I'll start with my summary.
Liberty of the Seas is a fantastic ship, very well maintained, and run by a very professional and extremely friendly and helpful staff.
The variety, quality and selection of food and drink are exceptional in my opinion.
Entertainment is first class and there is something to suit everyone.
There are so many venues to experience; it's hard to visit each and every one on a 5 night sailing, so we look forward to our 14 night transatlantic sailing on Liberty from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, FL in October 2011 which will give us much more time to try everything available.
Can't wait to get back onboard and encourage you to try it too!
Journey to Barcelona
Thursday, 12th May - Manchester, UK to Paris, France
We left Manchester Piccadilly on Virgin Trains at 12:35 arriving at London Euston on time at 14:42.
Then we walked down Euston Road to St Pancras station to catch our Eurostar to Paris. Enjoyed a glass of champagne seated at the longest Champagne Bar on the upper concourse overlooking the Eurostar trains waiting to depart.
Checked in using the automatic barriers and proceeded through security and French passport control to the departure lounge.
Approximately 25 minutes before departure we boarded the 16:22 service to Paris Nord, train number 9040, coach 4, seats 57 & 58.
Eurostar departed on time and we left London, accelerated fast and headed on the High Speed 1 line to the channel tunnel and France.
On time at 19:47 we pulled into Paris Gare de Nord and we made our way to the RER D line for a short ride to Gare De Lyon, arriving at approximately 20:30.
On exiting the station we crossed the road to the Hotel Terminus Lyon located at 19, boulevard Diderot - 75012 Paris, which would be our home for the night.
Dinner followed and then an early night as we had an early start for the TGV to Spain.
Friday, 13th May - Paris, France to Barcelona, Spain
Breakfast at 06:00, checked out and crossed the road to Gare de Lyon. Our train to Figueras Vilafant, TGV duplex service 6203 departed from platform G at 07:22.
We were in first class coach 11, seats 81 & 82 on the top deck and classed as 'Duo', 2 seats facing each other and we had the whole coach to ourselves until just less than 3 hours later we arrived in Nimes when only 5 more people boarded our coach.
The train powered out of Paris and headed south, accelerating quickly and zooming through the French countryside.
Several more stops on the way to Figueras including Montpellier Saint-Roch, Sete, Agde, Beziers, Narbonne, and Perpignan to meet the 13:03 RENFE service 202 to Barcelona. This time seats reserved in coach 4, seats 171 & 172.
The train travelled towards Barcelona, arriving at Estacio Sants at 14:42 where we purchased a T10 ticket (€7.85) and caught the metro to Hospital de Bellevitge and our hotel for the night, The Hesperia Tower located on Gran Via 144, L'Hospital de Llobregat, Barcelona, 08907.
Checked in a got a room on the 14th floor with a great city and port view.
The room was great for £70! Definitely 5* but more of a business hotel but very friendly staff and extremely comfortable for the night.
Went into the centre and dined at Hard Rock Cafe, bit of a tradition when we're in Barcelona!
Liberty of the Seas, Western Mediterranean 5 night cruise
Saturday, 14th May - Liberty of the Seas
Awoke to a sunny day and had breakfast at the hotel at a special weekend rate of €15 per person. Really wide selection of breakfast goods on offer.
Checked out at 11:00 and caught a taxi to the cruise port, which cost just over €20 following the additional extras for bags that is always added in Barcelona.
In port today was Cunard's Queen Victoria, Pulmantur's Sovereign (formally RCI Sovereign of the Seas) and Celebrity Solstice who had just completed her transatlantic crossing.
Joined a short line for security and then once our set sail passes were reviewed we completed the health questionnaire and joined the Diamond line to check in. This was quick and after our photos were taken at the counter we were on our way onboard.
Passed the port shops including a 'duty free' liquor store, but didn't bother buying anything.
Proceeded up the gangways and boarded Liberty on deck 4 forward. SeaPass cards checked and welcomed board!
We went off the Windjammer and got a window table easily and had some lunch. For those who may ask, the Honey Stung Chicken was available, but I didn't have it.
After lunch we sat in the solarium until the cabins we available at 1 p.m. So we then went to deck 9 and travelled aft to stateroom 9706 with a great big balcony!
Standard E1 cabin but a great view from the large balcony. Diamond value booklet and letter from the Diamond Concierge welcoming us onboard with details of the lounge. Also our gift of water (which I selected online) and a small bottle of Alice White Cabernet Sauvignon and a box containing cookies, nuts and candid peel sweets as a welcome back gift.
