March 2016 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Liberty
Ship: Great design and flow -- I thought the décor was very nice, not at all gaudy or busy. Deck 5 was particularly well designed - the public piano next to the Coffee bar was a nice touch and several very talented young passengers entertained us with impromptu concertos while we enjoyed our coffees in the comfortable lounge chairs. The Olympian dining rooms were also nicely decorated. The ship was immaculately clean -- there seemed to be a staff member cleaning handrails, elevator areas, public bathrooms, and lido buffet deck areas at all times. Carnival certainly made their efforts to keep the ship clean very visible. The Serenity deck was well appointed with comfortable chairs, lounges and hammocks.
Room: We had an extended balcony aft room -- comfortable, great views from balcony, but very small TV. No substantive issues.
Service: Exceptional everywhere onboard -- especially Vladimir and Yulyia in the Alchemy Bar! Every member of the staff and crew made it a point to acknowledge and extend a courteous greeting every time they saw you.
Food: Steak house was excellent - we went twice on this five night cruise - our servers were fantastic and they had a very good wine list (Far Niente Cab 2012, for example). Guy Fieri Burger joint and Pizza Pirate were our favorite. Buffet food was okay. One note here -- parents need to take their children to the buffet line and not send them unattended -- fingers are the preferred utensils when you're a kid. On a prior cruise we had enjoyed the Mongolian Wok (Carnival Breeze, July 2015) -- we were not able to eat there on this cruise -- the lines were always very long (even after peak lunch periods -- on the last day of the cruise we arrived at 1:15 and were told to expect a 20 - 30 minute wait!) Perhaps adding another cooking station or extending the available times from lunch through dinner would reduce wait times.
Onboard Services: We went to the spa twice -- scheduled both session on embarkation day to get discounts. The massage service was great, and the hot towel shave was a great experience that I would highly recommend. However, even with the embarkation day discounts, the spa treatments are somewhat pricey, especially if you end up buying some spa products (oils, creams, etc.) after the treatment. We ended up buying a couple of items that we really didn't need, or we could have at the very least bought elsewhere for much lower price. As a result, we decided that on our next Carnival cruise (Mediterranean, August 2016) that we will pass on the spa.
Entertainment: Most disappointing part of the cruise. The cruise director made an effort to entertain the passengers by putting on several shows that focused on audience participation (including a rework of the "newlywed game"). These shows were promoted daily throughout the cruise. However, there was no musical or theatrical show or performance as such. Would have been nice to have at least one night of music or a show of sorts. If such a show actually was performed - it was the least promoted event of the cruise and went unnoticed by us.