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Liberty of the Seas August 28-September 4, 2022


teddy
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I’m still not quite sure about how good I’ll be at this, but I figure I’ll give it a shot.  I’m neither a writer nor especially witty, but I thought our experiences may be of help to someone who is coming to Galveston for a cruise for the first time (like us).  On that note, thank you @Galveston Stevefor your thread about Galveston.

Please forgive any spelling, grammar, tenses, or other mistakes.  I may ramble, too.  I’m more of an in-person communicator, so I have no problems with constructive criticism. My cameras are an iPhone 12 and an iPad Mini.  I’m not a photographer, so my apologies in advance.  🙂

Background:

My wife and I originally booked this cruise in January 2020 while at Next Cruise on Adventure.   We booked it as wedding present for my stepson and his fiancé who were getting married in July 2021 on the 10th anniversary of their first date.  Because of Covid, everything got pushed to 2022.  A huge thank you to @michelle for rescheduling everything for us.  (Edited to add..another thank you to Michelle for helping us upgrade from Interior cabins to Balconies). 
 

On the surface, it may seem weird that parents are going on a honeymoon cruise with their son and new wife.  However, they are both on the autism spectrum.  High functioning to be sure, but a trip from Maine to Galveston, then boarding a cruise ship is more than they feel comfortable navigating on their own.  
 

Our original plan was to fly into Houston’s Hobby Airport the day before and spend one night in Galveston.  After some cancellations and changes of our flights by American, as well as all the uncertainties with flying nowadays, we decided to fly in two days early.  After a few calls to American, we decided to fly into George Bush International rather than Hobby in order to have one layover and arrive in Houston early in the afternoon.   We are still departing for home from Hobby on September 4th.  

Day 1 (Friday 8/26): 

We departed Portland, ME on time at 6 am and arrived in Philadelphia at 730.  Our connecting flight was delayed by 30 minutes, so we had plenty of time to walk from terminal B to terminal C.  On a side note, this was the first time we’ve connected in Philadelphia and not had to run from terminal F to terminal A or B.  It was nice. 
 

Our flight from Philadelphia to IAH left promptly at its rescheduled time.  Interestingly enough, we touched down in Houston one minute earlier than the original arrival time (1218 pm).  
 

We booked a shuttle to our hotel in Galveston through Galveston Express.  The meeting place is right outside Terminal A at IAH….literally a stone’s throw from the baggage claim we were assigned. 
 

The Galveston Express driver (Ernest) texted us to let us know he arrived.  He was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van that was very clean, and the a/c worked fine.  We made a stop at Hobby to pick up another couple then we were dropped off at our hotel.  Obviously we only have this one experience with Galveston Express, but based on it, we’d use them again. I’ll follow up with our experience on the trip from Galveston to Hobby.  The cost for four adults from IAH to Galveston was $140 and the cost from Galveston to Hobby is $120.  Travel time from IAH to our hotel was about an hour and a half.  There was some construction outside of Hobby that snarled up traffic for a bit.  I’m not a good passenger, but I had no issues with Ernest’s driving. We felt safe at all times.  

We are staying at Springhill Suites on Galveston Island.  We booked here because we could pay partially with Marriott points.  It’s located on the right shortly after you come on the island.  
 

The hotel is clean, modern, and the staff is very pleasant.  Our room has the typical sleeping area and sitting area we’ve seen in hotels in the $200-$300 range.  We have a small balcony with a couple chairs, but so far it’s been too hot and humid for our northern New England blood to sit out there.  It was very quiet last night, which is a change from staying in hotels near the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports.
 

After a dinner of delivery pizza, we fell asleep early.

Day 2 (Saturday 8/27):

Breakfast is included and is what we’ve come to expect from complementary breakfasts.  There are typical offerings…scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles, cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, etc.  

Our plans for today are to run to Target (across the highway from the hotel) then explore Galveston a bit. 

This is the view from our hotel balcony.  We look out to the southwest, so if we wouldn’t have fallen asleep so early, the sunset would have been nice.  

 

 

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5 hours ago, teddy said:

I’m still not quite sure about how good I’ll be at this, but I figure I’ll give it a shot.  I’m neither a writer nor especially witty, but I thought our experiences may be of help to someone who is coming to Galveston for a cruise for the first time (like us).  On that note, thank you @Galveston Stevefor your thread about Galveston.

