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Liberty of the Seas Jan 2-8, 2017 Just back from a 6 night, seven day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. Bottom line we had a great vacation and great cruise. This was our second cruise so we are still new to the entire cruising world. Our first cruise was 2 years ago on a much larger vessel – the Oasis of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale. We selected this cruise for two reasons: location and ports. Since we live 45 minutes from Galveston, we wanted to see what it would be like to cruise out of Galveston (and literally drive to the ship). We also were curious to explore the ports (Costa Maya, Belize City and Cozumel). We were a bit nervous when booking the cruise because it was a smaller ship than the first one we sailed and we had heard/read some mixed reviews about it. (I am an avid troll of Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor and others). But…we decided to go for it. It matched certain criteria we were looking for: convenience for location, good date and great ports. We also managed to get a mishap balcony room! Pre Cruise: Prior to boarding, I made sure to keep an eye out for deals, sales and read all I could about the various cruise options for dining, drinks, entertainment and excursions. I posted a variety of questions on message boards etc. My biggest concern was weather and seas. I am the type of person who gets motion sickness watching a video or driving a block. I don’t do medications much (am allergic to most) so was a bit worried about that too. Of course there were no guarantees that the weather would cooperate, I just needed to be prepared. Prepared we were. Not only did I have every over the counter motion sickness remedy known to man, I had all kinds of other cleaning supplies, medications, magnets, highlighters and other “tools” to use on board. The only other thing I need to do was book excursions, dinner and other packages. Kevin and I not beach people where we can hang out at a beach…we like adventure, nature and culture. The excursions we looked at all satisfied that criteria. Seeing that in Belize we would have to tender and in Cozumel we would also need to be shuttled to the main land for our excursions we booked everything through Royal Caribbean –and that was a VERY smart move. (I’ll detail that later). For dinner we were booked for early dining in the main dining room and I tried (but failed) to book My Time Dining for later. My preference would have been MTD but oh well….we stuck with the Main Dining room time. Our thinking was we wanted to eat and be at the 8PM shows. Different from the Oasis, you did not have to reserve seats for the evening shows. I was confused by that at first…but it all worked out. More about the shows below. For other packages, we took advantage of the Voom Internet special they ran and bought one drink package for non-alcoholic drinks. Kevin was fine with tea, lemonade and water served in restaurants and did not want frilly drinks or coffee ---yeah for me…cuz that’s what I liked! So with everything booked including port parking we were ready to go. Embarkation: The morning of our embarkation Houston and Galveston was hit by a freakish and fast moving storm. While it delayed us by about 45 minutes in getting to the port, it was windy enough to blow out any lingering fog, which may have delayed us from leaving port. The embarkation process was simple and we were on board in no time. (I think it took less than 30 minutes and most of that was waiting to go though security). Each and every person (staff) we encountered was very friendly and helpful. I wish every passenger we encountered were as equally friendly …but they weren’t. I was hoping perhaps people forgot some manners due to the sure excitement of boarding and starting their vacation. Only time will tell. ON BOARD EXPERIENCE: Once on board we were eager to explore the ship and confirm a few details about our vacation. Our first stop was Guest Services to confirm specialty dining reservations and ask a few questions. They were so nice and helpful. My only issue at this point was I had wanted to review the menus for the Main Dining Room for the various nights in order to determine which nights we wanted to book our specialty dining. Apparently, they do not allow you to see the menus ahead of time, so we just booked our specialty dining based on show or excursion schedules. (In truth it all worked out –so not sure why I even stressed about it). Between touring the ship, checking out or room the excitement of the cruise was hitting an all time high. All aboard and time for the Muster Drill. The humor about the Muster Drill is we kept watching the group next to us. Their staff was loud and fun. The running joke was we wanted to stow away with them rather than our group. I don’t mean to imply our staff was not good, I think the fault really lies with the passengers and their attitude. Several families would not stop talking and a few actually argued with the crew during the Muster. It is where I started to experience a theme that would pop up from time to time this week –entitlement. People talking over the crew announcements, passengers bumping and pushing others and not saying excuse me or pardon me, passengers talking back to the crew or exhibiting rude behavior. The same group who would not listen, stop talking or where challenging the crew during the Muster drill were the same families who (unfortunately) were in the cabins above us. For the first two nights they had raging parties in their room and on their balconies. It sounded like 8 people trying to squeeze onto the balcony all smoking cigarettes, laughing, screaming and singing to the music they had playing. While I would have liked to enjoy the night air, I didn’t venture out on the balcony much during their party after one of the passengers flicked their cigarette and it landed on my hair. (Not sure if someone complained or what happened …because after the second night –all was quiet above us). They were not the only folks who forgot their manners. I saw countless people who were rude to fellow passengers, rude to crew. With such a large group of