husband and I and our two girls ages 6 and 8 plus my mother had her own cabin. This was my 7th cruise and I have sailed on various cruise lines. Last year we sailed on NCL Epic and found it too large, there were just LONG lines everywhere we went on that ship. We have sailed on Carnival Freedom in the past and enjoyed that experience so we decided to give Liberty a try.
Embarkation went extremely fast, we arrived at 1:30 and went straight onboard. We walked around a bit and then went to our cabin, our luggage was there and the cabin was ready. Our room steward Iain was great, we saw him all of the time which seems to be more of a rare occurrence now while sailing. Our room was comfortable and spacious enough for the four of us. Lots of storage. The one negative that I did have is with the hairdryer. You have to keep your finger pressed on the button for it to stay on. With 3 heads of thick hair, my poor finger was so sore! I understand the safety reasons but wished I had brought my own:) Nice roomy shower with adjustable shower head height.
The ship itself was great. No complaints. The layout did not seem to be a problem, we stayed on deck 7 so we took the stairs a lot. The ship did have a lot more movement than I am used to. I have only been bothered by sea sickness on a couple of occasions in the past and at that,it was only an evening or a morning. This time, we felt it often. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday night and all day Friday. Friday was our last sea day and the pool was closed the entire day due to the rocking of the ship. I spent three evenings laying in bed not feeling well so we didn't attend much of the entertainment. We did go to the family comedy show. The girls weren't finding him very funny, the jokes were a little too mature for their age and then he swore so we decided to leave.
Camp Carnival. With all of the lines I have cruised, including Disney, Carnival is my favourite for kids activities. My girls love Camp Carnival. They seem to have the right activities for them to keep interested. The staff is friendly and lines were never long to pick them up or drop them off. With me being ill and the weather being so cold that week, this was a true vacation saver for us!!! Happy children equals happy parents!
Dining: I have read many comments about how dining is not at the standard it used to be and I agree. Families with children beware of the lack of "kids" food unless you like to eat at the dining room for lunch and dinner each day. We traditionally don't eat at the dining room often due to the change in time zones we are hungry at 5 and my kids go to bed at 8, so we prefer eating earlier. Room service offers PB and J on toast which the kids loved. The chocolate cake was very yummy from room service as well I might add:) The buffet was very unvaried. Three days I believe the theme was Caribbean. There was jerk lamb one day, jerk chicken another day and jerk something else. Spicy fish, spicy everything on many occasions. Even the pasta. If your children like spicy, then no issues there. No chocolate melting cake at the buffet even on formal night, there was on a past cruise. Desserts were pretty decent though, I will give credit for that! Guy's burger was good, fries there as well. The fish and chips place not that good but the fries were like McDonald's fries so we did get those on the odd day. But if your child wants a hot dog or chicken fingers or spaghetti, mac and cheese, none of that will be found at anytime at the buffet. Only in the dining room.
Bars: My husband had a hard time getting a beer on many occasions. Didn't seem to be the amount of bar staff walking around the deck like there used to be. Only ever seemed to be one bar open at a time, with one bar attendant and long lines. One night we had a "date" night and went up on the pool deck to listen to some live music and have a few drinks. We waited at the bar for three whole songs and the poor girl working was going as fast as she could but the line was so long, we decided to leave. We went inside and sat in one of the lounge areas for a while, no one came to offer us a drink so off my husband went to the casino bar to wait in line to get a couple of drinks. Usually drinks are pushed on you all of the time, not this trip. We don't drink a lot so not a huge deal.
Ports: Half Moon Cay was beautiful but Freezing. That was just Mother Nature, nothing to do with the port of call. We arrived to a long line of people waiting to get back to shore at 11. It was just sooo cold. I came from Canadian winter so if I am saying it was cold, it was cold! I sat with a towel wrapped around me while the girls swam with the other 6 people in the water. The water was warm though. The lifeguard had a parka on!! San Juan was hot and beautiful. We just got off and strolled the streets, it was very easy to do so. St Thomas, it rained almost the whole time so we just got off and walked around the shops located close to the ship. We have stopped at that port of call many times so we were content with just doing that. Grand Turk was the highlight of our trip. I think not only because it was so beautiful but because it was actually warm! LOL, we had a bad week of unusually cold weather. Anyway, we rented a cabana at Jimmy Buffets and that was well worth the money. We didn't spend a lot of time in it but it was still cool to have. The pool was awesome, not too crowded. It was great that it was zero entry so it wasn't too deep for my non swimmer. And the adults that were partying were way down at the other end so that was really nice. The beach was right there as well and free so that was a nice option. I did find the under currents quite strong though for the little ones. The sand was so fine that it was hard to get your footing. Keep that in mind if you have really little ones. The water was beautiful and it was cool being sooo close to your ship while swimming!
The last night of the ship I was very sick. Perhaps Norwalk? When we got back to land I heard on the news that the ship we docked beside at many stops had an outbreak so maybe I caught it? I was throwing up every 10 minutes all night. I sent the kids over to my mother's room. Not a pleasant end to our trip. Embarkation was very quick and easy and that was much appreciated as I was barely mobile. With the fact that I did catch something..I am a germ phobe. Wash hands all the time, don't touch door handles with bare hands, etc. The thing that always bothers me is that you wash your hands, then go through the buffet touching the tongs that everyone else has touched then if you were to leave your food to go wash your hands again, then the servers would take it away! I made sure my kids touched nothing though but I guess I caught something at some point, despite my efforts!Next time we'll keep wipes with us at all times to wipe our hands at least one last time before eating.
I would recommend the ship and ports though with the exception of the food. We are not big eaters with fancy expectations but we were hungry all of the time! Good thing there was free ice cream:) And the free lemonade is a huge plus!