We spent several days in Tampa where we had flow before the cruise, and we also had a ton of fun at Universal Studios in Orlando. The day of the cruise we got dropped off at the Tampa train station and took the five hour train down through the cow pastures and citrus fields of Central Florida to Miami. The train station in Miami is not in the best area but we easily hopped in one of the cabs waiting at the front of the station and before long we were in the much safer and glitzy beauty of downtown Miami. After some research prior to our arrival, we decided on the Cruise Package at the Doubletree Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay for two nights, just twenty minutes drive from the Port of Miami. The package is a fantastic deal, under $130 per night, which I would do again in a flash. The Doubletree Grand was a well appointed 4 star hotel on the shores of Biscayne Bay with a view to Miami Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. At a price comparable to what one might pay in Canada or the U.S. for a standard hotel we were able stay in this high luxury hotel. The Cruise Package allows you to stay in some of the best rooms; Oceanview with Private Balcony with either two Double or one Queen overlooking Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. We had a great room on the 8th floor. The room was very spacious. As we walked in, the room had a marble bathroom with bidet, vanity and sink. An additional vanity and sink was available in a vestibule exterior to the washroom. Across from this area was a kitchenette with shelves, a mini bar fridge and coffee maker. In the centre of the room, the beds were extremely comfortable, and looked onto a large cable television with pay per view movies. Beyond the beds was a living room area with a large arm chair, ottoman and pull out couch. At the end of the room, sliding doors (with security lock and bar) opened out onto a mid-size balcony with two chairs and table overlooking the hotel's marina, Biscayne Bay and the skylines. The room's storage space was generous in the form of a large closet and dresser. As guests, we were provided complimentary vouchers for American breakfast or its shared value toward breakfast in the restaurant in the hotel's shopping area each morning, as well as shuttle service at the time of our choosing from the hotel to the Port of Miami cruise terminals.
In view from the balcony, just east of the hotel, is Royal Caribbean International's distinct pair of world headquarter offices as well as the sister line, Celebrity Cruises, office. In closer view east is Royal Caribbean's own cruise terminal and docks that were custom built for 5 million dollars in time for the maiden voyage of the Voyager of the Seas, the line's first Voyager Class ship, in 1999. The white tent terminal is an attractive architecture piece in its own right and can accommodate any two of Royal Caribbean's ships at once.
Over the course of the next two days we took in the city sights. As a cruise ship buff, I enjoyed going on our balcony early in the morning to see a RCI ship, the Majesty of the Seas, which had been recently refurbished, as well as the Norwegian Sun and a Carnival ship in port. We took the fast, convenient, free of charge Metromover monorail that provides transportation in the downtown Miami area to Brickell Island. Here, we had reservations at the high end 5 star Mandarin Oriental Hotel for our Miami Spice lunch. If you happen to be in Miami during August or September I highly recommend 'Miami Spice," a two month long period when many of the city's top restaurants come together to open their menus at discounted price, $30 for lunch or $40 for dinner, that would often cost twice or thrice the amount. If you do take up the offer, I recommend you call your restaurant of choice beforehand to make reservations or use the 'Miami Spice' website to make reservations online. At the Azul, inside the Mandarin Oriental, we sat on the balcony overlooking the river between downtown Miami and Brickell Island. The restaurant housed exotic flower displays, waterfalls, an open marble kitchen and gourmet food. Plenty of the freshest seafood, fine cuts of beef and creative cuisine and deserts!
We also took the transit over to Miami Beach which, contrary to popular belief, is a separate city and county to Miami itself. The famous area of South Beach is very vibrant, lined with designer and kitsch shops, restaurants and cafes. We had some great giant pizza at this pizza place (name?) that was buzzing, strolled the fabulous Lincoln Road, a pedestrian only meandering street lined with year round sidewalk cafes and shops and art galleries of all sorts. Mimes, business men, locals and tourists mix and mingle. On one side of the main street, Collins Avenue, with runs along the beach, are massive chain and corporate resorts and luxury condominiums with every bell and whistle imaginable overlooking the ocean, then to the right side of Collins Avenue small and quaint low rise family owned hotels and villas line the road. The water was very warm, lots of sea shells to see and sightseeing to do in this wonderful area. Then Saturday morning came, the BIG day, saw the Liberty of the Seas lit up in the dark of early morning, was so excited by this point! We had our final breakfast, sent some emails from the business centre and got our luggage and were off. The attendant from the shuttle company met us and led us out into a well kept van, large enough to seat 10 people but it was just us , a private drive. The driver was friendly and attentive. To our Travel Agent's recommendation we left the hotel around 12 noon and within 20 minutes pulled up to the drop off area outside RCI's terminal.
Once dropped off we were met by a porter who ensured our luggage was tagged correctly and took our luggage off. They expect to be tipped but it is at your discretion so don't be pushed! We then made our way into the terminal and showed our papers to a customs officer then went through a security checkpoint not unlike an airport. Then into a check-in area where there was no line, we went right on up. A friendly woman looked at our cruise documents, we did some final signatures. She gave us a welcome aboard notice, answered questions, gave us information on where we could eat and arrange services once onboard and then issued and explained our SeaPass cards. Each passenger onboard all major cruise lines have a card, Royal Caribbean calls it your SeaPass. It shows your name, sailing date, ship name & your dining room and time. This acts as your onboard security pass, credit card & room key. More on that later. We then flashed our SeaPass to a officer and made our way up an escalator to the gangway! The gigantic size of the Liberty of the Seas towering high above us, she is 12 decks her entire length and up to 15 decks in certain places, as tall as a 20-22 story land building!! We took some photos on the gangway in front of the side of the ship with a couple and stepped onboard!
A security officer welcomed us and took a security picture. They then checked us in with a swipe in their machine. This machine our Travel Agent told us tells them exactly who is on and off the ship and the security officer checks your picture with your face when you come in, along with an airport style security checkpoint. We then had a photographer snap our boarding photo you could purchase, we were welcomed by a crew member and we were off. It was just going to 1pm. The boarding process took only approximately 25 minutes. Tables were set up where you could set up with different programs such as the Wine & Dine where you have wine served with each dinner and matched with your food in the Dining Room and other extras. We went to the Windjammer Cafe where they were serving a full buffet lunch, it was pretty bustling but lots of space. They had the "Coke card" on sale. When you pay your cruise fare you are paying for 85% of your cruise, it's almost all inclusive. Additional expenses include alcohol, soft drinks, specialty items/restaurants, personal services such as laundry and spa treatments should you choose. Shopping is just like on land except you do save as the shops onboard are tax & duty free.
