Being first-time cruisers, we have nothing to compare our vacation to. Consequently, we immediately admit our review could be considered a bit naive. Nevertheless - this was an exceptional way to spend time together, meet some nice folks and be a little bit pampered.
Stayed the night before at the Sheraton, but won't do that again. Expensive, the cool bar closed early (the loud one was open, but very loud). The employees were accommodating but overall not a lot of bang for the buck.
The transfer bus driver was a hoot - reassuring to a couple of first timers. We set our bags beside the bus and saw them next outside of our cabin. Note - believe the "how to" guides about carry on luggage. Our stress level was zero, knowing that we had the things we needed for the evening even if our main luggage was still on its way.
Embarkation was painless. Again, read the how to guides and pre-sign everything. We were aboard within 30 minutes of arrival, and our stateroom was ready. We went to Windjammer for lunch, even though some of the reviews warned against it. Perhaps we had beaten the crowd, but the chow line was manageable, the food fine and the view breathtaking. We were delighted to be offered pina coladas, even though we had limited our bar budget and declined. The guys hawking the drinks were just so entertaining.
The food - from fine to unbelievable. The Windjammer food was fine. Nothing special, but a decent variety. Ate breakfast and most lunches there for the convenience and also to limit our portion sizes. Dinner in the main dining room was excellent. Most everything was prepared and plated well. We were offered an extra lobster tail without asking, a nice gesture. We ate our last night aboard in Portofino and had exceptional meals.
The service - outstanding. Very friendly crew, especially the wait staff in the main dining room. We heard a few complaints about slow service but, honestly.... We'd rather wait than have the next course arrive before the last was done. Beside - we were there to enjoy each other, not wolf down dinner and race to our next adventure. Our cabin steward kept our room fresh, our ice bucket filled and himself scarce. We never had a bad encounter with a crew member.
The boat - seemed stable, even in some fairly rough seas. Some motion awareness, nothing close to illness. Easy to get around, easy to understand the layout. Clean, colorful and bright. Not cramped or crowded, even though the bigger boats got good reviews from fellow passengers. And the view from Windjammer as the bridge crew deftly backed us into the docking area on Cozumel was unreal. Getting on and off at our port calls was a snap.
The shows - we saw the "Unexpected Boys" doing Frankie Valli, and the ice show. Both first rate, enjoyable presentations.
Best thing about our vacation - there was so much variety aboard we could always find just the right place to be. Relax and read? The solarium always had an open seat. Couples massage? OMG, don't miss it! Gaze at the water? More than enough deck chairs to go around. A quiet drink? The jazz bar. Night life? Bolero, hands down, with the live music as good as any salsa venue at home. Shut out the world? The balcony cabin was far beyond our expectations - a great place to be alone and watch Cuba glide by.
Downsides - the smoking "regulations" were apparently unenforced. We get it that nonsmokers can't impose their choice on others, but tell us what the rules really are so we can make informed decisions. Getting off at the end - really?! "Because we visited Belize, Immigration is going through all of the bags." Once we finally found our way to the front of the hour-long line, an especially surly Customs guy (some kind of collar brass suggested he was a supervisor) gave a perfunctory glance at our passports. Maybe they searched our bags before we got there, but.... Was this the first time this boat has gotten home? Everyone could have done better.
Final word - we would definitely go aboard Liberty again. We would definitely cruise Royal Carib again. We had a great time!