people in a confined space, people need to learn patience and respect. It is not too hard to hold doors open, say please and thank you etc. Parents needed to refrain from screaming for their children down the hall, etc. One lady actually called another lady a B***** for not leaving enough room for her to squeeze into an already full elevator. UGH. So if there was ANYTHING that I have to complain about ---it’s the bad manners and behavior of some. THE SHIP Overall I enjoyed the Liberty. Yes smaller than the Oasis, but it was a different cruising experience for us. It was more relaxed. We did not feel we needed to run and do everything listed on the cruise compass. While an older ship, we also felt it was clean and well maintained. Our stateroom was clean as was all the common areas. Yes, I did see a stain here or there on carpet throughout the ship….but that is expected when you have 2000+ people every week carrying wine, coffee, soda….its bound to happen. We tried to experience every venue and activity. Some we just visited, others we lingered. I loved the Solarium and the whirlpools that jetted over the edge. We never found an issue finding a chair to lounge on in the shade either. I even loved the slides. I went down them a few times and they were a ton of fun. All the bars and music/entertainment venues were cozy. The casino was fun…. small…but fun. I got a kick out of watching people try to win those quarters. LOL. Even if you are not a slot person, the slot tournament was a kick. (Wish I would have won….but had a blast playing). FOOD Prior to sailing I read many reviews about the food. It is all subjective. Some love the buffet and others hate it etc. Over all I found the food good. Not outstanding but good. We found breakfast in the Windjammer to be better then in the Main Dining Room. While breakfast delivered to the room was ok, we loved the convenience factor better than the taste. (I liked the coffee yet some people thought it was vile). For lunch, we only used the Windjammer on the last day for a snack and never made it to the Main dining room due to busy schedules or away on excursions. I had wanted to try it but……didn’t happen. Dinner in the Main Dining room was good. Our waiter was good but slow. I think eh was disappointed because his section always seemed empty. The food was good not great. I liked the appetizers and desserts the belter than my main entrees. We had dinner once in Windjammer and I liked it. I think I liked the Windjammer not because the food tasted better but more because I am a grazer or snacker. I loved all the options and to be able to taste a little of this and a little of that. Twice we dinned in Chops. The first night was better than the second. We had a very fun and attentive waiter the first night and great dining neighbors. The steaks were cooked as ordered and LOVED the appetizers. I felt both nights the deserts fell short of good. The second night at Chops, our waiter seemed to have a bit of an edge. He forgot to put in our order and therefore we were served much later than the tables seated after us. The result was we missed the first 20 minutes of one of the shows – In the Air (and did not have a seat to see it). Other than coffee drinks at the café and one quick ice cream cone from the Sprinkles machine, we really did not partake in the other food options. ENTERTAINMENT and SHOWS I love parades but sadly we were off the ship or busy somewhere else that we missed the parades. Bummer. The other bummer was we were not able to see Saturday Night Fever due to an injury to the main role; the show was cancelled and replaced with a variety show. We really wanted to see Saturday Night Fever, but oh well….things happen. We ended up skipping the replacement show too. But of the shows we did see……all outstanding. I wish we had been on time to see the In the Air show. What little we did see we were very impressed. The headliner “concert” tribute Eagles band was a fun treat as was the comedian that night. Of course the Love and Marriage show and Quest kept us rolling in the aisle with laughter. The ice show and late night adult comedy were also enjoyable. The music in the other venues on the ship were good to. All in all I think the LOS does a great job with the entertainment options. (There were other things happening …but we did not partake---so I can’t comment on those). WEATHER and SEAS I was terrified that I might get seasick. I was worried that the seas would be rough or that I would not like the tenders. Sailing out of Galveston was awesome. Smooth sailing and warm weather greeted us when we woke up. The weather in our first two ports was stellar. Warm and sunny. The thought of taking a tender when we arrived to Belize was scarier than the actual ride. A word of caution though….the tender is very rocky as you wait for it to fully load. If you get motion sick…just stay in the open air and have fun. It is a slow ride…but so beautiful. The weather started to turn a bit when we arrived in Cozumel. The wind was picking up signaling a storm was coming (I cheated and knew that the big winter storm that slammed Texas and packing high winds was making its way south). Our captain let us know once we left Cozumel to expect rough seas. Traveling at a speed of 20 knots heading into 40-50 mile an hour winds we would experience potentially 14 foot swells. ----OH NO!!! As panic set it, I started to up the medication. I do not take Bonine, Dramamine, the patch etc. (I am allergic to them). I was wearing sea bands and had an arsenal of ginger candies, gum, drinks and Benadryl and anti-anxiety meds. I loaded up and braced for doom (or a bag). The seas were intense and angry. We pitched and bumped and rolled for over 30 hours. For the most part I did ok. Bobbled here and there as I walked down the hall, in the casino etc. I did my best to continue with the activities and “go with it”. Unfortunately something finally got to me and after 26 hours of being “ok” I got sick. It didn’t last but 2 hours….but was not fun. Had we not of hit just rough seas….the sea bands and ginger would have gotten me through just fine. I found once I did get sick, laying down, sipping mint tea and having cold rags on my head