To save and make the soft drinks more convenient only on the first day of the cruise you can buy a soft drink package from tables they have setup or any bartender onboard for $5 for children and $7 for adults per person per day. Total is $45 for the week for adults and $35 for passengers 16 years and under. The bartender will put a small Coke sticker on your SeaPass and anytime you want a soft drink you simply flash it to the server or bartender and there is no additional charge. We then went off to explore this majestic vessel and our room which was available almost immediately. The stateroom corridors open at 1:00pm for you to put your carry on luggage and check them out, however housekeeping continues for a bit longer to finish polishing up from the previous cruise with the fast turnover ships now have. The luggage delivery occurs over the next several hours , for us was quite fast within the next 2 hours or so all our luggage had arrived. We then went to see the largest passenger ship afloat sail away from Miami, we chose to go to the sailaway party a little and then to the stern for the spectacular views as we set off!
First Impressions The Liberty of the Seas is stunningly beautiful, a true floating city & full service resort at sea with an unbelievable array of options. The ship has really refined cruising and brought it to new limits, wait this ship has no limits! When in the check in area of the port building and the gangway you notice the ships unbelievable size. At 1, 112 feet long (longer than 4 football fields!) , 181 feet wide, weighing 160,400 thousand tons and able to accommodate 3,883 passengers and up to 4,370 passengers at full capacity with a crew of 1,416 crew the Liberty of the Seas is the largest passenger ship on earth, larger than it's sister ships Freedom & Independence of the Seas by 400 tons, although the three sisters are nearly identical there are some minor differences. On the Royal Promenade the onboard street & mall running down the centre of the ship the Freedom has a "Book Nook" a reading area whereas Liberty has a Future Cruise Sales office in the same space, 2nd outlet on the left side of the Promenade. The Independence has several futures catered to the largely British market it serves while in the Caribbean only part of the year, spending the balance of its time in the UK & Europe, such as tea pots in the staterooms. Also art by nature is unique to each ship.
Liberty is an evolution of the immensely popular five 142,000 ton Voyager Class ships of Royal Caribbean- the Voyager, Explorer, Adventure, Navigator & Mariner of the Seas that debuted between 1999-2003. The Freedom Class continues nearly all of the Voyager Class' ships but has rearranged some of the spaces for better flow specifically in the Windjammer area. It continues the 9 cruising firsts the Voyager ships brought to the cruising world including the rock climbing wall, skating rink, Royal Promenade and much more. Then using it's additional 30% more space added 15 additional new features including a surfing simulator, hanging hot tubs, a boxing ring and more as well as more modern touches such as flatscreen televisions and touch screen ship map & information panels located throughout the ship.
Liberty of the Seas had its maiden voyage on May 12, 2007, we were its 72nd voyage. She operates Caribbean cruises year round sailing every Saturday from Miami on alternating 7 night Eastern & Western Caribbean itineraries. We were on her 7 night Western Caribbean with 2 sea days and sailing to: - Labadee, Haiti (RCI's private island area) - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Georgetown, Grand Cayman - Cozumel, Mexico
Liberty of the Seas has 1,800 staterooms onboard offering a wide variety of Inside (in centre of ship with no windows), Outside (with oceanview windows), Balcony (with private balcony), Suites & Owners Suites, and a Royal Suite. In addition continuing from the Voyager Class on these ships are the Royal Promenade View staterooms, overlooking the action and sights of the indoor street & mall the Royal Promenade. With the Royal Promenade being wider and longer than Voyagers there are now 172 staterooms. The Presidential Suite also new sleeps 14 guests in a massive suite.
We had an Inside Stateroom on the starboard side aft number just down the corridor from Business Services. The stateroom's official size is 172 square feet and we greatly enjoyed it. Entering the stateroom to your immediate left was a storage closet that had enough space to store two large suitcases and several shelves to lay out out most of our clothing and plenty of hangers. An easy to use electronic safe just above the shelves has enough room for valuables. To save space our stateroom attendant stored our lifejackets after the muster drill under the beds which worked well, we knew we were there and had the entire closet available. You set your own password for the combination. To the immediate right of the entrance is the compact but well designed bathroom. It had it's own built in combination sink & countertop with a small shelf below and large mirrors and plenty of lighting above. The toilet which is similar to those found on airplanes with a bar on the wall to flush. Beside there a shower stall, compact yet enough space to comfortably shower with very smooth sliding plexiglass doors. A dispenser on the wall was always filled with shampoo and conditioner.
Exiting the bathroom and moving into the main room a desk with drawers, another mirror and mini bar fridge in the cupboard. The bar fridge has some space for your own items, the rest is an assortment of pay per use soft drinks, beverages, juices and snacks. We never bought anything from it as there are so many complimentary food and beverage options onboard. An improvement from other cruise lines and older ships where sensors charged you if you moved an item. Here you can move items around within the fridge to make room for yourself, we had a welcome aboard chocolate cake we kept in there. They will only charge you if you actually remove the item and eat or drink it.
Atop the desk is a LCD flat screen television, one of the only cruise ships to have only flat screen televisions onboard in all staterooms and throughout the ship. Their was an assortment of programming including CNN, ESPN and other channels and programming. What we enjoyed sometimes was the filming crew onboard who film many of the onboard events would put the events on there to watch, one night we had a great time watching the Love & Marriage show we hadn't gotten in person. Also a very in depth informative documentary on the construction of the first Voyager Class ship- Voyager of the Seas is on there which shows you a lot behind the scenes and about ship construction. The beds have the line's new bedding program beautiful very soft green and white bedding that always provided great comfort! When we arrived the first time to the room the beds were pushed together as a Queen but the housekeeping supervisor for that deck who was always checking on her guests and rooms on Deck 6 without us asking noticed and by the next time we returned to the room that evening they were set up as two Twin beds.
Reading lamps above the beds and plenty of lighting in the stateroom made it feel very bright despite there being no windows or balcony. By the contrary with all the lights off the Inside staterooms are pitch black for great sleeping, a good idea to leave a small light on if you tend to get up at night. A telephone where you can call to anywhere on the ship with the extensions provided in the newsletter, or call the operator at Guest Services for assistance in placing ship to shore calls, we never needed to this however. You can also set wake up calls here and order room service 24 hours from here also. The room was always very quiet and we were never uncomfortable with motion even being towards the stern, because of the ship's sheer size we were still a distance from the stern. The room was very bright in pastel colors with several funky art pieces on the walls, your own thermostat is available for temperature control, though we never needed to adjust it. The temperature always seemed comfortable.
