December 2016 - Liberty of the Seas to Caribbean
Ship was clean, with plenty to do including exceptional onboard activities that included numerous pools, slides, surf boarding, and even an ice rink. The evening entertainment was first class along with the food in the main dining room. For a ship this large with over 4,000 passengers and 1,100 crew, I rarely felt crowded or herded. The ports of call including Costa Maya, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Falmouth, Jamaica were all very nice with decent options for shore excursions. This is where the problems started...the shore excursion staff onboard sold us a bill of goods for one of our excursions in the Grand Caymans, sold us a nice tour on a comfortable coach bus but delivered us a taxi packed in like sardines with no apologies about it (even though I specifically asked a bout the logistics and mode of transportation). Also onboard the ship, I did not expect to feel like I was a customer on the corner used car lot with dozens of used car salesmen, err, Royal Caribbean revenue managers, eager to sell me something - anything. And, when I did buy, like spa services or jewelry, they would spend the next 20 minutes trying to upsell me on something bigger, better, fancier. This was particularly disturbing in the Spa where you go to relax...it's hard to relax after spending $600 on a massage while constantly being told you need to add this and that. This was my 4th cruise, my first was Holland America to Alaska. My second was Norwegian around the Hawaiian Islands. My previous was Disney Bahamas. And now Royal Caribbean. I really wanted to like Royal Caribbean because it offers everything I want in a cruise experience and a perception of good value with a reasonable sticker price. But in the end, they nickel and dime you to death. Everything, and I do mean everything, costs extra. You want a soda package? $8 per day per person - not bad. Oh, you want water with that...Oh, that's $28 per person per day...Oh, you want a beverage with that...make it $60 per person per day (there were 6 of us times 8 days + 18% gratuities). Oh, you want that food? It's premium, it's $24.95 extra. You want wifi? No problem, that's only $17.99 per device per day. I could go on and on...Looking back, did I enjoy the trip? Yes. Should I have paid the price up front and gone with Disney and had a much better overall experience? Absolutely.