We travelled to Barcelona on an easyjet flight from Belfast. It was part of the package offered by the travel agent and worked smoothly for us.
When we arrived in Barcelona airport we picked up our luggage and were greeted by RCI staff.They led us to another area of the airport - where we were surprised to complete port check-in. This didn't take very long and we were then taken to the lovely cool coach to travel to the ship. Our luggage was taken to a large truck and transported separately to the ship.
We were awed by the size of the ship as the coach drove us into the port. Having already completed the check-in process and been given our seapass cards we passed through security quickly,straight onto the ship. The staff were friendly and welcoming, informing us that our staterooms would be available at 1 pm. We decided to go to the Windjammer for lunch - it was busy enough to have a buzz but not too busy to find a seat. The food was attractively presented and much appreciated by four hungry travellers.
We finished lunch and relaxed for a little while before going to find our cabins which were on the hub on deck 7. They were just ready so we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage,freshen-up and change into our lighter clothes. Then we headed off to do a tour of the ship.
The touch-screens situated at the stair wells on each level were very useful for navigating our way around. You could see exactly where you were and see the route you needed to take to your next destination. Well done RCI !
We visited the Cafe Promenade for some coffee and cookies which were very pleasant and kept us going till dinner.
DINING- we chose My Time Dining and found it worked very well for us. We were seated at a table for 4 next to the window (516). Our waiters, Gabriel and Michael, were brilliant, looking after us incredibly. Gabriel's knowledge of the menus and ingredients was extensive, and he quickly got to know our likes and dislikes. He was always spot-on with his predictions of what we would choose,and tempted us with the offer of an extra dessert brought to the table 'just for a little taster'.
Sometimes we gave in to the calories ;).
Overall, the menus always had plenty of choices for our various tastes, the food was beautifully presented, and delivered hot to the table, with the appropriate amount of time between courses ( not too long, not too short).
We only ate in the windjammer on the first and last days of our cruise,and one day after a morning trip. The food was good and plentiful, I just don't really like eating off unbreakable plates.
We did try the cappuccino cake for dessert one day - it was awesome!
On another occasion, we had lunch in Sorrento's. The pizza was great!
We breakfasted in the MDR every morning. The buffet was always well stocked , and were able to order eggs etc directly from the kitchen or help ourselves to them from the buffet.
ENTERTAINMENT: We were excited for the big shows and we weren't disappointed. 'In the Air' was truly awesome - the dancers were very energetic and enthusiastic.
Saturday Night Fever was really enjoyable and the Ice Show was great - especially the guest star Katya. Don't miss it, if only for her.
We didn't visit the casino or the nightclubs, but we loved to sit in the Champagne Bar sipping our drinks and people watching.
The Flow-Rider and climbing wall were very entertaining, kudos to everyone who had a go!
EXCURSIONS : we chose to go on our own for several of the ports - Toulon we just left the ship and enjoyed a browse around the town, then went back to the ship to relax. It was a nice area.
Villefranche - we tendered off the ship, made our way to the train station and took the train to Monaco. We used the Hop on Hop off tour bus. It cost approx '18 each and we felt it was well worth the money. The day was spoiled for us when our friend realised he had been relieved of his mobile phone - somewhere between standing waiting for the train and getting on it. Even though we had been warned about pickpockets and had been very careful all day, unfortunately he let his guard down for a few moments and that was just enough time for the pickpocket to act. Be careful folks!
La Spezia (Florence) : we chose a ship's tour to Pisa. It was a good morning out and the tower was interesting to see and read about. We were also able to visit the church and admire the ceilings and statues there. Our guide was knowledgeable and had a quirky sense of humour which we appreciated.
Civitavecchia - Rome. This was our longest tour and it was hot and exhausting! We chose the ship's tour -"Rome on your own" . We had some free time to go to the Trevi fountain, the Spanish Steps and a few other spots on our own. We then met up with the rest of the group and the guide to go to St Peter's Square. Due to the crush of people we chose not to go inside the Bascilica. We then returned to the coach and proceeded to the Colosseum - again the heat was excessive and most people were glad to return to the coach.
Naples- we chose to do the Isle of Capri on our own so that we could have a slower start. We left the ship around 9.30 am and followed directions to the ferry terminal and booking offices.
There were individuals there who tried to dissuade us from going to Capri and go to Sorrento instead, so be sure you know where you're going! We boarded the ferry ( which was late arriving and even later leaving!) and made ourselves comfortable. Eventually we set off , make sure you take your travel sickness pills if you need them ;). On-board we were approached by a very nice gentleman who offered to take us on a tour of the island on a 20- seater coach. We were a little wary but after a little discussion we decided they wouldn't have allowed him on the boat if it was a scam (?) so we decided to take him up on the tour. What a good decision. We had a wonderful stress-free day and loved the island. On his advice, we went up to Monte Solaro on the cable car ride, got some great shots of the views and enjoyed the peace. We spent some time in Capri town ,enjoying gelato and window shopping, before returning to the ferry.
DISEMBARKATION: This was a very smooth process for us, until we reached the exit! After collecting our luggage we made our way outside to the coaches where chaos ensued! There were no signs telling us which coach to head for, no info on how it was going to happen or what todo with our luggage. We dragged it to the first rep (RCI) who pointed us to a coach. The rep there said no,no,no! Take your luggage back to the door and put it in the truck! Back to the door - no truck! Eventually, a truck turned up and we left our luggage in their capable (?) hands and trundled back to the coaches. Finally, we got on the coach ( nobody took our names etc) and then we waited...... What for? Nobody told us! After about 15 mins, 2 people strolled up, got on the coach, the driver started the engine and we were off.....not. Only one seat so we couldn't drive with someone standing. And they had to get off again and wait for another coach. Made it to the airport at last. No idea what happened to the two people. Hope they're not still waiting for a coach lol!
We had a great cruise, food was excellent, the staff went out of their way to be helpful and pleasant ,
The ship is stunning and very easy to navigate. Our staterooms were comfortable and clean, we couldn't have asked for more. We loved it! Thank you everyone on the Liberty of the Seas.