My wife and I (early 30's) were looking to take a cruise without our little ones, to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We were looking for a great time of relaxing, but at the same time, we really wanted to have some adventure too. We felt that a cruise might be able to encompass both of these expectations, and for the most part, our cruise ship the Liberty of the Seas boldly stepped up to the challenge with little hesitation.
We started our trip by flying into Fort Lauderdale, which was our port of embarkation. I really like this port because the airport is so close to the cruise port. In certain concourses of the airport, you can literally see the cruise ships lined up and ready for your party to begin. We chose to fly in a day early to enjoy some of the local area. We chose to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Dania Beach. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone taking a cruise. We had prompt shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. Once we arrived we were able to sign up for our cruise port shuttle for the next day. They have this down fairly well and were happy to be of service to us. Another reason why I like this hotel is because it is located within walking distance to a bus and train transfer station. This made it very easy for us to hop on a bus and head to the beach on our day in Fort Lauderdale. It worked very smoothly with bus fair only being $1.75 each way. This hotel is also very modern, clean, and provides all the needed necessities for a nice stay.
Upon embarkation the next day, we arrived a little early to the terminal. We arrived around 10:45 am and were done registering by 11:15 am. I would recommend to not get there any earlier than this time. We had to wait from 11:15-12:15 in a waiting room until the ship was ready. Once aboard the Liberty of the Seas, we spent a while in admiration. It is a very beautiful ship that is evidently well maintained. It appeared that the staff was always painting the ship, which conveyed to me how meticulous Royal Caribbean is about their ships. We left the port a little late, but we did not care; we were in vacation mode!
Our stateroom was on the 7th floor (room 7296). It was in the middle of the ship which we strategically picked to have a minimal amount of ocean moment in case we hit rough waters. We were glad we did, because we did have a rougher day at sea towards the end of our trip. We definitely felt the ship move more in the front and in the back of the ship, than in our stateroom. Our room was farther away from the elevators/steps, but we were fine with that factor. Our room had a nice balcony, was very clean, and in great condition. Our room attendant was very helpful throughout the week, and even helped my wife get a new hairdryer when the one that was provided in the room burnt out.
The Liberty of the Seas had so much to offer for all age groups. We did not utilize the children's clubs, but did have our eye appealed to them in case we do take our children on our next cruise. We were quite impressed with the amount of activities the kids had and how well divided the age groupings were on the ship. We seemed to spend most of our time at the pool area. We spent most of it at the Solarium which is the adult only pool. It tends to be more quiet and serene. While the other pools on the ship are in the center of activity. There was live music playing and pool activities spread throughout the day. This is where the action is if you like to be in the center of it. There was a very substantial kids splash area which we thought was excellent for kids. One factor that disappointed me about the pool area was that it was so hard to find seats because people would save them. This must happen early in the morning, because even by 10:00, most chairs appeared to be taken. The pools were also very cold, so most adults were not in the pool, but children seemed to venture in and were not afraid of the frigid water. Another area that I enjoyed was the Flowrider, which was included in our cruise for free. They have times when you can boogie board or surf.
We were amazed on board the ship with the quality of entertainment. The shows in the theatre, ice rink, and the live music were simply fantastic. My wife also enjoyed the shopping in the Royal Promenade area. They seemed to have a different genre of items on sale each day which peaked many vacationers' interests. We also enjoyed the casino as well as sitting at the cafes in the promenade and just watching the action going around.
Now on to the big reason why many of us cruise, the food! Our style on the cruise was to eat at the casual buffet (the Windjammer) for breakfast and lunch so that we could look out the windows at the beautiful view of the ocean. The Windjammer never disappointed us with its wide selection of food and always had something to satisfy our cravings! in the evening, we always went to the dining room. We chose to do the My Time dining, which allowed us to go to the Dining Room at different times each night. We found that we still needed to make reservations each night, but it worked fairly well overall. The food in the Dining Room was very good and we always enjoyed the desserts. There are some other restaurants on the ship. Some you have to pay further for and others you do not. We stuck to the restaurants that were included in our cruise.
Our first port of call on our five day cruise was Labadee, Haiti, which is one of Royal Caribbean's private destinations. We were very impressed with this resort spot. The water was a gorgeous, teal blue color!! We found the landscape of the mountains meeting the ocean so beautiful! The beaches there were great to relax at, yet the property offered a lot of adventure opportunities with zip lining, a roller coaster, and of course shopping, which is an adventure in itself. There also was a BBQ buffet served along side the beach provided for all Royal Caribbean guests to eat, which was very convenient.
Our next port was Falmouth, Jamaica. This port has a lot of great shopping right in the port area, which makes it very convenient for tourists. We chose to take an excursion to the Iberostar all inclusive resort. This resort was beautiful, but unfortunately it rained much of our time there. The pools were huge, with a nice shaded beach. The food at the resort was plentiful and presented very elegantly. The grounds of the resort were so wonderful, we found ourselves taking a lot of pictures of the lush landscape.
We disembarked back at Fort Lauderdale with no problems. We chose the Self-Carry Check-Out, because we needed to catch an early flight. This process allows you to take your own luggage off the ship and speeds up the process a little, but we found ourselves having to take our large pieces of luggage down steps which was not too easy and I don't think we saved any time. I wouldn't recommend the Self-Carry Check-Out, unless you really need to get to the airport quick. We found a taxi very easily and were on our way to the airport. One thing to think about, when we were disembarking, there were a total of six cruise ships doing the same thing. This made the airport very crazy. So just allow enough time to get to your flight. We had an 11:20, and were fine.
In summary, I would highly recommend booking a cruise on the Liberty of the Seas. It is a beautiful ship with a lot to offer all age groups. The food was great and we really had a great time balancing a lot of relaxation with some great adventure!