To set the stage, my wife and I are in our young 30's, cruise on a budget, and we were on the Liberty a little over a year ago and love this class of ship. We really love Royal Caribbean over other cruise lines as well.
Taxis to/from FLL
The taxi for 2 people from Ft. Lauderdale to the port was $12.50 before tip, taxi from the port to FLL was $14.90 before tip. Out of curiosity, I inquired with the RCCL transfer folks at the airport and they said the transfer cost was $15.90/person! Why wait for a bus to fill up that costs literally twice as much as a taxi? Of course, we took a taxi both ways.
We arrived at the port at 11am with only minor queuing and were on board by 11:30am. Apparently the worst time to arrive is between 11:30-1pm. Before or after is best. The doors to the stateroom hallways are closed until 1pm and they did not open to guests until exactly 1pm, so no going to your room early. The FlowRider opened right at 1pm as well. By More
1:25pm there were only 5 of us who were in line for it, so this is a great time to use it without lines. Also, you are able to reserve your show times for the entire cruise when you first get on the ship as well. Formal night was night 2 of 5 so plan accordingly. Also the White Attire Night was night 4 and they had a midnight buffet on the pool deck with music for the occasion.
I agree with the reviews of previous posters and will try to not repeat too much. We ate at the main dining room every evening. The food was okay to good but not great/amazing. My bigger concern was the quality of the service. The service that we have previously experienced with Royal is what we have come to really appreciate over other lines. Oddly enough there were many, many seats open in our dining room but the service felt as if every last seat was filled. My wife was given a Spanish menu 3 out of the 5 nights. My order was requested before my wife's order on a number of occasions. The server never asked or offered to refill our coffees, not once. We would often say "thank you" after receiving food or having our plates taken away and would not here "you're welcome" or "my pleasure" or any response at all. These little things just begin to add up to make the overall experience just 'okay'.
The Liberty is still a beautiful ship, is in great shape, and I feel like it is showing very little wear. The crew and staff are doing an excellent job taking care of her. The touch screens located by every elevator are very nice and user friendly.
Saturday Night Fever
This show was new from the last time we were on board. The singers and dancers were very good and I felt they were very passionate in their performances. However, the overall show just seemed to have too many story lines and was too long. I would still recommend seeing this performance. I also agree that it is not appropriate for young children due to the dancing and a suicide/death scene.
We have been to Cozumel prior and had already decided to take a taxi to Paradise Beach, rather than take any shore excursions through the ship. Taxis cost $13 total for 1-4 people to Paradise Beach and it takes about 10 minutes to get there. There is a $2 fee/person to use the chairs, umbrellas and facilities. For $10/person more, you can use the inflatable water structures. A bucket of beer was $16 (XX, Sol) and Coors Light was $4.50 or a bucket was $18. I guess Coors Light is an import! My wife got an hour massage for $60 (though it is advertised on a laminated card for $80) and was very happy with the massage. Of course, this is much cheaper than on the ship. Cabs were lined up to take folks back to the port so no worries with getting back to the ship on time. It was roughly 84 degrees in the end of January, perfect!
We had a minor hiccup with a bar expense that should have been voided but never showed up as such on our final bill. After 5 minutes at guest relations, the charge was removed.
The casino staff was friendly and efficient. Blackjack was offered at $6/min -$200/max with the Lucky Ladies side bet. Note that the max payout on lucky ladies is $5000 so if you were to bet more than $5 hit the Queen Hearts/Queen Hearts with a dealer blackjack, you would not be paid on it. QQ hearts w/o a dealer blackjack pays 125:1. Single deck blackjack with a $5 min and 6:5 blackjack was also offered.
Crown and Anchor
We inquired into booking a future cruise at the Crown and Anchor lounge. The prices were the same as appeared online and came with onboard credit that seemed comparable if we used a travel agent. They do offer a Royal Caribbean credit card where you get the equivalent of an immediate $150 total off your next cruise and rewards where 1% of the charges can be used toward bookings as well.
Sail Away party
We did not get off the ship at Belize and decided to hang around the pool instead, ending our pool day with the Sail Away party.. The sail away party felt very awkward. The characters made their appearances (someone from Madagascar, Shrek, and Fiona) and there was an odd teaser/compilation of songs that just didn't flow. I think the kids loved it.
The weather was great (80s and sunny each day) but very windy on the last day of cruising back to Fort Lauderdale. Apparently this is pretty common on the last day at sea so plan your poolside activities accordingly.
We did Express Check out and walked our luggage off the ship. We started the process of getting off the ship at about 7:45am and were through customs by 8:15am.
Overall we enjoyed our cruise and are still happy to recommend Royal Caribbean and the Liberty. Mike Hunnerup was an excellent cruise director and you could tell he was definitely enjoying himself. After this cruise though, I am becoming more open to cruising with other lines where I can pay less and also expect to receive less, especially in the way of service. If I had been a first time cruiser I think I would be happier with my overall experience. However, in comparison to past Royal Caribbean cruises on Freedom class and older ships, I was let down. Less
Liberty of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean