Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 23
Summary: The largest and most technically impressive cruise ships in the world. Great for kids, families and adventurous adults. A large fleet, but Oasis and Brilliance are often cited as favorites
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mediterranean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Regions:China (as of May 2015)
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles
Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.
Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:UK, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda
Good for: Group. Families. Children`s Programs.
Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific
Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.
Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Excited about visiting the Baltic, we set out for Oslo. FYI - Oslo is very expensive city. Boarding and checking in at the terminal was a breeze. However, our cabin was not ready and the hallways leading to it smelt of urine. This was just the beginning of our disapointment. The food was horrible - we were in the late seating and it seemed the food was cooked 2 hours before and left under a heat lamp. The service at the restaurant was great but service on the rest of the ship was lacking. Maybe it was because we were the first baltic cruise of the summer, but we would get different answers to questions regarding debarkment and embarkment depending on who we asked. While trying to reboard in Tallin, we waited nearly 2 hours - all the while ship staff went in another door.
All in all, the cruise was a disapointment. Although the itenerary was great, the service, food and overall experience was not what we were used to. Many told us not to rate Royal Caribbean by this experience because this was the smallest of their ships but it'shard not to.
After happily sailing on the Rhapsody of the Seas across the Pacific we booked on the 7 day cruise from Venice.
The ship was showing its age with water damaged prints on the junior suite walls and dented and scatched cabin furniture although its external appearance was good.
It was run as a 'fun'ship for holidaymakers, much like the early P&O short cruises in Australia-quantity rather quality of the food and services. The guest entertainers were quite good but the ship's dancers and singers were the worst we have seen on any cruise.
With the bigger cabin and bathroom we still enjoyed our trip up until the lunch of the second last day of the cruise. Then I was served a large piece of water glass in the middle of a salad. The actions of the Waiting function were to deny the event although there were nine witnesses and to later hint I may have put the glass in the food.
Since returning to Australia I have received a full apology and the offer of $100 off my next cruise but I feel it was 'too little, too late'
The Splendour is going tosail around South America next year so the south american waiting staff should feel more at home with Portugese rather than battling with English.
I was served glass in a salad. It was a piece of broken water glass about the size of a cent coin. The ship went immediately into defensive mode and a waiter inferred I must have placed the glass in the food. After raising the issue with senior ship staff it was accepted they had an OH&S issue and that I was not trying to sue them.
We docked next day so I had to take up the issue with the company in Australia. I did eventually receive an apology and an offer of $100 off my next cruise.
Not good enough so they have lost five cruise tickets and my patronage in the future.
My wife and I just got back from our anniversary cruise with Royal Caribbean on Majesty of the Sea. This was our first trip with them and most definately our last. We were supposed to leave out of Miami on 4/26/10, but due to thunderstorms over Miami we had two cancelled flights and about a four hour delay on our last flight. We knew at the time of the delayed flight that we were going to miss our ship. I had to scramble to find a flight and hotel in Nassau. This is a complicated process in the airport with just a cell phone. This is the point where my disgust with RCCL began.
I contacted a representative of RCCL and told them my situation. I was told that there was nothing they could do execpt notify the ship that we may be boarding in Nassau. The trip was paid well in advance and I would have been out of $1200 if we were unable to make the cruise. Its hard to muster the thought that RCCL had no concerns or help a paying customer in a time ofneed. Well we made it to the ship in Nassau, and had more trouble with guest relations pertaining to all necessary doucments needed on board. There were several other guest that had missed their flight and ended up in Nassau. Before we boarded the ship, the other guests all recieved envelopes but there was not one for my wife and I.
Later we found out the envelope would contain the nessary information on how to deal with US Imigration in Key West since we missed them in Miami. There were also several small issuse dealing with paper work not being delivered to our state room on deck 8. Guest Relations keep blaming this on the state room attendents, my thought was, who was suppose to give the attendent the paper work anyway! When we arrived in Key West and waited in a long line on deck 3 to get onto the island, my wife thougth she heard them call our name to go to guest relations. Because I did not want to lose our place in the long line, I went up to guest relations to inquire.
When I approached guest services, the line was extremely long so I asked nearby crew member if our name was called. He didn't know and told me to wait in the guest services line. Thinking our name was not called (why would it be) I proceded to find my wife still waiting in line. About 15 minutes later, we tried to exit the ship. We were then pulled to the side when entering our seapass card and were escorted to immigration, just to be told that we could have been in really big trouble for trying to exit the ship. My wife,in tears, he then looked at our passports, told us we are ok to exit but to get in the next line for non-US citizens, that took us another 20 minutes to go through.
