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About jbrooksodh

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    College Station, Texas
  • Interests
    Hunting, reading, hiking, wine, food
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. We love Baja Bob's! Margarita, Mai Tai, and sweek and sour. All work fine (I am type 2 diabetic) to mix with. Not sure about Keto, but they do not effect my blood sugar. The Mai Tai's have been a favorite this summer, but are super sweet so we aid some diet ginger ale. If it ever cools off here in Texas I can go back to scotch or bourbon neat. I will be interested to hear how the powders are! Cheers!
  2. Thank you for the review! How was the land portion? We are set to start a land-tour on July 2nd prior to our Southbound cruise the 5th.
  3. Great post- thank you! Loved the Amazon links- ordered lanyards and luggage tags!
  4. <My wife and three children (19,17,16) did it last June. We enjoyed the heck out of it. LOTS of climbing stairs but zip lines were awesome. We did both courses so I believe 14 lines in all. A couple were water landings. Cave raft was so/so and the buggies were dusty, hot, and not enjoyable. The cave swim was perfect for cooling off before we left. We also got lunch buffet- the food was great tex-mex and american food. Soda as well, but no alcoholic drinks (not a big deal to us).
  5. No I definitely saw teens doing the table tennis and it seemed pretty open as far as the basketball games. My 17 year old liked the cruise but felt it was too long- he really just wanted to hang out with his buddies rather than family. He did do the teen thing two nights but was always back early.
  6. Day 7. This was our last day- that sucked!!! It was also my MIL's 70th birthday. Wife and I got up, got coffee and decorated MIL's door. We decided to do MDR for lunch at 11- so wife and I walked on walking deck- which was fine but as one reviewer said the loungers were too close. Once people started flocking to loungers we left. Wife and MIL went to pool while I relaxed. Now on to lunch. Why did we not discover MDR lunch until day 7??????? Holy Cow was it delicious. It was not crowded and the food came quickly. Way nicer experience than any windjammer! Oh and in the middle next to salad bar was a dessert island. My daughter ate 2 pieces of chocolate cake even after our "regular" dessert at the table. Going to remember this for future cruises for sea days! In the afternoon my wife and I did our 3rd tasting, this time Spain. Rocco was magnificent as always and we had a delightful time. Wife, MIL and I ended up at cafe promenade about 5 when the character parade went through. We couldn't really go anywhere so we had coffee and salad and just visited until the people all left. At 6:45 we grabbed a couple drinks and went to eh farewell show, which was fine. There was a different comedian, but he was not very funny. We left for dinner wondering if we really wanted to stay up for the adult comedy. Dinner was great- Calbert brought my MIL a place of chocolate dipped strawberries to start with and we were having a good time. My MIL left (I think she was scared that they were going to sing to her) so we finished and said our goodbyes. Decided to go to the adult comedy which was wayyyyy better than the previous effort. Had a great time and then hit the hay!
  7. Happy 4th of July! I am determined to finish this review today! Day 6: Cozumel. So we booked, once again during a sale, XPLOR All Inclusive Adventure for my family. MIL stayed on board all day. After the Belize excursion I was a little apprehensive. We rode the ferry from the pier over to Playa Del Carmen. Having stayed there 8 years ago the place has really changed and built up! We followed our guy through the streets and onto a bus, which took us to XPLOR. Now, when I booked I was looking for zip lines and they looked awesome. I did not know it was really just a park like six flags except with zip lines. After a potty break we donned the gear and headed up the towers. Our guide said to do the tall course first and we probably wouldn't have time to both. The course was AMAZING. Some long lines, some steep lines. LOTS of climbing stairs (My 19 year old said we walked 7.5 miles that day!) but the lines were great. The final one landed in water. After we did the one course our guide said do the other one then come eat! The other one was fun as well with a surprise water slide in the middle! After doing that course we went to the buffet. Between our first excursion and the windjammer I wasn't expecting much. However, the food was magnificent. Fresh fish, fajitas, american food, tons of guac, salsa etc. Soda included which was a nice touch (it was Pepsi, but I drink diet and don't discriminate)- note there was NO alcohol which made for a nice family environment. After lunch we did an atv tour which was ho hum but let our food settle. Then we did cave tour on a log- reminded me of It's a Small World at Disney sans annoying music. Finally done with that we got to do the cave swim which was awesome. Cold clear water, lots of interesting scenery and a blast. Just watch out for the rocks- they are not very forgiving on your legs! After the swim we checked out and headed to the bus. We rode back and the line for the ferry was crazy long. We thought we would have no time to shop once in Cozumel, but our guide got us (and several RC tours) past the line and on to our dedicated ferry. We made it to cozumel in time to buy some shirts and gifts. The line to get on the ship was way long!!! RC had people (we even saw Jeffrey the cruise director) walking up and down the line with cold water. Back onboard we showered, changed (formal night #2), and headed to the UP in the Air show. This was a first performance and although I had no clue what I was in for, I was enthralled the entire time. This was a cir de solie type show with acrobats and dancing. The signing was incredible- way better than anything else we have heard on a ship. After the show we went to dinner. It was Lobster night and we all (except my son) ate lobster. My MIL had one for an appetizer and then s different entre. Food was great and the tails were large (we seem to remember small tails on our Alaskan cruise). With our bellies full we headed off to bed!