Please forgive any spelling, grammar, tenses, or other mistakes.  I may ramble, too.  I’m more of an in-person communicator, so I have no problems with constructive criticism. My cameras are an iPhone 12 and an iPad Mini.  I’m not a photographer, so my apologies in advance.  🙂

Background:

My wife and I originally booked this cruise in January 2020 while at Next Cruise on Adventure.   We booked it as wedding present for my stepson and his fiancé who were getting married in July 2021 on the 10th anniversary of their first date.  Because of Covid, everything got pushed to 2022.  A huge thank you to @michelle for rescheduling everything for us.  (Edited to add..another thank you to Michelle for helping us upgrade from Interior cabins to Balconies). 
 

On the surface, it may seem weird that parents are going on a honeymoon cruise with their son and new wife.  However, they are both on the autism spectrum.  High functioning to be sure, but a trip from Maine to Galveston, then boarding a cruise ship is more than they feel comfortable navigating on their own.  
 

Our original plan was to fly into Houston’s Hobby Airport the day before and spend one night in Galveston.  After some cancellations and changes of our flights by American, as well as all the uncertainties with flying nowadays, we decided to fly in two days early.  After a few calls to American, we decided to fly into George Bush International rather than Hobby in order to have one layover and arrive in Houston early in the afternoon.   We are still departing for home from Hobby on September 4th.  

Day 1 (Friday 8/26): 

We departed Portland, ME on time at 6 am and arrived in Philadelphia at 730.  Our connecting flight was delayed by 30 minutes, so we had plenty of time to walk from terminal B to terminal C.  On a side note, this was the first time we’ve connected in Philadelphia and not had to run from terminal F to terminal A or B.  It was nice. 
 

Our flight from Philadelphia to IAH left promptly at its rescheduled time.  Interestingly enough, we touched down in Houston one minute earlier than the original arrival time (1218 pm).  
 

We booked a shuttle to our hotel in Galveston through Galveston Express.  The meeting place is right outside Terminal A at IAH….literally a stone’s throw from the baggage claim we were assigned. 
 

The Galveston Express driver (Ernest) texted us to let us know he arrived.  He was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van that was very clean, and the a/c worked fine.  We made a stop at Hobby to pick up another couple then we were dropped off at our hotel.  Obviously we only have this one experience with Galveston Express, but based on it, we’d use them again. I’ll follow up with our experience on the trip from Galveston to Hobby.  The cost for four adults from IAH to Galveston was $140 and the cost from Galveston to Hobby is $120.  Travel time from IAH to our hotel was about an hour and a half.  There was some construction outside of Hobby that snarled up traffic for a bit.  I’m not a good passenger, but I had no issues with Ernest’s driving. We felt safe at all times.  

We are staying at Springhill Suites on Galveston Island.  We booked here because we could pay partially with Marriott points.  It’s located on the right shortly after you come on the island.  
 

The hotel is clean, modern, and the staff is very pleasant.  Our room has the typical sleeping area and sitting area we’ve seen in hotels in the $200-$300 range.  We have a small balcony with a couple chairs, but so far it’s been too hot and humid for our northern New England blood to sit out there.  It was very quiet last night, which is a change from staying in hotels near the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports.
 

After a dinner of delivery pizza, we fell asleep early.

Day 2 (Saturday 8/27):

Breakfast is included and is what we’ve come to expect from complementary breakfasts.  There are typical offerings…scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles, cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, etc.  

Our plans for today are to run to Target (across the highway from the hotel) then explore Galveston a bit. 

This is the view from our hotel balcony.  We look out to the southwest, so if we wouldn’t have fallen asleep so early, the sunset would have been nice.  

 

 

image.jpg

Great writing! Have a wonderful cruise. 

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Random tidbits from Saturday, August 27….

We walked from the hotel to Target, crossing under I-45.  Following the sidewalks it’s about 15 minutes one way.  Walking direct (and not utilizing the sidewalks) it’s about 10 minutes.  
 

The underpass seemed a little sketchy. While I would have no qualms going through it by myself, my wife wouldn’t feel comfortable going alone.  On the way back, there were four police cars helping a naked person. That was interesting to walk by. 

