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Todd

Age: 36

Occupation:Accounts Payable Manger

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Liberty

Sailing Date: 2012-09-8

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I used to be a dedicated Royal Caribbean (RCCL) cruiser. I have since switched due to Carnival being basically the same experience with a lower price and better food.

As always, I have returned home feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work. Living in South Florida makes cruising a cost-effective, stressless option. Carnival has made me a happy customer.

This cruise took us to Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, and Grand Cayman

The food was 95% of the time, top notch or it met my expectations.

The food temperature was 9/10 correct.

I love Carnival's variety of foods, and flavors. I've noticed that RCCL makes more bland tasting food. Carnival takes chances, using Indian spices in some of their dishes.

The "taste bar" was a great idea, serving small plate dishes. The items served were always off the beaten path, so it was a fun treat.

The main dining room had the usual cuisine that always puts a smile on my face. Anything you want can be arranged for you. The portions were adequate, and you could always ask for a second helping. For some odd reason, we had two assistant waiters and one main waiter. It was weird, because they all took turns taking our orders, filling drinks, running food, etc. It was like they operated as a unit, instead of one guy in charge of drinks and bread with the main waitor doing everything else. The staff was a bit cold, which I have never experienced before. Every cruise I have always been on, the waiter always learns your name. Yes, my service was good, just not as personable as previous sailings.

I also ate at the Diamonds steak house. Totally elegant, and first rate service. Combine that with impeccable food, and unreal meats, and you have a happy vacationer.

The burger and pizza areas actually serve some great items. The pizza was thin crust, and made a great snack. The burgers were a tad dry, but add fixings and cheese, and I was pleased. Their french fries were to die for.

The buffet was the usual cruise variety. After so many cruises, the buffet loses its shock and awe. It wasn't bad, but gorging myself isn't my main focus during a cruise vacation any longer.

The only let down about the food is the hours of the dining room and buffet. They close at 2:30pm. This is an unwelcome surprise after returning at 4pm from an excursion.

This cruise also lacked a midnight buffet. I guess these cutbacks are the signs of the time. Not a huge deal, since I rarely take part in these late night offerings.

The staterooms was always kept clean, and our towels were promptly replaced when we left them on the floor.

In past cruises, my stateroom attendant has been very visible. Whether saying, "hello" in the hallway, or knocking on my door to see if I needed anything, the SA on my past cruises was there. This cruise, not so much. I saw my SA in the beginning of the cruise, and on the last day when he told me we had to vacate our room an hour prior to the time listed in our "Fun Times".

Once again, not bad service, but not as personable as I remember in past cruises.

Our cruise director Karl was great, and his staff kept the party going. If you are bored on a Carnival ship, then you need some psychiatric help. Whether it was hairy chest competitions, or the "Love & Marriage" show, there was always something going on.

The casino is fun, but I think it's rigged. NO ONE in my group won any money. Then again, I think all cruise ship gaming is rigged.

The food tasting at the Diamonds steakhouse was outstanding.

I think the Carnival stage show is absolute cheese. The two singers are good, and the dancers are okay, but the shows themselves on the Carnival Liberty are god awful. For instance, one night was "Rock N' Roll" show. This show consisted of some staples from the 1950's, but then it went heavy into disco, Abba, and Phil Colins. Really? A rock and roll show with a 4 song medley tribute to Abba? Cheese!

We did two excursions: 1. Cave tubing in Belize 2. Beach Buggy/snorkel in Cozumel

Cave Tubing was fun, but kind of disappointing. The hike to the caves was nice, and we learned about some of Belize's jungle ecology along the way. The rock path was adventurous, but one could easily roll an ankle if not paying attention. I ate termites, and saw a bunch of leaf cutter ants. The water was cool and refreshing, but this is where it sucked... We had to wear life jackets and helmets. We also had to stay seated in the tube, and were tied together in groups. I wanted to get away, and float on my own in the cool water, but it was a no go. There are lockers, and places to change at the end. It was nice to see, but I was not thrilled with this excursion.

Beach buggy in Cozumel was fun. You ride in a 4 seater Polaris ATV, and you ride long a road that goes to a park. At the park, you see crocs, ancient ruins, and a cool light house. We also snorkeled a pretty reef. We saw many types of marine life, and the water was the perfect temperature. Swimming out and back to the reef is for strong swimmers or first time snorkelers. They also fed us lunch, and you could get alcohol beverages for cheap! I would recommend this excursion.

In Honduras and Cayman, we went to the beaches. Both were excellent. Cayman had better water, but both blew me away.

Honduras tip: There is a beautiful beach next to the cruise ship. If you go there, go all the way down to the end of the beach. The lounge chairs on that end of the beach are FREE!!!

I would book with Carnival again, but it seems like the service level has declined. I'm not sure why. I think my next cruise will be with a different line. Not because Carnival is bad, but just to try other lines.

One thing is for sure... I LOVE CRUISING.

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