Traveling with my 20 & 22 year old daughters was a scary thought. We chose the Spring Break cruise on the Liberty of the Seas because of everything the ship has to offer. Little did we know, it was the PERFECT ship for 20 Somethings and every other age group for that matter.
On arrival at Miami Airport, we had a Carey town car ($117 for 3 of us incl. tip) waiting at baggage claim, which was good because I was a mess after the overnight flight from Seattle. He drove us to the Ritz-Carlton in Coconut Grove, where the bellman kept our luggage as we had breakfast then checked in to the spa for mani-pedi and a massage. We figured we could do the treatments at home, on the ship, or while we had several hours before the ship sailed. It was a perfectly lovely way to while away the hours. After sauna & showers, we caught a cab to the pier ($24)arriving about 1:00pm. Long, long lines for check-in, but we were in our stateroom at 2:05pm. Luggage was there by 4:30pm, and when it did, it seemed impossible we would find enough space for all of our belongings, 3 large suitcases and a roll-aboard full of shoes. Utilizing all the hangers, the vanity nooks & crannies, as well as the shelves in the closet, we had ample space for 3 women to stow everything from cosmetics to flip flops with only square inches to spare.
We went out exploring, and found this huge ship very easy to navigate, with interactive maps on the walls, ship models in the Promenade, and a map by each elevator. My sense of direction left me in my 30s, but I found this ship the easiest to find my way around of any ship, ever. There is a lot of walking involved on this baby. You can walk a mile getting around in the evening, but a little stroll on the Promenade after dinner was a good thing!
The Promenade reminded all of us of a Las Vegas mega-hotel lobby. There was a pizza place, (which also had great salads & grilled veggies for an anytime snack) a British Pub, Wine Bar, several retail shops, Coffee Bar (great for a quick sandwich and/or dessert - and the drip coffee is free). The Casino is directly below, and a stairway in the mid-Promenade takes you there. These were all alternatives to the dining room and buffet restaurant, and great for a quick bite on return from shore or to tide you over to dinner after an active day. Several nights there were parades & dance parties there as well. It really was the heart of the ship.
Our dining room waiter, Lionel (India) and his assistant Robert (Ocho Rios, mon), made each evening enjoyable. Our drink orders were remembered, and each evening we enjoyed the after dinner "shot of the day." Lionel's dinner suggestions were always spot-on, and he steered us away from items he thought were sub-par. We enjoyed Chops Grille one night ($25 pp incl. tip)with excellent menu choices (the veal chop & filets were our choices). Most other meals we ate in the Windjammer buffet, with rarely a long line and plenty of seating. Menu choices included daily Asian choices, a carvery station for the carnivores, and salad bar. Ice tea, lemonade, water, coffee, teas & fruit punch were available at the drink stations.
We only saw two shows, a singing/dancing impersonator who was amazing, doing everyone from the Rat Pack to Heavy D. Another night there was a high flying, singing, acrobatic (like Cirque du Soleil without a storyline) which was the best show I've seen aboard a ship, anywhere. There were many, many different small lounges offering everything from salsa dancing to piano sing-alongs to heart-pounding club music each evening. My daughters were both able to go into the lounges and dance, although only the 22 year old was able to drink aboard ship. We won a bit and lost a bit at the casino, which is HUGE, with hundreds of slots and multiples of every game imaginable. There were Blackjack and Slot Tournaments ($20 pp entry) a couple of days, and of course Bingo every day.
The Flow Rider was, as the girls said, easy once you get the hang of it. You can knee-board during certain hours or surf during others. The wait was never more than about 30-40 minutes, the instructors very patient, and the wipe outs, awesome! You can sign up for private lessons or group hours for a fee.
The Ice Show tickets are distributed early in the week, we didn't get them, but heard the shows were great. The girls skated for a 45 minute session the last day at sea and it was very crowded.
We took all ship shore excursions this time. Labadee was tranquil for me, lounging in the turquoise sea on my float ($10) the Dragon's Breath ($89 pp) flight line a thrill for the girls. The lunch buffet was fresh and good. We did the Sandals Resort day pass ($89 pp) in Montego Bay. Beautiful resort, private island, open bar, buffet lunch, entertainment, pool games, water activities, great tour guide, couldn't have been better. Our Cayman Island snorkeling trip was canceled due to high winds, so we hopped a taxi tour with a local named Ursula, and for $20 had a great impromptu island tour. Our favorite (and best shore excursion for 20 somethings EVER!) was the Mexican Cooking Class at Playa Mia in Cozumel. Van transfers out, an air-conditioned building, open bar, 3 course meal preparation, then dining with wines from Baja. Afterward about an hour to enjoy the beach and water, then vans back to town with time for shopping.
Our flight was 24 hours away, so we were in one of the last groups off the ship, all went smoothly and we met our Carey town car at 10:05am to go to the Airport Hilton. Nice pool, quick room service, easy transfer to the airport for an early morning flight home on Alaska Airlines.
My girls said it was the most relaxing vacation ever, though I don't know exactly when they took time to unwind, they were busy 20 hours every day.