We spent most of the day relaxing and napping rather than going out to the downtown area.  The temperature and humidity are kinda rough on us.  In addition, our daily schedules at home have us up at 3-330 am, so that means we have woken up at 230 am local time both mornings here.

For dinner, we got delivery from the Hubcap Grill.  The burgers and fries were great.  There were some issues with delivery, but they were the fault of the third party app, not the restaurant.  The app my wife used was ASAP Food Delivery/Waiter, and they ended up giving us a $22 credit due to their screw up.

We have 1030 check in at the terminal this morning. I expect it to take a bit longer than usual since one of the health questions were answered incorrectly on our daughter in law’s questionnaire.  We were able to print out her Set Sail pass, but according to the Resolutions Department at Royal, she has to tell them she isn’t pregnant.  To do so, we may have to step out of the normal check in process.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  
 

We are planning on taking a taxi to the port. We’ve had multiple issues in the past with Lyft XL and four people with luggage, and we just don’t want to deal with any bumps this morning. 
 

Hopefully we’ll board with a minimum of delays.  
 

Last night’s sunset from our hotel room balcony. 

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Update:  

Accidentally answering one of the health questions incorrectly didn’t slow down the check in process at all. 
 

However, the apostrophe in my wife’s and my last name in our passports did require a supervisor override because Royals software (along with most others) doesn’t recognize special characters. 

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Several of us are on Liberty October 23 and one of the couples is flying in from Phoenix.  They're going to need transportation from the airport to their hotel in Houston and then to the port in Galveston.  I've seen Galveston Express mentioned several times on this forum and on Shipmate so I sent them a link.  I'm glad you were happy with their service.  Keep up the great posts about your cruise!

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The taxi from hotel to the terminal was $16 before tip.  We used Yellow Cab.  Liberty is the only ship here today, so there wasn’t much traffic as we got to the terminal.  
 

We arrived at 1010 for our 1030 check in time, so there was a little confusion in the area where the line for people waiting for check in mingled with the people who had just disembarked.  Things were sorted out by a couple Royal reps quickly though.
 

There were separate lines for the various check in times.   Once we started moving, a bit before 1030, we were onboard in 40 minutes or so.  
 

It’s nice to be back onboard a ship. Six months is way too long between sailings. 🙂

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While I’m not sure how many pounds 1800 kg are, I guess the days of four people per elevator are long gone  

In addition, after three cruises that required masks, I still feel like I’m forgetting something when I walk out of our cabin maskless.  It is nice though  

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Some thoughts after our first night onboard:

Once the rooms were open yesterday, the crowds thinned out and things seemed less crowded. 
 

I was worried that we had been spoiled by doing a few cruises at reduced capacity, but last night and this morning things don’t feel congested.  I wonder if it’s because the ship is completely open…both sides of the Windjammer, all three Main Dining room decks, no closed off seating, etc.   There aren’t even many pool chairs “saved”.  We walked into the Solarium right now and were able to find some of the cushy seats on the side by the windows.  
 

The only shows that appear to need reservations are the ice shows. Last night’s early comedian show had plenty of seating even though we walked in exactly at 7:00.  The comedian, Heath Harmison, was good and teased his 18+ show coming on the last night. 
 

Something we’ve not seen before was a kind of “preview” of upcoming shows before the comedian came out….the cruise directer introduced a dance couple who did one routine and a couple who did an aerial routine (both were amazing). 
 

We did 80s music trivia last night in the Schooner Bar and came in second with 18/20 correct.  It took a couple songs before my wife stopped saying the titles loud enough for the tables around us to hear 🤣
 

The cruise director is Kate and the activities director is Kat, and our initial impression is they are high energy and fun.   By the way, I’m taking liberties with the spelling of their names…they may use Cs. 🤷‍♂️

Sea day today and Cozumel tomorrow.  We are booked at Mr. Sanchos, so I’ll let everyone know what it was like for us. 
 

Have a great day!!!

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1 hour ago, teddy said:

Some thoughts after our first night onboard:

Once the rooms were open yesterday, the crowds thinned out and things seemed less crowded. 
 

I was worried that we had been spoiled by doing a few cruises at reduced capacity, but last night and this morning things don’t feel congested.  I wonder if it’s because the ship is completely open…both sides of the Windjammer, all three Main Dining room decks, no closed off seating, etc.   There aren’t even many pool chairs “saved”.  We walked into the Solarium right now and were able to find some of the cushy seats on the side by the windows.  
 

