1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
I went on this cruise with my boyfriend as a spur of the moment vacataion. This was my very first time on a cruise ship and my first time out of the country. I had such a great time on this cruise and was disappointed when we had to ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my boyfriend as a spur of the moment vacataion. This was my very first time on a cruise ship and my first time out of the country. I had such a great time on this cruise and was disappointed when we had to return. The ship itself was exciting. Everyday there was a party. Even though I was a bit nervous, I had a great time. While on the ship, we attend an art auction that provided free champagne. There was also a game show that they had on the last night of our trip. I really enjoyed food that we ate on the ship. The waiter that we had was awesome and we met some interesting people as well. The Bahamas was so much fun. The beach was so nice and relaxing. Me and my boyfriend managed to eat at the fish fry and that was a great choice because the food was soooo good. We did a lot of walking, but because we enjoyed ourselves so much we didn't mind at all. I was able to do some rock climbing on the ship as well. After all the eating we did we also managed to work out at the gym. Our stateroom was very small, but we didn't stay in the room for long. The time we spent in the room was only to sleep and change clothes. I definitely will be back on this cruise again. Hopefully the next destination will be Jamaica. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Transfers I made the mistake of purchasing airport to cruise port transfers via Royal Caribbean before making my hotel reservations. It would have been much easier for me to use the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Hotel’s ... Read More
Transfers I made the mistake of purchasing airport to cruise port transfers via Royal Caribbean before making my hotel reservations. It would have been much easier for me to use the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Hotel’s shuttle service. In addition, the wait for the Royal Caribbean shuttle was far too lengthy. It would make much more sense if they had smaller vehicles that made more frequent trips, as opposed to waiting to fill a bus. Check-In It went very quickly and easily, but that’s because I have Gold status.The only negative is that the agent’s camera did not work, which caused a short discussion and a need to stop elsewhere before boarding. Baggage Delivery This was a nightmare. I checked in around 1:30. My bag did not arrive for about 5 hours. I had the early seating for dinner. When my bag had not arrived by 5:30, I got concerned. I was told to go down to the 2nd floor. My bag was not there. They told me to go back up to 5, across to the other side of the ship, then down to the 1st floor. Again, my bag was not there.I am amazed that bags are not scanned throughout the process. This could allow a customer to find out exactly where their bag is. I also could not believe that I had to walk all over the ship instead of having someone make a few phone calls on my behalf. It also makes no sense that there is no connection between the cabin on the customer’s baggage tag and which dinner seating they are reserved for. This would allow for prioritization of baggage delivery so that customers with early seating or early reservations at Chops or Portofino would be the first customers to receive their bags. I later complained at Guest Services and I was told that bag delivery can take until 8:00 pm. I do not recall seeing that in any documentation provided. Main Dining Room I checked in to be taken to my table on the first night. I was asked if I knew where my table was. I then found out it was because they did not know how to find a table. I was finally seated at my table. A table for 9, with 3 couples in their 70’s, me and 2 empty chairs. I am in my 50's and was traveling alone. I don’t know why I was not seated with single people, or at least more age appropriate people. Service was quite slow every dinner. I had to ask multiple times for a Diet Coke. The buildup to a very lame Shrek performing Gangnam Style was quite a worthless attempt at entertainment. The strip steak was tasteless and tough. All other food was good to excellent. Shows The Cruise Compass indicated that ‘In the Air’ would be the 2nd evening’s show but instead it was a Motown show. The show was excellent, as was ‘In the Air’ the following night. I just don’t understand how something like this gets miscommunicated.‘Saturday Night Fever’ was scheduled for the 5th night, even though the 70’s party was earlier in the cruise. The 2nd performance was not held for the early seating due to high waves. An announcement was made about the cancellation but very few people heard it. I would have assumed they could have performed a scaled-down version, even if meant just standing still singing. Return to Fort Lauderdale Airport I went to my “holding area”. The first couple of groups to disembark had already been announced and no new announcements were being made. The staff could not confirm if the transfer buses were ready and waiting. They had no idea if the assigned group was related to the time of the customer’s departing flights. Then all of the groups were cleared to leave the ship at one time. This just resulted in customer’s getting nervous about missing their flights, and longer lines going to baggage claim and through Customs. There was no signage and no personnel providing direction to the transfer buses. When I finally found a bus, I had to tell the driver 3 times that I was flying American, not America West (which merged years ago with US Airways). I waited a long time for the bus to leave and the bus was far from full. Again, just like on arrival, smaller vehicles should be used so they can depart more promptly and return for the next load of customers. The driver dropped off the customers at 2 spots. The 1st was a distance from terminal 1. The 2nd was between terminals 2 and 3. It would have been better to make a stop at each terminal, right at the terminal. Beverages I purchased the Premium Alcohol package. It would be a lot easier if there was more of a self-service way to get a bottle of beer. For example, scan your card, select your beer. Limit the use to every 30 minutes, so a customer does not get beers for multiple people. The same idea would be good with soft drinks. The bars seem to never have a supply of all of the beers. On the last night, at Schooner’s, I asked for Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Michelob Natural Light, before having to accept Amstel Light. How do you run out of all of these brands?   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We parked at Premier Parking USA, it was $67.00 for the week. When we arrived there was a line of about thirty people with luggage standing in the sun and there seemed to be no one in charge. However, within a few minutes three additional ... Read More
We parked at Premier Parking USA, it was $67.00 for the week. When we arrived there was a line of about thirty people with luggage standing in the sun and there seemed to be no one in charge. However, within a few minutes three additional vans pulled in and we were loaded and quickly arrived at the port. This company does like for you to get off the ship early when you return and they were a little slow on the pick up. We left one of our bags with valuables in the van and they did have it for us. We would use them again. We gave our bags to the porters and it took us no time at all to get onto the ship, the suites have priority embarkation and debarkation so no waiting in line at all. We went to our cabin 7268 on the empress deck. This cabin is very roomy, the bathroom is nice with a jacuzzi tub, nice dressing area and lots of room for clothes, etc. This cabin is located very near to the atrium and whenever anything is going on at the atrium bar you will hear it in this cabin, even with your TV on. We called on the second day and were told there were not any other cabins available in our category. The next day we were shown a balcony cabin on the 6Th floor, but declined to move, the space was more important to me than the noise. We got a phone call for the next several days asking about the noise... Yes we still hear it. Eventually they gave us a 15% discount off of our cruise and offered a 10% discount on future cruises if booked within the next year or so. I would recommend not booking this cabin or any cabin close to the atrium you will hear noise, sometimes very loud. We requested a large table but were placed at a table for four, we believe that with a larger table you have a better chance of finding table mates with common interests. Our dinner the first night in the main dining room felt very rushed, the servers did not wait for us to finish a sentence, they interrupted conversations every time they came to the table, the food was just OK. Breakfast we had in our stateroom every morning but two. Room service was good and was delivered within 20 minutes of ordering. Once we went to the main dining room for breakfast, our server was very nice, food was good, but service was unusually slow, coffee refills, ketchup that kind of stuff took a while. We ate at the lido one morning, I am not a big fan of the lido deck. The pizza near the aft pool was good. The Mongolian wok, was good, but the line took thirty minutes, maybe an efficiency expert could do something to fix this. This seemed to be popular so add one or two more guys cooking at peak times. We enjoyed the steakhouse, and ate there 5 of of seven night. The cabin is, was great as were all the servers, our food was always spot on and it was an enjoyable experience every night. We did do the "Chefs Table" one night and that was a fun experience, the food was all very good and it gave us a great look at the scale and complexity of the preparation going on in the kitchen. We were a group of 14 and after the kitchen tour which did include a cold and hot appetizer and some champagne we went to a private dining room for the remainder of the meal. We were served two different wines and I believe just one champagne, would have liked to see a little more wine pairing, but all in all would still recommend this. The thermostat in our room broke and it did take three days to get someone to fix it, not sure why, the cabin steward kept telling us engineering had been by, but don't know what they did the first few times. I was reluctant to call downstairs because of my complaining about the noise, and really feel awkward complaining, but if you have an issue do call I am pretty confident they want to make you happy. We did use a butter knife to keep the balcony door open one night and that warmed it up for us. If you don't have a ship excursion the tendering process can be slow, so just be prepared to be patient. We enjoyed the piano bar and tried to see a comedian one night, but there was standing room only, so if you are going get there early. We did enjoy the aft pool, the staff was vigilant in upholding the no children rule, but as usual lounge chairs are at a premium. They did have stickers in the morning that they would apply to empty chairs noting the time, this seemed to be a good idea. We got off the ship pretty quickly in Miami, but like the Miami airport the custom lines are long. Please note that unlike Ft. Lauderdale the porters do not have a separate line so no time advantage in getting one. We always enjoy cruising, I hope that I have been able to give some information that will be helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
I am a long time cruiser and i am only 17 at this time, i have been on 16 cruises and will be going on my 17Th cruise in upcoming February so i know what i'm talking about when i say WOW. We started out by breezing past check-in ... Read More
I am a long time cruiser and i am only 17 at this time, i have been on 16 cruises and will be going on my 17Th cruise in upcoming February so i know what i'm talking about when i say WOW. We started out by breezing past check-in when we got to the cruise terminal....i was surprised by how fast it went with there being so many people. We breezed onto the ship and to our room but it really sucked because the elevators were packed so we walked from deck 3 up to deck 10 where our room was. I give the room a 3 out of 5 because of the view from where it was located...most ships i have been on like carnival triumph and Holland America have a flattish back of the ship but this had an angled back so you could not see out the sides...only the back and only parshall. The amount of room in the cabin was alright considering there were 4 people and room service on the 4Th day was good also because it was there around the time that we woke up. Food was alright on the ship but like i read in reviews that are true, the windjammer cafe had the same repetitive food everyday but the dining room was excellent and the waiter doted over us every night and by the 3rd night had memorized the drinks that we like. We did take advantage of the Chops grill on the 5Th of November for my birthday and also took advantage of the Johnny Rockets on board ship outside of the Kids Center and got to buy this very cute girl from Scotland a milkshake...her fist milk shake. The ports were very very awesome and i had never been to San Juan, Puerto Rico so it was an experience and i recommend that anyone that goes to San Juan must go to both of the ports because they are the height of the attractions. Before we headed back we went to the time honored traditions of Senor Frogs which from what i have been told was very different from what it is now. i heard it used to be a huge party spot with it being open air and now it is enclosed by glass but the party is still going on, we went to St. Marten but i don't have much to say about there and we were also supposed to go to labadee but hurricane Thomas came through so we went to Nassau instead. Overall the cruise was very very exciting and i had tons of fun and am going on the same exact ship this coming February Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Embarkation:It was a rough start. We got through security and received our boarding passes pretty quickly. Then they put us into a "holding pen" for over 3.5 hours. I guess we were due because after seven cruises this was the ... Read More
Embarkation:It was a rough start. We got through security and received our boarding passes pretty quickly. Then they put us into a "holding pen" for over 3.5 hours. I guess we were due because after seven cruises this was the worst embarkation by far. In the end, the ship did apologize via the PA system but as part of the apology they highlighted the fact that the delay was beyond their control (aka it wasn't our fault...you get nothing). There were lots of rumors but no other details were given regarding this horrible boarding.General Ship Impressions:After spending almost 4 hours trying to board the ship I was pleasantly surprise once aboard. The ship feels new and modern. The layout is great and the guest rooms feel large. There is great art on the walls and there is great signage to help you get around. We especially liked the promenade deck. The shops, and food are a very nice touch and the space is bright and airy. Another great feature of this ship is the pool areas. The adult pool area is very nice with multiple hot tubs and a nice swimming pool. We loved the fact that they have a separate area for adults only (since we have no children). The food was very good, (more on that later.) The only negative (other than the boarding process) we have experienced early on was the towel service. You have to stand in line to check towels out then you have to stand in line to check them back in. Royal needs to take lessons from carnival and just put them in your room. Much easier!Food:My wife and I love fine food. This is one of the reasons we love cruising so much. Per our previous experiences Royal came through again. The food in the main dining rooms is very good. We tried a variety of dishes and all were very good. I strongly recommend the pork medallions, and the crab cakes, both were exquisite. The only improvements I can think of for the main dining room are to have a stronger " by the glass" wine list, and a more developed menu. The overall wine selection seemed weak compared to other cruise lines. Additionally, the desert menu felt weak and ignored the hard core chocolate lover. Lastly, the first formal night menu was lacking. It was a pretty typical (and unmemorable) meal. But overall we enjoyed the dining room experience and prefer that over the buffet. Speaking of the buffet, we went there for breakfast and lunch several time. In general, I'm not a huge fan of buffets but Royal's met our basic culinary needs. The flow of people seemed better in the Wind Jammer as compared to other cruise lines we've been on. In short, the buffet is a great way to get a quick bite before going to your next activity. If you want great food and service skip the buffet and hit a dining room for your meals. We also went to the pizza place on the promenade for a snack. The pizza was very good. I would recommend this place for a light snack between lunch and dinner. Overall, the food was very good on the Royal Liberty.Entertainment:The entertainment was pretty standard but the performers were very talented. We saw 3 show and they all were well done. Some may not like the story line or theme of all the shows but in general I was impressed. One entertainment item not to miss is the ice skating show. It is very good; our whole family loved it.Port Highlights:My wife and I liked both Cozumel and Costa Maya. They both have nice ports and it's easy to get to and from the ships. One big tip in Costa Maya if you want to go to the beach. Just walk out of the port and go to the cab station. Cabs are $3 pp to the beach and $2 pp to get back. Once your down there you can easily find a restaurant that has beach chairs. The place we hung out at had free chairs (hoping that you would by drinks). They also have drink packages (around $20 pp) for beer and simple mixed drinks. Belize required a tender to get to port. It was actually a fairly long ride, which was a little bit of a pain. We didn't enjoy Belize as much as the other ports but I think it's more about personal preference.Excursions:The excursions were pretty typically of all cruise lines. We went on two; the first of which was the wild life tour in Belize. Per the norm you wait in long lines prior to the start but once things get going it was very nice. The tour consisted of a river cruise and a guided zoo visit with a simple lunch in between. We saw all different types of wild animals in their natural and zoo environments. Both aspects of this adventure were very fun but be forewarned, it's a very long day in the hot sun. People with small children or the elderly may want to think twice before jumping into this. By the end of our day it was apparent that several people had enough! Also if you decide to go, use the restrooms when given the opportunity. You will be on the river for over two hours!! In the end my wife and I had a great time. We enjoyed our tour guide and all the wonderful animals we saw. The second excursion we did was the swimming with the rays in Cozumel. It was a great time. We got to pet the rays, feed them and swim/snorkel with them. I highly recommend this tour for all animal and fish loves. It was a blast.Debarkation:Debarkation was quick and painless. We met at the theater and was escorted out at the appropriate time. We were standing on the side walk by 7:15 am with all our bags ready to head to the airport.Conclusions:Overall we had a great time and hated to see it end. The ship was wonderful, and the service staff was incredible. The major disappointment was the boarding process. It was extremely painful and it will likely weigh in when we make our next cruise purchase. We have cruised both Royal and Carnival and in the end both companies have very similar products, with that said both my wife and I feel Carnival provides a better overall value. 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Sail Date: April 2011
We sailed on Liberty of the Seas in April 2011 from Miami to Barcelona, with stops in Nassau, Tenerife, Cadiz (for Seville), Malaga and Valencia. The itinerary was very good and we were not bored at all with 7 days on the Atlantic between ... Read More
We sailed on Liberty of the Seas in April 2011 from Miami to Barcelona, with stops in Nassau, Tenerife, Cadiz (for Seville), Malaga and Valencia. The itinerary was very good and we were not bored at all with 7 days on the Atlantic between Nassau and Tenerife. I would do another transatlantic crossing based on this experience. We were fortunate that the ocean was very smooth the entire crossing. It was often windy and not as warm as we would have liked but it was generally pretty comfortable and we were able to sit outside by the pools much of the time. Our balcony cabin was nice, roomy enough with a sofa; and the cabin service was very good.I was very pleased with the gym—really a nice, large gym with a good selection of equipment. But like on many ships, Royal Caribbean caters to those who will pay extra for something. Whenever there was an exercise class that people paid extra for, the gym blasted music throughout the gym. It was so loud that I could hear it even when I played my own iPod louder than usual. When I complained that it was wrong to subject the approximately 35-40 people using the gym to blaring music for the benefit of the 6 people in the class and asked to have the music turned down a little, I was told that they had paid for the class. I reminded the staff person that I had also paid for my cruise, but to no avail.The food ranged from very good to mediocre or worse. It was very good at the speciality restaurants for which we paid extra. The dinners in the dining room were decent but the selection of healthy food was limited. I had to special order my meals, but the staff was very accommodating so it worked out okay. The dining room maitre d' and our waitresses were top notch. Breakfast was serviceable because they had made-to-order omelets with egg whites, yogurt and fresh fruit, so I ate the same thing every day. But forget about lunch at the buffet....Royal Caribbean's idea of a healthy salad bar is anything with lots of mayonnaise. There were very little fresh, raw vegetables and only fruit left over from breakfast plus some apples and grapes. The size of the buffet salad bar was tiny for a ship with 3,500 passengers .... about the same size as you'd find at a fast food restaurant that has a "salad" bar and about the same quality. But if you want your food fried, breaded, in some kind of sauce or other unhealthy mixture, you'll love Royal Caribbean buffets. On days at sea, there was a waiter-assisted salad bar in the dining room. That left me struggling to eat healthy on the other days and with the exact same lunch every day at sea.As far as entertainment, it too was a mixed bag. There was a great ice show. For 14 nights, there was only 1 production show and that was mediocre. We were told the reason for having only 1 production show was because rehearsals were ongoing for Saturday Night Fever, which will be performed for 4 years on the ship. We were allowed to sit in on rehearsals of Saturday Night Fever one day and that was interesting. On the other nights, there were single "headliners". Many were very good, a few were not. But I found it annoying that Royal Caribbean deviated from the standard schedule of a mixture of production shows and headliners; it was like being in a hotel still under construction. When we've taken a 7 or 10 day cruise on Princess, there have always been 2-3 different production shows so I was very surprised to have only 1 on a 14 day cruise. However, the ship's orchestra was first rate and I wish we could have seen them more often. Entertainment outside the main theatre was average and unimaginative. On other cruise lines, we've seen comedians and other acts in some of the lounges but not on Royal Caribbean where the other entertainment was pretty much limited to bands and karaoke. Would I cruise on Royal Caribbean again? I'm not sure. My experience has been better on Princess and I had two customer service issues on Liberty of the Seas that were not resolved to my satisfaction and I found the customer service staff to be rude and dismissive. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
I found the Liberty to be a very elegant ship. The Promenade deck was interesting. However, there were never enough seats for the large crowds that poured into the area after the last Headliner shows. Our group of eight were going to the ... Read More
