Frankly, the three-deck-high Venetian Palace is such a spectacular theater -- with its Murano glass, funky jester-like patterns on the chairs and wild Venetian masks on the ceiling -- that just walking in gives you a buzz. On Carnival Liberty, three mainstay shows are presented, all in the Vegas mindset. These include "Rock Down Broadway," "Wonderful World" and "Singin' with the Big Band."
Carnival Liberty's Seaside Theater towers over the main pool deck is a 270-square-foot screen that thrums with programming, day and night. During the day, the screen plays music videos and displays photos taken of random passengers on deck. At night, a variety of films were played, both family-oriented and retro-hits like; late in the evenings, concerts featuring performers like Tom Jones were shown. Alas, it seemed as if Carnival wasn't really sure how to best handle the Seaside Theater on our voyage -- deck chairs were stacked high, there wasn't any genuine incentive to check it out (whereas Princess offers steamer rugs, free popcorn and a drinks service). As a result, the area was pretty underutilized at night.
On Spa Deck (Deck 11), aft, you'll find nine holes of miniature golf. You can snag putters and brightly colored golfballs on Lido Deck (Deck 9) before making your way to the top of the ship, near the funnel. Be warned: The funnel is so loud you won't be able to hear youself think while playing, and if it's a particularly rough day at sea, it can be nearly impossible to make par on each hole.
Far more popular is the indoor Promenade, an avenue of sorts that connects most of the bars, lounges and entertainment options. From there, you can check out Hot & Cool, the disco whose decor celebrates the art of tattoos; the Piano Bar, which can get quite raucous as people sing along to the best of 60's, 70's, and 80's pop music; and the Jardin Cafe for after-dinner noshing. Cabinet, the ship's cigar bar, is tucked away a deck below, but devotees managed to find it anyway. On the other hand, places like the Stage, billed as offering live jazz and karaoke, and the Empress Bar in the Club Lounge, were desolate.
During the day, Carnival features the usual wacky antics along with bingo, bad-hair-day seminars and shopping in its duty-free emporiums.
Cherry on Top is a cute corner store on the Promenade Deck (Deck 5) that's done up in shades of pink. It offers loose candy, for which you'll pay $8.80 a pound. Also available are prepackaged sweets, including boxed candy that's great for munching during movies on the Lido Deck or production shows in the theater. Choose from treats like jellybeans, bubblegum, gummy candy and more. You can also purchase flowers, cupcakes ($2.50 each) and special occasion confections like birthday cakes in addition to upscale bath products from Bliss. Get your sugar fix there until 10:30 p.m.
Another fun hangout spot is the EA Sports Bar, also on Promenade Deck. A man-cave to end all man-caves, it features 16 46-inch flat-screens that can each be tuned to individual games or combined to show just one or two games that span across several screens. The bar also offers video games and an LED ticker that posts current game scores. The relaxed atmosphere is accented with black and red tones, and you can enjoy the game with your favorite beer until the wee hours of the morning.
Further aft on Promenade Deck is Alchemy, a swanky-but-simple dark wood bar that serves alcoholic beverages by "prescription." Choose a drink from one of the light-up menus, or create your own by writing down what you'd like on one of the bar's prescription pads. Prepare to be surrounded by apothecary jars and bartenders in white lab coats. This venue is also open late.
The Lido Deck features two popular bars — the BlueIguana Tequila Bar and the RedFrog Rum Bar. Everything about the pair screams "let's take this outside!" The tequila bar shares its mascot with the adjacent BlueIguana Cantina, and the RedFrog Rum Bar is a variation of the wildly popular Red Frog Pub, which made its debut on Carnival Magic. Each bar's menu includes a host of tasty alcoholic beverages, including Iguana's Iced Tea, Red's Rum Treasure and other interesting concoctions.