First let me say, I have been in the Travel Industry for 19+ years. I had worked in a brick-and-mortar nationally branded travel agency until about 2 years ago. This cruise, my 13th, was the first that was planned by someone other than me (another travel agent) and we were a part of a group (28 people).
I have been on the Carnival ships now 4 times. The Carnival Liberty was a wonderful ship. In true cruise fashion, the staff was excellent, food was wonderful and ports of call were amazing!
We flew into Miami a day early to ensure no issues getting to the ship as we were flying from the Nebraska area. Our group had a private check in and was wisked off in a quick fashion after a brief 20 minute check-in. By 12:45 pm, we were on the Lido deck (same deck as our cabin) for our first cocktail.
Half Moon Cay: I have been to my fair share of ports, and quite honestly, this may be my all time favorite. The sand here is amazing...just like baby powder. The Carnival staff is on the beach and they make you feel just like they do on the ship - well taken care of. We did have to tender to the island, which was a little tedious - so get off the ship early...everyone waits till 10:00 am or later. Head down to level 3 early, you will be glad you did.
St. Thomas: My husband and I attended a beautiful wedding at Sapphire Beach (on the point). It was quite lovely. I wasn't sure about transportation, because it was not arranged, but it was very easy to access and the people of St. Thomas have always been wonderful - this trip was no different. On this island, you are either rich or poor, no in between. But the charm of the island is quite quaint and it is rich with beauty.
Puerto Rico: Having been in San Juan multiple times, we found ourselves heading to a large mall American International Plaza to check it out. Many of the stores you see in the states, but the clothing has such a different flair, we truly enjoyed ourselves. The mall was so busy. $20.00 cab ride one way. We felt we could pick up t-shirts anywhere else, why not check out Arden B., Macy's, etc. Glad we went.
Grand Turk: Wow - breathtaking. Water entry near Margaritaville was rocky and rough, but worth the dip. Great fun no matter what as the water is a color of blue/green you will never forget. Had members of our group scuba diving, which they stated was wonderful, and the afternoon snorkeling was fantastic.
Upon our return to Miami with a day at sea left, we ran into propulsion problems. We were returning a little slower averaging 11 km or so on the return. We were also delayed due to an unfortunate illness or injury of a crew member who was airlifted from the ship. In order to do this, our ship had to turn around and head into the wind. The wind during the week we were on the ship was quite strong and certainly affected the way that the helicopter approached the ship. There is video of it on You Tube: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=liberty%20crew%20member%20site%3Ayoutube.com&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CEsQtwIwBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DxZpLArUirek&ei=YyReT-SHG4PE0QH-ypn8Dw&usg=AFQjCNEf5tTs61B1FmKSdo61N83m5QJrKg
The delays did unfortunately affect our return flights as our ship did not dock until a bit late. However, Carnival did offer compensation and my previous experience told me to get travel insurance. So glad I did...the extra night in Miami and expense to change our flight tickets will be covered. Even if you can't afford the medical portion of travel insurance - consider travel insurance which would cover travel delays...it is worth every penny!
Our balcony room was wonderful, cabin steward was phenomenal and wait staff great. Food was super as always and there were many options available (I enjoyed room service for the first time ever).
I would go back to this ship time and time again.