This was our fourth cruise and the other three were on Disney Cruiseline, so we were concerned that Royal Caribbean wouldn't measure up. With few exceptions, we were wrong. I have written on the comparison between Disney and Royal Caribbean on a different thread, so I will keep this one on point.
We sailed on a Spring Break cruise on Liberty of the Seas, and our family of five was split into two oceanview staterooms because we booked late and that was the only option We were lucky in that there was only one room between us, so the separation wasn't too bad. We are on deck 6 in rooms 6672 and 6676 - both rooms are great, great balconies, good placement on ship for the two of us that get motion sick.
Pros of Liberty of the Seas:
- pools and water play areas are fantastic
- spa staff are really friendly and not aloof like some spas tend to be
- boys got haircuts on the ship and they are were great cuts from really nice guys
- the gym is fantastic and has everything - boxing, pilates, yoga, spinning classes, 50 treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, circuit machines, etc - literally EVERYTHING
- Labadee was very nice and had plenty of seats, never felt crowded and we loved the roller coaster
- Jamaica was a great stop and we purchased an excursion (on our own) from resortforaday.com to spend the day at the Rose Hall HIlton, which was fantastic and was my kids favorite day overall
- Despite being a sold out spring break cruise, it never felt crowded, we never had to wait for a deck chair, and everything went really smoothly
- our stateroom attendant was fantastic
- ship was clean overall (deck could have been tidier but that comment is below)
- the ice skating show was really good and not to be missed
- getting on and off the ship was incredibly organized, smooth, and efficient
- you can stay as late as 10am on the last day versus ships that kick you off by 7:30 am
- free coffee, tea, water, and lemonade (the water in the dispensers all over the ship is bottled water)
- Casino has a non-smoking section (it's small, but its there)
- There are limited places to smoke on board
Cons of Liberty of the Seas:
- running loop is on the 11th floor, main activity deck which makes it unusable for most of the day until you don't mind weaving through people the whole time
- kids club programming is pretty weak, is redundant, and the clubs are not open all the time
- For kids under 12, you have to pay $7/hour for them to be in the club
- kids under 12 never have activities "outside" of the club - everything happens in their club space
- I was used to the free wave phones that Disney provides in each room - RCCL doesn't have these, so there is no way to communicate when you are outside of your room. this was irritating.
- the stage shows were mediocre and the variety act was terrible
- it felt like none of the guys who worked on the deck actually cared about anything - they weren't interested in keeping it tidy, they weren't of assistance with broken chairs or cleaning up towels or glasses/dishes and the deck was a mess mid-day
- dinner in the dining rooms says allow 2-3 hours and they aren't kidding. way too long for us.
- the food was really bad compared to other ships we've been on. we decided to abandon the dining room on day 2 of our cruise and ate exclusively at Windjammers - it was faster, had the same food, and the workers are really friendly in there
- some people complain about the little charges for Johnny Rockets, Ben & Jerry, and the Cupcake place. The costs are really minimal ($5.95 entry fee to Johnny Rockets and then you can order whatever you want; $2-3 for Ben & Jerry's, $1.50-3.00 for cupcakes). The other thing to remember is that there is free ice cream in Windjammer - sundae bar with lots of topics, and plenty of cake/dessert options elsewhere on the ship that are free.
Overall, we had a great cruise. We loved the boat, we loved the excursions, our kids made good friends with whom they are still chatting and texting, and it was a really great week.
We would not hesitate to book on Royal Caribbean again.