Our stateroom attendant Ricardo I believe his name was was excellent. He always greeted us and always seemed to be around during the day, sometimes opening the door for us with his keycard, checking on what we needed. He quickly answered requests and kept the room very clean. He was always genuinely interested in how our cruise experience was going onboard and in the ports. Every evening after dinner the room would be turned down, with the reading lights on, the beds ready to climb into, the newsletter for the next day on each bed and mint chocolates on the pillows, a nice touch!
The Royal Promenade This spectacular space I want to introduce at the start of this review as I will mention it throughout. This revolutionary space debuted on the Voyager Class ships and has since expanded to become winder and 40 feet longer on the Freedom Class vessels. This 450 foot long four story space spans down the centre of the ship on Deck 5 with special Royal Promenade View staterooms whose bay windows overlook the meandering avenue from Decks 6, 7 & 8. There are 16 outlets that meander the avenue, 6 more than the Voyager ships on either side as well as 172 staterooms overlooking, several balconies and public spaces overlook the Promenade as well. This becomes the heart of the ship with people constantly milling around shopping , socializing, eating, drinking, getting a hair cut, booking a cruise among just some of the many activities along there including "outdoor" sidewalk sales. Many shipboard events are held here including the parades I'll describe later and big dance parties and much more! On Freedom Class ships there are 16 outlets along the Royal Promenade inclusive of Right to Left going Aft to Fwd: Guest Relations- the Front Desk off the ship - Champagne Bar- also serves fine caviar Explorations- the shore excursion/tours desk - Adventures - the first onboard cruise travel agency Get Out There shop with brand name shoes & clothing - Cafe Promenade- 24 hour cafe & bar A Clean Shave- first full service barber shop at sea - General Store- all purpose store & duty free liquor The first Ben and Jerrys, ice cream shop - Logo Store- shop with RCI themed & other souvenirs jewelry and Gifts shop - Hoof & Claw Pub- a Irish pub & entertainment hotspot Vintages, first wine bar at sea - Fashion shop- fashion clothing store Perfume Shop Sorrentos Pizzeria
The ship has a wide variety of establishments onboard with everything from an elegant five course dinner, to burgers and hot dogs to an ice cream cone. For ease I have divided this into three sections for casual dining, formal dining & snacks.
Casual Dining Windjammer Cafe We enjoyed several breakfasts and lunches here in the spacious and tropical themed restaurant. Windjammer upon entering on Deck 12 has two identical areas, both open in peak times with well designed islands and counters, the majority islands however. Signs with creative terms identify the islands. They are roughly separated into cold items, hot items, deserts, international food and BBQ food. Breakfast brought all the traditional American breakfast foods- sausages, eggs several ways, pancakes, bacon etc. In addition they had other international breakfast foods such as more rice based dishes. Hot oatmeal, cold cereals and omelette stations for freshly prepared omelettes were also available.
Lunch brought a variety of foods including pasta, pizza, salads, casseroles, burgers, hot dogs and more. Several beverage stations were laid out with complimentary drinks such as ice tea, lemonade and juices, attendants kept pouring so you only had to pick up your drinks. The Plaza Bar is located at the front of the Windjammer for soft drink & bar beverages. The service was quite good in here, during breakfast and lunch the wait staff from the dining rooms work here so several times we saw our waiters in there which was very nice. They constantly roam the tables clearing, taking plates and drink orders. A great touch was in the morning certain waiters would circulate with trays of tea and coffee with the fixings & boiling water all on the tray for you. Great ocean views could be enjoyed through the jutting panoramic windows overlooking the side & wake out the stern off the ship!
Jade Ultimately a section of the larger Windjammer, Jade is an Asian area on either side of Windjammer that has some Asian options taking up part of the space. The rest is other food. It can be fun and interesting to try the Asian breakfast foods. Though we never tried it at dinner they dim the lights of the Windjammer, set up laterns around and have the entire Jade areas stocked with chopsticks and with a variety of Asian foods, might be fun to try but we enjoyed the dining room so much!
Sorrentos Located on the Royal Promenade towards the Forward Centrum, a brand new outlet on the Promenade on Freedom Class ships Sorrentos is a quaint full service pizzeria. A wide variety of pizzas and several panini sandwich options were always available, you simply ask the attendants at the counter and they plate it for you. In the evening and late night hours the meat pizzas would often clear out, so a short wait was needed, vegetarian pizzas were always available. Whole pizzas were only a short wait away for a gang of people. The casino & theatre goers loved to munch on pizza on their way by.
Johnny Rockets (Specialty) Johnny Rockets located high above on Deck 12 Aft by the teen & children areas nearby and one deck down from the sports area is a 1960s style diner chain , part of the large American land based chain. Being Canadian, though for us who have visited the States numerous times we had never been to a Johnny Rockets yet, so a whole new experience for us. It's my belief though it may be similar to the land ones, being on a cruise ship brings the experience up a notch with its location and high level of service a cruise ship provides. The restaurant debuted to popular rapport in 1999 on the Voyager Class and continues on the Freedom Class ships. There's a group of outdoor tables where you can eat alfresco alongside the railings, or inside the diner as we did. A checkerboard floor, red leather banquettes at booth tables and a metal counter & bar stools were inside. The open kitchen and Karaoke machines ($3.50) adds to the experience.
We went at a great time around 4:30 pm as we were sailing away from Grand Cayman on Day 5. A saw a stack of pagers inside the entrance, I've read are used as it can get extremely busy at times. Certainly as we saw nearly empty, with just 2 or 3 other tables of guests with us, there can also be quiet times to enjoy! I've heard lunch time on sea days can be the busiest. We had a waiter who seated us at a booth with the ocean views just across the outdoor seating area. He was from Taiwan and was very friendly and provided excellent service! We were given the menu and gave him our SeaPass card to charge. Being a specialty restaurant there is a $3.95 per person surcharge and a charge of $4.00 or so for milkshakes. Otherwise you can drink & eat as much as you like there.
The waiter treated us right away without asking a large plate of onion rings & fries. Drew a happy face with ketchup on another plate! My brother ordered a big cheeseburger & I had a St.Louis cheeseburger. They are very hearty and tasty! We also enjoyed chili fries, their fries topped with chili & cheese. Other options included other burgers, chili, a hot dog, grilled cheese sandwiches and different fried foods. Everything is freshly made to order. The waiter checked on us & then returned offering us sundaes, apple pie or a selection of ice creams for desert. We both had the enormous chocolate sundaes, coming in a huge sundae glass and piled high with ice cream, whipped cream & a cherry on top! We had a great experience, I recommend everyone go there at least once! They also sing songs sometimes there as well! However our waiter showed us this neat trick with a forks balancing on a glass.