Shooken up we made a day on the island. Upon reboarding the ship from Key West, we asked to speak to a guest relations manager. One was not available and we were told they would call us in our room. We have not heard from them yet! Then, on departure morning, we received a statement of charges to our seapass card. It told us to visit guest relations to settle our account, even though we had signed up online to link our seapass to our credit card, just like most people do.
Later we found out that guest relations should have asked to see our credit card upon boarding to execute that process. Upon returing home, we called a customer service supervisor that seemed unconcerned and proceded to tell us that most individuals are happy with a simple apology.
Each of these items in itself seems miniscule, but Royal Caribbean did not show proper customer service in any of these situations, which added up to be one big dissapointment in the company. If it were not for the friendliness and professionalism of the wait staff, security, and shore excursion staff, this trip would have been a complete waste of money. What if someone was unable to pay or find a flight and hotel to board to ship at the next port of call, would RC have any more concern or help since they already had their money in hand? I doubt it!
We did learn two valuable lessons. One, fly to your departure city the day before. Two, don't depend on RCCL to assist you in any way if trouble arrises!
By the way, there were other couples in the airport in the same situation but were traveling with Carnival. Carnival scheduled their flight and hotel in their next port and paid for it. And no, they didn't have travel insurance either!
Nothing can prepare you for the grandeur of the Oasis. Checking in is a snap. We went from dumping off the bags, parking, checking in and getting our SeaPass cards and onto the boat within 10 minutes.
Walking into the side of this ship and onto the Promenade is like entering a different world. You can never wrap your head around how they built everything onto a cruise ship and most times you don't really remember you are on the water in the middle of nowhere.
The rooms had plenty of space and the beds put together created a King size bed. The bathroom was very functional, but remember...the toilet system is different than at home. You can't flush wet wipes down there. Don't ask how we found out...ugh. haha.
The food on the boat was the best I have ever had on a cruise. If someone says I am not being truthful, then they must be very prudish...we were impressed and this was the 11th cruise I have been on. The wait staff did EVERYTHING to keep a smile on your face as did all of the staff.
The entertainment was the bestI have ever seen on board any vessel and it was as glorious as going to Vegas! Even the casino was lively and a happy place to be unlike other ships where some of the casinos can be kinda dank and depressing.
The ports of call were great since we had a dock at all locations (Labadee, Costa Maya and Cozumel). It would be a nightmare to use tendered boats to get almost 5000 to shore...and back.
We enjoyed this ship soooo much, we booked the Allure of the Seas for 2012.
Nobody keeps you happy and entertained and fulfilled like Royal Caribbean.
Mediterranean 8 night cruise on Splendour of the Seas
My husband and I were on the May 26th sailing of the Splendour. A little about us - we are professionals in our early 30's - no kids yet - 2 prior cruses in the Caribbean on Celebrity. This was also our first time to Europe. With frequent flyer miles we arranged a free flight into Venice.
We boarded the Splendour about 11am on the 26th. We had every intention of checking in, dropping off luggage and going back into town but since we love cruises, we found ourselves by the pool bar and meeting friends from San Francisco. First impressions of the Splendour - nice, but no Celebrity Galaxy or Century. Not as clean or nicely maintained as the Celebrity ships. We quickly made friends with our pool staff bartenders - Lukas from South Africa, Allan and Marcio. We met another couple and looked forward to the next week ahead!
We were seated at the late seating - 9:15pm. We prefer the late dinner so when we get home from the day ashore we can relax or have a drink before rushingto dinner. One note, all the brochures and info stated 2 formal nights, 4 casual and 1 smart casual. There were actually 2 smart casual nights, not 1. Dinner was OK for the week. Again, hate to compare but not nearly up to the standards of Celebrity. We had to hail down the drink server and always ask for water instead of the ass't waiter just re-filling. This was the only disappointing part of our trip and because of it, we will probably not sail RCCL again. To give a glaring example, my husband ordered two appetizers on the final night of the cruise: risotto and soup. Only the risotto came. I'm sorry, but if you can't get the orders right ON TIP NIGHT, something is very wrong.
Anyway, we spent most of the evening in the casinos and exploring and making friends. There is no craps table but we were more than happy with the slots, roulette, blackjack and Caribbean poker. We did purchase the RCCL 12 drinks for $39.99 card which was very easy and a good deal. Also, we found MANY Americans. We thought it would be mostly Europeans and were pleasantly surprised. The ship is considered an American ship and accepts USD in the casinos. You can cash in Euros for USD but you cannot exchange USD for Euros as they are not allowed to carry. All tipping was in Euros for the tours so be sure to get some at one of your ports or before embarking. The tours are all day and long and barely time to find a cash machine.
