ARRIVAL at Port Everglades: My family of 4 took a taxi from the airport at around noon to Pier 25(Liberty was taking off at 4 pm). Traffic was backed up so bad, the taxi cost an extra $10 just sitting in gridlock. I know that is the peak time and a lot of ships where in Port but this is something to keep in mind when planning the arrival time.
CHECK IN at Port Everglades: Went very smoothly overall. We did bring in our allotted wine and that was so closely scrutinized, the guard who did the bag check actually broke the seal of our wine (screw cap) to make sure we hadn't tampered with the bottles.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I have sailed on Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas and comparing the crews of both those ships to Liberty of the Seas, the crew on Liberty I found to not be as friendly. Usually everyone says welcome aboard and appears jovial and friendly and this was not the case. The doors opened to allow us access to our rooms at 1 pm but the staff was not More
done cleaning. We were told we could leave our luggage in the room but we had to leave the cabin door open which made me concerned about security.
CABINS: #9389 (Balcony) and #9378 (Inside). I was really looking forward to the balcony cabin. The sliding door was really difficult to open and close and made a horrible noise. The people in the cabin next to us were smokers we quickly discovered. I ended up spending a total of 1 hour on the balcony the whole cruise because of the cigarette smoke. On day 3 we had notice in our cabin that we had to take everything off our balcony because they were doing cleaning/maintenance that day. On day 4 in the evening I stand on the balcony and rest my arms on the rail only to discover they had just put varnish on the railing. I had brown sticky arms. I don't understand how they messed up the schedule and would have at least appreciated a sign.
FOOD: We had My Time Dining. I have a food allergy and confirmed that with our head and assistant waiter. By the time dessert came, I was being served the food I was allergic to. We also waited 20 minutes for the dessert menu to be given to us and everyone at my table was served the wrong food. The next night we immediately asked to be moved to a different section. The next 2 individuals made a strong effort to keep us happy but every night I continued to receive the food ingredient I was allergic to. I don't like the new menu. I used to feel like I had a solid 2-3 choices of main courses to choose from and almost every night I could pick 1 but no more. My vegetarian daughter couldn't understand how the 3-cheese tortellini wasn't marked with the V (for vegetarian) and many other vegetable/starch only dishes were also missing the V. She missed the nightly curry dishes that used to be offered. My son missed the nightly option of cheesecake. The quality of food in general was good and everything seemed fresh and well-prepared.
ENTERTAINMENT: Best entertainment I have seen on a ship. Saturday Night Fever was awesome as was the Air show.
PORTS OF CALL: I have never seen such chaos as I did for passengers trying to take tenders to Belize. We waited to get off the ship for 90 minutes, 60 of which was not moving and watching passengers budge, cut and cheat to get to the tenders. One cruise staff was trying to monitor many potential points of entry and direct people. First people were in a hall but then told to move because the path was blocked. Then people had to congregate on the stairs, which the line went all the way up to deck 5. I heard and saw people from the Liberty staff actually starting to fight with each other and passengers became very belligerent with each other and the Liberty staff as well. Our independent excursion was in jeopardy but we were able to make it. It did cause a lot of stress and was definitely not managed professionally. Cozumel was a must better experience, primarily due to the lack of tender. Less
Liberty of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean
First time in Belize. Read many reviews of what a poor place this is and braced myself for the worst. I was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I know this depends on the places people have been and what else they have seen. Additionally, in many cases although the first impression might be questionable, it is important to be willing to look outside or go beyond the city limits and see what the country really has to offer. My family went on an independent excursion with VIV Tours. Our guide, Javier was excellent and the tour was well organized. We were so lucky, it was only my family of 4 that was with him so it couldn't have been more personal. The zip-lining was a blast. We felt very safe and everyone was friendly. The cave-tubing was super-cool. My favorite thing about VIV Tours and Javier was that he was a naturalist. He loves his country and nature, the history and preservation yet wants to share it with visitors.
2nd time in Cozumel so generally knew what to expect from a Port-perspective. Cozumel is generally clean, safe, easy to navigate and offers many choices for activities. This time we decided to do the X-Rails which is basically like a 2-person vehicle with an exposed motor and metal cage around it. We started out questionable but ended with a bang. The tour offers a few added touches in addition to the X-Rail ride in that they take your picture with various 'wild' animals (goes to charity, purchase is optional). The tour seemed large which was a bit concerning. My family was last in line and it turned out, they didn't have enough X-Rails. We let the kids get in the last one and my husband and I stood around watching everyone get ready to go. A few minutes later we were lead to another area where 2 mechanics were feverishly working on trying to get the final X-Rail working. They finally got it to start after we watched everyone drive off. We were told we were getting a very junky one and that they would switch it out with us for a better one down the trail a ways. We finally caught up to the group. A few comments in general: there are a few types of drivers (1) those who don't want to get dirty and want to take this out for a Sunday drive (2) those who like a few bumps and can handle a little mud below the knees and (3) those who don't want to come out looking the way they came in and want to test the limits. The bigger the tour, the greater the chance these various types of people are in the tour. Because everyone rides in a neat little line, it can be very frustrating to be in the 2 or 3 category and be behind a 1. I would see people back off and let slower X-Rails just move ahead a bit only to floor it for a few seconds to get a quick thrill. The first 20 minutes of our tour was brutal as various people experienced breakdowns, including a blown tire. The guides took care of these unforeseen occurrences as fast as possible but it became frustrating after awhile to just sit and wait. We got to Jade Caverns and that was a neat place. We finally got our X-Rail replaced with a better one but we were at the very back of the line. There was a lot of dust and a lot of slowness. We finally asked the guide if we could hang back a bit and just hit the gas and catch up so we could at least feel like we were getting a good ride. He was fine with that. It turned out that since we were at the end they let us do some really cool stuff with the X-Rail because we could allow more distance without holding up anyone else. We ended up having a blast on this tour and it was the highlight of our trip. The guides were great.