Liberty of the Seas was by far the best of the RCL ships I have experienced so far. I have been previously on the Navigator numerous times, Enchantment twice, and Mariner once. I have converted my mother and sisters to cruising, and last year put a deposit down on the 7 day cruise on Liberty out of Miami to St Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee. When I first cruised last year, it was before some noticeable cuts had been made in staffing, food and boarding times. By mid 2009, cabin crews had been cut, food seemed less diverse, and many of the superb crew members that I praised highly on Navigator had been pulled all at once to other ships, likely Freedom Class and Oasis. Happily, I have continued to appreciate the space per passenger ratio afforded on RCL, as opposed to the hip, but extremely tight quarters I found on the new NCL Gem. Had to go outside to breathe on that ship.... But the Liberty truly delivered a WOW once aboard, and the service and amenities were definitely a cut above those on the slightly smaller Voyager Class ships I had known prior. The boarding process in Miami was a piece of cake, although the ship was slightly delayed in boarding due to security inspection. Heard many tiresome, whining seniors and such throughout the trip, sensing nothing would (nor ever did) make them happy. The Royal Promenade was wonderful, I actually booked a fantastic haircut aboard, only to find the CUT ABOVE space would be replaced by a cupcake shop in '11. Oh well. The wonderful flat screen TVs in the rooms were great, and the service I experienced in dining rooms, cabins and at Guest Relations were prompt and courteous. With 4,000 passengers on a full ship, the service was wonderful, and seemed to be improving over time.
In the dining room, food choices had changes somewhat, menus seemed to have a few more choices than last season, and presentation was definitely better on :Liberty than her older siblings. Our waiter, Doristo and assitant waiter Sagar were wonderful. They remembered which rolls we liked with dinner, what we liked to drink, and suggested good wines to pair with meals. They were a delight, and seemed to enjoy working with people very much.
In the Champagne Bar and in the Solarium, drink service was reasonable priced, served quickly and congenially. I really enjoyed the extra space on deck, the ease at finding a deckchair, and really had a blast watching the folks lining up for the FLOWRIDER surf simulator. The seas were a bit rough at times, and the wind whipped up a couple of days, but I had an extremely relaxing time, and really enjoyed seeing the extras that exist on this wonderful, roomy ship. It always feels familiar, comfortable, luxurious, and easy to navigate. I will sail again on Liberty of the Seas as soon as I can. Watching Adventure Ocean Pirate Night was really fun as the little ones took over the Royal Promenade.
Had a pleasant time in ST Maarten, but after the close, hustling crowds on the narrow streets on the Dutch side, I went to the much more scenic French side and had a superb meal in a cafe. Our next stop was San Juan, and I loved the charm of the Old Town and the historic forts along the harbor. Parts reminded me of Ibiza, and Spain's mainland. People were extremely friendly and the coastline was wonderful. Hurricane Tomas was in the vicinity, so seas were getting rougher, and winds were picking up. I would definitely return to San Juan for a vacation. By the time we boarded the ship, it was announced that Tomas was about to strike Haiti that night, so we were redirected to Nassau, Bahamas, which was fine with many cruisers. I was actually looking forward to Labadee! Nassau was charming, but the winds were chilly, and strong, and due to the impact of the hurricane, there was almost no opportunity to visit beaches on this cruise. SO, i got a bit of sun on the ship.