This was my 9th cruise, my 5th with Royal Caribbean, and my 2nd on a Royal Caribbean ship chartered by Atlantis Events (we did the Mexico 2007 cruise on Radiance).
My primary motivation for booking on Liberty of the Seas was that I wanted to experience a cruise on the world's largest cruise ship. I wanted to see how different the experience was. My conclusion is that I would certainly book another cruise on the same size ship, but I would be just as happy to book on something the size of Radiance class. There aren't enough differences to make me go exclusively on one ship or the other.
My partner and I arrived in Miami on the Friday afternoon before the cruise. We stayed at the Angler's Boutique Resort in South Beach. It was probably the nicest hotel we have ever stayed at and the service was amazing. The rate was $325, so not cheap, but well worth it.
Atlantis had recommended we not arrive to the pier until after 2pm, and because we didn't like waiting around on our last cruise to embark the ship, we took their advice. We arrived at the pier at about 2:20pm and were through security, check-in, and on the ship before 3pm. The entire process was very well organized. The port of Miami is equipped to handle ships of this size.
Once on board we went to our stateroom and I immediately realized I had lost my sunglasses. I know I had them at the security check point, but probably lost them between there and the ship. I told guest relations and filled out a report and also got off the ship to tell staff in the terminal (it was no problem to get off the ship and get back on). I was stressed out about losing them as they were fairly expensive, but got over it. The next day, I went to guest relations on the ship and they had my glasses!
We arrived to our room, a promenade interior room, stateroom #8295, and found it to be standard size. We noticed we had a connecting room and for some reason, tried to open the door. We were very surprised it had been left unlocked. We called housekeeping to get them to lock it. It took them some time to lock it, but this is probably expected given this is a very busy time with everyone embarking. In the meantime, in the hour we were waiting, we had met our neighbors and enjoyed their taste of music, so after the life boat drill, we asked housekeeping to come back and unlock the door. We kept the door unlocked and open for the rest of the week.
If you are hesitant about booking a promenade room because of noise, don't be. You can't hear a thing. You could hear the promenade parade which happened twice during the week, but even then, if you were sleeping, I don't think it would wake you.
The first night in the theatre was Pam Ann. We had seen her show before, but it was still one of the funniest shows of the week and we really enjoyed it. Later that night we went to Studio B for the welcome aboard party DJ Abel. It was fun. Studio B is perfect for charters like this because it can handle huge parties like that indoors.
Day 2 was a sea day. We enjoyed sitting around by the pool. Unlike the Mexico cruise on Radiance, hardly anyone was ever in the pool. The water was very cold and you couldn't just sit in there for hours. In the afternoon we enjoyed in infamous Dog Tag Tea Dance with DJ Manny Lehman. We had dinner in the dinning room. Again, I have to say that the food on Royal Caribbean has gone downhill from what it was a few years ago. It isn't bad, but it isn't anything great. You should almost always avoid ordering things like steak since it is likely to be dry and over cooked. Most of the food is fine, but it's not great. Celebrity and Holland America have much better food. I wasn't there for the food though (as most of the other 3700+ guys and 45 girls weren't either). At night we enjoyed 3 great comedians, especially Jessica Kirson in the theatre. At midnight we went up to the top deck for the Mardi Gras party with DJ Wayne G. He was by far our favorite DJ on this cruise and we enjoyed his sets at every party he played at.
Day 3 we were in Grand Turk. We didn't really get off the ship except to take a picture by the dock. We slept in recovering from our late night at the party with Wayne G. At night we had Wanda Sykes. We went to the second show and apparently she had got pretty drunk from the first show, so it wasn't as good. It had a few moments, but it was generally disappointing. We also saw Encore, Royal Caribbean's Ice spectacular show in Studio B. That was amazing and one of the best shows I've seen on a ship. At night was the Tribu party on the top deck with DJ Abel.
Day 4 we were in St. Thomas and again we again slept in. A theme started to emerge and most people were sleeping during the day on the ship it seemed now. Going to St. Thomas was a bit of a hassle because everyone on the ship has to go through customs. I'd avoid something like that again. We did a boat ride in St. Thomas called the Sreamin Eagle. It was fun. You get very wet. I'd recommend it. The only thing is they strap you into this boat and don't give you life jackets. Not sure how safe that is. We went to a Royal Caribbean production called Ever After in the theatre. It was again one of the best productions at sea I have seen. Very good effects. We also saw a hypnotist named Michael Swenson in the theatre later that night, and he was quite good. Later that night we went to Studio B for the "Under the Sea" party with DJ Paul Goodyear. I didn't care for the music that much, but the decorations in Studio B were amazing. They must have spent all day preparing that space for our party.
Day 5 was at sea and we slept in and got up in time for the Classic Disco T-Dance on the top deck. That was one of our favorite parties on a previous Atlantis cruise. This time, it was our least. The music was by DJ Abel. For some reason, it just felt slow and low energy. We took a nap and after diner saw another Royal Caribbean production called Somewhere in Time in the theatre. Again, one of the best productions I've seen at sea. They really take advantage of the huge theatre and show how technically advanced it is. Later that night we saw some of Dixie Longate's Tupperware party which is hilarious. One of the funniest entertainers Atlantis brings on these trips. Not to be missed. We also saw Jessica Kirson later in the theatre for a hilarious show. Then up to the top deck for the 90's diva party with DJ Manny Lehman. We didn't stay long because we wanted to enjoy our time in Labadee the next day.
Day 6 in Labadee was our favorite day. It is an amazing port of call, and very relaxing. There is so much to do there and it's Royal Caribbean's private port of call. Great water park with slides and rock climbing walls. We did a jet ski tour which lasted an hour. About $100 for a driver and passenger, which I thought was very reasonable. We went to all of Dixie Longate's Tupperware party later that night and it wasn't that well attended as it was at the same time the biggest party of the night started. There was about 100 people there, and it was still hilarious! One of my favorite times of the week. At around 1am we went up to the White Party on the top deck with DJ Wayne G. The party didn't end until 7am. After that, everyone filled up Studio B until about noon with DJ Abel.
Day 7 we of course slept in again and went to the Beach Ball T-Dance. It was a great chance to say goodbye to all our new friends we had met that week. Lots of pictures being taken. DJ Wayne G was again spinning and did an amazing job. I hope I see him again on another Atlantis vacation because he does an amazing job and looks like he is having fun. We skipped out on the Finale party in Studio B because we were tired! Shann Carr's last laugh show in the theatre which went until about 1am was late enough for us.
We used the gym, which is very well equipped, once on this trip. I didn't bother working out too much since I knew it would probably be busy given the crowd on the ship (lots of guys with muscles).
I loved this cruise and it was the best vacation I have been on in a very long time. The ship is amazing and never felt crowded. Disembarkation was also very smooth, just as smooth as any other cruise would be.
If I was looking for a negative about the ship it would be that all the public spaces are indoors and enclosed. Unless you are on the top deck, you'd hardly know you are on a ship at all. Everything is inside. Very few windows. You really need a balcony if you want to enjoy the ocean view, otherwise, go to the top deck.
I would have booked this cruise again for next year on the Freedom of the Seas except that Atlantis has chartered Celebrity Solstice for March 8-15, 2009. We booked that ship as I've been very excited about that ship for the last few years and looking forward to its release. It seemed to be very popular and many people who normally do the January cruise were switching to the March Solstice cruise.