Day 1 - Dubrovnik - Beautiful Port. Very hot. A tip, the steps around the wall were quite slippy, and very steep for the unfit to negotiate.Watch out for queue at entrance to walled city as this can become congested.
Day 2 - At Sea - where do I start? We went to bingo (and picked up a $150 jackpot!)..Then I entered and WON first place the slots tournament (another $150 and T-Shirt, oh and a trophy) .My husband entered the blackjack tournament and made it the final round and didn't end up on top but did win another T-Shirt. Then went to the Art Auction and finally sat by the pool having drinks (I am Swedish and very fair so the sun is not my friend - need to have other activities to keep me from burning). We packed and went to our final dinner with our wonderful table and then headed off for 'farewell' drinks with friends from the week. I believe about 2am we were winning more money at the casino as they were getting ready to 'close'. Most of the ship was asleep but you have to make the most of it while away!
Day 3 - Mykonos - Loved the cobbled streets with the blossoms overhanging buildings which were all beautifuly maintained.
Day 4 - Kusadasi - before starting the cruise we booked a tour from a local company called Trans Balkan Tours. we can't say enough great things about them and the tours they provided. guide was waiting for us at the port, ready to begin our day. i requested that we try to avoid the ship's buses, and they did everything possible to make sure this occurred! it was a pleasure to enjoy the same places that the ship offered at our own pace, staying as long or as short as we wanted for a fraction of the cost! the fact that we were "alone" made it much more personalized. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. we will most definitely use them on future cruises and from comments made from our group, i can assure you they will also!
Day 5 - Santorini - because this route arrives here on monday, the ruins at akrotiri are closed. the only tour available takes you to the picturesque town of ia (or oia in some books). visit the town on your own --- don't bother with the tour. this is one of the two big regrets of our cruise. this tour took us to the highest point of the island, the profitis illas mountain, where you can see both sides of the island,
Day 6 - Corfu - Waterpark experience awsome if you are young at heart.We did this on our own as cruise company cancelled due to lack of numbers.
Day 7 - At sea - we needed this time off at this point. we were just about "ruin-ed out" and needed a break. we took the tour of the galley that the chef offered and had massages in the beauty salon. the dinner that night included beef tenderloin and lamb chops --- both were excellent and we celebrated over a bottle of champagne our last evening on board with two other couples we had become fast friends with.
Day 8 - Headed home from the ship. We decided to get transfers from the ship to the airport at the last minute through our travel agent - what a GREAT decision! I am amazed at the organization and speed at which we were taken off the ship and onto the waiting coach buses. So worth the $19/per person cost. We checked out bags at Venice and since we were connecting in Heathrow, they actually checked our bags through to Newark! This was British Airways and we were then getting on a Virgin flight. Apparently, that is standard now to avoid having to re-claim your bags in London and then re-check. Saved so much time since we had to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. Our flight from London was delayed an hour but they upgraded us to Business Class for no good reason so no problem with that!
All in all, the trip was beyond our expectations! We made some wonderful friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately, having cruised in Celebrity a few times, we are spoiled and RCCL did not even come close to the service and cuisine that Celebrity provided. We are very, very 'low maintenance' people but in the future, will spend the extra couple of bucks and sail on Celebrity. We heard too many complaints from other people about the dining room so it was no just 'us'. Our stateroom attendant was EXCELLENT! The bar and casino staff were wonderful and really made this an adventure we will never forget!
Over all I would rate the ship as excellent and I don't know if it is me but the food gets better every time I cruise RCI. The only problem was going out of Puerto Rico and the ship was taken over by a certain element of people that were loud, pushy and seemed to take every seat available in the Royal Promanade and around the pool. I will think twice before going out of PR again. This was my 11 cruise and 7 with RCI.
This is my second cruise with Royal and my first time aboard Majesty of the Seas. It was a four night cruise leaving Miami and going to Nassau, Bahamas; Cococay, Bahamas and Key West, FL.
I have absolutely no complaints about this cruise, including the itinerary, the ship, the food, the entertainment or the excursions.
The ship did not show its age at all and I think that RCI did a great job keeping this ship in good shape considering its age. The food was outstanding and I couldn't ask for more. The entertainment was good, and the staff does a great job especially with the "Love and Marriage" game, the "Quest" game and the Family Feud-type game show they did. The cruise director was very energetic and funny and did a great job keeping people entertained and informed.
Cococay was delightful and Key West was a wonderful place to walk around and people watch. The straw market in Nassau was like others have described but it wasn't that bad to navigate through the pushy salespeople.