The champagne and chocolate strawberries I ordered had already been delivered which is my tradition for sail away.
We went to explore and see the new additions of the Cupcake Cupboard and the enhancements of the self serve wine in Vintages. In the Sphinx lounge we made reservations for Saturday Night Fever for day 4 at 7:30 p.m. as this was more convenient as the times had changed from those online.
Muster drill was at 4:30 p.m. and despite all the announcements, it still perplexes me the number of people who wander up 15 minutes late without a care in the world.
We pulled away from the dock at 5 p.m. and were first out of port ahead of all the others in port.
At 7 p.m. we went to the Diamond Lounge and met the Concierge Oana Popa from Romania. She won't be on the transatlantic we are sailing on in October as her contract finishes in September. Really nice and helpful.
At just before 8:30 p.m. we went to the Botticelli dining room for dinner as we were on My Time Dining. Our servers were fantastic and the meal was very good and we chose a great bottle of Chardonnay from our 5 bottle Platinum Wine & Dine package ($145 + $21.75 gratuity + $11.60 tax = $178.35) to accompany our meal.
After dinner we visited Vintages and as well as the wine, the staff provided a cheese plate at no extra charge.
A visit to the Casino Royale did not win us our fortune so we returned to Vintages for another glass of wine (bad idea after the strong drinks in the Diamond Lounge, the champagne at sail away and wine at dinner, but hey we're on holiday).
Saw the DreamWorks parade which was very good and then off to bed. The sailing was a little bumpy, but not that we noticed it, maybe due to the alcohol I believe!
Sunday, 15th May - Villefranche, France
We arrived on time in the harbour of Villefranche and tendering commenced shortly afterwards.
We decided that we would have a leisurely breakfast to miss the initial rush for a tender ashore. The Rembrandt main dining room on deck 3 was serving breakfast but it was extremely busy but service was good despite the number of people eating.
A buffet station was provided if you did not wish to order al a carte.
We tendered ashore and walked along the promenade to the SNCF train station and bought a return ticket to Monaco for €5.20 each. The train took approximately 15 minutes and when we arrived it was to torrential rain which was flooding the station at Monaco which is built on several levels.
We waited for the rain to subside to walk around Monte Carlo and saw the Queen Victoria and Ruby Princess anchored offshore.
After visiting the Casino we made our way back to Villefranche for a late lunch in Johnny Rockets, no lines as everyone must have been ashore.
Having settled in the Solarium, the weather took a turn for the worse and heavy showers came down, but by the time we departed, the sky was clear and the late evening sun was shining.
We sat in the outdoor area of the Diamond lounge making the most of the pleasant evening before we dined at Chops. Excellent as usual and as a result couldn't move!
Monday, 16th May - Civitavecchia, Italy
Although we were due to dock around 7 a.m. we didn't finally dock until around 8 a.m. but it meant breakfast in the Windjammer was not crowded at all.
We left the ship and caught a shuttle bus to the port entrance as I believe Liberty was the docked the furthest out. In port was Celebrity Equinox, P&O Oceana, Saga Ruby. Also there was Silversea Silverwind and L'Austral both of which had a fleet of Mercedes to take guests to the port entrance!
The walk to the train station took a few minutes and we caught the 09:17 Intercity to Rome arriving at 10:14.
The hop on hop off bus 110 Open was caught just outside of Rome Termini station and we visited the Coliseum, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain following which we had lunch and then moved onto the Spanish Steps and Via Del Condotti where all the major designer shops are located. There is just too much to see in Rome in a day, every time you turn a corner you will be faced with another fantastic building, church or monument!
We caught up with the 110 Open bus back to Termini station for our train back to Civitavecchia. As is sometimes the case with the Italian railway system, the train departed over 15 minutes late at just past 4 p.m. in stead of 3:46 p.m. so we arrived late back to Civitavecchia at 4:50 p.m. instead of scheduled 4:35 p.m. So if you take the train to Rome on your own, always ensure your return train gives plenty of time to get back on board before you are due to sail.
We dined in the main dining room tonight using the My Time Dining and the meal was excellent as was our waiter from Turkey and the Head Waiter also from Turkey.
Retired to Vintages again after dinner and sampled the self serve wine for the first time. Chatted to the CD Gordon Whatman and then donated some more money to the casino coffers, and it didn't give anything back!
Tuesday, 17th May - Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
Awoke to a room service breakfast enjoyed on the balcony whilst still sailing towards Cagliari where we arrived and docked on time at 9 a.m.