The only shows that appear to need reservations are the ice shows. Last night’s early comedian show had plenty of seating even though we walked in exactly at 7:00.  The comedian, Heath Harmison, was good and teased his 18+ show coming on the last night. 
 

Something we’ve not seen before was a kind of “preview” of upcoming shows before the comedian came out….the cruise directer introduced a dance couple who did one routine and a couple who did an aerial routine (both were amazing). 
 

We did 80s music trivia last night in the Schooner Bar and came in second with 18/20 correct.  It took a couple songs before my wife stopped saying the titles loud enough for the tables around us to hear 🤣
 

The cruise director is Kate and the activities director is Kat, and our initial impression is they are high energy and fun.   By the way, I’m taking liberties with the spelling of their names…they may use Cs. 🤷‍♂️

Sea day today and Cozumel tomorrow.  We are booked at Mr. Sanchos, so I’ll let everyone know what it was like for us. 
 

Have a great day!!!

We have done Mr. Sanchos a few times.  Always enjoyed it. 

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19 hours ago, teddy said:

While I’m not sure how many pounds 1800 kg are, I guess the days of four people per elevator are long gone

4 people would be stretching it but don't think you can get 24 people in there. 1800 kg that is 75 kg per person or 165 pound. Unless you try a pre-school I'm not sure if you can walk into a room with 23 other people and don't exceed an average weight of 75kg per person.

But don't worry, elevators usually have an overweight sensor and will not move if the weight is exceeded also they usually need to safely hold 2 to 3 times the advertised max weight.

Also even with small kids and not exceeding the weight, good luck in fitting 24 people in there.

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When Royal restarted cruising, there were signs on the elevator doors asking everyone to limit the number of people entering at one time for social distancing purposes.  As I recall, we saw signs saying 4 people, 5 people, and 6 people, depending on the date we were cruising. 

Based on that, I thought it was humorous that the weight limit says 24 persons. 
 

 

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10 hours ago, teddy said:

Voom had issues today.  It just came back a little bit ago, so I’ll share our 2nd night and day 3/Mr. Sanchos experiences tomorrow.  
 

We’re getting to Grand Cayman around 10-1030 tomorrow morning. 

Grand Cayman is one of my favs.  The beach is the best I have ever been to 

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On 8/30/2022 at 8:25 PM, teddy said:

Voom had issues today.  It just came back a little bit ago, so I’ll share our 2nd night and day 3/Mr. Sanchos experiences tomorrow.   

Ok.  Internet seems to be fairly reliable right now even though it’s the middle of the afternoon.   I guess I should have splurged for Voom Stream rather than just Surf 

Anyway, back to our cruise.  
 

Evening Two:  We went to the Headliner Show starring Mark Preston.  
 

He was a member of the group The Lettermen.   While we weren’t familiar with The Lettermen, we did recognize some songs when he sang them.  He sang other recognizable songs as well as had some playful banter and storytelling.  While not giving off the same high energy of, say an ice show, he was enjoyable.  
 

After the show, we grabbed a couple slices of pizza from Sorrentos and went back to our cabin for the evening.  
 

You’ll find a recurring theme of early nights.   Our daily lives have us going to bed by 830 pm nightly.  It’s hard to change that pattern, nor do we really want to with 3 and 4 am wake-ups coming back soon. 
 

Day three in Cozumel:

Allure and two Carnival ships were in port with us  

We went to Mr Sanchos today. 

We walked off at 930, walked to the taxi stand, then realized we forgot the credit card we reserved the day with in our cabin.  It was 1030 by the time we stepped out of the taxi at Mr Sanchos. 
 

The taxi ride was $17 US for four adults. No hassles or hiccups getting there.  The taxi line was long but moved quickly. Follow the signs through the port shopping area to get to the taxi stand.  
 

We did the all-inclusive option at Mr Sanchos.

Between the four of us we had nachos and enchiladas.  All of us enjoyed the food.  

I had lemonade and my wife had a virgin strawberry daiquiri.   They were fine.  Our son and daughter in law had a couple Long Island Ice Teas and a couple Margaritas.  They both enjoyed their drinks, however they don’t drink much, so I’m not sure how much experience they have with those drinks.
 