and neck helped. Bummed that “it” got me…but pleased that I did better than I feared. So anyone freaked out about getting sea sick….if this girl can handle it….you can too. If you can take the meds---take them. The sea bands work great as a non-medicated option. You will be fine. (Now if I can stop the swaying feeling on land----that would make my day!). EXCURSIONS: I highly recommend booking all of your excursions though the cruise ship. I know others may argue that there are cheaper excursions booking direct etc. While that may be true, two of the 3 excursions we were on ran late. They were ALL day excursions requiring a tender or ferry back to the ship. If we were on a non-RC excursion, we would have been left on the dock. Read more below. Costa Maya: We wanted to giggle and have a simple day so we selected the Mayan Kingdom Park. We went for the full package allowing us access to all of the slides, zip lines and water park. Yes, it was a man made jungle and park but we had a blast. I LOVED the zip lines. Kevin loved the slides and said a few of the ones I did not go one were super scary but fun. I would have enjoyed more time there…but oh well. The people in Costa Maya are lovely. Very nice! Belize: We selected Lamani and the Amazing River Cruise. FANTASTIC. Again because we booked this through the cruise ship, we were on the first tender off the ship. Everything was organized to a tee. Once off the tender, we met our guides Edgar and Gion who escorted us to a nice air-conditioned bus. The bus ride to the river is an hour long. While not tremendously scenic, it was informative as Edgar explained the history and culture of the Mayan people. It was wild driving in Belize. I am not quite sure there are speed limits or rules on the road. Never felt unsafe…but it was a crazy drive. We then arrived at the dock were we boarded a speedboat that took us on a tour (45 minutes each way) down the river to the Lamani dock. The boat ride was very interesting to see the landscape, birds and wildlife. We even saw an enormous black crocodile. Lamani was stunning. Edgar and Gion gave us great information about the ruins. We were even able to climb to the top of the temple. Unfortunately our tour ran late and rather than having a leisure lunch back at the dock, we had to take our food to go and eat on the bus. I am sure there will be others on the tour who will complain about it…but I would much rather eat my lunch on the bus than risk not making the tender back to the ship. We had about 30 minutes to spare to board the LAST tender. So again……book through the ship and you will be guaranteed not to miss the ship. Great tour…highly recommends it and hope you get Edgar and Gion as your tour guides. Cozumel: There were so many choices for excursions but we really wanted to see a cave. We therefore selected the Amazing Secret River excursion. KUDOS to the tour operator for a well-organized excursion. Again, we were on the first ferry to the main land to meet our tour. Once on Cozumel we were met by Vero and Miguel. They broke us into 4 groups for the duration of the tour. We were escorted to nice air-conditioned vans to travel to Rio Secreto. This is an AMAZING place. The cave and Secret River is one of the largest aquifers in the world. Our tour leader was Jorge. To be honest, I was terrified about this excursion. I am claustrophobic and have asthma. I was worried that I would get freaked out or have an asthma attack when we were down in the cave. I mentioned this to Jorge. He comforted me and let me know he was a certified cave diver as well as a paramedic. He encouraged that I bring my inhaler just in case. As we started the tour in the cave he kept me close by and checked on my frequently. After about 10 minutes I assured him I was ok and thanked him. He also kept another participant who did not know how to swim close by too. We all had life vests on but he wanted to ensure she felt safe. Safety is their number one priority. From ensuring we had the proper gear on (life vests and helmets with lights), they checked our equipment before we headed down to the cave. Once in the cave we traversed through looking at all the stalagmites and formations. We waded and floated through the water. The entire time a photographer followed us, snapping photos. While I would have loved to have my gopro with us, it is not allowed. Focus on where we are walking, making sure we are safe is the priority. The rock formations are sharp; there are rocks and some odd drops…that is why no cameras are allowed. Made sense to me. This is an outstanding excursion. I HIGHLY recommend it. One note: wear a bathing suit. Once family on the excursions for some reason did not wear or bring swimsuits. Not sure what they were thinking knowing we were going into water in a cave. Fortunately there was an option to wear a wet suit. (we chose not to wear a wet suit). Because it is a natural aquifer, you are required to “shower” before you go into the cave. So don’t even bother putting on sunscreen or bug spray. You will need to wash it off. After the cave exploration, they serve lunch. YUMMY. We have rice, beans, soup, pork, juice, fruit and salad. You also have an option to purchase the photos that were taken. We bought them and I am happy we did. Sure, some will complain about he cost…but……I wanted to capture the excursion. After lunch we were transported back to the shopping area of Cozumel. We had about 2 hours of free time before the scheduled ferry back to the island and our ship. The shopping time created some “issues” and anger from some. It was mentioned in the tour description that this tour included shopping in Play Del Carmen. For free time, you could shop, hang out at bar/restaurant or the beach. The ferry was a chartered ferry for LOS and was part of the cost of the excursion. The good news is the ferry held 300+ passengers and even though we were on the last one and it was 45 minutes late to the ship….the ship waited for ALL of us to get back. The bad news, it was the only option unless you wanted to take a public ferry and pay the difference. So just make sure you read the full description of the excursions you book rather than waste time/energy complaining.