Formal Dining Portofino (Speciality) One of Liberty's two speciality restaurants, it debuted on the Voyager Class and continues on the Freedom Class ships. Located alongside the Windjammer Cafe entrance. We enjoyed a speciality dinner here one night, if you book your cruise far enough ahead you can reserve online. However it's not a problem to do as we did with our last minute booking, to call and reserve once on board though we did it shortly after boarding which I would recommend to get the time you like. The reservationist was very friendly. They also delivered a card the morning of to remind us of our reservation. You must cancel at least 24 hours ahead to avoid a cancellation charge. We went for 6:30pm on Day 6 as we sailed away from Mexico. It got busier as our time progressed but was fine, and never too busy.
We were seated by our friendly head waiter from South Africa, everyone dressed in formal black & white suits who then brought us the extensive menu & wine list. His assistant waiter from Chile brought us a selection of breads and breadsticks with a trio of dipping sauces including olive tapenade. We took some time to decide with the assistance of the head waiter who recommended certain items, he says as part of their job they regularly sample the dishes. We decided on a four course dinner with a appetizer, pasta, main course & desert. My brother also ordered a fine Italian wine.
We both began with seafood appetizers. I had the Rissoto Al Gambretti, a silky rissoto topped with many shrimp, my brother had the sliced smoked duck topped with fresh arugula and fresh herbs & sprig of basil. After enjoying those, we then moved on to the pasta course, I had the Spaghetti Di Mare while my brother ordered the Parpadelle cream sauce pasta. Mine was filled with an assortment of seafood including squid, tiger shrimp, scallops and mussels in a lighter herb sauce, delicious! We then both ordered the filet mignon that comes with garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables done just right and topped with a truffle sauce. The beef was done perfectly to our requests and so tender. A beautiful cut of meat, and everything beautifully presented on the china. We also saw nearby a woman who had ordered the seafood skewers with a spectacular presentation in its own right!
We had become very full with such an abundance of Italian cuisine, with several large portions. My brother was content, however I ordered the sensational desert selection with four miniature deserts the Dolcetti a la Portofino, with an amazing special presentation! The waiters were very entertaining and as I'm becoming a Travel Agent & also have interested in working onboard cruise ships I learned so much from both of them! The South African had just returned from his break a month ago for his six month contract and had been with the Liberty since the start, his third contract aboard. The older Chilean man was excited to be returning from his six months & 3 week contract on Liberty to see his family. He'll be doing 14 night South American cruises aboard the smaller but still large Radiance of the Seas so he can see his family in Chile once a month!! I highly recommend the Portofino's experience, don't eat much beforehand and allow plenty of time , we were just over 3 hours. You can make reservations between 6:00-9:00pm nightly remaining open until 11:00pm. On several days they also have special lunches where each course is paired with wine which our dining room tablemates greatly enjoyed one day! Towards the end the head waiter took our SeaPass cards to charge. Portofino has a $20 per person surcharge and beverages and specialty coffees are available at bar pricing.
Chops Grille (Speciality) Chops Grille is Liberty's other speciality restaurant located directly across the hall from Portofino by the Windjammer entrance. This is a new speciality restaurant option only on the Freedom Class ships. We chose to dine at Portofino, however some people we met in Portofino decided to try both. Chops Grille like Portofino is reservations only , and they have a slightly higher $25 per person surcharge with beverages and specialty coffees available at bar pricing. Having taken a look at their menu they are a steakhouse that also offers a variety of steaks, grilled pork, chicken and lamb. They offer many vegetable and seafood based appetizers, and many chocolate deserts including Mississippi mud pie. They are open from 6:00-10:00pm nightly. Next time would be good to try this maybe!
Tri Level Main Dining Room Liberty of the Seas' Main Dining Room is a spectacular 3 story space with a magnificent crystal chandelier I've read cost $150,000 at its centre and golden and white colors. A spiral staircase rises to a balcony used for special private dinners as well as by the onboard orchestra for nightly dinner music. The Captains Table certain frequent cruisers and other groups have the opportunity to dine with him there has a huge anchor at its centre on the main level. The three levels from bottom up are the Michelangelo, Rembrandt & Botticelli Dining Rooms. The main level Michelangelo spans the entire width of the ship, the two top floors do as well but at their centre are open to below, with tables alongside the railings. Each Dining Room has its own entrance on decks 3,4 & 5 at the Aft end of the ship. The dining room seats a maximum of 1,919 guests in two dinner seatings at 6:15pm & 8:30pm. Breakfast and a faster paced lunch called Brasserie 30 is served on the second floor Rembrandt Dining Room only daily. The Brasserie 30 standing for the fact that if you wish they can serve a full formal breakfast or lunch in 30 minutes so you can continue on with your day without too much time in day spent there. We didn't try breakfast or lunch in here, something that I would like to in the future. The dinners however were very memorable!
When booking with our Travel Agent we were offered a table of 2 (to dine alone), a table of 4, 6 or 8. We chose 6-8 and sat at a table of 8 with an absolutely wonderful family with their sister in laws from Cincinnati, Ohio just nearby to the windows on the port side of the ship on the top level Botticelli Dining Room. The tables always set with silver cutlery, fine china and linens looked stunning. We had our head waiter I extremely highly recommend Eddi from Mexico, he was a sensation every night! Very personal service, telling us about cruising, ship life, giving us tips on the ports (his favorite Cozumel on his time off!!) and always giving us information on the meal services on board. Our assistant waiter I believe his name was Radaga or similar, he was from India and calmer but very personal and a great guy. He always kept our water glasses filled, brought bread, other dishes such as salads around and handled requests. Every night with the exception of Day 5's Crown and Anchor Dinner when we dined at Portofino we enjoyed great conversation and dining experience with both the family and with the waiters that lasted approximately 2 hours.
Each night has its own theme Eg- Venetian Feast. The main menu has appetizer & entree selections. The entrees are to the night's theme, and other additional & alternative dishes are always available as a side or main including grilled chicken breasts, pasta and Ceasar salads- my favorite! On certain nights a large glass bowl of salad would be in the centre of the table to serve yourself from. You can always create your dinner as you'd like with preferences on anything, as well as requesting certain items as side dishes, want two soups and one main, or two mains? They were always happy to do anything. Highlight appetizers included the shrimp cocktail and the fruit soups- interesting, light & tasty. Special highlights for us was on Day 2's Venetian Feast when we both ordered as well as several of our tablemates the roasted lamb shank. It was the best lamb I've ever had in my life, you lightly poked it with your fork and it fell right off the bone!! Served with plenty of mint sauce it was special. The lobster tail and cheese tortollini with blue cheese sauce were also outstanding! We also enjoyed such special dishes as roast duck, prime rib and veal. The coconut creme brulee, key lime pie and pudding were wonderful desert highlights! Special surprise performances by the wait staff and endless magic tricks and fun from Eddi completed our experience there!! A special part of the cruise experience without question with Royal Caribbean.
