Our family decided to take a pre-Christmas cruise as a Christmas gift to the family. There were the 3 of us and my MIL who has never traveled anywhere. My hubby and I had been on previous cruises with Carnival, so we chose them due to some past guest discounts we received. We decided on the Liberty because we liked the itinerary, and it appeared that there would be few if any other cruise ships in port the same day we were.
We flew from Colorado on a redeye to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday/Saturday (12/16-17). Our flight was late departing Phoenix, so we didn't get into Ft. Lauderdale until after 7AM Saturday morning. We had scheduled a transfer with SAS Transportation, so we called them after we arrived and told them about the large delay in our flight. They already knew about it, so we told them we wanted to eat at the airport before we headed to the cruise ship, and they delayed our pickup until we were ready to go. Another group was in the same situation, so we shared a van with them to the Port of Miami. We were dropped off at our ship and then proceeded through embarkation which went very quickly since it was only 10AM at the time. I didn't check the time, but we were up on the Lido deck enjoying lunch before we knew it! We took naps by the pool while we waited for our room and proceeded to get our first round of color. When our room was ready, we went and unpacked everything before taking another nap! It was a very LONG redeye flight with a crying baby. 'Nuff said... We slept through the CC meet and greet unfortunately, as we woke up in time to do the muster drill.
After muster drill, we proceeded to check out the ship. The 2.0 upgrades are nice. My family loved the Guy's Burgers. They don't look pretty, but they tasted wonderful. Especially enjoyed the chipotle sauce on both the burgers and the fries. Even my finicky son loved the burgers! We had the late dinner seating, so we sat out on our balcony and watched the ship leave Miami.
Dinner was Cruise Casual, and I must say the dress was the most casual I have ever seen on a cruise. My husband remarked that he wouldn't even wear some of the outfits to a workout session. Our table staff (Arnel, Iwayan, and Adita) were wonderful and made the cruise even more enjoyable.
DAY 2: Sea Day: We played in the pool, played mini golf (difficult when the wind is blowing!), and laid out in the sun. Still recovering from that redeye! Dinner was Cruise Elegant so we got dressed up and went to have formal pictures taken. The gentleman who did our photos was very meticulous and detail oriented, so all of our pictures turned out beautifully. Yes, we had to buy them all! The dinner was lobster tail and prime rib, so we indulged in both. We also had to have the Chocolate Melting Cake. This became a must every night! The dress in the dining room was better, but still not anywhere as nice as I have seen on previous cruises. This was a full ship, so there were nearly 1,000 kids on board.
DAY 3: Cozumel: We had been to Cozumel on several earlier occasions, so we just went to Chankanaab Park and laid out in the palapas for the day. My MIL is a huge fan of dolphins, so we walked around and learned a little bit more about the dolphins, manatees, and sea lions. We snorkeled in the water while my MIL enjoyed the warm weather (it was -1 degrees when we left home!). The beach was pretty empty as we were the only ship in port that day. The rainy weather moved in late in the afternoon, and it made for a rougher ride that night on the ship.
DAY 4: Belize: We tendered into the port here. We had scheduled a tour outside of the cruise line, so we had to get in line early in the morning to get tender tickets. The line was long, and most people were polite and friendly while waiting in line to get tickets. The upsetting part was the fact that people just jumped in line when groups were being taken down to the tenders, and they hadn't waited in line for tender tickets. The people who waited were pretty upset that these "cutters" just walked on without having to wait. Nobody really checked to see if people had tender tickets. We went ashore and found out tour. We then had an amazing day in Belize. The weather had been rainy for several days, so we lucked out that the weather was absolutely beautiful for us. After dinner, we decided to go to the show in the Venetian Palace. The show was very loud, so my ears rang for a long time afterwards, but the actual show was just an average one. We weren't overly impressed.
DAY 5: Roatan: We booked a tour through Carnival for this port. My son wanted to see the monkeys and birds at Gumbalimba Park, so we chose that one coupled with Tabyana Beach. The ship was late getting into port as the wind was blowing and the ship's channel is so narrow that we couldn't go in. We had also been late leaving Belize due to a late tender, so that may have been part of the problem as well. The tour would have been more enjoyable if we had been able to hear the guide, but the group was quite large, and people were talking the entire tour. We tried to stay as close to the tour guide as possible so we could hear. The monkeys were interesting, but, once again, there were many people there, so the monkeys were put on leashes to keep them from getting flustered by the people who were being loud. Tabyana Beach was very nice, and we had a good time there. Roatan is a nice island, and one we have put on our list to visit again. We convinced our 12yo son to go to the show with us that night since it was scheduled before dinner. It was a juggling act with a gentleman named "Edge". He was highly entertaining (part comedian), and the juggling tricks he did fascinated us all. My son had to actually try some of them later. Dinner was good. More Chocolate Melting Cake for dessert....
DAY 6: Grand Cayman: We booked an outside tour for Grand Cayman. It was another tender port, so we got in line around 9 AM to make sure we would be on the first tender. There was already a line by that time. The tender ride is much shorter than in Belize, so we were on shore in a few minutes. We were early for our tour, so we wandered around through the little port shops and bought a few trinkets. We headed out for snorkeling and Stingray City with Moby Dick tours. They said the Stingray sandbar had been closed for the past week due to high winds, so we were fortunate that we got to go. My MIL had never snorkeled or been in the ocean before, and the crew on the tour were incredibly helpful and patient with her. We had a great time, then headed back to the ship to get a late afternoon lunch. Dinner was Cruise Elegant again, and delicious once more. We were worn out, so we went to bed after dinner.
DAY 7: At Sea Day: We spent part of the morning laying out on the balcony before starting to gather all of our things. It's amazing how much stuff we managed to accumulate over the week. We played in the pool, did the Groove for St. Jude fundraising, and ate our last Guy's Burger. (They really were yummy!) We enjoyed our last dinner in the Main Dining Room before going to the Legends show that evening. The show was enjoyable (still too loud for my tastes), and the members of our cruise who sang did a great job.We had placed all of our bags outside our room, and they were gone by the time we returned.
DAY 8: Debarkation: We got up and had breakfast on the Lido deck while we waited for our group to be called. When our group was called, we walked right off the boat to the baggage area, picked up our bags, and waited in line for customs. When we were on the gangplank, I called SAS transportation to let them know we were almost off the ship, and they said to call as soon as we were finished with customs. I called them once we were outside, and they drove right up and picked us up. We drove up to Ft. Lauderdale for our return flight.