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 boasts all the Freedom-class favorites, including popular onshore brands like Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry's, an 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.
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 might 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.
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.
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.
During the day, virtually anything goes: Swimsuits and shorts poolside are perfect, though shirts for men and coverups for women are required for dining indoors. At night, casual resort wear is the norm. That means slacks or khakis for men with collared or Hawaiian shirts; sundresses, or capris or skirts with blouses for women.
Royal Caribbean passengers are charged $13.50 per person, per day ($16.50 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. An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar tabs.