Liberty of the Seas – Sail Date April 25th - 5 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
As always my reviews are lengthy but very informative hopefully this information will help you in your future cruise endeavors. I have broken down the individual categories to assist in identifying key areas of the ship – crew and ports.
Ft Lauder Dale Port:
For our first time ever we stayed at the front of the ship Deck Nine Stateroom 9502. It was fantastic, because this rooms are set along the front and edge corners of the ship means you get about another 10-12 square feet which doesn't seem like much but I will say this – We generally have to unpack our luggage and put suitcases under the bed or in the closet to conserve space however In this room we put them in the corner and never came close to tripping or having them get in our way, the only down fall is – at night you have to keep your drapes drawn if your cabin lights are on – because the reflection from the room lights interferes with the bridge which is right above you – The Captain had to call our room one evening to remind us LOL. Even with that it is not a show stopper. The other concern having these rooms is keep in mind you are at the front of the ship so if there is a venue you want to go to that is at the back you are walking the whole length of the ship to get there – Again Not a Show Stopper. Lastly - you will hear the Noise and some vibration of the Front Thrusters but this only occurs when you are arriving or leaving the port. We never felt and more movement out of the ship (Forward / Aft) We will definitely try to book these rooms more often.
Ft Lauder Dale Port:
Unequivocally the worst port I have ever been at – we have sailed more than 7 times and I cringe when my wife tells me we are leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale. The construction around the Port appears to be completed which was a huge Traffic Relief. You must pass through a Customs security gate while driving through and they will ask for Boarding Pass / Pass Port or Identification before proceeding. Personally I like the added security it is very quick so unless you have something to hide this is a very fast process.
Once you enter the passenger areas it gets extremely confusing – the Pylons are scattered to make lanes and there are Police and Parking enforcement all over waving their hands so you have to pay particular attention to who you are watching or they start yelling. Also the passenger drop off appears to be the last of the buildings on the docks – furthest from the parking structure so it’s best to find a porter drop your luggage with them and go to the parking structure – you will have to walk back and it is probably a 5-10 minute walk. Once inside the building you will have to go through another security check point – metal detectors etc. and then you will see the lines for the Cruise Sign in Desks. This is where it gets bad.
We are platinum passengers with RCCL in other ports there were separate lines for Gold Members / Platinum / Emerald / Diamond etc. at this terminal you are all together for check in there is no separate lines, Now I am not degrading any passengers however when you sail enough and get these perks it would be nice to get your status services upgraded – no different than upgrading a plane ticket. – After check in we were pointed to a long long line similar to a bank line but 20x longer. Here we stood for 30 min. Where as in the Orlando port there were plenty of seats to sit. Once the Doors opened it took us to another room (Small and unable to hold the same amount of people that were standing) this is where I informed my wife to keep walking toward the RCCL rep and we showed him our platinum status and he let us proceed immediately on board. So if we didn’t ask or approach we would have been sitting for who knows how long. Bottom line very poor loading process – it lacks communication and structure
Just so everyone is aware – When any cruise ships go to Belize it is important to know that Belize is the home of a Great Coral reef – Which means you must tender off the ships you’re on. In our case it was the tender ride to Belize was 30-45 min one way. Any excursions on shore where a min of 1 hour ride up to 1.5 hours – So lets do some math. You port for 8 hours, there is a 30-45 Min tender (Plus Waiting in Line for the Tender) so lets say 2.5 Hours to tender off and back to ship. Your 8 Hours is now 5.5 Hours. If you have to go on an excursion trip 1 hour one way you use another 2 hours so your 5.5 hours is now approx. 3.5 providing there is no wait time – So your total excursion time is between 3 and 3.5 hours but your total travel time is around 4.5 – 5 hours. I am not discouraging just keep that in mind – because the tendering process is not that great – We chose to stay on board.