Jump to content

Alyssa
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello All! 

I am trying to book a (last minute) western caribbean cruise from Galveston,TX on Liberty of the seas from Dec 12-19 2021. 
 

My boyfriend and I have decided to book a last minute vacation for ourselves and since he has cruised before and loved it, he suggested that we book a cruise. Now, I have never been on a cruise before, my parents have been on both carnival and Royal Caribbean but it has been years since they've last been on one. My boyfriend went as a graduation present a couple years ago but his parents splurged for him and planned everything as well so this is technically a first time for both of us, as far as planning goes. We can either be introverts or extraverts, so honestly either cruise line would've sufficed. However, RCL had stood out to me more so we went ahead and decided to look more into RCL.  

I've been scouring every cruise blog, video, reviews that I can find to see how the recent RCL cruises have gone to determine what is worth it/not worth it, how the food has been, if the alcohol package is worth it, how the entertainment is, etc. 

As far as cabins go we've decided on an interior promenade view since it was fairy priced and not as restricting as an interior room, we may also use a Royal Bid if offered. 

If anyone has any advice pertaining to cruising in general or if they've been on this specific trip before or cruised recently, I would greatly appreciate it! 

 

Thank you!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We just came back from a 10/24-31  cruise on Liberty out of Galveston. It was great. Food was as good as in the past, service was even better because of, at the time, fewer passengers due to capacity limits. For us, the deluxe beverage package is a must (look for discounted rates in RCCL emails and on the cruise planner)- if you go to the Sky Bar on the upper pool deck, look for Anmol, Preston, and Nelson and tell them Michael and Mark sent you. They were awesome as were all the crew.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the boards. You are going to find a lot of helpful information and advise on this forum.

We went to all of your ports on a cruise out of Tampa about 5 years ago,

Roatan, Honduras-We went on a multiple leg zip-line excursion through the jungles that was SO MUCH fun.

Costa Maya-There are several great things to do here. We booked an excursion that took us to a to a local resort to do some snorkeling followed by about 3 hours of beach time with an open bar included. Music was a bit loud but we really enjoyed ourselves. Lunch was not included, but, it was some very good food that was well worth the money.

Cozumel-Again, MANY great things to do here. We booked a Jeep adventure in which a small convoy of us drove across the island to off-road to a small Mayan ruin on the beach that was used to send signals to tribesmen out fishing so they could find their way home. Another short off-road drive took us to a private beach for some relaxation and a freshly prepared taco/fajita lunch that was fantastic. A "bathroom break" stop on the way back just happened to be at a local tequila distillery being VERY generous with the samples. (Yeah, this was a little tourist trappy, but the tequila was so good, I had to bring a bottle back!)

My #1 tip (and many other peoples, too) is to purchase the things you want ahead of time. Buying items like Drink Packages, Dining, Excursions, etc. will be a good deal less money that purchasing them on board.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Alyssa said:

Hello All! 

I am trying to book a (last minute) western caribbean cruise from Galveston,TX on Liberty of the seas from Dec 12-19 2021. 
 

 

 

In addition to what has already been stated, don't forget to use a Travel Agent......An agent can cut through the confusion and is invaluable if an issue arises.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Alyssa said:

Hello All! 

I am trying to book a (last minute) western caribbean cruise from Galveston,TX on Liberty of the seas from Dec 12-19 2021. 
 

My boyfriend and I have decided to book a last minute vacation for ourselves and since he has cruised before and loved it, he suggested that we book a cruise. Now, I have never been on a cruise before, my parents have been on both carnival and Royal Caribbean but it has been years since they've last been on one. My boyfriend went as a graduation present a couple years ago but his parents splurged for him and planned everything as well so this is technically a first time for both of us, as far as planning goes. We can either be introverts or extraverts, so honestly either cruise line would've sufficed. However, RCL had stood out to me more so we went ahead and decided to look more into RCL.  