  8. Day 5: Belize We tendered at Belize and were met by the boat for our snorkel excursion. We chose to snorkel and do an island retreat. The ride out to the barrier reef was great. After separating us into three groups, off we went. Kids and I chose intermediate but my wife stayed back with the intro group. Now the area we did had pretty heavy waves hitting us, so it was more challenging than I expected. I missed both (4?) rays, but saw some amazing fish and coral when I went right and the rest of our group went left. After rejoining we continued on. Overall a lot of fun, but nowhere near as nice as some locations we had been in Mexico. The crew then broke out the rum punch and we headed to starfish island. This was a big disappointment- it was hot and not very scenic. We had to buy lunch (I had thought it was included but upon re-reading after getting back to the ship it did not say lunch included) and luckily had cash to get chicken strips and soda for all of us. Way too much time on the island with not much to do. After that we headed back towards the ship, but saw a large school of dolphins- the captain spun around several times so that we could see (interact with) the dolphins. Pretty cool. Once back at the ship I headed to find some food while the wife and kids went via tender to Belize city for some shopping. They had a good time and I napped. We were exhausted so crashed after dinner- day 6 included an all day adventure park in Playa Del Carmen.
  9. Thanks! We loved Liberty and want to do that itinerary next time. Hopefully in the next year or two!
  10. Day 4: Roatan When we cruised Alaska we did not book any excursions until on the ship. That was a nightmare and we ended up being limited in which excursions were still available. So I booked everything in advance, and when they were 25-30% off. I chose an all-inclusive beach resort for three reasons: 1) I figured we all needed to be off the ship and this is something my 70 year old mil could do; 2) Everyone loves the beach; 3) Drinks and food are included! I chose Mayan Princess Resort Beach Break. Getting off the ship proved problematic. Not because of the process, but because my MIL chose to go a different route. After waiting on the dock at with the excursion company for a good 10 minutes my wife went back and asked RCI employees if my MIL had disembarked. They said no, so she went hustling through the ship trying to find her. In the meantime, my MIL showed up at the dock. Finally saw my wife at our balcony and waved her down. We then boarded a bus which took us through the island to the other side where the resort was. Interesting ride- some rough areas and then some nice areas. The resort was nice and we unloaded, found chairs, and hit the ocean. This is where the sales people started. They were walking up and down the beach selling tees, sunglasses, shirts, jet ski rides, etc. The resort had areas marked off limits by flags to keep the hawkers away. We did buy some tees 3 for $20 and my son got 2 pair of glasses for $40. There was wait staff to bring you drinks- margaritas, rum punch, pina coladas, and matadors (a tequila frozen drink I was quite find of) as well as 4 local beers. As I said, drinks were included and we allowed our teenagers to imbibe. Probably not the wisest choice as my 17 year old son went crazy- doing shots etc. We enjoyed the water and the sand and managed to ignore the hawkers. At this point we notice my MIL is hammered. Luckily my wife, 19 year old, and I are fine. We guide everyone to the buffet- chicken fish beans and rice- not real great. You can smell marijuana in the air but I am not seeing anyone smoking it. My son said one of the hawkers offered it to him but he was good with the booze. More on this later. After eating it is time to leave. We gather up the troops and pray feverishly that none of the three get sick on the bus ride back! Our prayers are answered and we arrive back at the dock. We park my MIL on a bench and instruct her to watch towels as we shop. There was a stand selling Honduran coffee so I had an iced coffee- it was amazing and only $3. We gather up everyone and head back to the ship. MIL, son and 16 year old daughter head to rooms while the sober ones go to Sorentos for pizza and salad. We graze, discuss the day, and move about the ship. Come back to find everyone sound asleep. Take a nap, wake up and everyone gets ready for dinner. Well, everyone except MIL who adamantly declares she is sleeping until morning and never drinking again! At dinner the fun starts. The food was good- I believe it was Lamb shank. Anyway, we find out from our son that he and MIL went and rode the water slides pretty much the whole time the rest of us were eating. etc. After a good laugh we find out some disturbing news- Not only did the guy at the beach off weed to my son, he also offered cocaine! Not cool, but at least my son was smart enough to say no! My wife is livid, but I calm her down. I understand it was not the resort's fault this happened, but we still need to let someone at the excursion desk know. So after dinner we let RCI know- they were very apologetic and said they would make note of it. I told them that wasn't their fault, nor was it the fault of the resort, but would be good to know if the area/stop was like that prior to arriving so we could discuss. He agreed and said he would pass it along. We then went to bed exhausted!
