Mixed bag of experiences on my first RCCL Cruise. For value on your dollar I think this cruise was worth it. 7 nights and 3 ports was great, Liberty is a large enough ship you find new things everyday of your cruise. Still researching the cruise lines to find where my loyalty belongs, have another 3 cruises booked with RCCL so hopefully this was just an anomaly.
4 out of 5
Pretty standard embarkation process. I booked “the key” priority package and was great. They changed my dining time about a week before my sailing and had the old dining time on my room key so that was a bit of a hassle to get my key reprinted 3 times because of errors once on the ship since they weren’t able to do it in the terminal.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Food was a bit of a mixed bag. I did the unlimited specialty dining package so most of my meals were in the specialty restaurants, which was great! I’ll do a quick summary below:
Sabor- AMAZING, by far my favorite place to eat on the ship, food and drinks were stellar every time and the staff was amazing! It’s not traditional Mexican but still amazing.
Wind Jammer Buffett- I’m not normally a fan of crowds but had lunch a couple of times at the buffet and have to say the food was great. Didn’t care for the rotten fish smell walking into the buffet but thankfully the dining area in the back didn’t smell. Crowds were ok on port days but they closed down portions of the seating areas so still felt a bit cramped.
Giovani’s Table- I feel like I would enjoy Giovani’s better if they had a decent AC and there were fewer tables. The restaurant was never packed but there were a ton of tables making it feel really stuffy and cramped. The food was ok, steak was great and the seafood mediocre. Wish they had specialty drinks but the wine was ok. They use the buffet bar so can take some time between drinks.
Johnny Rockets- Was between ok and poor for me. I’m disappointed this wasn’t included in my unlimited dining package. The burgers were thin and lacked flavor. The spot they placed me at the bar top had a radio on it so my plate was hanging off and I was nervous it would fall the entire time I was there. I love that royal is moving away from plastic straws but paper straws DO NOT cut it with milkshakes, they don’t work at all. Would have liked some metal or recyclable thick plastic straws for the milkshakes.
Main Dining Room- I was so disappointed with the MDR. I’ve cruised carnival in the past and loved the MDR atmosphere, service and food. I suppose my expectations were far too high. The worst service on the ship sitting with empty glass of water and wine for over 30mins at a standard scheduled dining time was a bit ridiculous to me. The food was cold and the dessert was lackluster. Definitely no comparison to the melting chocolate cake from carnival. I think what made this worse is I went for my 30th bday dinner. Definitely felt like a wasted event to me.
Room Service Breakfast- For my first port day I thought I’d splurge and avoid the buffet rush paying for the delivery fee for a hot breakfast. Not only did the food come an hour and a half before scheduled waking me up much earlier than planned, the food was inedible. The toast and bagels were rock hard and ice cold, the eggs tasted like vinegar and gasoline, the bacon had a consistency like paper and overall I did not pay again. The coffee tasted like garbage but got the job done and for other mornings I just ordered the coffee a banana and a pastry.
Chops- By far the biggest let down of my trip were the 2 visits to chops steakhouse. Reading others reviews and watching videos online I just knew this was going to be a stellar visit. On embarkation day I got a “lunch by chops” in the MDR as part of the key package which was to die for... stellar steak. However dining in the chops restaurant was a whole other experience. Both chops and Giovanni’s table are located at the buffet walking through a sea of kids and that rotten fish smell going into the restaurants. The first night I dined at chops they sat me close to the entrance and had to suffer with that smell throughout dinner, gross. While the steaks were great the sides, dessert, and appetizers were not for me and would not recommend.
2 out of 5
Slides were definitely not built for the big guys... tried once and spent the entire way down scooting haha. Staff weren’t enforcing the no kids in solarium rule for some reason. The tube slide didn’t have a single seat option for solo guests so didn’t get to try it.
4 out of 5
Stage shows were great, Saturday Night Fever wasn’t for me but the aerial and ice shows were EPIC.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
So as stated above the service at Sabor was OUTSTANDING. Sadly this was the only place I felt that cruise line “above and beyond service” to ensure you’re having a great vacation atmosphere. A bartender at schooner was great as well but guest services, casino, other dining venues and housekeeping could use some work. Things were ok and I didn’t have too many issues but always felt like a battle for some reason and I’m not the kind of person that complains or fights to get stuff fixed or changed. My experience with carnival in the past, someone asked 4 times a day if there was anything they could do to improve my cruise, the liberty staff never asked. Carnival also went out of their way to leave a note in my room for my birthday and surprised me multiple times with a cupcake, a flower, or a note wishing me a happy birthday and we were sailing almost a month after my bday. On this trip with Royal they sang in the MDR after i told them it was my bday, and that was it. I’m not demanding special treatment or anything, but my birthday was on the cruise and in comparison carnival blew that experience out of the water.
2 out of 5
Really time for some major updates, I know it had a technology upgrade somewhat recently but the rooms and decor need a deep clean, paint and refresh the linens.
Cabin / Stateroom
1 out of 5
The cabin was ok at first but I would not recommend booking this cabin... it is the cabin furthest back along a support beam which causes MAJOR vibrations from the engines... everything in the coin was rattling and shaking along with the bed... was ok at first like a massage but got old quickly. Decor, bedding and carpet need a major update, very dated. The TV glitched our a couple of times showing a lot of static and never had a good outside camera channel which is crucial for an interior room.
Until Norwegian completes their construction I would avoid this port. Very crowded and minimal places to visit at the port. Excursion was ok and beach was fine but I’d hold off until construction is complete. Wish royal would warn people about this.
Loved this port! Great tacos! I don’t think I’d pay for the port pass excursion again, most everything in the port pass is free so save your money, they just show you around the private port the places you can go. Used all my free drinks for bottled water, it was SUPER hot. If you’re planning on going to the pools get off the ship early, the chairs tend to fill up quick. There were 2 ships in port and it was VERY crowded.
4 out of 5
So I had “the key” again so got a disembarkation breakfast and got priority departure which was outstanding if you could keep up with the guide. Was a bit disorganized but thankfully I’m still able bodied enough to run downstairs with luggage and walk briskly down the gangway. Breakfast was good but those eggs still need some work.
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