This was our second cruise. We sailed on Carnival Glory in December 2011. We chose this cruise in part because there are only three port days. On our first cruise there were stops on four consecutive days. The idea of an extra day as sea just seemed more relaxing, which is a lot of what we look for. It also didn't hurt that one of the stops was Cozumel which is a favorite stop.
We traveled with two good friends this time and our rooms were about half a ship away. We both reserved the balcony guarantee and were once again not disappointed. We had a nice, quiet, mid-ship room on the 8th floor. Our friends got one of the aft rooms on the back with the extended balcony. Those are nice rooms although you have a bit less privacy when on your deck. Like with our first cruise on Glory, I was impressed with the cleanliness and condition of the ship
Our room was perfect when we arrived and we soon met our stewardess who did a great job for us all week. The room was always cleaned with a new bucket of ice everyday. About mid-week our bathroom door developed a loud groaning sound when opening it. This would wake up whoever was sleeping. I mentioned it to our stewardess and when we came back from dinner we noticed it had been taken care of. The next morning she saw me in the hall and called me by name, checking to see that the door was fixed to our satisfaction. Very nice. I will say that our bed was nearing the end of it's useful life. It was not uncomfortable at all but was developing a slight, but noticeable, sag on each side. While coming back on ship one day I notice that some used mattresses were being picked up by a local organization. One of the beds was marked as December 2007; a little over 3 years old. So I imagine they must be on a three year replacement schedule.
A cruise means different things to different people. For our group we wanted something relaxing yet fun. So the evening shows and meals were a big thing to us. We all thought the meals were excellent. Not every dish was perfect but it was very, very good overall and we looked forward to dinner every night. Those that compare MDR food to your local diner must never eat at a local diner. We had good wait staff for our early seating schedule.
On our second day at sea we ate at Harry's Steakhouse. Worth every dollar. Great service and the food is excellent. My porterhouse steak was a perfect medium, just the way I ordered it. Best steak I have ever had. My wife had the sea bass which was also very well prepared. Cheesecake, chocolate sampler and handmade ice cream were the final highlights for our table. Save room, it is a big meal but it is spread out over 2 hours. We had a 5:30 appointment and the room was about a third full. It was much busier by the time we left.
The buffet seems just ok to me. I mean, how great can it be when you have a buffet for that many people. They try to mix a variety of options and it is, what it is. The Mongolian grill, burrito bar and deli are very good options though. Hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza are a good option for later at night or if you don't have much time. The chocolate buffet was mediocre although it looked great.
We ordered room service for breakfast and it was always delivered right in the middle of the half hour window we selected. I know that is not the case for everyone. maybe we are close to the source? Our toast and bagels were still warm.
One evening before an excursion our safe would not open. We called and one of the ships officers arrived in about 5 minutes to reset the safe and it worked fine after that.
Show Reviews - The Liberty Dancers and the two singers, Katie and Bryan, were a step up from what we had experienced the year earlier on Carnival Glory. Both singers are very good and both are able to dance quite well. The lady dancers were very talented. The men, while very talented on their own, seemed to not coordinate as well at times. Not a lot but just enough to notice. The band was very good and the shows had great energy that left everyone smiling.
On one evening there was an entertainer named Edge, a former circus clown and juggler. Yeah, sounds rather corny. I had low expectations That was a mistake. He has great showmanship and is hilarious at times. I would pay to see his show.
When we were on Glory they were experimenting with bringing in pairs of comedians. The idea was well received and has moved to several of the Carnival ships including Liberty. All four were funny. We made it to the family shows and tried to watch two of the R-rated shows. For me the family shows were much better. The R-rated shows seem to always turn in to crass descriptions of body parts and F-bombs. Very boring in my mind.
They are trying a new idea where they use the comedy club for karaoke with a live band. This has a lot of potential. It would be a lot more fun if they would shorten the songs to around two minutes the way they do on American Idol. I was apparently not the only one thinking that as I heard one person comment, "how many verses does this song have anyway!"
I have to say that the activities were all very well run and things were kept moving. This seemed to be a noticeable improvement over our previous trip on Glory. All the activity crew was good but Lawrence was a real hoot. Nothing quite like a game of bean bag with Lawrence in charge.
Overall, Carnival strikes me as a really good value. I'm sure we will cruise with them again in the future.