  11. Day 3: Sailing. Ok, I have to say I was a little apprehensive about 3 days sailing and only 3 in port. Turns out I really enjoyed the sailing days. There is so much to do/see on Liberty and it honestly never felt crowded. Now, I never once tried to hang out at the pool, but the rest of the ship seemed very open considering we were told it was completely sold out! Got up about 6:30 and went to work out. The gym was about 25% full- there were plenty of hammer strength machines open. Worked out about 45 minutes and headed to WJ to get coffee. Came back to room and we all decided to go to MDR for breakfast. This was a gem- had good eggs benedict, waffles, etc. Plus is was fast- I was surprised how quickly they got our food to us. We then hit the water slides for about an hour. Got to ride both several times. The tubes were ok- you go down by yourself and can race someone in the other one. However, the tandem (on a tube) one was awesome. I thought we were going off the ship and into the ocean! It was a whole lot of fun. Tried to get kids to do the wave rider, but they were not iterested. After grazing lunch in the windjammer kids went to Ben and Jerry's- they really enjoyed it and it wasn't much more than going to one on shore. Wife and I proceeded to Vintages for the Italy by the Glass tasting. Really enjoyed Rocco's presentation and passion for wine. We actually bought a bottle of wine for dinner that night. Kids did Harry Potter trivia and we had drinks on our balcony prior to dinner. MDR dinner was exceptional. Had beef short ribs and they were excellent with the wine Rocco had picked out. After dinner we went to bed as we were going to head out early in Roatan. Couple of notes- really like the relaxed, do as much as you care to, days at sea. We considered doing Chops or Giovanni's but were glad we stuck with the MDR as the food was very good this night. Overall I don't mind the upselling and I just choose to ignore it.
  12. Day 2: Sailing Before I go into day two, a few notes on the rooms. They were what we were expecting. Plenty of room for 2 people. When we did Alaska on Radiance we had 3 to a room- very crowded especially with 4 women and 2 teenage girls. While the rooms were neat and clean, they did show age. Our curtain was very worn in places and the sun would show through. This bugged my wife, but it never really effected our sleep, as we are early risers. Anyway, we got up about 6:30 and went for coffee in the windjammer. It was not too busy so we sat down to eat. Not a fan of mass eggs and I didn't spot the omlet station until the next day so just picked. We had signed up for meet and greet at 10:00 so we wandered around until 10:00. Meet and greet only had about 10 people but we enjoyed meeting and chatting with everyone there. Liked talking to Jeffrey the cruise director. Very interesting to hear a little about the business as this was only our 3rd cruise but he had been at it for almost 30 years. Got back to room and kids (who slept through breakfast) were starving so we returned to the windjammer. Lunch was considerably less appealing than the day before. We walked ship with the kids and offered a cupcake class to the girls, but they didn't want to. Side note- there is a TON of activities for teens, our kids just decided to be anti social and chose not to do them! We went to vintages for the Caymus tasting and had a blast! The wine was fantastic and my wife and I enjoyed it so much we signed up for future tastings! I can't remember the sommelier's name, but the other gentleman there was Rocco- he did our other tastings. They were fantastic, knowledgeable, and fun! Even though there was some food to sample with the wine we went next door to Sorentos afterward. Pizza and salad hit the spot (since we didn't have dinner until 8:00)- we really enjoyed the fresh simple pizza. It was formal night so we got dressed up, well at least for us. I don't wear ties, but did put on a jacket. We went to see Saturday Night Fever. The theater was about 75% full, but we enjoyed the production. Kids really didn't, but they are not big musical fans. After that we went to dinner and had pictures taken. It seams these are the only times we take family pictures so we really enjoyed it. Food was much better the 2nd night and service was great. Arnold loaded us up