5/23 - DH and I left Savannah, GA driving to Miami, FL to board the Carnival Liberty. Everything was great for the drive, the weather was perfect! We spent the night at the Hyatt Place near the Miami airport, it was roughly $200 for the night, but they did allow us to leave our car in their parking lot for the duration of the cruise. The hotel provided a van to take us to the port, so away we went!
5/24 - EMBARKATION - DH and I called Carnival to verify boarding time for this sailing (since we were not scheduled to leave port until 7 pm). Although the Carnival representative told us we couldn't get on until 3:30, we decided to go to the port at 12:30, we arrived at the port at 1:00, to our surprise, we were on board by 1:15!!! No, we did not use the VIP line, we actually never even found a line until we were already on board! We were able to drop our carry-ons in our room and headed to the Lido for lunch.
PUBLIC ROOMS - After all the talk on CC about various rooms smelling like cigarette smoke, we decided to see for ourselves. The only area where the cigarette smoke was a constant was in the Casino, but that is expected. There were various times when we would walk through the lobby and smell it a little, but that was only near the doors when people were smoking on the open deck and others would open the door. The cigarette smoke was not overwhelming or over-powering anywhere except the casino during the tournaments. As for the rest of the public rooms, they were always clean and comfortable.
CABIN - We were in cabin 7347, category 8B, balcony. This was a great room! We didn't hear engine noises, entertainment noises, pool noises, etc. It was only rarely that we even heard anyone talking outside our room in the hall. We did have exceptionally loud neighbors on one side, but we only heard them when they were on their balcony, but that was NOT Carnival's fault, and fortunately, they went to bed early and slept late.
We had the twin beds put together to make the king, and as many other cc'ers have mentioned, the comfort-bedding made you want to sleep all day long!!! There were 2 closets to hang clothes in and one closet with just shelves, as well as 3 usable drawers to put clothes in, and a couple of other storage areas in the cabin, there was amble storage for us. Even our largest of bags fit under the bed to get out of the way.
The bathroom was a little small, but then again, you do not spend your cruise in the bathroom, so as long as it functioned as necessary, we were happy!
The balcony was the right size for a couple to sit on to enjoy the sun, smell of the ocean, and an evening or morning drink. There were two chairs (one which reclined) and a small table. Just a small warning, a balcony is addictive and you can fall asleep out there!
Since it is a concern to some, I just wanted to let you know, the railing on the balcony hit me mid-chest, being 5 ft 3 1/2 inches tall, I would estimate the railing to be between 46 and 48 inches high.
Our cabin steward never introduced himself to us, as a matter of fact, we were never really sure who our room steward was. However, he/she did a REMARKABLE job at keeping our room clean and ice bucket full. It worked for us.
DINING - Every morning, we utilized the open seating option since we enjoy eating in the dining rooms. Although the breakfast menu does not change during the week, every breakfast we ate was prepared exactly as we requested it to be.
Lunches, we found our way to the Lido deck or the fish and chips area, again, we were not let down! Everything was good and there was always enough for 3 ships full of people. My favorite thing on the Lido deck was the little grill where you could get hot sandwiches, the ham and cheese was fabulous! DH loved the fish and chips stand, he loved the sushi they served there!
Dinners - We were assigned to table 115 in the Golden Dining Room, the 8:30 seating. This is a long table for 8 next to the windows. The food was nice, our waiters were very concerned over every detail and wanted to make sure everything was perfect. The menus changed every day and it was always exciting to see what would be offered!
The wait staff only sang and danced a couple of times, which was a little disappointing to me, as I enjoy being silly. However, having a full ship, it is possible they didn't have the time to serve the various courses AND entertain, but that gave us more time to spend talking to our tablemates.
If we had any "complaints" about anything dining related, it would be our waiter's breath, and how do you address something like that? He was very pleasant and attentive, but his breath could stop a charging elephant.
ENTERTAINMENT - We went to most of the shows and enjoyed the singing and dancing of the ship's entertainers! Whoever made the decision to have a bongo player as a headliner one evening made a bad choice. We enjoyed it, however we watched over 3/4 of the audience leave during his performance.
