Our family (myself and husband - late 30's and two of our three children - son 9 and daughter 11)traveled from California to Miami the day before the cruise. Our plane was delayed in Dallas thus we didn't arrive until almost 1am the day the cruise departed. It took over 1 1/2 hours for the first piece of luggage to start on the carousel (worst I have seen). My father in law picked us up at the airport and after waiting a while, he ended up taking the kids back to the hotel and came back to airport to pick us up.
We stayed at the La Quinta - East as it offered free shuttle to the port and parking for my in-laws for the week. The cost was $116 for one night, including the parking, shuttle and breakfast.
We arrived at the port around 10:45am. Check in was smooth and easy, no lines at all at this time. Since we were early they weren't boarding yet. RC handed out numbers as you entered a waiting area. Once they started calling the numbers it took about 15 minutes to board. We were on the beautiful ship by 11:30am. Immediately upon entering the ship they put wrist bands on the kids identifying our muster station. We walked through the Royal Promenade. The coffee shop and Pizza shop were open. What an impressive ship. From the first day to the last I was impressed with the beauty of the Liberty. As the rooms were not ready until after 1pm we set about exploring. By 11:45 our party of 6 all had ice cream cones. After the ice cream we headed to the buffet.
My husband and I were in room 9289 a RP room interconnected with the kids 9287 room. The room itself is a little narrow but comfortable. The bed was large and heavenly. The bathroom was small but efficient. The two small couches by the Bay window were a nice place to sit and view the RP. We enjoyed people watching on the RP. There are a few parades and shows on the RP throughout the week. These parties start at or after 11pm. You can easily hear the music and MC. If you like to go to bed before 10 every night these may not be the rooms for you but we found them to be very enjoyable. The first night I was very tired and managed to sleep through the parade. The location of our rooms was near the center of the RP on deck 7. This location made it easy to access all areas of the ship. The TV in the room had several channels, including cartoons and movies for the kids.
Dining on the ship was enjoyable. We slept in on most days and usually would grab something small in the coffee shop for breakfast. We didn't make it to the dining room for breakfast at all during this trip. We did go to the buffet once and they had the usual assortment of breakfast items, including made to order eggs. The orange juice in the buffet was very good. For lunch we ate in the buffet once, the dining room 3 times and Johnney Rockets once. The buffet was average. I would say that NCL, and Carnival buffets have better food. Disney's buffet leaves a lot to be desired. The Liberty buffet lacked choices and the food wasn't that good. The dining room lunch was average. The lamb pita and greek salad were good. My husband liked the fish. The lunch menu stayed the same throughout the week. I think lunch in general was not as upscale as we have seen on other ships but the food was good enough. We also enjoyed several slices of pizza at Sorrento's throughout the week as well as plenty of cookies and snacks from the coffee shop. Johnney Rockets was pretty good. If you have cruised RC before you get a free entry into Johnney Rockets. The hamburgers, fries, onion rings and sunday were good. My kids thought the food in the dining room was better. If you sit inside at Johnney Rockets and people are playing basketball it can be annoying because the court is above. It was nice to sit outside. Try to avoid the first table during peak times. We had people standing all around our table. The dance shows at JR's are cute. We had dinner every night in the dining room. As you may have noticed we prefer a nicer sit down meal. Our dining room servers were great. The meals in the dining room were all good. The desserts on this ship are a little bit lacking.
The ice show was very good. It is amazing what they can do with the little rink they have to work with. Don't miss this show. We saw one comedian in the main show room. He was ok. We saw two other dance shows and they were both average. We left one part way through because it was packed and we had to stand in the back. I can't help but compare cruises, Disney of course has great shows as you would expect but for me NCL is second in line. During our two NCL cruises there were lots of comedians and on the NCL Jewel there was a Cirque show that was out of this world. The piano bar is enjoyable if you are out and about late.
The kids enjoyed the ship. We all did the rock wall several times. The kids and my husband enjoyed flow rider. The lines can be long at times but nothing unmanageable. We spent almost all of our pool time at the H20 Zone splash park. The kids met friends there and had a lot of fun. The ship has a very nice arcade. The kids enjoyed kids club. They wanted to stay for the late night party on a few nights. They went to kids club every night. We let our older daughter check herself and our son out. We felt very comfortable having the kids go get a cookie themselves or go to the arcade or kids club. At night when they would come back to the room they would order room service pizza and cookies. Both kids had a great time but said it wasn't their favorite time on a cruise. We have two more cruises scheduled this year so we'll see what they say then.
This ship is great and it's staff is as well. We did not encounter one rude member of staff. I wish we could have stayed another week. The debarkation on this ship was the smoothest I have ever seen. We did the carry off option but didn't want to leave the ship too early. The men left the ship early and went to get the cars (note:Budget doesn't have a shuttle). We stayed on, had a leisure coffee and pastry and went off when ready. We strolled right off the ship with maybe a 5 minute wait leaving the boat. We were through customs within minutes.
The seas may have been cooperating or this boat is very stable because we did not feel this boat rock in 7 days.
I posted the port reviews under the port review section. As far as Labadee, the food was good. There were plenty of chairs to go around. The Wave Runner tour was a blast. My husband and I shared a wave runner and swapped half way through. Even though it is guided, you can go as fast as you like and they let the fast people move to the front. Very fun. They were $79 for the first person and $29 for a passenger for 1 hour. There is also a blow up park in the water that costs $15 an hour. The kids had fun with that.
We enjoyed our first experience with Royal Caribbean and look forward to sailing with them again. This was a great family cruise experience.