Embarkation We flew into Miami the day before our cruise; since we didn't want to take the risk of getting caught in a winter snow storm. We stayed that night at the Miami International airport Hotel, very convenient and clean. At $168 it was a bit pricey but considering it was super bowl weekend in Miami, we were lucky to get a room in Miami. We took a cab to the port which cost $35 which seems a bit much, but at two couples it was cheaper than taking the shuttle. We arrived at the port at 12:30 PM, normally we would try to be at the ship by 11:30 but since both couples booked suites we had VIP boarding which was nice being able to bypass the long lines which had formed by 12:30; at that point we were handed our key cards and had our embarkation photo taken we than walked onto the ship, no waiting involved. We were able to leave our carry on bags in our rooms at that time; which made it easier to go eat on the lido deck and explore the ship.
Ship The Liberty is beautifully decorated and a well kept ship; I prefer the layout of the Spirit class because with Liberty's Conquest class you need to go up and down floors to get to certain locations like the main dining rooms which can get confusing. The outdoor screen is a neat thing and was very popular for the super bowl. I missed having a whirlpool in the gym area which is hidden beyond the spa area. It has a great gym which we tried to get to as much as we could to work off all that great food.
Stateroom At 1:30 we went back to our cabin/suite and were in awe how beautiful and large the suite was compared to the cabins we had in past cruises; which were ocean view and regular balcony cabins. Our cabin steward, Arrisa stopped by our cabin to introduce herself and asked if we wanted the divider removed between our cabin and our friends which was next to ours; she promptly did this after she met with us. The balcony was big to begin with but with the divider opened it was huge with three lounge chairs, three deck chairs and two small tables, which we enjoyed for our evening cocktails and not having to worry about the hassle of getting lounge chairs out on deck. Our suite had a large bar area with many glasses available; we had Arrisa remove the beverages out of the refrigerator so we could fill it with our own. There was a couch which could be pulled out into a bed, a table and two chairs and desk area. There was storage galore in this suite with two lighted double size closets, many dresser drawers and shelving. What was nice was the separate dressing area with a lighted mirror and vanity with a stool. With the lack of electrical sockets in cabins, it was nice having a extra socket at the vanity. The large bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub was heaven! The king size bed and bedding were comfortable. Arrisa kept our cabin immaculate; cleaning it twice a day and keeping our ice buckets filled and having towel animals greet us each evening. When we would meet Arrisa in the hall; she would always greet us by name and ask if there was anything we needed and if everything was satisfactory in our cabin.
Dining We requested the early 6:00PM dining and were pleased to see on our key card when we checked in that he had the early dining in the Golden dining room at a table for four by a window seated with our friends . On all of our cruises we always request the early dinning time, but don't always get it and then have to waste time contacting the maitre d' asking to switch dining times which they wouldn't always do. They now offer the "your time dining" which is nice, but with the early dining it works for us and we like having our table ready for us at 6:00PM. We had the best servers in all of our cruises; Anthony the head waiter and his assistants Castro and Mirrzo. They were wonderful guys; always smiling and knew all our names after the first evening. They were quick to serve us and knew quickly what we wanted to drink, what type of salad/dressing we wanted. Also Karen; the dining room bar server gave us excellent service. The food on this cruise was exceptionally good, no need to go to the supper club and pay the extra cost. We had noticed our past few cruises how the quality of food was not as good, having no taste. But on the Liberty the food was great in the dining room each evening, at the buffet; Emile's Bistro which we enjoyed dinner the second evening because of the super bowl and a few breakfasts and lunches throughout the cruise were good except for the waiting in lines which is something you have to expect during peak dining hours at a buffet, if you don't like to wait in line or to look for a table then eat in the dining room. During the cruise we also enjoyed the Deli, Pizza, Mongolian, and Burrito Bar & Grill. Something for everyone to enjoy. We never had the chance to enjoy the Fish & Chip or the Sushi Bar. Chocolate Extravaganza was served on the last sea day from 12:00 - 2:30PM for the dessert & chocolate lovers.
Shows/Entertainment The first evening was the Welcome aboard Show at 10:30PM which we did not attend so I cannot say how the show was. Second evening was The Comedy & Juggling of Marcus Monroe at 10:30PM which we also missed due to the Super Bowl festivities going on by the big screen, which was a highlight for my husband who is a big football fan. We finally got to the third evening 8:30PM show which was Wonderful World starring the Liberty dancers and vocals by Kate & Desmond who were excellent singers, probably the best I heard on a cruise. The forth evening 9:00PM show was Singin' with the Big Band, starring Christopher Alan Graves; a well done show for folks who enjoy the big band era. Fifth evening was Comedy Hypnosis at 8:45PM it was an OK show with a few funny moments. The fifth evening show; Just Rock was cancelled that evening due to the ship having its own rock & rolling going on because of the rough sea, I am happy they rescheduled the show on the last sea day in the afternoon because it was a show not to miss, and I could see how it would be almost impossible to perform a show like that on rough seas. But they did have the late midnight R-Rated Hypnosis Show as scheduled that evening, since it was a sea day the next morning we decided to stay up and watch this show, I didn't think the show was that funny the evening before but my husband wanted to go, I should of went to bed instead, I just don't think hypnosis is entertaining, my opinion. Our last evening at sea was the Carnival Legend Show which are guest that try out early in the week to perform in this show, if you check out the karaoke throughout the week, these are the performers you are going to see, the good, bad and downright ugly.