SERVICE - Carnival lived up to our expectations! When we ordered room service, it showed up with a smiling face carrying the tray just a short time after we ordered it. We had one of our shore excursions to be cancelled due to "equipment failure", which considering it was a boat, I was happy they didn't take us out and get stuck in the ocean on faulty equipment. However, the procedure to re-book was horrible. We received a slip of paper under our door just as we had climbed into bed, it said we could contact the Purser's Desk to re-book another excursion. So, we picked up the phone and called down. After being put on hold for 15 minutes, my DH was told he had to come down there to re-book, they would not accept a credit card number over the phone nor would they allow us to put it on our S&S card, and the t.v. option was out too since they had already removed the excursions for that port from the options list. He tried to explain that he had already undressed and was trying to get to bed and just wanted to handle it over the phone, but they wouldn't hear of it. Therefore, he had to get re-dressed and go back down there, it took all of 5 minutes, but it was an inconvenience we had not anticipated.
SHORE EXCURSIONS - Overall, we had a fabulous time and would do any of them again given the chance!
5/26 - Cozumel - We went deep sea fishing. We didn't catch anything! We had one solid hit, but no one had the chance to fight a fish and bring one on the boat. BUT, the mates worked hard for us trying to find the fish, switching the bait and colors out. We had an incredible time even without catching anything! We had 4 other passengers (Art, Don, Donnie, and Mark) on board with us, and we had a great time! I think any of the 6 of us would do it again anytime! Got back in time to get some shopping in...actually we had LOTS of time to do LOTS of shopping.
5/28 - Grand Cayman - We did the "Reefs and Rays" snorkel excursion. This was fun! First, we climbed on a bus with a driver who really enjoyed his job! On our way to meet the boat, the driver sang to us! He sang hymns in a very loud and strong voice, it was something to witness! As we waited to board the boat, we heard the captain tell a couple who were getting off the boat that they should hurry because they didn't want to miss one of the buses going back to town....sure enough, they were left and had to walk back to town. Anyway, they took us out to a nice reef to snorkel, we saw many, many fish, as well as colorful coral. The time was quick, but it was time to reboard and head to the stingrays. I expected to be able to stand and see the rays, but on this excursion we snorkeled and saw them, the guides would dive with food for the rays and bring them to the surface for us to pet. They were wild and would swim around you, almost seeming to be as curious about us as we were about them. We got back in time to do a little shopping.
5/29 - Ocho Rios - Before I tell you much, let me start off by saying I was scared to death to do much in this area after reading about it on-line. HOWEVER, those fears were soon eased! We did a little shopping and then went back for the Cool Runnings party boat/Dunn's River Falls excursion. The falls were fun. They were not as slippery as many people had told me, but they were slippery, so don't take the warnings lightly. I wore tennis shoes, they are still soaked! If you do this excursion, it is WET! Women, I would advise you not to wear a 2 piece bathing suit without clothing over, I watched as more than one top came off when they would lean back in the water or slide down the rocks. There are men with video cameras there, they will put you on it! (I had been warned and wore a t-shirt over my bathing suit.)
SEA DAYS - Always a lot of fun! There were great people on board, I didn't see ANYONE who was unruly or out of line, things went great!
CD - The cruise director was Steve (sorry I can't remember his last name), but he was average, I wouldn't say he was the best. He wasn't really a people person when he was not on stage. I am used to being able to see the CD on board and have fun with them, he was always "all business" when he was found on board. But, he did his job and did it well.
I would like to add there was an "On Deck For A Cure" walk, although I know many people do not go on a cruise to be hit up for donations for charities, I felt this was a great idea, but the CD did not promote it as well as it could have been promoted. I think if it had been a cause that was really close to his heart, he would have promoted it better. Being that I have lost many loved ones to breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer, this is a subject that is very near and dear to me, it could mean that if I am ever diagnosed with cancer that a cure was found through the various walks and fundraisers. I was disappointed to see so many able bodies laying there while we walked our mile, it only took 20 minutes and $10. However, they did have a decent turn out.
ALL IN ALL - This was an excellent cruise! If I do not find another cruise I want to take next year, I'll be doing it again! Thanks for the memories Liberty, may you sail smooth seas!