Travelling With Family and Friends - Wonderful Memories : Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by laqueviaja
Overall Member Rating
Travelling With Family and Friends - Wonderful Memories
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
HOTEL: We stayed at the BAH - Barcelona Airport Hotel for 5 nights prior to the cruise departure and then another three nights post cruise. The hotel is out of the limelight of Barcelona, around 10 minutes by car to Las Ramblas; but, the shuttle service provided met most of our needs to get around. We also got a family/friend rate, so it was a huge incentive to stay there. Even with paying taxis, we were way ahead by staying there versus closer in to the city. The hotel was clean, comfortable, the included breakfast was fantastic and the service we received was wonderful. I would certainly recommend it to anyone and I would certainly stay there again.
SHIP: As I first mentioned, More this is not my (our) first cruise. The Liberty of the Seas is a lovely ship. She has many amenities and should suit just about anyone.
ACTIVITIES: The "Flow Rider" surf simulator was a hit with a majority of the younger crowd (17 to 35) who travelled with us. I am 55 years old and also tried it. Not my finest moment, but it was fun. The rock climbing wall, basketball court and mini-golf course were also put to use and enjoyed. The gym was well equipped and we normally used it after coming back from our excursions and it was usually not busy at that time. We did not participate in any of the "additional cost" classes, so can't comment on those.
SERVICE: Overall, I would have to say that the service was "good" with a shrug. Our embarkation was quick and without any problems. We arrived at the port just before 11 AM and were on board within 10-15 minutes. Being Crown and Anchor members took us straight to an empty counter to be served, but to be fair, the port was not too full. So, honestly, even if we were not C and A members, we would have still boarded the ship rather quickly.
PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: We did all the excursions on our own. Do your research and save money. Highly recommend Med Tour while in Villefranche and LimousInRome 39 338 8209157 Roberto Brunetti, when in Civitavecchia.
CABIN: We had a Promenade Stateroom. I do not recommended these cabins. The large window is lovely, except everyone can see you when the drapes are open - you can wave to your neighbour across the Promenade. Also, the band music played at nights can be heard in your cabin. The music does not stop until 12.15 AM and one night it was 12.45 AM. So, if you want an early night, you are out of luck. We had two cabins, the second one was on deck seven, and although tucked away, was very quiet.
DINING: Our group was seated in the Rembrandt Dining Room. We had the 9 PM seating. Our first dinner was one of the worst. The escargot appetizer was ice cold. The butter had hardened and we had to send it back. It came back hot, but it unfortunately a terribly first impression, especially for first time cruisers. The table was not set properly. Some guests had wine glasses, others did not. Some guests had water glasses, others did not. One of the glasses looked like it was from the previous seating, as it had lipstick on it. Our servers were very nice, but they had too many people to attend to at a time. They served two tables of ten, and I believe, a table of four. So, they had to turn over 24 people in around 2 hours; serving them varying amounts of appetizers, entree's, desserts, bread, drinks, etc. The kitchen staff has to ensure that the food is piping hot, so that by the time the server has brought it to the guest it is still hot. On our last evening, the table was finally set properly, the food was great and I guess this is the company's way of hoping to leave a lasting impression. Unfortunately, for this traveller, the first impression was the lasting one. I give their food a four out of ten and the service a 6 out of ten.
CHILDREN'S CLUBS: Did not use
ENTERTAINMENT: Our favourite was the ice skating show and the magic show. Try not to miss the magician.
DISEMBARKATION: We woke up at around 7.45 AM. Had our breakfast and walked off the ship, with our suitcases, at around 9.15 AM. We had no issues getting an elevator to bring down our suitcases. The queue to get a taxi out of the port is quite long, so get ready to wait. If you do not enjoy a long queue, perhaps pre-arrange your pick-up.
SUMMARY: Overall, we had a great time. The areas which require improvement are the food and service in the dining room. It would also be nice to get some more bath amenities - body lotion, for instance. We travelled on Princess last year, and I must say, they win this round. It is also very disappointing how much is charged for the drink packages. I realize this is how cruise lines make their money, but it really feels like highway robbery. When my husband requested an espresso one night after dinner, he as told it would be extra. While on the cruise one does feel that at every turn you have to pay extra for something. We just adapted and did without the espresso or other "luxuries", but it would be nice to have certain touches without feeling fleeced. It was almost comical to see guests going to Guest Services to complain about their outrageous bill and then being told that "well, yes, that is what you owe". All the extras add up quickly and can put a dent in your wallet if you are not careful. We will try a river cruise next, as most is included up front. Not saying good-bye RCL, but not for a while. Cheers! Less
Our cabin steward was very pleasant and courteous. I am not sure how often or thorough the cabins are vacuumed. There was glitter and the same black thread on the rug, in the same area, from day one and for the whole cruise. I know that most of these workers work a lot and long hours just to send money back home, so I did not make a big deal. But, Royal Caribbean, you need to step up your training and ensure workers are doing their jobs properly. I will not provide the cabin number for obvious reasons. As for our cabin, I would not really recommend anyone staying in a Promenade Stateroom. Yes, you have a lovely large window looking down on the Promenade, but everyone can look into your cabin when your drapes are open! You can wave to your neighbour across the Promenade. Also, during the night activities, should you want an early night, the bands play until 12.15 AM and one night until 12.45 AM, and you hear the music as if you were right there.