Great Way to Start 2017

Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by MLevin

17 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
Liberty of the Seas Jan 2-8, 2017

Just back from a 6 night, seven day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. Bottom line we had a great vacation and great cruise. This was our second cruise so we are still new to the entire cruising world. Our first cruise was 2 years ago on a much larger vessel – the Oasis of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale.

We selected this cruise for two reasons: location and ports. Since we live 45 minutes from Galveston, we wanted to see what it would be like to cruise out of Galveston (and literally drive to the ship). We also were curious to explore the ports (Costa Maya, Belize City and Cozumel). We were a bit nervous when booking the cruise because it was a smaller ship than the first one we sailed and we had heard/read some mixed reviews about it. (I am an avid troll of Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor and others). But…we decided to go for it. It matched certain criteria we were looking for: convenience for location, good date and great ports. We also managed to get a mishap balcony room!

Pre Cruise:

Prior to boarding, I made sure to keep an eye out for deals, sales and read all I could about the various cruise options for dining, drinks, entertainment and excursions. I posted a variety of questions on message boards etc. My biggest concern was weather and seas. I am the type of person who gets motion sickness watching a video or driving a block. I don’t do medications much (am allergic to most) so was a bit worried about that too. Of course there were no guarantees that the weather would cooperate, I just needed to be prepared. Prepared we were. Not only did I have every over the counter motion sickness remedy known to man, I had all kinds of other cleaning supplies, medications, magnets, highlighters and other “tools” to use on board. The only other thing I need to do was book excursions, dinner and other packages.

Kevin and I not beach people where we can hang out at a beach…we like adventure, nature and culture. The excursions we looked at all satisfied that criteria. Seeing that in Belize we would have to tender and in Cozumel we would also need to be shuttled to the main land for our excursions we booked everything through Royal Caribbean –and that was a VERY smart move. (I’ll detail that later).

For dinner we were booked for early dining in the main dining room and I tried (but failed) to book My Time Dining for later. My preference would have been MTD but oh well….we stuck with the Main Dining room time. Our thinking was we wanted to eat and be at the 8PM shows. Different from the Oasis, you did not have to reserve seats for the evening shows. I was confused by that at first…but it all worked out. More about the shows below.

For other packages, we took advantage of the Voom Internet special they ran and bought one drink package for non-alcoholic drinks. Kevin was fine with tea, lemonade and water served in restaurants and did not want frilly drinks or coffee ---yeah for me…cuz that’s what I liked! So with everything booked including port parking we were ready to go.

