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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!