Monday, October 22, 2018

Liberty of the Seas Review - 21 October 2018

Liberty of the Seas Review  

October 21, 2018

Just The Facts
Ship:  Liberty of the Seas  /  Class and Type:  Freedom Class Cruise Ship
Maiden voyage: May 19, 2007  /  Tonnage:  155,889  /  Length: 1112 feet
Cruise Director: Marc
Ports: Galveston - Isla Roatan, Honduras - Belize City, Belize - Ilsa Cozumel, Mexico - Galveston
Weather:  Very nice typical fall Caribbean weather

This is my 4th time on the Liberty of the Seas, 28th Royal Caribbean cruise, and my 138th cruise overall.  I am sailing solo. I only booked a few days before sailing and it was a good value, enough that I had to do it.

Day One—Sunday—Embarkation
Liberty of the Seas - Staircase
I have enjoyed the leaving later and arriving later at the pier scenario on previous Galveston cruises so did so again.  There are so many VIP’s that it now actually creates problems at embarkation…so the later arrival is a much smoother process. I left the ranch about 7:45 am and headed south to Galveston arriving at EZ Cruise parking about 12:30 and 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 1:15 pm. Arriving after 1:00 pm  allows you to go directly to the cabin.  After dropping my bag I went up to the Windjammer and this too is an ideal time as most tables are full of guests until the cabins open so there were a lot of available tables at 1:30 pm.  I had Roast Beef from the carving station and a plate of Cuban Chicken, Green Beans, and Mashed Potatoes.  Then a selection of desserts as I visited with with a Matre’d about the specialty dining packages.  I actually decided to do the Ultimate Dining Package that includes all three premium dining rooms for both dinner and lunch.  This will be different but as a solo a good time to try the new concept.  I will let you know how this goes during the week in this review.  Since I rolled on my bag at embarkation I went back to the cabin to get set up for the week.  I have a interior mid-ship on deck 2, not my favorite location but it was only cabin available with my late booking.  There is a lot of room and storage especially for just one guest. I purchase the surf Zoom internet package ($55 with discount) but not working well so far.  Safety drill began about 3:30 pm.  My muster station is C12 located outside on deck 4 but I checked-in then sat in the lounge.  After dismissal it was easy to walk down the stairs to deck 2, easy as all the elevators were packed as usual after drill.  I finished cabin set up and about 5:00 I went up to the Diamond Lounge on deck 14 that also took up all of the Olive & Twist Lounge.  Beautiful views as we were sailing away from Galveston along with the Carnival Vista.  The Cosmopolitans made by Michael and Hugh from Jamaica were very interesting.  The Captain even came by and greeted all the Diamond guests.  I met some regulars and another travel agent with the same offer I have on this cruise.  About 8:00 pm I went down to Chops Grill on deck 11 for dinner.  They have a great menu and good variety of appetizers and desserts that I will have the opportunity to try this week.  I ordered the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail and the large NY Strip Steak.  Excellent.  I passed on dessert as the steak was so filling.  I returned to the cabin went straight to sleep after a busy and satisfying day.

