Monday, March 31, 2014


Our Erickson family vacation started off in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We arrived Friday night, but our ship, Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas, departed at 5pm the next day. Since we were boarding around noon, we had a few hours in the morning to explore Ft. Lauderdale and pick up bottles of wine for the trip. Adam and I walked from our hotel to a nearby Target and were so happy to not wear jackets and get our first dose of sunshine! We breezed through check-in and boarded our ship around 11am on Saturday. It was massive! We were all pretty shocked when walking up to it for the first time. You will see in pictures below, but there is basically a town center in the middle of the ship that looks like a strip mall. So many little bars, restaurants, a cupcake shop, convenience store, clothing stores...etc. It was overwhelming to take that all in at first! We decided to head up to the open air deck and check out the ocean view/Ft. Lauderdale. It was so pretty! There were several adult pool areas, a big kiddie area, poolside bars and lounge chairs galore. The views were so beautiful! We grabbed our first drink of the trip (pina colada for me) and made a couple laps around the ship, just taking in all of the beauty surrounding us. Between boarding and departure, there was one restaurant open that was available for lunch, the Windjammer. The Windjammer is buffet style and has food our for breakfast, lunch and dinners. It ended up being our main breakfast place over the next 5 days and we also had a few lunches there as well. There were three other places to eat lunch: Sorrento's Pizza, Café Promenade and Jade Sushi. The main dinner option was served in a formal dining hall every night. The main dining hall had three different levels, all named after a famous artist. We dined on the fist level, Rembrandt. Along with Windjammer being a buffet/casual option for dinner (we never had dinner there), there were two additional dinner options. Chops Grill and Portofino were available by reservation and were an additional charge. We went to Chops Grill (steakhouse) on our last night and had amazing filets, sides and desserts. In my opinion, our main dining hall had pretty comparable food. I was very impressed with Chops, but I thought every night had amazing food! Tough problem to have, right ;) My favorite meal of the trip was French onion soup and a whole broiled lobster. Amazing is such an understatement. I could talk about food all day, so I'll move on to our activities onboard.

Onboard, there were so many fun things to do. That's what I really enjoy about cruises; you get to make it as relaxing or eventful as you wish! Every day they would put an itinerary of activities on your bed. Starting at about 8:00am, someone could keep themselves busy all day long doing things. Of course, we weren't quite that active, but we did take part in lots of fun stuff! The ship had a rock climbing wall, a mini golf course, a golf simulator, a sport court (basketball, volleyball), a simulation wave rider, a full track on the top deck, arcade, casino, ice rink, full gym with a boxing ring, art gallery and again, lots of shopping. Our group participated in a volleyball tournament and had a lot off fun! This was on a day that we were cruising, not in a port city, so it was VERY windy. It was frustrating funny seeing the ball move 10-15 ft. in the opposite direction of where you hit it, because of 50 mph wind gusts. We lost in the first round, but still had fun. Adam and I participated in a ship-wide scavenger hunt and worked up quite a sweat. Adam took second place in a longest driving golf competition and got a pretty fancy medal if I do say so myself. We played a few rounds of mini golf and most importantly, we lounged around! We all brought books with us and had some much needed R & R in the sun. There were several shows that we went to at night and all were pretty entertaining! A few of us saw a comedian one of the first nights and had a blast. There was an ice skating show called Encore on Ice and it ended up being amazing! We all went into it thinking it would be just 'okay', but it was very impressive! A few people went to a marriage game show that included couples from the audience and we all went to a show on the last night called Quest. It was hilarious. It was a game show that sectioned off the audience and each section had to appoint a male and female representative. Those two people had to go around there section and gather whatever item was announced by the host or perform a challenge. One challenge was that the male rep had to wear female shoes and run up to the host, another was that someone with a tattoo in each section had to show it to the host, another was to bring up false teeth...etc. I left out some of the more raunchy challenges, but you get the idea :) On to the port cities!

Our first port city was Belize City, Belize. We got there on Monday morning and our group split in two for different excursions. Tim, Julie, Adam and I went on a half-day snorkeling excursion and Rachel, Kyle, Michael and Alyssa went on an all day zip lining excursion.  We all met in prospective areas of the ship with others who were also joining us and were ushered out to tender (shuttle boat) to our excursion destinations. The coast of Belize is too shallow for ships to pull up to, so they anchor out miles from the coast and small shuttle boats tender people to and from the city. Our destination was a very small white sand island off the coast of Belize City, Rendezvous Caye. We were fitted with our equipment and walked out from the beach to the coral reef area. It was beautiful! Adam and I have now snorkeled in Cancun, Jamaica and Belize and this trip definitely topped our list. It was so fun seeing all the colorful fish and coral. Our tour guide swam down and came up with a giant lobster in his hand! Crazy to see. We snorkeled for about an hour and came back to the island for some more relaxing. We walked around and took lots of pretty pictures. All of us had an absolute wonderful time and it's an excursion I would highly recommend to anyone given this opportunity. Julie, Tim, Adam and I tendered back to the ship with the snorkel group and decided to catch another boat to Belize City. We walked around some of the local shops and found a few fun souvenirs. There was a fun looking bar called the Wet Lizard on the pier, so we stopped for some nachos and margaritas. It was a great day!

Our second port city was Cozumel, Mexico. When we got off the ship, Julie spotted a performer from the ice skating show onboard. She sparked up a conversation and asked him where he was headed. He told us about Paradise Beach and how it had nice sandy beaches, access to several nice pools and lots of beach lounge chairs. I'm not sure where we would have gone had we not had this advice, but we sure lucked out! It ended up being the perfect beach day we were all hoping for. It was no more than a 10 minute cab ride away from the port and was so wonderful! We lounged, read, explored the coast, ate lunch at Carlos and Charlie's and took a dip in the pool. It could not have been a more beautiful day. We drank, napped, played catch with a coconut, went sea shell hunting and just soaked in all we could on this last stop of ours. The following day was a cruising day headed straight back to Ft. Lauderdale. We are so blessed with wonderful family and love any time we get to spend with them. This was truly a vacation to remember!

We are now back to the grind as Adam finishes off his second year of dental school. He will officially begin year three in the beginning of May! That means much less book work and almost all clinic :) He can't wait to try out all of these procedures he's been mastering on his dummy over the past several months. I couldn't be more proud for him (or all of our dental friends!) for surviving this notoriously hard second year.

Adam, me, Rachel, Kyle

Rachel, Julie, Alyssa and me


Wave Runner



Erickson Family (and our wonderful servers)

Adam and Tim in Cozumel


Volleyball Tournament

1 comment:

  1. I love the sign above adam and dad, "Husband day care center" in Cozumel. That's hilarious!! Can't wait to see all your other pics! You captured some great moments!