Here is a recap on the trip overall and some things that went really poorly.
As you were aware we had booked the Liberty with RC and at the Sandals at the same time back in February.
I think based on the following we may have made a mistake on the Liberty.
The ship is beautiful and our room (Family) was very nice but the following was a little disturbing from a major cruise line like Royal Caribbean.
We ended up getting to the liberty at 12.15 on the 12th of December, figuring that after a short processing and identification check we would be spending that afternoon enjoying our holiday on board. The processing and getting from one line to another ended up taking 3 hours of our life away, right at the beginning of our trip.
As an adult we understand things happen as a three year old they don't so much
The reason or explanation was that the ship had a problem with the previous passengers and getting everybody off in time to allow our cruise to begin.
The other issue they said was there was only one working gang plank to safely allow the 3500 passengers to get on.
I think that another major problem that they had was the fact that so many seniors needed assistant and therefore double the time for boarding due to the extra 150 wheelchairs that we required, based on the conversations we ended up hearing.
Anyway we finally got on board the kids like always went straight to the pool and swam for about 1 minute- the pool was freezing, we just left south beach that morning were myself and the kids had been in the ocean, which was a lot warmer than their small pool. This is a 5 star resort on water , they have hot tubs but seemed like they couldn't care about heating up the pool, well with the 2000 seniors they had on board( apparently a bridge club tournament ) that took over the ship they might not of focused on the younger crowd.
Just getting comfortable in our chairs and maybe a drink or two, actually a bucket of beer, but by 4 o'clock and we are rounded up for the mandatory evacuation procedures. Sorry they said, can't allow you to go to your room so you can put the beer in it, not enough time. I was able to leave the beer at the closest bar for us to return after. Sorry I now this is not R/C thing but part of every cruise line.
4.15 in line on the proper deck and having our 3 children stand in line again until 4.45 before this was finished. I think that the 150 to 200 people in the wheel chairs ended up taking more time to get into place prior to the cruise line being able to offer the proper instruction to the crowd. Just another 30 mins of the day you want back!!!!
So we are getting ready for dinner, and my card indicates that the five of us are signed up for 8.30 dinner. Definitely not what we chose, most 3 year olds are well into a sleeping stage at this point and definitely not what we agreed to when we booked in FEBRUARY.
SORRY nothing we can do about this, at this stage, tonight the 630 seating was full and tomorrow we can talk to someone about switching. Self serve dinner was our only option for the kids that night. So we prepared to get ready for that option so we can get the kids some food but my 9 years son's luggage as not yet arrived to our room, other that his swimming clothing, he has nothing else to wear. Understand that baggage can take up to 8 oclock before we get it but all of our luggage except his was received in our room. Got a call that my 9yr old son luggage is being reviewed by security, and I have to go to the 1st floor for a discovery about his bag.
Ten to 12 people ahead of me , one by one they get to the front of the line and proceed to have there bags checked, and surely most people in front of us had brought some alcohol on board and they had it taken away and recorded the room number for return at the end of the cruise. 25 = 30 minutes goes by before my turn.
They ask me my room number and grad my sons bag. Processed it through the scanner and it reveals --------- NOTHING ------------
They apoglized and I asked when will they have it to my room- within the hour---not satisfied since I have wasted another 30 mins, I had no clothes for him and proceeded to carry his suitcase to my room myself since again the kids are tired and hungry needed to focus on this and not allowing RC staff to hold us up any more at this point
So at this point to recap
3 hrs to get on the ship , freezing cold pool, another 30 mins for mandatory procedures , had on 630 dinner reservation taken from us, had to get my sons bag without an explanation why it was there to begin with, and have really no choice on our diner option on our first day
Speaking on Monday morning regarding our dinner options, once again the dinner room 630 is completely full, the response was that they seems to be a large number to together passagengers ( the bridge club seniors that insisted on a 630 dinner stop), basically bumping my children out of our experience for a family setting meal on board our dream vacation. R/C did not care about the 12 - 9 and 3 yrs dinner but the fact that the majority of the people ( the seniors ) were looked after. This was repeated over and over as we stood in line to hear this explanation toward the 4 or 5 other parents in this same line up again taking our time to fix our problem that R/C created.
R/C suggestion was to go to another deck and speak with a dinning room manager regarding my time dining, same response 7.30 was available and later but not much other that that, unless we can accommodate them-
Here is how
1- Everybody that was to sit at the table must sign the following sheet- ok
2- If you can be out by 7.30 every night they could accommodate us based on kicking us out before the 7.30 table wanted to come in.
No problem were do I sign. At least the children would be looked after for food and normally that would be fine to be in and out within the hour and a bit for dinner.
When they asked us to sign up for the my-time dinning, they did not mention the mandatory tips for all seated guest at the table. Therefore all five of us ended paying full tips for all staff, so my 3 yr old paid roughly 70 in tips. I never argue this cost at and adult level, fully expected to pay for the good service from an adult but not mandatory from my 9 and 3 yr old children. Our trip I believe was 3100 we paid 350 in tips doesn't seem right, never mind the bar bill mandatory 15% added.
We never took advantage of the breakfast and the lunch sit down served meals; we served ourselves at the buffet, mostly for timing to get in and out and back to the cold pool seemed to be our theme.
My wife and I also purchased the wine and dine package, we like to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner and thought on Monday we could have one at the bar prior to dinner. We pre purchased the 10 bottles of wine and asked if we could have a glass of our already paid for or just the bottle and we take into dinner with us. Sorry the wine package was only available in the main restaurants, not even in the buffet the main bar could not redeem our bottle and provide to us so we could have a glass of our prepaid wine, no, they could only sell us another glass of bottle of coarse and much higher prices.
We continued to have our time together and enjoy the ship and the togetherness that we sought out for from a family vacation. There is a smoking side of the ship and a non smoking side, plus smoking allowed around the pool bar, you know the pool where the children are in most of the time. Twice we had to tell people that were smoking that it wasn't allowed where they/we sitting, R/C staff wouldn't get involved so we had to continue the movement of educating the rude other cruisers. Why rude? caused they wouldn't listen, 5 minutes later start another smoke...disrespectful of people...
The morning of departure, you know the moment that they want you off, we had a flight out of Miami at 1.11 we ended up getting the luggage tag number 14.
I asked if this would be an issue getting to the airport in time to catch my flight back home. I was informed that I should have told R/c our flight was prior to 1.30 and we would have been off much before.
It seemed that this was my fault, feeling again a little let down I inform R/C they asked us of these requirements when we preregistered. You know when they want your credit card as well they asked how we are arriving and with what airline and when and how are we departing, all was filled in and indicated to them when I pre registered.... I think they stop caring the moment the credit card was confirmed. When you plane comes in or goes out, if they did not participate in these bookings your on your own.
If you are not aware we really enjoy traveling, countless trips to Florida and Jamaica as well as Cuba in the past 2 years, prior to this was Princess Cruise lines and they really treated us right time and time again.
I really took our Travel agency recommendations and her continued service, unfortunately Royal Caribbean has let her and us down based on her recommendation that we have always felt in the past was the right decision.
This trip really has turned me off -- top quality payment and the lack of service from Royal Caribbean.
The lack of fair treatment, remember we booked in February, and was told we got bumped-
3, 9 and 12 year old children don't pay enough to take priority it seems from R/C