We had the pleasure of cruising on Liberty of the Seas 5 night itinerary to Belize in Cozumel in mid February. Despite the cold front that moved across Florida during mid February (whoa...brrrr), the trip was beautiful and the ship- awe-inspiring! We filmed most of the ship, and two categories of staterooms, and will post those videos at the end of this review.
A bit about us- we have been on close to 20 cruises, however this was our first on one of RCI's large ships. We have cruised extensively with Princess and Carnival, and several times on Holland America. We've also been on two NCL cruises. I'm 41, my husband 51, and we sailed with our 6 year old son and my 74 year old mother. We were with a large group that occupied about one third of the ship as part of a corporate incentive trip. We flew from California to Fort Lauderdale take this cruise, but we normally stick to West Coast cruises to avoid air travel and save money. Filming cruise ships is a fun hobby for us, and wow, there was a LOT of squarefootage to cover on this ship!
The Ship-overall impressions:
This was, by far, the largest and most high-tech ship we've ever experienced. The promenade was beautiful and the shops lining it were so innovative. I loved how you could grab a snack or drink mid day while shopping or strolling here- the little sandwiches in the promenade cafe were a tasty mid afternoon snack for us, especially on sea days. The selection in the promenade was great, and much better than any other shopping options we have ever seen on the high seas.
We appreciated the touch screen ship maps all over the ship as we easily got lost. As with every cruise, we were JUST learning our way around the ship on the last day...then it was time to go home.
We tried to order room service from our TV once, but it was too slow and didn't function. We heard this from others as well – the system is very unreliable, so we gave up on that fast.
Oddly, this ship felt more crowded to us than any we've ever been on. Likely because people tend to congregate in the same places, and also, because of the unusually cold weather, people were forced indoors on the sea days (think flying deck chairs...very cold and windy).
How we spent our days:
Day 1- Embarkation- boarding at the port of Fort Lauderdale was smooth and quick. We arrived at the port at around noon, and were onboard no more than 45 minutes later. As we always do, we used this day to film the great majority of the ship while most public rooms were still vacant (everyone heads to the buffet and pool). After a wonderful buffet lunch at the windjammer, a pain-free muster and unpacking, we enjoyed our first night of anytime dining and sat as a family to discuss how big and interesting this ship was.
Day 2- At Sea- The weather was beautiful and the pool was the main attraction on this gorgeous day at sea. The belly-flop contest and poolside fun drew huge crowds, and we had a terrific time getting to know the ship, soaking up the sun, and tasting my first mojito onboard.
Day 3- Belize- We'll share more about our day below when covering the ports, but in short, after an annoying wait to tender off the ship, we made it to the pier, located our privately booked Goff's Caye representative, and headed into the tourist village/shopping area to wait for our departure. I wouldn't recommend just “walking around” in Belize- there's little to do, and you need to leave the area, by boat or on land, to see Belize's beauty. Plan ahead and spend a little money to get away from the port.
Day 4- Cozumel- After a leisurely morning, we walked off the ship and took our taxi to Nachi Cocom- the perfect day...more details to come. After a lovely day ashore, we splurged at the steakhouse, Chops and settled in for a relaxing evening. Everything at Chops was exceptional- from the prawn cocktail to the filet mignon with bernaise to the dessert and service- top notch.
Day 5- At Sea- since the cold, stormy weather was back in effect, we took advantage of all the ship has to offer. We got lucky enough to score tickets to ice skate (yay, they even had tiny skates for my 6 year old son!). The evening was dedicated to our company awards ceremony, which was held in studio B, aka the ice rink. It was interesting to see how well they covered the ice with a stage, and how high tech this room was, with televisions on all sides of the arena to view the media presented at our award show. It rivaled any land resort we've held these events at and somehow held our very large group with room to spare.
Ah, we loved Belize and Cozumel. Bear in mind, we're from the West coast, so any port with turquoise blue, warm water is a treat for us. We are not picky. In Belize, we took an excursion to Goff's Caye, a tiny island 30 minutes off shore. Picture something you see in a cartoon- a tiny white strip of beach lined with a few palm trees plopped in the middle of the ocean. This place was so picture perfect, we were pinching ourselves all day. The trip was too short, but can't recommend it enough. Others in our group snorkeled, but we opted to relax on the beach, swim, and take photos to maximize the time on the island.
In Cozumel, we pre reserved a day at Nachi Cocom, a private, quiet beach club. 15 minutes from the port by cab, this place was relaxing and poured all you could drink, all day, for something like $55 per person. The food was 4 course, all inclusive too, and was so delicious. There was no way we could eat all that was given to us, especially on top of the pina coladas, tequila shots and margaritas. We swam in the sea, explored the tiny gift shop and spent hours jumping off the end of the dock and swimming back to shore. After the cab ride back, we shopped at the pier (great shopping!) and boarded our ship. We can't wait to return to Cozumel.
We enjoyed a junior suite, a treat we normally wouldn't splurge on on this sailing. The stateroom was huge, well laid out, had a bathtub and coffee pot, two things we LOVE while cruising. I've never seen so much storage space, including a walk in closet, on any ship.
My Mom was in an interior stateroom, across the hall from us. The room was a little bigger than most, and had a privacy curtain that divided the room- again, something I've never seen in an inside room. It even had a couch- so cozy.
**Video tours of both rooms are at the end**
We took advantage of my time dining, and were fortunate enough to get the same servers every night, by request, at a table for 4. Our severs were so attentive and did a great job of making us feel like were were in a fixed dining situation, meaning, they remembered our preferences and welcomed us back each night by remembering our names. We were rarely offered drinks other than water, but we spoke up and got what we needed. I think $12 is a ridiculously high price for a mojito, but then again, a LOT of people on this ship bought the drink package, so it seems that is the direction this ship is taking.
We enjoyed the buffet only a few times on this cruise, and it was well laid out and offered great selection.
Chops, the steakhouse, was awesome. The only funny thing that happened here is they gave my son my husbands filet mignon, and my husband the “kids steak”. We didn't figure it out until they'd eaten half of the steaks, and it ended up being something to laugh about, and a compliment to the quality of the meat served.
The Experience overall. . .
What we loved:
Embarkation...so smooth, so friendly. Great job RCL.
The room service options....very nice selection and high quality food, including eggs at breakfast & fast service. Loved the turkey panini, mediterranean chicken salad and spinach dip. Yum.
Entertainment: the one show we had time to see was excellent- a cut above other lines- more modern and very high production value.
Very few ship wide announcements -very nice. You really have to rely on your Cruise Compass to know what is going on, but the lack of interruption is peaceful.
The Ship condition: Liberty is well maintained and has so many cutting edge, clever touches compared to other lines we've experienced. It's modern in so many ways, but not so huge that you can't enjoy the magic of being on the high seas (in fact, we felt quite a bit of motion on the final sea day).
What we'd change:
Okay, I know this is never fun. But, keep in mind, there was a cold front in Florida folks. We had to stand at the entrance to the ship, and along a FREEZING cold wind tunnel for about an hour, underdressed (everyone was- this is Florida, who brings their parka) before we could get into the building that houses immigration and the luggage. It was hard to watch SO many miserable people, many with fussy kids and elderly folks that were having a hard time standing for so long.
More ice skating times please.
Seriously, it was hard enough just to FIND the ice rink folks. But, really, they need to offer more times to choose from! The skate sizes were very inconsistent and when you went back to fix that, it was too late...no more skates, sorry.- no more skates And the cranky staff that hands out the skates made us feel like we were at boot camp. Please, smile, it's an ice rink for goodness sake...
The same lack of open times applied at the flow rider and rock wall.
RCL's beverage policy is stricter than other lines. i.e.- you're not allowed to bring your own soda and water. This really bothered me as I really enjoy my own water and a mere 12 pack of diet coke in my room. I don't get it.
Okay, the soft serve should be available 24/7, somewhere...the little ice cream machine on the pool deck would just disappear. This made my son and hubby sad as most lines offer soft serve pretty much 24/7.
It seems they could easily have a small section of the buffet area open 24/7, or just between main meal times. The hours seemed unusually odd to me, for a cruise line. Example: the buffet doesn't open for dinner until 6:30pm. That is late, and not the norm compared to other lines we've tried. Thankfully, room service saved us during some odd afternoon hungry hours after a long tour ashore.Thanks for reading, and happy cruising.
All in all, we had a lovely trip. Dollar for dollar, I'm not sure I would choose RCI again, but it all depends on departure port, price and ports for us. Right now RCI doesn't have much of a presence in Southern CA, where we tend to depart.
Thanks for reading, and happy cruising!!
Full ship video tour:
Junior Suite: https://youtu.be/u0eXVuPhPg8
Interior Stateroom: https://youtu.be/d1ryWy5-aDU
We got on the Liberty of the seas December 26, 2013 and we had fun. It would be nice if it was a 7-day cruise but, it was a 4-night cruise. Here is how it was like.
Hotel/Embarking: We stayed at a hotel. It was the Comfort inn. The hotel was okay but the food wasn't okay. My parents told me not to eat the boiled eggs because they were rubbery. Embarking was okay but the lines were long.
Activities: We had alot of fun. The hzo zone and pool was fun. The pools were freshwater. The promenade was pretty nice to see. The florider was amazing. We didn't do the flowrider but, we watched.
Children's Club: My sister had alot of fun. She met some friends. We brought other kids and they had fun.
Cozumel: We did an island tour. We loved it. We visited the ruins, did the Tequila tour, and more. We had two vans. The problems are on one van, it had the "B-word" on the back.
Cabin: We booked a balcony and we loved it. The doors were okay and the bathroom was great.
Service: The service wasgreat. The dining room treated our cousins 3-year old (now 4) really nice. The staff in cafe promenade was nice.
Food: The food was good. Nothing went wrong in the dining room. The fries tasted good. I was not sure about the cheese plate but, I will try it again.
The entertainment was good. We did the Micheal Jackson experience and it was the best. The 70s party was good. We had alot of fun.
Overall: We will recommend this ship to our friends because it was the best ship we been on. It would be good for a B2B cruise.
I am writing this to those looking for a cruise that will actually care about your personal items. My wife and I chose to take this cruise only as an alternative way to get to Belize and back during some time off we had. It was between this cruise or a flight. We go to Belize once a year to pick up 4 bottles of rum, yes that's right, rum. Not just any rum, Old Master Rum made in Belize and not exported. We chose this cruise versus the flight due to its same price as flying and as a neat way to get there. No real reason other than that.
We arrived in Belize and quickly purchased our goods and returned to the ship. At re-boarding, as expected, the crew has a table where they hold your rum till the end of the trip and issue you a slip with the promise to return your liquor on the last night around 7 pm.
Fast forward, its the last night at 11 pm and still no liquor. We went to the guest relations desk and waited in line for 30min. Finally, our turn we asked what had happened to our liquor. They stated they didn't know. They tried to shovel us away to help the next guest but we persisted. They conversed in the back and then came back forward only to offer us other random liquor bottles or money. We denied both as nothing could replace what we had lost. They had the bar officer look through the night and stated that our names were still on the list for delivery on both the master list and the maids floor list but not checked off due to the loss of the items. We checked again in the am before we left the ship to no avail.
I have since told my story to Royal Caribbean Ltd and the listened and notated my account. I also told them that short of a complete refund, which they and I both know that won't happen, I would be advertising this on as much social media as I can.
I make this WARNING to all consumers: This may seem insignificant as a few bottles of liquor. But, think if its your luggage, and your jewelry, and they admit to being at blame and decide that the replacement for your shiny items is a trinket from the gift shop. This is more then a small problem, this is a symptom of a bigger nonchalant attitude of a corporate entity just not really caring.
This was my 2nd cruise (both on RCI), so my perspective is obviously limited.
We ended up with lots of special food needs for our group of 6 - Gluten intolerant, Vegan
We traveled the liberty of the seas and it was great. The entertainment was awesome the food was very good and the stops were all great. The room was big to speak of for a cruise ship and was always cleaned up twice a day. I would rate the cruise a solid 9 out of 10. The only complaint that I have is that, while boarding our luggage, it somehow manage to rip and when the crew members brought it to our room the first night the bag was torn and some of my wifes close were hanging out the bottom of it. We had a jewelry case full of jewelry that had fallen out the bottom. The cruise line did replace the luggage bag that next day but refuse to replace any of the $750 worth of lost jewelry.
I will preface by saying we have cruised 6 times before 3 on Carnival, 2 on Royal Caribbean and once on Disney. We are a married couple in our mid 30s with two children. On this cruise we sailed just me and my wife.
We stayed at the Hyatt Miami Place near the airport and took advantage of their one way shuttle to the port and left our car on their property for the week which was included in our stay. This was approximately the same cost as driving the day of the cruise and paying for parking at the port. We drove in from Tampa and did not want to have to leave so early to be in Miami to catch the ship. The hotel was very clean and worth the money.
After catching the shuttle from the hotel, we arrived at the port terminal and checked in with no problems. Got on the ship in a little under an hour and made our dinner reservations with my time dining for 6pm. After seeing our 8th floor balcony room, we toured the ship which was absolutely beautiful. Wethen did the muster drill then the sail away party. Dinner was next at 6p the food was ok. We attended the welcome aboard party which was nice.
Sunday day at sea,
Hung out by the pool got a good tan and enjoyed a bucket of Corona. Windjammer for lunch was ok. Formal/lobster night was very good probably the best lobster I have had on a cruise yet. The show was good.
Monday day at sea,
Days at sea are always our favorite. We hung out by the pool got more of a tan. This day we hung by the solarium pool which was very nice and tried the overhanging hot tub which was very cool. I played some poolside blackjack and tried the flow rider. What a blast! Johnny Rockets for lunch was very good. We did late seating dinner and the food was ok. We skipped the show and did some casino then dancing in the Catacombs club. Sorrento’s pizza for a late night snack on the balcony was very good.
Tuesday Saint Marten,
Breakfast in the Windjammer was ok then we went shopping by the pier as we had an excursion at noon. We did the Double Eagle catamaran which was very nice. Very rough waters so the boat had to divert to a beach instead of the Tintamaare Island that it was supposed to sail to. Beach was nice and the crew was awesome. Overall it was a very good excursion. Dinner was at Chops and the filet was excellent.
Wednesday Puerto Rico,
We met some friends who live in PR who took us to Isla Verde beach. We had lunch at a local place because we had to try mofongo which was very good. Back on ship we hung out by the solarium for awhile then watched the sail out from San Juan from the upper deck. 8pm dinner was ok. Blackjack then dancing at the Catacombs then I ordered room service. This is when I discovered the Bistro Burger and chicken wings on the room service menu which was better that the Johnny Rockets burger in my opinion.
All I can say is how cool is this place. Tender operation needs to be looked at but it appeared as though they were building a dock which will take care of the problems. We did the zip line which was a blast. The beach area on the ocean side was a nightmare to try and walk into with bare feet as there were big pieces of busted up coral all over and under the water. This explained the big crates of water shoes I saw in the onboard shops when we first got on the ship. I really wish a good explanation would have been given on this port as to the deal with the water on this side of the beach. On the bay side of the facility, you could walk fine into the water without shoes. Bring single dollar bills to tip the chair guys. The BBQ lunch was excellent and not to be missed. Very nice place with chairs and hammocks in the shade as well as in the sun. I wish we could have had two days there. We did dinner in the Windjammer which was good. We danced late night poolside at the nightclub they had set up there.
Friday at sea day,
We hung out by the solarium pool getting in and out just lounging for the final day. We did the windjammer for lunch and I played blackjack poolside for the final time. Dinner was in our room on the balcony with a Bistro Burger. We attended the farewell show which was nice then packed our stuff. We didn’t stay out too late because of the drive back home.
Overall a very nice cruise although I noticed that the quality of the food/entertainment was lacking from previous (2) cruises with Royal Caribbean. The specialty dining restaurant was not even close to being as good as Carnivals offering which was a bit disappointing. With this being said, I understand that hard economic times make companies cut in areas to save money which I believe was the reason for these and other things about this cruise to be surprisingly substandard for a Royal Caribbean product. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and will cruise again with Royal Caribbean probably due to their ship innovation alone.
Embarkation - Excellent and very fast. We were on the ship around 11:30am the pool bar was not open yet.
Ship - This was our third time on Liberty. Liberty is my favorite Royal ship so far. Being on the newer side the ship looked good and was clean.
Stateroom - We booked the Q guar. and got the Promenade stateroom. The cabin was above the pub on deck 7 and on some nites we were able to hear the music. I would not pay extra for a Promenade cabin don't think they are worth it.
Dining - No problems with the food in the main dining room. We mostly ate fish each nite. I'm not much of a Salmon lover but the Salmon I ordered was awesome. Lobster, Shrimp, Cod, Prime Rib were good. Can't comment on desserts I never order desserts. Have not been to Portofino or Chops yet. I don't eat lunch so can't comment on the Windjammer buffet lunch. Breakfest in the Windjammer was the usual items fruit, cereals, yogurt, eggs, fresh made omlets, bacon, sausage etc.
We did MyTime Dining and it was great. We had dinnerat 6pm a few nites and other nites at 7pm depending on what was on the agenda. We sat at the same area and had the same waiters each nite.
Service - I guess this would be one of the reasons I will always return to the Liberty. Service was wonderful. Waiters were excellent. Room attendant was very good. Bartenders/servers were excellent.
A few people I'd like to mention are Jose/Waiter, Valdron/Room Attendant, Amuri & Pedro/Bolero's, Dewitt/Smoothie Bar Pool deck, Virgina & Nikko/Diamond Lounge. Ok I got to stop here or this review will get too long...On to the next subject.
Ports - Cozumel we did Parasailing and some shopping. Jamaica we did Mystic Mountain which we enjoyed very much. There was an airlift ride that lasts for about 15 minutes then we rode the Bobsled. Of course the Bobsled is no super thrill roller coaster but it was still fun and we would do it again. Grand Cayman we stayed on the ship. Very relaxing day to sit by the pool and do nothing. Labadee we did the zipline and this was the highlight excursion of the week. Alot of fun and will do it again.
Entertainment/Activities - The comedian was good. There was an Abba show which was excellent. The Jugglar was good. The two production shows were good. I missed the ice show. The Soca and Pirate Parades in the Promenade were fun. My son did the Flowrider each day and we both Rock Climbed each day. Love and Marriage game show and the Quest were a riot. 70's nite on the Promenade is always alot of fun as was 80's nite. The cruise director Allen Brooks is a very funny guy we had him as a CD before. His staff also were excellent - Paul & Joyce and the rest of the crew.
Fellow Cruisers - Alot of families onboard. Many Europeans from Germany, Brazil and Italy. Many kids onboard if you are doing a family cruise on Liberty not to worry your kids will make friends onboard.
Debarkation - Very good off the ship very quick.
Overall - Another excellent cruise on Liberty. If I had to find things to nit pick about I guess the only things I could come up with are...
1. The show lounge was cold for me I could have worn a long sleeve shirt.
2. The Windjammer gets packed for breakfest after 8:30am and it gets difficult to find a table.
3. The Long Island Ice Tea I ordered one nite was very strong....however not a biggie as I was heading to bed anyway and it ended up being a good nite sleep.
We are not done with Liberty we shall cruise on her again.
Royal Caribbean Is a big ripoff. Just did a New England/Canada cruise and the cruise line canceled one of the ports for a trumped up reason, which I found out later. Then, they did not find another port in its place, there was at least one available. Then, although they told me and my travel agent that the port fees and taxes would be added to our onboard account, that did not happen. The fees and taxes came to somewhere around $96 or more, times 3000 is a nice profit.
The ship we were on was to sail to the Caribbean for its next cruise. All customers were informed, two days prior to departure, that due to the weather they were heading to New England instead. I have seen where, because of the weather, they could not go to ANY port, so they sailed at sea for seven days, then returned to home port. And one instance they sat in port for the cruise.
Royal Caribbean is known for nickel and diming (more like $500 and $1000) you to death. While other cruise lines are starting to offer reduced or freeWiFi, they have one of the highest rates. While other cruise lines offer free or low cost water, juice and soda, Royal Caribbean charges one of the highest rates. And from the look of it, the alcohol packages (I am not a drinker) are also very high. Do not expect a good payout in the casino, from what I read the cruise line is committed to the 85% or better that U.S. casinos are held to. But all land casinos pay out much higher, up to 99%, while RCCI payout is closer to the 85%.
The cruise had plenty to do as long as you had $$$ in your pocket. I counted one day and there were 72 activities, only 27 of which did not have a fee or were an advertisement for one of their paid services. With four of those 27 happened twice or three times that day.
RC was my first cruise where I was unable to see two of the nightly shows because there were no seats left.
I did, however, enjoy most of the food on board with the exception of the powdered eggs.
There are plenty of reviews describing how beautiful and wonderful the ship is.
I am reviewing solely to provide accurate technical information about the internet and telecommunications features aboard the ship, which are important for those of us who need to stay connected and who are hesitant to take a cruise vacation without knowing if we'll be knocked offline for a week. Some of us - like me - are in charge of being on call in case things at home - like servers, etc. - decide to throw a fit while we're gone.
I took an Apple iPhone (AT&T carrier - GSM) and my laptop abord the ship.
I felt Liberty's connectivity is decent.
I was able to get a good GSM cellular signal for voice calls throughout the entire voyage, provided by the onboard ship system when at sea. The carrier name showed "Cellular at SEA" and coverage throughout the ship was decent. In port, they apparently must switch the system off, and you depend on the country's signal from shore. It's sometimes hard to get a signal from an interior stateroom. Text messages were delivered promptly, both send and receive. GPRSis functional but expensive. Voice calling is latent (delays) - I experienced round trip delays between 1.0 and 2.0 seconds on voice calls. I believe AT&T hits me for $2.49/min voice calls, free incoming text if I am on a text plan, and some nominal fee for outgoing text, but I won't know until I get the bill.
I am told that CDMA phones work as well, but I didn't travel with anyone who took one aboard. (last time I took a Verizon CDMA phone aboard Splendour in 2007, I could call but couldn't send or receive text, and wondered if that had been improved since then).
Liberty's WiFi is fairly decent. I was able to sustain a video call using Skype on my laptop, and use Remote Desktop to my computer at home. The latency was surprisingly favorable for what should be a satellite connection - seemingly better than voice calling on my cell phone. The biggest caveat (arguably fair though) is that the usability of the connection is greatly influenced by the time of day, owing to the number of people onboard you are sharing it with. The connection is virtually worthless even for simple web browsing if you try right after the main dinner seating gets out, but a midnight Skype video chat is completely doable and less choppy than a calm sea. I was able to get WiFi in my room (73xx) and in most areas of the ship I tried with few exceptions (the front of the Platinum Theater got no WiFi). Time was charged by the minute - 55 cents a minute from the time you log on until the time you either log off or shut off your WiFi adapter. And billing was fair - if I turned off my WiFi without logging out, I didn't get charged for any time after I powered off.
There was an unlimited option available for $250, as well as some prepay packages at various amounts between $0 and $250 to get a rate down to as low as around 28 cents a minute (but of course you forfeit any minutes you don't use).
I consider my self a crusing expert. Food, service,entertainment and the like. I am often asked " which is the best cruise line". There is really no correct answer. Each line has good and bad points and much depends on the passenger. The most important aspect of an enjoyable cruise is preparation. Most of the griping I hear relates to poor planning of a misunderstanding of itineries and port planning.
Work on preparation and planning and any cruise line will be enjoyable.