We booked this cruise as a group of 18 approximately 1 year prior to sailing. We had 4 in our family, DW, DS 15 and DS 10. We traveled with friend (9 adults) and their children (4 x 10yo and a 4 yo). I also go connected with a CC group which made for many people who we knew prior to sailing.
Hotel: We live in South Florida so we did not need a hotel prior to the cruise. Many people from the CC Group stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami and loved it. We had a group of 44 meet for dinner Friday night at Bubba Gump Seafood at Bayside, and that was a lot of fun and good food.
Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Miami at 11:30 and went thru check-in really quick. We were on the ship by 12:15 and although the cabins were not going to be ready until 1:30, our cabin steward allowed us to put our carry-on stuff inside so that we could walk the ship and get lunch. The only problem we had (if you call it a problem) was that we wanted to rent a cabana on Half Moon Cay and when we went to the Excursions desk, around 12:30, all the cabanas were rented.
Stateroom: We had 2 OV cabins, Riviera deck, next to each other. One for our boys (15 and 10) and one for us. Prior to even getting into the cabins we met our cabin steward, Ivenhoe, and he was nice enough to let us place our carry-on luggage inside the cabins even though they were not ready. I knew that the boys cabin would be messy so I tipped him in advance and asked him to keep my cooler filled with ice. Ivenhoe did a great job, which means we never saw him, the rooms were clean and my cooler had ice.
Ship: The ship was beautiful and always clean. It only took a short time to figure the layout of the ship and the easiest ways to get around. Deck 5 is the best way to get from the front of the ship to the back while remaining indoors. The décor was nice and not too flamboyant. I like the way Carnival does their ships (I know some find it annoying). Everyone who works on the Liberty was very nice and friendly. I never walked past a crew member that did not say hello.
Dining: Our group of 18 had late sitting 8:15, in the Golden Olympian Restaurant. We had 3 tables close to each other and we put the kids at one and the adults at the other 2. Because we were at 3 tables, that caused us to have 2 different waiters and asst waiters. Both sets were excellent and remembered all our favorite things after the first night. Unfortunately I do not remember their names, but that is not an indication of how good the service was. The waiter who was at the children's table was excellent and played games with them and got them involved in all the dining room dances and entertainment. The food in the dining room was above average and I personally did not have a meal I did not like.
Entertainment: We went to almost all the shows and found them to be very good. The first comedian was not very good and several people left during his show. There was a juggling comedian and if I remember correctly his name was Tyson (not sure first or last name) and he was very funny and would see him again. The last comedian, Allyn Ball, was hilarious. He did a regular show and then an adult show and he was excellent. Shore Excursions: My family did not book any excursions, we planned out the things we wanted to do in advance and did it on our own. There were people in our group who did the rainforest in San Juan and the stingrays in Grand Turk and talked highly of both. They booked both thru Carnival.
Children's Club: Although we traveled with several children, they did not attend Camp Carnival. I guess because they already had their friend on board they decided to do their own thing. They did meet several other children who also joined in on their group. My 15yo did go to Club O2 and said it was ok.
Disembarkation: I have heard many complaints about this subject, but we did not have too much of a problem. We would have been out really fast, but one of our bags was on the wrong carousel so we had to go and find it. Customs is Customs and we only waited 10-15 minutes. We were home by 10:30 am.
Summary: As you can tell we had a wonderful time on the Liberty and would sail on her again. There was really nothing to complain about. Of course there will be minor things, but we do not let those things bother us. The ship was completely full and we were still able to do all the things we wanted without a problem. Hope everyone has as good a time on their cruise that we did on ours.