This was my 9th cruise, and we took the whole family (me-35, wife-34, sons 6 & 2 1/2).
Overall we had a great time!
- We had a Royal Family Suite. It was awesome, and the perfect room for a family of 4 including 2 small children. It had 2 separate bedrooms, 2 bathrooms including one with a tub, a large sitting room with wrap around sofa, and large balcony. We really liked the suite. It was even better than I thought. Also- it was very quiet. Didn't hear anyone.
- Service was great. The staff generally wanted everyone to have a great vacation. I read a lot of reviews about poor service, and I did not experience any of that. Believe me, I can be a pain to deal with at times, and we really had no issues. We were on the Allure last year (also great), but I actually think the service was better on Liberty.
- For the Falmouth port, we booked a day pass at the Hilton Rose Hall. (Tip- book directly through resortsforaday.com. You will save $25 per person VS booking with RCL. Its the same exact excursion). We loved the resort. Transportation was efficient and safe. Left the port at 9:30. It was a 20 minute ride, and we were able to enjoy the resort from 10-2. Lunch was included. You basically were a guest of the hotel and has access to everything but a room. Highly recommend it.
- For Labadee, since we had a suite we got access to the private Barefoot beach club. Very nice, and great beach area. Not crowded at all. Make sure you ask someone where to go if you are in a suite, as many people on port did not know there was a separate place for suite guests. The outside BBQ was so/so, and lots of bugs around, which did not make my 2 year old happy.
- As most of you know RCL is great for kids. Very nice kids club for the 6 year old, and a very nice nursery with great staff for the 2 year old. We also booked in-room babysitting for 4 of the nights. It was not available on night one. On the allure it was much easier to get a babysitter, so if you want one on the Liberty; sign up right away---as soon as you get on the ship. Babysitters were great, and it was nice to have dinner and goto show without kids. We only had babysitting for 3 hours one night. The other 3, we were limited to 2 hours. Again, there was no limits on the Allure, but it worked out OK.
- Staying in a suite you can get the full dinner menu at room service. We enjoyed a great dinner outside on our balcony. Overall ordered room service 3 times, and it was fast, and no issues whatsoever.
- Food... I am a foodie, and while it wasn't the greatest food of all time; its certainly pretty decent. Do not understand the reviews about the food being vile. We eat out all the time in the Philadelphia area, and I had very little complaints about the food. We ate at Chops 2 nights which was great. (Tip- the filet was MUCH better than the strip steak). Food in main dining room was decent also. Rack of Lamb was the highlight. Ate lunch one day at Johnny Rockets. Certainly decent. Windjammer is so/so, and we only ate there for lunch twice, and breakfast once. Never ate at Portafino, but heard it was good. We went to the character breakfast twice, and the kids loved it.
- Entertainment.... Very good. Went to Savannah Jack show (REALLY excellent), Rick Novell (also excellent). In the Air (wife loved it, I thought above average), and the Ice Show (great, but a bit long). We did not goto Saturday Night Fever. Also missed the comedian the first night, but saw it on the cruise TV, and she was awful.
- Wife used the gym everyday, and she said it was great.
- I like really good coffee & tea (big starbucks fan), and the free coffee and teas on board were very good. Pleasantly surprised.
- Pool area and kids zone was nice. Plenty of room and fun for the kids.
- On the Allure, they gave us a cruise phone so the nursery and babysitters could get ahold of us. On liberty they only give you one while your little one is in nursery, and then you have to return it each time. We felt much better having a phone at night with the babysitters.
- The open ice skating was only offered 2 days, both around 7:00 at night. Makes no sense. Everyone is out to dinner and shows, and all dressed up. Should be during the day. Again- on the Allure it was.
- They had (2) 3D movies, and the kids one (Turbo) was shown at 10:45 at night. Again makes no sense.
- Disembarkation- A mess. Took 40 minutes to get thru customs. We got right off the ship since we were in a suite, but once you are out; you still have to deal with customs. Highly recommend the luggage valet service though. Very easy.
- We like to take the kids to get their dinner early (around 5:30 or 6:00), since they goto bed around 7:30-8:00ish. The windjammer doesn't open until 6:30. Should be open by 6 at the latest. Only thing open for free around that time was the pizza place.
- Elevator wait was VERY long at times.
- Overall the desserts were so/so at best. Seemed much better on Celebrity and Princess.
One more thing:
- Even though the automatically add in tips every night, I still ended up passing out about $150 in tips throughout the cruise. Believe me; they appreciate it. If you want GREAT service, it helps to tip. Not necessary, but it goes a long way.
If you have any questions I can answer (especially if you are traveling with a family) please feel free to email me at: brian (at) alevistar (dot com)