Well, we had long awaited the voyage aboard the brand new, Liberty of the Seas. We are "seasoned cruisers" with over 30 cruises for me, 15 plus for my other half, and 13 for my 11 year old twins. Needless, to say, we know what we like and what we do not.
The embarkation was a little slow even though we had all our passports and all forms completed. We were told by the cruise line and American Express Platinum Travel that we absolutely could not board before 2:00 p.m. It seems, however, some people started boarding as early as 11:00 a.m., so I would go to the port early. It does not seem to matter how many sailings you have been on, as I have many with Royal Caribbean, as to what time you are allowed on the ship.
The ship is BEAUTIFUL AND SO IMPRESSIVE!! The staterooms are spacious, linens wonderful, beds comfortable, and many of the details you look forward to are in place. We had two adjoining superior balcony cabins for the four of us and we could open the divider between the balconies,partially giving us a nice balcony area for our family.
Our room steward was very efficient and thorough. I always ask for many towel sets, lots of ice, and no wake up knocks before noon. He did as asked with no exception. He was remiss in giving us private dining and excursion tickets, but that was no big deal. As soon as I asked, he realized his error.
We were traveling with another family with an 13 and 11 year old, and we all travel together often. Our children had these thoughts:
The movies that were scheduled never showed according to the schedule The flow rider was a hassle because you (the parent) must go up each and EVERY day to sign the children up for that particular day The skating rink was too small and they did not want to be bothered with a lesson before skating
Ship is fun, fun, fun!! Lots of food options and they especially loved Ben and Jerrys and Johnny Rockets.
Food was unbelievable. There is NO WAY someone could not find what they want on this ship. I am a vegetarian and food gourmet, my other half is meat and potatoes, and my children are very food gourmet with a daily need for seafood. The least favorite food for us was the dining room. The dining room story is a another book, and trust me, we are not buffet people, but on the Liberty this was the best option for breakfast and lunch. The buffet includes American choices, oriental choices, and lots of fresh fruit and salad items. Our favorite places on the ship were in order Chops, Sorrentos, Johnny Rockets, Portifino, Jade, Windjammer, and then the main dining room.
Dining room is a cluster!! We booked this cruise six months in advance and requested a table for eight, late seating. We DO NOT do early seating. I confirmed with my friend that we had the same table when our tickets arrived. Talked to the travel agent 3 days before sailing and he again confirmed we were all seated together. Once on board, my friend and her family are assigned to the early seating and we are on late seating. We go immediately to speak to the maitre'd and wait in line. There are over 30 people there to discuss changing times and tables. We are told there is nothing he can do, but wait a few nights and something may come up. While waiting, we spoke to people who were not assigned a table in the dining room AT ALL. Can you imagine? Some had booked a year earlier. Needless to say, they put us all together on the second day and we watched many tables go unoccupied for the duration of the cruise. There are so many other choices.
There are so many activities that you can always find something to do. We did not go to many of the shows, as that is not our thing, but did hear very good reviews from people who attended.
If you like to read and relax, there are so many nice, quiet places to do so. One of my sons started and finished the new Harry Potter and the adults all read one or two pleasure books as well as business periodicals.
The ports of call on this sailing are not great. I had been to all but St. Maarten and was not impressed at all. My other half did scuba diving and thought it a waste of time. We hired a private driver for a tour in both islands and had one horrible day and one good day. Some of the group did the flight line on Labadee and thought that fun, but again a hassle, due to the long time it takes to prepare for the 5 minute ride. I think the private island of Labadee is horrible. The amenities are lacking, the food is awful, be prepared to tip in cash the people who hound you for chairs and other things.
The wireless internet service on this ship is the WORST I have ever experienced! We are business owners and must be in contact with our staff and business while on vacation. I spent over $300 on internet services that were completely inadequate. It takes over 5 minutes just to get to your login page. If you do not need to use the service, do not.
The saving of deck chairs is as bad as any I have ever seen. We would see chairs saved at 8:00 a.m. and no one would show up until after 12:00 p.m. No one did anything about it and people that were looking for a chair were not able to get one. The cruise line needs to stand behind its promise to remove items after 30 minutes.
The fitness center was awesome and the best at sea. The jogging track was a JOKE as it was on the top deck of the pool area. How could you possibly run or walk with a sea of people and chairs? Don't waste your time, go to the gym.
All in all the ship is very nice. It offer something for everyone, but be prepared to wait in lines for everything. There are so many people you are just a number.
When we look at the pleasure and value of this sailing compared to Disney, Holland America,and Princess,as we do not do the cheesy Carnival, we still think Disney rules them all. This ship is FABULOUS but still can not beat out the two Disney ships.