This was my 5th cruise and my first with Royal Caribbean. Foremost, every crew member I came in contact with was friendly, personable and helpful. This was also the largest ship I've sailed, to date, and I was apprehensive about "all the people" I would be sailing with. I should not have been, because Liberty is so huge, there are many many areas for entertainment or relaxation that all the guests can venture off to. With the exception of one night on the Promenade when the early seating was leaving the dining rooms and the later seatings were making their way in that direction and there was some type of entertainment going on, I never felt I was in a huge crowd of people for the vast majority of the trip.
My review's title indicates this is a great ship for families and I would have to give it high marks for families with kids of all ages. I was with adult friends on this trip, and so would think twice about going to Europe on Liberty in the future. I would much prefer this ship in the Caribbean - that is the "vibe" that it has, and maybe not so much for less leisurely ports such as we visited. Interestingly, my brother/family took Liberty of the Seas exactly one year prior when it sailed the Caribbean and they had a blast both off and on the ship!) None the less, I enjoyed my trip very much and RC did a great job in securing excursions that would satisfy any style of traveler on Liberty.
IWe took ship excursions in Aix en Provence (Toulon)and Nice & Monaco (Cannes). The guides on both were exceptional and the transportation provided on both trips was clean and comfortable. We did a ship's "on our own" in Pisa/Florence (Livorno) with a delightful host/guide named Danielle who did a great job in making sure we made our way back to the ship on time. In Rome, we made private arrangements for a day tour and lastly in Naples, we hopped a taxi at the Port to a museum and lunch. I enjoyed the many options RC provided so that we could make the cruise truly our own.
The only bump we encountered was in our dining room seating. We had specifically requested a table for four, and discovered (before the dining rooms opened) we'd been placed at a table for 8. RC did their best to accomodate our request and changed our table to a location that was placed slightly awkwardly in one of the dining rooms (right inside the entrance doors), but we grinned and beared it...and had already planned to have two dinners in speciality dining onboard, so it was not that big a deal. Our waitress/assistant team in the dining room were fabulous - they took such good care of us. (As a matter of fact, one night we were exhausted and so, chose to dine in Windjammer (buffet) and forgot to tell our server ahead of time so she'd know not to expect us in the dining room. She actually took the time to call us to see if she could arrange to have dinner brought up to our cabins since she expected we were tired from the day's excursion - how great is that?)
The specialty dining rooms, Chops and Portofino, are worth the extra few dollars to dine there. I have to save I LOVED my Portofino dining experience immensely. The atmosphere is beautiful, our dining time was at sailaway (out of Naples) so that was lovely as was the sunset we were to experience while dining. Our server was awesome, the food was beautifully presented and tasted fantastic...just an all-around great night.
I can't write a review without commenting on my cabin attendant. She took such great care of my room and any small requests I may have had, she seemed to anticipate it. I had purchased a wine package before the cruise, and when I entered my cabin, one bottle was already chilled and ready for sail-away later that afternoon. There were other touches as well...she was just too wonderful.
The embarkation and disembarkation process was a breeze. Again, knowing there were going to be "so many people" on this ship, we were dreading the embarkation. However, our taxi pulled up at 2:30pm, someone took our luggage, we walked into the building, there were no waiting lines, we went right up to an attendant, received our cruise card and were in our cabins within 20 minutes of getting out of the taxi - it was remarkable!
My friends and I planned to arrive in Barcelona several days before our cruise left, and so we were refreshed and rarin' to go once we were on board. If you are traveling from the US (such as we were) and can afford to stay in Barcelona a couple days before the cruise, I would recommend it. With such a short cruise, flying in day of embarkation and then flying back out 7 days later would be tough to handle, jet-lag wise. I'm happy we planned our trip the way we did, so we could make the most of the cruise right from the start rather than crawling into bed the minute we got on the ship.
All told, this was a lovely trip and I would encourage everyone to try RC and Liberty of the Seas.