We took a friend for my son, and it was her very first cruise. Can you imagine the Liberty being the standard by which you judge all other cruises?!?!?!??!!?
The ports were great - I took the kids to the Mexican Culinary Experience in Cozumel. (this is for adults only - my kids are 20 & 22)
In Cozumel I treated them to a day with Luis, Moises and Javier. WHOA! We were all very very very happy. If you haven't done this excursion, you must, you simply must. It was my second time. Now my daughter wants to go back there when we are on the Mariner in December!
We stayed ahead of Hurricane Gustav the entire way. The only effect was that it started to get windy when we were on Labadee and they closed the zipline. (we really didn't notice any high winds down at beach level). And the last night you could hear the winds howling if you were outside or up on a high deck. (I was on Deck 14 at the time). I really didn't feel any motion, although I heard some newbies remarking on the movement of the ship. I *did* take the empty hangers off the rod and put them on the closet floor, because they were moving and making some clattering noise.
Jamaica was Montego Bay this time, and we just went straight to the Sunset Beach Resort - another great choice. My two underage (but they are almost 21 and have been at college for two years where they drink to their heart's content) kids indulged themselves, without overindulging. It's a beautiful place, with almost a dozen pools, lots of beach front area, lazy river, waterslides, miniature golf, tennis courts, basketball courts, swim-up bars, etc. That's all included with your $40 price of admission, along with unlimited (ok) food. I learned to love a Dirty Banana! YUM!
In Grand Cayman, I took the kids on a private catamaran to do the stingrays and snorkeling near the reef. The boat holds more than 25, though the owner says that he limits it to 25 per trip so that everyone has plenty of space. We found out about it from some wonderful ladies on our Roll Call.
There were only five of us! It was FANTASTIC. My son and his friend were more than a little leery of the stingrays, but loved it anyway. They are just such cool creatures.
For $45 per person, it was an amazing value, as well. Four hours, private catamaran with its owner, pick-up and drop-off at tender pier, snorkel gear, fresh fruit (sodas and beer were a nominal charge). The guy's name is Chip, and it's stingraysailing dot com We all highly recommend him.
The sea days were great. Seven days is not enough. Four ports are nice, but that leaves you with just two sea days on this huge and beautiful ship. Next time, a back-to-back cruise would be just right.
Food is subjective and personal - we all have read and said this many times. I thought that the food in the Main Dining Room was excellent. We had one lunch here, and I had two lunches in the WJ. On the other days, we were off the ship. I had no breakfasts. (daughter used Room Service for breakfast all four port days)
Highlights: cold soups, as always. Lobster bisque, duck consommE. Tenderloin, lobster tail, scallops, halibut, shrimp.
Cafe Promenade's sandwiches were yummy, muffins were good, too.
Sorrento's on the Liberty is amazing. Excellent pizza, especially the veggie pizza and florentine. Lovely antipasto "bar". Yummy key lime mousse.
The Windjammer had typical WJ fare. It was good and hot and we always found a table when we looked for one. I took a plate down to my sleeping daughter once, and the pasta was still hot when I got back to the cabin.
Room Service was excellent. In the morning, they were always on time, always called first, and made a follow-up call afterwards to ask how everything was!!!! Other times of day, the order arrived promptly, everything was correct, and the service was discreet. (we were not always fit to be seen in public ) Pick up of dirty dishes was quick, too, if you called them. (that is what they ask you to do)
I love James Andrews, our CD. What a great host. His staff is wonderful, too. There was only one girl who irritated the HECK out of us - everyone else was great. Major kudos to James, Phill, Travis, Brandon, Jaimie and Cat.
Headliners.............nothing to write home about. A juggler who was good, actually very good, but juggling is just not "my thing". A moderately funny comic the first night, who was very funny for late night comedy later. A final night comic who was funny, but definitely NOT everyone's sense of humor.
Production shows: There were three, and we went to two. "Ever After" is NOT for everyone. My oh-so-critical dancer son and my not-so-critical daughter HATED it. I thought that is was "ok" - decent in the beginning, not so good in the middle, with a VERY good last five or so minutes. "In The Air" was a very good show. My kids call it a "wannabe Cirque du Soleil", but I think that they were GREAT for NOT being Cirque. Only Cirque is Cirque. We missed "Somewhere in Time".
The Ice Show was beyond fantastic. We all just adored it. Whatever you do, never miss the Ice Show.
Portofino - we ate there the night we had been in Cozumel. BIG mistake. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but turned out not to be. The food was good, but we weren't really ready to enjoy it. I was disappointed in two things:
1. I had asked the MDR to send my bottle of wine to Portofino. It didn't happen. (which was ok, because we really didn't want any more alcohol at that point)
2. My veal saltimbocca was tasty, but my first bite was all fat. Now, the cut of veal that should be used for this dish shouldn't have ANY fat, much less a big glob of it. The rest of it was good, but it was a bad way to begin eating.
We were way too full for dessert, but took tiramisu and flourless chocolate cake back to the cabin. Unfortunately, this was Night 6, and we never ended up eating it.
Service was excellent, as always. Our waiter was MacArthur "call me Mac" from the Philippines, and assistant was Chandra from India. I'll just say that we LOVED Chandra, and recommended on our Guest Survey that she be made a waiter. Cabin attendants Gilbet and Isbeth were great, always doing a good job, and always managing to do it when we weren't there, no matter how irregular our comings and goings.
Pretty Shamu is the Concierge in the Diamond Lounge, and she is wonderful. Dale and Alan are the quiet, efficient unobtrusive bartenders who always kept me supplied. The hors d'oeuvres were particularly good this cruise. It was also nice being able to use the computers up there in peace and quiet.
Elevators were not as much of a problem to use as many others have reported. Sure, sometimes you had to wait, but HEY, you're on a cruise - relax! You can also avoid the problem sometimes by using the forward elevators instead of the aft set. Less competition for those.
Even tender lines for Labadee moved fast, and I have never had such an easy time tendering to and from Grand Cayman. No crowds or chaos here as a result of Liberty's size.
Lots of trivia games at all different times of day, so we missed some but managed to get to others.
'Nuff said about the casino, by the way. (in other words, I didn't win.)
The passenger mix was VERY eclectic. Many many many international passengers on board. We had lunch in the MDR with this WONDERFUL young couple from Brazil, and I got them to teach me some Portuguese. I kept running into them after that, and they always demanded that I try to speak to them in Portuguese!
Embarkation was almost a breeze (we got an agent who was very new, maybe his first day, and he had to get help and there were several ongoing problems onboard that were a result of his errors), and disembarkation was the quickest and easiest I have ever had. Too quick and easy, actually, since we then had to wait for our van pick-up.
All in all, a great cruise. It was wonderful, as always, that my kids still want to go on a vacation with Mom. How much longer will they want to do that?
I heartily recommend the Liberty of the Seas to ANY age cruiser. There truly is "something for everyone". So much to do.........or so little, depending on your preference.
I'd go again in a heartbeat!