First time cruise with kids...The Do's and Dont's we learned: Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by nofitpitchin

Liberty of the Seas 5
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First time cruise with kids...The Do's and Dont's we learned

Sail Date: February 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I'm a mom of 4 and love planning events and researching the best deals I can get. So when we decided to take our two boys (8 and 6) and our two teenage girls (13 and 15) on a cruise, I was determined to get our money's worth and milk every ounce of fun out of every minute so that we would arrive home totally exhausted and have a lingering "fun-buzz". Got home last nt....everyone exhausted with smiles still plastered on faces...Mission accomplished!

Royal Caribbean is almost the whole package. We heard from many folks RC is "more regal" than the rest. We are use to the "Disneyfied" cleanliness w/ us being from Orlando and RC has it down pat. They keep this ship so tidy. I'm a neat freak so I really loved this aspect!!

Food- I love food. I'm easy to please and enjoy the finer fare as well as a sloppy burger from a mom and pop shop anywhere. I don't indulge very often but when I do I make sure I get the most out of my splurges. The main dining room is where you will More find your best quality of food, including breakfasts. The Windjammer is a quick place to sample a variety of sub par ethnic foods, make a quick salad or get an average burger. If you are looking for good desserts, you better fill up at the Cheesecake Factory before you won't find anything like mom makes. I got a banana split thinking "they can't mess this up, right?" It was literally a melted scoop of choc. icecream w/ a split banana. That's it. No cherry, no whipped cream, just a split banana laying under some thin watery ice cream. All of the rest of the desserts around the boat had the same fluffy texture. What's with all the fully stuff in clear cups everywhere? Bring some Dove chocolates if you think you might have a chocolate attack. Or maybe if you spend extra money for the specialty restaurants you can get quality treats?

My Time Dining- You have to pay gratuities up front to select this option and I hear it fills up so book this option before you leave if you think you want it. We liked this. We were even able to keep the same waiter and have our own private table each night. Loved it!!! Make sure you call them right when you think you won't make your time you chose. You may lose your table and have to sit somewhere else if you arrive too late.

Shows- We saw "In The Air" Kids liked it a lot. I liked half of the numbers. Some were good, some were "cruse ship style" corny entertainment...oh wait...we were on a cruse Well, then, it was great!

The Adventure Club- This was the bomb for our competitive little guys. Lots of games and activities. Our 6yo. cried when we picked him up the first evening cause he didn't want to leave. Yeah for "Ms. Biscuit!" She was the best!! No worries about security either.

Teen Activities- Teens are hard to please anyways. Especially if they aren't connected to a group. My hope was that they'd meet a few new friends but they really didn't. They said the events were "lame". I suppose that is fine with me since our goal was to build some family unity anyways. :) We did let them wander around the ship until midnight so that was fun in itself. Ice rink was full when they wanted to go so encourage your youth to get there when it opens. I think the girls just liked people watching and stalking the cute guys. :) They primped like it was prom night every night.

Staff- For the most part, the employees were great! Very accommodating and friendly that is until you meet the bar tenders at the pool bar. I think they need to take a cruse themselves and chill out. Consistently they were very rude and uptight. Everyone else was pleasant.

Drinks- Most fruity drinks will cost you $8-$9 each. Very little liquor in them. Beers $4. We will bring our own coozies next time as the beers warmed up quickly, or maybe we should just drink faster. :) We found a bottle of wine at the main dining room for $23 and brought it back to our room. You can do that and they'll even open it for you and give you glasses to take back. (most bottles are $30 and up)

Family Feeling- My hubby and I noticed there was no "college spring break" feel on this cruise. Ahhh... Even the "Best Biceps Contest" for women by the pool was 5 middle aged moms strutting their stuff. lol! (I was one of them...Got the highest votes for my belly dancing! lol!)It was so family friendly. Only one thong was spotted on the whole boat...unless my hubby saw another one and just didn't tell me....hmmm...

Decor-Sort of weird photographers self expression type expo. decor around the boat. Our 8th floor was decorated as a magicians theme. Pictures of Halloween pumpkins and witches, ghosts, magicians etc. lined the halls. Sort of out of place and confusing but not totally in your face. Just enough to freak my girls out. Boys were too short to notice.


