Arrival...we flew in a day early and took a taxi to the Renaissance by Marriott hotel. I had found this hotel on Hotwire for $112 a night. It was very nice and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. It's also in a great location. The night we stayed, FL had their annual Winterfest boat parade, and we only had to walk out of the hotel and up the street to the causeway bridge to get a great view. We watched that for a while and then walked down the street and had some dinner. Then we walked to Publix to pick up some last minute items. The morning of embarkation, the hotel called a taxi for us and one arrived within a few minutes. We were off to the pier. (Beware...the taxi drivers drive wildly! It felt like we were in the Bahamas!!)
Upon arrival at Port Everglades, the scene was chaotic. We have only sailed out of Port Canaveral (they are much more organized),and PE was nothing like that. We were dropped off with our luggage and a porter came over and took our bags and directed us to the line we needed to stand in. We had arrived around 11:15 and already the line was very long. We stood about 20 minutes and then the line started moving, and things went very fast after that. We felt like we were herded in like cattle, but the staff was efficient and had us checked in in no time so I can't complain too much. My two gripes were that we were handed our Bahamas entrance forms while going through line, and were expected to fill them in as you walked. This was hard to, and the staff were yelling at people to do if fast. My other gripe is that one lady was very rude as she watched people walk though the metal detector. She needed an attitude adjustment, but hey, I was going on a cruise and she wasn't, so I looked over it!
When entering the lobby of the Liberty, I was struck as to how beautiful she is. Some called it too "busy" but to me it was great! We headed up to the Lido deck for burgers and fries, where we were promptly served. I did notice there were hand sanitizing stations at each buffet stand, at the deli, each restaurant, etc. Plus we were given a print out as we boarded telling all about Norovirus and how to prevent and treat it, as well as it was always mentioned in the Capers. They really did try to keep us informed. After eating, dh stayed at the table and made some phone calls and I walked around and toured the ship, and instantly fell in love with it. Dinner that night was good. We were at the early Main seating in the Silver dining room. Our table was at the back of the ship with a water view. We were seated at a table top for two, which I didn't like but dh did. The tables for two are located in the aisleway between larger tables, and neither of us liked that, but it wasn't that big of an issue. The first night, they had ribs on the alternative menu, and dh found those delicious. I had the strip steak w/baked potato and it was pretty good, but a little too bland. Our wait team tried very hard, and for the most part were efficient, but it was like they just couldn't get it together. There was always something left out or forgotten. Not like the service we received on the Fantasy earlier this year. But like I said, they did try very hard so I couldn't fault them.
Overall, we found the food to be lacking in the dining room. It was okay, but not great. The food on the Fantasy was much better. Some things were good, like the ribs and the filet mignon. Other things were just okay. One thing to try, though, is the warm melting chocolate cake. This is to die for...I had it every night of the cruise. I did see jeans in the dining room, but for the most part, people dressed up pretty nicely. I don't care one way or the other, but it was fun to see people all dressed up. Food on the Lido was really good. We especially liked the burgers, hotdogs, and fries, along with the deli and pizza. The lines were never very long when we ate, except for one day at the deli. We don't eat breakfast so we eat an early lunch, and maybe this was why we never had to wait long. Not at any time did the ship ever feel crowded, and we were sailing at full capacity at 3400, with 400 being kids.
The people on this sailing seemed like more of a laid back, quiet crowd. No big partiers that we seen. The kids, I have to say, were quiet and well behaved. We watched several kids at dinner and they had such gracious manners.
Our ports of call were Freeport, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya. We made each of these beach days for us. Freeport was a bit chilly the day we were there so we didn't stay long. Seven Mile beach on Grand Cayman was beautiful. We had the taxi drop us at Sea Grape, but after arriving there, we moved on. Chairs were side by side, squeezed together with no room for comfort. Plus they were $10 each so we walked up the beach a bit and found a quiet shady spot under some palm trees and it was heaven. Costa Maya proved to be our favorite spot, all due to the fact of a package we bought. While walking through the port area, we stopped and talked to a gentleman at a booth who talked us into buying a Tequila Beach Break package. We were leery, but decided to try it. For $25 each, we had unlimited drinks, lunch, and Mexican snacks. We ate nachos, quesadillas, fajitas, cheeseburger, and fries, all while lying in loungers on the beach. The water was full of seagrass, but one could walk up the beach just a bit and the water was beautiful. I advise anyone to try this package. Plus they sell boat tours there that will take you out to snorkel. They also make a great Miami Vices...try one!!
On sea days, we laid around on deck and were lazy. It was so relaxing!
Our room was an 8A balcony, room 6383, midship, right beside of the elevators. We had never had a balcony, and while it was nice to be able to walk out and see the ports as we came ashore, or to check out the weather, other than that we didn't use the balcony too much and unless the price was too good to pass up, we probably wouldn't pay the extra for one again. Our room was very nice, the bedding wonderful, and the room steward kept everything in tip top shape. The bathroom, while small, is laid out very well and never felt cramped. There are glass shelves to hold all of your toiletries, and the water temp was nice. We were over the Promenade bar, and you can hear the singer everynight until around midnight, so if you go to bed early or are a light sleeper, you may want to avoid this room. But, we stayed up late and fell asleep immediately, so I wouldn't hesitate to book it again. I loved being close to the elevator banks and stairs, and the upper deck is three floors down from the Lido, or three up from the theatre and dining rooms, so it was a great location. One piece of advice, the promenade deck, deck 5, will take you all the way aft or forward, so use it to get to where you need to go. The ship is hard to get around on until you learn your way.
The captains party was on formal night, Freeport night, and was held in several lounges. We were able to order any drink we wanted and got great service. The past guest party was held in the Venetian Palace, and we just drank what they were passing out. Both were enjoyable.
The entertainment was good, but we had already seen the shows so we didn't stay for all of them. We enjoyed the games that involved passengers alot more, like the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed game, and the trivia games. The comedians featured a guy who was awesome and very well enjoyed, and one who was rude, crude, and nasty (and I'm no prude!) He was so bad that lots of people walked out of his shows. Todd Whitmer was the CD and he did a fine job. He has a good personality and was funny without being over the top.
We brought along our laptop and bought 110 minutes for $55. Not a great price, but it was so nice to be able to email our family from our stateroom.
All in all, a definite great time was had, and at a great price, too. I am a Carnival lover, and I can't imagine what else those upper lines could do for us that we didn't get on the Carnival. I also enjoy cruising with people who aren't "uppity" or extravagant. The staff were so very friendly, and tried so hard to please. This trip was a dream, and we would do this cruise again in a second.