I found the Liberty to be a very elegant ship. The Promenade deck was interesting. However, there were never enough seats for the large crowds that poured into the area after the last Headliner shows. Our group of eight were going to the library or t the card room to congregate.Why would you not have rooms for special occasions instead of using the card room and then not clean it after it's use. Being a transatlantic cruise it wasn't warm enough for people to be out on deck at night. The ship had very good food. Our waiter and Head waiter were excellent. This was the best head waiter that I have experienced on a cruise. The food was a bit slow coming out from the kitchen but with several thousand diners at once would be a chore.My wife and I had an interior room was furnished quite well and were not disappointed at all. The cabin steward was extremely flexible with us and did an impeccable job.The gym was huge to say the least. Well staffed and plenty of equipment during the times that I used it.Nice pools and saunas and steam rooms.Overall I found the Liberty to be an excellent ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We arrived by Southwest Airlines into Ft Lauderdale, caught the GO shuttle to Miami. Very easy to do! $20.00pp, 45 min & It dropped us off right in front of the terminal. Embarkation wasn't as much of a hassle as it had been in ... Read More
We arrived by Southwest Airlines into Ft Lauderdale, caught the GO shuttle to Miami. Very easy to do! $20.00pp, 45 min & It dropped us off right in front of the terminal. Embarkation wasn't as much of a hassle as it had been in other ports, unless you are cruising on Carnival Liberty & you are holding up the security line because you are in the wrong terminal :}. That was all we had to wait on until we got to the front of the line. Our agent seemed a little new, as he was taking a bit longer to process us on & we had our paperwork done. Oh well, we got on. The ship was beautiful! Really loved the touch screens near the elevators. Made it so easy that you didn't have to carry a cruise compass with you. Dining Room: Hmmm. Average is all I can say. Nothing stood out. Service was adequate. We had main seating. Took almost 1 hour each night to get appetizers. On the 4Th night, it took 1 15 min for salads. We finally got our main meal & it was wrong. Steak was cold. We left without eating main course & didn't go back. We opted for the Windjammer the next night. It wasn't fancy, but we got a selection & didn't have to wait. Windjammer: A little more crowded than usual, but still was able to find seating without much of a problem. Food was ok. Coffee was very hot. Temp could be turned down a bit. We usually had breakfast & lunch. Although we ate dinner twice. Promenade Cafe: Cookies all day! What a nice place to catch a mid day snack & people watch. Also great for snack after you left the show. Good place for a light breakfast if you don't want to encounter a lot of people. Coffee was a better temp. Portofino's: AWESOME!!!!! Now this was a meal!Service was excellent. Food was way above a 10! We would eat there every night if it didn't have a surcharge or possibly lower charge. But still it wasn't bad for $20.00 pp. We had the T Bone steak. I know what you're thinking. Portofino's is Italian. But the T Bone was truly magnificent. The Cesar salad could feed 3 people for each plate. The desserts... If you don't have room, take it with you! The couple we dined with had Tiramisu. I had Chocolate Mousse, My husband had the sampler. We made him order it so we could all try it. Portofino's is a definite THUMBS UP! Entertainment:? Yes,???? Very poor selection. Gordon the Cruise Director was not of our liking. He seemed to be sold on himself. I don't know if incorporating Dream-works had anything to do with the shows, but if it does, I hope it changes before I book my T/A on the Liberty. We went to the show every night, but we walked out after about 15 min except for 1 show (In The Air). There was a comedian scheduled on a night. Well he wasn't a comedian. He was a violinist. When we asked Gordon where the comedian was his answer was "If I announced he was a Violinist, no-one would come" Well wouldn't that be better than being on stage doing your performance & seeing 1/2 of the guests walk out. That seems a little embarrassing. I was really disappointed in the low promotion of Make-A-Wish. There was a walk scheduled on our last day. T-shirts were not being sold like they were on the Voyager. We raised over $10,000 on the Voyager in 14 days. They really talked it up. We are with the Central Texas Make-A-Wish. Really disappointed. But this relates back to the Cruise Director. If it's not something you believe in or support, then there's no since in announcing it. This cruise had quite a few kids on it. What an opportunity to get involved. Cupcake Cupboard was a true disappointment. We were looking forward to this. We didn't want to go on the Oasis to experience it. The cupcakes were cold inside as if they were frozen. That's not a problem. I work in a bakery & we make cakes & freeze them also. The problem is they were dry & had no taste. We got the Red Velvet & the Orange Creamsicle. Don't waste your money. We will cruise on Liberty again despite the flaws. We are going to book a T/A Westbound in fall 2012. Hopefully there will be a better Cruise Director (bring Mercedes to the Liberty) & the dining room crew & staff will get their timing better to serve meals in the the allotted time correctly. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
HUGE LINE AT EMBARKATION ---- SO PAINFULalso, eat lunch in the dining roomI have cruised on the Liberty before, but Royal Caribbean as a cruise line is starting to make me look towards other lines. I am Emerald in the Crown and Anchor ... Read More
HUGE LINE AT EMBARKATION ---- SO PAINFULalso, eat lunch in the dining roomI have cruised on the Liberty before, but Royal Caribbean as a cruise line is starting to make me look towards other lines. I am Emerald in the Crown and Anchor society (because they crooked me out of getting credit for a 14 night cruise, I am not Diamond, but thats another story) and I am getting the coupons but there are not enough perks to gather all of these cruises to finally aspire to Diamond. Anyway, the ship was great, as I remembered it. I loved the 'Hoof and Claw' bar in the promenade, but the singer was so awful, he played the same songs every night and seemed like a drunk. The bartender in the crown lounge bar 'Olive or Twist' was great, his name was Daniel. He was a real guy that gave my friend and i many life lessons to ponder. Dining staff was acceptable instead of exceptional, as it should be. Some bar staff was a pain in the ass, but some of the bar staff was great! VERY HIT OR MISS SERVICE, thats all there is to say.The food has gone downhill like an eighteen wheeler with no brakes.EAT LUNCH IN THE DINING ROOMThere were no chocolates on our pillows, so I asked the cabin steward about it and he went out to port and bought us chocolates to put on our pillows, I was impressed, but this was not the overall feeling of the service. Most important to having a great cruise, will be to eat lunch in the dining room. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I just returned with my family on Liberty of the Seas from the 6-night Western Caribbean itinerary. It was a great trip and the ship and staff exceeded expectations across the board. My wife has cruised several times and I had been on ... Read More
I just returned with my family on Liberty of the Seas from the 6-night Western Caribbean itinerary. It was a great trip and the ship and staff exceeded expectations across the board. My wife has cruised several times and I had been on one other cruise but we (two daughters 3 & 8) have never taken a family cruise before and this was our first experience with RCCI. This turned into a long review but I wanted to return the favor to all of those who have posted detailed reviews in the past.First of all, many thanks to those who posted input, reviews, comments, and past cruise compasses that have been posted here - it made our trip all the better and I knew exactly what to expect. I am not an experienced cruiser but I do, however, love to research and plan meticulously with all of the resources available. Before setting foot on Liberty, I had a pretty good idea what to look for and what I wanted to do. We were cruising during peak spring break season so, as expected; there were a ton of other families with school-aged kids - infants, toddlers, grade school and high school. We certainly felt like we were in the right place and RCCI really does a nice job to appeal to all ages of cruisers.And now the good, the bad, the ugly...Honestly, there was no Ugly. There was certainly an overwhelming amount of Good, if not great, and, in my opinion, only a few items I would classify as Bad that I would love to see improved.Embarkation - Smooth as could be. We stayed in Miami the night before and arrived at the pier via taxi at 10:30 am. Once inside the terminal, our documents were checked and we were pointed up the stairs to await check-in. We were among the first in the terminal and we could see the front of a quickly growing line. We ended up waiting about 30 mins for check-in to start and once the line moved we were on board by 11:30. Because of our early arrival and boarding, we were literally among the first 40 people on board. Priority 1 for us was to go immediately to Guest Services to make babysitter reservations. Based on info I received from researching CC on this cruise we wanted to make sure we could get a sitter so my wife and I could enjoy some of the later-evening activities during the week. There was no one else in line at GS and we had our babysitter reservation requests within minutes and then headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. Once we fed at the proverbial trough that is the Windjammer, the crowds were starting to build so we set off to get the girls registered at Adventure Ocean (Kids Club). The bulk of the rest of the afternoon was spent exploring this floating wonderland, and getting settled in for the week to comeFood: I realize that food is the most "in your face" aspect of cruising and among the most hotly debated topics among cruise fans. My expectations were rather low after reading much of the feedback on declining food quality on RCCP. Generally speaking, we found the food and the overall dining experience to be wonderful. We used My Time Dining and our dinner reservation was linked with another family that made our total party as many as nine people (4 adults / 5 kids). Throughout the week were able to make reservations or walk up when we wanted as a group of 9 or even smaller parties of 2, 4, etc. We used the Main Dining Room for every dinner except one when we went to Portofinos (sans kids). Dinner in the MDR was typically good (food quality - good to excellent, selection - average to good, service - good to excellent). The meal never seemed slow or did we ever find ourselves waiting for the next course. The staff was very friendly. They got to know our names, including the kids, and they made our dinner feel like it was a meal in their own home. I was impressed and we were all very well taken care of. Dinner at Portofino's was also very nice - great food and a very diverse selection. It is a nice departure from the big main dining room and has an intimate, small restaurant feel - certainly worth the $20 up charge. The hardest part was deciding what to have. Typically when we are torn between dinner choices when cruising, one of us will order two entrees. In the MDR, this is a non-issue, however, in Portofino's an extra entrEe comes with a $10 additional charge - surprised, yes, deterred, no. The waiter also put a hard sell on a unique type of wine decanter that I had not seen before - I thought the approach was a bit tacky and pushy but, OK, I know RCCI is in the business to make money, just let me enjoy dinner without being shaken down to buy more stuff. That said, the meal was fantastic and was on par with any I have had at many other decent Italian restaurants around the states. Windjammer / Jade - there has been plenty posted about this and I have no new revelations. It is your typical buffet restaurant at sea. Plenty of options of varying quality and, at peak times, limited places to sit. While I understand there is probably no way to please everyone when trying to feed 3000+ people in an economical, efficient, and safe way, I found myself avoiding the WJ if I could. I can't go all negative on Windjammer, because the staff was great, very helpful in any way they could (finding seats, keeping tables clear, entertaining the kids, always good every time I was there). I think the bad rap that the WJ gets is less about the actual food but more about the people. A lot of hungry people trying to eat different things from different stations - Some areas with lines, some without, some people cutting and reaching in front of others, some grazing to find the perfect olive or piece of crispy bacon from a huge pan of food - Different styles, appetites, cultures, manners, speeds, and ages all trying to service the basic need to eat. Good news is with all of the other great options on the ship, the WJ is not the only game in town so you can find alternatives. We did the MDR for breakfast every morning and found it to be a nice quiet and low key place to start the day. We even did the Dreamworks character breakfast there on one morning my kids loved it. Good character time and photo opportunities. FYI - I found that you can actually make reservations for this online in advance, look under Specialty Dining for options under your online cruise planner. One tip - be there at or before the 8am start time. Arrive any later and they may give your reservation away - space is limited. My one complaint about dining is the wine selection for both the MDR and Portofino's. For a ship that size, I would have expected a more diverse wine selection in the dining rooms. While there was a nice mix of California wines, the selection of French and Italian wines was very limited. The same was true with only a few Australian wines and virtually nothing from Spain or South America. That said, the bottles we did have were very good and I found the bottle pricing to be quite reasonable. Cabin: We had an interior stateroom with a 2-pullman bed configuration to accommodate the four of us. Space is very efficiently used. Beds and bedding were surprisingly comfortable. The AC was silent and the room was mostly quiet to outside noise. The bathroom space is decent and the shower uses an efficient set of circular sliding doors Our cabin was on deck 7 near the aft elevators. I think decks 7,8,& 9 are great choices because they are essentially between the main areas on deck 11 and above (pool, windjammer, sports deck, health club/spa) and deck 5 and below (promenade, lounges, casino, theater) and can easily reach those areas via stairwell. Yes the elevators can be crowded and slow. Peak times seemed to be between 5-10pm when everyone was shuffling between afternoon and evening activities, meals, etc. Staying on decks 7-9 makes, for most people, taking the stairs a very easy alternative to get anywhere on the ship.Royal Promenade: The Promenade is the backbone of the ship. Truly like a main street in a small town. Bookended by The Promenade Cafe at one end and Sorrento's at the other, the Royal Promenade is really cool destination no matter the time of day. The Cafe is so nice and convenient - like a Starbucks, comfy, reasonably quiet, never seemed overly crowded and always something to satisfy from doughnuts and other breakfast treats in the morning to small, tasty sandwiches and cookies the rest of the day. Seattle's Best Coffee is among my faves, so this made it even better. At the other end, Sorrento's was a great go-to stop for a nice lunch alternative or a late-night pizza fix. The pizza was pretty good, especially when they had daily specials beyond the typical pepperoni and cheese options. I would highly recommend some great salad fixings - the olives and sundried tomatoes were fantastic and the ameretto cookies were a tasty treat. The atmosphere and theme here is a nice departure from the typical generic pizza options on most cruise ships. It was not uncommon to see a group of teens too young for the lounges who wanted to hang out with new friends to socialize over pizza and snacks - not unlike any other local pizza place back home. Other Promenade highlights were the Cupcake Cupboard and Ben and Jerry's - both very quaint and the sweet smells coming from each are irresistible. My daughters loved stopping into the Cupcake Cupboard each day to see the daily selection. While they had several of the same flavors every day, there were usually 2-3 daily specials that changed from day to day. Vintages and The Hoof and Claw Pub are also prominent spots on the promenade that I will discuss in the Bars/Lounges section. The promenade was also the location of the Captain's Reception, the Dreamworks Parade, some Adventure Ocean events (Circus and Pirate Parade) as well as the 70's disco party - All of which were very well done and seemed to easily accommodate anyone who wanted to attend. On the Formal Nights, it was nice to stroll as a family down and back on the promenade before and after dinner to enjoy the atmosphere and take in everyone else dressed up and showing off their finery. For most, an evening stroll is an experience that has been lost to busy family schedules and the migration to the suburbs, but it is nice to be able to do that on such a large cruise ship. We had our girls dressed in similar outfits and received many flattering comments on their appearance and behavior. Pool / H20 Zone: On our two at sea days, the pool deck was crowded but not impossible. On day 2, our first at sea day, it was extremely windy and probably cut the day by the pool short for many of us. While it was sunny and warm, it was very windy and hard to keep towels, hats, books, etc. from blowing away. Day 6, out second at sea day was nearly perfect and, as expected, the pool deck was packed. We were lucky enough to get a spot early because by 11, there were few, if any, open chairs. Yes there are chair hogs who put towels on chairs at some ungodly early hour expecting to hold that location while they are gone for hours at a time but I did see the deck patrol actively collecting towels from unattended chairs. On the days in port, the pool was virtually empty until later in the afternoon when many were returning from excursions. The deck staff is a great mix of waiters retrieving drink orders while others were clearing empty glasses and bottles. While the deck space is crowded with chairs it was rarely cluttered with garbage. The self-serve frozen yogurt bar was a popular spot and in the event of a spilled cone, the deck staff was on the spot with a mop to have that area clean in a matter of seconds - I was impressed. With all the bare feet and kids packed into crowded spots with glass and food I never saw any significant issues with food messes, broken glass, etc. The big-screen TV is a great addition but totally underutilized. Only once during the 6-night cruise did they offer a movie (Mama Mia, at midnight?!) and the rest of the time it showed landscape scenes, the same 20 trivia questions, and the same stream of music videos. Fortunately, our first day was also the regional finals for the NCAA men's basketball championships and they did show the games which was really cool. Pool, beer, sunshine, and sports - what's not to love? Adventure Ocean / Kids Club: We found this to be a great option for the kids. The facility is nice, clean, organized, and spacious and I found the staff to be very professional and great with the kids. Whenever we my girls went to the Kids Club, they enjoyed every minute of it and many times didn't want to leave. My oldest participated in the Adventure Ocean circus which is a cute show the kids do on the Promenade (simple costumes, face paint, and corny skits but they get to be in a show and the staff really make it fun). Both girls did the Pirate Parade (face paint, decorated bandannas) which they are led by the staff up and down the promenade singing clever pirate songs and dances - very cute for the 3 to 8 crowd and their respective parents. They typically only went to the kids club in the evenings and we never did the adventure ocean meal option so I can't comment on that. The Adventure Ocean is on the same deck as the Arcade. A decent variety of games, but VERY expensive - $0.75- $1.75 per play. Three air hockey tables but no foosball or I would have loved that old bubble hockey game - ok, I'm old school. Even Ms Pac Man was $0.75 (It is a 30 year old game, $ 0.75, Really?!) To play, you charge credits on a sea-pass card that can be pre-loaded on machines in the arcade. Bars / Lounges: There are plenty of options around the ship and I was lucky to visit just about all of them at least once. The Schooner bar and Boleros book-end deck 4 with the Casino in the middle. The Schooner was nice and comfortable and only really got busy late in the evening when the piano entertainment was going on. He was great by the way, very talented and did a nice job playing old favorites and getting the crowd to have some sing-along fun. It was also the location for daily trivia contests which we found to be a fun, cool escape from the hot sun during the day. Boleros was highlighted by Latin music and dancing. There was typically a lively band which attracted some great dancing in the evenings. The On Air Lounge on deck 3 is the sports bar location during the day and the karaoke bar at night. Many TV monitors with ESPN on during the day - rarely crowded, and plenty of spots to sit and watch sports. Within the On Air Club are these two very clever do it yourself CD / DVD karaoke booths that allow you to pick a song and make your own video singing it. The On Air lounge was also the location of Family Wii tournaments (bowling, etc.) which were fun to do on a big screen with a group of other passengers. Vintages on the Promenade is a very nice wine bar. The self service option is easy and convenient however the selection is a bit varied - some reasonably priced wines by the glass that you can purchase and serve yourself in 1, 3 or 5 oz servings. There were some very pricy options as well - Opus 1 for $120 per glass and a Lafite Bordeaux for $250 per glass?! Despite that, the atmosphere is nice. I attended an excellent Martini tasting / mixing class that was informative, engaging, and very tasty. There were usually different types of wine tastings each afternoon / evening that I did not attend but heard great things about. Hoof and Claw Pub on the Promenade has a great atmosphere and theming in the spirit of a British pub (dark, nice features in the woodwork and dEcor). My issues with the H&C are with the limited draft beer selection (only Murphy's Stout and Heineken). They have a nice selection of cans and bottles but nothing more exotic than Bass, Harp, or Boddington's This location seems to attract the smokers and has a reputation as being too smoky. It never bothered me but it also never got that crowded. The guitar entertainment was OK but it never seemed as fun or entertaining as musicians in so many Irish pubs I have visited in my travels. Connoisseur's Club - if you are a cigar smoker, this place is an oasis - I loved it - quiet, very comfortable and a good selection of cigars (sorry no Cuban's) and whiskey's / cordials / after dinner drinks. Soft club chairs, sofa's and plenty of places to sit and enjoy a cigar and chat with old friends and new acquaintances. While is it open as a cigar smoking room 24/7, the bar is only open from 8pm until late. It was never crowded and was well decorated with some nice atmospheric touches (nice ash trays, cigar aficionado magazines, informative menu / cigar information sheet, decent ventilation). The Catacombs - I was only there one night - typical cruise ship nightclub, good bar, decent DJ, plenty of dance and sitting space. It was not too dark as to not see anything and not too loud as to not be able to have a conversation. Olive or Twist (Viking Crown Lounge) - Great location, on deck 14 with a panoramic view above the ship and the pool deck. Quiet and comfortable during the day with good music options at night (DJ or even live music). They had some great jazz on the last night that I enjoyed very much. Good staff, attentive and a nice big bar with plenty of places to sit. Shows / Entertainment: I read many mixed reviews about "In the Air" and the "Encore" Ice show and had low expectations. WOW - Both shows were fantastic. We were really blown away by both. The talent of the featured performers in "In the Air" was truly amazing and I really liked the mix of music, visuals, and aerobatics in the show. I admit, I thought it started a bit weird but it really got going and I found myself enjoying it - great level of entertainment for a cruise ship. Encore, the Ice Show was amazing on so many levels. First, the size of the ice and being on a moving ship has to make it that much more difficult. We saw no falls, no slips, and only perfect execution. I enjoyed the theatrical theme and the Las Vegas, Rock n Roll Finish was very cool. The thought of an Ice Show on a ship in the middle of the ocean is just amazing. On the last night, the featured dance couple and featured male acrobat from "In the Air" each came back to do a bit in the Farewell show that was equally impressive. I was so glad we got to see that. I didn't see either the comedian or the juggler (guest headliner). There was another guest headliner who did a vegas-style variety show that I heard was fantastic but never got a chance to see. Activities / Events: My biggest accolades from our Liberty cruise are for Gordon, the Cruise Director, and his staff. They really put on some fun events that had appeal for the whole family. During the day, they were everywhere - From the daily trivia contests (Harry Potter, Sports, Places, 80s Music - great themes and the staff kept these little contests funny and fun) to family Wii events to the pool side activities (Belly Flop contest, line dance lessons), they had something for everyone. They were friendly, engaging, and very funny. The highlights that we enjoyed were the 70s Disco party on the promenade - the DJ was first rate and the Cruise Director and his Staff led the dancing / show dressing as familiar 70s music acts and leading the party - great fun. A few nights later was the 80's dance party where the staff dressed as various 80s music video icons and led the dance party from the stage at Studio B while also going into the crowd to welcome participation from all. Another fun event was the Dreamwork's Move it Move it Parade - a Disney-style theme park parade on a ship - just awesome. Great music, a lot of participants and plenty of space to get to see everything - the kids really loved it. We also did the open ice skating at Studio B one afternoon (it was only offered on two occasions - once for a Disco skating party on 70s night and again in the afternoon of our last at sea day). It was run by the cast of the Ice Show and it was cool to see them up close helping out by handing our skates and helmets for the skaters to use. They really are very talented and my daughter thought it was so cool to see them off the ice.My only issue with some of the activities were the late start times. Many events didn't start until after 10pm and some not until after 11 which made seeing and doing many of the more fun events prohibitive to those who are early risers or those who don't have babysittiing (my kids like to be up early and at the pool, breakfast, etc.)Casino - Very big with plenty of gaming variety - slots, video poker and plenty of table games with reasonable minimums / limits. There was always space to play and only the craps table ever seemed crowded. Dealers were usually very friendly and always asked about our day, what we did, what we should do the next day, etc. I actually found that level of engagement with all of the on board staff - very nice touch. They genuinely seemed interested in our experience and were quick to offer recommendations. The slots played tighter than anywhere I have ever been so don't expect to win there. Roulette was fun with many tables available also plenty of blackjack (both 8-deck shoe and single deck) with $6 minimum tables. 3 card poker as well (never played that game so I cannot comment). Sports Deck: My kids are a too young for Flowrider and the Climbing Wall but we did watch for a bit and it was very well run and cool to watch, especially the Flowrider - great fun to see those start and stand for a few seconds before wiping out. It definitely got cheers from the people watching. The mini-golf was very nice, never crowded and it had both normal sized putters and smaller ones for kids. A great way to have fun and enjoy the view from the top of the ship. There were usually games constantly going on the sports court (basketball , volleyball, dodgeball, etc.). A lot of adults and teens out there all day and night. They even had is set aside to be used by the Adventure Ocean kids on a few evenings. Shopping: Like food, shopping seems to be another "in your face" aspect to cruising. At least half of the Royal Promenade space is devoted to shopping - typically high-end merchandise (perfume, jewelry, activewear, formal clothing and accessories, and liquor - in a duty free forum). There is also a Royal Caribbean logo and ship-specific merchandise shop. In addition, there were usually daily sales on tables set up in the middle of the Promenade with one or more product types (watches, earrings, etc.) in a sidewalk sale-type promotion. Aside from the onboard stores, there were daily printed shopping guides and port maps, lectures, and on-board TV shows dedicated to pointing passengers to RCCI-approved vendors in each of the ports of call (Diamonds International, etc.). One flyer that was distributed with the Daily Cruise Compass packet for the day we were in Cozumel was issued like a warning. It advised passengers that it was "an imperative" for passengers to "allow a minimum of three hours" of time to explore the shopping opportunities Cozumel had to offer ( I am paraphrasing but they did use those terms). Our group found humor in extreme nature of the message and we all shared a laugh talking about it at breakfast that morning. Anyway, if duty-free shopping is your thing, you will love it.Ports of Call: My kids are a bit too young for adventure-type excursions and I could not get them interested in visiting Mayan ruins. They would rather go to the beach or hang out near the port to shop and get back to the pool on board or the kids club so I cannot comment on any of the excursions. Belize - The appeal of Belize is lost on me. I know the reef there is among the best in the Western Hemisphere but Belize City is rather modest and without doing an excursion, it is hard to justify more than an hour there. We didn't find anything unique or a particularly good value about the shopping and the food there near the pier was not very good. I did like the local Belikin beer and the chance to visit Belize but beyond that, this port didn't do much for me. Costa Maya - Costa Maya is a made-for cruise ships destination equipped with a user friendly shopping area at the pier with a big pool and swim up bar and a nearby small fishing village / beach and a variety of snorkeling /diving or Mayan ruin excursions. Again, nothing unique in the shopping beyond the typical Mexican-type souvenirs and the usual duty free and collection of jewelry stores. Cozumel - A lot of excursion options from beach to snorkeling / diving to adventures and Mayan ruins along with shopping and eating in some of the fun spots in downtown Cozumel. We like going into town and looking in the shops while enjoying some local flavor at Pancho's Backyard. For us it was a mostly a low key day allowing us to get back on the ship and enjoy the pool area without the crowds. Staff: Overall, the staff was fantastic. Everyone was very nice, courteous, helpful and seemed to enjoy their jobs. The Cruise Director and Activities staff were really first rate - fun, always on, and everywhere on the ship. Gordon and Marvin and their staff really made the onboard activities a lot of fun for all ages. I cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed everything.Babysitting: Or Lack of Babysitting - This was my major issue with our cruise. After being among the first on board and presumably among the first to make any type of Babysitter requests we were not able to get ANY of the five nights we requested babysitter for. We were told that it was first come / first served and there were none available. I practically lost it with Guest Services telling them I was one of the first people on board and went immediately to guest services with my request - no satisfaction. I thought this was completely unacceptable and it really prevented my wife and I from fully enjoying the later in the evening activities together. Our kids are not the late night types and we did not want to leave them awake in the Kids Club later than 10pm. The lack of available babysitter issue will be the one thing that will keep me from returning to a RC cruise with my family any time soon. It really was a disappointment. When we were asked if/when we would cruise again by one of the staff I was very clear that the Babysitter issue will keep my family from RCCI until my girls are old enough to not need their services. Overall, the Liberty of the Seas experience was fantastic and I would highly recommend to anyone, and despite the babysitter issue, we made the most of everything and we could. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My husband and I recently got back from our first cruise: Royal Caribbean - Liberty of the Seas Eastern Caribbean on March 19, 2011 (8 days). We purchased the cruise through Costco Travel and received a nice onboard credit. We had 4 stops ... Read More
My husband and I recently got back from our first cruise: Royal Caribbean - Liberty of the Seas Eastern Caribbean on March 19, 2011 (8 days). We purchased the cruise through Costco Travel and received a nice onboard credit. We had 4 stops in St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and Labadee, Haiti (RC private port in Haiti). Since this was a first cruise for us both, we really didn't know what to expect. Our first day we got to the port early and waited in line to board, the process was simple and pretty quick after waiting in the long line. The bags took some time to get to the room( so if you want to go for a swim as soon as you get on the ship, either carry your swim suit on with you or wear it because you may be waiting a while!) Our room was an outside cabin with a large window. The size was fine for us two with a lot of storage space to unpack and not be cramped. The bed was comfortable; the sheets were soft and clean. We loved having the window to look out in the moring and see land or on sea days to be able to see the ocean and have some light, when we got to San Juan we even saw a dolphin swimming right outside our window! Anyway, after we checked out the room we went to the dining room to make sure our seating request of a table for 2 was noted. They had us set for a 4-top, but after we asked for a 2 were able to accommodate us with no problem. We then made our way around the ship, just getting lost and seeing where everything was. The Windjammer Cafe (the buffet) was not the best, they had pre made burger patties and turkey patties with buns and condiments, they had hot bars with items like mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, meat, etc., desserts, salad, pizza, sandwiches. The night of the midnight buffet (which started at 11pm!) it was supposed to be outside but it drizzled so they moved it into the buffet, there were 2 ice sculptures we saw and there were fruit animals that were nice. But again the food was so so. The main dining room food was also a little dissapointing; the salmon for instance was fishy and dry. The chicken and steak were good, but the prime rib was like ham. Our main server and assistant server were THE BEST though, Sigrid and Channel. I really don't know how they remember everyone's name, but like the commercials say, they do just after one interaction. At the end of the trip, they were like family to us. We also got really close to the family sitting next to us, which got me to change my mind about sitting alone. I would try sitting with other passengers next time around. It was nice to sit next to different people and hear what they did during the day. Plus it's nice to get tips from people who have cruised many times before. There was a huge pool area on Liberty, a kid's area with water coming spouting out so the kids could run around, a lazy river and some Jacuzzis and a pool with a waterfall. The main pool area was roomy too, but of course the chairs fill up FAST. There was a TV screen near the main pool where they featured movies as well. There were a few more jacuzzis totalling what I tought to be 6 or 8! Then there was a more quiet pool towards the back which was a bit smaller. The captain said there was a storm on our route the first 2 days we were at sea, which caused 40 mph winds and it was chilly, so we didn't use the pool until the 3rd day, and then everyday after that! They had an ice cream machine near the pool too everyday. The ship itself was very large, clean, and beautiful! The staff really made it for us though, our Cruise Director Gordon was great, very funny. There was a 70's dance party, a white nights party (the night of the midnight buffet), the shows were really great also. Being from Vegas, they actually had shows from Vegas, The Scintas and Earl Turner! Earl Turner was so entertaining I would see his show again if he is still in Vegas!!! We eventaully got into a routine, Breakfast was best in the main dining room, then pool or off to port in the day (or both), a little nap if we had time, a show in the evening, dinner later, and then walking around or listening to karaoke... it was our home on the sea. I heard the Eastern Caribbean is better then the Western which is why I chose it. St. Thomas was our first stop; we bought an excursion 2 days before on the ship, St. Thomas Snuba (ST07). I would NOT recommend this to anyone; it was the worst part of the trip. We drove in a truck to the other side of the island on a non-scenic route. The instructor was not friendly and she was giving us instructions in the open air truck on the way to the beach, so if you were sitting in the back and couldn't hear her, which I couldn't, then too bad I guess. We got to a small beach with seaweed all over the place. She told us to put our stuff by a tree on the sand, and her assistant would watch it. The assistant was also selling water for $1 and pushing T Shirts for $10. The instructor got us into our gear, did a little "practice" when we first got into the water, like put your head under water for 100 seconds to see if your equipment works and that's it. The description said we would go 20 feet below, swim with fish and see them up close, see coral formations etc... we saw BROWN grass, 3 BROWN fish, and a sunken "Ship" - a tiny dingy boat. And we were in the water a total of 10 minutes because she had 3 other groups to get too. Then they gave us (old) snorkel equipment to snorkel with while we waited. $68 per person down the drain!!! After we were dropped off back at the ship, we changed and walked around. The shops that are near the port are not the same as downtown (Snuba Sally old us they would be). If you have comfy shoes and are used to walking, you can walk downtown, but a taxi is cheap, quick and easy to pick up. We ate at a great little place called Gloria's. Gloria was singing behind the counter to Frank Sinatra and it was friendly and clean with homemade hot sauces for purchase. San Juan was probably our favorite stop; it was very hot and humid so we decided to take a last minute bus tour. A lot of other passengers were lined up for the tours provided by the cruise line (which were around $39 per person). But there were quite a few locals trying to push passengers without a tour booked to go with them. We eventually agreed and it was $20, I am glad we did this because we had an air conditioned bus and our guide was a local, from Puerto Rico. He was very informative and made many stops for us to take photos. We learned about history and also tips on places not good for us to go! He also stopped for about 45 minutes at one of the forts so we could tour that then dropped us off in Old San Juan and it was about a 7 minute walk to the pier. We ate in a Spanish restaurant The Parrot Club. Very good food, clean and friendly! St. Maarten had the best beaches from all the places we were. We took a water taxi to Great Bay Beach (a couple of minutes away). It was early and pretty empty in the town and on the beach so we took 2 beach chairs and an umbrella. The ship told us the chairs, umbrella and 2 beers would be $10, but when we got to the beach they were selling for $20 with 5 beers. We bargained and got them for $10 in the end. We stayed on that beach for 5 hours, it was so relaxing and the water was beautiful. We got a ton of seashells! The town wasn't much; we just got burgers to eat on the beach. Next time I would take a tour to Orient Bay or maybe go to the French Side for Crepes! Labadee was our final stop, which is Royal Caribbean's private part of Haiti. Usually when you get off the ship, they are inside selling you bottles of water for $3.95, but there were always locals selling the water for $1. However in Labadee, since this was an extension of the ship, those prices were the same. There was a BBQ provided by the ship on the beach (complimentary) which was better than the buffet on the ship. Ribs, hot dogs, corn, salads and a lot of other things. You can go to the sitting area and get cups of water for free. There are a few different beaches; one was sun bathing only as the water was full of rocks, this was the first beach you come across. They had lounge chairs and hammocks. The next beach we saw was the one we stopped at, we thought this was the one they recommended for swimming. There were no rocks, but grass and fish and coral. (More to see under this water than that excursion in St Thomas!) We rented rafts for the day for $12 per raft. The beach chairs and covers are complimentary and you have to bring towels from the ship. We had goggles (they also rent or sell snorkel gear but its expensive) so we used our goggles to look at the fish in the water as we lay on our rafts. After all day on that beach we walked to the market and bought souvenirs and we found the swimming beach, it was beautiful with more rafts, and a water park in the water!! We got towel animals with our sunglasses on them almost every night for turndown! All in all our entire trip was very good. I would be Royal Caribbean again next time and I can't wait to book my cruise for next year!! The Eastern Caribbean was beautiful! Hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
The Liberty of the Seas is the largest ship we have cruised on. The ship is beautiful, clean and never felt too crowded. We arrived in Miami the night before and stayed at the Marriott Airport hotel, a convenient stay. A good dinner in the ... Read More
The Liberty of the Seas is the largest ship we have cruised on. The ship is beautiful, clean and never felt too crowded. We arrived in Miami the night before and stayed at the Marriott Airport hotel, a convenient stay. A good dinner in the sports bar at the adjacent property right next door. The next morning we took a $24 cab to the port, arriving about 10:45. Still tons of people milling about from the prior cruise so not a good sign. We were able to swiftly get through security and get checked in but not able to board until noon, after customs had cleared the ship. Breakfasts and lunches were always taken up in the Windjammer and we found it to be very good, plenty of food choices and seating not that difficult to find. We had second seating in the dining room and went 7 out of the 8 nights. We were assigned to a large table of 12, which really is too large as we could not talk very easily with the others at the opposite end. Also, with the large table, we were always served last by our waiter. The waiter was efficient but did not have much personality; the assistant waiter was very nice and remembered each of our names from the first night on. The food was generally good to very good. The first night the prime rib was one of the best I have ever tasted anywhere. The ship also serves very good shrimp on many of the nights, either in appetizers or as main courses. One night we did go to Chops, the specialty restaurant. We are glad we went as we have never tried a specialty restaurant before but probably wouldn't go back. It is a very pretty dining room and the service is very good. The food was good but probably not worth the surcharge. Entertainment was hit & miss, depends on what one likes. The Promenade was wonderful, with so many places to grab a drink, get a snack, stroll and shop. There was plenty of outdoor space and you could find a lounge chair easily if you were up by 11:00 a.m. Leaving the ship took a bit longer than we are used to. We were called by 8:10 and made it to the gangway within a couple of minutes. But they were backed up in the luggage/customs area so we were held at the gangway for about 20 minutes. After that, we were off within another 20 minutes. Would cruise again on the Liberty without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We are both in our mid-50s; it was my 18th cruise & my wife's 10th. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale from Detroit one day prior to our cruise due to unpredictable Michigan winters.We stayed at the Airport Hilton. The hotel was pretty ... Read More
We are both in our mid-50s; it was my 18th cruise & my wife's 10th. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale from Detroit one day prior to our cruise due to unpredictable Michigan winters.We stayed at the Airport Hilton. The hotel was pretty nice. We had dinner at Bubba Gumps and walked around Ft. Lauderdale a bit. We took a van shuttle service to the Miami port.EmbarkationWe arrived about 11:15am at the port, dropped our luggage off with the porters and proceeded inside. When we got close to the security scanners we had to wait about 45 minutes before they would let us proceed. I had my camcorder on in that area and security told me I couldn't use it until I was through security. Anyway after we got through security we got checked in and proceeded directly to the Windjammer. We headed to the very back to avoid the crowds. By the time we finished, our cabin was available. We receive our luggage very quickly at approximately 2:30. We had a pretty active Cruise Critic group and we all wore Mardi Gras beads so we could spot each other. We had a party at sail-away.We had early seating in the dining room on the 5th deck on what they call the balcony. We had a table of 8 but only had 6 seats occupied. The food was good and the servers were good but service was a little slow at times. We ate one evening in Chops. The ambiance was nice but the food was nothing special. We both felt the steaks were a bit tough.Labadee Haiti - Since we had been there several times, we elected to stay on the ship and get a massage. While they were a bit pricey, they were enjoyable. I forgot to tell them up front I didn't want any extra products so they tried to push them on me. The therapist seemed a little miffed that I didn't want to buy anything.Entertainment-We saw all of the evening shows.Gordon Whatman was the Cruise director. At first I didn't think I was going to like him, but he started to grow on me. He has an excellent singing voice. The shows were all very good. They had a violinist that was billed as a comedian one night. He was really good but if they would have said he was a violinist ahead of time I think the theatre would be empty. The comedians were pretty good. We did not see the Ice Show this time. We just couldn't fit it into our schedule.Medical Staff-My wife fell on the deck near the pool and had to go to the ship hospital. Luckily she only sprained her ankle and was skinned up a little bit. The medical staff was very professional.Cruise Critic party- We had a pretty good sized group that met in the Olive or Twist lounge. We had a gift exchange for those who wanted to participate. we were to bring something from our home state to exchange. After that we had a cabin crawl. We had most categories covered from an inside cabin to the Ben & Jerry's suite all the way up to an Owners Suite. This was a lot of fun. Overall ImpressionThe ship was really nice especially after the recent dry-dock with the improvements of the big screen on the pool deck and the interactive screens near the elevators. The food was good and service was adequate. The weather except for being windy when we left port,couldn't have been better.Debarkation-It was slow getting off the ship do to Customs. We were in a line that went through the casino and took about 30 minutes to get to the customs inspectors. We opted for the service to have our luggage taken directly the airport. That worked fine and was just slightly more expensive than taking them ourselves after you account for the tips you would have to give to all along the way. It was definitely less hassle which was worth the little extra it cost.We have friends in Ft. Lauderdale that picked us up at the port and drove us back to Ft. Lauderdale. We had lunch at a restaurant with a beach view were we sat in swings kind of like porch swings. Good food & we had our last drinks in Florida. Traffic was heavy in Ft. Lauderdale since it was just the beginning of spring break. We made our flight in plenty of time. Unfortunately when we got back to Detroit we had to put our coats back on.We definitely would sail Liberty again.We booked a cruise on Adventure while we were on this cruise. This will be our first time in a Jr. Suite Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We stayed overnight in Miami at the Hampton which met our needs just fine and seemed a fair price. We had flown in from Detroit the day following the big blizzard and were delighted to get there! Embarkation the next day went ... Read More
We stayed overnight in Miami at the Hampton which met our needs just fine and seemed a fair price. We had flown in from Detroit the day following the big blizzard and were delighted to get there! Embarkation the next day went smooth - RCCL seems to have it down to a science. Liberty is a huge ship and certainly had many activities to keep us as busy as we wanted to be for the first two days at sea. They now offer some cooking classes, have a big outdoor movie screen by the pool, and have a little cupcake shop on the inside mall - along with parades with characters for the kids. Our room was an inside cabin, but overlooked the promanade. One complaint would be the pool chairs. They post a sign saying no reserving of chairs and items will be removed after 30 minutes, but there was definately NO enforcement of this! We opted for My Time Dining, which we have done before twice and liked. It still met our needs, but it seemed a bit more crowded and the waiters seemed more rushed and hurried. Food was fine, not exceptional, but always a good selection. Desserts didn't impress us, but that was just as well bc we did enjoy the cookies in the coffee shop on the promanade! Service was very good in all areas, including stateroom and room service. We were on board for the Super Bowl and they transformed the ice arena into a football stadium complete with balloons and Super Bowl munchies (nachos, chicken, hotdogs) We thoroughly enjoyed the event with many fellow cruisers! Ports: First stop was St Thomas. We headed over to St John by ferry- very easy to do on your own by catching a cab at the port's shopping area to Red Hook, then ferrying over to Cruz Bay. There's shopping there also, but we headed over to Trunk Bay. The nice thing about going on your own is that you can stay longer than going with a ship's excursion. We enjoy hitting Woody's Bar for their great happy hour or Uncle Joe's BBQ near the dock for lunch depending on the time. St John Spice near the dock is also a don't miss! St Maarten - It was a bit overcast, but we headed over to Orient Beach to catch some sun and surf. We rented beach chairs with an umbrella. Rain did come, but passed quickly. We took refuge in Kontiki Bar and waited it out. Cabs are easy to catch on the port and behind the beach bars on the beach. We didn't venture to the nude beach, but there were many who were enjoying the sun topless! San Juan- My husband is a Bacardi fan, so we took the ferry over from Dock2 (we were right next door) for 50cents to Catano. We caught a cab there for $3/pp to Bacardi. They offer free tours and include a couple drinks. I would tell people to just do this on your own - time saver and much less expensive! We stocked up on some glassware in their gift shop and returned the same way back to the ship before heading out for shopping in Old Town - just a few blocks from the dock. There is a Coach factory outlet that had great sales! Labadee - I'm sure it is quite a nice adventure for kids as they now have a zip line and a great water park area, but I really found it to be quite busy and not that relaxing. We wanted to support some of the Haitian crafts folks, but once you enter the shopping market, it felt like running a gauntlet! We quickly purchased a couple things and escaped. My husband went in to try snorkeling, but came back unimpressed, so I never went in the water. Instead, we headed back to the ship and finally found some empty pool chairs! The entertainment was very good. Singers and dancers put on a very delightful show, very acrobatic! The ice show was also exceptional. We enjoyed both comics we saw. Overall, we were very pleased with our escape from Michigan Winter and would recommend the Liberty to friends! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We flew with Canjet from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at a friend's hotel-condo in Sunny Isles Beach. Being there overnight, we had rented a car which we dropped off at the Miami airport prior to ... Read More
We flew with Canjet from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at a friend's hotel-condo in Sunny Isles Beach. Being there overnight, we had rented a car which we dropped off at the Miami airport prior to arriving at the Port of Miami via the rental car shuttle. Embarkation: After reading some horror stories of delayed/slow embarkation for the Liberty's Eastern Caribbean itinerary due to slow disembarkation from the previous Western Caribbean cruises to Belize, we decided to arrive at the port a bit later than usual to try to miss the line ups. We arrived at around 12:45pm to see a significant amount of luggage lining the curb, but no line-ups to get into the terminal. We tipped the porter for our luggage, and headed inside. Once inside, there was a crowd of people in the small lower floor lobby waiting to go upstairs to security. They had temporarily closed access to the upper level due to the number of people waiting to go through security. We waited here for about 15-20 minutes, and were then allowed upstairs to the security line. This line moved quite fast, however upon reaching the front, we were told that due to crowds inside the check-in area, they were holding the line. Another 20 minutes later, we were allowed through security. The check-in line moved relatively quickly and we were soon on our way onto the ship, seapasses in hand around 2:30pm. The process wasn't as fast as for previous cruises out of Port Everglades and Bayonne, NJ, however it wasn't as bad as we expected. The Ship: The ship is beautiful. Having just come out of dry-dock a week prior to our cruise, everything was very clean and in good repair. It was evident that the mini-golf course had recently been fixed up, various carpets replaced, light fixtures cleaned, etc. The layout of the ship was remarkably similar to the Explorer which I had been on previously, making it very easy for me to navigate. The ship's Royal Promenade is very impressive and a great spot to hang out at night between events, or during the day when the weather isn't cooperating. The pools and sports deck were the places to be during the day for everyone from the young, to the old. There's something for everyone. While chairs were hard to come by near the pools after about 8:30am, they seemed to clear out around lunch time when the crowds shifted to the Windjammer buffet, so it's best to either arrive at the pool very early, or wait until the early to mid-afternoon. The thing that impressed me the most was the H20 Zone kid's pool area. It was amazing with a variety of pools, spraying water, and more. The children onboard really seemed to enjoy it. Stateroom: Our group consisted of 3 adults, and we stayed in room 6374, a category D1 stateroom - a superior oceanview room with balcony. This room featured a large futon style sofa-bed which could easily sleep 2, as well as a king-size bed which could be split into 2 twin beds. The bed was near the balcony which provided a lot of space upon entering the room, making the room feel larger. Of note however, the bed faced backwards, although this was not noticible unless looking outside while the ship was moving and did not bother us. We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the room in comparison to a previous E1 cabin on the Radiance of the Seas, and a Promenade room on the Explorer of the Seas. There was an abundance of storage space - we are not light packers, and we still had some unused drawers and cupbboards. The balcony was spacious, and contained 2 chairs and a small round coffee-table. There was plenty of room for additional chairs, however we were told by our stateroom attendant that she is not allowed to provide us with an extra chair, but we were welcome to take the chair from the desk outside on the balcony. The washroom was like that of a typical cruise-ship, complete with time-capsule style shower, although it was sufficient for our needs. Our stateroom attendant was great at keeping the room clean and providing us with a new towel friend every evening. Dining: There is no shortage of food onboard the Liberty of the Seas, and there are always various places to dine. The Windjammer Buffet and Jade - Located on deck 11 aft, the Windjammer is the main hub for breakfast and lunch onboard. It consists of 2 sides buffets, and some stations at the back. The 2 sides towards the entrance are called "Jade", and they feature some Asian-style dishes, while the stations towards the back contain a variety of foods. We ate most of our breakfasts in the Windjammer, and the variety of food was remarkable, and everything was hot and fresh. I can't think of anything else that they could possibly add for breakfast. Service at breakfast varied depending on the section we sat in, but was generally adequate with frequent offers for drinks and quick clearing of plates. Lunch in the Windjammer consisted of a salad bar, carving station, burgers and fries, pastas, pizza, some ethnic dishes, sandwiches, etc, and a large dessert area. From 3:30-5:00 daily, they featured afternoon snacks, which was basically a condensed version of the lunch buffet, along with a nacho and taco station, waffles, and hot bread-pudding with vanilla sauce. Dinner is served nightly in the Windjammer and features different selections each night. We had dinner there once, and the food was average. There is a create-your-own pasta station at night, as well as Asian food at Jade (sushi, tempura, etc), a carving station, and various other dishes, in addition to a dessert station featuring a sundae bar. Dinner in the Windjammer is a nice change of pace for those needing a break from the Main Dining Room. The service at dinner was somewhat slow, with nobody providing beverage service and delayed clearing of plates, but it did not diminish our experience too much. The Main Dining Room - Serving breakfast and dinner daily, and lunch on sea-days, the 3-level Main Dining Room was a place frequently visited on our cruise. We ate breakfast here once, which featured a small buffet area with hot selections in addition to a granola station, as well as a served menu with all of the basics and daily specials like eggs benedict. We ate lunch here once as well, with an extensive salad bar and a menu with various things. The service at lunch was a bit slow with the waiters visibly overworked, although it was still enjoyable as we were not in a rush. We also ate dinner here on 6 out of the 8 nights, often ordering a few appetizers and desserts, and sometimes even an extra main course or two to share. The appetizers were generally above average, while the main courses ranged from slightly below average to excellent, and the desserts were average to above average. Overall I think the food in the Main Dining Room could use a bit of work, but we still enjoyed it and never went hungry. Be sure to try the Moroccan chicken salad and vidalia onion tart appetizers, the Fisherman's plate and filet of beef main courses, and the caramel pecan tart dessert. Our waiter was Joel, with assistant waiter Michael, and while they started out a bit slow for the first few nights, they picked up towards the end. You could tell they were trying very hard and were maybe somewhat overworked. Cafe Promenade - Located on deck 5 towards the aft of the Royal Promenade, Cafe Promenade is open 24 hours a day and features a self-serve coffee/tea/hot chocolate station, along with various sandwiches, pastries, and cookies, all included in your cruise fare. They also have specialty coffees for an additional charge. A must-visit for early morning, afternoon, or late-night snacks, or even for a light lunch. Make sure to try the brownies - they're delicious, and addictive! Sorrento's Pizza - Located on deck 5 in the Royal Promenade near the forward elevators, Sorrento's is open from lunch time until around 2am. They have a variety of pizzas which change daily, in addition to roasted red peppers, grilled vegetables, artichokes, olives, etc, and even some small dessert cups. Everything here was incredible, and I wish I would have visited more often. The barbecue chicken pizza was incredible. Room Service - Room service is available 24/7, however there is a charge of $3.95 which includes the tip for orders between midnight and 5am. We ordered breakfast on an early port day to save some time. We put the menu with our order outside the door the night before, requesting a delivery time of 7-7:30am. The phone rang at 6:09am, stating that they were on their way with our order. Not realizing what time it was, we said okay. I then checked the clock and noticed they were an hour early, so I called back and asked to have our order held for another half hour or so. The lady stated that the man that called had likely already left, but she'd try to find him. In the end, the food arrived at 6:55 which worked out okay, however the early wake-up call was somewhat unappreciated. I likely wouldn't order room service for breakfast again as they forgot some items and there was nowhere to spread it out to eat (especially not on the tiny balcony table), but it wasn't terrible. We also ordered room service for lunch on a sea-day as we were craving honey stung chicken which is only available on the first day in the Windjammer, or through room-service. We ordered a variety of different things including caesar salad, spinach and artichoke dip, a hot turkey and swiss sandwich, honey stung chicken with sweet potato fries, and some dessert. It took a long time to arrive (about 50 minutes) but everything was delicious and of better quality than the Windjammer lunch. We would order lunch or dinner again, although once again, it was difficult to eat with only the small balcony table and the small and low coffee table in the room. Johnny Rockets - With a cover charge of $4.95 a person, Johnny Rockets, located on deck 12, was worth every penny. They start you off with fries and onion rings with their special dip and a ketchup smiley-face, and you're free to order as much as you want, from their signature burgers, to chili-dogs, to club sandwiches, and desserts like apple pie a-la-mode. Their beverages cost extra, however the milkshakes are delicious, and you can simply walk up and buy them without having to pay the cover charge. The waiters do their choreographed dances every so often, and while some of them appeared to not know the dance, it was still a lot of fun to watch. This is also the only restaurant which features an outdoor eating area - great for watching sailaways, particularly from San Juan, Puerto Rico as you sail by El Morro Fort! Chops - Chops has a cover-charge of $25 per person. We were skeptical about dining here, however we took the plunge and were glad we did. The fee includes an appetizer (yes, you can order more than one), a main course, and dessert. Everything I ordered was delicious, from the onion soup to the shrimp cocktail, to the petite filet mignon, however the NY steak that one member of my family ordered was extremely tough, although the staff tried to fix that by offering her a different entree. There are various delicious side dishes that are served family-style so that you can try a bit of everything. The mud-pie here is a must have for dessert. The service was good with very attentive servers, and the ambience was a nice quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the Main Dining Room. Portofino's - This Italian restaurant has a $20 per person charge, although we did not eat there so I cannot comment. Onboard Activities: There were a variety of activities going on at all times, and there seemed to be something for everyone, from health and beauty seminars, to athletic activities, to towel-folding classes and cooking demonstrations, to 3D movies in the platinum theatre and karaoke in "On Air". In fact, there was so much going on that we felt we were missing out as we didn't have time to do it all! Mike, the cruise director, his staff, and the activities staff were all wonderful and kept everyone engaged and entertained. Mike did a "Behind the Scenes" show one morning which was full of interesting facts about the Liberty, pictures of crew areas, and a question and answer period. This was the first time I have seen this done on a cruise, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The new big screen by the main pool was wonderful, although we felt it could have been better utilized. There was usually trivia which repeated many times throughout the day, along with the odd sports game in the daytime, and it was used for movies under the stars on 1 occasion, and a late-night concert once. They probably could have made better use of it by showing more sporting events, movies, and concerts throughout the cruise, in the day and evening. Entertainment: The cruise featured 3 headliner shows, a few production shows, an ice show, and some game shows. The headliners were average, although Abbacadabra, the Abba tribute band was excellent. The production shows were okay. Up in the Air was the best one in my opinion, and featured some neat aerial acts. The ice show, Encore is a must see. While I found the plot somewhat cheesy, the skill of the skaters was pretty good despite a few falls. There were no tickets available for the ice shows, and seating was on a first-come basis. This worked out well as you didn't need to plan your whole day around the time of your tickets, although there were line ups before the doors opened. In terms of night-time entertainment, there were some bands and musicians scattered around the ship, including the promenade, the Hoof and Claw bar in the Royal Promenade, the Olive or Twist bar on deck 14, and the Schooner Bar on deck 4. My personal favorite was Suave, the band that played in Olive or Twist (The Viking Crown Lounge). Of course the casino was open late as well, and was hopping throughout our entire cruise. Ports: Our cruise featured 2 sea days, followed by 4 port days, and an additional sea day. St. Thomas, USVI - We booked a tour online with Godfrey Tours. He took us shopping downtown for about 2 hours, followed by some sightseeing, a visit to the Mountain-Top store/bar/lookout point (where there was a 20 minute downpour), a 2.5 hour stop at Magens Bay Beach ($4 entrance) where we had lunch and went for a swim, a little bit more sightseeing, and back to the ship. He included cold non-alcoholic drinks as well. Unfortunately it rained a few more times throughout the day, but it didn't interfere much with our fun. Phillipsburg, St. Maarten - We once again booked a tour with Bernard's Tours as we did a year and a half ago, and this time, our tour was quite different, but the different stops were very much appreciated. Our driver was the "Mail Man" as he calls himself and was great! We started out at a farm to feed the iguanas, followed by a trip to a neat lookout point and the "sea urchin man", a 2 hour stop at Orient Beach for lunch and swimming, a 30 minute stop in Marigot for pastries, 30 minutes at Maho Beach to see the planes come in, and a little more touring. We had a wonderful day and for $35 per person plus tip, it was a great deal. He dropped us back at the ship at 3:15pm, with an option of dropping us off in downtown Phillipsburg for some shopping, which we declined. We had a wonderful time and wouldn't hesitate to book with Bernard yet again! San Juan, Puerto Rico - Given our short visit here from 7am-2pm, we decided to take it easy and walk around on our own. We walked around Old San Juan from around 10am-2pm and did some shopping and sightseeing. We were going to take the free trolley but after waiting for 20 minutes and having one that was already full show up, we gave up and walked. It was probably faster to walk anyway as the streets are narrow and there's a lot of traffic for cars. Labadee, Haiti - This was our first time visiting Labadee and it was our absolute favorite port. We took the free shuttle boat to Columbus Cove, although we soon realized that we could have walked there just as quickly. We decided to find a spot to sit on the beach just beside Columbus Cove - I'm not sure if it had a name, but it was great - smooth sand, (a couple small rocks but not as bad as expected based on what I read here - I did not need water shoes!), beautiful calm water, no sea creatures around, close bathrooms, a bar, and it was only a 2 minute walk from "Cafe Labadee", one of the 3 buffet areas on Labadee. The chairs at the beach were all stacked at the back, but there were people around to help you move them, bring a blue canopy for shade, etc. RCI discourages tipping them in the cruise compass, but we did see people giving them as much as $1 per chair. After a nice swim and a walk around to explore the area, we had lunch at the buffet, which had a large covered seating area with picnic tables. They had all different kinds of food... various salads, burgers, turkey burgers, ribs, chicken, corn, baked potatoes, etc, as well as cookies, cake, and fruit for dessert. There was also an area with iced tea, lemonade, and water. The food was good - better than in the Windjammer. There were a few shows put on by locals, bands scattered around the island, and a nice kids area with a pirate ship and all kinds of fun activities run by Adventure Ocean. We did not do any paid activities here but they had everything from parasailing, jet-skiing, and kayaking, to zip-lining and the 2-person rollercoaster. Everything looked like a lot of fun! There's a tram that runs around the area frequently, however we found it very fast and easy to walk as the paths are all concrete and smooth to walk on, and there's a lot of shade thanks to the trees. The walk from the beach we were at (the second furthest away) back to the ship was only 5-10 minutes at a very slow pace. As a side note about the beaches, I'd recommend the beaches on the right side of the paths versus those on the left which were much rockier, rougher, had more seaweed, and had warning signs for various sea-creatures like jellyfish, sharks, etc. The beaches on the right beside barefoot beach, the gold seapass only beach (including Columbus Cove) were much more calm and clean. Disembarkation: Due to an early flight from FLL back to Toronto, we opted to do Express Disembarkation, and carry our luggage off on our own. They began this around 6:15am, and it was a fast and easy process. The hardest part was getting an elevator, however after going up, then back down with our luggage, the problem was solved. The gangway was located on deck 4 forward for U.S. citizens, and aft for non-U.S. citizens, and while I can't speak for the other line, the customs line for international citizens was very fast and painless. Within about 10 minutes, we were off the ship. We pre-booked a ride back to FLL online with SAS, and they were there waiting for us when we disembarked. We arrived at FLL within 25-30 minutes, before 8:00, and with plenty of time to check in for our 11:30 flight home. Overall Impression: All-in-all, we had a wonderful cruise. While there were a couple things that were not 100%, nothing was enough to ruin our vacation. We would definitely recommend Royal Caribbean to others, and will excitedly sail with them again, hopefully in the near future! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and took SAS Transportation to Miami. SAS was great. They were there to pick us up within 5 minutes of us calling. We stayed at the Epic Hotel for two nights pre-cruise. It was an amazing hotel. We had ... Read More
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and took SAS Transportation to Miami. SAS was great. They were there to pick us up within 5 minutes of us calling. We stayed at the Epic Hotel for two nights pre-cruise. It was an amazing hotel. We had a great time. The morning of the cruise, I walked to Bayside Park to see the ship. I was ready to board and begin our cruise. We arrived at the port at about noon and saw the biggest line of people I have ever seen. We waited about a half an hour and were greatful that we weren't still in cold Michigan and it wasn't raining. After about a half an hour, they opened the back doors and we started the boarding process. Once on board, we took Cruise Critic member's advice and headed to Sorrento's for pizza rather than going to the Windjammer with the masses. The pizza and salad were great and this became my one of my kids' favorite spots. We went to the sail a way with the Dreamworks characters and then dinner. We were sitted by ourselves, which at first, was a bit disappointing but ended up working out great. Our waiter, Marion and assistant Norris were great. Marion even made sure to bring out grapes for my kids so they would have an appetizer that they would eat. We also enjoyed the opening night show. We went to the Dreamworks breakfast the first day (thanks to Cruise critic, I knew to book at dinner). We really enjoyed it. They could have moved the characters out faster, we along with a lot of others waited for the last character to come out so we could get pictures and then leave. They should probably do two breakfasts so that they can accommodate more people. The first two days, I spent by the pool. My 12 year old enjoyed playing basketball and took flowrider lessons the second night. He ended up doing tricks by the end of the cruise. It was well worth the money. We missed the first formal night because of the flowrider, so we ate in Johnny Rockets. The hamburger and chili were good, didn't really like the hot dog. We also ate in Chops and we were pretty disappointed. I asked for roasted potatoes without the proscuitto and was told that they were pre-made, really, in the fine dining restaurant? I can understand in the main dining room, but Chops is supposed to be on the level of a fine dining restaurant. I believe that they could have catered a little bit more. (On Disney, at Palo, the chef said he would do anything we wanted). My steak was good as was the crabcake but I don't think it was any better than the main dining room. We just didn't think it was worth the extra cost. We went to most of the shows. We liked Ever After. Even though the acrobatics were amazing, none of us cared for the In the Air show. We all fell asleep, in fact. Maybe we were all just too tired. We laughed until we cried with El Gaucho. The ice show was amazing. We also enjoyed a juggler the last night. Gordon, the cruise director, also sang incredibly well. He was a great addition to the shows. On the negative side, I wish there were more family movies during the day or at least earlier in the evening. We went to Grease but it started at 10:30 so only lasted an hour. We also went to one of the 3-D movies, but it was horrible so we left before the end. (But that isn't Royal Caribbean's fault). The kids' club (Voyager) for my 9 year old for the most part was good. He loved the late nights there including trash the room and the pizza/movie night. He also loved the cupcake cupboard. We even made a hamburger and fries the last day. That was a lot of fun. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Boarded the ship in Miami at 1:00pm Smooth and flawless. Departed the ship eight days later at 7:00am, again flawless. Having read only the neagitve reviews, I'll tell you that most of them are personal issues, and many are ... Read More
Boarded the ship in Miami at 1:00pm Smooth and flawless. Departed the ship eight days later at 7:00am, again flawless. Having read only the neagitve reviews, I'll tell you that most of them are personal issues, and many are warrentless. By sheer numbers, the liklihood of someone finding SOMETHING to complain about will happen. Under normal circumstances (like if your OCD or a chronic whiner to begin with) you will be blown away by this ship and her crew. I read reviews about cold pools....yup, they start cool (probably 78F but warm up...about 82F fast. She's clean and new, fresh and friendly. The promenade dances and party's are exciting and colorful. The DreamWorks experience is in the shows and themes. They do not push cartoon characters down your throat everytime you turn a corner. This is a kid friendly cruise, but not a kids cruise per say. With a FULL SHIP, lines are minimal (less than a minute for a drink...anywhere, anytime)and there is no problem with deck chairs. Yes they get hogged, but there's plenty more. Remember, full ship, and the Flowrider never had more than a five minute wait. The crew are awesome. If your a decent passenger to begin with, and find yourself having a great time and smiling, the crew will enhance all of that. They are very fast to make friends...from the dining rooms to the room attendants. Our servers (Remzie and Yingt, both from Turkey) were a well balanced mix of gentlemen, professionals, comedians, magicians and did an outstanding job of treating us like family. They even hugged us on sight. These guys will be successful at everything they do after their time on cruise ships. Kudos to Royal for oustanding hiring practices. Food quality is also great. Portions can seem a little small at times, but if you ask for more, more you shall have, and with a smile. The WindJammer has everything you need or want, and seating is like all Royal ships, there's lots but you have to look. As a note, I have no idea what coffee they use in the WJ, but it's awesome. Bold, fresh and hot. If your a TIM's or Starbuck fan, you'll like the coffee. Entertainment was also top notch and produced (sound and lighting) with passion for the arts. Abracadabra (tribute to Abba) was awesome, as was the ice show with medalists and international competitors. The staterooms are also exactly what you expect (typical of most ships). No problems with water, AC or heat and attended to with flair. Yes they do the folded animal towels but remember, this is not an expectation of the company, it's a little extra from attendants that know how to do it. The stop in Labadee Haiti was great, with the exception of the BBQ. The food was good, but it was managed poorly as they did not fill empty pans quickly and lines grew fast. This is probably the only small flaw that I found on this cruise...but I can let that go in a second. We cruised with two kids, 18 and 16 and they had a blast. We also met with a load of people from the CC board and our vacation was even better because of it. Our meet and mingle had a good turnout...100 out of 120 I think. Overall, I would rate the entire experience a 10 out of 10. I'll continue to read the nagatives, because I want to know what people are saying, but do what I do...take it with a grain of salt and think common sense. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Pre-cruise: Flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Hyatt Summerfield Suites. Very nice hotel!!!! I took SAS Transportation to the Port of Miami and they were excellent. I was a little nervous because one of the vans ... Read More
Pre-cruise: Flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and stayed at the Hyatt Summerfield Suites. Very nice hotel!!!! I took SAS Transportation to the Port of Miami and they were excellent. I was a little nervous because one of the vans drove past but that was for Port Everglades. Embarkation: I arrived at the port around noon. There was a LONG line formed going into the terminal. From my understanding, customs does a special inspection when the prior cruise goes to Belize. I was able to get onto the ship around 1:15 - 1:30. Ship: This is my first time on a Freedom class ship so I cannot compare but I believe the biggest changes that were made during drydock were the outdoor screen on the pool deck, touch-screen monitors installed on each deck by the stairwells and the Dreamworks experience. I think these changes were great! The outdoor screen is not as big as some on other ships but large enough to enjoy the Super Bowl outside in a t-shirt and swimsuit! :) I really like the touch-screens because they have the daily activities as well as directions to all the venues at your fingertips. There was a concern about the DreamWorks experience from some Royal Caribbean guests. I think they did a wonderful job with this. The characters were present during the initial sail away as well as certain events. The characters were available at certain times for photo ops and one of the parades starred the characters but other than that, you did not see them at all. The ship is simply beautiful!!! Entertainment: The ice skating show was great! The show is called "Encore!" and takes you to various entertainment places in the world. The show "In The Air" was very cool. It reminds you of a Cirque du Soleil show. The show "After All" takes snippets from fairy tails and combines them into one show. The one comedian was very funny but there was another comedian and a magician that were so-so. Dining: I tried out "My Time Dining" for the first time. I was not too crazy about it. I am not sure what it was but the wait staff seemed like they needed to work really hard. I was able to get the same table each time and the same wait staff each time though. Tidbits: This was the last cruise in the cruise director's current contract (I seem to be a magnet to these). He did a few things that I really enjoyed. First, he made a slide presentation of places that you are not allowed or no longer allowed to go into (bridge, galley, crew quarters, etc). I thought this was REALLY cool! Second, he had his own twist on the Quest which was cool. There was also a group of 12 motorcycle riders that brought their bikes on the cruise and was able to ride them through all the ports (except Labadee). That was extremely cool and would be neat! I added information about the ports in a separate section but could not find Labadee. It is RCI's private stop and was nice. There was a lot to do but it was really hot that day. A lot of people were drained from the heat but it was still nice. I became one with a nice hammock in the shade and it was so nice! Disembarkation: Really easy. I was off the ship by 8:15am and on my way back to FLL via SAS Transportation. Again, no problems! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
As First time cruisers, we were very happy with our vacation on the Liberty. My wife and I have been to many resorts and vacation spots across Mexico and the Caribbean, a few with our young children in tow and didn't know what to ... Read More
As First time cruisers, we were very happy with our vacation on the Liberty. My wife and I have been to many resorts and vacation spots across Mexico and the Caribbean, a few with our young children in tow and didn't know what to expect from the cruise. Got to Miami on Friday noon and stayed at the Four Points on Collins ave. I had used points for the hotel and had a free day rental from National so we took the car from the airport to the hotel for the overnight. National has an office directly across from the hotel so we dropped the car there the next day. They do offer a shuttle to the Port but it doesn't run regularly (depends on what ships are in/out and what customers they have to transport). We planned on taking the free shuttle but the timing wasn't good so we cabbed it from the hotel ($28). We got to the terminal about 1:10, gave the bags to the porter and went inside right away. Boat was set to sail at 4:00 ( or maybe 4:30?) We had to wait a bit to go through security, then another 20 minutes to get your sail pass etc, but we were on the ship within an hour. I have to give full credit to Royal Caribbean and the crew of the Liberty of the Seas because we had a fantastic time. My son is 7 and daughter 4 and our biggest concern was keeping them busy so that my wife and I could feel like we were on vacation too. There was so much to do on the ship and we barely scratched the surface. My kids are not what you would call low maintenance but my son took to the adventure ocean activities right away. My daughter needed a little more coaxing, but she ended up going on the 3 "sailing days." We left my son at Adventure Ocean on the 3 sailing days and on the Puerto Rico stop as we figured he would prefer that to walking around San Juan. Service on the ship was excellent from start to finish. Always a smile and eager to help with anything. Our Stateroom attendant was efficient and fast and all the staff in general were super polite and quick to engage the children ( they all referred to my daughter as princess - a common practice it seems - but she liked it). It took us a little bit of time to figure out the My Time Dining, as we didn't really know when we wanted to eat. Once we settled into a routine, it was easier. I have to say Lonel and the other host (can't remember her name - she was from Mexico city) were super helpful. As I mentioned, we barely did anything as my kids go to bed fairly early ( and wake early!). I think all the sea air and running around knocked them out. We didn't go to any shows, but we played mini golf, video games and air hockey in the arcade and just ran around in the H2O zone in general. We went to the Dreamworks breakfast once (they do them on all the "at sea" days). You have to reserve and the space is limited so do it as soon as you can. They basically have 2 or 3 characters come out and take pictures with everyone. Don't miss the Dreamworks parade. 5:30 and 11:15 pm. It was pretty neat! (can't remember the day) The staff in the dining room were always happy to see you and the kids always got something to colour and some pens or crayons to keep them occupied. Overall, the onboard experience was really good. A bit crowded on sea days around the adult pools (it was really windy the first 2 days at sea and the adult pools seemed to have less wind - but seats were always taken). *** disembarkation note for Canadians*** I don't know if this is just what happened to us, but here is how the process went. On advice from many postings and even my travel agent, we were advised not to book a flight home from MIA before 2pm. On the morning of departure you are given a Tag number and a time frame (30 min) during which you will be called to leave the ship. Our ship docked at 6am. Our tag was 8:00- 8:30. We were called at 8:06 am. We got up and slowly started to disembark. We took our time as our flight was not until 3:35 pm. There were 11:45, 12:45 flights to Toronto but we were advised not to book so early just in case. Being leisurely and taking our time, we got through US customs (about 20 seconds once we had our bags) and found ourselves getting into a cab at 8:45am. Most of the time was spent waiting for our bags and doing a little repacking before the airport. No word of a lie, we were standing at the Air Canada check in at 9:01am. We couldn't rebook on an earlier flight as I had used points to fly and it would have cost an arm and a leg. My advice, and again, this is just our experience of returning on a Sunday morning... book yourself an earlier flight - we had to sit in the airport for 6 and a half hours. We couldn't even check our bags until close to noon. So if you don't want to drag your kids and all your luggage around the airport, check on your ships arrival back in port and plan accordingly. If you are a U.S. citizen, I think the customs clearing part is much longer - there was a very long line. I think non- U.S. citizens basically get a free pass (unless you have goods that are remaining in the U.S.) I hope this info is useful for anyone planning their first cruise or needing more specifics on the ship and/or this particular itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Went on Liberty of the Seas Feb. 27th, 2011. We are in our early 50's and are traveling with another couple about the same age. We traveled by air and landed a day early on Saturday. We rented a car from Dollar and went to Scuba ... Read More
Went on Liberty of the Seas Feb. 27th, 2011. We are in our early 50's and are traveling with another couple about the same age. We traveled by air and landed a day early on Saturday. We rented a car from Dollar and went to Scuba Direct Diving Shop, and Ron Jon's at an outdoor Mall in Ft. Lauderdale. We also went out to a nice Mexican restaurant for dinner. We stayed at Hilton Garden Inn for a reasonable price in Miramar, FL. Excellent Hotel out of the busy city, but not too far. Ate a good breakfast the next morning (not knowing how long it would take to board ship) and turned in rental car at Dollar location at Miami Airport. Dollar has free shuttle to Port. This took minimal time and was extremely convenient. Arrived at the Port of Miami about 10:50AM; We were processed and on board in 30 minutes. It was very easy and very organized. We had paperwork already filled out for SeaPass card on line. Ship is beautiful. The only time it was crowded was at the Windjammer on Sunday while boarding. Everyone wanted lunch after boarding! We checked the Dining Room for our table location, then on to explore the ship. Rooms were ready to occupy by 1PM. Our luggage arrived by 2:30PM. Muster drill was at 4PM. It was very quick, and we were back in our rooms by 4:45PM. We watched the ship pull out of the harbor and went to dinner in the Dining Room. We had a window right by our table and enjoyed this so much. We were able to see such a great view each night at dinner. Our Waiter and Assistant Waiter were excellent. Food was good all nights and I thought it had improved slightly since our last cruise on Freedom 3 years ago. First day at Sea we worked out in the gym facilities. This is an excellent gym with great equipment. I walked the walking/running track outside. Since we were up early there were not too many people there, but it became more crowded later in the morning. The giant movie screen shows videos of beaches as you are walking on walking track. It was great! We ate breakfast in the Windjammer. This was quick and we had lots of choices. We then took two spots in the Solarium for adults only. It is deserted until about 10AM. We had pool and hot tubs to ourselves. It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures. I had really worried about temperatures being warm enough in late February but they were fine. It was in the low 80's. Formal night was very elegant. Lots of good picture backgrounds to choose from. Everyone was very excited to be dressing up! On both formal nights, they have good choices for pictures but these were not pushed on us at all. We did eat at Chops one night, sitting by a window. Amazing experience and one we will do again! After dinner shows each night were great and very good quality. We especially enjoyed the Comedian and "The Beatles". "In the Air" . The Ice Show was extremely good also. Liberty is supposed to have "Saturday Night Fever" as a Broadway Show starting in April which will be wonderful. One of the highlights for me was the Big Screen for Movies under the Stars. They had Secretariat playing one night and "Grease-Sing a long" another night. It was dark so hard to tell how many people were watching, but when the first song came on, there were about 400 people singing along. It sounded fantastic! I hope they continue to have this movie and others to sing along! Ports of Call: Belize-We had heard that Belize was an excellent place to dive. My husband is a Master Diver so we booked the 2 Tank Dive thru the ship. (there was very limited choices of diving excursions that were not affiliated thru the cruise ship for Belize.) Scheduled time for the excursion was to meet at Ship Dive Shop at 7:30AM. They did not leave Ship Dive Shop until 8:20AM. The tender boat picked all divers up at the ship then drove Tender the 30 minutes to their Dive Shop to pick up equipment and divide divers into groups. There was a Discover Scuba Group that went with a smaller boat. I rode along as a non diver and paid an additional $26 to do this. At their Dive Shop they had bathrooms, a small store with limited refreshments and a small restaurant. There was also a very small beach if I wanted to stay there. I opted to go with the dive group on the boat. We used the same boat tender to take Divers to the Dive site. This took an additional 30 minutes to get to the Dive site. Using this boat was unusual because equipment had to be moved around because of the seats, stairs to get on and off the boat, etc. There were refreshments of water, punch, watermelon and pineapple, chips and hot sauce provided. The divers were divided in 3 groups of 7 with one dive master each. I think that they were divided by their capabilities. My husband's group was the first group down. They had to put all equipment on, then climb stairs to get off the boat. This was very hard and cumbersome with all equipment on. Usually in a dive boat, there is a landing and an area to jump into water or sit and fall backwards to get into water. The dive group stayed down more than an hour and one person ran out of air and had to use the dive-master's supply for the last few minutes. My husband's air was under 500 and he has never cut it that close. The Dive Master did not check all divers' air supply or indicate that they needed to go to a safe zone before ascending to the top. The dive itself was good, but not great. They did see fish, and some saw a crab, but not anything like we have heard about Belize. While divers were in water, all air tanks, etc. were relocated by another worker and stacked for the next dive. After all groups were back up, the boat slowly moved to another location for the second dive. As it turns out, this was the same dive site, just a little further down. We just went in a circle. They saw the same things. Again, the air limit and dive time was pushed and all safety issues were not followed. No roll call was ever taken, and one person came up early. I am not sure if any dive master ever checked to make sure if this diver had gotten back to the boat. My husband was exhausted from climbing in and out of boat with all equipment and pushing dive time and air supply. He was questioning if he would dive the other two ports later in the week. After the last dive, we then took boat back to dive shop which took 30 minutes, then back to ship which took another 30 minutes. This excursion was 8 hours instead of the advertised six hours. There was a lot of down time, waiting time to readjust equipment of tanks, etc. We would not do this excursion again. Costa Maya-We booked a 2 Tank Dive Excursion for my husband thru www.cancun-discounts.com. I booked a non-dive excursion thru them to the Pez Quadro Beach Club for $26 for the day. This was for all refreshments, non-alcoholic. We took a $2 per person taxi ride to this beach. This was an excellent beach; not very crowded. There were plenty of chairs, tables, and umbrellas. I had a very peaceful and relaxing time. This beach club was the meeting place for my husband to come to for his dive before going out on the Dive Boat so he knew where I was going to be. He met with the Dive organizer and went on his dive. This was an excellent 2 Tank Dive. The Dive Master was excellent. They went to two very good locations and saw all kinds of sea life. Turtle, Angel Fish, Lobster, Lion Fish, Eel, Crab, Large Sponge, Coral, and much more than he saw on the Belize dives. This was much more relaxed, professional, and worth the money. My husband was not exhausted when finished, but pumped to come back again! We will definitely be going to Costa Maya again to dive and using this same Dive Master and Beach Excursion! Cozumel-Again, my husband took the 2 Tank Dive with the Ship. This was more organized and they left the ship at the appropriate time. It was a good dive and he got to see several things. After he came back from his dive at 1PM, we went shopping at the pier. Cozumel's prices were far better than Costa Maya. This was a big pier site. We also took a taxi for $13 to "Paradise Beach". (there is a posted chart for Taxi costs) This taxi ride was very scary. Drivers follow way too close and go very fast with no working seatbelts. Paradise Beach was nice, the pool very pretty but it was very crowded. They require you to rent 2 chairs and purchase at least $10 worth of refreshments/food. Again, rode the taxi back taking our lives into our hands. Disembarkment-We chose to carry our own bags off ship because our flight was at 10:40AM on Saturday morning. I had booked this flight because cruise line stated that we arrived at 6:00AM. Customs was quick. We were off the ship by 6:30AM and took a Taxi to the Miami Airport. This was $24.00 for the trip for two people. It was well worth not waiting for the Ship shuttle, but getting a ride quickly because of our early flight. We had plenty of time and able to grab a bite for breakfast at the airport. Overall, an excellent vacation. Our friends were first time RC Cruisers and really had a good time. We appreciate the quality of service and condition and activities of the ship. We will definitely cruise with RC again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2011
My husband and I previously sailed this 6-night itinerary on Independence, and we booked this cruise to see more of the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. We have sailed many times on RC, but this was our first cruise on LOS. We flew into MIA ... Read More
My husband and I previously sailed this 6-night itinerary on Independence, and we booked this cruise to see more of the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. We have sailed many times on RC, but this was our first cruise on LOS. We flew into MIA from California, and spent Friday night at the Downtown Miami Hilton. We were joined by some friends from the east coast and Canada, who we have cruised with many times before. Rather than wait for the hotel shuttle, we opted for a cab from the hotel to the pier -- and were on board by 11:00 am. The embarkation process went very smoothly. However, I really wish that RC would either let you drop your bags in the room upon boarding, or give you a place to check your bags until your room is ready. Everyone milling around with all their carry-on baggage for hours can get quite hectic. The ship itself was beautiful, very clean, and well maintained. We loved our E-1 aft balcony cabin, and our cabin steward was fantastic. We had been a little apprehensive about the addition of the Dreamworks characters, as well as the new pool-side movie screen. It was nice to discover that the movie screen was not blaring at all hours, and the new character cast was not at all intrusive. Our group of six decided to try My Time Dining, and we were pleased with the experience, overall. We were able to get the same table at the same time every night, and we had an outstanding wait staff. We did eat at Chops the last night of the cruise, and we had lunch at Johnny Rockets one day. We thought both venues were worth the added expense. The one recurring problem we had was getting anything approaching rare steak/prime rib in the MDR -- everything came out medium to well done. Even sending things back did not help. On the other hand, the desserts and pastries were some of the best I've ever had on an RC ship. We don't go to many shows, but we caught the Ice Show (Encore), and we managed to stay up late enough to attend The Quest -- both were very enjoyable. We found that the one drawback to MTD is that all of the evening activities are scheduled around early/late seating. We missed a few activities that we normally would have attended, such as the Captain's reception. On this cruise, we decided to stay on the ship the day we were in Belize. We spent a very enjoyable day in the Solarium, enjoying the cantilevered whirlpools. In Costa Maya, we took the RC combo ruins tour to Dzibanche and Kohunlich. It was a long day (8 hours) on a tour bus, but the ruins at both sites were amazing -- well worth the trip. In Cozumel, we took a cab to an all-inclusive beach (Ocean Resort), where we had a very relaxing day. We had great weather for the entire week. There was a little wind and "chop" on the two sea days, but no real problem. Considering the size of this ship, disembarkation went very smoothly. We were in a cab and on our way to the airport in no time. Our only real regret on this cruise was that we did not book it as a back-to-back. Six days was just not long enough! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We just returned from our family & friends cruise to Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel on Liberty of the Seas. There were 27 of us. It was great! We really enjoyed it. The ship was amazing, so many things to do, the staff is fantastic. ... Read More
We just returned from our family & friends cruise to Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel on Liberty of the Seas. There were 27 of us. It was great! We really enjoyed it. The ship was amazing, so many things to do, the staff is fantastic. I was sooo skeptical of a cruise especially traveling with a toddler (20 months). I researched everything, some answers I was looking for I did not find so I included my 2 cents. I do not recommend taking a child in diapers (see below) or if you want to spend lots of time with your family and friends a cruise may not be your best bet for a large group. On a day at sea you can hardly get chairs, let alone together. Low Down on Drinks Drinks $14, the specials of the day were $12 (Margarita, long island, were 2 I remember) Smoothie bar is the way to go, get a smoothie and have it topped with rum $6 vs. the other bars Beers $5 Wine- The wine package was worth it, if you like wine. You can share it with your table, and you can take it with you if you don't finish it or leave it for the next day. Only some wines are available for purchase by the glass ($6-$9). Cheaper bottle started at $39. Low down of traveling with a Toddler (20 month old) - Get a larger room than an inside cabin. Inside cabin with a pack-n-play is a squeeze, it fits BUT you have to manuver around it while your child is sleeping and that is hard. Plus you have to take it down every morning. - Our monitor did not work, we had lots of family around our room, and we couldn't go to another or sit outside the door while our son fell asleep. - No swimming for your toddler. There is only a small "pool" (3inches of water) with one sprinkler that is not fun for an active toddler. Diapered & swim diapered children are not allowed in the H2O zone, or any other pools. My son wanted to keep going into the sprinkler section, he saw all the other kids in there. - This is enforced too - Fridge does not stay cold enough for the milk, so get it at dinner or from room service right before you want to use it - Everyone was so friendly to us and our son, they remembered his name, what he liked, just like the adults. - The babysitting service are available for $10 an hour, but only in your room, and I didn't want my son confined to our small room. Wish I would have brought - Nightlight - Alarm clock - Walkie Talkies Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
PRE CRUISE: We flew in late Friday night (into FLL), and spent the night at the Spring hill suites in Dania. We have stayed there many times before and as usual we were very happy with our stay. The hotel is clean and the staff is always ... Read More
PRE CRUISE: We flew in late Friday night (into FLL), and spent the night at the Spring hill suites in Dania. We have stayed there many times before and as usual we were very happy with our stay. The hotel is clean and the staff is always wonderful. We were picked up by Quality Limo promptly at 9am. We had to drop a large family at the Miami airport first and I was impressed that the driver asked us to make sure all our bags were there before he continued on to the port of Miami. We were dropped at the port by 10:15. EMBARK: We were greeted right away by a porter who took our bags and told us that we would have to wait until 1pm to go into the check in area and pointed to an area where we should wait. We thanked him and went straight to where you get in to go on the ship. Glad we didn't take his advice, since we were able to get in and were right by the front and got in to check in with the first group (we are Diamond, but stayed with our friends in the regular group for check in). We were on the ship by 11:45! We did see a packed terminal when we went to get on the ship. We went to make our spa appointments and then ate lunch at the Windjammer. Easiest muster ever that day too! STATEROOM: We had a wonderful, clean cabin with plenty of storage space and we had our room attendant open the balcony divider. Fitzroy was a great attendant, and even looked for us one afternoon to make sure we were happy since he never saw us (we were always on the go). DINING: We ate in the MDR (MTD), the Windjammer, and on the promenade. We were very happy with the food. Not perfect, but we just wanted a place to eat that was good. We also ate at Portofino and Chops and had very good meals at both. My DH and his friend liked to sit in Sorrento's and people watch. His friend's better half and I liked going to the new cupcake store (the staff there were very nice and also very interesting to chat with) The food is a good value for what you paid for! The staff was great in all venues! BARS: The bars seemed a little short staffed at the pools, there was usually a wait to get drinks. I felt bad for the bartender in the Solarium, who worked his tail off! The drinks were never watered down! I was glad to see everyone around was patient about the wait. POOLS: The pools were very crowded on sea days, with lots of empty chairs with towels on them. We went to the pool(solarium) around 8am and would bring our breakfast to eat by the pool. We would usually leave for the day by 1pm, and some of the loungers around us would remain unused the entire time we were there. The second sea day, my DH and another gentleman next to him started pointing out chairs to people that had been unused for more than two hours, so they could have the pool patrol move the towels. PORTS: St. Thomas is very familiar to us, since we have stayed there multiple times, so we just did our own thing. We love it there, so we had a blast. Went to Morningstar beach and shopped and went to the Greenhouse for lunch and Wikked for drinks on our way back to the ship. The long day in port was WONDERFUL! We were met at the pier in St. Marten by Lloyd, the owner of Twin Island Excursions. We had a private tour, and it was worth every penny! we saw the butterflys, the urchin man and lots of beautiful places. We asked to spend most of the day at Orient Beach and he made all the arrangements for our chairs and umbrellas and picked us up when we were done. He then dropped us in town for an hour of shopping and then took us back to the ship. He was also very interesting and we learned alot about the islands history. I will use him again next year! We did the walking tour thru the ship in San Juan. It was very good and we got a ton of exercise! Labadee was amazing! We were lucky enough to score a cabana (s-1) and it was worth the cost. We were the last to leave the beach at the end of the day. The vendors market was a aggressive as everyone has warned! We bought a few things, but had to leave because the pressure to buy was so bad. ENTERTAINMENT AND CASINO: We didn't go to one show, just too beat every night! We did go to the casino two nights and played Roulette. The smoke was a real turn off, so we only spent an hour there each of the nights. The staff was very patient with us at the Roulette wheel and I even won enough money to pay off my spa bill! We also went to a movie one late afternoon. Wish they had earlier movies on the other nights. SPA: The staff was very good and professional. Not one person tried to sell us stuff, we were very impressed with this. The spa is very expensive. FITNESS CENTER: Clean and easy to get on equiptment DISEMBARK: We got off the ship at 8am, and were sitting in our shuttle (Quality Limo again), by 8:30. We got to the FLL airport by 9:30. No hold ups at all. This was the best cruise we have been on to date. We loved the 8 night with the ports offered and the extra sea days. The staff was wonderful and very helpful the whole trip. The Diamond lounge was also very nice, even though i only went there for coffee (love the machine ) and to use the Internet. Only complaint was that the WI FI is just terrible, they need to fix the lack of IP addresses! Wonderful ship, only wish they would keep the 6/8 cruises! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
2011 Transatlantic Cruise4/2/2011We had planned to wake up at 320am but like that kid in the Disney commercial "we were too excited to sleep." Around 1230 we called it quits and got up. I folded the laundry and we got ready for ... Read More
2011 Transatlantic Cruise4/2/2011We had planned to wake up at 320am but like that kid in the Disney commercial "we were too excited to sleep." Around 1230 we called it quits and got up. I folded the laundry and we got ready for the day. We had some time to kill so we thought we'd do breakfast at Waffle House. Apparently 3 in the morning isn't "getting up early for breakfast"-time but rather "dragging your butt home to bed after eating a waffle-beer sponge"-time...We ended up going to Denny's [shudder]. I have never seen so many drunk guys and pant-less women in all my life... We ate in a hurry and got the heck outta Dodge. Next we visited The Parking Spot and took their shuttle to our gate.We were hoping for an upgrade on American but no luck. I squeezed into a window seat and Robin got crunched in the middle. We landed without a hitch in MIA (so hitchless in fact that I didn't even realize the plane had landed...). All of our bags made it and we hopped on the bus for the Port of Miami. Boarding took awhile but we were in the Suite Priority line so we actually made it onboard faster than lots of folks who had been in front of us at the airport. We couldn't go to our cabins yet so we made our way to the Windjammer and ate in Chops. Most of the buffet line was pretty standard first day fare but we did find one station that had honey stung chicken in whole form rather than the normal bite-sized cubes. Liberty also has Strawberry Kiwi sugar free "juice". It tasted like Kool Aid but I drank it anyway.Muster Drill was at 4 o'clock. We had gone to the cabin after lunch and taken a nap so I was grateful for the cruise director's announcement of muster. No life jackets required, just seapass cards that they scan. We had to walk down 6 flights since you can't use the elevator but it was over in about 20 minutes. All of our luggage came while we were napping earlier so we unpacked and met Sonia, our cabin steward. We told her the plants needed watering and she almost believed me (they were plastic). She said the last guest broke the soap holder in the bathroom but that they were planning on buying one when we got into port. We unpacked our luggage and changed into clean clothes and headed out for free booze. Later in the evening after dinner she had replaced the empty hole with some kind of saucer that sort of fit the soap dish-hey it was better than the box I used originally..Next came the Concierge Lounge, followed by the Diamond Lounge, followed by the Diamond Event. The bar didn't have any Triple Sec nor Sprite Zero for Robin's Lynchburg Lemonade but Mario, the Concierge, said he'd get some for tomorrow. The CL was pretty crowded even though it was only for D+, Elite, and Suiters. Because there are so many Diamonds on this cruise the DL nightly event was moved to the Sphinx Lounge for the free booze. We tried to get served but couldn't since there were so many people there.Dinner was at 6PM-early seating. We were at an 8-top next to the Captain's table. Four of the folks were no shows but we met Reah and her mom Nancy. We had a lovely conversation with them and it turns out that Reah works at the Canadian Consulate in Dallas. Lyndon was our waiter, assisted by Victor. My wife Robin had the Vidalia Onion Tart which is now more like a small quiche instead of a tartlet, and the alternate boring grilled chicken for her entrEe. I did a simple Caesar salad and and I had the pork medallions for dinner. Both our dishes were good but certainly nothing to write home about and we left before dessert, leaving our tablemates to fend for themselves. We went back to the DL and managed to get a way-too-strong LL. We sat with a lovely German couple who only wanted a couple of glasses of wine and had the worst luck getting served.I'm on vacation so I didn't pay much attention to the days of the week but apparently we're in Nassau tomorrow so that means ATLANTIS! We had planned to go to the welcome aboard show to meet the CD Gordon but putzed out and just got our stuff ready for Sunday since we had a full morning planned.04/03/2011Nassau, The Bahamas.We went to bed sometime around 9-930 range, having been up since 2AM the day before. We slept with the balcony open (and before all you haters start flaming me, we adjusted the thermostat so we weren't air conditioning the entire Atlantic.Robin had said that she wanted to get up at 6AM everyday to go walking. I managed to convince her to hold off till 7... and then I woke up at 330 anyway. I puttered around the cabin for a bit then went out on the balcony to blog a bit more around 5 o'clock while watching the stars, listening to the waves, and feeling the ocean breezes blow away all the cares in the world.We went walking up on deck to see the sunrise. I did a bit over a mile in 31 minutes. Jessie Owens ran that far in 4 minutes-yikes!We had breakfast in the Windjammer (ate in Chops). They do the egg station by # so it was a bit weird. I opted for scrambled eggs with bacon, toast, and spuds (with HP of course).At 10 we headed out for The Blue Lagoon which for some reason I thought was supposed to be Atlantis. We walked along the pier and boarded a two-level party boat which took us to the Blue Lagoon. After a brief instructional chat we donned life vests and headed to a platform. We saw our dolphins swimming under our feet. The trainers came by and introduced themselves to us and had us hop in the water. We spun around waving our hands above the water while the dolphins did the same. The trainers joked that they just did that to amuse themselves. The rest of the interaction proceeded in much the same way with the dolphins doing fun things and the trainers cracking corny jokes. I was a lovely afternoon. The grand finale of the tour was the dolphin push. You are face down in the water, lock your knees, and the dolphins come up from behind and propel you through the water. Robin had a great run and I did just fine too. Unbeknowst to me, one of the dolphins scraped Robin with his dorsal fin at the end of her run and cut her pretty badly. She was bleeding after the swim and we went for medical help. They taped her up and took a report and then we went off to struggle with the photo people. Considering they do this every day it seems pretty odd to me that in the three times we've been to this place something screwy has happened with pictures each time. We got everything straightened out and headed back for the boat with pics and DVD in hand. The boat took us back to the ship where we cleaned up, rebandaged Robin's cut, and headed to the lounge.We managed to find a seat and tried to get a drink but Mario failed to come through-no triple sec tonight. We schlepped back to the Diamond Event and tried to get a drink from the bartender. He said "no" too so we grabbed an officer and explained the situation to her. One of her Juniors overheard our discussion and took care of it for us and got Robin a drink. We sat with a lovely Belgian lady and her husband who now live in Spain.Dinner was a so-so menu. The other folks were still no shows. Robin didn't like anything on the menu so she got pasta with butter and garlic. I had beef stroganoff which doesn't actually taste anything like it was supposed to. We had sugar free ice cream for dessert and came up to the cabin to get gambling money. Robin had found a $10 when we were in line to come aboard. She parlayed that into $25 and then played on another machine where she bumped it up to over $50. I did badly at roulette and quit when I was $5 ahead.We skipped the singer and played shuffle board instead. It was a bit windy and a guy was smoking a cigar nearby so we took off once Robin beat me by 8 points.The Meet & Mingle was supposed to be tomorrow but we haven't received any tags yet. Sonia is looking into it but can't get confirmation from anyone. 04/04/2011Day at SeaWe set a wake-up call for 7AM but were both awake by 6, having gone to bed relatively early. We got our walkin' clothes on and headed up for deck 12. It was pretty windy as we walked Eastward but when we rounded the bow and headed back the other direction, the wind really made itself known. I knew this would never do so I cut through a short cut behind the movie screen to catch up with Robin. We headed down to the gym one deck below. I haven't been in a modern gym for years so it took me a few minutes to figure everything out. We walked on a treadmill, ironically watching "Flushed" which is a story about a mouse stuck in a cage with a treadmill who desires to get out into the real world and learn what it's all about. I walked a mile and did a few reps with a weight machine. There were a lot of old people in the gym. Old people who looked like they could snap me like a twig without giving it a second thought...We decided to do breakfast in the main dinning room this morning which happened to also be the Dreamworks Breakfast. We arrived to a big line of people since the dining room opened late. We managed to get seated at a 2-top but they no longer have the private area for diamond members. There seems to be a lot of trainees aboard this go-'round and we certainly got stuck with one. It took us over a hour to get served! One of the station heads came over and apologized for the wait and then said it was because we did a special order.We headed down to sickbay to see Dr. McCoy for Robin's dolphin injury. Then raced up to deck 8 for the internet cafe, then back to the room for wireless which didn't work due to the lack of IP Addresses. Robin did discover that the M&M was at 10AM in The Sphinx and that our names weren't on the list. They let us in but they had cancelled the gift exchange. We got the little writey kits but didn't win any of the door prizes. Afterwards we checked email on the RC machines and that worked fine, although we spent $9 for just a couple of minutes. I stopped off for coffee in the CL and ran into Maria from Mississauga. She and her husband live in Malaga and have another home in Nassau. She was trying to get logged on her IBM Thinkpad and wasn't having any luck either. She chastised me for not letting Robin buy shoes in Barcelonia.We had planned on doing trivia at 2PM but took a nap instead. Room service came by in the afternoon with cheese and crackers - a good thing too since we had really fallen asleep. We got dressed for dinner since it was the first formal night. Robin looked gorgeous in her purple gown and I was in my suit with one of the new ties Robin purchased for the trip. We went to the CL expecting the worst but Mario finally was able to get some triple sec for Robin's LL so she was happy. It was pretty crowded but we chatted with a couple from Houston and another couple from Scotland.We went down to dinner-the other folks didn't show again. Nancy had made a little bag at arts and crafts and made one for Robin. She's always needing little pouches for her watch or phone or glasses so it'll come in handy. Victor took our pictures as did the ships photographer. Robin had chicken again and I had the duck. I always get the duck-not because I like duck but rather the potato croquettes that are served with it. I got a double order and did ok right till the last bite when I dropped marinated red cabbage on my white shirt-that stuff doesn't come out. We headed back up to the CL and sat with a morose German guy who didn't want anyone to know he was from Germany and another Scottish couple who were at late seating. He has a friend who works for IBM Scotland so I said I'd look him up when I got home.We skipped "In the Air" and changed into bathing suits instead. The cantilevered whirpool is just above our cabin so we went up there and were surprised that the solarium and whirlpool were deserted. I floated around on my back and Robin squirted me with water. It was a heavenly way to end the evening.04/05/2011Day at SeaRobin booked an acupuncture treatment at the spa (eww) but I managed to convince her to opt for a hot stone massage instead. We got up at 6 to go walking. We headed straight for the gym rather than the deck. I did my mile at a slightly faster pace and then did some weights. Robin did about a mile more than me. We got ready for the day.Robin headed for the spa and I to the dining room. Not wanting to repeat yesterday's hour-long wait for breakfast I opted for the buffet. I had intended to sit by myself but they put me at a big table. Two other couples were there from Romania and they thought it was funny when I told them my grandmother was from Bucharest that we all ended up sitting together. One of the older ladies had been a ping pong champ in her younger years but somehow had never received the entry to the finals. She suspected her first husband of tossing her letter of entry thereby sabotaging her chances. Who says breakfast isn't filled with intrigue and international mystery? She was going to give the sports deck a try-I told her they only had one ping pong ball up there and that if she shot it over the side she'd have to dive in after it.Gordon's coffee chat was next. I got there a bit early and read up on the NEXT CRUISE options while I waited for Robin to finish her massage. Apparently she got a bit more of a sales pitch than a massage and wasn't too happy, especially since it was almost $200. Gordon came by and told some funny stories about the various ports he's been to over the years. Two seasoned cruisers with Ship Shape gear dominated a lot of the conversation but they were nice folks so it wasn't too bad. We took off a few minutes early to make it to the next venue on time. I walked us in the wrong direction but eventually found the napkin folding class in the Schooner Bar. I was messing around while they were getting ready so the instructor made me get up and teach everyone how to fold "the candle." Nine cruises and it is the only fold I can remember... We made "the rose," "the pyramid," and some weird trapezoid thing that ended up looking a bit like a crown. Coffee in the DL was next, followed by lunch in Chops.Robin checked in with our pet sitter and the cats are all doing fine. I decided to forgo the baggo tournament and do the ice show at 3 instead. Because we're in a suite we didn't have to stand in line for tickets. On Voyager they handed out tickets in the CL but apparently on Liberty CL folks can just show up to any of the four ice shows and get in the reserved seats. Robin is on a bit of a winning streak so she went down to gamble while I stayed in the cabin to blog about staying in the cabin...I headed down to pick up my wife who was busy separating the casino from their money. We went down to the ice show early to get a good seat and there was already a huge line. We waited till they opened the doors and we headed for our reserved seats. They turned out to be way on the sides so we opted for front row center. The show was called "Encore" and had a Broadway Revue type style to it. All the skaters were great, particularly the men.We got out of the show and waited for the crowds to thin a bit before heading up to get changed for dinner. The shirt I was originally planning on wearing was missing a button so I sewed on a new one but we only had the emergency sewing kit so the button didn't really match. I wore the white shirt I spilled indelible red cabbage on and the stain was miraculously gone. Some folks who were in the same boat as us at dinner joined us (their table-mates were no shows too). Robin opted for plain pasta with butter and garlic while I chose ravioli in a seafood sauce. Robin wasn't feeling too well after her third LL of the evening so she went back to the cabin. I went down to the theater to save us seats in the hopes she'd wake up and decide to join me. Gordon opened the show with a rousing rendition of "Tonight" from West Side Story. Elliot Finkel was the evening's entertainer. He is a passionate piano player from Brooklyn, NY. It turns out his dad is Fivish Finkel who was on Boston Public with Jeri Ryan. Mr. Finkel was a bit older than his picture and no stranger to cruise ship entertaining but he could certainly tickle the ivories and got a standing ovation at the end of his show.I came back to the cabin after the show and Robin was sound asleep. I got changed for bed and snuck out onto the balcony to finish the day's blog. All-in-all a fun day. Robin was a bit down all day-I think from the lackluster massage therapist who seemed to cast a pall over her whole mood. Well tomorrow is another day!04/06/2011Day at SeaI decided after the rough day Robin had yesterday that I wouldn't schedule a wake up call and just see where the morning took us. Well apparently my dear wife was well rested because she got up at 4AM. She went to Cafe Promenade and oddly enough there was no one there at 4 o'clock in the freaking morning! She was nice enough to bring me coffee but I wasn't nice enough to actually wake up for it. She went up to the gym around 6:15 and I languished for another half hour or so. I dragged my butt outta bed, had a banana for the potassium, and went up to join my wife who had already done a mile by the time I got there. Chicken run was playing on my treadmill and I watched it while wearing my iPod.We went up to the DL just to see what was there and then down to breakfast in the main dining room. Shrek and Puss were already there entertaining the kiddoes. I decided on the buffet and made some well-done English muffins for us. Robin had ordered a simple cheese omelet and it took about ½ an hour for it to arrive. In my opinion, the breakfast service in the dining room has really gone downhill. It might make more sense for us to just order room service.I tried and tried and tried to log on to the internet. No luck. I turned the computer around and Robin announced, "I'm on!" She has the magic touch I guess. That's why I love her so! We were supposed to go to the lecture on Spain but didn't really make it. Napkin folding was an hour later so we decided to go to the Advanced Class. We showed up a few minutes early and sat at our customary place at the piano. The snooty cruise staff guy running the whole thing showed up, chastised Andrea for only having a couple of books then wagged his finger at me and told me to move. WHATEVAH! He didn't teach well and the napkin folds were a bit trickier. We decided to leave early and grabbed a couple of books on our way to Wii. Apparently on Wii is really popular. On Voyager they had about 2 or 3 people show up. There must have been 25 or 30 people in On the Air which is where they had Wii Bowling set up. We headed back up to the cabin and were going to nap before Bingo. 2:30 came and went but Bingo didn't really start till 3. By 3:25 we didn't have a prayer so we snoozed some more. I finally woke up around 4:50, just in time to make it to the CL for drinks. We didn't snack tonight so we had room for dinner. We sat with a couple from Orlando who cruise all the time but I don't think they've ever had a day of fun in their lives. We left early just to get away from them. I'm a generally grumpy person but this guy was making me look like a saint. "Oh you'll get murdered by gypsies in Pisa, and pickpocketed in Spain, and all the stores in the Caribbean are garbage." Dude-chill out, you're on vacation!Dinner was another "meh" night. Robin had Caesar salad and then chicken from the alternate menu again. I had a yummy creamy chicken soup and then lamp chops with ratatoullie. We headed for the casino and the non smoking table was open. I always seem to have better luck with Romanian dealers. She was fun and engaging and I won $50, including my match play certificate and one of the $20 bets I made. So far I'm only down $30 on roulette so tonight bolstered my spirits. Robin, of course, won her roulette match play and then won keychain on the free pull (I tried to be the keychain on 35 black but the dealer wouldn't let me-she didn't have enough keychains if we won...). And if all that wasn't enough, she won another $15 on slots. She's ahead around $30 or $40 dollars so far.We went to the theater early to get a good seat. On the way I ran into Elliot Finkel from the night before. I told him Jeri had sent me the pic of her with his dad and that I did her website for her while she was on Star Trek. He apparently knew her well and we chatted about Jeri and Elliot's dad and then about his show the night before. I gotta say, he was a very charming guy and I wish him all the success in the world. Bob Arno was the entertainment for the evening. He is a professional legal pickpocket. He just went through the audience and stole about 10 watches from the audience. He did a few more fun stunts then showed a film about real pickpockets and how to spot them. He does a lot of work with the Las Vegas police department and just filmed a show for National Geographic. He was very funny and engaging and frankly the hour was up before I realized it.We went browsing in the jewelry shops and stopped in Sorrento's but nothing looked great so we just went to the CL for coffee then to the cabin to plan for tomorrow. Robin decided she was going to give us a day off from walking (yeah!) and that we'd do room service. Normally they don't bring the suite breakfast until after 8AM and we asked for it at 7:30 so weren't not sure if we're going to get it on time or not. I said we needed to get up early and be ready but she wants t be decadent and be in jammies and the comfy robe they gave us and eat on the balcony.We put our order out on our door and watched my favorite episode of Castle on DVD. It's the one where he shows up in the beginning in his Mal Reynolds costume from Firefly. "Dad, didn't you where that like five years ago?" his daughter says. "It's time to move on..." Classic!04/07/2011Hey we're still at sea...Room Service called at 7:30. Guess what? We were still sound asleep, having stayed up well-past midnight the night before. We tossed some water on our faces and made ourselves presentable. The RS guy showed up about 5 minutes later and set out our tray. Robin's omelet was huge and my eggs were still hot. Very yummy.Today we're taking things easy. Hot Tubbing is in our plans I think...10AM was the T-Shirt sale but there wasn't anything too exciting so we didn't get any of them. There was a $70 hoodie Robin liked at 50% off but they didn't have her size. Having been treated badly at Napkin 301 we opted to skip the Advanced Class and played Shuffleboard instead. Robin beat me of course. We also went to the helipad and I did my best Leo DiCaprio "King of the World" pose at the apex of the bow.We had a late lunch in the WJ, missed Wii Bowling, the Black Light Show, and Shrek pics. Still, we had a lovely, restful day. We downloaded the flip videos as well as all of Robin's pics so far, and I did screen caps from the dolphin video.We changed for dinner and got to the CL early to get a seat. We met a couple of gals who were staying in the Presidental Family Suite-it sleeps 14 but there were only 4 of them-I asked if they'd adopt us for the week... They had only gotten up at 1PM that day "Did we miss breakfast," one of the ladies asked... I wish my first cruise could have been a transatlantic in the PFS. We went to dinner and I had a lovely breaded turkey dish with extra potato croquettes. I was so stuffed that I had no room for dessert. We went to the casino and I was up $20 and then lost that in the slots. I had broken even so I tried my hand at roulette again and lost $50. Robin didn't do well either. Not our night for gambling... We got into our suits and went into the hot tub overlooking our cabin.The disco dance party was going on so we couldn't go for snacks so we just opted for coffee from the CL which was pitch black except for the light coming in the frosted windows from outside and the glow of the coffee machine.O4/08/20117 days at sea makes one week...Totally planned to get up early and go walking... Yeah, that's the story, that's what I'm telling the cops... Okay so there are no cops in this story, just Sonia trying to get our room clean and us not getting up till 9. Robin went to shower and didn't feel like going up for breakfast so I grabbed a quick bacon and egg breakfast and went down to the CL for an English muffin and coffee for Robin. When I got back to the cabin she was in her robe on the balcony blogging. I also brought some fruit back and she scowled at me but you need your vitamins right?We missed the Malaga lecture (Are you sensing a pattern here? We really did intend to do all this wonderful stuff but sometimes you just have to take some time off for yourself and relax). We're hoping to get to the 11:15 towel folding demonstration which is being held in the ice rink and hosted by the Cruise Director-are these magic towels I wonder? We watched the end of the ballroom dancing class-they were doing the Tango to "Goldfinger." Gordon showed up with eight or so room attendants with big bags of towels. They folded elephants and dogs and monkeys. One lady even showed Gordon how to make road kill (just bunch it up and throw it on the floor).We tried to do a coupon for the internet but the guest services person kept telling us different things and several computers were down. We gave up and went to lunch. After eating turkey and salad we headed around the ship with cameras in tow. We took tons of silly pics and video'd the flowrider show. We tried the internet again but gave up.Dinner was really yummy for a change. I didn't actually get the lamb shank because they were serving scallop risotto. I'm not really a creamy rice kind of guy but they do it right on RC. I had 3 orders and skipped dessert. We had a long day so we retired to the cabin early. Room Service came by with a chocolate tray for us on the house. Robin woke up around midnight and blogged for a couple of hours then it was my turn to be awake. I tried quietly tidying up since the cabin crawl is in a few hours. 04/09/2011Past the Halfway MarkAfter a weird night of wakefulness and dogged tiredness we got up with the wake up call at 6:15. I straightened up some more of my junk, showered and got ready for the morning. We vacated early to let Sonia clean the room. She found a soap dish and swapped out the cream saucer we had been using.We went up to the WJ for breakfast. The guy who did my eggs didn't have a clue how to cook eggs and they were pretty bad. Robin didn't have much luck with him either. The Chops staff wasn't in yet so I had to get my own coffee (the horror!). Apparently the side I went up was closed and the section manager chased me down-she was trying to be polite but just came across snarky. We ate alone and a waiter finally showed up. He was nice and chatted with us for a bit. We went up to the computer room since neither one of us could get the cabin internet to work. Apparently we had a bunch of minutes left (even though it said $1.50 credit remaining yesterday). We then went down to the library to read Goodnight Moon in Spanish-there's no way to make "mush" appealing in any language. We grabbed another coffee in the CL and headed back to the cabin. Mario and the room service guy showed up at 9:45 with some cookies, a cheese tray, and some canapEs. The Crawlers showed up shortly after 10 and seemed to really like our room. This year they split the crawl into two groups so everything wasn't so crowded. The second group showed up a few minutes later and everyone seemed to really like the room. Some folks asked if we could rent out the bathroom for $5 a bath...We watched Toy Story 3 on TV and ate some of the leftover cookies and grapes. We headed down to Guest Relations to hand in our departure slips so we could get to the airport in time when we finally dock in Barcelona. Robin perused the Promenade for a gift for Brittany for watching the cats while we're gone. They were having a $20 sale but nothing caught her eye (especially since they were all marked $99.99). I had some pizza and played roulette a bit and then we came back to the cabin to put away my losing's from the casino. We didn't have a time change today and the weather was lovely so I blogged on the balcony for a bit. We had decided not to go to the CL for pre-dinner drinks so that gave us plenty of time to relax and get dressed at a leisurely pace, so leisurely in fact that we were ready 40 minutes before dinner. We popped into the lounge and had a quick R&C for me and a Sprite Zero for Robin. Our tablemates were holding their own with the downer couple we'd been stuck with a few days earlier. They looked like they were doing very well but at dinner they revealed they had had as bad a time as we did. Dinner was lobster tail and shrimp and Lyndon brought me two so I was very happy.I won back some of my money at the casino later on and then we headed down to the ice rink to watch The Quest. This adult scavenger hunt is always well attended so we got there early with coffee in hand. The Presidential Suite gals were there, all decked out in their blingy attire. One lady had a beautiful red dress on that had a golden snake holding her dress together in the back. During the later portion of the game they ask for a guy with two bras and it can't be from a bag. They lady in my row who was in a form fitting dress already started to take hers off but our team captain already found a pair. It's crazy the things some folks will do for a keychain... We headed back upstairs and marked up the compass and set out our room service request for breakfast. and it can't be from a bag. They lady in my row who was in a form fitting dress already started to take hers off but our team captain already found a pair. It's crazy the things some folks will do for a keychain... We headed back upstairs and marked up the compass and set out our room service request for breakfast.04/10/2011Still at SeaI rolled over in bed and saw a blinky light on the phone which meant that I had slept the whole night for a change. Mario leaves his "beautiful people" message between 7 and 7:25-sure enough it was 7:24 when I looked at my watch. Room Service would not be far behind. In the past when we'd ordered room service it'd take 45 minutes or so and always be late. We discovered however that suite guests tend to get served at the exact time they request. Even though our breakfast had a range of 7:30-8AM, the phone rang at 7:30 to say it was on the way. I pulled on my trunks (they were dry and handy) and Robin dashed into the bathroom. The guy showed up about 2 seconds later as I was pulling up my trunks (no one wants to see the moon in the daytime) and I let him in. We ate a leisurely breakfast and then Mario called again to let us know the Bridge Tour would be tomorrow in Tenerife. I went out onto the balcony to blog and there were some low-hanging clouds that looked as if I could reach over the balcony and touch them. At sea, everything looks different. Even though these were run of the mill nimbus clouds you could see over and around them with sunlight above since the ocean is so vast and you can see for miles.We got ready for the day and browsed the shops and got a nice little necklace for Brittany. We went to the Sodoku Challenge and some guy did it in 8 minutes - he won a hat. Robin finished and got them all right. I did about two rows and threw in the towel. Robin played slots for a bit before lunch then it was off to Michelangelo for our Welcome Back lunch. We had potato soup in a teeny tiny little cup and some beef tenderloin. A couple of officers sat with us because we were all by ourselves. This was their first transatlantic cruise and they were looking forward to spending a couple of hours ashore after so many sea days. I went to the casino after lunch since the tables hadn't been open earlier in the day. I won $35 and quit while I was ahead. I am only down $52 now and hope to bring that total up by day 14.We opted out of the olive oil lecture and the guest talent show but did go up to the deck to see dodge ball. Folks were getting out pretty quickly so the games only lasted 2 or 3 minutes. Robin had left her RC Hoodie up on deck 14 so we went back (on deck 13) and had a guy toss it over the rail. He was worried it would blow away since it was pretty windy. Turns out he was right-it went blowing away and even though I was only a foot away from him I couldn't catch the shirt. Robin however is much better at such things and caught her shirt. We went down to the Arts & Crafts and made paper mini wallets and completely useless flower thingies that were a prelude to Tuesday's class. We decided to skip the ice show, trivia, Mamma Mia (outside), and fact or crap and opted for relaxing for an hour till booze-thirty. Mario needs waivers for us to tour the galley so we filled those out and brought them to the CL.Dinner was lovely although all four of us were plowed from drinks in the CL. I had veal oso buco which fell off the bone. Tomorrow we're doing a bridge tour at 6 so we won't be at dinner. Robin decided to skip the magician but I really wanted to go see him so I went. His tagline was the "wit & wizardry" but he wasn't very funny nor were his tricks very good. He did some card tricks and linking rings and cut & restored newspaper. I was pretty bored and decided not to stay for Love & Marriage. Robin was up when I returned so we watched Castle.04/11/2011Tenerife, Canary Islands.Robin woke up early and was creeping about trying to be quiet so naturally the noise woke me up. I joined her on the balcony and watched the Canary Islands come into view. It was still dark out but the city was blinking like a Christmas tree from the harbor all the way up into the mountains. Tenerife is a compact city with everything radiating out from the port. We ate early and headed down to Studio B which was a departure point for Loro Parque. The place was packed since it was also the departure point for over 25 other tours as well. Things went pretty swiftly with people coming and going all through the morning. We were bus 16 but there were actually only two morning tours to the park so when we got there the place never felt very crowded, even with the local school field trips.A German businessman started Loro Parque as a parrot refuge in the 90's. There are over 4,000 species of parrots there. Over the years, the park has expanded to include tigers, gorillas, penguins, lemurs, as well as dolphins, orcas, and sea lions. Our tour guide Andy told us we had two options for visiting the park. We could follow him and he'd take us to three shows-the dolphins, the "sea 'awks," and then finally the sea lions or we could just wander around on our own and meet up with the bus in the afternoon. We decided to be safe and stick with him. We made good time passing by many parrots cages so he was able to get us into an extra show-the parrot show. We had thought it kind of strange on the bus that we were going to "Parrot Park" and we weren't going to see any parrots so we were glad he was able to fit the extra show in. The doors were closed and music started playing. A tiny hatch opened in the wall and a white parrot flew out and soared over our heads. Two green parrots came out next and flew all around the room. Eventually there were a half a dozen birds swooping and diving in formation, just inches from our heads, the breeze from their wing beats rustling our hair. The birds did some cute tricks like driving a car, doing math, and getting drunk on beer they bought from a vending machine. The finale had a bunch of smaller birds come out, flying with their larger cousins while Nessun Dorma played in the background. We shuffled out and walked over to the dolphinarium. On the way, we passed Tiger Island. A magician donated a rare white tiger and its mate when they got too old to be in his show any longer. The island was beautiful and well maintained but it really was too small for such a large animal. The male was pacing a great deal and his mate seemed to follow him to calm him down. We entered the dolphin arena and it was already half full. We grabbed some seats on the side and the place quickly filled up. There were about 10 Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins in the act. They came out and swam around the huge tank. The trainers entered and the show got underway. They flipped and waved and danced, much as we had seen in Nassau up close and personal. The trainer dove in and surfed on one of the dolphins. They did foot pushes vertically out of the water, while another jumped over him. We were really impressed with how well attuned the dolphins were to their trainers. At one point they put a little kid into a boat and one of the dolphins towed him around the tank, while a half dozen did spectacular leaps behind him-the kid had no clue what was happening but the audience loved it. The dolphins did a few more tricks then the show was over and we shuffled out. The dolphins were allowed to swim around as we exited and they seemed curious about all the humans as we shuffled past them.The "sea 'awk" show was next. We had no clue what Andy was talking about. It turns out that he was saying Sea Orcs-meaning Orcas or Killer Whales in English. The upper seats were packed so we sat off to the side near the front. We soon found out why with so many people there we were able to get such good seats. We were in the "splash zone!" This wasn't just a "teeny tiny drop might hit you" area but rather "dude yer gonna get soaked!" Robin bought a 3 € poncho-she says it was the best 3€ she ever spent in her life. The show starts with a large video screen doing standard safety rules but then the guy says in Spanish with English subtitles, "We are using video to record this. If you are here with someone you shouldn't be then please leave" It was all done in fun but I thought that was a weird joke at the beginning of a show. They filmed the audience and put up funny word balloons on the screen. They zoomed in on this old guy and said "I'm lost." Throughout the presentation they kept going back to this same guy and picking on him-it got to be pretty funny after awhile. They did a kiss cam and Robin and I saw ourselves down in the corner at one point. The Ocras finally came out and glided through the water. They did leaps and jumps and got fed lots of fish. The trainers did a great job of playing to the middle and the sides of the huge area. The whales did a fluke splash about ten feet from us and we got drenched. Robin was laughing as I spit cold salty sea water out of my mouth and slicked back my hair. The audience roared with laughter as our whole section got splashed over and over.After some more leaps and inspirational videos of the first captive birth at the park it was time for us to drip out of the arena. Robin and I both tried to dry off a bit using the bathroom hand dryers but we weren't very successful. We decided to venture out on our own for a bit, rather than go to the sea lion show. We went to the penguin habitat, which had a slide-way so you could just stand in place and you were conveyed all along the exhibit. What a great way to alleviate congestion and keep the crowds moving along. We got to see them above and below the water. At the exit there was a huge cylinder of fish-it looked over crowded to me-and all I could think was that these guys were probably lunch for the Orcas and dolphins. The gift shop had these tiny penguin-shaped cutouts in the Plexiglas wall that kids could slide down. I wanted to go but Robin's wisdom prevailed so as not to get my butt stuck in a penguin. We went to the aquarium next. The tanks were filled with rays, and sharks, and sea turtles. They had a domed walkway with sharks swimming overhead. It was a really fascinating way to look at these majestic creatures of the deep. We were feeling a bit peckish, not realizing how appropriate that word was. As we made our way to the food area there were these two huge heron-looking birds just standing by the side of the stairs, up on an elevated grassy area. They let us get very close so I put out a hand to pet one. They didn't seem to mind so I turned around so Robin could get a picture of me with the birds. He started to tug at my hair and then pecked my head HARD! We left the birds to their own devices and found a really neat little pizza place. They made Spanish style pizza-all from scratch. For 15€ we got two pizzas and a Pepsi Light - the US could really learn a thing or two about park concessions from these guys - the food was great and the atmosphere was relaxed. We had really good timing too. The sea lion show that we skipped was right next door and 1,000 people swarmed the little pizzeria when the show let out. We wandered around a bit more and headed for the front. Our parrot pic was there and it was only 6€ so we went for it and got the thing. We went back to where the picture was taken and played with the birds a bit. Robin took some sneaky pics until the girls told her not to take any. We went out and found a bench to sit on to wait for the bus. We drove back to the ship-a little girl would not shut up! She had been yacky on the way to the park but even worse on the way home. I really wanted to yell at her but just went to my "happy place" and made the best of it. We were scheduled for a Bridge Tour right at dinner time. We went up with our group. It was a bit odd since the bridge was roped off and we could only view from a distance. It was pretty fascinating watching them take the ship out-they made it seem so simple. The Captain came over and chatted with us a bit. He said the hardest thing about his job was holding the ship's court and having to kick crew members off the ship. He's been around awhile and has seen everything from man overboard to Force 4 hurricanes. We got to take our picture with him and then left for dinner since we were 40 minutes late by that point. Lynford and Victor took care of us. We had cannelloni and pork medallions and split our entrees with each other. Dessert was chocolate banana strudel and I also have butter almond ice cream. We skipped the violin virtuoso in the theater and opted to gamble some more. I won $15 and am only $17 down-my goal is to break even slowly. We were both done pretty quickly so had time to hot tub. The wind was so cold and strong that it was more like "warm tub" but we still enjoyed ourselves. There were two other couples there. One was about our age who were behaving themselves and an older couple who just seemed to be bouncing up and down on each other without a care in the world. It's great that they were still in love after 152 years of marriage but people-get a cabin! We headed back for the cabin and were going to go to Sorrento's for a snack but opted for room service instead. I got a steak sandwich and was expecting a Philly Cheesesteak but got a whole steak on a bun-for FREE! Man I love cruising! We watched Castle while munching our freshly baked cookies and turned in around 11PM.04/12/2011Final day at SeaAfter all our walking yesterday we decided not to have a wake up call. I woke up around 8 and went out onto the balcony to write when I discovered that I hadn't even finished the 10th yet. I did that write-up and then proceeded to figure out the parrot park adventures. Robin got up about an hour later and I ran down to the CL to get coffee. "Get Coffee" is my code for muffins, Danish, fresh fruit, toast, jam, and anything else I can manage to carry back to the room-and oh yeah, coffee too. A few days ago I saw a guy getting coffee with a thermal carafe. I thought the guy was pretty smart to bring it on board and then I realized that it is the room service carafe. Since we had coffee the night before, I just washed it out and took it with me. I brought back a bunch of stuff and we noshed while wiping the cobwebs from our eyes. We decided that we didn't really need breakfast after all the stuff I brought so we just sat and talked and drank coffee. Robin had checked her email and my computer downloaded all my email for me. We logged off and I read my mail offline. Apparently there was a big storm in Dallas with power outages, blown over trees, lost dogs, and houses falling on old ladies. We got ready for the day and had a voice mail from Mario to let us know there was a food display at 11 on the Promenade. I guess it was a good thing I didn't have a big breakfast today...We went up to the Promenade while they were setting up. They had some interesting dishes I hadn't seen on cruise ships before-things like meat pies (next to the English pub of course), and pecan pie squares. Robin wanted to gamble so we went down to the casino. It was before noon so the tables weren't open yet. I watched her play for a bit and got bored. She tends to win big then put it all back into the machine. She switched machines so I headed out to the bar to hang out. I read the Bolero's menu (which is now renamed "Mario's" in honor of Super Mario). I guess I fell asleep because when I opened my eyes Robin was sitting across from me. We had originally planned to go to the buffet but neither one of us felt like fighting the crowds for food then for a seat. Instead, we headed up for the pool deck to see if there were any Wishes at Sea shirts left. We did a lap of the pool deck but alas, the sale was over. The sun worshipers were all out in all shapes and sizes and levels of crispness. We went to lunch in the WJ and sat in Chops. The tables were open now so I headed in to gamble while Robin went up to the cabin to get more money. I sat next to a nervous looking guy who was betting $25 chips on the two-to-one row. He was picking "bottom third" only and lost about $75 in 30 seconds. He sighed and pulled out another chip-a black $100 one and put it on the square again with the remaining $100 he had in play while I bet $10 each on column 1 and 2 (that's my oh crap bet I make when I've just lost the previous hand). The dealer spun the ball and we held our breath. It hit and I won $20 and he got $400. I asked if he wanted to switch chips... He said, "It's my cardio for the day!" He played some smaller 50-50 bets with $5 chips for a couple of minutes while the small-fry played two or three corners. I was up to my $100 bank with two more chips on the table. I cashed in the $100 for a black chip and put it away and hoped to play for awhile on the two remaining $5 chips on the table. I won the first spin but lost the second so all I walked out with was $5. The guy who had been playing the big bets was in front of me at the cashier's and had ended up with $900 by the time he stopped. I'm not sure how much he started with but I don't think it was much more than $200. I found a quarter on the floor by the quarter pusher machine so all-in-all I'm up to $11.74 down for the cruise (if you can follow that logic). I'm planning on playing conservatively for the rest of the cruise so as to come home with more money than I started with. We still have $10 credit left on our account but I'm sure we'll find a picture we want or something similar and that'll be gone by the end of the week. I walked through the smokey rows of slot machines looking for Robin but couldn't find her so I headed back up to the cabin. Apparently she had been doing the same thing and found me blogging on the balcony.We attended arts & crafts with Janet and made origami picture frames. We also did a big version of the flower we had made earlier in the week. While Robin was working on that I ran up to the cabin to get the little versions to glue in the middle of the big ones. Robin made two of them in purple and orange and added a pin-back to them so we could wear them (for formal night some folks joked). It was 4 o'clock by the time we were finished so we dashed back to the cabin to change for the final formal night. Robin looked lovely in a black and white dress embellished with purple flowers. My tie had flecks of purple in it so we matched. We sat with the Scottish folks in the CL and had a few strong drinks, some chicken wings, and I ate two coconut macaroons. We've been joking that "Fred's Tropical Supply Co." must have had a sale in Miami-there's been coconut and pineapple in everything. Dinner was lovely. Robin tried the Asian Noodles which was a vegetarian dish so I shared my southern fried chicken with her. We took lots of pictures at dinner with multiple cameras and then Robin and I did some formal pics with the ship's photographer. We dashed up to the cabin for our third set of clothes today and went down to see Jonathan Kane's show. He's an Elton John imitator and he does a fantastic job. You really feel like you were at Elton's show-minus the $100 ticket. He did Crocodile Rock at the end and we got up on stage and danced. After the show people kept coming up to us and saying, "You guys were great!" We headed back to the cabin to get jammies on and plan out our day for tomorrow in Spain.04/13/2011Cadiz, Spain (near Seville)I woke up early and peeked out over the ocean. A few blinky lights on the horizon from sea going vessels told me we were nearing land. The fog and mist dissipated as we got closer and closer to mainland Spain. Looking at a world map, Cadiz looks like a tiny little bump on the south end of Spain but when you get here you can see why the ancient Phoenicians were so enamored of the area. Rocky islets jut out from the shoreline, creating a natural harbor. Ancient stone fortresses mix Spanish, Moorish, and modern architecture and technology into a functional beacon to this ancient city that has been inhabited for for over 3,100 years and claims to be the oldest city in Europe. Columbus was pretty smart to start two of his journeys here. The well equipped port was just as efficient in the 1490's as it is today. We passed stone minarets and rock solid battlements as we slowly pulled into the narrow harbor. This was a rich trading city in the 15th century and its rich architecture and many churches reflect the opulence that gold and silver pouring in from the New World provided. I wondered if we were viewed as modern equivalents of treasure from the Americas with our fat wallets and shiny VISA cards. The pilot guided us in alongside another cruise ship while multiple smaller vessels darted about in the harbor.The boat docked on time and we were quickly cleared. We walked into town and I found 5¢ (getting closer to breaking even). We walked past statues and monuments, government buildings, churches, tapas bars, bakeries, guys with dogs, and girls in very short skirts. Cadiz is a lively city and totally opposite of what we experienced in France several years ago. The shops and locals are very welcoming and friendly. We rested on the sea wall for a bit and continued on. We found a shop that sold plaster cats that were made to look carved-it was only 11€ so we got that. Apparently Cadiz also has Bruhas or witches for everything - good luck, job success, safety, love - you name it, there's a witch for it. We continued on and saw tons of parked cars inches from one another, all there bumpers horribly mangled. We decided we'd gone far enough and crossed the street near an ancient tree and discovered that we had walked clear across the peninsula. We were at the beach at the far end of town that earlier in the day we had joked, "if we get to the beach we've gone too far." It was a long hike back to the ship and I wanted to take a cab but Robin wanted to walk. We mapped out a route and I screwed it up at the first intersection and got us lost. We stumbled up the central market with fresh fruit, poulterers, butcher shops, cheese merchants, and wonderful smells everywhere. Outside the market were vendors with trinkets for tourists, watches, wallets, flowers, and lotto tickets. Robin and I got recognized for our Elton John dance performance several times. We debated stopping for paella or baked goods but since we were so close to the ship we opted for lunch in the WJ. Because we were in port so long the ship was pretty empty. We grabbed a quick bite and changed into our bathing suits and went up to the whirlpool to soak our aching legs. The pool deck was pretty full of very leathery looking people-I just don't get sun worshipers... We went up to the reserved deck and sat out for a bit. I got a yogurt cone and ate it in the pool while Robin napped in the sun. We headed back to the cabin around 3 and collapsed on the bed. Our balcony door was open so we heard various announcements on ship and off as we drifted in and out of sleep. Robin woke up at one point and I opened an eye to see what was happening. She was intently looking at the clock on the phone trying to convert military time to 12-hour and announced, "Hey! We're late for dinner-it's eight to six!" I dashed up and changed out of my bathing suit, which I still had on and we ran down to dinner. Our tablemates were already there and we quickly ordered. After dinner we went to the shore excursion desk and booked a couple of tours since there was no way we were doing all that walking again. Then if was off to the photo lab to get a couple of shots with our free coupons - we do clean up well as Robin likes to say.We headed back up to the cabin to put the pictures away and Robin looked out on the balcony and said, "Hey they moved us!" The pier was gone-then we realized that the ship was moving and it was time to head back out into the ocean before going through the Straits of Gibraltar and on to Malaga in the morning. The ship pulled out slowly and we headed away from the coast as the sun set slowly ahead of us. Later, we returned to the casino. Robin was out of gambling money so she watched me play for a bit. I got pretty lucky and was on a winning streak. I was $30 up for the day which put me at $28.28 up for the cruise. I may leave it at that and not bet anything else. There was a "midnight" buffet scheduled for 10:45 PM. We went up on deck and saw bowls and lids flying away in the heavy winds. It was a bit chilly so we dashed down to the cabin to get warmer clothes. We headed back up on the pool deck and took pictures of the wonderful fruit carvings. Folks were placing bets on when the pineapple towers were going to blow over. By 11PM the sternos were still not lit and the cruise director's staff and the band had given up on dancing and playing. The DJ turned up the music volume to drown out the wind. At that point we figured it wasn't going to happen. Even if they decided to move it inside it was obvious the midnight buffet may actually take till midnight to get set up. Robin and I headed off for Sorrento's for a pizza snack and then headed to the cabin to pack some of the stuff we weren't going to need for the remainder of the cruise.04/14/2011Malaga, Spain (aka "Hola!")I woke up to the blinking light of Mario's "Good Morning beautiful people" message and was surprise to see city lights out on the balcony. On a cruise you tend to lose track of time so I was surprised to see city light outside our window at 7AM-I thought we were getting in at 10AM which of course makes no sense since we had a 9:15 tour. I went out onto the balcony and saw another cruise ship called "Marina." I didn't recognize the logo but it was pretty close to our size and the balcony doors shimmered iridescently in the morning light. The vessel appeared to be leaving and was trying to do a 180° turn but after a few minutes I realized it was just rotating the ship in the narrow harbor entrance to dock at an angled dock adjacent to us. It was almost 7:30 by this time, which meant folks would be going ashore shortly so I decided to get ready for the day, hoping my rustling about would wake Robin gently. We went down to the main dinning room for breakfast and were served by a wonderful girl from TDad'Tobago. A lovely contrast to the surly waiters we'd had the day before. After breakfast we headed to Studio B to wait for our bus to be called. We were #22 and apparently 1 thru 20 had already left and the place was almost deserted. It was only a couple of minutes and we were off. As we got to the gangway Robin realized that she didn't have her Seapass card. Tolga said he'd hold the bus for us as we dashed up 10 floors to search our cabin. Robin found her card in the pocket of a pair of jeans in the laundry which she had used the night before for the non-existent midnight buffet at 10:45ish. We Seapass in hand, we ventured off the ship and onto the bus for Malaga. We passed through the city, taking pictures, as our guide pointed out features from history, botany, architecture, and modern day city life. We drove up the mountains to an old Moorish fort - Gibalfaro. It was once an old lighthouse and garrison for troops over the centuries.Following a short visit, we drove back down the mountain. We saw several churches and government buildings and drove past Picasso's house. We also learned that Antonio Bandaras is from Malaga - You learn something new everyday - I always thought he was from Mexico. We disembarked by the cathedral (which has been under construction for over 300 years and is still not finished). Our guide walked us through a lovely pedestrian mall that had been built by 19th century gentry to enjoy on Sundays. Over the years it has become a fashionable shopping promenade and the only straight street in the entire city. Every Easter there is a huge processional with floats weighing up to 5 tons, carried aloft on the shoulders of 300 men. These local Brotherhoods vie for places in the parade and are somewhat akin to fraternal organizations like the Masons or Lion's Club in America. There's even one all-female Brotherhood and they often outdo the men in the parade. We stopped at Mariano's and had a glass of wine and some peppers and onions. I thought we were done but then they brought out a lovely little dish of paella. Then it was on to the second taverna for more wine and little sausage sandwiches with paprika and Russian salad which was somewhat like coleslaw with tuna. We walked a few blocks to the third place, which served us potato chips followed by wine, and then ham sandwiches with tomato puree.We made a big circle to come in front of the cathedral which is flanked by a Cheers Tavern on Norm's Street. We did a bit of shopping and popped into a bakery then it was time to head back to the bus. We petted a few of the horses who were waiting to take folks on carriage rides. We took the short bus ride back to the port authority and quickly cleared the agents there. Another bus took us the last mile to the ship and we were some of the last folks to get onboard. We headed up to the cabin and dumped off our goodies and drank copious amounts of water. The ship soon departed Malaga and we were once again on the open sea. I watched the pilot boat help us out and Robin got a picture of the pilot hopping off our ship. We downloaded some pics and blogged and then Robin brought me some "American Tapas" - Fruit Loops in the lid to our glasses... Next it was time for our galley tour at 4 o'clock. We arrived a few minutes early and chatted with some New Yawkahs about the demise of Park West. The chefs came out and took several Germans on an exclusive tour while the English speakers went with that anative English speaker, Ivan from Chile... He showed us each of the stations and told us how they prepare 5000 meals over three times a day. The kitchens are hosed down four times a day including the ceilings. We passed the dessert area and there were multiple trays of cookies but alas, Ivan offered us none. Robin recorded the whole thing on video and we showed it to some folks in the CL before dinner. Tonight's menu was the best by far. We both had Chicken Cordon Blu and I added a lobster tail to mine. Robin got Boston Cream Pie for Dessert and Lyndon was happy he finally had something for her to eat. I had a double portion of Spanish Rice Pudding and then we said good night to Lyndon and Victor. Outside the dinning room an elderly couple were doing the casual photo ops and the photographer had them lying on the floor surrounded by multicolor pillows-they were so cute! We headed up to pack our dirty clothes for the trip back to Texas and plan out our final day in Valencia. We flipped through channels for a bit and watched "The Other Guys" which is a weird movie and frankly, not very good.04/14/2011Valencia, Spain (Last Day)I woke up a bit before 6AM and it was completely dark outside still. The Mediterranean Sea was much calmer than the Atlantic had been so I sat out on the balcony for a bit, writing and soaking in the sea air. We headed for the main dinning room for breakfast and I tried my luck at Eggs Benedict again, alas earwax as Dumbledore would say. I'm not sure why this ship hasn't figured out how to make eggs?We pulled into Valencia harbor around 10AM and docked on the extreme far side of the concrete pier. It was several miles around the docks so if you weren't on a tour it was $8 for the bus. There only seemed to be about a dozen tour busses waiting so either everyone's tour was later in the morning or this just isn't a popular place to see. There was a band and some local dancers to greet us but the Captain decided to rotate the vessel to the port side so they were quickly hidden from view. We were going to the Arts & Sciences Museum and had a few minutes before we had to head to Studio B to gather with our tour mates so we relaxed in the cabin, sipping coffee, until it was time to leave.We took the long walk off the short pier and eventually made it to our bus-lucky #13. CaesarE was out tour guide and he couldn't really speak English too well. The mic on the bus didn't really compensate for the A/C so no one could really hear him. We had wireless earbuds for the walking portions but those were pretty staticy and he didn't wear his headset on his head but rather around his neck so the mouthpiece was never in the right position. He quickly took us past churches and squares and Roman remains where there used to be something 1000 years ago but not any longer because they took all the stones to build the addition to the church tower next door... This went on for several hours until we had a 10 minute pit stop at McDonald's of all places. We reboarded the bus and headed to the other side of the river (which isn't a river any longer) and went to the City of Arts & Sciences. The Architecture was stunning but at the end of the tour I felt about it the way I felt about Valencia itself-it was full of sound and fury and signified nothing. The jumble of buildings and Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We flew into Miami a few days before the cruise since we had never been there before. We stayed at the Sagamore, which was fine, but after spending the day at the Raleigh's famous pool we would stay there next time without hesitation. ... Read More
We flew into Miami a few days before the cruise since we had never been there before. We stayed at the Sagamore, which was fine, but after spending the day at the Raleigh's famous pool we would stay there next time without hesitation. It was $25 for a day pass but worth it! Both the hotel and pool are beautiful. We took 2 tours with Miami Culinary Tours and both were a good way to see the sights, get familiar with the area, and eat some great food. We did the South Beach dinner and Little Havana lunch. The rest of the time we spent on the beach. Embarkation was smooth and our cabin was nice, if average. The plus was that it was on the hump so the view was slightly above average. #8638 I believe. Room service breakfast was always on time and correct. Dinner was always fine and we had a great staff. For lunch we were generally off the ship, or just grabbed a snack in the cafe. The best part of the cruise was the ports. Our particular favorite was St Thomas, as it always is, not because we like the island but because we always use Island Wilson Excursions. Captain Wilson always provides a great day away from the crowds and takes us around the VI's on his comfy boat. Disembarking was also smooth and we took a taxi to the airport. Read Less
Liberty of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 3.5 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.3
Family 4.5 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.5 3.7
Service 3.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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