My husband and I have been on small boats before that we sailed ourselves. The largest was 47'. So I was not sure what to expect on our first cruise. Some things were great, some, not so much.
Embarkation was long but uneventful - sort of. We live 3 hours north of the port so we drove. We arrived at the baggage drop off and it seemed rushed and rather disorganized. The police barked orders at us to hurry up and my husband scratched the paint on the bumper of the car hurrying to unload our stuff. I went to park the car and he apparently waited quite a long time for someone to come help with the bags. I understand that the Liberty is a very large ship and getting over 3000 people on board has got to be a major feat so we really gave this experience little more thought until now. The scratch on the bumper is an irritating reminder.
The ship is beautiful and seems expertly maintained. I enjoyed looking at all of the woodwork and the decor. Some of the art work is amazing. I saw a few "out of order" but almost everything was in good shape and in working order. I love all of the different bars and intimate areas you could get away to. The promenade was beautiful. We did not shop so I can't comment on the prices. Loved Ben and Jerry's and the pizza place was good.
Everyone had a smile on. It is amazing to me that these workers can be so friendly and smile at everyone all day long. And after you leave the ship on your last day they welcome 3000+ more people that very afternoon!
Our balcony cabin was much nicer and more spacious than I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed the balcony and would get one again. The room was very clean.
The Activities and Shows
We did not do the flo rider or the rock wall (too windy for my husband on the day he was going to try it).
We saw Up in the Air and the ice show, both were amazing and very entertaining. We went to a battle of the sexes show in the bar (it was just OK). The pools were very nice. The energy was high in the pool with the entertainment and the crowd was large. We hung out in the quiet pool with the comfy chairs. Being Floridians we were cold most of the time and did not go in the water (it was cool and very windy the entire trip). The cantilevered spa was very nice.
This has to be one of the more disappointing parts of the trip. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer and found the food rather tasteless and uninspiring. There was nothing I would have seconds of with the exception of the salad bar. We had breakfast in the main dining room twice and dinner one night. All meals were below average. One night we dined at Chops with turned out to be one of the highlights of the cruise. The food and service were exceptional. Portofino's was not great. We would not go back there. Service was marginal and the food was overcooked. We ate at Johnny Rockets and the burger and onion rings were very good. All of our drinks were very good. Most of my pina coladas (my drink of the week!) had rum floaters on top. Be warned though....those pina coladas add up! At $7 a drink we were a little shocked at our bill at the end of our trip. We are not big drinkers either. And we kept track of everything so we know the bill was correct. We had room service one morning which was nice. Unfortunately it was the same boring food.
The Spa and Gym
I had one of the best massages ever. However, my appointment was 1/2 hour late and they seemed rather unapologetic. I had to rush to get ready for dinner because of it. It was very windy on our trip and you can really feel the boat rocking when you are in the spa. But I find that relaxing and it just added to the experience. The gym is very nice. They have anything you could want or need in there. We had a $100+ spa service that we never received on our final bill. Not sure how that happened since I pre-paid the spa services. They promptly removed the charge.
Hands down, the worst part of the trip. I absolutely hate smoking and if truly offends me. As soon as we got on the ship we went to our cabin and opened the balcony door. The people in the next room were smoking and the smoke filled our room. We had to shut the door and could go on our balcony only when the ship was underway or the same thing would happen. The casino was unbearable it was so smoky. Even the no smoking section. People were smoking in the bars and around the pools. I find it hard to believe that smoking is even allowed on a ship. What if someone throws their lit cigarette in the garbage and starts a fire? In my opinion it is a disaster waiting to happen.
We really did not get to see the city as we had a dive planned. We did not go through the ship rather we booked with Alison (found out about her on tripadvisor.com) and she was great. We took a taxi to her marina. We dove to about 70' and did a lot of swim throughs. This was the warmest day, about 80. The water temp was 77-79. Visibility was roughly 50 - 60'. Alison dropped us off at the ship after our dives.
It was very long. Seems like it took forever to get through customs. They could definitely improve here.