My family and myself were on the January 2, 2011 Liberty of the Seas sailing. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale as coming from El Paso, Texas it is much less expensive than flying into Miami. We also like to fly in a few days early. I figure if I am going to fly that far I am going to make my trip as long as possible. We rented a car from National that I could then drop off at the Miami Airport. We stayed at the Homewood Suites. If you do not want to rent a car they do have a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport with additional services to area restaurants and shopping. The staff at the hotel were very helpful and friendly. We arrived at the port at 1:00 P.M. We waited in line for about 30 minutes for security. Once we were passed security the line for Diamond members passed quickly. We had been on this ship the previous year so we were familiar with the layout. We found our staterooms. We are a family of six so we had booked a balcony and two promenade inside staterooms. Our balcony was very nice. The inside cabins were a bit on the small side with little storage. For the two boys that was OK, but was a bit of a challenge for the two teenage girls.
Overall we had a wonderful time. There will never be the perfect cruise. We go with the attitude that any day not at work is a great day!! While I would say that the staff on Liberty was friendly, they just did not seem happy. Everyone always said hello , but it seemed more like they were told to say hello rather than just wanting to be friendly. We had an excellent stateroom attendant. I am sure that it was a challenge to keep up with my four children. Entertainment - The ice show and productions shows were awesome. It is amazing what those skaters can accomplish in such a small venue. The Royal Caribbean band was one of the best cruise bands we have ever heard. The singers and dancers were great. The weak point of this cruise was the main headliner. His name was Kenny James and was a winner in the 80's on Star Search. While he was a talented man, his show lacked pizazz. Maybe he needed back up singers? We had two comedians, both funny just wish we could have heard more from them.
Food - While we did not starve, we were not wowed by the food. We ate breakfast in the main dining room as I do not like fighting the crowds in the Windjammer. They have now set up a buffet line in the main dining room, so that you can order from the menu as well as choose items from the buffet. Lunch was either off the ship or in the Windjammer or Sorrentos. I believe that my boys consumed two pizzas a day as in between snacks!!! While the breakfast and lunch was good, dinner was slightly disappointing. We had nights when the soups and appetizers were better than the entree. It seems also that they have reduced the number of entree choices.
Inside promenade room is small. It is nice having the window and the two small couches. But it is difficult to negotiate around the twin beds. There is also very little storage space in these cabins.
We decided on a beach day. I had done some research on Cruise Critic but could not really get excited about any of the beach clubs. So we decided to wing it. On our way to the taxis, we were approached by a representative from the Tequila Beach Club. He charged $30 for the adults and $20 for the kids which included all you could drink with snacks. Snacks included chips and salsa, nachos, quesadillas and french fries. Drinks were OK. The boys enjoyed the kayaks. The girls enjoyed massages. They each received a 45 minute massage for $60. We were going to rent some jet-skis as they had quoted a pretty good price of $70 for one hour but after looking at the jet-skis we had decided they had seen better days. Sure enough later in the day several jet-skis had to be towed in.
We had booked online with cavetubing.bx. The owner is Vitalino Reyes Jr. Safety is a big concern with this company. For every 8 people they provide a guide. We were charged $45 per person which included all our equipment( life jacket, tube and lighted helmet) Water shoes were available for $3. We professionally guided through two cave systems. At the end the children were given the opportunity to jump off the cliff. When then stopped for a local lunch of jerk chicken and rice washed down with excellent rum punch. We highly recommend this company.
We went to Paradise Beach. One of our favorite stops. We have been going to Paradise Beach for years. Each year we see new improvements. This year they added a big, beautiful poo. The cost is $2 p/p which covers the beach chair and umbrella. The wrist band for the activities is $12. This includes the agua park, snorkeling, kayaks, floating mats, the coconut climb and the trampoline. What a deal!! We ordered nachos, chips and salsa, guacamole and a bucket of beer. Our tab was $37. The food was served quickly and was very good. Coming from El Paso we are use to good Mexican food. Massages were more expensive here, but we did the jet-sking. We rented the jet-ski for one hour, the charge was $110. We could not negotiate a better price.
We have been to Grand Caymen many times. I could not get excited about any of the excursions. We decided we would just wing it here as well. However that day the swells were so bad we were not able to port at Georgetown. We anchored on the other side of the island. Royal Caribbean did provide a shuttle for $7 round trip to get to town as we were about a 20 minutes away. We just decided to stay of the ship to enjoy it while everyone was off.