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We have been on several cruises, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and a couple of smaller lines back in the early 90's. The first cruise my wife and I did was on Jewel of the Seas and for years now it has been our favorite cruise and ship. We hadn't had the chance to cruise Royal since because they didn't sail out of the ports we were using or itineraries and were really looking forward to this cruise. Starting out embarkation was very long (an hour plus) in the heat. When we sailed on the Jewel we just about walked right on. When we got on board we had to then wait until 1pm until our room was ready. The room was very nice and had a balcony. The safety drill was in one of the lounges, and we didn't have to take our life jackets, which was fantastic. Our luggage started to arrive, but my garment bag didn’t arrive until we were leaving for dinner, and my wife was still missing her suitcase. We had been checking with our steward, but he had no info. When it came time for dinner, we had changed from the 1st seating to the 2nd seating in the MDR several weeks earlier with Royal over the phone. When we showed up for dinner, they moved us to the side, and then said that we were no longer in the MDR but using any time dining. We love meeting new people and eating in the MDR and I explained that we had not requested it. They said sorry but that’s where were now assigned. WOW. So we went down there and ate. It was the same food, and our waiters were very nice. After dinner we went to guest services and complained about our dinner assignment, and asked about her missing suitcase. They didn’t have any idea where her suitcase was. As we were leaving a crewmember rolled up a cart with several suitcases, one of which was my wife’s. The lady at guest services who didn’t seem to care about our problems then called a bar manager and wanted my wife to open her suitcase in front of everyone so they could see what was inside. They said there was a bottle with liquid. Before we left I bought a bottle of Listerine. All this hassle over Listerine, really? My wife explained that she had female items inside that she didn’t want to show to the world. The guest service lady couldn’t have cared less, the bar manager said it was ok to take it to our room. Most of the rest of the cruise was ok. The food in the buffet was just ok, and the buffet closed for several hours that we know of every night. It was surprising that it wasn’t open 24 hours like on other cruises we have taken. I had pizza several times because it was easy and I didn’t like the buffet. The pizza was like the pizza we used to get in high school, with a sort of biscuit crust. We got to eat the rest of the cruise in the MDR at a little table for two. Our waiter was ok, but the assistant waiter was outstanding. The food in the MDR wasn’t anything to write home about and two nights I ate off the standard menu as there wasn’t anything that looked really good. Frankly, it was the worst MDR food on any cruise we had taken, it wasn’t bad, just nothing to get the mouthwatering most nights. What was funny was that there was one night there were too many great choices. We saw Saturday Night Fever and it was good, and we also enjoyed a comedian. The country western band that played in one of the lounges wasn’t bad-considering they were from Eastern Europe. Service on the whole was lacking. We always seemed to run into the surly barista at the coffee shop, which wasn’t the best way to start the mornings out. I bought a watch from one of the shops and had to have it sized. When I went back to pick it up the next day I was greeted by a smiling lady wanting to help me. That is until she found I wasn’t shopping but picking up. She plunked it down on the counter like it was a dirty diaper. It wasn’t right and I had to have it sized again, and again got to pick it up from her. Oh joy. The credit card I had booked the cruise with had been compromised, so I had to get another one before the cruise. After a couple days I found a note on our bed that said it wasn’t working. I went right away to the customer services desk and gave the replacement card. Every night until the cruise was over I kept getting those notes, and every day I would go to customer service and they would say that everything was fine. I don’t know why they couldn’t work out leaving me notes. Exceptions for service were; The first day on board I took wave rider lessons, and the two guys doing the lessons were outstanding. I had to go back and give them both tips for the great lesson. There was also a lady that did the photos that we kept running into that was very nice. There was also a great cocktail waiter at the main pool. I went scuba diving at Cozumel and Roatan and had a great time at both places. Tons of colorful fish and really good dive operators. The seas were rough the day we were in Cozumel, so the dive operator gave us the choice of shallow dives or we could get a refund. Our little group of divers all went for the shallow dives and they were excellent, we didn’t feel like we missed out on anything. Belize was a tender port and we had to wait over an hour in the cold ice rink. We were dressed for the hot day in town, so the extra cold room for an hour wasn’t the greatest. They really seemed disorganized with the disembarkation for the tender boats. We went to Bacab Eco Adventure Park in Belize. After the long wait to get ashore, we had a long bus ride to the park. The food was good there and I did a spur of the moment horseback ride. The excursion literature had said not to wear mosquito repellant because it would kill the butterflies in the “The Wild Wings Butterfly House”, which apparently hasn’t been there for years. The mosquitos ate me up and I had about 15 to 20 bites on each leg after the hour long ride. The ride was fantastic, as were the staff at Bacab. They had a nice pool, but we didn’t have a chance to swim because the tender boat and bus ride had eaten up so much time. The disembarkation was the worst I’ve encountered. We waited in our assigned lounge for an hour plus, while the intercom kept blaming customs for taking so long to check passengers out. Instead of calling groups one by one, after an hour they called huge blocks of groups into a huge cattle call outside on the deck where we sweated in a non-moving line. Once off the ship and in the terminal there were no signs where to go, no signs which luggage was for which group, and no staff to direct people to either. It was a complete mess. We grabbed our bags and waited in another serpentine line in the heat for over an hour. It was moving so slow that the porters were only able to help about 20 people total in all the time we were waiting. When we got to customs I noticed that all the desks were staffed by customs officers and they processed us very quickly. I think Royal was blaming them and not taking responsibility for their own disorganization. This was several times over the worst disembarkation we ever had and really a great example of the customer service we experienced on the cruise. I doubt if we will use Royal Caribbean for further cruises. It wasn’t one big thing that made it bad, but a whole lot of things that really added up. We always thought Carnival was the base model cruise, and we always cruised Carnival as a last choice, but it seems that it was actually several time better than this last Royal Cruise.