Embarkation:

The morning of our embarkation Houston and Galveston was hit by a freakish and fast moving storm. While it delayed us by about 45 minutes in getting to the port, it was windy enough to blow out any lingering fog, which may have delayed us from leaving port. The embarkation process was simple and we were on board in no time. (I think it took less than 30 minutes and most of that was waiting to go though security). Each and every person (staff) we encountered was very friendly and helpful. I wish every passenger we encountered were as equally friendly …but they weren’t. I was hoping perhaps people forgot some manners due to the sure excitement of boarding and starting their vacation. Only time will tell.

ON BOARD EXPERIENCE:

Once on board we were eager to explore the ship and confirm a few details about our vacation. Our first stop was Guest Services to confirm specialty dining reservations and ask a few questions. They were so nice and helpful. My only issue at this point was I had wanted to review the menus for the Main Dining Room for the various nights in order to determine which nights we wanted to book our specialty dining. Apparently, they do not allow you to see the menus ahead of time, so we just booked our specialty dining based on show or excursion schedules. (In truth it all worked out –so not sure why I even stressed about it).

Between touring the ship, checking out or room the excitement of the cruise was hitting an all time high. All aboard and time for the Muster Drill. The humor about the Muster Drill is we kept watching the group next to us. Their staff was loud and fun. The running joke was we wanted to stow away with them rather than our group. I don’t mean to imply our staff was not good, I think the fault really lies with the passengers and their attitude. Several families would not stop talking and a few actually argued with the crew during the Muster. It is where I started to experience a theme that would pop up from time to time this week –entitlement. People talking over the crew announcements, passengers bumping and pushing others and not saying excuse me or pardon me, passengers talking back to the crew or exhibiting rude behavior.

The same group who would not listen, stop talking or where challenging the crew during the Muster drill were the same families who (unfortunately) were in the cabins above us. For the first two nights they had raging parties in their room and on their balconies. It sounded like 8 people trying to squeeze onto the balcony all smoking cigarettes, laughing, screaming and singing to the music they had playing. While I would have liked to enjoy the night air, I didn’t venture out on the balcony much during their party after one of the passengers flicked their cigarette and it landed on my hair. (Not sure if someone complained or what happened …because after the second night –all was quiet above us).

They were not the only folks who forgot their manners. I saw countless people who were rude to fellow passengers, rude to crew. With such a large group of people in a confined space, people need to learn patience and respect. It is not too hard to hold doors open, say please and thank you etc. Parents needed to refrain from screaming for their children down the hall, etc. One lady actually called another lady a B***** for not leaving enough room for her to squeeze into an already full elevator. UGH. So if there was ANYTHING that I have to complain about ---it’s the bad manners and behavior of some.

THE SHIP

Overall I enjoyed the Liberty. Yes smaller than the Oasis, but it was a different cruising experience for us. It was more relaxed. We did not feel we needed to run and do everything listed on the cruise compass. While an older ship, we also felt it was clean and well maintained. Our stateroom was clean as was all the common areas. Yes, I did see a stain here or there on carpet throughout the ship….but that is expected when you have 2000+ people every week carrying wine, coffee, soda….its bound to happen.

We tried to experience every venue and activity. Some we just visited, others we lingered. I loved the Solarium and the whirlpools that jetted over the edge. We never found an issue finding a chair to lounge on in the shade either. I even loved the slides. I went down them a few times and they were a ton of fun. All the bars and music/entertainment venues were cozy. The casino was fun…. small…but fun. I got a kick out of watching people try to win those quarters. LOL. Even if you are not a slot person, the slot tournament was a kick. (Wish I would have won….but had a blast playing).

FOOD

Prior to sailing I read many reviews about the food. It is all subjective. Some love the buffet and others hate it etc. Over all I found the food good. Not outstanding but good. We found breakfast in the Windjammer to be better then in the Main Dining Room. While breakfast delivered to the room was ok, we loved the convenience factor better than the taste. (I liked the coffee yet some people thought it was vile).

For lunch, we only used the Windjammer on the last day for a snack and never made it to the Main dining room due to busy schedules or away on excursions. I had wanted to try it but……didn’t happen.

Dinner in the Main Dining room was good. Our waiter was good but slow. I think eh was disappointed because his section always seemed empty. The food was good not great. I liked the appetizers and desserts the belter than my main entrees. We had dinner once in Windjammer and I liked it. I think I liked the Windjammer not because the food tasted better but more because I am a grazer or snacker. I loved all the options and to be able to taste a little of this and a little of that.

