There isn't a cruise line at sea that welcomes passengers back like Royal Caribbean International (RCI). First day on board there were several knocks at our stateroom door; each bringing the following: One dozen American Beauty Roses, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Champagne chilling in an ice bucket with two glasses, a tray of chocolate dipped strawberries, and finally a huge bowl of fruit. VIP treatment for "Diamond + frequent floaters" is wonderful and it signals a wonderful week to come: Exotic destinations, unique experiences with old and new friends on board!
The first surprise was to see Captain Charles Teige as master, since we had enjoyed meeting him on the Voyager of the Seas in 2006. What a pleasure to sail and dine with him again on the Liberty of the Seas. This lovely ship is well run and affords travellers such unique marvelous opportunities including the following: the Flow Rider, a surf simulator; the Ice Skating Rink presenting Olympic quality Ice Skating Shows; the Rock Climbing Wall, the nine hole Mini Golf, etc., etc., etc! This, our first review of the Liberty of the Seas, will cover theentire ship and point out some of its exquisite decorations.
EMBARKATION On Saturday I-95 traffic was bearable, we arrived at the Port of Miami at 12:45pm and had wheelchair assistance from the point of luggage drop off --- all the way to our stateroom. Check-in was simple, then we were escorted to a waiting area from which the ship's crew took us on board. We were in our cabin in less than one half hour. This was all simple and no hassle.
THE SHIP This Freedom class ship, the Liberty of the Seas, is sister to both the Freedom of the Seas and the newest of this triumvirate, Independence of the Seas. The Liberty made her maiden voyage on May 19, 2007. She was built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Turku, Finland. Her gross tonnage is 160,000 and she is 1,112 feet long and 185 feet wide, with a draft of a mere 28 feet. She is approximately the same as the Empire State Building laid on its side --- nearly four times the size of the Statue of Liberty and three times the size of the Titanic! She has a cruising speed of 21.6 knots and 15 passenger decks, 14 elevators, and can accommodate 4,375 guests. This cruise she carried 4,100 passengers and a crew of 1,360. This ship has 1,817 staterooms of which 1,084 are ocean view (842 of these have balconies). There are 733 interior cabins of which 172 have a view of the Royal Promenade. The RCI Royal Promenade concept, in both the Voyager and Freedom classes, is a village street in the interior part of the ship (with a Pub, a Barber Shop, Logo Shops, Boutiques and restaurants). This is an excellent place to stroll, shop, sit and read, or meet with fellow passengers. Next will follow a deck by deck description of the Liberty of the Seas.
Deck 1 has the medical facility and crew areas.
Deck 2 forward has the Conference Center and the Screening Room, plus passenger cabins and the first level of the Platinum Theater.
Deck 3 forward has the Platinum Theater with its gorgeous curtain "Pearls" with 13 separate panels, a total of 28 feet tall and 46 feet wide with seven statuesque female figures with head pieces and dresses of 76,000 hand sewn sequins and 4,000 Austrian crystals. Their shoes are of 4,000 ruby red bugle beads. The total effect is elegant. Also forward is the Art Gallery; mid ship is the "Catacombs Disco" with Harry Cardross' Stained Glass Windows titled the "Ravens of the Catacombs." Norse mythology call them Hugin and Munin. Simon Dray has painted the god Odin, who gave one eye in return for knowledge--- his other eye is the sun. Dray also painted Frigg, Odin's wife. She was a strong woman who often got the best of Odin. Needless to say the disco is striking.
Next is the Ice Center and the Studio B Entertainment complex. Aft is the Rembrandt Dining Room which is the bottom level of the tri level restaurant. It is a RCI triumph, with a massive chandelier seen from all tiers. The triple staircase holds the bandstand which provides live music each evening during dinner.
Deck 4 has the Schooner Bar and the Casino Royale with its Hollywood, Casablanca and Oceans' 11 characters on murals ( Bogart, Bergman, the Rat Pack of Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr. and Dickinson). Artists Smolover and Zaiba call the murals "Casino." These two artists also did the primordial garden of glass floral sculptures in the Bolero Bar. They are fantastic giant agave blooms in warm colors of yellows and oranges. The Michelangelo Dining room is aft.
Deck 5 is the most used passenger center, since it has the Guest Relations Desk, Exploration Desk for shore excursions and the Shopping Desk and the Promenade with the following:Shops on Board (perfume, sports and logo), Ben & Gerry's Ice Cream, a Barber shop, Wine Bar, Hoof & Claw Pub, Cafe' Promenade and Sorrento's Pizza featuring antipasti, artisan breads, pizzas, and desserts of fresh fruits and biscotti! The walls inside have photos of many famous Italo-Americans from Caruso to Mario Lanza and Joe DiMaggio.