Liberty of the Seas Cruise; Disappointing Service

Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by cowboycruiser

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We have been on several cruises, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and a couple of smaller lines back in the early 90's. The first cruise my wife and I did was on Jewel of the Seas and for years now it has been our favorite cruise and ship. We hadn't had the chance to cruise Royal since because they didn't sail out of the ports we were using or itineraries and were really looking forward to this cruise.

Starting out embarkation was very long (an hour plus) in the heat. When we sailed on the Jewel we just about walked right on. When we got on board we had to then wait until 1pm until our room was ready. The room was very nice and had a balcony. The safety drill was in one of the lounges, and we didn't have to take our life jackets, which was fantastic. Our luggage started to arrive, but my garment bag didn’t arrive until we were leaving for dinner, and my wife was still missing her suitcase. We had been checking with our steward, but he had no info.

When it came time for dinner, we had changed from the 1st seating to the 2nd seating in the MDR several weeks earlier with Royal over the phone. When we showed up for dinner, they moved us to the side, and then said that we were no longer in the MDR but using any time dining. We love meeting new people and eating in the MDR and I explained that we had not requested it. They said sorry but that’s where were now assigned. WOW. So we went down there and ate. It was the same food, and our waiters were very nice.

After dinner we went to guest services and complained about our dinner assignment, and asked about her missing suitcase. They didn’t have any idea where her suitcase was. As we were leaving a crewmember rolled up a cart with several suitcases, one of which was my wife’s. The lady at guest services who didn’t seem to care about our problems then called a bar manager and wanted my wife to open her suitcase in front of everyone so they could see what was inside. They said there was a bottle with liquid. Before we left I bought a bottle of Listerine. All this hassle over Listerine, really? My wife explained that she had female items inside that she didn’t want to show to the world. The guest service lady couldn’t have cared less, the bar manager said it was ok to take it to our room.

Most of the rest of the cruise was ok. The food in the buffet was just ok, and the buffet closed for several hours that we know of every night. It was surprising that it wasn’t open 24 hours like on other cruises we have taken. I had pizza several times because it was easy and I didn’t like the buffet. The pizza was like the pizza we used to get in high school, with a sort of biscuit crust. We got to eat the rest of the cruise in the MDR at a little table for two. Our waiter was ok, but the assistant waiter was outstanding. The food in the MDR wasn’t anything to write home about and two nights I ate off the standard menu as there wasn’t anything that looked really good. Frankly, it was the worst MDR food on any cruise we had taken, it wasn’t bad, just nothing to get the mouthwatering most nights. What was funny was that there was one night there were too many great choices.

We saw Saturday Night Fever and it was good, and we also enjoyed a comedian. The country western band that played in one of the lounges wasn’t bad-considering they were from Eastern Europe.

