My wife and I sailed on the Liberty of the Seas (LOTS) from Bayonne, NJ on October 3. This was supposed to be a 5 night cruise to Bermuda, but due to Hurricane Joaquin our itinerary was changed at the last moment and we were diverted to St. John, Canada instead. We have cruised many times in the past, including trips to both Bermuda and St. John, so for us this change was no issue. Our vacation was more about the voyage than the destination, as we were celebrating some milestones in our life.
We are big fans of Norwegian Cruise Lines. Our only prior experience with Royal Caribbean was on the debacle known as the Quantum of the Seas. That ship, and that cruise, was so awful that we were reluctant to ever cruise on RCI again. But the convenience of leaving from Bayonne rather than Manhattan gave us pause to reconsider and give Royal Caribbean a second chance. All in all, we were happy with that decision.
DEPARTURE: Driving to the Port Liberty Cruise Terminal from our home in western New Jersey takes only an hour. Parking in the lot on the pier is extremely convenient. The cost is $19/day, which comes out to $95 for a 5 night cruise. There are cheaper parking lots in the vicinity, but they all require use of a shuttle to get to and from the terminal. The added convenience of being able to walk a few hundred yards from the car to the ship without waiting for the bus to show up is worth the extra cost. The parking lot is safe and secure from what we can tell, and flooding is not an issue other than if there is a huge storm surge from a tropical storm pounding NJ. And if that is the case, you have bigger issues with which to contend.
STATEROOM: For this cruise, we booked an inside cabin (Room 1277) on deck 10. Our assumption was that we would not be spending much time in the room, so did not need a balcony. It was a wise decision. The room was small, but had more than sufficient storage and enough space for two adults to move around without tripping over each other. The closet held our two suitcases, with enough shelves and hanger space for all of our clothes. It also had a room safe significantly larger than the one aboard the Quantum. In addition there were a half dozen drawers in the desk in the room, plus additional storage for incidentals in small drawers in night stands on either side of the bed and alongside the mirror. Built in night lights on both sides of the bed were a nice touch, as inside cabins are otherwise totally dark, even at midday.
The bathroom was also small, but well maintained. During the voyage a maintenance crew came in to replace one of the shower stall panels which apparently was cracked, though we never even noticed. Our stateroom steward, Jeff O., did a great job keeping the room cleaned, our ice bucket filled, our champagne chilled, and providing some hilarious towel animals – including Halloween themed bats and a “towel man” sitting on the sofa watching TV with the remote in his hand. Nice touch.
As an additional note on the cabin, its location was excellent. Being far forward, a short walk down the hall towards the bow brings you to either the stairs, where a quick walk up one flight brings you to deck 11 and outside, or the elevators. A longer walk down the hall towards the stern brings you to a flight of stairs right up to Windjammer. Definitely a very convenient location, especially if you want to avoid the elevator crowds.
Easy embarkation port for anyone living in New Jersey. Parking is across the street from the terminal. Makes leaving the ship quick and easy.
We had to divert to Canada on this cruise due to weather, but we have been to King's Wharf on previous cruises and have found it to be safe and easy to navigate. It is helpful to know where you want to go BEFORE the ship arrives, so that you can get off, buy your transportation pass quickly, and get on a bus or ferry before the long lines develop.
This is a small but clean and friendly Canadian Maritime port. You can see the entire town on foot in a few hours. We have been there 3 times now and always enjoy strolling along the boardwalk, going to Market Square in town, and sitting in the park. But unless you take a shore excursion, do not expect much more than that from this port of call.