Day Two—Monday—at Sea
Ship is Decorated for Halloween
Rolling seas although my location has the least movement on the ship. It was 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 up to the Windjammer for a light breakfast about 10:00 am  I two small fried Eggs on toast and fruit.  I met my cabin steward Ruel from the Philippines and explained my ice needs and he soon brought a robe and some D+ goodies.  I worked on this review and caught up on some scores and NCAA rankings on the internet.  At 1:00 pm I went to Sabors fine Mexican food on deck 4 aft.  I ordered the Guacamole and bacon-wrapped stuffed Jalapeños as starters and the Barbacoa Tacos.  They served Caja De Dulces for dessert, my favorites were the flan, chocolate banana chimichangas, and crème brûlée.  DW would have loved the chocolate crepes.  It was siesta time following that lunch, but I walked the Lido deck on the way back and the pool areas were very busy and active.  Great weather and everyone happy.  Cabin time and watching news until time for cocktails about 6:00 pm in the Diamond lounge.  Not near as many people in the Lounge this evening as is the norm on the second night.  Tonight is the Captains night dinner but I had reservations for Giovanni's Table at 7:30 pm.  I had dinner with another travel agent and they really treated us well at Giovanni’s.  Basically it didn’t matter what we ordered at appetizers or pasta dishes because they brought almost everything on the menu.  I was glad we had choices as some were better than what I actually ordered.  My entree was Filetto di Manzo Rustico, the grilled beef tenderloin, but my favorite was the Pancetta di Maiale (porkbelly) appetizer. With the various pasta dishes and even an extra entree, Gameroni al Forno e Funghi (Jumbo Shrimp), to split there was more than enough to enjoy.  The finale was a selection of desserts, my favorite the Pannacotta.  Some of the ship activities today included:  two Ice Skating Spectaculars, the 3D Movie Jurassic World, Bingo, the headliner show featuring “Two Funny Guys”, Karaoke, Games Shows and more.  I enjoyed watching the Welcome Show on cabin TV 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
New Friend in cabin
Smooth seas overnight and it looks like another perfect beautiful day.  We are sailing through the Straits of Cozumel this morning and Cancun is very visible on our starboard side as we sail south into the western Caribbean.  I slept very well and went by the MDR about 8:30 and was greeted by a super long line so I just went up to the Windjammer for breakfast.  I had three freshly fried eggs on toast, bacon, corned beef hash, and mixed fruit.  A nice walkabout around the ship and guests are really enjoying the pools and outer decks again today.  I haven’t spotted the ships dogs as yet so I need to look around more as they are in past locations.  I went to Chops for lunch today, and ordered: the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail, Wild Mushroom Soup, NY Steak Salad, and the Key Lime Meringue pie.  I also just made a blanket reservation of 8:00 pm each night for the rest of the cruise.  More options for variety of dinners at Chops Grill.  They delivered some h'ordorves to the cabin (only so-so) and at 4:30 (Diamond card time) I went up to the Bar and got some Diet Cokes for the cabin.  About 6:00 pm I did go to the Diamond lounge for some cocktails with bartenders Michael & Hugh.  It was quiet, but I still prefer the Olive & Twist lounge with the view and actual bar to the actual small Diamond lounge.  At 8:00 I went to Chops and had a nice meal: Crispy Goat Cheese Salad, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, and the Prime bone-in Rib Eye Steak.  The meal was very good and filling so I skipped dessert.  There were a lot of activities on the ship today including:  Public Ice-skating sessions, the 3-D movie The Incredibles 2, Late night Comedy, and the feature show Saturday Night Fever, a great show I have seen several times.  I retired soon after dinner, It was a nice easy sea day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Four—Wednesday—Isla Roatan,  Honduras
