We sailed on Liberty of the Seas in April 2011 from Miami to Barcelona, with stops in Nassau, Tenerife, Cadiz (for Seville), Malaga and Valencia. The itinerary was very good and we were not bored at all with 7 days on the Atlantic between Nassau and Tenerife. I would do another transatlantic crossing based on this experience. We were fortunate that the ocean was very smooth the entire crossing. It was often windy and not as warm as we would have liked but it was generally pretty comfortable and we were able to sit outside by the pools much of the time. Our balcony cabin was nice, roomy enough with a sofa; and the cabin service was very good.
I was very pleased with the gym—really a nice, large gym with a good selection of equipment. But like on many ships, Royal Caribbean caters to those who will pay extra for something. Whenever there was an exercise class that people paid extra for, the gym blasted music throughout the gym. It was so loud that I could hear it even when I played my own iPod louder than usual. When I complained that it was wrong to subject the approximately 35-40 people using the gym to blaring music for the benefit of the 6 people in the class and asked to have the music turned down a little, I was told that they had paid for the class. I reminded the staff person that I had also paid for my cruise, but to no avail.
The food ranged from very good to mediocre or worse. It was very good at the speciality restaurants for which we paid extra. The dinners in the dining room were decent but the selection of healthy food was limited. I had to special order my meals, but the staff was very accommodating so it worked out okay. The dining room maitre d’ and our waitresses were top notch. Breakfast was serviceable because they had made-to-order omelets with egg whites, yogurt and fresh fruit, so I ate the same thing every day. But forget about lunch at the buffet….Royal Caribbean’s idea of a healthy salad bar is anything with lots of mayonnaise. There were very little fresh, raw vegetables and only fruit left over from breakfast plus some apples and grapes. The size of the buffet salad bar was tiny for a ship with 3,500 passengers …. about the same size as you’d find at a fast food restaurant that has a “salad” bar and about the same quality. But if you want your food fried, breaded, in some kind of sauce or other unhealthy mixture, you’ll love Royal Caribbean buffets. On days at sea, there was a waiter-assisted salad bar in the dining room. That left me struggling to eat healthy on the other days and with the exact same lunch every day at sea.
As far as entertainment, it too was a mixed bag. There was a great ice show. For 14 nights, there was only 1 production show and that was mediocre. We were told the reason for having only 1 production show was because rehearsals were ongoing for Saturday Night Fever, which will be performed for 4 years on the ship. We were allowed to sit in on rehearsals of Saturday Night Fever one day and that was interesting. On the other nights, there were single “headliners”. Many were very good, a few were not. But I found it annoying that Royal Caribbean deviated from the standard schedule of a mixture of production shows and headliners; it was like being in a hotel still under construction. When we’ve taken a 7 or 10 day cruise on Princess, there have always been 2-3 different production shows so I was very surprised to have only 1 on a 14 day cruise. However, the ship’s orchestra was first rate and I wish we could have seen them more often. Entertainment outside the main theatre was average and unimaginative. On other cruise lines, we’ve seen comedians and other acts in some of the lounges but not on Royal Caribbean where the other entertainment was pretty much limited to bands and karaoke.
Would I cruise on Royal Caribbean again? I’m not sure. My experience has been better on Princess and I had two customer service issues on Liberty of the Seas that were not resolved to my satisfaction and I found the customer service staff to be rude and dismissive.