We sailed on the Liberty of the Seas on August 1st in a D2 balcony cabin. This was my 18th cruise, 13 of which have been taken during the summer months. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the night before, stayed at the Spring Hill Suites by the FLL airport and used a van service (SAS Transportation) to take us to POM on Saturday morning.
Embarkation: Our van picked us up as scheduled at 10:45 and dropped us at the pier at 11:20. The terminal check-in desks were open and receiving passengers, and we went directly to check in. There were two security checks and one other stop to have your picture taken for the SeaPass card. We were on board at 12:00. Very easy! We went first to Portifinos to make dinner reservations and from there went to check on our table in the main dining room. As it turned out, it was on Deck 3 right beside a serving station. We waited for just a short time to talk to the Restaurant Operations Manager and were reassigned a window table! Next, it was off to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. It was not crowded yet and we had a very nice lunch. There were a large variety of food choices and none of our party of 4 went hungry!
Cabin: We had two side-by-side cabins just aft of mid-ship on Deck 9. This was a perfect location. It was an easy walk up two decks for the pools and the Windjammer. Our cabin steward was able to open the balcony dividers between the two cabins, which was great for getting together. The cabin was very spacious, with lots of areas for storage. The bathroom was a good size with the best shower ever! I am happy to report that the beds were very comfortable. On the vanity there were two electric plugs. There were no outlets of any kind in the bathroom.
Dining Room: Our window table for four was located on deck four. Our waitress had our table to serve plus two other tables of four. This was only her third week on the Liberty, but she did a fine job. We never saw or were introduced to our Head Waiter. This is the first time this has happened and I felt a little overlooked while two tables beside us had a nightly visit and help serving from their Head Waiter. At first I thought he was ignoring us, but later found out we had a different Head Waiter. More on the food later.
Windjammer: Yes, as others have reported this venue is much too small for 4000 passengers. At breakfast and lunch each day one of our party was in charge of finding/grabbing a table and waiting at it until we got our food and sat down. We found that if we ate at 8 a.m. and after 12:30 p.m. this challenge was much easier. The food was fine; we always found something to eat. For lunch, there was a nice salad bar each day, fruit, two soups, hamburgers, hotdogs, French fries, pizza, a vegetarian bar, a carving station and a different variety of hot entrees and vegetables each day. Lunch drinks included lemonade, ice tea, and water. Breakfast included a fried egg/omelet station, pancakes, waffles, potatoes, sweets, donuts, fruit, cereal, etc. There was always orange juice, apple juice, coffee, tea, etc. Waiters visited the tables frequently, offering to get you anything.
Portofinos and Chops: We ate in both of these specialty restaurants, and preferred Chops. I have previously eaten in, and loved, the specialty restaurants on RCI, Princess, and HAL, and I have to say that we found both meals disappointing on this cruise. Previously, I had raved about the steaks in Chops on the Enchantment and Radiance, but the quality of the meat this time was not what is has been in the past. As always, though, the service was excellent.
Food: Although this is a very subjective topic, I have to say that when compared to previous cruises, the food just was not what it has been in the past. Of all of the dining options we found the food in the main dining room to be our least favorite. I personally found the main entrEe choices very limited. One night two of our group ordered the Chops filet for $14.95. It is listed on the menu each night, and when we asked for it we were first told that they did not do it on the Liberty. It was finally approved for us to order it (it was on the menu!) but wasn't worth the money. As noted above, the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch was fine. On Friday they had The Liberty Food Festival Culinary Showcase (like the old time Midnight Buffet) set up on the Promenade from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. It was mostly sweets but really fantastic, and not to be missed!
Entertainment: We did not see every show in the Platinum Theatre, but we did enjoy the Welcome Onboard Show, the Nelson Brothers, and the In the Air Show Production Show. The ship singing and dancing production shows were not good. The performers were very taleted, however, it was the material that left a lot to be desired. By far, the Ice Show was the best thing I have ever seen on a cruise ship! It is not to be missed.
Staff: We found all of the staff to be friendly and accommodating. The only exception would be the Purser's Desk personnel who just could not answer even the simplest questions. On Friday, the line was wrapped around the deck five bank of elevators! After 45 minutes in line, the person I got could not figure out how to take money from a gift card and credit it to my account. Although he swiped the card the credit never did show up on my account.
Excursions: We had a blast doing great ship's excursions this cruise. In St. Maartin we did the America's Cup Regatta, which was so much fun, but also work, as you are assigned a "job" sailing the boat. I was the barkeeper!! In the afternoon we took a taxi to Orient Beach, where we had lunch on the beach and played in the gorgeous turquoise blue waves. The taxi was $6 per person, one way, and two chairs and an umbrella were $20. The next day we were in San Juan where we did the Original Canopy Ziplining Tour. What a blast for all ages!! But.. it did take all morning, leaving no time to shop in Old San Juan because we had to be back on the ship at 1:30. This stop was just much too short. Finally, in Labadee we went parasailing.
Disembarkation: This also went very smoothly. We were the first color(beige) group called, breezed through customs, found our luggage easily, and were on the curb waiting for our limo by 7:40!
Overall Impressions: The Liberty is a gorgeous ship, with more to do than you have time for! There is definitely NOT enough pool space. I'm not talking about chairs - there are plenty, if you don't mind sitting on the decks above the pools. The kids have the H2O zone, the main pool has non-stop activities going on, and the small Adult Pool (Solarium) was entirely too crowded - with both adults and children! I only saw one Pool Patrol person all week, and he did chase 2 children out of the Solarium hot tub. But that was only once. The crowded Solarium pool frequently had children present, yet nothing was said. On this trip the children took over the ship. As I said in my opening, 13 of my 18 cruises have been done during summer months due to my schedule, and I have never found children/teens to be a problem before. I am sorry to say that on this cruise there were too many wild, "do whatever they want" children. Lesson learned...as long as I have to cruise in the summer I will choose smaller ships!