Calm seas overnight and I slept very well.  I was up very early and did some European bookings on MSC and other business while the internet is less busy.  I went up to the Rembrandt Dining room (MDR) for breakfast since they open early on port days.  The Waffle Station was good and I ordered Eggs Benedict.  Lots of productive work and breakfast all by 8:00 am.  Time for a nap already?  Guests were leaving the ship for their excursions on the island by 8:30 am so soon afterward I went up to the Solarium swimming pool and pretty much had the pool to myself for an hour.  I had a nice lounger and spent the morning enjoying the views and sounds of Roatan.  The MSC Armonia is tendering guests today, so two ships in port.  About noon I went to the Windjammer and noticed several crew members at the Jade location…hmmm…could it be?  Yes a Mongolian Grill set up.  I had a nice large plate of beef/chicken with lots of vegetables for lunch.  It was very good.  About 1:00 pm 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 same Bar (and restaurant) I last visited to enjoy a few nice local Port Royal beers. I returned to the ship about 3:00 pm and relaxed and soon we were sailing away from Coxen Hole. I went up to the Diamond Lounge about 7:00 pm for a couple of apéritifs before dinner again at Chops Grill. Tonight I ordered the Wedge Salad, the new Grilled Black Pepper Bacon (excellent), and the Prime Bone-in Rib Eye Steak with Baked Potato and Asparagus.  No dessert.  Lots of activity for a port day including:  two more Ice Show Spectaculars, Jazz Cabaret, Love & Marriage show, 3-D movie (repeat), Trivia, music, and more.  It was a wonderful day today in Roatan and on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Five—Thursday—Belize City, Belize
Liberty of the Seas anchored off Belize
Fair seas overnight and I slept well and longer.  We were anchored off Belize by the time I got up and around and went to the MDR for breakfast.  It was chocolate breakfast morning, but I went with a country breakfast:  Two small waffles from waffle station, three eggs fried over easy, bacon, ham, hash browns, whole milk, and toast.  It was great.  I did some work in the cabin until Ruel came by to clean the cabin, so I went on deck for a while and I noticed that the tenders had no lines.  When I returned I decided to at least tender over to Belize City for a while and did so. The Carnival Breeze is also here so it was really crowed at the port area. I didn’t stay too long and soon returned on another tender…the sea breeze and weather was nice, but many thought it hot and humid.  When I returned about 1:30pm I went to direct to the Windjammer for lunch. I had Roast Beef from the carving station, Mashed potatoes, Mixed vegetables, Asian Chicken, and Bread Pudding for dessert.  Then rest time in the cabin.  The afternoon weather was great especially if you were in the pool.  Guests are happy. I enjoyed a couple of aperitifs in the Diamond Club before dinner.  A friend joined me for dinner in Chops Grill tonight...I again ordered the Wedge Salad and the new Grilled Black Pepper Bacon served together.  I had the NY Strip Steak as an entree with creme spinach and french fries.  First time for dessert and I had the Ice Creme Sundae and split a Key Lime Pie with meringue.  All very good.  Some activities on the ship for this port day included: Trivia, headliner Tom McTique, 3D Movies, and more.  It was a great day on the Liberty of the Seas and Belize today.

