I had never cruised before. But I work in ecommerce for a travel agency, so I was lucky enough to be selected to go to the Liberty of the Seas Pre-Inaugural cruise on May 14 - 16 out of Miami, Florida.
Dummy! I flew in on the red-eye from Seattle, Washington directly to Miami, Florida. I arrived in MIA at 7:00 am, but the transfers weren't going to be running until 11 am. So I decided to take a taxi to the dock instead of waiting at the airport. We went across a bridge right in front of the Liberty, and her sheer size took my breath away. I was dropped off in front of the terminal, and went inside. I made it past the first security checkpoint with the invitation I had received from RCCL, and told to wait in the waiting area outside the baggage x-ray machines. And wait, I did! While the glass art in the waiting room is pretty, it can only be examined for so long. I was in the waiting room from 8:00 until about 11:00... which I want to point out was my own fault for getting there so early. The invitation said 11:00 am. A coffee or snack cart would've been very welcome in that waiting room, though... and I know I for one would've been willing to pay any price for a coffee at that time!
Lines At 11:00 everyone started to line up to get through the x-ray machines. This was a pretty quick and painless process, and everyone was lined up again to get SeaPass cards (stateroom assignments and keys). The gentleman who assisted me had a kind smile and processed me quickly and efficiently. I received my assignment and card, and went to stand in another line. While all the lines may sound tedious, I'd say the atmosphere in the terminal was one of excitement... it was anything but tedious! We were finally allowed to go up the ramp to scan out cards and have pictures taken. The machine in the line I was in went down, so it took a little while longer to process using one machine for two lines, but it didn't damper anyone's enthusiasm.
Stateroom I was assigned to stateroom 2368, an Ocean-View. I had a hard time finding the room because I went to the 2nd deck on the wrong side of the ship... and the ice making equipment cuts the deck in half, making my room inaccessible from where I was at. So I was directed up to the 4th floor, through the Casino, and back down. I finally found my stateroom. Upon approaching the stateroom, I noticed that the door was open. I walked right in and placed my stuff on the couch. I was lucky, my Ocean-View window was a large round winder where I could place some pillows and stare out into the cobalt blue ocean. It was lovely! I decided to check on the bathroom, and I must say it's a pretty good sized bathroom and shower, much better than I expected being on a ship. A few minutes later, my Steward came in and asked if everything was ok, and would I mind if he looked around to make sure everything had been cleaned properly. I said OK, and he quickly scoured the room and left. I shut the door, and then heard an announcement over the intercom that lunch was available in the Windjammer. Since I hadn't eaten for awhile, I decided to high-tail it over there.
Windjammer - Embarkation Lunch I was so hungry that the food here actually tasted pretty good! I had fried rice (bland), penne arribata (yummy, not too spicy), and an orange mango beverage that was pretty good. Dessert was the best, it was a fruit tart and tasted very good.
The Sail-Away Party: This party was supposed to be outside, but heavy rain and high winds brought the party to the Royale Promenade. It was a lot of fun watching the RCCL employees dance and smile and serve some kind of "foo-foo" drink to everyone. It was a great way to start the cruise!
Ice Show (Encore): This show ROCKED. There was a skater who changed her outfit on the ice about 12 or more times, and I don't know how she did it! All of the skaters were strong and looked like they were having fun out there. I especially loved the Japanese kimono outfits the girls wore that made them look like butterflies. It was just simply amazing!
Stage Show (A Moment in Time): This was a fun musical that featured a lot of music from when I was growing up. The performers' vocals were top-notch and the sets and lighting were just brilliant. This was one of the few times on the ship on Tuesday when I was able to forget about being nauseous for a bit and just enjoy the show.
Casino Royale: In addition to having my all-time favorite slot machine there (Super Jackpot Party), they also had other slots machines (plenty!), blackjack, roulette, let it ride, and three card poker to name a few. This was a terrific casino with really friendly dealers and cashiers.
Karaoke: The Karaoke booths were located in studio B on the 3rd deck. They had a huge variety of music, but once you select something and step in, there is no microphone. So you are trying to sing in "dead air". It just didn't work for me, I didn't like that. Of course, it could be that I tried it at 7:00 am to assure that no one would be around to see me...
Royal Caribbean Online: Ever the computer nerd, I had to check out their online area. I must say, service was no where near as slow as I expected. AIM and other instant messenger services wouldn't work, though, so I had to contact my husband and chat with him via email. Inefficient? Sure. But I was still communicating with him, so it all worked out in the end!
Arcade: I really enjoyed this area and played a number of the games here.
In Room Movie: I opted to get an in-room movie because I couldn't sleep on the ship. I can't remember even what I selected because the movie was SO BORING I had to turn it off and watch Pokemon on the Cartoon Network. But the ordering process was quick and easy.
The Royale Promenade: This place was cool. They had several shops. I shopped at the RCCL logo store, the jewelry store and the "fashion" shop. The atmosphere in the Promenade was very laid back and comfortable. I almost purchased a necklace in the jewelry store, the prices were very reasonable.
Bars / Lounges
The alcohol was free on this cruise, but I am not a big drinker (especially when I'm by myself!)
Casino Bar: (Rum and Coke) A bar in the middle of the casino. The bartenders here were very quick and joked around with the passengers and with each other. It made it more of a party atmosphere. The drink was perfect!
Boleros: (Mojito) This bar was near one of the stair cases if I remember correctly. It wasn't much more than a bar, but it did have two bottles of tequila in lighted pyramid shaped boxes... not sure why. The drink was too strong; I wound up not drinking it at all.
Schooner Bar?: (Lemon Drop) This bar was located just outside the casino on deck 4. The drink came recommended to me by a fellow passenger, and was very good. Restaurants
Windjammer / Jade: OK! It was typical buffet food, nothing special.
Main Dining Room: Good! Good quality, great service. One of the waiters professed his love for me. *sigh*
Johnny Rockets: Great! Yummy BLT, and the coke float really helped with my nausea (yeah, I got seasick).
Sorrentos: OK! Pizza didn't even look good. BUT they had a fabulous fresh mozzarella salad and apricot cream dessert with almond cookies.
Seattle's Best Coffee: Great! Coffee and spirit coffee drinks were wonderfully well made and delicious. Desserts and snacks were ok.
Everyone was upbeat and happy. The service was quick, efficient and friendly. All of the RCCL employees I came in contact with were just wonderful, from the dealers in the Casino to the "front desk" personnel (when I locked my key in my stateroom).
We were told on the Cruise scheduler that we had to be out of our staterooms by 8 am and off the ship by 9 am. All of the monitors on the ship on Tuesday night stated that we had to be out of our staterooms by 8 am and off the ship by 9 am. Announcements over the loud speaker told us that we could leave the ship on deck 4... and that we had to be out of our staterooms by 8 am and off the ship by 9 am. It was beaten into us! But actually leaving the ship was quick and easy. I just took my luggage, wheeled it off, scanned my card and left.
Transfer back to MIA
There were fire ants on the motor coach. Seriously. I got bit a couple of times... and it REALLY HURT! The little buggers died for their transgressions, though. I changed seats on the bus and was fine the rest of the way.
Thank you to RCCL for the invitation. The ship is a beauty and may she sail in calm waters with people who appreciate what she has to offer.