Mediterranean cruise: Liberty / Seas : any advice?
In July, my family and I will embark on a 7-day Western Mediterranean cruise onboard Royal Caribbean's: Liberty of the Seas.
This will be my first Mediterranean cruise. I am preparing myself for the cruise, so I will need some advice:
On past cruises (in the Caribbean), I always brought some petty cash for gratuities to the crew members. Also, I may have used some in the casino. I always brought US Dollars. However, since this is a Mediterranean cruise, should I bring Euros instead? Should I tip the crewmembers with Euros instead? Will the casino accept Euros or US Dollars?
Does this ship (Liberty of the Seas) provide a self-service laundry room, like the Carnival ships I cruised on in the past? If so, should I bring my own detergent? Should I bring lots of US Quarters to use in the laundry machines? Or, will the laundry machines only accept Euros? If so, does this laundry room also have a iron for ironing your clothes (like the laundry rooms on Carnival ships)?
Has anyone here, ever cruised on the Liberty of the Seas? If so, I would appreciate any advice you could give on what to do while onboard the ship.
Has anyone here, ever been to the four ports of call this ship will visit on this cruise in July? The ship's home port is Barcelona, Spain and the cruise is a 7-day round trip out of, and returning to Barcelona.The four port of call are:
- Toulon, France
- Villefranche Sur Mer, France
- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
- Naples, Italy
While on this cruise, while ashore, do you think my family and I will have trouble with the language barrier? My mother is a native speaker of Spanish. I am able to speak some Spanish on a limited level. So, I think we should have no trouble in Barcelona. My brother-in-law claims to know French; we will have to see. Right now, I am trying to learn a few basic words and sentences in French and Italian; as well as expanding my knowledge of Spanish. Do you think learning those languages would be helpful?
So those are the questions I can think of so far. I am sure I might have more. Any help and answers would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks in advance :)
The onboard currency for Royal Caribbean is U.S. dollars, even when in Europe. However either dollars or Euros will be fine for tipping. The casino runs on dollars too, but they'll exchange Euros. Bottom line for me is I'd have a stash of dollars just for use onboard and save my Euros for the ports.
Royal Caribbean does not have self-service laundromats on any of their ships.
I spent half of last December aboard Liberty Of The Seas, plus 4 more days this January. I previously had also sailed on Liberty on it's first revenue cruise and on the December 2011 Rock Legends cruise. So bottom line - I've spent more time on this ship than any other in their fleet. I like the Freedom class ships.
It is really just a stretched Voyager class design, which they had to do to accommodate the FlowRider and the kids water park.
The crew onboard recently was excellent with lots of European staff who were anxious for the ship to return to Europe. Nothing stands out as a 'must do' while aboard although Royal has spent a lot of money on their new shows. I liked to hit the pub in the promenade every night for a pint or two of ale. They have a fairly extensive list of beers and ales.
No need to take crash courses in French or Italian. My experience has been that people who live in those ports speak enough English that tourists can get by. Plus if you have Spanish speakers with you, Italian is close enough to Spanish that a lot of it will make sense to you.
Naples is a gateway to Pompeii (which I recommend highly) as well as the beautiful Sorrentine Peninsula. Our shore excursion took us to Pompeii and Sorrento, and there are others that go to Capri. The scenery is fantastic.
Although we didn't dock in Villefranche, we were in nearby Monaco. From there, we visited Nice. You'll likely have a choice of one or the other. They are very different. I really liked Monaco -- but note that there are a LOT of hills.
Don't worry about the language barrier. Everyone in the tourist areas spoke English fluently. As for Barcelona, the language is Catalan, not Spanish, but you can get around with English.
Two pieces of advice. First, prepare for very hot weather. Second, bring the most comfortable walking shoes you have as many of the tours that are on foot cover a lot of distance.
Thank you Dave and LisaP.
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