We had a great trip on the LIBERTY! We flew in a day early and stayed at the Comfort Suites Miami Airport North. We arrived very early but for a few bucks more we were able to get into our room right away. Due to a couple of glitches, Isabella gave us one of the terrace rooms overlooking the pool. It was a terrific room with excellent linens. Isabella went out of her way to make everything perfect. Newspapers, WI-FI, breakfast, and transport to the cruise port were all included in the price. Her recommendations for dining were awesome. We had lunch at a Nicaraguan restaurant (Fritanga Monimbo) and dinner at the Airport Cafe....all along the same stretch of NW 36 Street. The Happy Hour at the Airport Cafe was fun. Trying a lot of ethic items off of the menu was very good as was the live music. It was certainly a "locals" place which we'd go back to in a flash. After a great night's sleep, transportation was provided to the LIBERTY via KSA Tours. We had used KSA before in Fort Lauderdale so we booked them right away for our return trip to the airport when the cruise ended. They had a great price and were reliable.
We had Faster To The Fun so we got on board as soon as we were able. This time we tried a room off the stern of the ship because it came with the larger balcony. In the future, we'll probably go back to balcony rooms on the port or starboard only because we prefer tying up in port being able to see part of the city rather than the sea. After some lunch we checked out the rest of the ship. We determined the Alchemy Bar was the place to be for a drink before dinner. 'Doctor' Edward and 'Doctor' Anna had us feeling good every night before the appetizers of the early dining. We like to participate so we tried the water slide, the volleyball games, the pools, the Lido Deck games, and Groove for St. Jude fund raiser. If we had any suggestions for Carnival, it would be these two. Some how separate the Sports Bar from the casino. The smoke smell wasn't pleasant. The second item would be use the Seaside Theater!! Most of the time the theater was not showing anything! Even with NFL games and MLB playoffs, no sports ever were on the big screen! Movies were so few and far between we were disappointed after experiencing on other ships. It seems if the DJ isn't playing tunes and there is nothing going on the lido deck, you might as well plan something for big screen. There were already plenty of pools, hot tubs, and deck chairs in other parts of the ship with nothing going on if you prefer that setting.
We were really blessed with great weather for 6 of the 7 days which made our shore excursions all come off without a hitch. In Cozumel we did the Xrails to Jade Caverns through Carnival. These ATVs were a lot of fun. The road was tough going with holes, ruts, rocks, dust, water, and mud....and no power steering. Helmets, goggles, and bandana recommended! The swim in the waters at Jade Caverns didn't mention all of the bats. Can't beat those added extras! The ride out and back takes about an hour each way over the rough terrain....so don't forget to take before and after pictures. When we got back to the ship we immediately threw our clothes into the laundry!
In Belize, we booked with Ecological Tours & Services. Originally, we booked the water taxi out to Caulker Caye for snorkeling but because there weren't enough people we were cancelled. Patricia suggested we do the same snorkel trip but fly over to Caulker Caye. For a few bucks more, this had a spectacular itinerary that was VERY well orchestrated. They picked us up at the ship and took us over to the airport. The plane was small (8-10 passengers)...and all seats were taken. My seat was the co-pilot chair! You can imagine the great views up a few thousand feet as we flew into San Pedro. It was a short walk from the airport over to the boat. The marine preserve and shark ray alley were spectacular. We have snorkeled in much of the Caribbean but this was the best for seeing so much in such a short time frame. We saw green turtles, sting rays, nurse sharks, and lots of different kinds of fish. To say we swam with 15 sharks and 15 rays all at the same time would not be an exaggeration. Our underwater camera with the bright sunlight gave us great pictures. We got an added bonus on this trip when we pulled up next to fisherman who was cleaning conch he had caught earlier. There was a large loggerhead turtle along side of their boat feasting on the leftovers. After the snorkeling we had some lobster fritters and conch fritters on the beach at a restaurant called Caliente. We walked back to the airport and got back in plenty of time to catch the plane back to Belize City.
In Roatan, we booked the Discover SCUBA with West End Divers. Again this was a well executed tour. We were picked up outside the main gate at the new port terminal and taken to the west end of the island. After a quick video, some hands-on training, and then a 10 question PADI test, we were off to the shallow water to practice. After getting down all of the techniques, we were whisked out to the nearby reef where we SCUBA'd for about 50 minutes at a depth of about 45 feet. The reef was in good shape so don't forget your underwater camera. Serena Stean was terrific as our Master Diver. After buying a couple of West End Dive T-shirts for $10 each we had our Roatan souvenirs! We made it back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.
Our last stop was Grand Cayman where we booked a jet ski tour with Fat Fish Adventures. They picked us up at the Hard Rock Cafe and ran us over to their dock. It was a small group with only 3 other couples. The jet skis were in good shape and we had no problem driving for awhile at over 50 mph. First stop was Sting Ray City. While there were hundreds of people there because of the great weather, we maneuvered in close and anchored. Craig our guide was very good about safety and showed us tons of rays....up close and personal. We were very fortunate that a dolphin came along to nibble on our anchor line. I was able to get within 10 feet of him for a great photo session. He seemed to enjoy posing. Next stop was a reef snorkel. Conch were very plentiful...and if you watched them for a little while you could see them slowly scoot across the bottom of the ocean leaving a set of tracks. The coral formations were in good shape for future snorkelers. Fish were every where. After climbing back on board the jet skis, we were off to Starfish Point. This gorgeous point of land had the large, orange starfish available for viewing. I think they are known as "Caribbean Cushion" starfish. Finally, we headed back to the dock but the tour wasn't over yet. Our driver stopped by the Caybrew Brewery for some samplings prior to heading back to the LIBERTY. The Caybrew stop was very nice after a few hours on jet skis.
On Saturday morning we walked off the LIBERTY with our luggage; KSA came quickly; and we were suffering from 'after-cruise depression' sitting in the airport by 8:30 am.