All in all I would take this cruise again and I am now a loyal Royal Caribbeanfan. I highly recommend this cruise for a great four night getaway, it is a great deal.
I just got off the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas cruising the Mexican Riviera. As one of the highest level cruisers, it is unfortunate that I have to say this ship is tired and dirty and the luxury services that has helped Royal Caribbean maintain a 3- 4 star rating have been cut back at a cost to cruisers.
While on the ship, it was routine to be confronted often during the day with broken, missing or poorly maintained structures. One easy example was that the glass panels at the aft Windjammer dining area were highly cracked and crazed, making it impossible to sit down and view the water through them as many of us have come to enjoy. Their pool and pool area chaise lunges were always dirty and never had a pad on them. Couple that with almost a Gestapo attitude toward passenger use of towels (no one was passing them out, they were stained, dirty and holey, and passengers were faced with a $20 per towel charge if someone happened to pass by and remove your towel so you could not turn it back in.
There wasno champagne on boarding, no nightly chocolates, and clearly a much higher crew-to-cruiser ratio than in the past. The food was nothing to write home about and the specialty food areas of the past where cruisers could ask for pasta and other items to their taste and preferred method of preparation were non-existent! That is, mass production was the only choice. A simple pasta prepared in olive oil with your personal selection of spices was not available anywhere at any time!!! Frankly, if this is the current mode of operation on all the Royal Caribbean ships, they should have their rating decreased substantially. This is not a Cadillac, not even a Chevy, but may be becoming an Edsel or a Kia (sorry Kia!).
That said, I have to note that the staff was friendly and as accommodating as they could given their reduced numbers. In particular the Diamond staff did their level best and it was certainly enough, to keep their frequent cruisers happy.
If you have a choice, avoid this boat if possible until someone verifies they have addressed such issues. If these problems are Royal Caribbean wide and includes Celebrity, please post this so I don’t waste my time and money on others when I clearly have so many choices for my leisure dollars.
If you're looking for a first-rate cruise for the family, look no further. This was our 4th Caribbean cruise and our 2nd on Royal Caribbean - and hands down Royal Caribbean is the best. We have two teenage children, 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter, who traveled with us and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. From rock climbing, ping pong, video arcades, basketball, miniature golf, kid friendly food such as Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry ice cream, in-room movies and room service, your kids are guaranteed a great time.
Older couples traveling together will have an enjoyable time too, but in my opinion, Royal Caribbean caters more to the family-friendly crowd. Last year we sailed on Mariner of the Seas (another Voyager class ship) and it was equally as good so you can pick from any of the 9 Voyager ships and know you're in good hands. I'm assuming all of the Voyager ship's are built exactly the same, since Adverturer and Mariner were identical! We definitely knew our way around the ship this time.
We arrived in San Juan on Saturday, August 12th and spent the night at the SanJuan Marriott which is only 15 minutes from the pier. The next morning, we arrived at the pier at 2pm right when you could board because we wanted to start enjoying the ship's ammenities right away. We had pre-ordered a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to be delivered to our stateroom upon arrival, which made our sail-away very special.
We had 2 balcony staterooms on Deck 8 in the Aft section of the ship. Last year we had adjoining staterooms, but we couldn't get them this year. The adjoining rooms have a pocket door (sliding interior door) between the rooms. Getting on the ship was a breeze, although it was very hot. We had pre-printed our Sail Away Passes which speeds the entire process, so be sure to do that before you go. We were on-board around 2:45pm, which includes having our photo taken as we boarded. We met our Stateroom Attendant, Arlex from Costa Rica, who was very pleasant.
We promptly changed into bathing suits and headed to Deck 12 to read books and lay in the sun. The muster drill (lifeboat drill) was at 8:30pm with dinner for second seating guests at 9pm the first night. If you've never cruised before, be sure to request second seating for dinner (8:30pm dining) because you'll have more time for excursions and won't have to rush back to the ship to get ready for dinner by 6pm (first-seating dinner time.)
Our only disappointment on this cruise was that we didn't have a table for 4 at dinner, which we had specifically requested when we booked. We were seated at table for 10! Since we're a busy family we don't eat meals together at home as much as I'd like, so the cruise was a special opportunity to dine alone together as a family. You know kids, they won't talk if the adults are talking. Luckily, you can make changes to your dining room assignment on the first night, so I spoke to the Head Dining Manager (Mustafa from Turkey) and he was kind enough to move us to our own table. Mustafa became a special friend on the cruise because he knew how happy he'd made us by honoring our dining request. Not everyone is accomodated in the dining room, the most common request is to move from first seating to second seating, so be sure to make your dining request when you book and follow-up the first night if there's a problem.