Day Six — Friday — Cozumel, Mexico
Jerry's Flag
Smooth seas over night and I slept very well…too late for the MDR in fact.  I’m not in a rush today as my barbers shop doesn’t open until 10:00 am.  I had a banana from my fruit bowl and left the ship about 9:00 am..  The Oasis of the Seas is docked next to us at the International Pier and it's a beautiful day in Cozumel.  No dogs at security so they were checking back packs manually…don’t bring fruit into Mexico.  After cueing in the taxi line I was in San Miguel about 9:40 so I stopped for a nice breakfast at Palmeras, I had the Americano plate as it had more variety than the Mexican plates: Two eggs, Pancakes, French toast, milk, sausage, and bacon.  It came with assorted Pan Dulce and Salsas so it was Mexican enough.  ($190 Pesos or $10USD)  I went to the Antonio’s Barber Shop where my friend Martin has been cutting my hair for over 9 years now…when I return in February it will be ten years.  After my new style I went to my Cozumel HQ at Woody’s Bar & Grill.  Table 7 was available so I’m a happy camper...especially once I got a nice Mexican coca-cola and Guacamole & Chips. Woody's has the fastest internet in town, good food, and my favorite Mexican beer: Bohemia. I wanted and needed a Pedicure and found a spa online just a few blocks away from Woody’s and recalled a spa I tried near there several years that I was not impressed with, but the photos seemed different so I gave them a try.  Zensi Spa was wonderful.  Nice and clean, nice staff, and the price was right @ $20USD.  I will make a visit here a regular thing along with my haircut.  I took a taxi ($8) back to the pier about 3:45 and the lines at security were super long because of the large number of Oasis guests.  I appreciated the fact I brought my personal cabin fan when I got back to the cabin to cool off from the humidity.  After a few hours of rest and relaxation I went up to the Diamond lounge for my apéritifs about 6:50 pm.  Then to Chops a little early for my dinner.  I ordered the Goat Cheese Salad, the Grilled Black Pepper Bacon, and the Shrimp appetizers.  My entree was the Bone-in Rib Eye Steak with Fries and Creamed Spinach.  All very good and I again skipped dessert.  Some activities on the ship today included:  Arts & Crafts, a Sudoko Challenge, Music Trivia, and Liars Club.  I retired after dinner for TV in the cabin.  A great day in Cozumel and on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Seven--Saturday--at Sea
Some rolling seas overnight but negligible movement in my cabin location and I slept well.  It is overcast today as we sail north in the Gulf of Mexico.  I went to the MDR for a nice breakfast, a repeat of previous one although I waited for fresh hot waffles at the waffle station.  The eggs, ham, bacon, toast, potatoes were all good.  The highlight was seeing my Facebook friend Joy Santos who was our server.  She was my server a few years ago for dinner, but I had not seen her this cruise since I'm not eating dinner in the a nice surprise.  After breakfast I had a walk around and enjoyed the sea breeze.  Cooler today so not busy in the pools.  I changed into Oklahoma Sooners football Hawaiian shirt and went to Lido to listen to a band perform.  It’s getting cooler and very windy out on decks so the Promenade was packed with shoppers and guests.  About 1:00 pm I went to Giovanni's Table for lunch, that completes my three restaurant lunch rotation.  I ordered the  Insulata di Rucola (arugula salad) and Pancetta di Maiale (porkbelly) appetizers to be served together and excellent.  Then the Bucatini Alla Bolognese pasta with the Polpettone (large stuffed meatball) in Pomodoro Sauce…another great combination.  Just a small Pannacotta for dessert.  After lunch it was cabin time for NCAA football.  I only purchased the Zoom-surf internet package, but it worked better than the Zoom-stream I had on previous Liberty cruise.  I was able to follow my Oklahoma game through GameCast pretty well.  I can watch the OU replay tomorrow.  About 7:00 pm it was off to say farewell to friends made in the Diamond lounge and final Cosmopolitans for the cruise.  Final dinner tonight in Chops was good, I ordered: the Goat Cheese Salad, the Grilled Black Pepper Bacon, and the Shrimp appetizers.  My entree was the NY Strip Steak with Fries and Creamed Spinach.  All very good and I again skipped dessert. I retired after dinner to do some packing and watch some of World Series game 4 and catch some football scores.  Activities on the ship today included:  the production show-In The Air, Battle of the Sexes, Dreamwork’s Parade, 3D Movie, and more. It was a busy and great final day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Smooth seas overnight and we were docked very early in Galveston.  Good weather for debarkation cool enough to roll bags to EZ Cruise Parking if you wish. We were delayed as ship wasn't cleared until they found some passengers wanted by authorities.  I was among the first off once we were allowed off and walked straight through to cutoms without a wait anywhere.  Out of the bldg. about 8:30 am. I took the EZ Cruise shuttle to the car and I was on my way about 8:50 am. (Galveston Raceway gas price $2.45) and off the island about 9:10 am. I took I-45 to I-10 West, to 290, to Highway 6 to Bosque County.  Home at the ranch about 2:00 pm.

I have cabin 2609 an interior cabin mid-forward on deck two on port side.  The room is a standard+ size interior with: key pad safe, hair dryer, refrigerator (empty), large chair, 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.  Longer wait for elevators as you are the end of the line, but great location on port days when you enter on deck one from the piers.

Overall very good. My cabin steward Ruel was very adequate I always had ice and clean cabin.  I didn’t have an MDR wait team, as had a different waiter (usually) each night.  The bartenders Hugh and Michael in the Olive and Twist Lounge were fantastic.


I purchase the Ultimate Dining Package upon boarding that covers dinner and lunch at all the premium restaurants on board:  Chops Steakhouse,  Giovannis Table (Italian restaurant), and the new Sabor Mexican restaurant.  Very different experience. 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 Carnival’s free Guy’s Burgers. Lunch in the Main Dining Room has the same menu each day with one special item that does change daily. I believe breakfasts were the best meals in Windjammer but especially in the MDR.  There are several ice crème and yogurt machines on Lido deck. 

Highlights of the Cruise

The Unlimited Dining Package: Chops Grill especially
Diamond Lounge and Bartenders & Friends in Olive and Twist Lounge
Cozumel was productive
Roatan was a bit different this year