Sunday, October 1, 2017

Liberty of the Seas Review October 1, 2017

Liberty of the Seas Review  

October 1, 2017

Just The Facts

Ship:  Liberty of the Seas
Sailing:  October 1, 2017
Captain: James MacDonald
Cruise Director: Drew Devine
Ports: Galveston - Isla Roatan, Honduras - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico - Galveston
Weather:  Very nice typical Caribbean weather

This is my 24th Royal Caribbean cruise, third time on the Liberty of the Seas, and my 131st cruise overall.  I am sailing solo.

Day One—Sunday—Embarkation

View from Diamond Lounge of Breeze sailing past
I enjoyed the leaving/arriving later scenario on the previous Galveston cruises so did so again.  There are so many VIP’s that it now actually creates more problems at embarkation…so the later arrival is a much smoother process. I left the ranch about 7:30 am and headed south to Galveston arriving at EZ Cruise parking about 12:15. Galveston was very busy today, but I was shuttled over to the Liberty of the Seas fairly quickly. I was after the initial boarding rush and zipped through security and check in and was on board about 1:00 pm. I went directly to the cabin on deck six and since I rolled my bag on board with me I began stowing away some items.  I went up to the Windjammer and got a plate of Cuban Chicken, Vegetables, and Mashed Potatoes.  Also easier to wait until 1:30 pm when cabins open so that you can get a seat in Windjammer.  After my late lunch I returned to the cabin and finished unpacking and cabin set up.  I purchase the premium Zoom internet package ($85 with discount) so watched part of the Dallas Cowboys game online until time for muster drill about 3:30 pm.  Fortunately my muster station  A1 was located in the Star Lounge just one deck below my cabin so I could sit.  After dismissal it was easy to go up stairs to deck 6 nice as all the elevators were packed as usual after drill.  Soon Wilbort, from Nicaragua, my cabin Steward for the week came by to introduce himself…I think he will be fine.  I requested ice and he soon brought a robe, some cookies, coke, and bottled water as part of the D+ goodies. About 5:00 pm I went up to The Diamond Lounge and the Viking Crown Lounge for cocktails.  We were sailing along side of the Carnival Breeze so that was nice as were the Cosmopolitan cocktails.  I ran into some friends I’d recently sailed with on the Breeze so it was fun and I probably had too many complementary cocktails but that’s kind of a first evening tradition that many guests follow.  I have 8:00 pm seating in the Michelangelo MDR on deck four.  There was one other couple at the six-top table.  I ordered the Eggplant & Artichoke Tart, French Onion Soup, and the Seafood Spaghetti (bay scallops, mussels, shrimp, peas with a lemon-chardonnay reduction) entree.  Carrot cake for dessert.  The Welcome Show with a Comedian was this evening, but after a long busy day I retired to the cabin after dinner. It was a fun first day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Two—Monday—at Sea
Lifeguards now on duty
Rolling seas overnight and a very restful night.  The weather is beautiful today with blue skies and scattered  clouds.  I slept very well until 9:00 am in my nice dark interior cabin then went down to the MDR for breakfast just before the 9:30 am close…barely made it and they closed at 10:00 am last year so that’s a change.  I ordered three Eggs over easy with sides of bacon, hash browns, and Pancakes…all very good.  My cabin was already cleaned when I returned and a bit later he brought four new pillows fresh from the package.  Nice.  I worked on this review and caught up on the terrible news from Las Vegas this morning.  About 1:30 pm I did a walkabout of the ship walking around deck 11 then down to deck 5 and the Promenade.  The pool areas were very busy and I noticed the new lifeguards at all four of the pools.  I was stopped by a family that recognized me from my Blog, they were complementary of my reviews and I really enjoyed their thoughts on the Liberty of the Seas as it was their first RCCL cruise.  I discovered on Facebook that I have other friends on board, but haven’t seen them as yet.  I had a late lunch in the Windjammer, they had ribs on the carving station but I had some Asian chicken, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.  They had my favorite Oatmeal and Raisin cookies so I took a supply back to the cabin.  Cabin time and watching news until preparing for cocktails about 7:00 pm in the Diamond lounge.  Not near as many people in the Lounge this evening perhaps some attending the Captains Welcome and complementary Champagne Toast on the Promenade deck.  Tonight is the Captains night dinner in the MDR and I ordered the Bay Scallops Gratin, the Artichoke filled Crepe Au Gratin and the Carved Filet of Beef Tenderloin entree.  All were very good especially the beef.  For dessert I ordered the Sky-high Lemon Meringue Pie.  Two production shows and the featured late adult comedy show was tonight, but I retired to the cabin and watched the comedians performance from the Welcome Show on Sunday.  I really enjoyed watching from my big bed with four new pillows.  It was a great relaxing sea day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Three—Tuesday—at Sea
Salad Station for MDR lunch
Rolling seas again overnight, but we are crossing into the Caribbean this morning so supposed to be a bit smoother today.  Nice sunshine and breezy.  I slept very well and late again.  I didn’t want to rush to the MDR for breakfast so closed my eyes and did go back to sleep.  Very restful morning.  I went to the MDR for a very nice lunch about 11:45 am.  I always enjoy the excellent Salad Bar and I ordered the pasta of the day:  Farfalle with choice of tomato or meat sauce.  My dessert, the Brazo De Mercedes, is new to me and absolutely fantastic.  I love soft desserts anyway and this is a light (soft) meringue roulade filled with crème pâtissière.  Amazing.  Time for a walkabout the ship and you can see the Yucatan coast of Mexico on our starboard side.  I also found the red dog and the brass dog, the brass dog used to be at the Windjammer entry (among other places) but is now on the Promenade deck next the Next Cruise offices.  The big Red Dog is now chained at his usual deck 6 location so can't be moved about as some crew and even guests tended to do on a whim.  They delivered some h'ordorves to the cabin (only so-so) and at 4:30 I went up to the Sky Bar and got two Diet Cokes (on my Diamond card) for the cabin for my snacks.  I did go to the Diamond lounge for some cocktails then went to the Ice Show: Encore-An Ice Spectacular with friends at 6:30 just making it in time for the reserved Diamond+ seating.  The ice show was fantastic.  Same show as last year yet so much better than on the Mariner last month.  I especially loved the ‘Carmen opera’ and ‘modern US music' segments of the show.  Time for a quick cocktail before dinner back in the Diamond Lounge and then friends joined me for dinner since I knew my table mates had other plans so I wouldn’t eat alone.  Very nice of them and dinner was good…I ordered the Crab Cake, the daily Pasta as a starter, the Braised Beef Duo, and Cherry’s Jubilee for dessert.  I again retired to the cabin after dinner.  I actually found the Fox News TV channel, good to see more options.  I reviewed plans for our first port and decided to let weather decide the schedule for tomorrow.   It was a nice easy sea day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Four—Wednesday—Isla Roatan,  Honduras
