Part 1 of 3

I added another cruise notch to my belt!  As I was searching all of the travel deals I could find on warm destinations, I stumbled on a great cruise deal through Royal Caribbean and a well-timed, well-priced flight through Southwest Airlines.  Finally we could escape the unusually harsh, long winter!

We flew into Fort Lauderdale to board one of the larger ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Liberty of the Seas.  These ships are fantastic for families with kids of all ages.  For anyone looking for a more intimate, slower paced experience, I recommend sticking with one of their smaller ships.

Another perk to smaller ships, is faster check-in at the pier!  There was some sort of glitch that kept them from allowing the guests to come aboard smoothly for our excursion.  Depending on who you asked, the reasoning was anything from their computers going down that morning to a stow away they had to remove from the previous sail.  Regardless, there were several hundred guests standing in the hot sun for a good two hours.  I was a bit delirious myself, so I don’t recall exactly how long we were out there.  EMTs had to be called in on more than one occasion.  To their credit, the Royal Caribbean team did bring out pallets upon pallets of water bottles to start passing out to the crowd, made sure everyone stayed calm and orderly, and did what they could in between to keep us entertained.

Finding our room was a bit trickier than we anticipated since the ship is so large and not all of the hallways connect all the way through the ship.  We finally found our room and were able to rest up a bit before dinner and the safety drill.  Our bags arrived with just enough time to freshen up for dinner.  As always, our serving staff was top notch and we had an enjoyable week with them.  We also had a great couple at our table we still keep in touch with from time to time.  The two other ladies who completed our six-top kept us highly entertained with their stories of how they spent their days and evenings around the ship and at the ports of call!

The menu was considerably different from the last time I was on a cruise.  While there was still a nightly theme with associated dining options each night, it wasn’t as overt as in the past so I wasn’t always clear on the intent.  There also was a selection of menu items that appeared on the menu every night (i.e. Caesar Salad).  Presumably in hopes of pacifying the picky eaters in the crowd, but I felt that it took something away from the experience.  They also had another section of the menu dedicated to nightly “add-ons” for an additional charge.

We didn’t end up going to any of the shows nor did we try our hand at Bingo.  We did spend a little time in the casino, but where we really had fun was the arcade!  Think Pac Man, air hockey, and Time Crisis.  We also took full advantage of the free ice cream on the pool deck and the many areas to relax and soak up the rays.  The entertainment by the pool did not disappoint!  Perfect people watching between the line dancing and the belly flop competitions.

I was nervous how my boyfriend would like cruising, but he ended up really enjoying himself and is looking forward to future cruises.  He said he wouldn’t mind trying a trans-Atlantic cruise as he enjoyed his time on the ship even more than in the ports of call!  I’ll tell you about the places we stopped in the next couple of posts.  Stay tuned!

For general information on cruising, refer back to my older post and let me know if you have any questions!