Aft is the Botticelli Dining Room with a mural of "Venus rising..." Forward is the Sphinx Lounge. Its entrance is flanked by huge statues of Pharohs, while on its walls are murals of "Views of the Nile" and "Figures from Daily Life, Egypt" by Clarissa Parish. Look for the Novidis statue of Tutankhama, it is a representation of the one in the Cairo Museum. Its beauty is in black and gold.
Decks 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are mainly cabins plus the Business Services area, the Library, the RCI computers and the Concierge lounge all of which are located near the aft elevators.
Deck 11 forward has the fitness center and the Solarium with an excellent pool and two giant whirlpools which extend out over the ocean! On this deck there are 6 whirlpools, 3 swimming pools and the Sea Trek Dive Shop. Mid ship is the Sprinkles Ice Cream and aft are two specialty restaurants: Chops Grille, excellent filet and veal chops, etc. and superbly run; the Portofino, with Italian cuisine, featured a new menu with updated items; all the way aft is the Jade (oriental food) and the Windjammer Buffet serving all day long everything from soup to desserts.
Deck 12 has the Johnny Rockets Restaurant, a nineteen fifties railroad car diner, all chrome and red Naugahyde booths plus juke boxes with all the golden oldies. They specialize in hamburgers, hot dogs, French Fries, onion rings and old fashion soda fountain fare: Ice cream floats, sundaes and apple pie a la mode. Here also are the Adventure Ocean Youth Center, Fuel Teen Disco and the Game Arcade.
Deck 13 is the Sports Deck with a Rock Climbing Wall, Mini Golf and Golf Simulator, Basketball Court, Flow Rider (for surfers) and the Wipe Out Bar.
Deck 14 has the Sports bar and night club Olive or Twist, the 7 Hearts Card Room, Cloud 9 Club and the second Concierge Lounge overlooking the sea.
Deck 15 holds the Skylight Chapel which accommodates 45 people: Great for weddings at sea!
The ship is artfully decorated with designs too numerous to mention here. It reflects the excellent taste of RCI. Suffice it to say there is a surprise around every corner and in every stairwell.
CABIN We had wheelchair accessible cabin #7624 on Deck 7. It is a large roomy stateroom decorated very tastefully in teal blue and gold. When entering, the door is a bit too narrow for a wheelchair and we had to do special maneuvers each time. On the left there are armoires with both shelves and hangers and a personal safe. Then, there is a long desk/vanity with lighted mirrors.
When entering on the right there is a large bathroom with safety rails all around and a shower stall with a fold away seat. The mirrored medicine cabinet is roomy. Then there is a sofa, a coffee table, and an upholstered chair. RCI has a new bedding program featuring a king size bed, upgraded sheets and a nice duvet (the 20 pound variety, which is a bit too much for the Caribbean).Two night stands flank the bed with two reading lamps. The far wall is all windows, floor to ceiling and a door to the balcony, which holds a chaise, two chairs and a small table. The balcony is extra long and deep, and very spacious. Our Cabin Stewardess was Evelyn Marcosa, the sweetest, and most efficient we've had. Brava!
SERVICE & FOOD The Hotel Director Christos Karavos is a very capable man who gave us much detailed ship data. We can't thank him enough. He runs an excellent ship, where service is always smiling and fast. We used Room Service every morning for breakfast and the RS Supervisors Theresa and Teeana should be proud of the prompt and accurate service.
RCI's Crown & Anchor Society has many perks to offer returning passengers in the way of cocktail parties, gifts (i.e. Caps and beach towels), concierge services by Pretty Shamu, Anthea Helmsing and Mario Reyes who preside over the two lounges on Deck 10 and Deck 14: Great service and cordiality from all three, especially from Anthea who made our dinner and show reservations and provide us with the Italian language newspaper. The lounges are open for breakfast 8-11am and cocktails 5-8:30pm. It is a nice way to meet new people on board and to connect up with old friends.
Most cruisers equate service with the treatment in the dining rooms and restaurants. This cruise Exec. Chef Johan Petutschnig was on board; he is another old acquaintance of ours. Feeding over 5,000 people every day is a daunting task, but he is up to it and he can be seen making the rounds of the many various venues daily.
The Captain's Dinner on Formal Night was exquisite -- escargot, Lobster bisque, Caesar salad, linguini Alfredo with truffled wild mushrooms (Mary's choice) and a perfectly done Filet of Beef (Vincent's selection). The Chef's Surprise dessert was a delicate mousse topped with a spun sugar basket filled with wild berries. What a way to end dinner with Captain Teige. Excellent conversation, delicious food and a sweet taste in our mouth.
Each evening we dined in the Botticelli Restaurant Deck 5. Head Waiter Myra Fuentes was constantly watching that everything went smoothly. Our Waiter was Pedro Arevalo and both he and his assistant Ning were perfect. They brought each course at a nice pace, but not rushed. The food was typical RCI, good quality and we are happy to note smaller portions. Vincent felt that the beef was not of consistent quality.
We especially enjoyed Sorrento's on the Promenade and highly recommend Chop's Grill where quality was top notch, with meat cooked to perfection, and served well. The Mississippi Mud Pie is the ultimate in chocolate. Food and service are alive and well on board!
ENTERTAINMENT This Freedom Class of ships has so many diverse possibilities for fun for everyone. For the sports minded there are unique items only to RCI venues like the Flow Rider: stand up surfing from 8-9am and 3-4pm and boogie boarding from 10-11am and 4-6pm. Then there is Rock Climbing Wall and ice skating. No other cruise line offers all of these. There are also skating, golf, jogging, shuffleboard and ping pong. For those enjoying gambling there are Bingo, poker and slots tournaments and other Casino games. For the less athletic minded, there is Daily Trivia, and a great library with many comfortable leather sofas and chairs overlooking the the Royal Promenade. This is a much coveted spot for viewing the many Parades on the Promenade.
The nightly shows include comics, variety shows and Broadway style musicals --- all very entertaining. Cruise Director James Andrews keeps passengers informed of the many activities on board. James is very friendly and approachable. We cruise for rest and relaxation, but many cruise for activities and RCI has the best and most afloat. "Get out there!"
PORTS OF CALL Saturday: Port of Miami, FL Sail Away 5:00pm. Sunday: At Sea. Monday: At Sea. Tuesday: Philipsburg, St. Maarten Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm Wednesday: San Juan, Puerto Rico Arrive 7:00am Depart 2:00pm Thursday: Labadee, Haiti Arrive 8:00am Depart 4:30pm Friday: At Sea Saturday: Port of Miami, FL Arrive 7:00am Debarkation
CONCLUSION We have cruised two years ago on the Freedom of the Seas, sister ship of the Liberty of the Seas, and were amazed by the immense dimensions of this "giga" ship and, most of all, by the many innovative features first seen at sea. However, now we spend more time going around and admiring the individual pieces of artwork which decorate the various areas of these ships. It is like visiting a museum. Each day we tour different areas, take the time to enjoy the interesting sights and learn something new. We rarely visit the ports of call, since we have been there many times, but we leisurely enjoy the ship.
We are addicted to cruising. This was our 75th cruise and our 35th on RCI ships, thus it is evident that RCI is one of our favorite cruise lines. The main reason is that the perks and benefits offered to Crown & Anchor Society members are substantial, especially to those repeaters ("Frequent Floaters") who have achieved the Platinum and Diamond levels. We are looking forward to sailing on the newest of the RCI ships, Independence of the Seas, Nov. 29th. Other cruises already booked are the Norwegian Pearl, on Jan. 4th, Ruby Princess, on Jan. 24th, Celebrity Solstice, transatlantic cruise, on April 19th and the inaugural cruise of the Oasis of the Seas, on Dec. 12th 2009. Happy Cruising!
My granddaughter, age 13, and I had a most enjoyable vacation sailing to the Caribbean.
Pros: Very smooth embarkation and debarkation. Each took less than half an hour. Extremely large variety of activities at most times of day. Ice show was very professional with great costumes and music. Dining room wait staff well trained and helpful. Food was better than expected, but not gourmet. Very comfortable chairs in the library and computer room for reading and people watching. Food available around the clock somewhere. Photographers are not intrusive.
Cons: Minimum drawer space in cabin overlooking the promenade and very tight fit getting around the beds from sitting area to bathroom with beds in twin configuration. Even less shelf space in the bathroom. Constant announcements for revenue generating activities. Almost no feeling of being on a ship. Many may find that a positive feature, but I missed seeing the water from public lounges and feeling a little motion at night. We could not understand the words of the singers in the production shows. Sound was quite fuzzy from where we sat in the balcony. Cabin attendant did absolute minimum or less. We had to callto get ice in the afternoon, and room was not done until evening turn down if we slept in. The casino does not allow double odds at the craps table.
DETAILS Ship and Cabin: The most obvious feature of the ship is that it is BIG. It is tastefully decorated and has excellent signage to find your way around. You will do a lot of walking just to get from one place to another, but you probably will not get lost. The elevators are fast and usually plentiful enough. After a show lets out or when shore excursions return you will have to wait for an elevator, but once on you will get quickly to your destination unless kids have been on and pushed all of the buttons. There are only two locations for the elevators, but many in each location. If your cabin is centrally located, as mine was, you will always walk quite a ways to the elevator then again to your final destination. The hallways have jogs in them so that you do not have a view of endless corridors. There is no wrap around promenade or quiet outside deck chairs, but there is a jogging track on the sports deck way up high. You can go out and stand at the rail on one deck, but this ship is more about inside activities except up on sports deck.
The cabin was small, but adequate. Since drawers were scarce, I left a lot of my clothes in the packing cubes and placed them on the closet shelves. Hanging space was ample for a 7 day cruise. The "duvet" was just a mattress pad in a cover. Very heavy and warm. I asked the cabin attendant to remove it and just put a blanket on the bed. He left the duvet in a heap on the sofa for two days until I asked him to move it. My granddaughter found the duvet to be quite comfortable. We had brought small, lightweight throws for use on the plane. We found them very convenient for afternoon naps too.
The bathroom has three small shelves in the corner medicine cabinet and a shelf under the basin counter. The only amenities provided are towels, bar soap, and a dispenser of shampoo in the shower. There is a hair dryer in the drawer in the vanity table in the bedroom. It cannot be removed from that area. The shower is "clamshell" style so there is no curtain problem. Overall it was small and fairly spartan, but adequate.
Pool Area: The Lido deck is very popular on nice days. There is a pool area for adults only and a family pool area. There are plenty of deck chairs if you get there early enough. I like to be in the shade and was always able to find a chair, if not a lounge. Pool towels must be checked out with your room card and there is a $20 charge if they are not returned. If you take a wet towel to the cabin you must return it to the Lido deck towel area to be credited for its return. This might be why chairs were available; leaving a towel on a chair could cost you money. I really missed the quiet deck chairs for reading on the promenade deck of my favorite ship. The Lido was always noisy as it is meant more for swimming and socializing. There were always bar service staff hawking the expensive drink of the day. I, therefore, did most of my reading in the library or the cabin.
There is a colorful area for water play. Younger children appeared to be enjoying themselves in the sprays, shallow pools, and sliding areas.
Entertainment: There are all of the usual shipboard games and activities plus the ice rink, climbing wall, miniature golf, and the flow rider. Hannah especially enjoyed the flow rider. Surf boards and belly boards are provided. My favorite entertainment was the ice show. It was as professionally done as any on land. You must pick up a ticket to see it, but they are free. Since we could not understand the words of the songs in the production shows in the main theater after dinner we quit going after the first two. One night there was a street dance in the promenade. I had a lot of fun watching the activity from my cabin bay window. The casino has a craps table, but does not allow double odds.
Hannah enjoyed meeting friends in the teen area, but did not participate in any formal children's program activities. I, therefore, know nothing about the program.
Dining: We had a table for 10 with people from several countries, but all spoke English. It made for very interesting conversation at dinner. The food was good enough in the main dining room that we did not try the extra cost specialty restaurants for dinner. Hannah had pizza from Sorentos on the promenade frequently each day. It was quite good. We also used room service in the early morning hours. The food came promptly and was hot when it arrived. There were not a lot of choices, but enough for a late night snack. Breakfast room service was also on time and at least warm when it arrived. There was good variety in the Windjammer buffet for lunch, but the food was quite ordinary, so I ate in the dining room most days. Hannah had lunch on the promenade.
We went to Johnny Rockets for lunch one day. It was good fast food, but not worth the extra charge.
Overall I feel that this is an excellent ship for a group of different ages. There is something for everyone. If your favorite activity is not available when you want it, you can surely find something to enjoy from the multitude of things to do.
Just got back from my first Royal Caribbean Cruise on the Liberty and it was spectacular including 7 sunny days and calm seas. I had previously been on the Noordam (snoredom) 17 mos. ago. My DH and I are late 50's (look & act younger), and we fit in perfectly with the wonderful mix of people. We arrived at the port about noon, found a terrific parking place in the garage, walked across the street, approached by a baggage handler who immediately took our bags (tipped nicely), walked into the terminal, had a short line of about 15 minutes, and were onboard and in our cabin (balcony deck 9) by 1PM. Cabin has lots of storage and setup nicely. Very comfortable bed and soft linens. Of course the bathroom is tiny, but doable.
I can't say enough good things about the cruise. Let me start with the minor disappointments. Windjammer crowded on port days AM but we found a secret place to relax and have breakfast by midweek. A lot of the music (shows, poolside, in bars) and was labeled 70's but was very disco. 60's and early 70's music wouldhave been better, at least for us.
Food was great. We were seated by the window on 4 at a delightful table for two. The waiter and ass't. were incredible. We ate at Chops one night and they gave us a very romantic table in the back room by the window with a view of the water passing by. The food there was incredible as was the service. Ice Show is a DO NOT MISS event. The comedian was fantastic. We didn't go to the other shows as the timing was strange. We had 8:30 seating so the shows for that seating were at 7PM. I would have preferred a later show (however, they did that with the comedian.)
The ports were a lot of fun though we went on ship "tours" only twice. We find we have more fun doing things on our own. Labadee is a great beach area -- head left to the furthest beach area away for a quieter time. Order a Labadoozie. If your feet are sensitive, buy water shoes before you leave ($19.99 onboard). All the ports have rocky or grainy sand in the water. We are spoiled here in Ft. Lauderdale with silky sand in and out of the water.
In Jamaica we took the beach and a place tour -- don't if you are going in the next few months. The beach was OK, Doctors Cave Beach, but the chair rentals were not included and were the most uncomfortable. Changing area clean and OK. We left the chairs and went walking and found another beach to the right, from an all inclusive hotel, Breezes. They let us use their strap chairs for free. The shopping that they took us to was at least 1/2 hour away in heavy traffic and they gave us 1/2 hour in a high end shopping area which was empty except for the 35 people on our bus. There were no bargains, but a nice t-shirt shop at the end had nice stuff which turned out to be reasonably priced.
Grand Cayman was nice. We took a taxi to the beach by the Marriott. Then went shopping. Again, there was no bargains and everything we priced was 20 to 30% higher than we could get in the states or on the web. I did get a gold sting ray pendant as a momento even though it was over priced. The line back to the tender was incredibly long.
Cozumel was great. We got off the ship and immediately found a company which took us parasailing $60 cash each (ship was $79). It was dry takeoff and landing with a much longer ride than the ship tours. We took a taxi to Paradise Beach which is free if you spend $10pp on food and/or drink. Great beach with great chairs and a little snorkeling. They have jet skis and parasailing available. Decent food served on the beach if you like and the most relaxing huge water-floating mat I have ever seen. Great shopping. We found some good prices at "A Touch of Gold" and bought a few things there.
All in all the Liberty was spectacular with more things going on and things to do than you can imagine. Never felt crowded or rushed. Main Street is such a plus to the cruise experience that I can't imagine a cruise without it. There are restaurants, coffee shops, bars, shops, and a whole wonderful feel. It is also home to the famous parades at night.
We did the express exit, skipped the Windjammer, took our own bags off the ship at 6:30 AM. We had no lines, breezed through customs, got our car and were back home in NW Broward by 7:45 AM.
If you are considering the Liberty, book it, and you will not be disappointed.
Myself and my wife have been on 7 or 8 cruises. We have a 3-1/2 year old daughter whose been on 4 cruises.Embarkation was easy. They said we couldn't get on till 14:00, however we got on the ship around noon and had a great time. We got our bags about 18:00 hours and went to dinner.
Main Dining Room Cuisine 4/10 for main dinning room food. Not as good as Carnival, but better than Norweigen Dawn's main cuisine.Service was adequate if a little slow. They were always cordial and that's important. RCCL did have the best lobster I've eaten probably because it was the smallest and easiest to cook uniformally. The cream of mushroom soup was also comparable to Carnival's. The asparagus soup was salty and unpleasant. We sat with a family from Norway and their company made each dinner enjoyable if not a palate pleasing experience.
Pools The children's pool area was wonderful and our child and a friend's 11 year old had fun when swimming.
Flowrider It was hellava lot of fun and i spent as much time as possible there or on the rock wall.
Informal Dining Inthe Windjammer Cafe the food was adequate but became tedious as they did not change the menu ever.
Summary This is a very big ship with a lot of people. There were long lines everywhere. We heard it took many people 3 hours to disembark and pass through customs. It took us 15 minutes. There was constant pushing and shoving by people from different countries who displayed their politeness in different ways. I'm an avid snowboarder and triathlete. I was extremely dissapointed that i could not use the spin bikes when they didn't have a class. I had been able to on our last cruise. The jogging track was also unusable as too many couples used it to stroll hand in hand. On the other hand, the Flowrider was superfun. I would not pay that much more for a cruise unless I planned on spending time on the Flowrider. I'd rather do a Carnival cruise. However because I liked the Flowrider so much, this was my favorite cruise.
Kids Club wasn't that great either. Normally our child doesn't want to leave. This time she didn't want to go.
Liberty of the seas cruise we did 8/25/07 as part of our B2B cruises. The frist cruise was a 4 day cruise on the Majsety of the Seas 8/20/07. First off, we stayed in a great resort on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, the Lago Mar Resort. A great place to watch the ships go out from Port Everglades. So you really start getting in the mood for your cruise! Then we did the majesty cruise for 4 day's stay, a night between the cruises in Miami. Then on the 25th of August we boarded the Liberty of the Seas! First off, getting on and off the RCCI ships in the port of Miami is just great. Very fast! We got to the ship at 11 am and were on by 11:30 am, had some lunch in the Windjammer Cafe and were able to go to our cabin by 1pm .. despite getting there as early as we did. Our bags were already in our cabin!
Cabin We had a balcony cabin on deck 9, number 9374. It was a big cabin and the balcony was very big! Ireally think on this class of RCCI ships that the cabins are the biggest in RCCI's fleet of ships, having sailed on every class of ships RCCI ever had. This was our tenth cruise with RCCI and 69th overall cruise.
Food Well, this was our third cruise with RCCI this year alone. Now we always rated the food on RCCI on a scale of 1 to 10 as a 4. But now we rate it between a 6 and a 7! It got much better! The dinners in the main dining room were very good. The Windjammer is also better, but still not great! Room service was very good. We had our boys on this cruise, ages 15 and 16. They uesed room sevice everyday when watching movies. My sons love the wings and cookies. Also at the Windjammer you could get drinks all day long, iced tea, lemonade, fruit punch, and soft ice cream by the pool all day long! And there is a Johnny Rockets onboard which is great. They have the best apple pie alamode and milkshakes anywhere. There is a $4 service charge here! We didn't use the extra-pay dining rooms, Chops and Portofino.
Shows These were maybe the best we have ever seen on our 69 past cruises! Just great and not to be missed! The ice show is really great!
Ports With the ports in the Western Caribbean we only shopped, having been to the Western Caribbean on 20 past cruises. Laberdee was great. She looks great. But it was hot there! A great beach day for the family! Didn't like Montego Bay at all. The other port, Ochos Rios, is so much better!
The Ship We took this cruise for the ship itself. WOW, what a ship! It's the best new class of ships out there right now! It has everything you could want on a cruise ship. The main deck will blow you away. It's like a floating mall! The showroom is like a showroom in Las Vagas or Atlantic City ... very big! The cabins are very big. But you better take your walking shoses! You will be doing a lot of walking on this ship! The flow rider is really great. They have a full basketball court, mini-golf, and rock climbing wall! There are three pool areas, including the adult pool area with 2 hot tubs that hang off both sides of the ship and the main pool area with two big pools side by side. This is where everything happens! And there's a lot of loungers by the pool. We always got one. But there's also a lot of them on the upper deck, so you don't have to rush up to get one! And the H2O Zone pool area for kids! What a great place for getting wet! Wish they had it when our boys were younger! And I think it may have the biggest gym at sea! The Caribbean Deck party was a blast, as was the 80's party by the aduit pool area! The service on this ship is great. They couldn't have been anymore helpful! And you would think with 4300 passengers onboard you would see big lines. NO, we didn't see big lines. Maybe if you wanted to be the first off on the tenders, you might have a line. But we never waited in the Windjammer on long lines!
In closing, like I said we did this cruise for the ship itself! And let me tell you it's a great ship! We always thought RCCI's overall cruise was great. Now with the food better it's even that much better. But it's still not the best food we have had on a cruise line. No, but it's much better than before! We had such a great time in the dining room each night. The waiter was great. Our drinks were waiting at the table every night for us before we got there! It's a great looking dining room! Also met a lot of great people at the CC Meet & Mingle. It was such a great vacation for us with the stay in Ft. Lauderdale before our cruises. And both cruises were great on the Majesty & Liberty of the Seas. We liked the ports better on the Majesty of the Seas. They did a great job on the refit of the Majesty of the Seas. So, all in all, a great vacation. And, another great job by RCCI. We will be doing the HAL Noordam 2/16/07, an 11-day cruise from NYC to the Southern Caribbean. Then in August, back to RCCI's Explorer of the Seas doing a 9-day Canada cruise roundtrip out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne NJ! Hope you enjoy our review. If you have any questions just email me at email@example.com
Our Last cruise on the Liberty of the Seas was Sept. 13, 2008, when she enjoyed the title of the largest cruise ship afloat, something of which Captain Charles Tiege was rightfully proud. However, Dec. 2009 the Oasis of the Seas took over that honor, and all on board are curious about the Oasis and her many innovations for cruisers: i.e. Central Park, Boardwalk, etc. Many of the crew asked us about the Oasis and sailing on board.
This cruise started out a bit rocky, since according to the Loyalty Manager we were listed in the wrong cabin #7321 instead of our actual #7324. There were no welcome home gifts: not a dozen roses, no champagne and no chocolate dipped strawberries, etc. Then, our table seating was incorrect, and to say the least our first day on board was chilly. However, Hotel Director Helmut Leikauf soon came to the rescue --- He arranged everything! We've known Helmut for a long time and he runs a snappy ship.
We published a deck by deck detailed review of the Liberty in 2008; thus, we refer readers to this same site, so we needn't repeatthat information. Rather, this review will be on how life has changed aboard the RCCL ships since the global economic downturn. No more chocolates on the pillows at night.... among other things.
EMBARKATION We had no trouble getting to the Port of Miami, even though this was Super Bowl Sunday in Miami! Whew. Traffic was light and we arrived at the pier at 12:45pm and left our van in the Parking Garage directly across from the baggage drop-off. This time we travelled with our son Marcello, his wife Paige and our grandson Marcellino, 7 years old. We had assistance through check-in and were in our rooms at 1:00pm, very nice. However, the ramp onto the ship was at a very steep angle and the foot pedals on Mary's wheelchair got bent out of shape. Marcello removed them and asked our steward Michael if there was anything that could be done. He informed us that we should take them to the Passenger Services Desk for assistance. However, our old friend Hotel Director Helmut Leikauf came to the rescue. He called to welcome us aboard, and asked if there was anything we needed. We told our tale of woe, and he immediately sent Mechanic Antonio Burce to our room. Not only did he fix the pedals, but he also reinforced and improved them. Antonio is a man of ingenuity and pride in his work. Bravo! Thirty minutes after he returned the pedals, we received a phone call from the Passenger Services Desk advising us not to bring the pedals down, because there was nothing they could do for us. Thank God for Helmut --- we now had our equipment A.O.K. and were off to a great new cruise.
THE SHIP We refer the reader to our 2008 Liberty review on this site. Here to update that review we will state that the ship is in excellent condition, well kept, beautifully decorated in tasteful navy blue, maroon and gold. This cruise, Voyage #143 had 3,884 passengers on board, about 500 less than capacity. But, the following week is “Spring Break” and the Liberty will be filled to capacity with many young people. With so many new ships coming on line there are plenty of options for cruisers: Size of ship (small to mega), itineraries and on board activities (this is where RCCL excels: Ice skating, rock climbing and Flow Rider surfing are only on the Voyager, Freedom and the Oasis Class ships).
The truly interesting open air concepts are that the many common areas promote meeting and making new friends: the Royal Promenade, the English Pubs and food venues, the trivia in the Schooner Bar and the special clubs become places to congregate daily. The Children's Programs are comprehensive and encompass tots to 17 year olds. Young Marcellino enjoyed life on board and went off with his parents at every port --- an excellent painless geography lesson.
CABIN We had wheelchair accessible stateroom #7324 and when entering on the left is a large bath with a single sink and mirrored medicine chest with safety rails all around. The 4'X4' shower had a fold up seat. Next, there is a love seat and a large coffee table, and a king size bed flanked by two night stands with drawers. We had one removed so that the bed could be moved over a foot in order to give easier access to the side near the wall.
When entering on the right is a large mirror and shelf, next is a triple light oak armoire, one section is shelves the other two with hangers and a personal wall safe (not in a handy space, too low, facing side ways and difficult to access). Next, there are a mini refrigerator, a 30” TV, and a desk/vanity with narrow shelves and four drawers; a cushioned chair and one upholstered chair completes the furnishings.
The rear wall is all glass with a sliding door to the balcony with two chaises and a table. There are flowered green and gold draperies, with matching carpet. Two pictures of leaf skeletons adorn the beige walls. Our stateroom steward Michael was marvelous, very helpful and courteous. The entrance door is too narrow and should be automatic, since it cannot be opened by a person in a wheelchair without assistance. The bathroom often has a foul odor probably coming from the wastewater holding tank. We have observed the same problem in wheelchair accessible staterooms of other Voyager and Freedom class ships. Probably this problem is due to the absence of goose neck drains which prevent the vapors escaping from the holding tanks. Apparently, the Kvaerner Masa and its successor Aker Finnyards in Turku, Finland have been unaware of this defect. We have been on the inaugural voyage of the Oasis of the Seas, the last ship built by the same shipyard, and did not smell the foul odor. Either the problem has been corrected or the wastewater holding tanks were not full enough to emit sufficient amount of vapors.
SERVICE & FOOD Thanks to Restaurant Operation Manager Allan Williams and Maitre D' Andie Anselm our table seating was corrected on the second night: we need a table near the entrance, since it is too difficult to maneuver through the dining room with the wheelchair. We must say that the food on board is ample and everywhere; even though there is one less entree offered at dinner, there is still a more than adequate variety to please all.
Each morning we ordered full American breakfast from room service. It was always hot and prompt and such a luxury to eat in our stateroom. At 11:00am “Sprinkles” soft self serve yogurt and ice cream opens poolside on Deck 11 starboard. At 11:30am Sorrento's Pizza opens on the Promenade with Italian antipasti, hot pizza and light desserts of biscotti, almond amaretti cookies, fresh fruit cups, panna cotta and mousses. Ah Yes! Then there's the Cafe` Promenade with tea sandwiches, scones and eight or so varieties of cookies and donuts. Then, don't forget Lunch and Dinner in the main Dining Rooms with live music! Life on board is sweet.
Our Head Waiter was Jacob Biton and he was magnificent, supervising our waitress Genevie and her assistant Iulia, both of whom were tip top. The best meal on board is the very rare prime rib of beef according to Vincent. Our grandson Marcellino enjoyed the Children's Menu from which he ordered by himself. He is now a very experienced cruiser (his third Cruise)!
Desserts were nice and varied and not all sticky and sweet--- rather, nicely portioned and included many sugar free like baked apples and pears with puffed pastry. The trick on the Liberty is to stop eating, since food is beautifully served 24 hours a day everywhere on board.
The Crown & Anchor Society had several cocktail parties, and at one party we won a bottle of champagne for most cruises on RCCL. Thank heavens that “Super Mario”, who was aboard, did not attend, since he had us beaten by almost 100 cruises. We occasionally visited the Concierge Lounge where in the morning were available espresso, cappuccino, latte and pastries and in the evening pre dinner cocktails and canapes. Concierge Mario Reyes was always courteous and helpful.
ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director James Andrews ia still doing a terrific job of spreading the word of special events. The Ice Skating show “Encore” was awesome, especially the segment where the girl changed costumes on the ice in two seconds flat at least 15 times. Wonderful! The shows in the Platinum Theatre still need a sound check --- too loud doesn't make for better enjoyment.
Reserved seats for the Suite guests were zealously guarded, unfortunately, the reserved area for the wheelchairs was not. If one cannot do stairs, there is not enough room in the last row, when there are able bodied people occupying them. Perhaps a better sign indicating reserved for handicapped, or ushers just as zealously guarding them. Since at this point stairs are out for us, Vincent went to the Casino, while Mary heard the “Du Wop” group alone. They were terrific.
PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Miami, Florida Depart: 4:30pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. Costa Maya, Mexico Arrive: 9:00am Depart: 7:30pm Day 4. Belize City, Belize Arrive: 7:00am Depart: 4:30pm Day 5. Cozumel, Mexico Arrive: 7:00am Depart: 3:30pm Day 6. Grand Cayman Arrive: 10:00am Depart: 5:30pm Day 7. At Sea Day 8. Miami, Florida Arrive: 7:00am Debark: 8:00am
DEBARKATION This was a breeze. We were quickly through to Baggage Claim, where we hit a snag. One of our seven bags was missing. We fortunately had an alert porter who tracked it down on an unloaded cart outside the area. A good travel tip is to mark your bags with something unique and colored coded, so they can be recognized from afar. Then he accompanied us to our van in the Parking Garage. Great news, Miami/Dade doesn't charge for Handicapped Parking! We were on our way to Boca Raton at 10:00am.
CONCLUSION We have been spoiled by the many freebies offered by RCI to the “Frequent Floaters.” As Diamond Plus members we have enjoyed discounts on cruises, Value Coupon Booklet on board, champaign bottle in the stateroom, Concierge services and complimentary drinks, special courteous attention from officers and crew, etc., etc.... But now things are getting tight: We cannot combine the shareholder benefits with the Diamond member discount, and the “Value Coupon Booklet” has become less valuable!
We are still happy cruisers and RCCL is still one of our favorite cruise line. Of course we cruise on other cruise lines and take advantage of what they do best. Next trip is an 18 day cruise on Star Princess, from Rio de Janeiro to Ft. Lauderdale. On Princess ships we look forward to an excellent Italian cuisine. Happy Cruising!