I sailed the Liberty of the Seas on the August 22nd 2010 sailing. The following is my review of the cruise. I went with my wife and two sons who are eight and four. We had great weather. Overall, the ship is fantastic and I had a great time. I would highly recommend it.
Cruise Director and Staff: I thought Kirk was excellent as a cruise director. By far one of the best I've seen in my last ten cruises. The rest of his cruise staff wasn't very impressive. One of his staff who ran the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle booed Celebrity cruises when someone had said they had been on that cruise line instead of Royal Carib. How does their staff not know that RCL owns Celebrity? If I were a shareholder I would have been pretty mad.
Dining We decided to use My Time Dining for the first time and made are reservations before the cruise on the web site. I found the two MTD maitre Ds to be very friendly and very accommodating. Our waiter Armando and asst waiter Ketut were excellent and we stayed in their section at the same table every night. I didn't miss anything about having a "seating". 90% of those around me had the same table at the same time so it felt like we were at a regular seating. I went to Windjammers twice on different nights after going to the main dining room for a snack right before they closed at 9 PM. Windjammers had 85% of what the main dining room had. Overall the food was average and no better than that. This is my second RC cruise in two years and the food is consistently average. My expectations were set correctly before so I wasn't disappointed - I knew what I would be served. That being said, there were some bright spots. The fruit soups are awesome, the lobster was good and I thought the lamb was cooked and seasoned just right. The main dining room switched their breakfast program so that it's mostly buffet style. I don't like that, but I can see where some people do. Did not like that I couldn't get eggs benedict each day, but not the end of the world. In the promenade I was disappointed that the Cafe did not have a grill. The Navigator has one and the croissant sandwiches taste great grilled! Again...not that big of a deal. Did not go to specialty dining.
Kids Program My 4 year old loved Adventure Ocean last year on the Enchantment, but we didn't have as much luck on the Liberty. Most of the staff for his age group were brainless. One of them, "Vanilla" was absent minded and really not interested in working with the kids. I found that the staff just made bad decisions. For example, they had one experiment where they put glitter in a balloon a popped it. My son had glitter all over his face and in his hair. It took me 15 minutes to get out of his head. The staff didn't even bother to apologize. They felt it was no big deal and that "the other kids love it". Forget the fact it was hard to get out...it's not save to do because it can get in the kid's eyes. Stupid. Pretty typical of the staff in that room. My son wasn't really interested in going. The activities were geared towards the three year old set more than 4 or 5 and the staff didn't know how to adjust the program. My 8 year old was more interested in spending time with us so he rarely used the program. The day he decided to go to the club was for the Studio B backstage tour but that was canceled with no apology and it wasn't rescheduled. That left a bad taste for him and the other kids in the room... There were about 1,200 kids on the ship, but overall very, very few used the Adventure Ocean. Other kids I talked to (who I met while taking with their parents) said they just wanted to hang out with their family. One thing to mention that I really liked were the family activities. I thought the family karaoke, bingo, scavenger hunt, dance party, etc. were excellent. There was one AO staff member named Alex who I thought was the shining star of the bunch. I understand he's moving to the Oasis.
Sports Program The sports program was excellent. I loved the Flowrider and surfed during a number of sessions. The people who I waited in line with were great and it was a highlight of the trip. Wasn't interested in boogie board - only surfing. The rock climbing wall was great. Basketball court great. Sports staff planned activities like dodgeball were great. Only negative was the skating lesson my 8 year old had. He's a beginner the staff didn't really do much to help him in any way.
Pool Deck The pool deck on the Freedom Class ships has a great design. My entire family loved the H2O zone. It's great that kids have space without loud music playing to have fun. The H2O zone was a big hit. The Solarium looked great and the common pool area taking up about ½ the space was nice, but more pool space was needed for the amount of people on the cruise that week.
Cabins We had two inside cabins with the door open between the two rooms on deck 9 (96xx). The cabin location was awesome. 90% of everything was on our side of the ship. Dining rooms, sports deck, kids programs, etc.. were all on the back side. The only thing I had to walk across for was the theatre each night and the Sphinx lounge for one night. It was great having two bathrooms. My stateroom attendant Delano was just OK. Never introduced himself to us. Odd.
Entertainment I thought the entertainment overall was very good. The In the Air Show is excellent. I thought the dancers and singers did a good job. The comedians were good. The ice show was very good. On the down side, Alesya Goylevitch was a big disappointment. I saw her web site and watched her promo video and had high expectations. Her shows were just OK and on her last show she let a huge cube she was spinning go into the audience by accident. She didn't even check to see if people were OK! Terrible! I would never invite her back if I was RC. The two other big disappointments were the Schooner bar singer Patrice Doucet and Pub guitarist Joe Dougherty. They were mediocre and would expect them on a small ship not on the Liberty. When I was on the Navigator in Dec the performers in these two spaces were light years better. One of the best parts of the cruise was the tour of the Platinum Theatre. I thought the entertainment staff bent over backwards to provide a behind the scenes tour of the stage area, lighting, etc... Awesome!!!
Experience with other guests: Someone this week asked me if I thought all the kids on the cruise were difficult to put up with. I have a pretty short fuse in general and I thought what was interesting is that I thought the kids were OK (including the teens). I thought some of the adults were extremely rude. I had people interrupt me while I was talking with RC staff, a passenger who pushed my kid over and thought nothing of it, etc, etc... Too many examples to mention. This could happen anywhere, but I thought it was an interesting item to add.
Meet and Mingle: I was very disappointed and frustrated with the Meet and Mingle I attended and it was the Royal Carib staff who is specifically to blame. They turned the first half an hour into a cruise commercial and it was a complete waste of time. I interrupted the first part of my sea day from my pool activities with my family to attend only to deal with the cruise director's staff's desire to hear herself talk. I doubt all Meet and Mingles are like this, but RC staff need to focus on the purpose of the Meet and Mingle and that's to Meet and Mingle.
Excursion and Port Staff: One thing I found on the Liberty is that if you're not taking an excursion with the ship they are not interested in helping you with any information about the ports you visit. I did not find this to be the case on my recent cruises on the Enchantment and the Navigator. On those ships the excursion staff provided me info on all my options regardless of it I went with the ship's programs. The Liberty was not helpful in any way.