This is my 2nd cruise. My husband and I went on a honeymoon cruise last June on RCCL, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided we needed another one. My husband has been on a few different cruises in the past, and we thought that we would give Carnival a try.
EMBARKATION--We were on the 2/11 sailing of the Carnival Liberty. We flew into Ft.Lauderdale from New York on Sunday morning. By the time we got our luggage, it was about 11 am. We did not book a transfer, but there were Carnival reps all over the place. They advised us that we would be better off to just take a cab to the port. We did so, and got in line. They had not started the boarding yet, so we waited in line for just a few minutes. We were on the ship in no time. It was pretty quick. Once on, they directed us to the dining room to activate our cards, and then we were up to the buffet. There were signs saying that our rooms were not ready just yet, so we went looking around.
When we booked with Carnival, we were advised by our travel agent that Carnival is a little overdone. Now I completely understand. The decor just did not flow to me. I felt that it was a bit too much, to the extent where it didn't make sense. The dining rooms were way overdone, to the point of being gaudy. And the ceilings were very low throughout the ship. I didn't really have a problem with this (5'3"), but my husband is 6foot 5, and there were several times I thought he was going to hit the ceiling. We booked a Balcony Guarantee, and we got very lucky and got placed into room 8442, which is the last room at the end of the ship. This room was very large, with a balcony twice the size of the others. The layout of the room was nice. My very first cruise was with a balcony room, and I am hooked. Our room steward did a nice job, and we enjoyed the towel animals.
We are not big on going out on our own, so we booked excursions through Carnival at each port.
Bahamas- We went on the snorkeling excursion. I had never been snorkeling before, and I am not a very strong swimmer. They give you a lifevest to wear. It was not warm, and the water was a bit rough, and personally, I had a hard time breathing through the snorkel. I should have practiced in my pool in the summer before trying in the open water.
Grand Cayman-Took the stingray city tour. This is a must see. We had a blast doing this excursion. We had our pics taken holding and kissing the stingray(7years good luck), and then we bought a photo cd of it. This is a must see for anyone.
Costa Maya- we went on the Jungle beach break. This was basically a ride to the beach with an open bar. It was a nice beach, and we had a fun, sun day. We walked around the marketplace for a bit when we got back.
ENTERTAINMENT--The two comedians were funny, the shows were so-so. The cruise director Todd was average. I did not think that he was anything special. We lost a fair share of cash in the casino.
DINING--Ok, by far the best thing about the food was the chocolate melting cake. It was the one thing that I was sure I would like every night. The rest of the food left something to be desired. The buffet was typical buffet food...My husband stuck with the hamburgers, and I usually went to the asian window. We ate every dinner in the dining room, and it was just ok. There was nothing that I ate that was spectacular. I ordered chateaubriand and it was terrible. There was nothing "fancy" about the dining room. We did take advantage of the 24 hour ice cream machines. We did not enjoy the pizza, however.
Overall, you get what you pay for. This cruise was half the price of our cruise with rccl. It was a good value for the money paid. I think that it was missing some elegance. However, we did have a nice vacation. However, I think that our next cruise will be with RCCL or Celebrity.