Room Service- After our excursion days, we grabbed the phone right when we got in and ordered some munchies to eat while everyone took turns w/ the shower before dinner. (had coffee delivered and some breakfast foods for our early risers in the mornings too before we all headed to main dining room)

Bring an adapter to make more outlets in your space. Had I known the only outlet was under my mirror in the whole cabin I would have even brougt an extension cord just to get the girls out of our room. The primping was like Ms. America behind the scenes...curling irons, flat irons, make up, jewlery all over my desk. Geesh! Adapters also were great for camera and cell phone charging all at once.

Dollar Tree Organizers- Great to keep toothbrushes neatly stored on bathroom sink without being knocked off onto the floor or having to keep multiple over nt. bags in the tight bathroom space. Also used foldable organizers for desk top-stored sunglasses, cameras, sea pass cards...

Self Carry Check out- No hassle. Can keep your luggage with you. Not bad going thru halls or down elevators on way out. The 1st floor was packed like sardines but we only waited for 10 min or so to get out. Not bad.

Would Hire the Luggage Carriers to wheel bags through terminal on our way out next time...our bags were falling over on the turns, boys whinig, girls giving shoulders are still sore. Would have been worth the $5 or whatever.

Get up early to stake out your chairs by the pool. They say they don't allow it but everyone does it and your hosed if you wait too long. We put our towels from home down and then had brkfst.

Shampoo/Conditioner-bring your own. Its a combo mix in a dispenser they provide.

I.D. for little ones. They don't have I.D. tags for elem. kids in the Adventure club so I made necklaces that the boys wore for the entire trip. Walmart carries lockets in the jewlery making dept. that were pirate themed. I put in our boat info. and emergency numbers just in case we got seperated at any poiont.

Search ebay for Crown and Anchor society coupons. You can save $10 on photos, get a free bingo card or get free pull on some slot machines...etc.

Medicines-Bring anything you think your kids may need. Very expensive on ship and not a lot of selection.

Ft Lauderdale Later Flight Out- We hired "Another U Concierge Service LLC" to pick us up at the port, take us to Hollywood Boardwalk for a few hrs of beach play, and take us to the airport by 2pm. Beats waiting for 5 hrs at the airport for our flight. Best $50 we ever spent! (we all took quick outdoor showers at the beach before we headed to airport) They kept our luggage for us and even found some coupons we could use for lunch. We played in the fountains, rented some chairs, walked to a pizza was a cool spot! Lisa and Bill are the bomb! I checked into FLL airport with my wet bathing suit and cover-up still on...we totally squeezed fun out of every minute we had on this vacation!

I think I covered everything and more. Hope this helps in your planning!! We can't wait for our next family cruise! Less

Published 02/26/12
2 Helpful Votes

Cabin review: FO8200 Family Oceanview Stateroom

8200 is the bomb! So much space for a large family like ours. Two huge closets with shelves. Two desk areas. Large floor to ceiling mirror. Needed outlets outside of master sleeping area. Two t.v.s. Three large windows looking right out to the front of the ship. Foot stools are storage areas. Great for kids toys and blankets so they don't get made up in the sofa bed. This room is awesome. Loved it!!

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Port and Shore Excursions

Belize- We booked the ATV/Cave tubing tour with The ship didn't offer tubing for our little guys and frankly it was more expensive too. Because of this, we were allowed to get off the boat on the first tender!! Whoo Hoo! No waiting in the lounge with the other 1200 people for our numbers to be called. We loved this company!!! HUGE comfy bus to take you to the excursion destination. Funny tour guide, Speedo, kept you giggling the whole ride and we didn't mind the taste of cashew wine on our ride. The ATV track thru the jungle was a blast...stop and go slow...but very fun none the less. Then they whisked you to the tubing site. (You can leave all your stuff on the bus.) You carried your tube on your head during a 30 min hike thru the jungle (the former homeschooling mom in me loved the educational info. we got along the hike!) The tubing was awesome...Safe for little hand held cameras. Just don't drop them in the water like we did! We didn't see any bats like I read in the reviews. Then they whisked us to an open air tiki-hut where the ATV's were for yummy chicken tamales. A few tables were set up w/ souvenirs to purchase and it was back to the port. Bring cash for tip. Negatives-Felt very rushed...could have been that I was over-seeing 4 kids and trying to snap photos the whole time..whew! But hubby agreed we were a bit rushed to pack in all the fun. Positives-Felt very safe and it was an awesome deal! Loved the relaxing drive into Belize, got to see some of the country. The staff was so friendly!! And we saved money!!