Twice we dinned in Chops. The first night was better than the second. We had a very fun and attentive waiter the first night and great dining neighbors. The steaks were cooked as ordered and LOVED the appetizers. I felt both nights the deserts fell short of good. The second night at Chops, our waiter seemed to have a bit of an edge. He forgot to put in our order and therefore we were served much later than the tables seated after us. The result was we missed the first 20 minutes of one of the shows – In the Air (and did not have a seat to see it).

Other than coffee drinks at the café and one quick ice cream cone from the Sprinkles machine, we really did not partake in the other food options.

ENTERTAINMENT and SHOWS

I love parades but sadly we were off the ship or busy somewhere else that we missed the parades. Bummer.

The other bummer was we were not able to see Saturday Night Fever due to an injury to the main role; the show was cancelled and replaced with a variety show. We really wanted to see Saturday Night Fever, but oh well….things happen. We ended up skipping the replacement show too. But of the shows we did see……all outstanding.

I wish we had been on time to see the In the Air show. What little we did see we were very impressed. The headliner “concert” tribute Eagles band was a fun treat as was the comedian that night. Of course the Love and Marriage show and Quest kept us rolling in the aisle with laughter. The ice show and late night adult comedy were also enjoyable. The music in the other venues on the ship were good to. All in all I think the LOS does a great job with the entertainment options. (There were other things happening …but we did not partake---so I can’t comment on those).

WEATHER and SEAS

I was terrified that I might get seasick. I was worried that the seas would be rough or that I would not like the tenders. Sailing out of Galveston was awesome. Smooth sailing and warm weather greeted us when we woke up. The weather in our first two ports was stellar. Warm and sunny. The thought of taking a tender when we arrived to Belize was scarier than the actual ride. A word of caution though….the tender is very rocky as you wait for it to fully load. If you get motion sick…just stay in the open air and have fun. It is a slow ride…but so beautiful.

The weather started to turn a bit when we arrived in Cozumel. The wind was picking up signaling a storm was coming (I cheated and knew that the big winter storm that slammed Texas and packing high winds was making its way south). Our captain let us know once we left Cozumel to expect rough seas. Traveling at a speed of 20 knots heading into 40-50 mile an hour winds we would experience potentially 14 foot swells. ----OH NO!!! As panic set it, I started to up the medication. I do not take Bonine, Dramamine, the patch etc. (I am allergic to them). I was wearing sea bands and had an arsenal of ginger candies, gum, drinks and Benadryl and anti-anxiety meds. I loaded up and braced for doom (or a bag). The seas were intense and angry. We pitched and bumped and rolled for over 30 hours. For the most part I did ok. Bobbled here and there as I walked down the hall, in the casino etc. I did my best to continue with the activities and “go with it”. Unfortunately something finally got to me and after 26 hours of being “ok” I got sick. It didn’t last but 2 hours….but was not fun. Had we not of hit just rough seas….the sea bands and ginger would have gotten me through just fine. I found once I did get sick, laying down, sipping mint tea and having cold rags on my head and neck helped. Bummed that “it” got me…but pleased that I did better than I feared. So anyone freaked out about getting sea sick….if this girl can handle it….you can too. If you can take the meds---take them. The sea bands work great as a non-medicated option. You will be fine. (Now if I can stop the swaying feeling on land----that would make my day!).

EXCURSIONS:

I highly recommend booking all of your excursions though the cruise ship. I know others may argue that there are cheaper excursions booking direct etc. While that may be true, two of the 3 excursions we were on ran late. They were ALL day excursions requiring a tender or ferry back to the ship. If we were on a non-RC excursion, we would have been left on the dock. Read more below.

Costa Maya:

We wanted to giggle and have a simple day so we selected the Mayan Kingdom Park. We went for the full package allowing us access to all of the slides, zip lines and water park. Yes, it was a man made jungle and park but we had a blast. I LOVED the zip lines. Kevin loved the slides and said a few of the ones I did not go one were super scary but fun. I would have enjoyed more time there…but oh well. The people in Costa Maya are lovely. Very nice!

Belize:

We selected Lamani and the Amazing River Cruise. FANTASTIC. Again because we booked this through the cruise ship, we were on the first tender off the ship. Everything was organized to a tee. Once off the tender, we met our guides Edgar and Gion who escorted us to a nice air-conditioned bus. The bus ride to the river is an hour long. While not tremendously scenic, it was informative as Edgar explained the history and culture of the Mayan people. It was wild driving in Belize. I am not quite sure there are speed limits or rules on the road. Never felt unsafe…but it was a crazy drive. We then arrived at the dock were we boarded a speedboat that took us on a tour (45 minutes each way) down the river to the Lamani dock. The boat ride was very interesting to see the landscape, birds and wildlife. We even saw an enormous black crocodile. Lamani was stunning. Edgar and Gion gave us great information about the ruins. We were even able to climb to the top of the temple.

