Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by Yuridog: Great Relaxing Time On the Liberty of the Seas
Overall Member Rating
Great Relaxing Time On the Liberty of the Seas
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We are a married couple without any children, in our low forties. This was the 5 day cruise out of FLL, with stops at Belize and Cozumel.
We flew into FLL the day before embarkation, staying at the Embassy Suites on 17th street. Although the hotel is not new, it definitely had advantages in that it is within walking distance to restaurants, shops and grocery stores. We enjoyed the hotel swimming pool with it's plentiful lounge chairs and beautiful tropical foilage. We had no issue checking in around noon, though they claim the official check-in time is actually 3PM. We chose the cruise port package which included transfers from the airport and to the cruise pier. Once we retrieved our luggage, we called Embassy Suites for the shuttle. The shuttle arrived within 8 minutes of the phone call. We chose to eat the morning breakfast early to avoid a huge crowd, eating around 7:30 AM then showering and sitting by the pool for a while. About 10:30 we went down to the lobby to get a More shuttle to the pier. Just waited about 5 or 10 minutes for the shuttle. Unfortunately, getting to the Liberty is more of a pain due to the location. The other ships in port have nicer berths than the Liberty, which is located all the way in the back. The shuttle had difficulty dropping us off in the exact location due to the huge congestion. Oasis was in port and it seemed so much more organized than the Liberty location.
We dropped our luggage off with a porter around 11:05 AM, then proceeded to the Priority Check-In line for Platinum, Emerald, Diamond and Diamond Plus members. We had absolutely no wait to check-in. We then got the routine embarkation picture taken, then proceeded to wait until around 11:35 AM when the boarding process was began. We were on the ship and sitting in the Windjammer at lunch around 11:55 AM. Rooms were closed off until 1PM, so we had to keep our carry-on luggage with us--no real issue.
We sat by the pool area, noticing that there is a large screen TV that had College Football Games. The crowd was a bit rowdy as Michigan was playing Ohio State that day. It was definitely a relaxing way to soak up some sun. When the band came on to play, they turned the volume off on the football game which made a few people upset. I didn't personally come on the cruise to watch football, but that is a nice option for some. There were plenty of chairs on deck 12 available, but around the immediate pool area chairs were hard to come by, unless you got there early each day.
Although they make a huge issue about having reservations for the Ice Show, the In The Air Production Show and Saturday Night Fever, there was absolutely no tickets distributed nor did anyone ever scan our sea pass card to see if we had a reservation. I think they just want everyone to try to space out their show attendance, but they definitely do not check to see if there are reservations or not. It basically is first come, first served as far as seating. The Ice Show actually has 4 different times, so there is no reason that you cannot see it at some point. The Ice Show and In the Air Production Show were outstanding. Many enjoyed Saturday NIght Fever. As I am not a musical lover and am too young for 70's disco music, it was quite long to me as it was 1 hour and 40 minutes in length. However, most people really enjoyed that show.
The comedian on the first night Peter Sasso was not really great, in my opinion. HIs claim to fame is that he wrote jokes for Reader's Digest for many years. We didn't bother going to his late adult comedy show, because he just wasn't very funny. The entertainer, Finis, is really quite good as he does excellent impersonations of a variety of singers. There were some great songs for people of all ages. We were impressed that he knew a wide range of songs and could impersonate anyone from Lou Rawls, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Usher, Pitbull, Coldplay... There was also a juggler Jason Garfield on another night who is really quite good at what he calls a "sport"; we call it an "art." The Quest and White Night Poolside party were on day 4 of this 5 night cruise.
The cruise director Rich Edwards ( man in his 30's from Trinidad and Tobago)and his staff were fine. We didn't feel that the cruise director's staff were as visible as on other ships. They didn't greet folks going into the show, they weren't seen much around the ship. Maybe it is due to budget cutbacks, like everything else. Captain Frank Martinsen from Norway is good, he came on every day at noon with the ship location, weather report. Captain Martinsen did seem to be quite visible, with several opportunities to see him. He and some of his staff were at the Parade, as well as a walk for Make a Wish foundation. Interestingly enough, the second in command was a younger man from the US.
Our inside cabin 2359 was in the aft. We had virtually no noise at all, except for some occasion music from above that we noticed in the bathroom. We enjoy inside cabins ourselves, as we can usually take 2 cruises for what others pay for 1. This was a good location to get to the Dining Rooms, Studio B for ice skating, Casino, Promenade...
All staff were friendly enough. We chose My Choice Dining, though we aren't entirely sold on it. We felt like we definitely experienced very uneven service. We made reservations the first and second nights prior to boarding the ship. We were able to get our request for table for 2. Although we had reservations, we still had to wait in line with the rest of the folks that did not have a reservation. They try to make it sound like you absolutely need one, which is not the case. We waited just as long with a reservation, as those who didn't have one. Our best night of dining was in Portofino. The food and service is absolutely excellent.