Beers and Lunch in Coxen Hole, Isla Roatan, Honduras
Calm seas overnight and I slept very well.  The forecast was for rain today so I decided to stay on board and slept in until 9:00ish.  It actually is a very nice partly cloudy day with only scattered clouds with a hint of rain…very nice for those going ashore.  I went to the Windjammer for breakfast and had Tex-Mex Scrambled eggs with Jalapeno and Salsa…very good actually.  Also Ham from the carving station, toast, and bacon with Orange juice.  With most off the ship I spent some time in the Solarium swimming pool.  I spoke with the lifeguard and he said they have been on duty for the past 6 months on the Liberty of the Seas.  I don’t recall seeing them on the Mariner last month but they may have been there.  About noon I left the ship and walked through the improved port area of Coxen Hole and towards old town of Coxen Hole.  I stopped at the LookOut Bar (and restaurant) to enjoy a few nice local Salva Vida beers. I ended up ordering a fresh fish platter consisting of a whole fried red snapper, peas & rice, a Caribbean slaw, and wonderful Plantains.  A great lunch. I relaxed after boarding and soon we were sailing away from Coxen Hole.  Just after sail way the Captain announced that due to the tropical storm forming just south of us we would likely be unable to make our Friday port of Cozumel.  My only real plans are for there but looks like no haircut, Woody’s Bar or medications this trip. Disappointing.  I went to the R Bar just for a change of scenery and enjoyed an aperitif before going up to the Diamond Club.  Dinner had a surprise, in addition to my order (Pasta as starter and Seafood Grill entree) the Head Waiter brought nice plate of grilled Scallops and also Hearts of Palm to the table.  They were fantastic. I ordered the Key Lime pie for dessert. I had some wonderful food today in Isla Roatan and on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Five—Thursday—Puerto Costa Maya,  Mexico
The long cruise pier at Puerto Costa Maya
Fair seas overnight a bit rougher as we approached the port.  I slept well and was curious about the  weather so went for a very early breakfast in the Windjammer.  They had fresh salmon on carving station (I passed) and I again had the Tex-Mex eggs, bacon, potatoes, corned beef hash, and milk.  It is very humid with lots of clouds and I saw rain as well so I decided to stay on board ship today.  Back to the cabin for a nice sleep.  About 10:30 am I went up to the Solarium and got a lounger by an open window and nice view of the Costa Maya port for a few hours.  Nice ocean breeze and still very cloudy.  Many guests went ashore, but many stayed on board.  At 1:30 I went to the Windjammer for an excellent lunch: I had pork loin with applesauce from the carving station, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, a Pasta plate with linguine and rotini with both bolognese and tomato sauce.  I may have underestimated the pasta dishes…it was better than my primary lunch plate.  No dessert with that filling luncheon.  After lunch I got a table on Main Lido deck again by an open window and view.  The Caribbean water is beautiful today and many colors due to different types of clouds with peaks of sunshine…the afternoon weather would be great if you were in the water.  We started getting a little moisture before we sailed away so I returned to the cabin about 3:30 pm.  I’m sure the Captain is anxious to leave, the Magic has long sailed.  As we sailed the Captain gave us an update:  he will sail north at full speed for the next 6-8 hours that should keep us well ahead of Nate.  I guess we’ll have to sail in circles once we get to Texas or he may just dock a day early on Saturday for safety.  I went up to the Sky Bar to get three Cokes on my Diamond card and they were showing the ALDS baseball game on the big screen so I stayed and enjoyed that in the now nice cool sea breeze.  A lot of Astros fans on board so it was fun.  I had time for just a couple of aperitifs in the Diamond Club before dinner.  Tonight it was Italian night in the dining room. I ordered the Insalata Mista salad and added my special Hearts of Palm.  Also Pan Seared Scallops, the Lasagna del Forno (with two sauces) as a starter, and the Chicken Marsala entree.  I had the Tiramisu and excellent Sticky Bun served with Ice creme for dessert.  A nice stay-on-the-ship day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Six—Friday—at Sea
Sky Bar on Liberty of the Seas
A bit of rolling seas last night and I slept very well.  This was originally going to be our port day in Cozumel, but due to Tropical Storm Nate moving north on our tail we had to cancel and keep sailing north to stay ahead of Nate…may still catch us when it becomes a hurricane tomorrow.  I was up early enough to go to the MDR for a very nice breakfast, I ordered the Eggs Benedict with sides of hash browns and bacon.  I also had Pancakes and hot milk….very nice.  Not too busy on outer decks this morning I think most guests are relaxing.  The Captain gave us an update on TS Nate at his noon announcements.  We were able to get 300 miles north of the center by sailing at full speed last night, but today Nate will be moving faster than the Liberty and will begin closing on us.  I had a Pepperoni slice from Sorrento’s for lunch and got cookies for later in the cabin. The Captain has found some sun and has slowed to a crawl as we head north.  The Carnival Breeze has now joined us and sailing parallel so we may be out of risk from TS Nate.  Many guests now enjoying the outer deck although they have closed most of the slides and sports…all pools open.  I had a very late lunch in the Windjammer: Tex-Mex BBQ Chicken, mixed Vegetables, Mashed potatoes, and Spaghetti in spicy tomato creme sauce.  Spent time watching baseball and working on some projects the rest of the afternoon until I went down at 5:00 pm to get some Coke and ended up with two slices of Pizza from Sorrento's.  Pizza Day.  Tonight is the feature show Saturday Night Fever in the Platinum Theater.  This is a big theatrical production with great sets and costumes not just song and dance routines.  The large cast of singers and dancers are very good and this is a show not to be missed if you have not seen it.  I have seen it so time for aperitifs before dinner in the Diamond Lounge.  For dinner I ordered the Three-cheese Tortellini (pasta as starter), and both the Lobster and Prime Rib entrees with the Grand Manier Soufflé for dessert.  This was Quest night and also a late comedy show as well.  There was a lot of activity on board.  A nice sea day although I would have preferred our port call in Cozumel.

