Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by jdnewt: Liberty of the Seas Issues and Laudedale Port Terminal
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Liberty of the Seas Issues and Laudedale Port Terminal
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
My wife and I sailed on the Liberty of the Seas on December 3, 2012 for a five night cruise stopping at Labadee Haiti and Falmouth Jamaica. We are three points short of diamond status and had sailed on the Liberty six months ago. We had some issues with our last cruise on the Liberty but made the mistake of thinking it may have improved while it had actually gotten worse.
The first major issue for anyone that is not in perfect health is the gangway boarding the ship. The gangway is over a 30 degree incline with a length of over 100 feet. The building codes for ramps are around 10 degrees but the codes do not apply to gangways attached to vessels at this time. My wife has had both knees replaced and has back issues. She had requested wheelchair assistance for boarding but there were over twenty people waiting for wheelchairs and after not seeing any for twenty minutes I asked someone how many they had and where they were. He went to inquire and I never saw him again. My wife More made the mistake of deciding to use her cane to board the ship because the chairs were full and waiting was making things worse. She had to pull herself up the gangway hand over hand and was in tears at the top of the ramp. No one at the top of the ramp seemed concerned or offered to help. She spent the next day and a half recovering in bed from boarding the ship.
The terminal in Ft. Lauderdale would be a perfect size for a ship half the size but is an absolute mess with very long lines both boarding and disembarking the ship due to the large number of passengers.
Labadee was a beautiful port with many wheelchairs to assist from the ship to the tram on shore. It was clean, friendly and beautiful and they have done a wonderful job on this port. There are many activities available and some unique craftsman actually making handmade items at reasonable prices.
It seemed like the Dining Room menu selections had improved over the last cruise but the Windjammer buffet was much worse and the only meal worth eating there was breakfast. As much as I hate the Old Country Buffet it had the Windjammer beat. Our favorite in the Windjammer was always the "make your own" pizza that they no longer serve. There were also other little things on the ship that we were told "they no longer do" such as trail mix in the Hoof and Claw Pub and iced tea for breakfast.
We were looking forward to Falmouth because it was an area of Jamaica we had never seen but we never made it there. When we left Labadee, there was a medical emergency on the ship and they were asking for A negative blood. The Captain diverted the ship to meet a Coast Guard helicopter to have the person taken to a medical facility for surgery. The Captain was on the TV and PA system the next morning telling of the life he had saved and we were all happy he made this decision.
The Captain then told us by the time we would have reached Falmouth we would have only been able to stay a few hours and we would have to leave to return to Ft. Lauderdale in time two days later. I would have been happy with a few hours at Falmouth to stretch my legs. He also told us there were no other ports available for us to stop at for two days so our five night cruise was at port for a total of seven hours.
There were many people upset with spending the next two days at sea but the Officers on board were quick to respond with the "we saved a life and nothing else matters" speech. I agree that saving the life of the passenger takes precedence over everything but I do not believe there were no other ports available. Even if I did believe there were no other ports available, they could have had some extra on board activities, drink specials, or something to make the four days at sea more enjoyable. We even had the same two terrible movies. The casino, shops, and bars were all packed for two days and I am sure it was a very profitable cruise at the expense of the other passengers. One of the officers told me there was really nothing to see in Falmouth so we did not really miss anything!
I cruised on the old NCL Sky out of Miami last month in a smaller cabin at much less cost and had a much more enjoyable time. I am three points short of Diamond status but it looks like Royal is really working on profit improvement rather that guest experience improvement so I really don't care if I get Diamond status. If you are thinking of sailing on the Liberty, read the other reviews and make up your own mind. I personally think the smaller Radiance class ships are much better.
It is a nice ship but if you have any health issues do not attempt to board without assistance and be ready for chaos at the terminal. Less
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