Did you notice that it was quieter than normal around here the last few days? That is because we were on vacation! Last Thursday we set sail on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas for a Western Caribbean Cruise, and we had an awesome 4 days! There is way too much to put in one post, so I'm going to post a recap for each day...I want to remember everything!
On Thursday morning we headed down to Fort Lauderdale to board the ship. We gave ourselves what we thought was plenty of time to get there early, but we came close to not even making it on time since the interstate ended up being shut down about halfway there. Not a good way to start a vacation, that's for sure. We finally made it, though, and we got ready to board the ship.
When we booked the cruise a few months ago, we decided to "test the waters" by taking only one kid with us, so Bryce stayed home with Mama while Rylie got to go on her first cruise. Bryce was OK with it, especially since he got to go to Legoland and two birthday parties while we were gone. We cruised with my good friend Tiffany and her family, so Rylie had her friends on board to play with.
Once we got on the ship, we walked around for a little bit to check everything out. It was pretty cool and windy when we left, so we were a little concerned about what the weather would be like for the next few days.
The ship was very nice! I believe I saw that it set sail for the first time in 2007, so it was relatively new. It has 14 decks, a huge pool area for the kids, more pools for the adults (including a couple hot tubs indoors), and even an ice skating rink!
After we settled into our cabin, we had to go to our muster drill. We were lucky and found that our station was inside, so we got to relax in one of the dining rooms while listening to all of the emergency procedures. Of course Rylie didn't want to sit and listen to all of that nonsense...not while there were stairs to climb.
After the drill, we went up to the pool deck for the set sail party. It had gotten even cooler by then, so Rylie stole my shirt to keep warm as we sailed off into the sunset.
Once we were out at sea, we headed down to the Promenade for the DreamWorks parade. The Liberty of the Seas is one of the Royal Caribbean DreamWorks ships, so there are characters all over the ship. We found a spot and Camryn, Payten and Rylie waited patiently for the parade to start.
The parade was so much fun! We got to see the characters from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. The girls loved it!
By the time the parade was over, it was time to get ready for dinner. I like to dress up for dinner when we cruise...that's just how I roll. My husband, on the other hand, was so glad to find out that he could wear jeans to dinner.
We signed up for the My Time Dining program. With this, there is no assigned time or table for dinner. You can make reservations in advance if you know what time you would like to go, or you can just show up when you're ready. The only problem with just showing up, though, is that you may wait like you do at a normal restaurant. We made dinner reservations each night.
I do enjoy the convenience of My Time Dining because I don't liked to be locked down to a certain time for dinner, and I will probably always use this dining option when cruising with Royal Caribbean, but there are some downfalls. One - you may not get the same waiter every night. If you just show up for dinner, you will have to take the next table available if your favorite waiter's station is already full. Two - you prepay your gratuities, so I do believe that you don't get the same service that you would get if you were on the regular dining schedule. The waiters already have their tips, so I'm sure they don't feel like they have to work as hard. Our waiter, Vedran, was awesome, but our assistant waiter seemed bothered by us. I'm not sure if it was the kids, or if he was just having a bad night, but regardless, he wasn't very nice.
I wasn't very impressed with the menu the first night. Don't get me wrong, the food was delicious, but there just weren't many selections that I particularly cared for. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what I had for an appetizer the first night (note to self: take pictures of all food consumed on the ship!), but I had a pork chop for dinner, followed by the Chocolate Sensation for dessert. Again, the food was very tasty and cooked well, and of course the Chocolate Sensation was absolutely delicious!
Dinner was a very long process, and by the time the kids had their meals, they were getting antsy. We requested their desserts while we were still eating our main courses, and then the dads took them up to the Adventure Ocean kids club where they could hang out in the Aquanauts room for 3-5 year olds. Rylie decided that she didn't want to stay there, so she ended up coming back with Brian. A few minutes later, she said she wanted to go, so I got up to take her.
As we were walking out of the dining room, Rylie turned around to look at me, and when she turned back around, she ran right into one of those posts where the ropes clip on to form lines. The little circle for the clips went right into her eyelid. I didn't realize how bad it was until we got up to the kids club area and her whole eyelid was swollen and purple. Of course after we got up there, she decided yet again that she wasn't going to stay, so she came back down with me. She then got a ton of attention from the head waitress and we talked about Rylie's eye and her nut allergy. She told Rylie that she would have the chef make a special chocolate cake just for her the next night (since Rylie normally can't have desserts), and that seemed to cheer her up.
When we got back to our stateroom after dinner, one of the bunk beds had been pulled down. Rylie thought that was totally cool, and was happy to get ready for bed.
I always like to purchase some of the professional photographs that are taken on the ship, so I was glad to find out that they can be purchased digitally. I ended up buying a disk with every picture taken by the ship's photographers, which was much better than trying to decide which prints to buy only to sit in a folder on my desk. Now I can share them with you! Here are my favorites from day one...
Stay tuned to hear about the rest of our fun vacation...
Liberty of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruise - Day 2
Liberty of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruise - Day 3
Liberty of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruise - Day 4
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