April 2017 - Liberty of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
We've been on 14 cruises and have never experienced a boarding or disembarking process as poorly managed as this one. We've sailed on Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and NCL, but this was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. We waited outside the terminal in a line for an hour and a half before going through security and on through the check-in process. On return, the port was closed due to weather. I don't fault the cruise line for that, but there was no process once the ship did dock. It was every man for himself with no direction from the ship staff. A very poor introduction to cruising on Royal Caribbean.
However, the ship was nice, the bathroom had a real shower door (not a shower curtain), the food was good and the entertainment was great, especially the ice skating show and Saturday Night Live musical. And, of course, the activities, at no additional charge, were fantastic- climbing wall, ice skating, flowrider, water slides.
Some notes- booking your next cruise on board is not worth your time. Yes, you can cancel, but the rates quoted are far higher than those you can find yourself online. The Chop House specialty restaurant is not that special or worth the additional cost.
Ports- Falmouth, Jamaica was built by Royal Caribbean. It is a nice new gated area, but the shops are the same as those found in Cayman or Mexico. Any natural sights are far from the port and we were warned not to go beyond the gated area without an escort or guide.
Cayman- Tenders are scheduled, which takes quite awhile to leave the ship, unless you have an excursion paid for. For $20 you can get snorkel equipment and swim right from the beach, a three minute walk from the dock.
Onboard shopping is much the same as most cruises- watches, jewelry, cruise apparel, etc. No need for a dinner reservation. We never waited for a table with anytime dining. Food was good. Shopping promenade (mall) was impressive. There are rooms that look over the mall, but I wouldn't recommend them as everyone can look in if you leave curtains open.
Beware the Royal Caribbean survey request. You are not given an opportunity to provide open-ended comments at the end, so if you have anything to say, other than number rankings, do it early in the survey.