Spent the precruise weekend in Lauderdale at the Riverside Hotel on beautiful Las Olas Blvd. No free shuttle but who cares! 15 bucks to the Port for my mom and 3 teens and me! Excellent shopping and free trolley to the beach in this top notch charming hotel. Stay in the new tower!
We boarded the Liberty ship around noon with no problems. Stayed in a family oceanview stateroom on the 2nd floor and I absolutely loved our location. My mom only got lost once! We were located at the front of the ship where all the entertainment was. (as opposed to the dining rooms located at the other end of the ship) This worked out quite well for we saw many shows in the Platinum Theatre. We could be there in 2 minutes and managed to always get seats in the front rows. My whole family loved the entertainment.I highly recommend that you pre arrange the shows. All this can be done on-line weeks before boarding. The shows were OUTSTANDING. Each one better than the next. The ice show was fantastic!!It was also fun running into the cast members on the ship!All were quite approachable. Maybe they realize that there is nowhere for them to go! LOL! The kids loved Saturday Night Fever and the UP in the Air show. We even enjoyed the various jugglers and comedians in the Variety shows. Lots of talent!
I encouraged my 3 teens to attend the first night of events in their respective teen clubs but alas no connections were made. My 14 yr old did enjoy the club but my 16 and 17 year old hung out with me (which is just as well since I never see them while at home) There were many many teens and children on this cruise. It was Spring Break after all. Before we went on our trip I set some rules for my kids and it worked out well. For instance all of us needed to be at our 8:30 dinner seating. For this reason, I did not do the MY Time dining. Everyone knew that dinner was at 8:30 in the Rembrandt Dining room and all were expected there. I loved the Rembrandt room btw. High ceilings and lots of space! Try to get that room! Dinner was great and I must admit that by the end if the trip we were all ordering 2 entrees. Yikes! Our wonderful waiter suggested ordering like this one night when one of the kids did not like any of the appetizers on the menu. Lobster Night we all went completely overboard (no pun intended)as our head waiter brought us 2 lobster plates each. They say you gain 2 pounds a day on cruises! Now I am back to reality and eating salads to get rid of these extra pounds.
The ports were exciting. WE found Nellies Beach in Labadee and hung out there. Nice calm waters. We also went to the Artisian Market and spent all the $$ we brought off the ship. Here is what a typical negotiation sounded like. "How much for this sweater?" Merchant replies- 40 dollars. I say no, that is too much. They reply back "ok give me 10!! I reply- great, give me 2!!" Hahaha. We bought beach shoes for our stop in Jamaica at Dunn River Falls, a beach bag, sweaters, and a few necklaces. I only brought 40 dollars off the ship and I went back with empty pockets! (and a sunburn)
Jamaica- not sure why RC built a dock in Falmouth but there is not much there. You must get a driver or a bus and head to Ochos Rios where all the action is.
This is a 45 minute drive but well worth it. We used Lees Tours which I booked on my own via email. There is no reason to pay the big bucks through RC. Dunn River Falls was something to see but I was so surprised to see the folks climbing. It can be challenging if you are not in great shape. I watched too many videos of people crashing so my kids and I walked along the parameter and spent some time at the beach on the bottom.(much to their dismay as they wanted to climb the slippery rocks) I had strict orders from my husband at home who told me that "we all needed to make it back in one piece!" WE also did some shopping and had excellent jerk chicken at an authenic outdoor restaurant that our guide took us too. Feel free to send me a private message if you have any questions about the tour company etc. LPutlak@Watsondwyer.com
I later learned that at one point there were only 200 people on the ship. Most toured Jamaica. I wondered if that was the time to do the flow rider though!
Finally- the Bolero Club was great if you like salsa dancing. The ship has something for everyone.
This was the first time my towel was removed while I was having lunch. They are serious about not saving chairs! That's about it.
Disembarking is no fun as you already know but I was consumed with my phone at that point. I returned all IPHONES to my children and there were no complaints
about standing in line. We then spent another night in Lauderdale at a small ocean front motel that I found through the small lodging association. It was called the Napoli Belmar and it was clean and roomy. Spent another day at the beach and left Forida for Chicago with a great tan. Feel free to ask me any questions. Have a great cruise!