Sunday, April 21, 2019

Liberty of the Seas Review / April 21, 2019

Liberty of the Seas Review  
April 21, 2019

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:
Ports: Galveston, TX - Cozumel, Mexico - Gerogetown, Grand Cayman - Falmouth, Jamaica
Weather:  Very nice typical Caribbean weather

This is my 5th time to cruise on the Liberty of the Seas, my 29th Royal Caribbean cruise, and my 143rd cruise overall.  I am sailing solo. I booked only a few days before sailing and it was a good value, enough that I had to do it.

Day One—Sunday—Embarkation
Sail away from Galveston  (click to enlarge)
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 12:05 and I was shuttled over to the Liberty of the Seas fairly quickly. Unfortunately I discovered a huge glitch to my plan…they had not yet begun boarding.  Apparently there were over 2500 (non English speaking) foreign nationals that had to be processed though U.S. Customs and Border Security and that was not happening easily.  They did not have everyone off the ship until 1:30 and did not begin boarding until almost 2:00 pm.  By this time there was a mass of people ready to board.  It looks like this cruise will be a repeat as the vast majority of the guests look to be Mexican nationals, primarily extended families with lots of children. They did seem to take the delay in stride, better than experienced cruisers for sure.  I luckily had a line place holder so I was able to sit for half the waiting time and finally made it past security where the D+ status was recognized.  It was then 3:00 pm but I was on board soon afterward.  I dropped my bag in my cabin and went straight  to Lido where they were trying to close, in fact I insisted that they open the doors for me.  The staff should have known that with no guests from 11:00 am until 2:00 that there had to be many hungry guests still boarding.  Not a good move by Lido staff as they were delaying boat drill, the excuse they were using to close.  I was again lucky to get something to eat.  I went straight to my muster station on deck four, had my card scanned, then went into the lounge to sit and await safety instructions that was done in Spanish first, then English.  It was 4:45 when drill ended, I know exact time as the bar there opened and I had a complementary ginger ale and Mai Tai using my D+ card and bartender asked me the time.  Wow I can finally relax and not fight the unfortunate embarkation situation.  By the time I finished my cocktail the elevators were somewhat cleared and I was at my cabin and began unpacking.  Looks like everyone made it aboard as the ship pushed off and began sailing just a bit late.  Luckily I’m able to watch Galveston slip away from my starboard side balcony cabin.  Relaxing on my balcony I knew that as bad as the boarding process was today that it could have been worse if not for some luck and my cruising experience.  Since I rolled on my bag I began to unpack get set up for the week. There is a lot of room and storage especially for just one guest. I purchase the surf & stream Zoom internet package ($55 with discount) a reasonable price compared to Rotterdam earlier this month. I finished cabin set up and was cleaned up for dinner cocktails by 7:00, but as I looked at my card to confirm dining I see that I have a 5:30 dinner…well that wouldn’t be possible or even doable today.  I went up to deck 14 for cocktails and also surprised at how empty was the Diamond Lounge.  Usually they are using half of the Olive & Twist main lounge for overflow, but not today.  Very different day.  The good news was that Alexander made top notch Cosmopolitans…thank you sir.  About 8:00 pm I went to the Marketplace buffet on deck 11 for dinner.  I had roast beef from the carving station, a freshly grilled pork chop from specialty area, a small chicken marsala, nice mashed potatoes, and vegetables.  Rice pudding for dessert.  A nice meal.  Afterward I returned to the cabin went straight to sleep after a busy and somewhat difficult day.

Day Two—Monday—at Sea
Solarium adult pool
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  I went down to the MDR for breakfast about 8:20 am and had a very nice fresh egg breakfast with hot milk too.  I spoke with a Maitre’D and no tables available for late main sitting, but she changed me to MyTime dining and said I should be fine from 8-8:15 pm and there should be sharing tables available.  The pool deck was already busy when I did a walk about mid-morning.  I did some travel agent business the rest of the morning, looks like two bookings to complete.  I went up to the Windjammer for lunch, they had nice Texas style ribs at the carving stations, the highlight though was a pistachio creme puff…it was wonderful.  Great weather with a breeze that keeps it nice and cool. The pool deck is body to body and this is a cruise of firsts this afternoon.  I have never seen so many little kids in one hot tub, I’ve never seen so many adults in a large hot tub at one time, I’ve seen chair hogs, but never choice table hogs in the buffet, I’ve never seen that many guests in the adult solarium pool, and I've never seen so many beautiful Latin ladies lined up in one continuous row of sun loungers on deck 12...I thought it was a advertising shoot. But everyone is in good spirits, must be that latin persona and the rum punch.  Heather, my cabin steward came by late, I’m last cabin on her list, but that’s fine I can work with that, I’ll just get early ice as needed.  Afternoon was cabin and balcony time.  Really nice to have that private balcony when public decks are so full of people.