with sourdough and whatever the heck those rolls with seeds are. Seriously, wife and I ate a whole basket of those things- must have crack in the dough!!! After supper we got a drink and went to the late night comedian- Tom McTigue. He was very good on the opening night and was very funny at the late night. Yes, we are horrible parents and let out kids go- but it was nothing worse than they could hear in public school! Side note- we did NOT get the drink package. While we like a drink or two, we just figured we would not use it enough to make up the $42 per day. In fact, I believe we each got about 4 drinks all week plus a bottle of extra wine one night. In future trips we might take advantage of that plan, but for what we bought this time we came out ahead just buying them 1 at a time. Also note we drink black coffee and brought our own water, so we wouldn't need specialty coffee or bottled waters on this particular cruise.
  13. My family took the Liberty of the Seas 7 day cruise out of Galveston starting Sunday, June 3rd. There were 6 of us in 3 adjoining balcony rooms. My mother-in-law (celebrating her 70th bday) and 17 year old son in one room. Then in two connecting rooms were my wife and me (celebrating 25th anniversary) then our 19 and 16 year old daughters. This cruise began as just my wife and me since we never really honeymooned, but exploded into the whole family. We had previously (10 years ago) cruised with Carnival and disliked it. The whole crew then went to Alaska on Radiance in 2016 and LOVED it. So here goes: Sunday- we rolled into the chaos that is Galveston cruise terminal about 10:00 am with two cars, 6 people, and a gazillion bags. Can you say over-packed? We dropped the baggage and 4 of our party and proceeded to park in long term parking. It was a breeze parking and catching the shuttle sans baggage (and impatient teens). We were in line to check in by 10:15. The line was long- they only had 2 scanners going. Enjoyed people watching, but wondered about the gold member check in. After clearing the scanners we found gold member lines and went quickly onto the ship. Whole process including getting sea passes took less than 45 min. Once on ship we explored a bit and headed to the Windjammer. We thoroughly enjoyed the food (it seems it is always good the first day, but falls off as the week continues). We wondered around a bit and then my son (who had gone back to the room) texted to say bags were in rooms and rooms were ready- about 12:45. Head to rooms and most bags, as well as a case of water per room, are there. However, wife, mil, and I are all missing a bag. Hmm- guess we should have carried on wine. Spent the day checking everything out before muster drill. We went to the workout/spa area and head all the pitches for services, but son and I just wanted to checkout the exercise equipment. There was a ton of hammer strength as well as dumbells and a safe rack. Discovered Vintages and wife and I signed up for a Caymus tasting the next day. Ship was very neat, clean, and welcoming. Everyone we talked to or went by was extremely friendly. Ended up going to the basement to retrieve contraband bags! The staff members just asked if the bottles were wine (which they were) and we were given bags with no problem. Went back to the rooms to change for dinner and found our beds all re-set, fresh ice, and balconies opened up. LOVE the three balcony space, if not the scenic view of Galveston harbor. Changed for the 7:15 show which was great- then off to MDR for 8:00 dinner. Dinner was good- we had a table all to ourselves, which was something we did not necessarily like. We were hoping to interact with more people. However, our waitstaff, Calbert and Arnold, were awesome. They took lots of time with us that first night and got to know us. We had tremendous service all week and could not have been happier with the service. The food the first night was so-so. Kids all ordered ribeyes, which were not very good. But we had great appetizers and dessert. After dinner we went to the ice show. I saw the ice and wondered what kind of crap was this going to be. However, the show was amazing! I could not believe all of the energy and talent that went into the show. After that we were exhausted and went to bed!
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