Liberty of the Seas Eastern Caribbean:
What a great vacation and Ship! Like all vacations, some things don't go as planned and you have to go with the flow as we always do and turn negative things positive. We rated the Cruise 5+ even with a couple minor problems here and there because we rate the overall cruise. The problems we had were so minor in my opinion that I really won't mention them much. This was our 12th Cruise on RCCL and are looking forward to more.
Embarkation: We arrived at the Port Terminal very early at 10:20 am which was a mistake. There were already around 50 people waiting on the upper level to pass through security as they had not allowed anyone to enter at that point. Since we are Diamond status, they brought us to the front of the line. We waiting about 15 minutes before they started to let people through security and I remember saying Wow, we will be on the ship by 11 am. After passing thru security, we had our Set Sail Pass in hand and went right up to the counter and check in was only a couple of minutes, at the point it was the smoothest we have ever encountered.
Then the bottle neck, they sent us to a holding area for Diamond and Platinum status people in the next terminal and they told us that the previous cruise passengers were still disembarking and we had to wait until the ship was cleared, so we sat down and waited. Well, we waited and waited and even the RCCL staff in the room kept calling someone because even they thought it was odd. After waiting two hours, at 12:20 pm they finally cleared the ship and allowed us to start boarding with our Priority boarding slips in hand because we are Diamond. Apparently the problem was a high amount of Non US passengers were on the previous sailing and they were short Customs officials to handle all of the people (problem not due to RCCL) coming off. No one likes to wait, but I'll wait two hours to get on the ship and besides, no one can really complain since the Cruise literature says that they don't board until 2 pm, and if they let you on earlier, it's a courtesy.
Dining: Truly amazing in every aspect, we went to the Windjammer for lunch and it was the usual buffet style and never had a bad meal there, just be prepared to be in a buffet crowd. We never ate dinner there, just breakfast or lunch on various days. We didn't find the staff on Freedom last year that friendly and our dining wait staff was terrible, so we didn't know what to expect on Liberty. Well we were pleasantly surprised as we had the best wait staff that we have ever had on a cruise. Fahim and Francisco both from India were always there giving you drinks, extra appetizers if you wanted them etc. The service was like a first class restaurant and I can't rave enough about the staff we had as they were always there to serve you with smiling faces. I wanted to take them both home!
We ate at Johnny Rockets which was the usual burger type food and service. We ate at Portofino and Chops two separate nights and is well worth the $20 pp charge if you want a fine dining experience. We always book both restaurants if available when we cruise. Believe it or not, even though this was our 12 cruise, we never ate in the dining room for breakfast and we tried it a couple of times and we would prefer that over the Windjammer unless we are in a hurry. We liked talking with the other passengers that they sit you with and you don't over eat like I do in the Windjammer. Sorrento's Pizza was the usual good RCCL pizza and we ate there for a late night snack every night. Cafe Promenade is good for sandwiches, cookies and coffee etc.
Ship: We were on Freedom last year and this ship has very few changes, but the biggest change on Liberty was the friendly staff. Walking though the ship everyone was so friendly and would smile and speak to us everywhere we went. This was the friendliest ship we have ever been on besides Majesty of the Seas.
All pools are fresh water and clean, and if you wanted some quiet time, just go to the solarium which is for adults only. On sea days, they had hamburgers and hot dogs by the pool so you wouldn't have to go anywhere else for a lunch meal in your wet swim suit. They did not push there cookbook like other posts had mentioned, so we didn't experience any problems with that. The sprinkles soft serve ice cream was always busy on refreshing during the hot sun day at sea. I probably had too many ice cream cones by the pool!
Cabin: We had a superior balcony room which was great and plenty of room with a full size couch. Our stateroom attendant Joel from Trinidad was the best we have ever had before, of our 12 cruises on RCCL, he was the best. He always had a smile and friendly attitude addressing us by name every day and always kept the cabin clean.
Diamond Concierge Lounge (deck 14): It was packed full of people, and only people with 10+ cruises are allowed in using a separate access card given to you on the first day. The lounge was packed and the concierge Ricardo (from Panama) was the worst we have ever had even though Anthony the bartender was there full time waiting on people. Anthony always had a friendly smile and spoke to you, too bad he wasn't the Concierge instead of the Ricardo we had. Ricardo was basically there just to help out the bar tender and nothing more like a Concierge has been for us in the past. The concierge for the suites (on deck 10) also named Ricardo (from Mexico) seemed very friendly and nice when we ran into him a couple of times, too bad he wasn't our Diamond Concierge. We had a good time anyway since we did get drinks and spoke with other nice passengers in the lounge. The best Concierge to date that we have ever had was on Radiance, his name is Willy (Philippines). As long as I get at least average service, it's not that bad, but once you have had great service, it's hard to not compare experiences.
Ports: The usual shopping, walking around so I am not going to comment on them too much. We chose not to book any excursions on the islands.
Casino: Very big and nice even though I didn't use it that much.
Shows: A hit or miss, I really didn't understand the Open Air Show, but everyone's tastes are different and what one person likes another may not.
Disembarkation: Since we are Diamond, we received white tags and were the first color called off of the ship and things went very smooth. We were off the ship and driving home by 9 am.
One thing to remember, don't let a couple minor problems spoil an entire cruise that you have probably been waiting a year for. We spoke with one party that was having a terrible time and the vacation was ruined just because there was a luggage problem while boarding the ship. They received there luggage, but a little later in the evening around 7-8 pm because of a mix-up. That upset them so much that they complained about everything and for what they had told us, they really weren't valid complaints. They kept going back to the luggage problem as there main complaint and how the cruise is so terrible. I felt like telling them to get over it and enjoy the cruise. As long as you get on board and receive your luggage, the rest you can possibly control and if you want to have a miserable time, you can easily make that happen. The same goes for a great time; you can make that happen too. A couple a few doors down from us made a bad mistake by trying to fly in the morning of the cruise; well they missed the ship due to an airline delay. They finally caught up with the ship two days later in Puerto Rico, but they didn't let they ruin there cruise and the rest of the cruise they had a great time.
If you want a great time on a great ship with friendly service and attitudes, you can't go wrong with Liberty and its price. Sure you might run into someone having a bad day here or there (we didn't), but move on and enjoy yourself!