Other entertainment we enjoyed on our cruise was the lounge rock and roll band, good band but they just couldn't seem to pull in a crowd; they seemed to scare people away because you could see they weren't enjoying what they were doing and didn't want to be there; instead the crowds were pulled in next door for the karaoke, here you would find awful singers but they were having such a good time it drew the people in. Other than going to the shows we did not participate in any of the activities they have going on throughout the ship. We enjoyed lounging around doing nothing. Formal night is the third night of the cruise as well as the Captain's party with discounted drinks, the fifth night is the past guest party with complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres and a farewell party with complimentary drinks on the last evening. Butch the cruise director is one of those cruise directors you will remember, this guy has ultra max energy, just keeps going and going always talking and smiling with the passengers.
Ports/Tours This cruise was a two days at sea and stopping at four ports; unfortunately we had to bypass the first port which was Half Moon Clay a small private Bahaman island; this would have been a tendered port and because of choppy waters we were unable to make this port; passing by this island you could see the beautiful sandy beach with rows of lounge chairs and cabanas waiting for our arrival; it would have been great and they were to have a barbecue on the beach for lunch, oh well, that's the way it goes; personally I didn't think the water looked choppy at all but I'm not the Captain. I'm sure the casino and spa profited from this extra sea day.
The next port was St.Thomas/St. John we purchased the Ultimate Island Experience through Carnival for $55.95 which I feel we got our money's worth for this 5 hour tour; we were picked up at cruise ship with a open air small bus which brought us to Magen's Bay, where we spent two hours enjoying this beautiful sand beach which has a bathroom/changing area, you could also purchase refreshments at this beach. We stopped at a few beautiful spots for photo's on our trip back to town where we were dropped off at Blackbeards Castle, from here we were on our own to do the walking tour visiting a rum factory which we could enjoy samples of their product, visit several restored manor houses, the Caribbean World Amber Museum and many shops and pubs along the way back to the harbor where we got a harbor cruise back to our ship. We passed next to the Oasis of the Seas the world's largest cruise ship which was at nearby port, it's too large to port where the Liberty was ported, unbelievable how big she is, what a sight to also see the many mega yachts docked next to the Liberty. A very nice tour which I highly recommend.
San Juan we wanted to book the Original Canopy Tour through the ship, a bit pricey at $125.95 but we did the zip lining in Costa Rica on a different cruise and loved it, unfortunately it was already filled the first day on the cruise with a long waiting list, I wish we would of pre-booked this tour, a lesson learned, if you really want to do a certain tour, pre-book it! Instead we walked around the area near the ship checking out the outlet stores and casino. Nothing too exciting but that's our fault for not thinking ahead.
Grand Turk is a small island which we ported right at the beautiful Governor's Beach; you walk a short distance on the pier and your there. During your visit here you can enjoy the beautiful beach; turn right you will have fewer people everyone seems to automatically turn left following the crowd which results in a crowded area. Or you can also turn left but keep walking a short extra distance to Jacks Shack, less crowded at their beach. There are many shops at this resort where the ship is ported; also a pool for guest to enjoy. For the six short hours we were at Grand Turk there is plenty to do in the area where the ship is docked; for those who want to explore this small island there isn't much to see or do beyond this area unless you are going scuba diving or snorkeling. We decided we wanted to explore this small island and were planning on renting a golf cart something we did on a earlier cruise on Catalina Island and had a great time seeing that island, we chose not to make any reservations for the golf carts; like they suggest to do on cruise critic; you could see where the golf carts were lined up from the ship, so we knew exactly where to go when we got off the ship, on cruise critic it says there are eight golf carts available to rent at $80 for a four seater per day, when we arrived there was a young man in his late teens which we asked if there were any carts available for rent and he said, yes the cost was what I had read $80; he gave us a map of the island and we were on our way; about two miles up the bumpy road we met another golf cart coming towards us with another young man waving his arms for us to stop, he asked us if we had made reservations in advance for the cart and we said no, he apologized and said that all eight of the golf carts were previously booked and paid for in advance so we had to return the cart and get our money back, what a letdown at that point but things always turn out for the best because the roads were terribly bumpy and the back seat was faced backwards and being a gas powered cart our travel mates were getting gas fumes and already were feeling sick from the fumes from the short distance we traveled with the cart. As we walked back to the port we noticed you could rent a car so we chose to do that instead which worked out better at $55; much cheaper than a golf cart and more comfortable, those roads are bad with a lot of bumps and hills. We found there is not much to see on this small island, we drove to the light house which is locked up and we sail right past it and we checked out Conch World which was $15 per person, not much to see. The people who took this tour through the ship at $35.95 for this 2.25 hr tour which included the ride there; did not get their money's worth on this tour. Save your money don't rent cars or golf carts, nothing much to see or do, enjoy the area near the ship!!!
Disembarkation Since we only had our carry on bags we didn't need to set them out the night before. We were given a number for when we could disembark, we had number 1 and could have been the first to get off but since our flight out of Fort Lauderdale didn't leave until 3:00PM there was no rush to get off, instead we enjoyed breakfast in the dining room at 8:00AM we then went back to our cabin grabbed our bags and walked right off with no crowds or lines by 8:45. We took a small shuttle which charged $20 per person going directly to the airport; since we were able to board the shuttle that moment without standing around we chose to go with the shuttle and were standing in line at the airport by 9:30AM; there were long lines due to many flights being cancelled due to bad weather in some parts of the country, but lucky for us our 3:00PM flight was not affected, it would have been nice having a 1:00PM flight but when booking our flights two months earlier this was the best price/time we could do. It's better to be early and having that time to sit and relax rather than worrying about missing your flight; it could have been worst our flight could have been cancelled like so many were.
Summary We enjoyed this cruise very much especially our cabin/suite, the people working on the Liberty were great and the food was fantastic. If you're looking for a low key cruise, this would be the itinerary for you. Carnival has not let us down yet.