Westbound Transatlantic - Oct 2011 Barcelona Fort Lauderdale: Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by peteukmcr
Overall Member Rating
Westbound Transatlantic - Oct 2011 Barcelona Fort Lauderdale
We travelled from Manchester on Monarch Airlines arriving late morning into Barcelona, El Prat airport, terminal 2 and travelled via private transfer to the W Barcelona hotel for the night where we checked in and got a room on the 6th floor with a great sea and port view.
The room was great for the special deal we got from a 'secret' hotel website of Â£120! Definitely 5* if located slightly out of town, but directly on the beach with very friendly staff and extremely comfortable for the night.
Our room, called a Wonderful Double, and is just that. Modern, stylish and sleek. We had a wonderful view over the port which was full of cruise ships. Costa Serena, MSC Splendida and Carnival Dream to name a few.
Went into the city centre by cab and dined at Hard Rock Cafe, a tradition when we're in Barcelona!
Saturday, 29th October -â€" Liberty of the Seas
Awoke to see More Liberty docked in port and went for a walk down the beach and had breakfast.
Checked out at 11:30 and caught a taxi to the cruise port, which cost just under â‚¬20 following the additional extras for bags that is always added in Barcelona.
The lines to check-in were not as bad as we feared. So much so, that we stood in line for the Deck 8 check-in rather than wait with all the Diamond Members where the line was much longer. We were stopped a few times by people who recognised us from Cruise Critic. Always nice to put a face to a name. Within 30 minutes we were in the Windjammer and another 30 minutes in our stateroom 8550 at 1 pm, a category E1 balcony cabin, located port side towards the forward centrum. Our luggage made it to the room before us. Also our gifts of water and orange juice and a box containing cookies, nuts and candid peel sweets as a welcome back gift were there.
The champagne and chocolate strawberries I ordered had already been delivered which is my tradition for sail away.
We met with friends from Cruise Critic in the Viking Crown and met who was to become our favourite bartender of the cruise, Jelena.
At 7 p.m. we went to the Sphinx lounge on deck 5 where the nightly event for Diamond C&A members was to be held for the whole duration of the cruise as the Diamond Lounge on deck 14 could not cope with the number of Diamond members on board. To be honest it was a zoo, although we met some very nice people, but after about 10 days we stopped going as we preferred to have a pre-dinner cocktail in the Olive or Twist bar in the Viking Crown on deck 14.
At just before 8:30 p.m. we went to the Botticelli dining room for dinner as we were on My Time Dining. Our servers were fantastic and the meal was very good and we chose a great bottle of Chardonnay from our 12 bottle Platinum Wine & Dine package to accompany our meal.
Food was fabulous which always amazes me considering the vast number of people they have to cater for. Our choices were for one of us, Caesar Salad, Sea Bass for main & Cherry Chocolate Cake for dessert, for the other it was Onion Tart, Pork Medallions and Strawberry Pavlova.
After dinner we met a few friends on the Royal Promenade and clapped and danced to the Parade before a few more drinks in the Schooner Bar with the resident pianist. Everyone was in fine voice (ok not everyone)!
Sunday, 30th October -â€" Cartagena, Spain
Arrived in port around 11am and practically docked in the town centre.
Cartagena is a pretty but somewhat unremarkable Spanish town. It has the obligatory Plaza Espanya, some quaint cafes and chic shops all set within a steep sided bay full of small yachts, fishing vessels as well as an odd range of military ship.
As we left port after dark the locals gathered near the lighthouse at the end of the pier to wish us adios
Monday, 31st October -â€" Malaga, Spain
We took a guided bus tour around Malaga today. It was a balmy 23 degrees which was wonderful for late October.
Never realised what a large and pretty city Malaga is. Most people arriving at Malaga Airport go west to the popular resorts of Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Marbella, the chic resort of Puerto Banus and Estepona.
Malaga has existed since Phoenician times but has also been occupied by the Romans, Christians but mostly by the Arabs. There is a wonderful Cathedral which remains unfinished but unlike the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona there are no plans to complete the unfinished tower.
Carnival Magic on her transatlantic crossing was in port and there is a great deal of development taking place to improve the facilities for all future cruise passengers.
Back for lunch at Johnny Rockets, great shakes and burgers IMHO.
Halloween night and lots of people took part in the parade and a fantastic variety of costumes were displayed, excellent.
Tuesday, 1st November -â€" Cadiz, Spain
We met with a few fellow passengers at 10am and ventured out onto the streets of Cadiz. We had no particular plan or route in mind so went where we fancied.
Plaza Espanya was our first stop which has an impressive monument to the 1812 constitution. We veered onto the Alameda Apodaca, a broad avenue that hugged the sea wall. There were two enormous, spooky looking and clearly very old trees close to each other, Plane Trees I think. Then through the pretty Parque Genoves with its strangely manicured box trees like something from Alice's Wonderland. Cute green parakeets and an assortment of cats completed the picture.
Foot sore we made our way through the narrows streets of the old town before heading back to the ship that dominated the horizon as we approached.
Today was a National Holiday in Spain, All Saints Day, so most shops were closed but that did not stop us enjoying this attractive destination.
Also in port today was Voyager of the Seas, Holland America Ryndam and Splendour of the Seas was undergoing revitalization in dry dock and could be seen in the distance.
Wednesday, 2nd November -â€" At Sea
Nice relaxing day after the past few port days, dinner at Portofino, excellent as usual, well worth the extra $20.
Thursday, 3rd November -â€" Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Shared the Port of Santa Cruz today with Queen Mary 2, Fred Olsen Balmoral & Voyager of the Seas, which was supposed to have gone to the Azores after Cadiz but was forced to change ports because of bad weather.
