Cruises

A Cruise Convert – How Liberty of the Seas Changed My Opinion of Cruise Vacations

If you would have told me last year that I would have volunteered to chaperone my son’s senior trip on a cruise to the Caribbean, I would have said you’re mental.  I don’t like boats and always turn 50 shades of green whenever I’m on any kind of water vessel – even when well-medicated with Dramamine.  Besides, I don’t like crowds and I don’t like buffet lines – both of which I strongly associated with cruise vacations.

Well fast forward to last fall, when the call came from the school saying they really needed parents to sign-up for this little excursion.  I forgot my issues with boats and seasickness and happily signed up!  It was my son’s last year of high school after all, and spending as much time with him as possible, was very high on my list of priorities.

Thankfully, many of the parents that were going on this trip were seasoned cruisers and helped me prepare well for this vacation (see “Ultimate Planning Guide for First Time Cruisers.”)  They also very kindly sent me tons of information about the ship we were traveling on, which helped me to quickly get over any last-minute misgivings I had about traveling on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

I am a random facts person and so I found it oddly comforting to know that our ship was HUGE!  It accommodated almost 5,000 guests and over 1,300 crew members.  It also had 14 guest decks (15 decks total) and had about 1,899 staterooms.  Knowing that we would be traveling on something this substantial helped to greatly diminish any anxiety I had about floating around in the middle of the ocean.

I was still a little worried about the buffet lines and that trough feeding and nausea were going to completely ruin this vacation.  Fortunately, Liberty of the Seas had more than enough

variety to accommodate almost anyone’s food preferences or dietary needs.  In fact, our group signed up for the ship’s formal dinner every evening while we were there.  Our gourmet meal consisted of three courses where we could choose from a wide variety of soups/salads, entrees, and desserts.  Each evening we were presented with a different menu!  It was a real treat to have such a nice sit-down dinner in their gorgeous 3-level dining room.  The guys on the trip loved this dinner because it was also all you can eat.  One of my son’s friends ate eight lobster tails one evening! Yikes!

Here are some of the dining options that the ship offered:

Casual Dining

  • Windjammer Café (buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner; complimentary)
  • Sorrento’s (Italian lunch and dinner; complimentary)
  • Café Promenade (breakfast, lunch, and dinner; complimentary_
  • Johnny Rockets (50s American Diner – lunch and dinner)
  • Cupcake Cupboard (1940s café – in addition to fresh-baked cupcakes, they also offer classes and parties)

Smart Casual

  • 3 – Level Main Dining Room (Complimentary; recommended reservations for fabulous multi-course dinner; menu – global)
  • Chops Grille (Steak House; lunch and dinner; reservations recommended for dinner)
  • Giovanni’s Table (Gourmet Italian; lunch and dinner)
  • Sabor Modern Mexican

Elegant/Formal

  • Chef’s table (Reservations only; five-course elegant meal complete with wine pairings. Chef presents and educates guests about the food and its preparations.)

Picture of the Promenade inside Liberty of the Seas.

Promenade inside Liberty of the Seas

During sea days, the pool deck was the place to be.  It had an aqua park for kids and an adults’ only pool.  They also had several hot tubs to enjoy, as well as two giant water slides, and a surf simulator called the Flowrider.  When we didn’t want to hang out by the pool, we went rock climbing or played a couple of rounds of miniature golf.

Here were some of the other activities and services that were available on Liberty of the Seas:

other activities and services

  • Ice skating
  • Sports court
  • Fitness classes and gym
  • Full-service Spa
  • Dance classes
  • Tour of ship
  • Cupcake classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Arcade
  • Guest lectures on a wide variety of topics
  • Shopping

In the evening, the fun didn’t end with a delicious dinner.  There were so many things to choose from, that it was honestly hard to decide.  Our group went to almost all of the shows and enjoyed their movie nights as well.  If that’s not for you, then here is a list of the other activities that were offered each night:

  • Broadway productions as well as original productions
  • Guest entertainers
  • Ice-skating shows
  • Wine tasting
  • Mystery Dinner Theater
  • Game shows
  • Karaoke Bar
  • Pub Performances
  • Live Band Performances and Discos
  • Casino

In addition to all the dining options, Liberty of the Seas, had a wide variety of bars and pubs:

  • Solarium Bar
  • R Bar
  • Vintages
  • Pool Bar
  • Diamond Club
  • English Pub
  • Schooner Bar
  • Boleros
  • Suite Lounge

During port days, our time was well spent.  Because we were traveling with a large group, we booked our excursions months in advance.  You do have the option to wait until you’re on board to work with the concierge.  They do a phenomenal job trying to find the right trip for you and your interests and there are a wide variety of outings to choose from.

While we were in Roatan, Honduras, we visited the Gumbalimba Nature Preserve and went on a zip line rainforest canopy tour.  The zip line and the nature preserve were amazing, but the beach that we visited afterward was not.  It was dirty and sadly there were people selling drugs and women propositioning the students (yikes!)  We left rather quickly!

On our second port day, we went to Costa Maya, Mexico.  Due to bad weather conditions, our original tour was canceled but the kids were still able to go swimming with dolphins which they thoroughly enjoyed.  My friend and I decided to go on a tour of the Chacchoben Mayan ruins.  It was a beautiful drive on an airconditioned bus in a very remote area.  The ruins were well preserved and surrounded by a lush forest.  Although there were quite a few people visiting, the whole experience was surprisingly peaceful and quiet.

On our last port day, we went snorkeling in Cancun.  The weather was rainy, so the water was choppy and there were more than a few of us who were a little green during this excursion.  Thankfully, the non-drowsy Dramamine kicked in for me and I was able to enjoy most of the day.  The guides were friendly and did a great job pointing out the marine life surrounding us.  We were able to snorkel in three different locations where we had plenty of room to swim and explore.  After snorkeling, we spent the rest of the day shopping and enjoying the local cuisine.  Initially, I was a little hesitant about eating the food, but who can resist a margarita and fish tacos in Cancun!

My first cruise vacation was an unexpected surprise.  I loved the entire experience and felt like this trip had excellent value.  The accommodations were very nice, the food was delicious, the staff and crew were extremely helpful, and the sea and port days were filled with so many fun memories.  Both the parents and the students had a marvelous time!  In fact, many of us are planning our next cruise vacation!

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Waterproof Phone Pouch

Women’s Water Shoes

Non-drowsy Dramamine

Ginger Candy

Snorkeling Mask

Fanny Pack

Products:

Waterproof Phone Pouch

This waterproof phone pouch is a must-have while on the beach, snorkeling, and was also helpful while we were zip lining through the rainforest canopy!

Women’s Water Shoes

This water shoe worked great while at the beach and on the boat when we were snorkeling.  Light-weight, comfortable, quick-drying, and packs easily in your suitcase and day pack.

Non-drowsy Dramamine

I honestly didn’t need this while on the ship.  However, it definitely came in handy while we were on our boat during our snorkeling excursion.  The weather was a bit rainy and the water was very choppy that day.

Ginger Candy

This candy tastes great and also helped with some of the nausea I was experiencing.

Snorkeling Mask

I get a little grossed out using other people’s snorkeling equipment, so I brought my own and had a wonderful fog-free, unobstructed view of everything while we were snorkeling in the water.

Fanny Pack

Go ahead and laugh!  I know I did when my seasoned cruise buddy told me to purchase one of these.  This fanny pack does a good job holding the essentials and was pretty useful on the zip line.

 

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