Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by susan: Liberty of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
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Liberty of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
As a long time cruiser on many different cruise lines, my trip on the Liberty on the September 15th voyage was approximately my 80th cruise. This ship, while huge, is absolutely beautiful. Considering there are so many guests and crew, it is amazing that it did not seem more crowded.
We live in Florida, so had no travel arrangements to comment on. There was about an hour delay in boarding due to the late clearance of the ship from the previous sailing, but this happens occasionally. Once on board we had an excellent lunch in Sorrento's (only the first of many visits to have their excellent pizza!), and our luggage was in the cabin by the time we were finished.
Cabins - Not the largest at sea, but extremely well designed. The new beds and linens were excellent, and the plasma TV a great addition. Many other small touches have been improved, including the addition of curved doors on the showers (no more sticking curtain while trying to shave your legs!), hair dryer More in the drawer of the vanity, and the bed high enough that ALL the empty luggage could be stored underneath and not take up space in the closet. Our cabin steward was unobtrusive and efficient - always there when we needed him but mostly doing an excellent job in the background. Balcony was great and one other thing I definitely noticed - the walls between the cabins are either thicker or of a new material, but there was NO noise form our neighbors at all - so little in fact that I thought the cabin next to us on one side was empty, which it was not. After years of hearing drawers opening and closing, toilets flushing, and all other manner of unknown sounds coming from neighbors, this was the quietest cabin we have ever experienced.
Entertainment - Ken Rush is a fine Cruise Director. He is funny and entertaining, but not so much to be annoying, which many of them are. He is also extremely friendly to the guests and doesn't have the typical CD arrogance. His team is great. We did not go to all the shows, but the ice show was simply outstanding and Abbacadabra, and Abba cover band, was very good. The late night comedian was also very entertaining. Bar entertainment was very good as well, and the Ship house band were wonderful when they played on the bridge in the promenade.
Activities - There is simply not enough time on a 7 day cruise to even think about trying every activity or venue, but the myriad of choices is amazing, particularly for families. As a couple, we only tried a few, but the FlowRider was certainly a highlight - fun to watch as well.
Ports - Since we have been to the Caribbean countless times, we did not take any tours. In St. Maarten, one of my favorite islands, we did a little shopping and had a nice lunch. Took a walk in Old San Juan and won a quick $150 in the casino! Labadee has improved dramatically, and I must disagree with a prior reviewer who said the best place was right near the tender drop off. On the contrary, if one walks to the right or left for a short distance, there are several small coves and little bars where there are plenty of chairs and far fewer people. The zip line was great.
Food - Since we have been on many different cruise lines, I found the food to be much better than anticipated - certainly better than Carnival and even Princess. The dining room was fine considering the vast number of people served every night, and some of the dishes really excellent. One suggestion however - the lunch menu would be more appealing if it changed once or twice during a week. The Windjammer is a little confusing for the first day or two, but once you get used to the flow, the food and selection are better than most casual restaurants on ships. Make sure to try the made to order omelets. For a real treat however, do not miss the Portofino and Chops. The food and service are on par, if not superior, to some of the finest land based restaurants. For $40 per couple, it is not only a wonderful experience but an extremely reasonable proposition. There is no place at home that you can get such a fine meal for such a price. We ate in each of them several times, and it was always a pleasure. In Chops particularly, the manager Simten and the servers Glenda and Roland are some of the finest staff that we have experienced - anywhere.
Spa - Had a hot stone massage which was really terrific. The gym is beautiful, never too crowded and full of state of the art equipment.
Service - Everyone was extremely friendly, probably one of the most friendly we have ever experienced. From the bar servers to the shop personnel to the waiters and cruise staff, we found very few who were not exceedingly pleasant. I even had a luggage porter take me to a public room I inquired to find - he just didn't direct me, he escorted me there personally!
Overall, our experience on the Liberty was a great one, and this will be one of our memorable cruises (trust me, not all of them are for the right reasons!) The ship is stunning, the artwork amazing (take time to stop and look at it all), and the staff and crew pleasant and well trained. It is enormous, but not so big that one ever really feels crowded. Plenty to do or not do, as is your preference. Loved the itinerary with 3 days at sea, a very well planned one if you get on needing to relax. We were fortunate to have had 7 days of sun and seas like glass, but I imagine it doesn't move too much even if there are some higher seas. We had some excitement on the last night when the ship turned around to rescue two Cuban rafters who had been at sea for 8 days. Needless to say, the staff was efficient and compassionate during this crisis as well, and the Captain's team should be commended. All in all, a fine ship, excellent staff and great experience. Less
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