Day Seven--Saturday--at Sea
Fair seas overnight and I slept very well…until 9:30 am in fact on this mostly overcast day. This is college football Saturday so that is the plan today.  I wore my Oklahoma Sooners football Hawaiian shirt to the Windjammer for another nice breakfast of scambled eggs, bacon, ham, and more.  OU has the early 11:00 am game today and I'm very disappointed that they still show European soccer on board on Saturday and not American football.  Probably would not have shown OU anyway as it’s on Fox this week, but to not show the ESPN or ABC broadcast games is wrong.  I could not get the televised game streaming probably not enough bandwidth and it was cloudy.  I was able to live stream both the Radio and Stat feeds.  That was pretty good considering OU was upset.  Disney Cruise Line has great college football Saturdays in their lounge, but Disney own ESPN and ABC and broadcast ALL the games. When the Captain made his final noon report he said it will be cloudy the rest of the day but the now Hurricane Nate is east of us heading towards NOLA and we are currently just south of Galveston.  He said we will go in a little early tomorrow morning docking about 6:30 am.  We did had a mix of rain and sun in the afternoon.  I had a very late light lunch and scored some more Raisin Oatmeal cookies.  Soon it was off to say farewell to friends made in the Diamond lounge and final Cosmopolitans for the cruise.  Final dinner tonight was good, I ordered the Conchiglioni Pasta (as a starter), Shrimp Gyoza (Japanese shrimp dumplings, bok choy, oyster mushrooms, shittake mushrooms, & ponzu sauce),   and the Grilled Pork Chop entree with Strawberry Kiwi Pavlova for dessert.  I retired after dinner to do some packing and watch some football.  It was a busy and great final day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Smooth seas overnight and we were docked well ahead of the Captain’s time stated yesterday.  Even though we were early, Customs opened later.  It was a mess.  Over an hour in line from ship to final US Customs.  At least we no longer need a Customs Declaration Form, just your ID.  I took the EZ Cruise shuttle to the car and I was on my way about 9:50 am. (Galveston Raceway gas price $2.25) and off the island about 10:00 am. I took I-45 to the Beltway, to 290, to Highway 6 to Bosque County.  Home at the ranch about 3:15 pm..