I've been scouring every cruise blog, video, reviews that I can find to see how the recent RCL cruises have gone to determine what is worth it/not worth it, how the food has been, if the alcohol package is worth it, how the entertainment is, etc. 

As far as cabins go we've decided on an interior promenade view since it was fairy priced and not as restricting as an interior room, we may also use a Royal Bid if offered. 

If anyone has any advice pertaining to cruising in general or if they've been on this specific trip before or cruised recently, I would greatly appreciate it! 

 

Thank you!

 

Make sure you take note of all the Covid requirements that are listed.  Have a plan to be sure you get your Covid test sometime on December 10th and bring a paper copy of the negative results.

Spend some time reading the posts on this board - there are a lot of VERY knowledgeable cruisers on this board.  If you have any questions, this is probably the best place to get an answer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For sure read the boards and watch the video's available.  If you want a quick walk around with a few flaws since there were a few things I couldn't remember I posted a video while I was on a B2B on Liberty.  

I did notice that the average age on the ship was a little older.  That doesn't mean much for the most part but while on the ship you would often see people trying to figure out the reservations for shows and such.  It's also a little more laid back and less of a party atmosphere, this is partly due to the average age being older but also due to distancing protocols so the belly flop competition isn't running among other things.

The biggest thing I always try to do is explore and look for interesting things.  I am a geek of all trades and understand a lot about the electrical, mechanical, and other systems on the ship but love to look around and find other things. (Big geek thing here so skip if you don't understand or want to know) I was knocking around and found one of the electrical substations on the ship that allows the power to be distributed to the floors.  But it was interesting to me they had the door listed at 11KV as that would mean they generate power at a high voltage for transmission to the "substations" and then drop it down to the required voltage.  I would have expected something like that but at a range closer to around 2KV.  And it was interesting to explain it to my girlfriend as well.  Other things you may notice is the way the lifeboats steer without a true rudder which means they can only steer effectively while moving under power, or the cooling system for the lifeboat engines which is just a copper loop that sits in the water.  If this is your kind of thing and stay on the ship during a port day you will see crew doing multiple tests around the ship, I saw the flood/fire doors on the promenade being opened and closed, lifeboats being started and checked, and they even had a backup power test done at one point so the elevators were shut down.

But enough of that, like I said I am a geek.  But you are sure to find a ton of stuff to do and the food is great.  The only thing I can say is if you picked my time dining make your reservations the first chance you get as later on it will be tough to get anything before 8:00pm.  We ended up just having pizza at Sorento's most nights and then going to watch a show, don't try and drop in after a show though as everyone else at the show has that idea...

 

And I am sure many others will also say that if you have a question about something specific all you have to do is ask.  There is a ton of knowledge out there but sometimes it helps to have someone break it down a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@MuttMutt I do the same kind of things.  I enjoy observing and exploring the “nuts and bolts” of the ships. 
 

Over the years, my wife has even gotten into how things work…..On Freedom last week she texted (then called because I didn’t reply fast enough) me to get back to the cabin.   We had a balcony on deck 6 and the crew was doing lifeboat drills.  We spent most of the afternoon watching them from our front row seat. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some tips from a Celebrity Loyalist but I've cruised RCL plenty of times. Many similarities.

(1) Book with a travel agent (TA). I've used Cruises-N-More, MEI, Delta Sky Miles Cruises and Costco Travel. A long time ago I used AAA Travel services. No preference other than I look for the best perks offered by the TA. They vary substantially. Being able to get in touch with them is important (MEI is particularly good for guiding newbies to make good choices)

(2) Study the fares (or incessantly bug your TA) and make sure you're getting the cabin and extras that you want and no more. Celebrity is notorious for their conspicuous marketing strategies that while some of them are very good deals, they are all tailored to get more money out of your pocket up front. Buy a drink package in advance ..... IF, and only IF, you are going to consume beverages in sufficient amounts to equal or exceed the daily cost. That's a lot of booze, soft drinks, coffees and squeezed OJ for most people. Do your homework and your math but it's nice just to walk up to any bar and drink-up, get a bloody at breakfast or have different wines during lunch or dinner. Oh, a nice double expresso (usually included in your package) is nice after you had a glass or two of wine for lunch. Remember, you're going to feel like you have to optimize your package and it's easy to drink too much in a day. Hangovers will dampen your enjoyment of the following days activities after a night of drinking martinis. Ask me how I know this.