All drinks were served in medium-sized plastic cups. Bottled water was also available…in 500 ml bottles I think.  I drank three bottles and it tasted, well, like water.

Now about the resort itself.  It was crowded.  Tables are very close to each other, and lounge chairs are placed right to the water’s edge.  There was no where to walk in front of the lounge chairs other than in the water.  All of the beach loungers were occupied when we got there.  We sat at a covered “tiki” table close to the back edge of the beach. 
 

My wife and I bought massages there online before the cruise through the Mr Sanchos website.  There were no issues with getting our massages, and they were pleasant…if you’ve had a massage on the beach in Mexico before, then you know exactly what to expect.  
 

They offered couples massages for $220 and individual massages for $70 each.  We did two individual massages and ended up next to each other just like if it had been a couples massage.  ymmv

Getting a taxi back to the port was as simple as going out to the front and getting in one.  $17 for four adults, just like the ride from the port.  We were dropped off at the same place we left from that morning.

After spending our time there, we will try a different place next time.  There was nothing wrong with Mr Sanchos, however the party atmosphere and crowds are not what we enjoy at the point in our lives. 25-30 years ago, we would have been all about it.  

After our 5 pm dinner seating , we crashed pretty early after some people watching on the promenade.   
 

The one picture shows our view of the water from our table at Mr Sanchos.  The other is the obligatory picture of our ship (Liberty) and Allure at the pier in Cozumel. 

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Updated September 7

 

Alright.  Finally some time to get back this.  Sorry everything is now written after the fact.  The real world came at us pretty fast when we got home Monday night.

Day Four, Georgetown Grand Cayman:

We booked the Best of West Bay excursion through the Cruise Planner before we sailed.  It was a 3-4 hour sightseeing tour.  Originally we had planned on all four of us going, however our son and daughter-in-law opted out.  They wanted to stay on the ship and learn their way around when it wasn't so crowded.

As many know, Grand Cayman is a tender port.  Our Shore Excursion tickets were all we needed to board the tender, so we didn't need to go get tickets ahead of time.  The meeting time was 1145 and we went down to the tender at 1100.  We walked right on the tender then had a 5 minute wait while it filled up.  It was a very easy process.

We had some time to kill before going to the meeting place, so we poked around in some of the shops.  I had been to Georgetown before but it was my wife's first visit.

At 1145, we checked in with the shore excursion person, lined up with everyone else, and played follow the leader outside the fence to the bus.  The bus was a small Toyota bus that seated 18 or so people.  I'm 6'4" and it was tight.  The air conditioner worked well, so that was good.

We drove around the Georgetown area seeing such sights as the government building, police station/jail, airport, etc.  The driver/guide was very soft spoken and difficult to hear.  Our first stop was at the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory for 15-20 minutes.  We sampled some rum cake then sat outside people watching until it was time to go.  We really didn't explore the area, however there was an aviary there as well as a gift shop.

Our second stop was in Hell.  We had never heard of it before...the tourist location on Grand Cayman, not the fire and brimstone place...my wife's father was a minister...she knows all about that Hell.  Hell, Grand Cayman is an area of really rugged looking limestone formations.  It's interesting and worth a few pictures.  There are also a couple gift shops and a post office there.  The post office will stamp your passport if you desire (we didn't take them up on it).

After leaving Hell, we went to Seven Mile Beach.  We had 20-30 minutes there.  It really is a nice beach, and the next time we go to Georgetown, we are just going to take a taxi there and make a day of it.  We accessed it at "Public Beach" where there are bathrooms, cabanas, and playgrounds.  We did learn that all of Seven Mile Beach is open to the public, and land owners must allow beach access across their property.

We went to the early aerial show in the theater this evening.  This show is a cannot miss as far as we are concerned.  The athleticism and strength of the performers was unbelievable.

Again, we were in bed by 930ish

Please forgive the tip of my finger in the picture of the ship from the tender.

 

 

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We’re staying in Dallas tonight. All flights in and out of DFW are delayed.  There is no way we’re gonna make our connecting flight in DC tonight. 
 

I will get this write up finished in the next day or two.  I’m  pretty exhausted after the being in airports all day and seeing the delay alerts pop up over and over and over. 

We rebooked on a nonstop flight to PWM tomorrow at 1 pm.  Fingers crossed that it goes without any hitches  

 

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