Cozumel-Morning at San Gervasio ruins with a trip to Playa Palancar Beach Club to snorkel and swim. If you have more than 5 in your family, forget the $120 taxi fare to San Gervasio and back, go for the jeep rental. $85 for the whole day. Don't be scared...Throw your kids in the back and go for it. (Bring CASH to pay for the rental). The roads are safe. Folks are friendly when you need directions and the island is pretty easy to navigate. (just know there are very few road signs, so you may need to stop to ask someone) It was awesome having this freedom. 25 min drive to San Gervasio from port. We loved the ruins! (No huge temples to climb but a very good first taste of Mayan culture) Boys loved the iguanas. Don't wear flip flops...rugged paths. Bring bug spray or wipes.
Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

Jeep Tour

When we were told it would be $120 for a taxi for our family of 6 to San Gervasio we almost choked. I convinced hubby to go to the Avis booth and just check it out. $80 for the whole day! Whoo Hoo! The Avis guy gave us directions to the ruins and when we got turned around the locals waking around were great at pointing us to San Gervasio. It's a 30 min ride from the port and well worth it. Hubby was nervous about "driving in Mexico" but this is really benign. No big deal and a lot more affordable and fun than hiring a local taxi/van and having someone waiting for you. We cranked up the tunes, had the sea air blowing thru our hair, grabbed some beers on the way from a road side restaurant, it was awesome! Can't say how easy and fun this spontaneous decision was! tip-Bring cash to pay for the rental!

Mayan Ruins

Hubby and I have been to Coba and Tulum. We knew this wasn't going to compare but we wanted our kids to have a taste of visiting ruins. It was very nice. The boys were entertained by all the iguanas and the girls were at an age where they really could apprecate what they were seeing. There are some great photo ops here. Bring a tripod, I ended up tipping over a garbage can to sit my camera one else was around. They also charge extra to bring in a video camera. $4. I wouldn't recommend flip flops as the paths are full of roots and broken rocks and stones. Had a very nice time there.


Playa Palancar Beach Club is what you think of when you think of a tropical paradise. It was beautiful and quaint. However, there is a warning...when you book a snorkel excursion thru them make sure you personally check in with them at least 40 min early. They decided to leave without us 30 min before our reservation! Yep. They had to call the boat back in and we rushed like crazy people to the crowded boat carrying our bags over our heads thru the water. They said "we had family not show yesterday so we think you no show"...ugh. They also said they were taking us to 2 reefs...not so. Only one and we had to swim like heck to fight the current from taking us away from the reef once we got there. Reef was ok. Good for first timers I guess. If you have a little one who likes the water, buy a little blow up inner tube. My boys bobbed around on them and we just pulled them along. There is no way they could have treaded water that long without the rafts. The crew was ok. They mentioned on the ad that there was 30 min free kayak time and we saw them laying in the sand but no one said anything about them. I'm sure if we weren't as rushed it would have been a better experience. The beach club itself made my nerves is gorgeous! Bring cash. They don't take Credit cards... Pros-Epitome of tropical paradise w/ hammocks, peacocks, fish tacos and music, scenery...Breath taking. Cons-Snorkel Tour-just the basic. get in, get out...Fight current. Difficult w/ smaller ones. Not reliable staff. **hint-bring some divers fish food (had some from a previous snorkel trip...can order it online now??) and swim off their beach. Lots of fish will surround you. Perfect for smaller kids and those who want to dabble in snorkeling w/o spending a ton of money or fighting currents. **We bought wetsuits on ebay due to "cold water" reviews. It was a good purchase!

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