(3) During the pandemic, I'd stick with the shore excursions being offered by the ship. You can book privately now but there are still COVID things going on in ports where a port call might get cancelled due to an increase in case numbers. Once you get some experience (and this pandemic stuff ends) you can branch out. Prices of excursion sponsored by the ship are pretty reasonable these days compared to privately arranged tours.

(4) Pack wisely and don't go overboard on weight and or space. Google cruise packing tips. There's good stuff out there on the web. Shoes are hard!! Put some liquid soap in a pump dispenser in your checked bag. It's nice to have that in your cabin's head (that's, the correct term for a bathroom on board a ship). We've started bringing sticky/removable hangers that you can stick on the cabin walls. Hang caps, light jackets (AC makes hallways, and eateries cold) or most anything that won't go in your closet. Bring one of those light weight folding laundry baskets to keep your dirty undies under control.

(5) Someone already listed this but it bears emphasis: know the testing protocols and document requirements for boarding. Insure you arrive at the cruise terminal with everything you need including boarding pass, passport, test results, proof of vaccination. Importantly, arrange all your documents so they are immediately at hand and you aren't fumbling around to find them. Make use of the Royal App. Never used it but Celebrity Cruises -an RCL co-brand - probably is identical to RCL's It is very cool and useful. A little janky but once you start using it, it works. You can do a lot of pre-boarding stuff, like upload a copy of your passport and vax card, and have this all digitally available on your phone. Beware though that hard copies should be carried in case your phone or internet connection poops out right when you enter the terminal and someone is asking for your boarding pass!!!  

(6) Do do one specialty restaurant but even though you might be enticed, the main dinning room complimentary food and table service is great. There will be deals during your cruise. For example, on Celebrity one or more of the specialty restaurants will offer lunch. Usually the same or slightly compacted menu at 1/2 price. Check it out and ask for discounts for dinner. The Food and Beverage Manger will offer these when demand is low and you'll only see that when bookings actually start happening on board.

Ask away. All of us here love to talk about cruising.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a long-time drink package skeptic, but took the plunge when my wife and I sailed out of Tampa in October (to be fair, only our fifth cruise). I'm sure I didn't break even, because my wife doesn't drink very much and I couldn't drink enough to make up for her. But--I'd encourage you to think of it in terms other than just "am I saving money." It was really nice to try different things, not worry about if we were wasting money if we didn't finish something, and not have to constantly check my cruise account against my budget. And besides booze, we hit Cafe Lattetudes several times, which I probably wouldn't have done at all without the drink package. We're on another cruise out of Baltimore in December which is slightly longer and will include adult children, but I'm seriously thinking about biting the bullet and buying the drink package again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We love Liberty! We are only about 45 mins from Galveston, so we've sailed on her twice. I will echo what others have said about the drink package. We probably break even because we always get bottled water with our drinks and we get lattes from Cafe Latitudes every morning on board plus a few or several beverages throughout the day/evening. We usually end up at the same bar each night. The first time we were on Liberty, it was the pub. The last time (March 2020, the week the world shut down) we spent most nights in Bolero's. The bartenders were great people in both situations and that's what drew us to those locations. We also do the unlimited dining package which makes the cruise essentially "all inclusive" as we are only really paying out of pocket for stuff we buy in port. We aren't fans of the main dining room, but I recommend you give it a try to decide for yourself. You can always try one the specialty restaurants once on board. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...