Honestly, I am not sure if this is a typical "first time" cruise experience or not, but I hated it. I was prepared for cheesy entertainment, a touristy experience in port and less than 5 star dining experiences, but frankly I was expecting better than what I got.
First off, I got extremely ill the second day. Not Carnival's fault, I realize these viruses come with a territory on cruises, but honestly, I was sanitizing or washing my hands at least hourly, showered every day and yet still managed to get sick. Gross. Further, there was smoking in the casino on board and there were multiple people on our floor who were smoking in their rooms. We mentioned this to the staff who were very nice but did nothing. By the end of the week, the whole floor smelled like a cut rate motel. Although even most cut rater motels will make sure that if your room is non-smoking, there will not be smoke stench in it. So that was a huge disappointment and certainly did not help my sickness. There were a lot of these gross moments. Besides the smoking on board and the fact that I got sick even with obsessive washing, I grabbed a carton of milk for breakfast one morning and even though it hadn't reached the expiration date it was chunky when I poured it on my cereal. Yeah. Loved that. Makes you wonder about the rest of it.
And of course there was the fact that you could only enjoy the beach, the kitschy, overpriced gift shops or hideously overpriced excursions once in port. Not so great. I will not be back. If I were to make an assessment of cruises based on my time on the Liberty, I would say cruising is only for those who enjoy low sanitation standards, being duped into spending too much money on crap and never getting to truly enjoy/explore the places they're visiting. I know that is not the case but that is what I felt like my whole experience was.