Unfortunately our tour ran late and rather than having a leisure lunch back at the dock, we had to take our food to go and eat on the bus. I am sure there will be others on the tour who will complain about it…but I would much rather eat my lunch on the bus than risk not making the tender back to the ship. We had about 30 minutes to spare to board the LAST tender. So again……book through the ship and you will be guaranteed not to miss the ship. Great tour…highly recommends it and hope you get Edgar and Gion as your tour guides.

Cozumel:

There were so many choices for excursions but we really wanted to see a cave. We therefore selected the Amazing Secret River excursion. KUDOS to the tour operator for a well-organized excursion. Again, we were on the first ferry to the main land to meet our tour. Once on Cozumel we were met by Vero and Miguel. They broke us into 4 groups for the duration of the tour. We were escorted to nice air-conditioned vans to travel to Rio Secreto. This is an AMAZING place. The cave and Secret River is one of the largest aquifers in the world. Our tour leader was Jorge. To be honest, I was terrified about this excursion. I am claustrophobic and have asthma. I was worried that I would get freaked out or have an asthma attack when we were down in the cave. I mentioned this to Jorge. He comforted me and let me know he was a certified cave diver as well as a paramedic. He encouraged that I bring my inhaler just in case. As we started the tour in the cave he kept me close by and checked on my frequently. After about 10 minutes I assured him I was ok and thanked him. He also kept another participant who did not know how to swim close by too. We all had life vests on but he wanted to ensure she felt safe. Safety is their number one priority. From ensuring we had the proper gear on (life vests and helmets with lights), they checked our equipment before we headed down to the cave. Once in the cave we traversed through looking at all the stalagmites and formations. We waded and floated through the water. The entire time a photographer followed us, snapping photos. While I would have loved to have my gopro with us, it is not allowed. Focus on where we are walking, making sure we are safe is the priority. The rock formations are sharp; there are rocks and some odd drops…that is why no cameras are allowed. Made sense to me. This is an outstanding excursion. I HIGHLY recommend it. One note: wear a bathing suit. Once family on the excursions for some reason did not wear or bring swimsuits. Not sure what they were thinking knowing we were going into water in a cave. Fortunately there was an option to wear a wet suit. (we chose not to wear a wet suit). Because it is a natural aquifer, you are required to “shower” before you go into the cave. So don’t even bother putting on sunscreen or bug spray. You will need to wash it off.

After the cave exploration, they serve lunch. YUMMY. We have rice, beans, soup, pork, juice, fruit and salad. You also have an option to purchase the photos that were taken. We bought them and I am happy we did. Sure, some will complain about he cost…but……I wanted to capture the excursion. After lunch we were transported back to the shopping area of Cozumel. We had about 2 hours of free time before the scheduled ferry back to the island and our ship. The shopping time created some “issues” and anger from some. It was mentioned in the tour description that this tour included shopping in Play Del Carmen. For free time, you could shop, hang out at bar/restaurant or the beach. The ferry was a chartered ferry for LOS and was part of the cost of the excursion. The good news is the ferry held 300+ passengers and even though we were on the last one and it was 45 minutes late to the ship….the ship waited for ALL of us to get back. The bad news, it was the only option unless you wanted to take a public ferry and pay the difference. So just make sure you read the full description of the excursions you book rather than waste time/energy complaining.
MLevin’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7280
Great cabin. Mid ship. Clean and comfy. Loved having a balcony.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Lamanai Mayan Ruins
    Fabulous. Highly recommend. Edgar and Gion were fantastic. Ruins were amazing.
    We selected Lamani and the Amazing River Cruise. FANTASTIC. Again because we booked this through the cruise ship, we were on the first tender off the ship. Everything was organized to a tee. Once off the tender, we met our guides Edgar and Gion who escorted us to a nice air-conditioned bus. The bus ride to the river is an hour long. While not tremendously scenic, it was informative as Edgar explained the history and culture of the Mayan people. It was wild driving in Belize. I am not quite sure there are speed limits or rules on the road. Never felt unsafe…but it was a crazy drive. We then arrived at the dock were we boarded a speedboat that took us on a tour (45 minutes each way) down the river to the Lamani dock. The boat ride was very interesting to see the landscape, birds and wildlife. We even saw an enormous black crocodile. Lamani was stunning. Edgar and Gion gave us great information about the ruins. We were even able to climb to the top of the temple.
    Unfortunately our tour ran late and rather than having a leisure lunch back at the dock, we had to take our food to go and eat on the bus. I am sure there will be others on the tour who will complain about it…but I would much rather eat my lunch on the bus than risk not making the tender back to the ship. We had about 30 minutes to spare to board the LAST tender. So again……book through the ship and you will be guaranteed not to miss the ship. Great tour…highly recommends it and hope you get Edgar and Gion as your tour guides.
    View All 119 Lamanai Mayan Ruins Reviews
  • Costa Maya
    So much fun.
    We wanted to giggle and have a simple day so we selected the Mayan Kingdom Park. We went for the full package allowing us access to all of the slides, zip lines and water park. Yes, it was a man made jungle and park but we had a blast. I LOVED the zip lines. Kevin loved the slides and said a few of the ones I did not go one were super scary but fun. I would have enjoyed more time there…but oh well. The people in Costa Maya are lovely. Very nice!
    View All 13,595 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Amazing River & Cavern Explore
    Book through the cruise line. This is an ALL day excursion. Don't risk running late and being left at port.

