This was our first cruise (my girl friend and I) booked by my parents for their 50th anniversary and included my three siblings with respective spouses. This was on Liberty of the Seas, September 12-19 and covered the Western Caribbean (Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel).
The ship was quite spectacular, especially never having been on a cruise ship before and the process for boarding was steamlined and efficient. Once on board, however, the entire week felt like a floating time-share presentation. We first decided to tour the fitness center and ended up getting an hour-long sell job on all the spa's service$ such as thermowraps, massages, acupuncture, facial dermabrasion, hot rock treatments, teeth whitening, gym boot camp, body detoxification, etc... ranging in cost of $100 - $300+ each. We never did get a tour or demonstration of the fitness equipment - which is all we desired. Throughout the week, there were daily sales of merchandise (watches, jewelry, wallets, etc..)on the main deck and in places most people passed by (Windjammers or the pool deck) and demonstrations on how to buy diamonds.
Many of the other travelers were rude. I am used to hearing the term "rude Americans", however us Americans accounted for about 25% of the cruisers on board so that was not the case. The first day we ate in Windjammer, it was packed due to a rain squall which drove everyone indoors. I overheard a gal at the next table to me during lunch complain to her counterpart about the rude people so I chimed in. She is a seasoned cruiser and mentioned this was the first time she encountered such a rude bunch.
Customer service was great for those providing it to us on a regular basis -cabin steward and main dining room crew. Where it dropped off was in other places - Guest Services, bar servers, and fitness center. My girl friend had an unfortunate event in the shower at the fitness center. While rinsing her hair in the shower, she backed up and made contact with her bottom to the water valve feeding the shower head. The result was a 1st-2nd degree burn. That day we ported in Cayman and when we went into the water to snorkel, she experienced too much pain to stay in the salt water. That evening before going to dinner, we reported this to guest services so that they could fix the shower. The gal in Guest Services was kind and caring, however we then were led to the ship's doctor with a security guard and the guest services rep. After signing paper after paper, a doctor verified a burn and prescribed treatment of ointment. Before the assistant treated the burn, she had to take pictures (I'm assuming for liability reasons). The entire process was humiliating to say the least and I was upset. Before we joined my family in the MDR, we stopped back at guest services to express our frustration. The manager there said there was nothing she could do to make us happy and asked what we were looking for. My reply was "That is your job - to figure out how to make your customers happy". We joined my family 30 minutes late into dinner and of course had to explain our tardiness. The next day we returned to the gym and nothing had been done to the faulty shower nor had it been by the end of the cruise. If there had been an employee in the fitness center on hand, we would have reported then.
Not being allowed to bring your own liquids on-board is definitely a negative and I understand where RC makes their profits as alcohol is extremely expensive. The advice from others on here about buying a wine package and having it corked in either Windjammer or the MDR and taking back to your room is good advice. Also, we ate one night at Portofinos and it was excellent from the server to the Chefs who did a spectacular job on our steaks.
We like to avoid crowds and that is pretty difficult when on a ship with 4,000 other people. Our favorite stop was Cozumel. We rented a scooter, asked the scooter guy which way everyone was heading, then turned the opposite direction and cruised around the island. We found a cantina with nobody else there. Stopped had lunch and a few beers. It was bliss.
If we decide to cruise in the future, it will be on a smaller ship with less people and one with better customer relations.