This was our 11th cruise. 3 on Royal Caribbean, 1 Celebrity, 2 NCL and 3 Princess. This was our second on Carnival. Our group consisted of 28 people. 10 of them were "newbies". Our ages ranged from 25 to 60. Most of us flew down the night before. 8 of us stayed at the Amerisuites. 14 stayed at the Comfort Suites near our hotel. The Amerisuites has not been renovated yet so it was worn. But the rooms were clean and the breakfast was good. The shuttle was very prompt in picking us up at the airport. Great location. Close to restaurants and a Publix. We took the first shuttle (11:00) to the pier. When we arrived there was a line but it moved quickly. We were in our rooms by 12:15.
We (DH and I) had a balcony on the lido deck. We loved the location! Easy access to food and pools and no noise. Carnival rooms are the best-larger and very organized. We had room for all our stuff.
The ship is lovely. It is in great shape and not as "loud" or gaudy as I have read about Carnival ships. And it was well taken care of by the staff. Our cabin steward, Made, was wonderful He kept our room spotless and was very helpful. We gave him money up front and he was extremely appreciative.
Freeport: 10 of us took a van to town and shopped. The same driver picked us up exactly at the requested time! We got back to the ship in time for some pool time and sailaway. This was the only time I thought that the ship felt crowded. Grand Cayman: Since we have been to Grand Cayman a number of times, and because there were 7 ships in port with us, we went to the public beach- Sea Grape. 10 of us hailed a van and the drive came back to pick us up at our designated time. The beach had everything we wanted-food, bathrooms, covered area, great sand and beautiful water. We got to the beach around 9:30 and it wasn't crowded. When we left at noon the crowds started coming. We had a great time and would recommend this public beach.
Costa Maya was our favorite. We had not been to this port previously. We went to Majahual-the fishing village. The girls shopped and the guys drank beer. A bucket of 8 beers for 6 bucks! They all enjoyed "Miguel",the owner of the little beach bar, and would go back to see him again. I (and all of the rest) really loved the beach and water. It was just a wonderful day. We took the bus there and a cab back. When we got back to the pier, the ladies continued the shopping while the guys continued their beer drinking.
We loved the 2 days at sea. The first sea day we had the front of the ship to ourselves. The very aft of the ship, below the spa, was a perfect spot. We all could hang out there. However, the second sea day, others had found our special spot! We had to share and it was crowded.
Our entire group loved the entertainment. I truly believe that the 2 production shows were the best that I have seen in all my cruises. In fact, the first night the entertainers got a standing ovation from the entire audience. Also, Stevie Wonder was board and sang a song the last night. That certainly was a special perk that we didn't expect!
Food: I enjoyed Emiles. There was always something that I could eat. I enjoyed the hamburgers and pizza too. We had 8:00 seating in the Silver Olympian. I loved the 8:00 time. It gave us more time to catch the shows. Food in the dining room was good. The Chocolate Melting Cake was delicious! Our wait staff, Ivana and Martin were a good team. Ivana was incredible-always bringing us extra food. Martin was very quiet. One negative is that the man taking our drink orders would take forever! One night, we noted that it took him 55 minutes to bring our drinks after we ordered.
22 of us went to Harrys one night. Those of us who had eaten in a specialty restaurant on a cruise thought it was just ok. Those that hadn't thought it was great.
A number of us had spa treatments. I got a facial and loved it. Those that had massages, hot stone treatments, also enjoyed their spa experiences.
We loved the casino! I won $320 in 2 nights. Several others won as well. Other than the smoke, we loved spending time in the casino either before or after the show.
All in all, the entire staff was friendly and the passengers were actually polite too. Any negatives would be minor: i.e. when opening the bathroom door while your spouse is getting something out of the closet could be frustrating. And I prefer using a code for the safe instead of credit card. As I said, these are very minor issues. Debarkation was painless, other than we hated to leave the ship. We had an early flight-11:50am. Our travel agent had a mini coach waiting for us and everything went as planned.
We all loved the cruise. The weather was wonderful, food was better than expected and we enjoyed our group. The newbies have all been converted to cruising and want to go again soon. We loved the Liberty, the staff and the itinerary. I recommend Carnival. It certainly gives the best deal. We are already planning another cruise on Carnival.