    There were so many choices for excursions but we really wanted to see a cave. We therefore selected the Amazing Secret River excursion. KUDOS to the tour operator for a well-organized excursion. Again, we were on the first ferry to the main land to meet our tour. Once on Cozumel we were met by Vero and Miguel. They broke us into 4 groups for the duration of the tour. We were escorted to nice air-conditioned vans to travel to Rio Secreto. This is an AMAZING place. The cave and Secret River is one of the largest aquifers in the world. Our tour leader was Jorge. To be honest, I was terrified about this excursion. I am claustrophobic and have asthma. I was worried that I would get freaked out or have an asthma attack when we were down in the cave. I mentioned this to Jorge. He comforted me and let me know he was a certified cave diver as well as a paramedic. He encouraged that I bring my inhaler just in case. As we started the tour in the cave he kept me close by and checked on my frequently. After about 10 minutes I assured him I was ok and thanked him. He also kept another participant who did not know how to swim close by too. We all had life vests on but he wanted to ensure she felt safe. Safety is their number one priority. From ensuring we had the proper gear on (life vests and helmets with lights), they checked our equipment before we headed down to the cave. Once in the cave we traversed through looking at all the stalagmites and formations. We waded and floated through the water. The entire time a photographer followed us, snapping photos. While I would have loved to have my gopro with us, it is not allowed. Focus on where we are walking, making sure we are safe is the priority. The rock formations are sharp; there are rocks and some odd drops…that is why no cameras are allowed. Made sense to me. This is an outstanding excursion. I HIGHLY recommend it. One note: wear a bathing suit. Once family on the excursions for some reason did not wear or bring swimsuits. Not sure what they were thinking knowing we were going into water in a cave. Fortunately there was an option to wear a wet suit. (we chose not to wear a wet suit). Because it is a natural aquifer, you are required to “shower” before you go into the cave. So don’t even bother putting on sunscreen or bug spray. You will need to wash it off.

    After the cave exploration, they serve lunch. YUMMY. We have rice, beans, soup, pork, juice, fruit and salad. You also have an option to purchase the photos that were taken. We bought them and I am happy we did. Sure, some will complain about he cost…but……I wanted to capture the excursion. After lunch we were transported back to the shopping area of Cozumel. We had about 2 hours of free time before the scheduled ferry back to the island and our ship. The shopping time created some “issues” and anger from some. It was mentioned in the tour description that this tour included shopping in Play Del Carmen. For free time, you could shop, hang out at bar/restaurant or the beach. The ferry was a chartered ferry for LOS and was part of the cost of the excursion. The good news is the ferry held 300+ passengers and even though we were on the last one and it was 45 minutes late to the ship….the ship waited for ALL of us to get back. The bad news, it was the only option unless you wanted to take a public ferry and pay the difference. So just make sure you read the full description of the excursions you book rather than waste time/energy complaining.
    View All 140 Amazing River & Cavern Explore Reviews
  • Galveston
    Port was a 45 minute drive for us. Embarkaton was simple and quick
    View All 671 Galveston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Galveston Cruise Port Review