Went on Liberty of the Seas Feb. 27th, 2011. We are in our early 50’s and are traveling with another couple about the same age. We traveled by air and landed a day early on Saturday. We rented a car from Dollar and went to Scuba Direct Diving Shop, and Ron Jon’s at an outdoor Mall in Ft. Lauderdale. We also went out to a nice Mexican restaurant for dinner. We stayed at Hilton Garden Inn for a reasonable price in Miramar, FL. Excellent Hotel out of the busy city, but not too far. Ate a good breakfast the next morning (not knowing how long it would take to board ship) and turned in rental car at Dollar location at Miami Airport. Dollar has free shuttle to Port. This took minimal time and was extremely convenient.
Arrived at the Port of Miami about 10:50AM; We were processed and on board in 30 minutes. It was very easy and very organized. We had paperwork already filled out for SeaPass card on line. Ship is beautiful. The only time it was crowded was at the Windjammer on Sunday while boarding. Everyone wanted lunch after boarding! We checked the Dining Room for our table location, then on to explore the ship. Rooms were ready to occupy by 1PM. Our luggage arrived by 2:30PM. Muster drill was at 4PM. It was very quick, and we were back in our rooms by 4:45PM. We watched the ship pull out of the harbor and went to dinner in the Dining Room. We had a window right by our table and enjoyed this so much. We were able to see such a great view each night at dinner. Our Waiter and Assistant Waiter were excellent. Food was good all nights and I thought it had improved slightly since our last cruise on Freedom 3 years ago.
First day at Sea we worked out in the gym facilities. This is an excellent gym with great equipment. I walked the walking/running track outside. Since we were up early there were not too many people there, but it became more crowded later in the morning. The giant movie screen shows videos of beaches as you are walking on walking track. It was great! We ate breakfast in the Windjammer. This was quick and we had lots of choices. We then took two spots in the Solarium for adults only. It is deserted until about 10AM. We had pool and hot tubs to ourselves. It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures. I had really worried about temperatures being warm enough in late February but they were fine. It was in the low 80’s. Formal night was very elegant. Lots of good picture backgrounds to choose from. Everyone was very excited to be dressing up! On both formal nights, they have good choices for pictures but these were not pushed on us at all. We did eat at Chops one night, sitting by a window. Amazing experience and one we will do again!
After dinner shows each night were great and very good quality. We especially enjoyed the Comedian and “The Beatles”. “In the Air” . The Ice Show was extremely good also. Liberty is supposed to have “Saturday Night Fever” as a Broadway Show starting in April which will be wonderful. One of the highlights for me was the Big Screen for Movies under the Stars. They had Secretariat playing one night and “Grease-Sing a long” another night. It was dark so hard to tell how many people were watching, but when the first song came on, there were about 400 people singing along. It sounded fantastic! I hope they continue to have this movie and others to sing along!
Ports of Call: Belize-We had heard that Belize was an excellent place to dive. My husband is a Master Diver so we booked the 2 Tank Dive thru the ship. (there was very limited choices of diving excursions that were not affiliated thru the cruise ship for Belize.) Scheduled time for the excursion was to meet at Ship Dive Shop at 7:30AM. They did not leave Ship Dive Shop until 8:20AM. The tender boat picked all divers up at the ship then drove Tender the 30 minutes to their Dive Shop to pick up equipment and divide divers into groups. There was a Discover Scuba Group that went with a smaller boat. I rode along as a non diver and paid an additional $26 to do this. At their Dive Shop they had bathrooms, a small store with limited refreshments and a small restaurant. There was also a very small beach if I wanted to stay there. I opted to go with the dive group on the boat. We used the same boat tender to take Divers to the Dive site. This took an additional 30 minutes to get to the Dive site. Using this boat was unusual because equipment had to be moved around because of the seats, stairs to get on and off the boat, etc. There were refreshments of water, punch, watermelon and pineapple, chips and hot sauce provided. The divers were divided in 3 groups of 7 with one dive master each. I think that they were divided by their capabilities. My husband’s group was the first group down. They had to put all equipment on, then climb stairs to get off the boat. This was very hard and cumbersome with all equipment on. Usually in a dive boat, there is a landing and an area to jump into water or sit and fall backwards to get into water. The dive group stayed down more than an hour and one person ran out of air and had to use the dive-master’s supply for the last few minutes. My husband’s air was under 500 and he has never cut it that close. The Dive Master did not check all divers’ air supply or indicate that they needed to go to a safe zone before ascending to the top. The dive itself was good, but not great. They did see fish, and some saw a crab, but not anything like we have heard about Belize. While divers were in water, all air tanks, etc. were relocated by another worker and stacked for the next dive. After all groups were back up, the boat slowly moved to another location for the second dive. As it turns out, this was the same dive site, just a little further down. We just went in a circle. They saw the same things. Again, the air limit and dive time was pushed and all safety issues were not followed. No roll call was ever taken, and one person came up early. I am not sure if any dive master ever checked to make sure if this diver had gotten back to the boat. My husband was exhausted from climbing in and out of boat with all equipment and pushing dive time and air supply. He was questioning if he would dive the other two ports later in the week. After the last dive, we then took boat back to dive shop which took 30 minutes, then back to ship which took another 30 minutes. This excursion was 8 hours instead of the advertised six hours. There was a lot of down time, waiting time to readjust equipment of tanks, etc. We would not do this excursion again.
Costa Maya-We booked a 2 Tank Dive Excursion for my husband thru www.cancun-discounts.com. I booked a non-dive excursion thru them to the Pez Quadro Beach Club for $26 for the day. This was for all refreshments, non-alcoholic. We took a $2 per person taxi ride to this beach. This was an excellent beach; not very crowded. There were plenty of chairs, tables, and umbrellas. I had a very peaceful and relaxing time. This beach club was the meeting place for my husband to come to for his dive before going out on the Dive Boat so he knew where I was going to be. He met with the Dive organizer and went on his dive. This was an excellent 2 Tank Dive. The Dive Master was excellent. They went to two very good locations and saw all kinds of sea life. Turtle, Angel Fish, Lobster, Lion Fish, Eel, Crab, Large Sponge, Coral, and much more than he saw on the Belize dives. This was much more relaxed, professional, and worth the money. My husband was not exhausted when finished, but pumped to come back again! We will definitely be going to Costa Maya again to dive and using this same Dive Master and Beach Excursion!
Cozumel-Again, my husband took the 2 Tank Dive with the Ship. This was more organized and they left the ship at the appropriate time. It was a good dive and he got to see several things. After he came back from his dive at 1PM, we went shopping at the pier. Cozumel’s prices were far better than Costa Maya. This was a big pier site. We also took a taxi for $13 to “Paradise Beach”. (there is a posted chart for Taxi costs) This taxi ride was very scary. Drivers follow way too close and go very fast with no working seatbelts. Paradise Beach was nice, the pool very pretty but it was very crowded. They require you to rent 2 chairs and purchase at least $10 worth of refreshments/food. Again, rode the taxi back taking our lives into our hands.
Disembarkment-We chose to carry our own bags off ship because our flight was at 10:40AM on Saturday morning. I had booked this flight because cruise line stated that we arrived at 6:00AM. Customs was quick. We were off the ship by 6:30AM and took a Taxi to the Miami Airport. This was $24.00 for the trip for two people. It was well worth not waiting for the Ship shuttle, but getting a ride quickly because of our early flight. We had plenty of time and able to grab a bite for breakfast at the airport.
Overall, an excellent vacation. Our friends were first time RC Cruisers and really had a good time. We appreciate the quality of service and condition and activities of the ship. We will definitely cruise with RC again.