My wife and I just sailed on the Liberty 10/12-10/19 Eastern itinerary cruise. Although this was not our first Carnival cruise (we had sailed Carnival twice before), we have been exclusively sailing RCCL for the past 10 plus years. We booked this cruise because the deal was too hard to pass up (we were able to get an Oceanview Suite for 80% off).
Our overall opinion (based on somewhat RCCL biased experience): the Liberty is a nice ship and this was an excellent cruise. I offer the following list of pluses, along with a few minuses.
What We Liked:
• The ship itself- was clean with minimum evidence of wear/tear.
• The Oceanview Suite was terrific, will be hard to go back to even a standard balcony.
• Anytime Dining (or whatever Carnival calls it) worked out very well. We showed up for dinner at various times between 6:15 and 7:15 and never waited more than 5 minutes. We had one "mediocre” waiter and a couple of excellent ones (which we actually then asked for).
• The comedy shows much better on Carnival than RCCL. Comedians are actually switched out mid-week so you actually see 4.
• The dining room food temperature- most food was served acceptably hot (one of our pet peeves on RCCL is lukewarm food).
• The Lido deck DJ- thought we’d miss the traditional Caribbean type live band but the DJ delivered a much broader music selection (we didn’t have to hear non-stop Reggae for 7 days).
• Cruise Director Josh did a very decent job.
• Liberty crew, as a whole, were very helpful and polite.
• Guys Burgers, Blue Cantina, Deli, Fish and Chips were all very good options for Lunch. We enjoyed them all.
• Room Steward did an excellent job, never intrusive but room was always clean.
• Self-Service debarkation couldn’t have been easier. We were off the ship by 6:45 and in our car by 7:00.
• Breakfast in the dining room such an improvement over the breakfast buffet.
What We Disliked:
• Embarkation snafus we had priority boarding but were part of a group of 20 people whose sign/sail cards were created incorrectly (and didn’t find out until we got to the top of the escalator final check in before you board the ship). Our cards had to be "re-created” which took 45 minutes during which time we had to stand in the very congested boarding hallway (trying to stay out of people’s way). Some of this group had paid the $50 FTTF and were livid at the delay. In Carnival’s defense, this might be a Port of Miami personnel issue (I’m not sure).
• The Lido deck music- (yeah, I know I said I liked it) Is just a bit too loud. Conversation was literally impossible. Maybe my age is starting to show….
• The Stage shows we walked out of two of them. Singing/dancing is not that good.
• The buffet food limited selection and mediocre taste. Good thing there are numerous other options.
• Pizza I remember this being much better on my past Carnival cruises.
In summary, we really liked the Liberty and this Carnival experience. We will not wait so long in the future to sail Carnival again.