For our Spring Break last year, my husband and I sailed out of Miami, Fl on the Carnival Liberty. Accompanying us were his daughter, and her best friend. Other than rain on the way out of the harbor, which did not affect the performance of the ship, the weather was gorgeous. Our extended balcony cabin was on the port side, aft, of the ship. It was a beautiful view.
The cabin was nicely appointed. All appliances, and electronics were in good working order. Linens and toiletries were refreshed daily. We had to call for ice quite often, and while the staff was accommodating, they had no sense of humor at all. We found the staff on the now-defunct Celebration, and the Freedom to be much better. We will be cruising again on the Freedom this June for our anniversary and hope our "favorite steward" ever, "Sam", is still there.
After having coffee, bagels. fruit, and chocolate milk in the cabin, via free room service, we usually ate breakfast at the buffet. Dinner was in the dining room, as I love to dress up for dinner! The choices were numerous and included my husband's favorite comfort foods: fried chicken, pot roast, etc., as well as more exotic choices for me. We liked being able to order more than one appetizer, dessert, or entree and share our selections. My husband's 26 year old even ordered from the children's menu! We chose the anytime dining which allowed us to sit with different folks or by ourselves at different times. This allowed us to feel free to enjoy shore excursions and onboard activities and not have to cut our time short to rush to dinner.
The overall layout of the ship was confusing. You couldn't get directly to certain places on the ship- you had to go up or down a floor- it wasn't quick or easy. The decor was tacky compared to the Freedom. We did get comfortable with the layout until it was time to return to port.
We don't gamble, so we did not go the casinos. The shows were so-so, average variety shows. We did enjoy the small lounges, including the cigar bar. I used to smoke, and my husband still does, and one of the few places to smoke turned out to be the hit of our evenings! It featured Hispanic music and dancing. Most patrons spoke Spanish and while I do not, we communicated on the dance floor. A most bueno time!
The itinerary included San Juan, Grand Turk, St. Thomas, and a Carnival cruise island which was ok. We took shore excursions: San Juan to the Bacardi factory which was really good, but left little time for shopping; St. Thomas to a beautiful private beach where I got very sick; but the best was the Grand Turk trolley tour. The island is small but has neat architecture. The shopping was great, and the ship was so close to the beach that you could almost touch it!
Make sure to go to the shopping seminars onboard. I know they are run by "Corny" people who are pushing certain goods and shops, but you can get freebies and good deals as a result. Overall, drinks, and photos are the most overpriced items on cruises. But there are plenty of free/cheap deals onboard to enjoy.