By Dan Askin; updated by Lorna Blackwood
Liberty of the Seas Overview
Liberty of the Seas is offspring of the Freedom-class family, a litter of vessels that began with Freedom of the Seas in 2006 and ended with Independence of the Seas in 2008. The ship, the second-largest cruise ship in the world behind the Oasis-class twins, boasts all the Freedom-class favorites, including popular onshore brands like Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry's, cruising's only ice rink, a rock-climbing wall, the novel "Promenade" concept and Boleros Latin lounge.
Those acquainted with RCI's Voyager-class ships will also feel at home on the Freedom-class trio, though the larger size of the latter has afforded the line more space to play. Freedom-class features include the FlowRider surf simulator, the H20 Zone water park and the Everlast boxing ring. But, Liberty and company's overall concept -- both in terms of design and choices -- actually emerged some time ago. Introduced back in 1999, Voyager of the Seas is the ship responsible for the majority of the above-mentioned features, which are now staples of the Royal Caribbean fleet. (In fact, Johnny Rockets and Boleros have proven so successful they were added to the older Sovereign-class vessels during that class' extensive refurbishment.)
And so, through a culmination of Voyager- and Freedom-class innovations, Royal Caribbean has introduced a ship in Liberty of the Seas that offers infinite options in the areas of fitness, recreation and entertainment. With the sheer number of options onboard (especially if the seas are calm), you may find yourself forgetting that you're actually on a massive floating object, gliding quickly through the Caribbean Sea.
In early 2011, Liberty went under the knife for its first dry dock. During the multimillion dollar refurbishment, the ship gained several features that debuted on Oasis of the Seas, including a cupcake bakery, big-name stage show ("Saturday Night Fever" in this case), a nursery for the youngest cruisers and an outdoor movie screen. New technology knowhow is paraded in the form of interactive in-cabin televisions and the addition of digital deck plan systems, which are located throughout the ship to help passengers navigate with the use of LCD touch-screens that offer customized directions and routing, real time updates and ship factoids.
Liberty of the Seas Fellow Passengers
On a seven-night Eastern Caribbean summer departure, there were more than 1,300 children. That's nearly one-third of the entire onboard passenger population, and families were certainly the majority of cruisers. Besides seeing one of the youngest demographics in cruising, expect to cavort with mostly North Americans and, out of Miami, a large number of bilingual Spanish- and English-speaking passengers.
Similarly, a Mediterranean cruise was also swamped with children -- which was probably due to the Easter holidays. There was a wide mix of Europeans, Asians and North Americans, though I would say there were more of the latter on our trip. Again, RCI seems to attract a young crowd, with plenty of 30- and 40-somethings sans kids.
Liberty of the Seas Dress Code
Seven-night cruises have two formal nights and five casual nights. A decent number of men choose to wear tuxedos for formal dining, though dark suits were more common on our sailing. Women are typically found in cocktail dresses or gowns.
On five-night cruises, there is just one formal night. However, it is not compulsory, and many choose not to participate and dine in Windjammers or Jade to avoid the formal attire.
Liberty of the Seas Gratuity
Royal Caribbean passengers are charged $12 per person, per day ($14.25 for suite guests). Gratuities can be prepaid or will be added on a daily basis to passengers' SeaPass accounts during the cruise. Passengers can modify or remove gratuities by visiting the guest services desk while onboard. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar tabs.
Our family selected Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas based on the Mediterranean ports that were offered, the price of the cruise, and the date of embarkation. Although there were many positives to our cruise, there were far too many ...continue
The first issue was that we were not able to stop at Marseilles due to a dockworkers strike. We did get port fees and tours refunded. When this happened on another cruise line, we received an OBC and they added another port.
This was our ...continue
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This was our first cruise to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary. For some reason I was unable to book this cruise myself either on the web site or by phone. Persons manning the phones didn't know what they were doing and never phoned me ...continue