Where to begin We were traveling as a group of 4, My wife and I had a balcony room, and my mother-in-law and brother-in-law had an interior room. This was the first time any of us had gone on a cruise.
First I made the mistake of booking our flights to arrive on the same day as embarkation. HUGE mistake, always fly in the day before at least. We had two flights to get to Ft Lauderdale and we flew on Southwest airlines, because they're always the cheapest and very friendly and generally VERY reliable. We always fly Southwest and have NEVER had a flight delayed or cancelled. That changed on this day. Our first flight was scheduled to leave Chicago Midway at 6:30 AM and arrive in Orlando and 10:30 AM, then we would switch planes and fly from Orlando to Ft Lauderdale and we were scheduled to meet our transfer shuttle (which we booked through Royal Caribbean) at 12:30 at the baggage claim at Ft Lauderdale. So we get on our 6:30 flight in Chicago right on time and the plane backs up from the gate then stops. The pilot comes on and says there is a mechanical issue with the plane and they are going to have to get an engineer to come look at the plane. After 45 minutes of sitting on the plane the captain comes back on and says the issue appears to be fixed and we are clear to take off. So we land in Orlando about an hour behind schedule and are notified that we have missed our connecting flight to Ft Lauderdale and that we have been put on the next flight which leaves at 12:50 scheduled to arrive in Ft Lauderdale at 1:50. So I'm kinda freaking out at this point because I know our transfer shuttle has already left Ft Lauderdale without us and I know that we have to be on the ship by 3:30 and we definitely can't afford another delay and now were probably gonna have to take a taxi to the port. I called Royal Caribbean and after speaking to a few representatives and explaining the situation I was told that they would have someone waiting for us at the baggage claim. So we get on our 12:50 flight and just after pulling away from the gate, the pilot gets on and says that there is a rainstorm in Ft Lauderdale and we won't be cleared to take off until that storm passes. 25 minutes later he gets on and says we are cleared for takeoff and we are now scheduled to land in Ft Lauderdale at around 2:30. So we FINALLY get to Ft Lauderdale and sure enough there are about 4 Royal Caribbean representatives waiting for us at the baggage claim. We hurry up and grab our bags, they load them up in the bus and we are finally off to the port. BTW if you are flying in the day of your trip, by all means book your transfers through the cruise line. They were EXTREMELY helpful through all of the trouble and got us on the ship just in time. We zipped right through checkin on the boat as everyone else was already on board and we were off to our rooms to get our life jackets then straight to the life boats.
So after the lifeboats it was off to the balcony for some champagne. The balcony was absolutely worth the extra money as I sat out there and drank and smoked cigars just about every day. On the first cruising day we explored the ship and sat at the adult pool and drank. I have to say that this ship is INCREDIBLE. I did a lot of research before the cruise and my wife was afraid I would be disappointed because I had already seen just about everything on the ship in videos and pictures but this boat is so much better in person. You really don't get a full idea of the sheer size of this boat until you're on board.
Day 2 was Labadee. I was impressed by Labadee, I had an image of it being a very dingy place because it's in Haiti but RCI has done a great job with this beach. Also the Buffett was very good. We didn't do any excursions here. Just hung out on the beach, had a couple Labadoozies (not my favorite, but the women sure liked em) and enjoyed the scenery.
Day 3 was Jamaica. I was pretty disappointed by Jamaica, not so much the island, but the people. We had booked an excursion through RCI, it was a Catamaran cruise, snorkel, and Dunn's River Falls tour. The catamaran was kinda junky and not what I had imagined. The people that were running the excursion were trying to sell us crap the entire time we were on the boat. The snorkeling was ok but I expected that since Jamaica isn't necessarily known for their snorkeling. Dunn's River Falls was pretty awesome but once again the people kinda ruined it. Very pushy wanting us to buy crap. After we climbed to the top of the falls, our guide told us at the top we "had" to tip him. I obviously didn't bring money up because I didn't have any pockets. So he waited for us by our boat until everyone had tipped him. I would recommend the falls but I would not recommend this excursion.
Next port of call was Grand Cayman. We had a snorkeling excursion booked through RCI here, but at about 8 AM we got voicemails on our stateroom phones that said the boat we were supposed to go on had broken down, so they refunded us our money and said we could come by the explorations desk to book a new excursion. We went down there right away but all the snorkel excursions were booked already so we decided to just go ashore and explore. We ended up having a good time on the Island, we went and bought some cold cans of beer and some cigars and just walked around and did some shopping. We stopped at Breezes and had a couple drinks then headed back to the boat. All in all a pretty good day despite not getting to snorkel. All of the vendors were very nice and not pushy at all.