I have cabin 6221 an interior cabin forward on deck six on starboard side.  The room is a standard size interior with: key pad safe, hair dryer, refrigerator (empty), small couch, full chair at vanity/desk, nice sliding shower door, and good lighting. Another great feature was the flat screen TV that could be adjusted to view from anywhere in the room.  Very well designed.  The air conditioning & water pressure worked well, but I’m glad I brought my personal cabin fan for circulation.

Overall very good. My cabin steward Wilbort, from Nicaragua was very adequate I always had ice and clean cabin.  My MDR wait team, waiter Vasti from India and her assistant Joel from the Philippines, were very good.  The three bartenders in the Diamond Lounge were fantastic.

My assigned 8:00 pm dining room was the Michelangelo Dining Room, deck four the mid level of the 3 level restaurant. Only one very nice couple and myself for the week.  The bread and appetizers were good, the entrees were from fair to very good depending on item.  The Windjammer is the buffet  area and the quality of food was good.   Room service now charges a fee for cabin delivery other than continental breakfast.  Johnny Rockets Soda Shop is a good alternative for lunch or afternoon snack…not near as good as Carnivals free Guy’s Burgers. Lunch in the Sapphire Dining Room has the same menu each day with one special item that does change daily. I believe breakfasts were the best meals.  There are several ice crème and yogurt machines on Lido deck.  The Cookies on this ship are outstanding my favorite was Oatmeal raisin.

Highlights of the Cruise
Diamond Lounge and Friends in Diamond Lounge
Ice Show
Fresh red snapper lunch in Coxen Hole Honduras

Thank you for reading.  As an older/experienced cruiser my activities will be much different from a newer cruiser as I will be doing fewer things on board simply because of the 'been there done that' factor. There is a variety of Activities, Shows, and Entertainment on board ship, but frankly I don't have the energy as I once did...Priorities do change over time. I do still love to cruise!!

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