Day Three—Tuesday—Cozumel, Mexico
Guacamole at Woody's Bar & Grill
Rolling seas overnight with high winds until we entered the Straits of Cozumel and then it was much smoother. It also looks like another perfect beautiful day.  We were docked and gangway open about 7:00 am.  I was awake so I thought I would leave early.  I had a banana from my fruit bowl and left the ship about 7:45 am. I had no problem at security nor getting a taxi that early ahead of the of majority guests.  I was in San Miguel about 8:00.  I thought that local time would be an hour later, but they changed last week and are now back on CST so I’m a full hour ahead of schedule.  It was a beautiful morning in the plaza and I made my way to El abuelo Gerado for a nice Yucatán breakfast.  In northern Mexico and Texas we have Huevos Rancheros, but it the Yucatán the local breakfast dish is Huevos Motuleños.  The eggs are sunny-side up on a tortilla with local sauces and extras, and served with plantain and frijoles negros.  Very good food and they had wifi as I passed some time drinking a Coke.  My barber Martin saw I was early (Facebook) so he came by and opened up his shop located next door so I could my hair cut strait away. Thanks Martin.  After my haircut I went down to my Cozumel HQ at Woody’s Bar & Grill.  I got my favorite table 7 and had a very busy morning in the Mexico office. Quoted a cruise, made final pmt. on river cruise, and deposited a cruise. Also my new phone plan includes Mexico so an added bonus if needed.  I had my nice Mexican Coca-cola then eventually Woody’s fine Guacamole & Pico de Gallo with a Bohemia cerveza.  I made my visit at the pharmacy for antibiotics then went to Zensi Spa for a much needed Pedicure since I ran out of time last visit.  Zensi Spa was wonderful...nice and clean, friendly staff, and the price was right @ $20USD. I took a taxi ($8) back to the pier about 3:30. I appreciated the fact I brought my personal cabin fan when I got back to the cabin to cool off and rest.  The feature show Saturday Night Fever was tonight at 6:00 and 8:30 in the theater, a good show but I have seen it a few times and passed on attending.  After a few hours I was hungry since I didn’t have a full lunch  today so I went to the MDR for YourTime dinner about 6:00 pm.  I ordered: the Escargots à la Bourguignonne, Spaghetti Bolognese, and the Braised Short Ribs entree with Crème Brûlée for dessert.  A very good meal.  After dinner I went up to the Diamond Lounge for my Cosmopolitans before retiring to the cabin.  It was a productive day in Cozumel and on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Four—Wednesday— Georgetown, Grand Cayman
A Grand Cayman Tender view from above
Calm seas overnight and I slept very well although up early.  The weather is again perfect. I went to the MDR this morning for a nice breakfast trying the Eggs Benedict with Bacon, Hash Browns, mixed Fruit, and my hot milk.  Very good breakfast and we arrived at Georgetown as I finished.  We are anchored along with the Carnival Paradise, NCL Edge, and a Pullmantur ship today, but I have decided to stay on the ship.  Today I’m starting to binge watch a popular TV series I missed (living in the country with limited access) called MadMen.  I enjoyed doing this last cruise and we still have two full sea days coming so I hope to see a lot of it before we end the cruise.  I did break for a late lunch and they served a Mongolian Grill plate and Hearts of Palm salad from Jade.  I also found some large Minute Steaks in the Windjammer so a very nice meal for a port day. The rest of the day was cabin time and streaming video.  The wifi is actually very good, much better (and cheaper) than the Rotterdam wifi on previous cruise.  I watched sail away from Georgetown, some day they will have a pier here, but the tendering seems to be improved.  I skipped cocktails this evening and only had light snacks since I had such a nice late lunch.  More Madmen this evening and I actually completed the full first season today…I very interesting show.  It was a very relaxing day on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Five—Thursday—Falmouth, Jamaica
Historic Falmouth Cruise Port
Fair rolling seas overnight and I slept well.  Nice weather as the breeze kept it fairly nice all day.  We were docked at the Falmouth cruise terminal by the time I went to the MDR for breakfast at 8:30 am.  I had a nice fresh 3-egg breakfast with ham, sausage, bacon, hash brown potatoes, and fruit.  I have no excursion planned but about 10:00 am I went for a walk around the Historic Falmouth Cruise Port.  Created in 2011 and located in Jamaica's north coast town of Falmouth the port is positioned between the popular ports of Ocho Rios (60 miles west) and Montego Bay (18 miles east).  The port is well guarded and closed to locals, save for Jamaicans who work at the dozens of shops and handful of restaurants. With a faux-Georgian terminal building leading to a large square bordered by red-roofed, Caribbean-style buildings housing various businesses, the port may strike you either as attractive or as artificial and Disney-esque, depending on your point of view. Most guests visit Margaritaville, I had a malt from the DQ and listened to the live local band performing in the courtyard area but was back on the ship by noon.  We were the only ship so it was not busy today.  After a nice lunch from the Windjammer I had serious binge watching time in the cabin.  I’m watching MadMen and to me it’s more relaxing than a book that many guests seem to do on a cruise.  The view from the cabin was very nice too.  I went up to the Diamond Lounge for nice cocktails this evening, the usual guests and servers were there.  Still amazed at how few Diamond guests are on this sailing.  About 8:00 pm I went to the MDR for dinner, not a sharing table, but the two tops are basically the same as they are so close.  I ordered a very nice Crab Cake, the Spaghetti Bolognese (my pasta as starter), the Sliced Roast Beef entree, and the Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert.  I retired after dinner.  It was a very nice day in Falmouth and on the Liberty of the Seas.

