Okay, let's start with a little apology: I'm not a native english speaker, so there will definitely be some mistakes and the occasional strange phrasing in this review...
BACKGROUND INFO: My wife and I want something special to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary next year. So we thought about a long cruise - but we weren't sure wether or not we would like cruises. So we thought: Let's give it a try first and book a shorter and less expensive cruise this year. So we ended up with a 7-day Carribean cruise with Carnival, because it was one of the cheapest offers and fitted our schedule.
We flew from Germany to Miami on April 19th and stayed one Night pre-cruise in the Hampton Inn at Dolphin Mall (great hotel btw., but next time we will book something closer to the port area).
EMBARKATION: Since we booked an Ocean Suite we had Priority boarding, which went extremely smooth. Upon arrival at the terminal we were greeted by the staff and led to the Captain's Lounge for check-in. A few minutes later we had our room keys in hand and went on board
THE SHIP: My wife and I both loved it. The Liberty is big, but not overwhelmingly so. And most important: It still looks like a Ship and not just like some Vegas Hotel floating on water.
All the public areas seem to be well maintained and clean. There are a few shops, a nice variety of bars and lounges and even a library (which we did not use :) )
Since we're no party people we were a little nervous about the Liberty being a "Fun ship" - but no need to worry. If you want some action, you'll definitely get it. But on the other hand you will always find a quiet place on the Liberty.
THE ROOM: Suite 7250 was just great. Lots of space, comfy bed, spacious bathroom area and it even has a dressing/makeup table. Very clean. And we loved the balcony. Room was pretty quiet, though on some rare occasions we could hear our neighbors' baby cry in the next room or people talking in the hallways. Location in the forward area of the ship was also good - just a few steps away from elevators and stairs. Right in the middle between Lido and Promenade Deck.
Cabin steward was great and we loved the towel animals she put on our bed every evening.
FOOD: A mixed bag. Our first evening in the Main Dining room (Golden Olympian) was a little disappointing: one of the worst steaks I ever had, accompanied by tasteless vegetables. The first formal evening saw a big improvement in quality and the final Dinner was actually very good. And my wife thinks their chocolate melting cake is one of the best desserts she ever had.
The Breakfast Buffett can get a little crowded, but quality and variety is ok. And we liked the Breakfast Burritos at the Iguana Cafe. We weren't impressed by Dinner Buffett though. Not too many choices here and the quality wasn't overwhelming either.
For us, one of the best eating spots was Guy's Burgers. Great burgers and fries, super friendly and fast staff.
The Pizza was tasty too, but the place was seriously understaffed with just one guy working there (and long waiting times because of that).
Room service was usually quick, but with a limited item selection. We really enjoyed being able to have breakfast on our balcony
ENTERTAINMENT: We only saw our Cruise Director Troy on the Carnival TV Channel, seemed like a pretty funny guy. We haven't visited any of the shows, but we learned how to make those cute towel animals :) And we found ourselves enjoying some of the live music at the pool in the evenings.
EXCURSIONS: We think Carnival did a good job here. As first-time-cruisers we booked all our excursions on board - our favourites were the Xunantunich Maya Ruins tour in Belize and the Allura catamaran ride to Stingray Sandbar on Grand Cayman. Minor drawback: tendering at Belize City was pretty time-consuming.
DISEMBARKATON: Went really well too. We were with the first group to leave the ship - and we were pleasantly surprised that Carnival provided breakfast that morning.
SUMMARY: I guess you all know the common assumptions/misconceptions/prejudices about cruises. And yes, we had been prey to doubts as well, but all of them just have been blown away. We absolutely LOVED the cruise and did not want to leave the Liberty! As soon as we arrived back home we booked the next cruise: 15 days Panama Canal on the Disney Wonder next Spring! And we definitely will be on another Carnival Cruise some day.