We also ate in the Windjammer one night, because we just weren't up to the 1.5 to 2 hours of dining. Many of the items on the regular dinner menu are available in the Windjammer at night.Windjammer food at breakfast and lunch never changes, that would be our only comment. There is plenty of variety available, but it really never changes day to day. We didn't eat in the dining room for breakfast or lunch, so we can't comment on that. We would imagine the food would be better, but we also wanted something quick. The pizza in the Windjammer is the exact same as in Sorrento's. The pizza isn't excellent by any means, but it is eatable.
Ben and Jerry's and Cupcake Cupboard had some business, but we never really saw much of a crowd there. Johnny Rocket's was crowded when we ate there; the food was fine but not up to the normal standard as on land. It is very loud there, but a fun atmosphere. Our waiter from India had trouble understanding what we ordered, because it was so loud.
Flowrider is really fun to watch. Most who participated seemed to be teenage boys and their fathers. We never saw anyone who really got the hang of it, but we were only there during the early days of the cruise. Probably some mastered it by the end of the cruise. The miniature golf was fun, but the course is laid out strange and kind of crowded.
The Move It Parade is fun to watch. The children on the ship were plentiful, seems like many parents take their kids out of school for vacation these days. The kids on board really seemed to like the Dream Works characters. There are many photo opportunities available to meet the characters. We enjoyed seeing them as adults, too.
If you don't have an excursion in Belize, then do not be in a real hurry to get off the ship until around 11:00 or so We had an excursion planned which told us to meet at 9:15 in Studio B. We did not get a tender off until 10:25 am; we wish they'd be more realistic with their times to meet. We chose the underwater glass bottom boat excursion, then a stop at a private island. We didn't see too many interesting fish, but we did enjoy relaxing on the private island beach. The water was clear, though the beach is a bit rocky/filled with corral.
Cozumel we chose to purchase an Excursion through the ship to Playa Mia Beach Club. You have to take a taxi each way, which is $15 each way. We probably should have just spent the extra few dollars to have the Deluxe Beach Break, as it included transportation and lunch. Many said that the fish and chicken were excellent. There is a nice variety of things to do at Playa Mia; inflatable slides, trampolines, beach mats, peddle boats...There is also a new Water Park that will no doubt be a hit. There is a nice swimming pool and children's fountain area. There is also a water slide. It was included in our day, along with unlimited drinks (soda, daiquiris, beers, rum punch...). We imagine once the Water Park is totally built, they will probably charge extra. A guy came out with Parrots and an Iguana, trying to get people to buy pictures. People were really friendly at Playa Mia. The beach itself is a bit rocky, full of corral. The water was a little murky, but the atmosphere was quite nice there. There are planned activities and games, for those who want to join in. We just enjoyed the ocean water and laying in the chair.
Service on the ship wasn't quite as excellent as our last cruise on Royal Caribbean 4 years ago. We have been on some 23 cruises and noticed that the service wasn't up to par. We were surprised to observe some of the crew texting, when they should have been waiting on people. We particular saw that in Sorrento's as we sat in the booth. You see that type of behavior on land in restaurants like O'Charleys or Fridays, but were were really surprised to see that on the ship. Since we had My Time dining, prepaid gratuities were a must. The cabin stewards service was really excellent, however. Our every need was met by him and even some needs that we didn't know we had.
We chose to do self-carry for disembarkation as we had heard that it could be chaos. Our flight was at 11:30 am and our assigned number was 20 which was supposed to exit the ship around 10:15 am. We asked at Guest Services to get an earlier number, but they basically refused and told us to do Self-Carry. Since there were some 1400 repeat passengers, the priority debarkation site was a mess. We were glad that we chose self-carry as it wasn't really that difficult to manage and we were off the ship at 7:30 am. We had plenty of time, as we were through security by 8:10 am. Others who chose to get off at the normally scheduled times had a little trouble. Most seem to make their flights, we observed. But others had a hectic pace and just barely made it. There were a few who had flights at 10:15 am (too early in my opinion) who did not self-carry and missed their flights. Hopefully disembarkation will be smoother in the future, as the ship continues to have more voyages out of FLL. It seems these early voyages out of FLL are a bit chaotic as far as disembarkation.
Overall Liberty is enjoyable for couples and families alike. Several members of Friends of Dorothy were on the ship and they seemed to be having a great time. Activites weren't as plentiful on this ship, as on other cruises. There were movies available like Brave and John Carter, as well as a 3D movie The Guardian. However, sometimes we just didn't have much to do. Not a bad thing to just sit and relax, though. Next time, I'll probably pay more attention to who the cruise director is when I book a ship, as well as paying attention to the ship itself and the ports of call. Less
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