This was our first cruise with RCI, although we have tried other cruise lines. Liberty of the Seas is big and beautiful. Even when the seas were rough, I hardly felt any movement. There is lots (Lots!) to do on board, and as with most cruises these days, you can be as busy or as quiet as you want.
Lesson #1 - On Liberty of the Seas (and I suspect the other ships in this class for RCI) don't book the 2nd or 3rd deck. These decks do not allow access for the length of the ship, which means there are times when you have to walk in the opposite direction you want to go, take an elevator (or the stairs) up to at least the 4th deck, then walk the length of the ship to get to where you want to go. This applies to the dining rooms if you are in the front half of the ship, or the Platinum theatre if you are aft.
Lesson #2 - Don't be afraid to ask the cruise ship staff for some assistance. When we got to Civitavecchia, we discovered that the train workers were planning a strike. The trains were running early in the morning and we had no problem getting into Rome. However, all the trains were cancelled in the afternoon, and we ended up taking a taxi back to the port at cost of 140 euros!. We realized afterwards that we should have asked for assistance from the cruise staff, and would probably have been able to hitch a ride with one of the shore excursion buses for a fraction of the cost.
Lesson #3 - Many retail stores in France are closed on Mondays until at least 2 PM. This is a way of life there and it doesn't matter how many thousand tourists are in town. We found this out visiting Aix-en-Provence. It's a lovely old town, but really boring when all the shops are closed!
Lesson #4 - Some of the privately booked tours are terrific value even though they may be slightly above the price of the ship's shore excursions. We used RomeinLimo tours for an excursion to Pisa and Florence. Our guide and driver, Elizabetta, was sensational! And because we were a smaller group (7) in a smaller vehicle, we got around more easily and saw more than we could possibly have done with a larger bus tour. I highly recommend private tours for the convenicence and flexibility. Our full-day tour was 100 euros per person.
Lesson #5 - The descriptions of meals in the menu in the main dining rooms are not always what you get. E.g. - Beef stroganoff turned out to be beef stew with rice. On the other hand, the meals at the specialty restaurants, Portofino and Chops Grille, were exceptional and well worth the additional cost.