Oh, my, where do I start? My husband and I are newlyweds (June 17th) and we booked with his parents travel agency for the June 21st sailing for Western Caribbean out of Miami. We could have easily gone out of Orlando, but we have 2 cats and his parents could provide free room & board. We were dropped off by his parents at the port, so they could also hold onto our car.
EMBARKATION: The way into the embarkation area is a little confusing at first, but signs are posted everywhere and you can just follow others. There are some people there who take your bags. Note: They might want to re-inform some of the baggage people of floor names. We were told 1049 for our cabin number which is on the Panorama (Deck 10), and we were told to remember Riviera, which is Deck 1. Not that big a deal, but can be confusing if you're a little slow. Embarkation was easy and fast enough. We found our cabin easily, though it was frustrating to find that one of our bags was missing, which we found later on the 2nd deck with other luggage that has tags ripped off of it. I wasn't happy about it (it was all of my clothes), and it wasn't the greatest start. Don't make our mistake when boarding!!! There are lines for a few of the grills for hamburgers and hot dogs that you see first. You will see lines here. LOOK AROUND FIRST! You don't know what you missed if you stop at the first location for food!
CABIN: The beds were a bit uncomfortable in the room. It was obvious when we laid down they had pushed two beds together to make the one bed, since we were on our honeymoon, so it was sometimes awkward when trying to cuddle and "such." Again - not that big a deal. The bathroom was super tiny, so there was really only one person getting ready at one time.
FOOD: Each day there was a variety of food with different varieties on the culture. One day it was Caribbean, another day it was German, French, etc. I am a little weird when it comes to trying new things but it was worth it. I enjoyed the 24 hour pizzeria, especially on the nights when I chose to drink more than was good for me. The seating was a little tight, but the turnover on the tables was fast and efficient when a guest was leaving a table. The only night I didn't go to dinner at the Golden Olympian (I had the late seating) was the night of Cozumel, because I drank the water. The Captain's Cocktail Hour was fun, and especially hilarious since I talk with my hands, and ended up knocking down a waiter - who balanced very well, didn't spill a drop and still smiled through it all. In the Golden Olympian, there was supposed to be another couple at our table, but they never showed, so we had the table to ourselves!
HOUSEKEEPING: Ika was my room attendant and he was FABULOUS! Always smiling, always said hi, always had a minute to stop and chat about your day. The towel animals were fun, and I SO wanted to buy one of the towel buddy books. There was the one critter that had a "What is it" kind of look. Someone mentioned giraffe, but I don't know. The ice bucket was filled nightly, the rooms very immaculate, and receiving the Carnival Capers for the next day (as well as eating my husband chocolate mints since he doesn't like minty chocolate) was always exciting.
SERVICE: I work the Front Desk at a Comfort Suites. My husband works banquets at a DoubleTree (Kessler Property). The service was absolutely stunning. Marcos and Ika and their Happy Honeymoon song ("Kissy, kissy, kissy" after each line included!) was very memorable for me in the Golden Olympian on one of the nights. The casino was excellent, and I learned a few things in Black Jack. The helpfulness of everyone was outstanding! I can only DREAM of being able to provide such service to my own guests! My husband and I both pondered the idea of working for a cruise line. Unfortunately, we realized 3 days into the cruise how homesick we already were for our cats, and knew we could never be sea bound like that. The efficiency and flow of the staff was amazing to behold, especially if you are paying attention.
SHIP INFO/ACTIVITIES: Like others have stated, it was nice that Deck 5 went all the way through. Yes, the casino was certainly smoky, but those are the breaks. I didn't spend a lot of time in the casino anyways, after the first couple of days. The activities were fun, and some were hilarious! It would be nice if some of the parents looked after their children more, or if it was further enforced by the ship that the Aft Pool really is adult only like it states in the Carnival Capers. Someone mentioned 4 hot tubs and 2 pools - there were 6 hot tubs and 3 pools. The pools have salt water in the, by the way, which I think is a neat touch, being at sea. The Cruise Director was amusing in some of his announcements, and Emma with the Red Team, helped us win! RED! HOT! RED! HOT! The karaoke was awesome, which I really enjoyed. I am really surprised at how many people were really into karaoke!
EXCURSIONS: You can book through the ship, but you can opt to save some money by waiting to book any excursions until you are on shore, which is what my husband and I did. Cozumel was great for shopping, and the ruins were neat. The Mexicans were a little pushy, but it wasn't that bad. Grand Cayman was excellent! I loved the sting rays and we got pictures on a cd holding and kissing the sting for 7 years of good luck. The people in Grand Cayman were fun, friendly, and very helpful! Jamaica was not my favorite, mainly because of the pushiness of the people selling stuff. Dunn River Falls WAS excellent! I would go back to Dunn River Falls again, but I won't buy the DVD again, unless I booked the excursion through the ship. The worst part about Jamaica was going back to the port authority where kids were on the other side of the chain link fence with their arms poking through asking for "just a dollar." I don't think so.
DISEMBARKATION: Getting off the ship was very smooth, and I took my own luggage off the ship. It wasn't a long wait through the customs line, either, but if your phone rings while in front of the officers, don't answer it. They want your undivided attention.
OVERALL: I had an excellent honeymoon! My husband's parents were a little upset that the travel agent didn't arrange room decorations for our room. We didn't find out until afterwards, so it wasn't a big deal to us, but his parents were upset. I didn't read any reviews before the cruise, and my motto is: Lower Your Expectations. When you lower your expectations, then your expectations can only be met or exceeded. Before I wrote my own review, I read some others, and I think some of these people need to be knocked down a couple notches. No particular reviews mentioned, but I was appalled that some people couldn't be made happy no matter what. I met some great people, exchanged info, and hope to again cruise with Carnival! Carnival Liberty will be a repeat cruise in the future, though I think I might settle more for the cruises less than 5 days due to homesickness. If you want a link to all that I could see and have time to take pictures of (with captions), here's my photobucket link to about 700 pictures. http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v54/ealdrich/Honeymoon/