Snacks & Cafes
Cafe Promenade This bustling cafe on the Royal Promenade was a real onboard favorite of us & everyone! Open 24 hours the friendly attendants offered a wide variety of light snacks and deserts from several large glass display cases. Many sandwiches, cookies, cakes , puddings and more were always available and ever changing. A large spacious seating area and a booth with urns of coffee, tea and water were always available for self service. Beverages and specialty coffees available at bar pricing.
Ben & Jerrys (Speciality) Ben and Jerrys on the Royal Promenade , a new feature on the Freedom Class offers a full service parlour. They have a wide variety of ice creams, floats, sundaes, milkshakes and ice cream bars at prices that range from approximately $3-6 depending on the item. The Korean and Jamaican attendants were both very friendly and you could sample flavors before you decided. One night I decided on a combination of two flavors and my brother really enjoyed the half baked ice cream bar. They have a fun decor with cows everywhere on the marquee outside.
Above the cow's, specifically behind their bums is a very special one of a kind stateroom! Called the "Ben and Jerrys Sweet" cabin number 6305 on Liberty & Freedom Class ships. When the first ship Freedom of the Seas was built the shipbuilders noticed the design of the Ben and Jerrys made the pair of decorative cows on the marquee to have their bums partly obstructing the view of the Promenade view stateroom above! They decided to have fun with this and decorated the stateroom in full cow theme, put a sign we saw on the door & they offer the guests free Ben and Jerrys every day of the cruise as well as suite status with the special lounge and onboard privileges the people in the top staterooms on board have, for the same fare as the other 171 Promenade view staterooms!
Sprinkles Sprinkles is a self serve frozen yogurt booth alongside the Main Pool area, it's a great snack anytime during the day , cones and the yogurt machines are on the booth to enjoy!
Theatre The main theatre onboard Liberty is the two level high tech Platinum Theatre at the Forward end of the ship seating up to 1,350 guests, though getting a seat was never a problem. If you wish to sit right up front in the theatre getting there a bit early would better ensure that. It's a stunning space that rivals and is equal is space to theatres on land, certain spaces on the ship really make you think "I'm on a moving ship in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and look at how big and beautiful this is" the theatre is certainly one of them among many. Several bars with their servers circulate prior to the show and remain by the bar during the performances should you wish to order. On our sailing there were 3 Broadway style shows that had five performances total on weekly by the ships very talented actors & dancers. In addition there are comedy & talent acts such as the magician and comedians we saw. The Cruise Director, we had the highly energetic and humorous James Andrews who I've read has been on the older Vision Class- Enchantment of the Seas, the Voyager Class- Mariner of the Seas and Liberty's sister Freedom of the Seas prior to this. He hails from Australia and is very entertaining!!
We saw the storybook themed musical "Ever After" which had two performances. It told the tale creatively of many of the best loved fairytales and children's stories in musical form with many new and famous songs with great special effects and energy. We also caught two performances of the brand new first aerial production Royal Caribbean has done "In the Air" that had two performances. It's a spectacular show that reminded me of Cirque Du Soleil but with its own unique flair, I especially loved this show, I love flying on stage and acrobatics, being a huge regular theatre fan on land! There was a third show the that we didn't catch which had one performance. In addition was saw the comedian Carol Strong would was very entertaining, definitely R rated but entertaining as well as a pair of brother comedians, and two magician acts.
On Day 7 we went on the backstage behind the scenes tour of the theatre which for a theatre buff like myself was very exciting. We met the theatre's sound technician onboard and he showed us his intricate technology that runs the speakers and sound systems onboard and how they run and fix everything for the shows and acts. We then met with the sound technician and learned all about his systems in addition to cruise experience he's been involved with Cirque du Soleil and the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, many talented professionals onboard!
Music & Dancing In the day and especially in the evening and late night hours there's a bounty of a wide variety of music all over the ship in it's many lounges and bars. You can hear anything from soft piano music in the Champagne Bar to rocking tunes in the nightclub to the Liberty of the Seas orchestra performing live jazz in the top of the ship Viking Crown Lounge or peaceful dinner music in the Dining Room. It's fun to try different types and hop about.
Studio B Ice Show Liberty of the Seas has one of the only ice skating rinks at sea, larger than her Voyager Class predecessors on Deck 2. The original concept for the ice skating rink which began on Voyager of the Seas was to offer in addition to the well loved theatre & other entertainment a brand new type of performance on the high seas- have Olympian and professional skaters perform ice shows! You pick up the complimentary tickets for the show which has four performances over the week by an extremely talented group of skaters, Liberty's hailed from Norway, Denmark & Russia. They perform the hour long "Encore: An Ice Spectacular" a magnificent world showcase of different global cities and countries and performers including Cher, the Rolling Stones and shows such as CATS. Their talent and speed and the concept of seeing a professional ice show on a moving ship in the tropical waters of the Caribbean is a human and engineering marvel! Many times during the cruise the ice skaters man the rink and assist you with waivers and skates to enjoy public free skating on the rink, it's a lot of fun! The ice can be covered over by a floor and used for game shows and also for private trade shows & conferences if need be by a group. I attended the Royal Caribbean classic "The Quest" an amazing scavenger interactive crowd pleaser, that gets very wild!
Parades Another unique entertainment only found onboard Voyager & enhanced with the longer Royal Promenade on Freedom Class ships are the onboard parades! The ships actors, dancers, musicians and other staff come together and dress up for high energy parades along the entire length of the Royal Promenade. Prior to the parade the crew decorate the Promenade with colorful banners and decorations to get everyone into the mood. Passengers gather from the balconies and public spaces that overlook the Promenade, in their Royal Promenade staterooms and along the sides of the Promenade to take in this spectacular sight, it's a blast of confetti, performance and fun!
Activities Countless activities happen all the time all day and into the wee hours onboard all across this floating city! If you are in the mood for recreation & sports you can spar in the boxing ring, surf on the Flowrider, rock climb, skate or pole joust and more. In the mood for relaxation you can go to the largest spa at sea for a massage, a seaweed wrap or more, take a seat in the sealed quiet relaxation rooms, deck chairs or the card rooms, always somewhere quiet even with so many people, the ship is that huge. In for entertainment see the theatre, ice or other shows, play video games at the large arcade or more. We enjoyed watching movies in the movie theatre on Deck 2, with only a few people there, a great place to unwind and also on Sundays can watch live church services. Learn how to vegetable or ice carve, cook or eat and drink to your heart's content. Swim or chill out in the hot tubs, anything your heart desires, really an endless array of activity. The ship keeps the action well spread out as they will have for example 6 different events begin at 8:00pm in different spots, in addition to people doing other things such as using swimming and shopping etc the ship stays crowd free except for the parades when you expect crowds.
