We recently had the pleasure of sailing on the Royal Caribbean “Liberty of the Seas” for the first time, and we are happy to report it was a great ship and a great experience. We sailed a 5 night Western Caribbean itinerary, leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, and stopping at Belize and Cozumel, with 2 sea days. From the moment we boarded the ship, there was a definite “happy vibe”, and the feeling that you were going to have a good time.
One of the best features of the ship was the Royal Promenade that spanned nearly the length of the ship on a middle deck, with a 4 deck high atrium. Day or night, it was a great place to hang out, and it felt like you were on a nice pedestrian-only street in a quaint town. Several complementary restaurants (including very good pizza) were along the Promenade, as well as a wine bar and pub, and a Ben & Jerry’s and gourmet cupcake shop (the latter required a small upcharge), and several shops.
On several evenings the Royal Promenade turned into a giant street party, which was really fun and a nice compliment to the other entertainment on board. One of the most enjoyable activities we did was to see the ice show (yes, the ship is so large they have an ice skating rink, which spans nearly the width of the ship). The quality of the skaters and the show in general far exceed any expectations, and is certainly a “must see”. Also, the main theater was really beautiful and the ship had some fantastic productions.
The Liberty of the Seas, and Royal Caribbean ships in general have an incredible variety of activities during the day too. If you like to stay active, RC is the cruise line for you. Where else can you learn to surf or boogie board ON a cruise ship, take scuba lessons, rock climb, play miniature golf and basketball on a full-size court?
Royal Caribbean excelled beyond all other cruise lines we have been on at letting guests know what was going on around the ship, including providing a “cruise at a glance” calendar the first day which indicated major ship events, such as the “Dancing in the Street” party on the Royal Promenade. The ship also had the best signs we have seen at sea, including touch screens that indicated every event happening in the next two hours and providing guided directions from where you were to where you wanted to go. Excellent! In fact, they even had signs on the floor of the elevators (each and every one) which let you know what day of the week it was. Pure genius in our opinion!
While the ship was large (double occupancy is 3600), we did not feel crowded, and the only time we really ran into any lines was at the buffet for breakfast on the first sea day, and when going ashore at Belize, a tender port (for which disembarkation was hampered by severe rain, making it slower for people to get on and off the tenders). Also, it could be difficult to find a lounge chair right by the pool, but there was always plenty of chairs toward the bow (front) of the ship. And speaking of the bow, it was possible to get absolutely to the very front tip of the ship by the helipad on deck 5 and have a real “King of the World” moment. The views were stunning and it was really peaceful. We highly recommend anyone on the Liberty of the Seas (or one of the twin ships in the Freedom class) take advantage of this spot.
While we normally book a balcony cabin (and highly recommend it to our clients and friends), we decided to try an interior stateroom as sometimes clients prefer less expensive cabins so that they can make their budget go farther on a longer itinerary. We did miss having a balcony because watching the ocean go by from the privacy of your stateroom is the perfect way to spend time between activities, being inside was better that we expected. The mattress was really great, and the cabin, while small, was well-designed with lots of shelves and hidden cabinets to store things. Our cabin steward even made us towel animal swans one evening.
The main dining room for dinner was elegant and the food was very good, and the waiters were accommodating with special requests. You can choose from either fixed-seat dining or “anytime” dining. We chose anytime dining because we like to have flexibility. As luck would have it, we actually got seated at the same table (but with different tablemates) each evening. The host and hostess did a great job of putting couples together that got along very well. One evening one of the head waiters came to our table and invited us for a private tour of the kitchen the next day. It was fascinating to learn about what happens behind the scenes to be able to feed the entire ship (not just the guests, but the crew too) in a 4-5 hour period of time.
For those engaged couples out there, you may want to consider having your wedding aboard a Royal Caribbean ship. You can get married onboard while the ship is in the departure port (so your guests who are not sailing can attend the ceremony and early reception and then disembark), while the ship is cruising or on certain islands and ports. I was able to meet with the wedding staff and tour the various venues. There is a wide variety of sizes of locations for holding the wedding ceremony and reception, ranging from an interior chapel to a beautiful glass-walled room overlooking the ocean.
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float To gain all while you give To roam the roads of lands remote To travel is to LIVE!
- H.C. Andersen
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