About a year ago, my in-laws surprised us by telling their kids and grandkids that in celebration of their 50th Anniversary, they would be taking all of us on a cruise the summer of 2008. After much discussion, searching and planning, we chose a 7 day western Caribbean cruise on Carnival Liberty. Most of us had been on carnival cruises at least once before and found it to be fun for all ages. The Liberty fit the dates we needed and was a ship none of us had been on. 21 of us cruised, from 5 yrs. old to 80! We had 10 cabins.
Embarkation went smoothly, we had all completed our documents online. Our cabins (all oceanview and balconies) were roomy and nicely decorated. In honor of the anniversary, my in-laws cabin had a bottle of champagne, rose petals on the bed and doves joined like a heart when they entered. They were touched.
We enjoyed the many activities on the ship. The comedic entertainment was not that great and 1 show was not up to their usual talent. Our chief complaint was that the ship was hot. Our rooms never got sufficiently cool enough. The casino was stifling, often forcing us to abandon play as sweat was dripping off our heads. Lounges, theaters etc. were ok.
We stopped at Cozumel and swam with dolphins which was a blast. In Grand Cayman we did the Submarine which in my opinion is not worth $90 a person. If this is something you want to do, check out the rate through other vendors. We did not book sub on ship but went straight to atlantis once on the island. In Jamaica, some of us went to the beach, others on Bob Marley tour (loved it) and others horseback riding. Some went to climb the falls. Note: Falls...cab ride $10 each, climb $17 each. None were booked through ship but were easy to arrange on land and much less expensive.
Cruise director was great, funny and we enjoyed many activities. Wait staff was great and could really shake their booty's! Room steward was quick, efficient and helpful to all. Spa staff very nice and accommodating.
FOOD WAS EXCELLENT! Many cruises we've been on has been hit or miss but I must say everyone commented that food was great, especially dessert.
To celebrate 50th Anniversary, we surprised in-laws by booking a "vow renewal and cocktail party." While we thought twice about the $785 cost for 20 people (youngest free), we did it anyway. We were extremely happy with both the vow renewal (all grand kids took part in ceremony and walked down the aisle) and the cocktail party. It was very beautifully laid out, we had a wait staff of 4 and the food was more than we could handle and very good. Well worth the $785 and I recommend this to anyone considering vow renewal. The captain himself married them and was very nice and patient with our brood.
Debarkation at cruise end was not done well. Our luggage came pretty quickly but the lines at immigration were very long. Passengers should have been separated by citizens, non-citizens, aliens etc. It took over an hour to get out of there. While this may not be under Carnival's control, a better system should be looked into. We've been on other cruises where there was a separation.
Let me commend the carnival liberty crew. On our last day of voyage, we came upon a boatload of distressed haitian refugees. They had been at sea 15 days and many had died. We stopped, send out a lifeboat to collect them, brought them back to the ship where they received food and medical attention and spent the day confined in a separate area. That evening, the coast guard boarded us and off loaded the refugees. This delayed our arrival the following morning in Miami by about 2 hours but their humanitarian efforts are commendable.
All in all, a great cruise and one I highly recommend.