Visited Loro Parque located in the resort of Puerto De La Cruz in the north west of the island. First stop the Orca Ocean and the Killer Whale show, only it wasn't much of a show as a couple of the whales decided that they didn't want to perform today. The Dolphins and the myriad of different Parrots, Parakeets and Macaws more than made up for it.
The capital Santa Cruz looked huge but no time for that as we needed to be back on board to watch QM2 and Voyager of the Seas depart ahead of us.
Friday, 4th November -â€" La Palma, La Isla Bonita
Today we were on the small Canary Island of Las Palmas which is about 50 miles west of Tenerife and known as the beautiful island.
We took a guided tour up to the rim of Caldera de Taburiente. The weather was fantastic and as we had set off early we were there a little after 9 am. We started at La Cumbrecita, which had magnificent views out over the crater which is not a volcano as some believe and walked about a kilometre down to a mirador (viewpoint) again with stunning views over the landscape.
A quick stop off at the visitor centre and we were on the road again to visit a centre for young adults with mental health problems. They worked at a place creating arts and crafts such as necklaces, pottery, lace and even Cuban cigars. They didn't seem to mind us tourists gawping at them. Next was a church with a famous Madonna, a religious artifact. Our Lady of the Snow, I think it was called.
Soon we were back in Santa Cruz and then onto the ship which we would not leave again for 7 days as we crossed the Atlantic.
Saturday, 5th November -â€" At Sea
A weather front passed through this area a few days ago and stirred up the sea and so we had some sea swells of up to 4 metres. On a ship this large however we only had a slight swaying motion and it was actually quite nice as it reminded you that you're on a ship in the middle of the ocean.
Weather is gorgeous. Sun very hot. We picked a port side cabin as we knew the sun would be slightly south of us so we would have sunshine all day.
Plenty of activities listed on the Compass to help pass the day and we attended a progressive trivia game which was held at 11 am today and for every other sea day until we reach land. It was very well attended in the Sphinx lounge.
We ate at Chops with a friend to celebrate her birthday, and a very good meal it was too. Nightcap at the Champagne Bar with other friends.
Sunday, 6th November -â€" At Sea
Found excellent spot on deck 4 towards the aft to spend some quiet time to read. Despite the number of people on board there are plenty of little nooks like that around the ship if you wish to avoid the crowds on the pool decks.
Lunch at Johnny Rockets again today and avoided the very filling shakes so could manage the excellent apple pie a la mode!
Monday, 7th November -â€" At Sea
Weather not so good today. Tropical Storm Sean passed to the north of us bringing some rain and plenty of cloud. Still very warm outside though.
We had a mini golf tournament scheduled for 10am but the weather wasn't good for golf, so it was abandoned.
This afternoon was the Ice Show which was excellent but cut short due to the motion of the ship for the safety of the skaters.
We had dinner at Chops Grille again tonight. The waiter was amazing. Not only good at his job but he remembered us from when we sailed Liberty back in May.
Tuesday, 8th November -â€" At Sea
Very bumpy night last night on the high seas. Ship was rocking something good. Was wide awake at 1.30 listening to all the creaks and groans the ship made as it continued its journey westward towards the USA.
Things calmed down around 7am. Another relaxing day at sea, and Quest in Studio B after dinner.
Wednesday, 9th November -â€" At Sea
The sun was vicious today. Hottest day so far around 79f. Flow Rider was being well utilised with beginners lessons today. Lunch at Johnny Rockets again!
The theme on board tonight was 70's. There was a street party on the Royal Promenade at 10.30 that was a lot of fun.
We gathered outside Vintages Wine Bar which was a great position. The Cruise Director and staff came down on the bridge in full 70's gear and the party kicked off and carried on in the Catacombs Nightclub.
Luckily Sorrento's was open late so we could grab a couple of pizza slices on the way back to stateroom!
Thursday, 10th November -â€" At Sea
Dinner at Portofino's again tonight. The food as ever, was excellent. The recommendations of Shrimp Risotto was excellent, a Caesar Salad followed by Spiedino Di Mare (Seafood Skewer) which consisted of Lobster, Shrimp, Salmon and Scallops which was 'to die for', followed by Tiramisu to finish and then coffee and brandy.
Then up to the pool deck for the White Party. Seemed the whole ship was out in force. Rock and roll band was playing and people were dancing. Captain Kjetil Gjerstad was mingling and greeting people. The chefs had displays of carved fruit, ice sculptures and more food which people were queuing up to eat! No chance for us as having eaten at Portofino.
Friday, 11th November -â€" Final Day at Sea
Spent the afternoon on the main pool deck enjoying a Mango Lava Flow. The Liberty Orchestra was out and the ships singers were performing some show tunes. This was followed by the Sexiest Man Competition, won by our friend from Fort Lauderdale.
Saturday, 12th November -â€" Fort Lauderdale
Arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 6.30am. Port Everglades very busy today. The world's largest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas was docked together with Celebrity Infinity, Holland America Eurodam and Grand Princess.
Disembarkation was a little slow. As Diamond Members we could wait in the Botticelli Dining Room on deck 5. We had express departure as we wanted to make most of our day in Florida and scheduled for 7:45. Allowed to depart at 8:20 and had cleared immigration by 8:45, much quicker than expected. Others were not as lucky as the whole process was a little disorganised and resulted in many delays.
Liberty of the Seas is a fantastic ship, very well maintained, and run by a very professional and extremely friendly and helpful staff.
The variety, quality and selection of food and drink are exceptional in my opinion.
Entertainment is first class and there is something to suit everyone.
We look forward to sailing on her again next May when she returns to Barcelona to sail the Mediterranean once again. Less
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