Day Six — Friday — Day at Sea
Smooth seas over night and I slept very well.  I did my blog/review updates this morning before going up to the Windjammer for breakfast.  The pool decks were already filling up with guests when I walked by them after breakfast…as the weather is great. I had balcony time this morning before I started my binge viewing of Madmen videos.  I was able to get through the entire season three just taking a break for lunch and dinner in the Windjammer.  I even skipped cocktails this evening.  They have plenty of activities on the ship today such as  Arts & Crafts, Sudoko Challenge, Music Trivia, and Liars Club, but I’m preferring my primary activity today.  When you have a LOT of cruises your really do not feel any pressure to do anything or worry that you are missing something.  You have the freedom to do whatever you wish.  I really enjoy catching up on these great TV series that I missed when we really didn't have Wifi in the country.   I was another very relaxing day on the Liberty of the Sea.

Day Seven--Saturday--Day at Sea
Main Dining Room at breakfast
Smooth seas overnight and negligible movement in the cabin and I slept very well.  Another beautiful day today as we sail north in the Gulf of Mexico.  I went to the MDR for a very nice breakfast, the eggs, ham, bacon, toast, potatoes were all good.  After breakfast I had a walk around and enjoyed the sea breeze.  Balcony time and videos when I returned to the cabin.  About 3:00 pm I went to deck 12 and Johnny Rocket’s for lunch/dinner. They brought an Onion Ring & French Fry combo straight away and I ordered a Route 66 and an original hamburger.  I liked the Route 66 much better (mayo, fried onions & mushrooms) and my Vanilla Shake as well.   After lunch it was cabin time and I finished season five of Madmen.  I really enjoyed it very much. I packed for tomorrows debarkation and skipped dinner, but it was off to say farewell to friends made in the Diamond lounge and final Cosmopolitans for the cruise.  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 relaxing 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.  I suspected they were beginning Self-debarkation early so I went down about 7:30 am and basically never stopped longer than a few minutes at any station along the way.  They make good use of the deck 4 open deck with the ship check-out outside just before the gangway.  Customs went easy as well.  It was a mess when I debarked in October.  I took the EZ Cruise shuttle to the car, but I had a panic when I could not find my car keys.  I always put them in my backpack, but overlooked them a dozen times before I actually found them exactly where they were supposed to be.  Even with this 20 minute delay I was still on the road and on my way about 8:30 am. (Galveston Raceway gas price $2.55) and off the island about before 9:00 am. I took I-45 to the Beltway, to 290, to Highway 6 to Bosque County.  I did stop at Ama’s Restaurant in Hearne for great brunch Migas.  Home at the ranch about 1:45 pm..

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