Service on the whole was lacking. We always seemed to run into the surly barista at the coffee shop, which wasn’t the best way to start the mornings out. I bought a watch from one of the shops and had to have it sized. When I went back to pick it up the next day I was greeted by a smiling lady wanting to help me. That is until she found I wasn’t shopping but picking up. She plunked it down on the counter like it was a dirty diaper. It wasn’t right and I had to have it sized again, and again got to pick it up from her. Oh joy. The credit card I had booked the cruise with had been compromised, so I had to get another one before the cruise. After a couple days I found a note on our bed that said it wasn’t working. I went right away to the customer services desk and gave the replacement card. Every night until the cruise was over I kept getting those notes, and every day I would go to customer service and they would say that everything was fine. I don’t know why they couldn’t work out leaving me notes.

Exceptions for service were;

The first day on board I took wave rider lessons, and the two guys doing the lessons were outstanding. I had to go back and give them both tips for the great lesson. There was also a lady that did the photos that we kept running into that was very nice. There was also a great cocktail waiter at the main pool.

I went scuba diving at Cozumel and Roatan and had a great time at both places. Tons of colorful fish and really good dive operators. The seas were rough the day we were in Cozumel, so the dive operator gave us the choice of shallow dives or we could get a refund. Our little group of divers all went for the shallow dives and they were excellent, we didn’t feel like we missed out on anything.

Belize was a tender port and we had to wait over an hour in the cold ice rink. We were dressed for the hot day in town, so the extra cold room for an hour wasn’t the greatest. They really seemed disorganized with the disembarkation for the tender boats. We went to Bacab Eco Adventure Park in Belize. After the long wait to get ashore, we had a long bus ride to the park. The food was good there and I did a spur of the moment horseback ride. The excursion literature had said not to wear mosquito repellant because it would kill the butterflies in the “The Wild Wings Butterfly House”, which apparently hasn’t been there for years. The mosquitos ate me up and I had about 15 to 20 bites on each leg after the hour long ride. The ride was fantastic, as were the staff at Bacab. They had a nice pool, but we didn’t have a chance to swim because the tender boat and bus ride had eaten up so much time.

The disembarkation was the worst I’ve encountered. We waited in our assigned lounge for an hour plus, while the intercom kept blaming customs for taking so long to check passengers out. Instead of calling groups one by one, after an hour they called huge blocks of groups into a huge cattle call outside on the deck where we sweated in a non-moving line. Once off the ship and in the terminal there were no signs where to go, no signs which luggage was for which group, and no staff to direct people to either. It was a complete mess. We grabbed our bags and waited in another serpentine line in the heat for over an hour. It was moving so slow that the porters were only able to help about 20 people total in all the time we were waiting. When we got to customs I noticed that all the desks were staffed by customs officers and they processed us very quickly. I think Royal was blaming them and not taking responsibility for their own disorganization. This was several times over the worst disembarkation we ever had and really a great example of the customer service we experienced on the cruise.

I doubt if we will use Royal Caribbean for further cruises. It wasn’t one big thing that made it bad, but a whole lot of things that really added up. We always thought Carnival was the base model cruise, and we always cruised Carnival as a last choice, but it seems that it was actually several time better than this last Royal Cruise.
cowboycruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Bacab Jungle Park
    Great horseback ride. There isn't a butterfly house, hasn't been one there for years. The staff, drinks and food were excellent. It's hot and there are lots of mosquitos, so wear repellant. Getting off the ship took an hour to get onto the boats, then there was a fairly long bus ride. There was a nice pool there, but after riding the horse for an hour there wasn't time for it. Also the nature medicinal plant walk was pretty much a deer trail around some plants.
    View All 20 Bacab Jungle Park Reviews
  • Scuba
    The seas were rough and they talked about canceling. They ended up giving us the option to do some shallower diving or a refund. We all decided to dive, and had a great time and saw a lot of nice fish. I don't know what we missed, but it was very nice. It was pretty close to the cruise ships where we dove, and the diver operator is right at the end of the cruise pier. You might save some cash booking directly from them.
    View All 109 Scuba Reviews
  • Galveston
    If we cruise out of Galveston again we will probably hit the ships a block or two from the cruise terminal and enjoy ourselves instead of subjecting ourselves to standing waiting an hour to board the ship in the heat.
    View All 658 Galveston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Galveston Cruise Port Review
  • Scuba Diving
    Excellent diving, great dive staff. Lots of colorful fish at both dives. Bring cash as the bar at the end of the dives doesn't take credit.
    View All 38 Scuba Diving Reviews