Disembarked and caught the free shuttle bus to the port entrance which took all of 5 minutes and was extremely well organised.
We then meandered through the city centre and up towards the Castello and the Bastione San Remy. We climbed the lookout tower Torre Dell'Elefante for €4 each for fabulous views of the city, port and of course Liberty of the Seas. The stairs were steep and many of them, but it was worth it.
Back down to street level and we did some window shopping before returning to the ship for a couple of hours in the Solarium and then Johnny Rockets (again!) for lunch.
Wash and Fold Laundry special today, fill a bag for $25 of Pyjamas, Socks, Shorts, Swimwear, T-shirts or Underwear. Anything else will be cleaned and pressed at normal rates. Filled the bag to save laundry when we get home and used a Diamond discount coupon of $10 off.
BTW, there are ATM's onboard, one Euro ATM near guest relations on deck 5, and 2 Dollar ATM's, one next to Sorrento's Pizza at the other end of the Royal Promenade, deck 5 and one in the Casino on deck 4. A transaction fee applies on both machines equivalent to $6 per transaction.
Showtime tonight and the production show Saturday Night Fever so it was an early visit to the Diamond Lounge and then dinner in Chops again afterwards.
The show was excellent (82 minutes duration) and the work that has gone into the set is fantastic, recommended. Suite guests have reserved seating on deck 5 level of the Platinum theatre.
It was also the White Night Pool Party on deck 11 around the main pool area and so the dress code tonight was casual/white as you would expect. There was also food available, not that we needed any after another excellent night at Chops!
Wednesday, 18th May - At Sea
Awoke to a calm Mediterranean Sea and Liberty sailing back towards Barcelona at around 10 knots.
Many things on offer today, Spa specials, Watch sales, Inch of Gold, Cruise in Review DVD, and the obligatory T-shirt sale which was like a scrum down as was the watch sale, but not worth it in my opinion.
Had a leisurely breakfast in the Windjammer. Suite guests with a gold Sea Pass card can use the seating in Chops for breakfast. We then spent a couple of hours catching the suns rays on St Tropez deck as most other decks were very busy as you would expect on a sea day. However, drinks service was still available even up on this deck.
Reserved seating for suite guests with a gold Sea Pass card is no longer in the tiered area in above the Pool Bar and in front of the Sky Bar overlooking the main pools, but on the deck above the Sky Bar.
Played a 'round' of golf on Liberty Dunes before lunch in the Windjammer where it was very easy to get a table even though it was a sea day.
Did some Royal Caribbean Logo shopping to take advantage of the Diamond discount together with the free photos.
Visited the Cupcake cupboard and had a 'Red Velvet' and 'Chocolate Chocolate' cupcake. Not sure about these, you have to try them but there is more frosting in my opinion than cupcake.
Wandered around the ship taking plenty of photos and tracked down the penguins!
Also tracked down the Loyalty Ambassador to request our pins which we never received when we sailed after reaching Diamond status.
Returned to the cabin to relax and found the details of our late departure program and guest satisfaction survey, so this means we have to pack, what a shame.
Dinner was in Portofino tonight, so another excellent meal served by fantastic staff. Then off to Vintages again for a couple of glasses of wine and had prime seats for the 70's finale show along the Royal Promenade.
Retired to the cabin for the last night on Liberty.
Thursday, 19th May - Barcelona
Awoke around 6:30 a.m. and heard an announcement that Liberty was docked and disembarkation would commence shortly, once cleared by officials. Opened the curtains to find Brilliance of the Seas was docked behind us.
Went for breakfast to the Windjammer and despite the number of people up and about, it was easy to get seats.
Our Sea Pass account was closed at 8 a.m. and the cards deactivated at 9 a.m. so that I presume we could not get back into the cabin.
Following breakfast we finished packing and as we could stay in the cabin until 9 a.m. we relaxed and then took our bags to the Velazquez dining room on deck 3 where we were given a receipt and allowed to store them until we decided to leave the ship, which at the latest was 3:30 p.m.
We had stickers on our Sea Pass cards that identified us as using the Late Departure Program.
We relaxed by the Solarium which was extremely quiet once the majority of guests had disembarked. We could get complimentary coffee, tea, iced water and snacks from Cafe Promenade whilst on board and could purchase other drinks from the bars once they re-opened using our credit card.
Around 10:30 a.m. the new guests commenced boarding, so soon Liberty started to fill up with new excited passengers ready for their cruise.
For the final time we had lunch in the Windjammer and then relaxed again on deck 11 until we decided to disembark and make our way to Barcelona airport for our flight back to the UK.