I'm not going to talk much about each port, except for a few highlights. In Aruba, we spent the day at Palm Beach, which is a top-rated popular beach in Aruba that's only a short taxi ride from the ship. We did not book an excursion in Aruba because we'd heard about Palm Beach and wanted to go there. At the beach, we rented 2 chairs, 2 floaties and an umbrella. We forgot to bring our towels from the ship, so we purchased 2 inexpensive $10 towels at a beach-store. The kids also forgot their goggles on the ship, so we purchased 2 pairs of goggles for $10 each too. There were lots of others from the ship, who were part of the Beach Break excursion, but they could only stay for 2 hours on the beach before they had to leave. Those folks paid more and stayed less, so my recommendation is if you want to spend a day at the beach to take a taxi on your own. It's definitely cheaper and you'll have a longer day.
Next stop was Curacao. We booked the snorkeling excursion at the underwater park, which you access by boat. There were about 40 guests from the ship on this excursion. The boat ride was a bit choppy but once we got there we saw LOTS of fish, rainbows, angel fish and even a small barracuda! Seriously! But we're told it was harmless....hmmmm. Back on the ship, we overheard some other guests talking about the Sea Lion tour which they enjoyed but thought it was too long (if you've seen 1 sea lion, you've seen them all, ha, ha.) That night dinner was "Caribbean Night" and we had Red snapper, shrimp salad, lobster bisque and cherries jubilee for dessert. We purchased a Wine and Dine package (5 bottles of wine at the gold level, although there are other packages too in various price levels) and we had a nice bottle of Merlot. You can only purchase the Wine and Dine Package on the first and second nights of the cruise.
Next port was St. Maarten, on the Dutch side. Here the street vendors are a bit more aggressive, so be sure you can say NO if you're not interested in their goods. It's tricky with kids because they will come up to the kids and put merchandise in their hands and ask "How much you give me?" Just be firm, take off the merchandise and walk away. We struggled with this on our first cruise, but we're pros now. Have a tough skin, unless it's something you really want to purchase. (Side note: Jamaica is WAY worse! St. Maarten was a piece of cake.) i purchased a beautiful ivory shell and silver necklace and paid cash to get a better deal. Then we took a taxi to Orient Beach and had another wonderful day. My daughter had corn rows and beads put in her hair on the beach for $40, which she likes. dinner that night was "Italian Night" and we had cheese tortellini, crab cakes, caesar salad and baked alaska for dessert.
Next port was St. Thomas, the highlight of the trip. We've been here before but never to Magen's Bay, one of the Top 10 Beaches in the world. We took an open-air taxi to the beach for $8 per person. Tried to negotiate the price down to a flat $20, but they are firm and won't budge. The taxi ride is a bit unnerving because you're basically in the back of a pick-up truck that's been converted to a taxi with padded bench seats and a canopy overhead. The roads are very narrow and mostly uphill to the beach, so it's a roller-coaster ride. My husband and kids didn't mind, but I was not a fan. At Magen's Bay, the views are spectacular! We took lots of pictures, rented beach chairs and floaties, had lunch at the beach bar and enjoyed another great day. We all purchased Magen's Bay T-shirts before we left.
Last night: We attended the Farewell Show, which was good but a repeat of our last cruise (same jokes, same skits "Top 10 Questions the crew is Asked) so it wasn't as funny this time for us. There's definitely a "formula" to the cruise industry, so if you're a repeat customer you'll pick up on that right away. We put our luggage outside our door at 1AM even though it was supposed to be out by 12midnight. We just couldn't get everything packed on-time and wanted to soak up as much of our last night as possible. They were still moving luggage at 2AM, so I doubt it was a problem.
Leaving the ship: This was the only time we felt like we were part of a crowd. There are 3000 people on board and you don't realize it until you're leaving! They put everyone in Groups (1 through 10) and you wait in the public areas until your number is called. We were group 10 (the last one) because our flight home wasn't until later that night. We didn't mind because we sat up on Deck 11 in the solarium (covered outside deck chairs) and read.
Oh and don't forget that the food on Deck 5 (Promenade Deck) is FREE, except for drinks and Ben&Jerry's ice cream. The pizza, sandwiches, cookies, cake, muffins is all complimentary. But since it's behind a glass case (and not self-serve) it's not obvious, I guess. We felt so sorry for a family that didn't realize that until they were leaving! Oops! And another piece of advice, you can order 2 or more meals at dinner too. So when it's lobster night, be sure to get plenty! Bon Voyage!
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).