Our last port of call was Cozumel, Mexico and we had the best time here. We booked a Dune buggy and Snorkel excursion through RCI here and it was AWESOME. First we drove the dune buggys to a snorkel spot and did some snorkeling right on the beach. This snorkeling was better than Jamaica but still not fantastic. Once again I kinda expected this as Cozumel isn't necessarily known for their snorkeling. Then we took a 45 minute drive along the coast to a little beach bar where we had a mexican buffet that was fantastic. Then we drove back through the middle of the island to a little shop where we did some shopping, then back to the port. Our tour guide Santiago was awesome. Really friendly and very knowledgable. And he didn't beg for a tip at the end, though we did give him one. After we got back to port we did some shopping and found that the mexican vendors were very friendly and once again not pushy. We met a guy just outside the port with a little stand with wood carvings. He was very grateful for our business because he said the vendors weren't doing well since the cruise ships stopped coming to mexico because of swine flu. We bough a few carvings from him and he thanked us many times for our business. I also though the duty free shopping was best in Cozumel. I saw some great deals on liquor, and even bought some. Cozumel was defiantly our favorite port. Day 6 was cruising. Did some more drinking and more gambling on this day. All in all I thought the casino was nice, a little crowded at times, and I thought the loud obnoxious Europeans kinda ruined it sometimes. Also some of the dealers didn't have good control over the games they were running. The roulette was a bit chaotic at times and the rude Europeans or rude American frat boys sort of just butted their way in and threw money on the table wherever they pleased.
We ate dinner in the main dining room every night except formal nights. The main dining room was SPECTACULAR. The food was really amazing, I don't even have the words to describe it. We ordered pretty much everything between the four of us and we were never disappointed. Our waiter, Richard and assistant waiter, Ransell were phenomenal. They were always super friendly and helpful. We were really looking forward to the seafood night which happened to be on a formal night when we had reservations at Portofino so we were going to miss out on the Lobster tail dinner. I told Richard and he said "No problem, I'll have some lobster tails sent up to your room." Really Fantastic service from him. and the lobster tails did not disappoint. Even though I was stuffed from dinner at Portofino I still managed to cram two Lobster tails and about 10 shrimp down my gullet. Really good stuff.
We ate at Chops and Portofino once each and they were also both FANTASTIC. Definitely worth the cover charge. We ordered every side item at chops and just shared them between the four of us and they were all amazing. Portofino's desert was spectactular, and they had the best Calamari I have ever eaten.
We ate Windjammer for breakfast every day and I got addicted to their Corn Beef Hash. It looks kinda gross but it is spectacular.
We ate at Sorrentos once and the pizza was really good, they also have some salads there, I tried the marinated olive salad and it was awesome.
We did not make it to Johnny Rockets so no review on that one.
We did go to Ben and Jerrys once. Good stuff though the people working there seemed kinda slow. One night I went there at about 12:15 am and there were about 10 people in there having Ice cream and the guy behind the counter was talking to some customers in Italian I believe. I stood there for about 3 or 4 minutes while he was just chatting it up with them. Then he leans over to me and say, "sorry sir we closed at midnight" I was kinda pissed, but I just walked out. Then the next day we went in there after lunch and the other guy that was working messed up our order about 3 times before getting it right. The ice cream is awesome, service not so much, but that really is my only complaint about any of the staff. Except maybe a couple of the bartenders could have been a little more friendly.
A couple things I forgot. The comedians were pretty funny, not great but funnier than I expected. The Love and Marriage game was HILARIOUS!!
I didn't have a whole lot of fun at Bingo. I thought it was kinda expensive for what you win ( we paid 48 bucks for 6 cards and the first three games the pot was only like 300 bucks.) and Anna Bannana's voice gets old pretty quick. I think that's it.
O yeah and Olive Or Twist was our favorite bar because of the awesome view.
I guess that's all I really have, We really enjoyed ourselves and would DEFINETLY recommend this cruise to anyone that will listen. Liberty is an amazing boat, and the staff and really everyone I spoke to in the RCI company was helpful and friendly. We will Definetly sail with RCI again. Hopefully next year on Oasis!