Pools & Decks Liberty has several pools, two Main Pools side by side with hundreds of deck chairs surrounding it on many levels makes for a spacious area to swim and relax, the pools overflow with a first- fresh water at all times. Many hot tubs lay scattered waiting for you. The two cantilevered hot tubs are a lot of fun, and gives you a neat perspective where you can see the side of the ship while at sea, you can otherwise can't do, especially beautiful at night with the countless lights twinkling and all the wake! The quieter 18 plus Solarium Pool & Sun Deck perched up higher are serene and have a much calmer atmosphere perfect for quiet time or a swim in silence. The bustling H20 Zone before the Main Pool is for kids mainly but adults alike with its shooting sprays and small lazy river.
Sports Deck This expanded area way up high on Deck 13 on the stern of the ship is a high energy recreation zone. The Rock Climbing Wall, one of the largest at sea has 16 routes which to climb. I tried it one day and loved it, after signing a waiver and getting your bracelet you have a activity staff help you suit up with a harness, helmet and climbing shoes (they keep all disinfected and clean with Lysol) you are belayed to climb at your leisure, it's safe and a blast being over 200 stories above the ocean far below! There is also a very nice 9 hole mini putt golf course though we didn't get to it people seemed to be having fun. The golf balls will dissolve four hours after entering the water should they go overboard!
Alongside the course & in front of the Rock Climbing Wall is the multi-purpose Sports Court. It can become a volleyball, basketball or soccer court! The times are all posted in the newsletter, and tournaments are held. My brother had lots of fun and tested his skills playing with several British and South American passenger and the international crew in a best of four games! The ball went flying overboard once!! Just one deck up from a deck chair area on the stern, the very rear of the giant ship is the Flowrider, the new surfing simulator on Freedom Class ships! Tons of water gushes out of the machine onto a sloped rubber hill and the Sports staff will help you to boogie board or assist you in trying the more challenging stand up surfing. We tried twice each at the stand up surfing and although challenging is a really fun experience! A golf simulator is also in this area where you can virtually play courses around the world.
Public Spaces In addition to the Royal Promenade, Sports Deck & Pools amenities mentioned above and the new features below the ship also features many features for all ages. The concept of the name is you'll have the liberty of choosing your own adventures or activities especially for families, where for example the grandmother could attend a cooking demonstration or go shopping, the mother could take a massage in the spa, the kids could be in the teen kids area making crafts and playing video games and the teen could be trying his luck at surfing! There are 15 public decks that include:
24 bars 2 story Arcadia Theatre two 2 story nightclubs 3 story Main Dining Room Italian & Steakhouse alternative restaurants Windjammer Cafe buffet 13 story Aft Centrum - connecting the back of the ship from the Royal Promenade 12 story Forward Centrum- connecting the front of the ship from the other end of the Royal Promenade observation lounge on Deck 14 in the Viking Crown Lounge, originally one lounge on the oldest RCI ships now has this & card & games rooms, a diamond lounge for frequent cruisers & on Deck 15 the wedding chapel where the Captain will wed movie theatre, concierge lounge, showlounge, library, business services & Internet area (all connected), a conference centre, Karaoke lounge, ping pong tables, shuffle board & deck games, the Adventure Ocean kids & teen areas, the largest spa at sea & fitness area, hair salon, a floral cart, tuxedo rentals, dive shop, casino, art gallery, photo shop, port & shopping guide desk, jogging tracks, promenade deck & a helicopter & observation deck!
Improvements have been made to make several Voyager Class features bigger & better including that the Royal Promenade is wider & 50 feet longer than before now has 14 outlets lining it instead of the previous 10 and more Royal Promenade View Staterooms, a much larger Rock Climbing Wall with a more challenging central spire & 14 routes, the ice skating rink is larger and other improvements such as better blue fabric deck chairs instead of the older plastic ribbing chairs, flat screen televisions in stateroom public areas, the new addition of unique to only Liberty of the Seas are touch screen ship map & information screens and self serve photo kiosks that were added in September 2008, 3 weeks before ours!
Eight of the "firsts" for cruising that debuted on the Voyager Class ships have been brought back, with some improvements as noted above including having : 2 pools side by side (due to the huge width of the ships), Ice skating rink 3 story Main Dining Room largest at sea Sports court that has a full size volleyball court Johnny Rockets restaurant 2 centrums Forward at 12 stories & Aft at 13 stories, only Voyager & Freedom ships have 2 Royal Promenade Self serve frozen yogurt booth
A series of 14 brand new features to cruising include the: Sports Pool with pole jousting & other water sports Waterpark with geysers, lazy river, pools and much more! Flowrider surfing simulator machine Ben and Jerrys full service ice cream shop of the popular chain Squeeze smoothie & protein shake bar Barber and shave shop Vintages wine bar Karaoke bar Full size boxing ring offers group lesson for $15 or a private lesson for $80 in the spa Spa also offers acupuncture & teeth whitening for the first time Australian Tattoo Booth Interactive touch screen direction maps Flat screen televisions in staterooms & public areas
Western Caribbean Cruise Review
Day 1- Embarkation in Miami After the embarkation as described above we went to the sailaway band area and the stern checking out the Sports Deck and Flowrider. We then toured around the ship a while seeing the Royal Promenade, Main Dining Room, arcade, Main Pool areas and more. We then changed four our formal first dinner at the Main Dining Room! We had fun meeting our tablemates and wait staff as described above. We then headed into the Royal Promenade to explore and enjoyed the Captain introducing himself Captain Teige of Scandinavia and his international officers and top crew. Then the Welcome Aboard parade as described below in Entertainment. We checked out the Karaoke lounge and saw but didn't pay for the opportunity to perform and record a DVD but thought it was a fun idea! We watched a movie in the movie theatre on Deck 2. Went to a late night trivia hosted in the showlounge by an activity staff who was a Canadian our waiter had mentioned to us! We then enjoyed a entertainer at the Irish Pub, see the next night below. We also went out as we did during different times through the cruise on the outdoor promenade deck to see the waters and waves, was fun to be in a gigantic special space such as the Royal Promenade or the theatre and then go out there and remind yourself you are in the middle of the wavy ocean! About 80% of the time you felt no motion, sometimes you felt some slight motion. One night we moved some but it only lasted several hours and you certainly could continue on fine. This ship is so large and stabilized motion is not a problem onboard.
