January 5, 2008 Eastern sailing of Liberty of the Seas
There were six of us going on this cruise. Two flew to Miami and four of us drove. We all left on the 4th. The couple that was driving with us arrived at our house at 6:45am with the temperature a very cool 16F. It took about 20 minutes to get everything packed into one car. We had intended to stay in West Palm but the car decided to blow all coolant in Ft. Pierce. Here it is 7:30pm and we are sitting in a gas station with a car that isn't going to go far. The couple with us had AAA so we got free towing for up to 100 miles. The tow truck operator showed up with his girl friend. He recommend a repair place within 2 miles of where we had originally intended to stay. The tow truck operator and his girl friend and the two husbands drove back to the operators house where the girl friend got her pickup truck and went back to where we left the wives. We met up with them a truck stop on I-95. The ladies where taken to the motel and got our rooms. We went to Palm Beach Airport where we picked up a suv big enough to haul people and luggage. Then we followed the tow truck to the repair shop. Dropped the car off and thanked the tow truck operator and his girl friend for bailing us out.
Next morning I went to the repair shop and told them the problem. At first they thought it would be a 15 minute fix. Turned out it wasn't. I let them know we were going on a cruise and they had a week to get it fixed. They even agreed to pick us up on the 12th. We left heading for the port some 70 miles away. We drove down US1 and A1A which was fine until we hit traffic. We arrived at the port just after 2pm. Paul had to return the rental since it was in his name. By the time we started the embarkation process it was 2:45pm and at least half the passengers were there for the same reason. It took about an hour to get through and onto the ship. Moral is get to embarkation sometime before 2pm.
We had a balcony cabin deck 7 port side while the couple that drove with us had a promenade cabin on deck 7 on starboard side. The couple that flew down had an oceanview cabin on deck 7 at the very front of the ship. Our cabin steward was just OK. The balcony was great for when we were entering and leaving port. The others thought so as well which is why they were there quite often.
Getting into San Juan at 3pm when it gets dark at 5:30 does not leave much time for excursions to be done in the daylight. All of us went shopping and found some bargains. The next day we were in St Maarten where the couple that flew down had arranged to get married on the beach. The four of us went to witness the event. They had arranged this through RCI. Communication about the event from RCI was lacking. The wedding itself was very well done. There is a money matter that is still to be worked out between RCI and the couple. This was much less expensive then having a wedding in the US. After the wedding we returned to the ship for a change of clothes then went shopping again. Paul wanted a new camera and indeed bought one with all the bells and whistles.
On the sea days we spent playing bingo, wandering about the ship or at the pool. When we went to the pool I never spent more then 3 minutes finding a chair. On a full ship I didn't think that bad. We did play mini golf one day. That is one tough course they have built. Paul and I played in the ping pong tournament and promptly lost. We watched people at the flowrider and the rock climbing wall but did not try either. We talked about ice skating but didn't get around to that either. On Labadee we did the zipline. It was a blast! After that we layed around or went swimming. This was my 3rd time at Labadee and each time I have had a great time. I will return one day.
I have been on a dozen cruises now. Our waiter and assistant were probably the best we have ever had. We all thought the food to be excellent. Portofino's and Johnny Rockets were worth the money in our opinion. The ice show was in our opinion the single best piece of entertainment on the ship. The shows were very good but the ice show just plain blew us away. As I was walking about the ship I noticed the artwork that I did not notice when I was on Freedom in 2006. I happened to like most of the artwork. There are two pictures that I thought quite ordinary except for the fact they are hung upside down. Could be why I noticed them.
We did the self disembarkation as we had done in 2006 from Freedom. Seemed to me more people were doing it this time. It took about 45 minutes to get through customs and on the street. Our car was there as promised. We had to do 3 laps of the pickup area as the other couple had a minor problem getting through customs. We were headed back to West Palm to pay the repair bill by 7:45am. The drive home went without incident other then being disappointed about being off the ship.