Port and Shore Excursions
Loved Barcelona. We were there for five days prior to the cruise and two days post cruise. Barcelona is beautiful to walk in. At every corner there is another lovely building. The food is also fantastic. We ate at : Citrus on Passeig de Gracia- highly recommend, Ferran at plaza san jaume - great prices and good food, Portonovo Silvestre - the one at Plaza Espanya - also great prices, service and food. DO NOT EAT AT: DELICIAS OSHER - located at Avinyo 8 A - the service is terrible and the food is poor - and expensive.
Visit it all! We visited: Freixenet, Montserrat, Sitges - all outside of Barcelona, but worth the visit. Walk along Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia - great restaurants, shopping and lovely avenue. Marvel La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia, Casa Guell, Guell Park. Walk lots in Montjuic. Visit Santa Maria del Mar, the Jewish Quarter, the Royal Palace, the Cathedral. Take the hop on hop off city tour.
We docked at La Spezia. We walked from the port to La Spezia Centrale Train Station. There is an information both at the port where you can get a map. It takes around 30 minutes to walk to the train station- despite the fact that at the port we were told it takes 15 minutes. The station is quite chaotic and small. If going to Cinque Terre, find the Cinque Terre information office. When we went, it was located by the platform where the trains depart. So, do not stand in the long queue, walk toward the trains and hopefully you will find it. Buy your Cinque Terre card, which allows you travel on the trains, and buses. Ensure that you validate your card at each station. Even if you have your card, but it's not validated, you may get fined. We only visited two of the towns due to time restrictions, but will return. We had a lovely lunch at Food and Sea in Corniglia. I would definitely recommend visiting and it is easy to do it on your own. Mind you, there is lots of uphill walking, so not for the faint of heart, in wheelchairs, or otherwise impaired.
We took the free shuttle offered by the city from the port. Depending on where you dock, you must walk to shuttle departure area. It took us around 15 minutes from where we docked. The shuttle will then leave you where you can get local transport. We found the #60 bus which took us up to Notre Dame de la Garde Basillica. The cost was 9 Euro for 5 people. There is also a small tram, cost around 8 euro per person, and gives a narrated tour of the city and takes you up to the Basillica as well. Not our favourite port, but not the worst. We had wanted to visit the Island of Chateau d'If,, but due to weather conditions, the boats were not running. The Vieux Port area is very nice. Not sure if I would highly recommend this port.
Pompeii Walking Tour
Although visiting Pompeii was a wonderful learning experience, the port itself, is not nice and it's close surroundings are not visually pretty. I am sure there are probably nicer areas, but what we saw travelling from the port to Pompeii was not pretty. Be vary wary of the cab drivers. They are plain and simple thieves and liars. We were told that the train to and from Pompeii was really expensive and unsafe. He told us that he would take us for less money. We believed him, despite the fact that my research said otherwise. Follow your gut - and do not be out 120 Euro like we were.
I pre-booked a trip with Roberto Brunetti of LimousInRome - firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a wonderful experience. He was waiting for us, as promised. We had an air conditioned, comfortable, clean, mini-van for the seven of us. He drove us to Rome and gave us history along the way. We first visited the Colosseum and he took us to a "secret" place to get our tickets fast. We then visited, the Trevi Fountain - which was under renovations, the Spanish Steps - partial renovations, the Pantheon,lovely lunch at La Soffitta and ended with the Vatican City. We arranged a private guide at the Vatican City and had also pre-purchased our tickets on-line - skip the line and well worth it. Overall, left us wanting more of Rome and will certainly return. Loved this port!
I pre-booked a half day tour with Med-Tour and it was fantastic. We paid 270 euro for eight of us. I had initially booked for seven, but another travel companion requested to come along. The guide was very nice, made some calls, and got a van for the eight of us. We visited Eze, which was the second time for me and first for the rest of the gang. Just as lovely as last year. We went to Monaco, Monte Carlo and drove a large part of the F1 grand prix circuit. This last part was a dream come true for many of the men of the group. Our driver even stopped and bought us some local food called SOCCA (sp?). It was great and overall everyone agreed that this was one of our favourite ports of call.