Day 2- At Sea We slept in some before having a buffet breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe & grabbed some treats from the Cafe Promenade. Saw the vegetable carver doing a demonstration of these amazing vegetable carvings! He said it takes 3 days to get ready for the midnight buffet! We then headed down to the ice skating rink for some skating hosted by the ice skaters, a lot of fun and something else on the warm Caribbean Sea! We then had relaxing by the Main Pool area and Solarium Pool. Some Royal Promenade fun before the ice show, see below in Entertainment! We then enjoyed our dinner. Following that went to our first theatre show , see below in Entertainment. Then returned to the Pool for swimming this time and walked along the Royal Promenade to listen to new entertainer on only his 3rd cruise on staff who took requests and played at the Irish Pub off the Promenade, look for him- Jimmy Blakemore. We explored the Library, Internet and Business Services areas and headed to bed!
Day 3- Labadee, Haiti We slept in and then enjoyed breakfast in the Windjammer. We took the elevators down to Deck 1, the main crew deck aside from the tender areas & Medical Centre. Here we did the security check out and boarded a tender, a two deck boat with space for approximately 150 guests to the island dock. Royal Caribbean's private area in Haiti was very enjoyable with beach time, shopping and BBQ lunch provided by the chefs from Liberty. It's a secure safe haven for people to enjoy and relax, or zip down one of the longest zip lines in the world 400 feet above the water or other activities! It's very scenic, these huge lush green hills everywhere. The Haitian Flea Market, the open market area with art and souvenirs displayed in the trees has sellers that will hassle you into buying things, we just walked on, the building alongside seemed the same. However the next building over had tagged prices and was much more enjoyable, this is where I would recommend and we bought some souvenirs of Haiti here, nobody hassled you here. I don't think they are allowed to in this area. Did a security check on the island and tendered & checked in with security on the ship.
Once back onboard we tried one of the smoothies with a blend of fruit juices and Vitamin C powder at the smoothie bar by the Main Pool, it was quite tasty and certainly very healthy! We stayed in the relaxation room off the Solarium Pool area, relaxed , watched the ocean glide by and wrote some postcards. You can post postcards at the Guest Relations Desk that are taken off at each port stop to go in the mail system of that country. The relaxation rooms has heavy doors and being past the much calmer Solarium Pool area, you would think you and the few in there were the only ones onboard. Very nice to have very quiet areas onboard in addition to all the busy areas! You can go back and forth between everything and nothing as you wish! I looked at the dive shop where you can talk to the dive instructors who teach scuba diving lessons in the Sports Pool throughout the cruise and also inform you about scuba diving & snorkeling in the ports as well as host excursions on shore. They also sell scuba diving and snorkel equipment tax and duty free. Did some swimming in the Main Pools and tried out the hanging hot tubs for a while too, what a view! Some more relaxation room before checking out the spa & boxing room! Walked by a fitness class in session in a large exercise room with people all curled in balls doing stretches!! The fitness area is well laid out with weights, walking sidewalks facing the ocean and much more in addition to all the treatment facilities upstairs!
We enjoyed the Chefs Dinner and enjoyed the delicious panna cotta desert and Eddi's entertainment! I then went to the very WILD Dancing in the Street dance party hosted by the Cruise Director James! There was loud and upbeat music being played & sung by the ships dancers and people dancing and partying like crazy all along the Royal Promenade. The Cruise Director through free prizes and shirts out into the crowds! Also these giant beach balls that crowd surfed throughout the people! It was WILD indeed! The beach balls and prizes reminded me of baseball stadiums on land! We then saw Carl Strong a famous comedian in the Arcadia Theatre, he was extremely funny and entertaining! We then spent some time wandering the ship and several stateroom corridors, remember they are 1,112 feet long but they are angled so you don't see the entire length before you and enjoy checking out selections of the extensive art collection onboard. Lots of creative and interesting art, the themes onboard Liberty are modern, pop and cultural art such as those found in comics and movies for the most part, lots of fun! We then went back to the stateroom for the night. Before sleeping I filled out the breakfast card which are in your stateroom or you can your stateroom attendant for. The card offers a wide selection of hot and cold breakfast items, drinks and fruits for breakfast. You hang it on your door by 3:00am the night before and Room Service collects it and brings your order the following morning!
Day 4- Montego Bay, Jamaica Just 10 minutes before the time we specified on the breakfast card Room Service called us. They confirmed our order would be arriving very shortly and to see if we were ready. Shortly after a Room Service attendant came by with a large tray with several plates topped with green covers as you see used in the Main Dining Room on our glass table in the room. We tipped her as is customary just $1 or 2 or at your discretion is appropriate. We enjoyed a full breakfast spread of sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, cereal, milk, tea and juice! Cutlery and linen serviettes all provided. Once your done you are to call Room Service we learned after seeing a reminder card in the room. They will then come and pick the trays up, you can also put them out in the corridor and they come and pick them up regularly there also.
We were docked right alongside at the cruise pier in Montego Bay, we simply took the elevator down to Deck 1 and checked out. Jamaica was a special time, very lush and spectacular we found the Chukka Rainforest to be where we had our kayak adventure down the famed Great River. The shuttle we used then became a private shuttle for a few of us for $10 total we went around to where we wanted and had Jamaican jerk pork from a restaurant & some shopping and sightseeing. In the Margaritaville shopping area they do hassle so if you'd prefer you can buy souvenirs in the shops onboard where they will never hassle you, only answer questions and help. Jamaica is a very exotic country , kayaking down the Great River seeing banana trees, bamboo and many other flora and fauna highlights was wonderful and very relaxing. We flashed the SeaPass to the attendant in front of the entrance to the Port Area alongside the ship and then did the security checkpoint onboard Deck 1.
Once onboard we changed, had a drink in the Cafe Promenade and headed to dinner. We relaxed in the stateroom and caught a movie in the movie theatre on Deck 2, a favorite nightime place of ours! Relaxed in the hot tubs and chatted with a family from South Africa and teen boy from Texas. The crew had been setting up the midnight buffet, a special event of the week outdoors in and around the Solarium Pool area & indoor deck areas by the spa. It was wonderful to be outside by the pools, a behind the scenes movie of the galley staff and chefs getting ready was shown! There was tons of few all arranged amongst sculptures everywhere, a band played nearby and all the bars were hopping. There was a whole roast pig, seafood including oysters, many different classic dishes such as pasta dishes, lasagna, shepherds pie, ice cream, cakes, fancy cakes, cookies and much much more was available! There was then a huge dance party that got going!!
Day 5- Georgetown, Grand Cayman We enjoyed the Room Service breakfast again today. We tendered in Grand Cayman the same process as Labadee nearly. In Grand Cayman we enjoyed immensely the serenity and calm , much different than Jamaica where it's very busy and some husslers with the shopping wanting you to buy. Cayman is a very wealthy country so nobody bothers you at all, it's just very enjoyable and clean, a British Commonwealth country, Cayman is part of the British Indie Islands. We went to the turtle reserve & farm and also went sightseeing and to 7 Mile Beach, of the of the most revered and famous beaches on earth, for good reason. We flashed the SeaPass to the attendant in front of the entrance to the Port Area. We then tendered alongside the ship and then did the security checkpoint onboard Deck 1.
Once onboard we changed and then headed to Johnny Rockets for a fun meal as described above, great service and no wait at all! Shortly after we had a lighter dinner but did end up just having a big food night as this was lobster tail night, and they were divine! We then spent a few hours seeing the shops of Royal Promenade more in depth and checked out all the shops. It surprised me that wide selection of running & dress shoes and the rather large size of the shops about the same size as shops in land based malls! A sidewalk sale in the centre of the Promenade was also on! We then spent the late night up high in the Viking Crown Lounge for the first time. We toured around finding our Cincinnati family in the card room playing cards, went up the stairs to see the quaint skylit wedding chapel. Then into the main lounge up there- Olive & Twist where there was the orchestra playing jazz tunes! There is a magnificent view of the Pool areas and the ship from high atop there, shows you the size and surreal experience this floating city is as you look down on it all from up there!
Day 6- Cozumel, Mexico Today we enjoyed the Room Service breakfast a final time this time trying the egg beaters, similar to an omelette and several fruit plates! We were docked alongside at Cozumel also, so did the same process as Jamaica. Our return to our beloved Mexico on Cozumel where we had the most time of all the countries was wonderful. We went to this brand new cultural park where we saw authentic Mexican art, learned about their traditions, culture and architecture of the Aztecs, Mayans and Spaniards and their place in Mexican history at the brand new "Discover Mexico" cultural park & art gallery. We then went enjoyed a drink from a coconut, the straw right in the carved out coconut. This was a lot fun, other people were having pictures taken by the tour guide with Corona bottles in traditional Mexican garb!!Then to a beautiful nature reserve for snorkeling and relaxation! We went onboard to grab a quick lunch at the Windjammer Cafe of hot dogs, hamburgers and desert and then did some more shopping at the port shopping area before boarding again. I really enjoy Mexico and its people, was a lovely return to this country. We flashed the SeaPass to the attendant in front of the entrance to the Port Area and then did the security checkpoint onboard Deck 1.
Tonight once onboard we changed into formal attire and got ready to head over to the Portofino speciality Italian restaurant, had a wonderful experience as described above over 3 hours. I then went to The Quest, a in the Studio B, they had the ice rink covered over with a large floor. Then played a crazy interactive game show diving the seating into 12 groups! So much fun!
Day 7 - At Sea I then returned to the Windjammer for a buffet breakfast before joining my brother for some more eats at the Culinary Festival on the Royal Promenade. Chefs had prepared a big buffet and special talent showcases there! We enjoyed pancakes topped with anything you liked! I met the chef and bought the Royal Caribbean cookbook Savour, the new edition and met the Executive Chef from Norway Johan Petutschning who chatted and signed my book, a nice experience for a foodie like me! He was very personable and friendly as with all the crew almost always a smile and helping hand from the international crew aboard Liberty who hail from 68 countries across the world. We then went on the behind the scenes tour of the theatre as described above, then checked out the casino and played the slot machines.
I then went rock climbing while my brother played soccer with British and South Americans. The rock climbing was a thrill, for a novice like me took time but the views were sensational of the sea and ship and the Sports Staff very friendly and helpful! We returned to the skating rink for another spin, the skater remembered us from the first time. You would often have crew members remember you, nice to have that personal service and remembering even with all the passengers onboard. We both tried the Flowrider twice doing stand up surfing as a rain storm came in. It's quite challenging but the Sports Staff hold your hand and assist before releasing you to the waves! It's a lot of fun! Also during certain times the crew will divide the Flowrider in two and have guests lay belly down on the surf boards and enjoy boogie boarding which seems much easier. We returned inside and went to our final dinner, taking group pictures with everyone and enjoying some beautiful key lime pie. We returned to the Viking Crown Lounge and casino for more final entertainment. We also checked out the photographs in the photo shop.
Day 8 - Disembarkation in Miami The ship cruised through the night and we were told would arrive at 4am into its Miami dock once again. We awoke around 6:00am. Though we didn't have it breakfast was offered in the Main Dining Rooms and snack items in certain spots onboard. The Guest Relations Desk was open for questions and certain services were open. Otherwise the majority of the ship was getting ready for the next voyage! See below for notes on the disembarkation.
Disembarkation & Closing Thoughts All good things come to an end and sadly we had to go through the bittersweet disembarkation process to depart the Liberty, at least it's well organized and hassle free especially if you do the Express Checkout as we did. The traditional process is that there are several colored tags that are dropped off by your stateroom attendant on the last night before. If you will be doing the traditional process you must pack and have your big luggage outside your stateroom with the tags on by 9:00pm. The luggage will be picked up and stored overnight. Once arrived in port the luggage will be offloaded according to the color of the tag onto airport style carousels as those passengers disembark.
Prior to the morning of you need to settle any inquiries with your SeaPass account associated with your cards you review on your TV and then phone or go in person to Guest Relations. They give you a final print out the final morning as a receipt. Additional purchases that morning will be charged to your credit card later. With the traditional process the passengers had to leave their rooms by 8:00am and between 8:00-10:00am could have breakfast in the Dining Room, snacks and a drink at the Cafe Promenade, mini putt on the golf course or purchase photographs in the photo shop. At the specified time on your tags they went to either the Studio B Skating Rink, Karaoke Club lounge or the Arcadia Main Theatre to wait until they were called, in the meantime they could watch television and relax. Then the same process as we had.
We opted for the Express Checkout which is a faster process as the remaining time is mainly spent waiting for the majority on the ship with longer lines. We decided to get the train back to Tampa we wanted we'd do this. Just before 6am we awoke and gathered our luggage.The announcements came on and said the Express Checkout had started and would continue until 7am. During that time you had to wheel & carry your own luggage and go to Deck 4 and exit past the Main Dining Room and wait in the short line on the outdoor promenade deck. The security checked you out with your card one last time, and crew were on hand to answer questions. You then went into the cruise terminal via the gangway bridge and cleared customs. Then exited into the pick up area where the shuttles , taxis and other services were available. Porters on hand to assist with luggage. We jumped in a taxi, waved farewell to the magnificent Liberty of the Seas and drove to the train station to catch our train to Tampa.