Liberty of the Seas7 night Western CaribbeanSept. 22-29,2007
I was invited by Royal Caribbean to sail onboard the Liberty of the Seas, 7 night Western Caribbean cruise from Sept. 22-29, 2007. As I was an invited guest of the cruise line and had to attend meetings onboard, I did not spend much time in any of the ports and therefore my review will mainly consist of the cruise experience. I’ve been to these ports several times before and will be happy to answer any questions you might have on each port.
I had previously sailed on both Freedom and Liberty but only for the 2 night pre-inaugural cruises. This was my first time spending a full week onboard a Freedom class ship during a “regular” cruise. Pre-Cruise:
I had planned to leave San Diego on Friday and spend the night at the Marriott Biscayne in Miami. However due to American Airlines having a mechanical problem with the plane from San Diego, I missed my connection in Dallas and had to overnight there and catch the first flight out to Miami on Saturday morning. This is a perfect example of why I always suggest not flying to the port on embarkation day.
Fortunately, my flight from Dallas was right on time, landing me in Miami at 10am on Saturday morning—the only problem was my bags decided not to catch the same flight as myself. I spend the next few hours sitting in the baggage claim area hoping my luggage would arrive on one of the later flights from Dallas. Luckily they eventually showed up and I was on my way to the pier. Embarkation:
Bags finally in hand, I arrived at the pier around 1pm and there was virtually no line to get through security. Once in the main check in area, the lines were fairly long, but moved quickly. I checked in at the Diamond Plus desk and had my SeaPass card in hand and was onboard in a matter of minutes. As it was already after 1pm, the cabins were available and I went to drop off my carry on bags and to meet my cabin attendant.
Lunch was available in the Windjammer, Sorrento’s Pizza and the Café Promenade. The Windjammer was very crowded, but most people didn’t go past the Jade section. By simply walking to the back of the WJ you could help yourself to a wide variety of items without having to wait in line. The Ship:
The Liberty, like the rest of the RCI fleet is a stunning ship. I personally believe no cruise line does the “big ships” better than Royal Caribbean. While it’s no secret I’m not a fan of the larger ships, the Liberty was a pleasant surprise. During this cruise the ship was completely full with over 4100 passengers onboard and with the exception of a few occasions you hardly new there were that many people onboard. The only time you really noticed a crowd was during the Promenade parades or when they had the Promenade used for “Dancing in the Street” or other functions. The crowds could simply be avoided by walking down to Deck 4 and walking on the outside Promenade Deck to get from one end of the ship to the other. I never noticed much of a crowd in any other area of the ship, including the Windjammer. It was also very easy to find a deck chair in a desirable place. Chair hogs were few and far between on this sailing, and there were Deck Patrols available should you need to remove someone’s items from a vacant chair. The Food:
Another pleasant surprise was the food. The food in the main dining room was always hot, cooked as ordered and presented in an appealing fashion. My only complaint is I wish RCI would change their menus. Having sailed RCI on average of 14 times a year, I can almost order without opening the menus. The food in the Windjammer was about the same as on every other ship and was good quality for buffet fare. Sorrento’s Pizza had fresh, hot pizza which was very good as well as a variety of marinated veggies, antipasti, salads and a grilled panini of the day bas well as a selection of Italian cookies and desserts. The Café Promenade had the usual assortment of sandwiches, cookies and the like which were available 24 hrs a day.
We also ate in both Chops and Portofino and they were both a bit disappointing compared to the same restaurants on other ships in the fleet. The service was better in Chops than in Portofino, but the food was only so-so at best. Of course Johnny Rockets made a nice place to stop in for a fast food fix. Service:
Service throughout the ship was excellent with the exception of Ricardo Monk, the Concierge in the Diamond Plus Lounge. Royal Caribbean would have been better off placing a life sized, cardboard cutout of a person in his place--- at the very least it would have had a more pleasant personality than Ricardo. This guy could care less about anyone. When I went to visit him to reserve dinner in Chops, he did nothing more than dial the phone and hand me the receiver. Not exactly delivering the “WOW”. Fortunately, the rest of the staff and crew were exceptional. My cabin attendant was one of the best I’ve ever had. We had an excellent wait staff in the main dining room and of course all the bar staff was friendly and more than accommodating. Ken Rush was our Cruise Director and he’s not one of my favorites but I didn’t find him near as annoying as in the past. Entertainment:
One word—EXCEPTIONAL!! One area where the Liberty truly sets the bar high is in their nightly entertainment. The 3 full production shows were so good, I’d have paid money to see them. The quality of the Singers and Dancers was extraordinary. Two of the shows “Somewhere in Time” and “Ever After” were your standard Broadway type musicals- with elaborate sets, beautiful costumes and original music. The third show- “In the Air” was a Cirque du Soleil type production where most of the activity took place over the audience’s heads and in the aisles of the showroom. Again, this show is a MUST SEE as is the main ice show—“ENCORE- An Ice Spectacular”. Supplementing these shows are 2 parades in the Royal Promenade, as well as several “street parties” in the Royal Promenade and live music is almost every other lounge.
The Main Pool Band provided nice reggae music throughout the day and when not playing the pre-recorded music was just enough to keep you in a party mood without being so loud you couldn’t enjoy a conversation or in my case a nap. Kids:
There weren’t many kids onboard this sailing, but those onboard pretty much stayed in the H2O Zone rather than invading the main pools or the Solarium. All of the children/teens were well behaved and there was an increased presence of Security throughout the cruise. With all of the facilities available, H2) Zone, Rock Wall, Flowrider and over 35,000 sq ft of dedicated Adventure Ocean space, there’s no shortage of things to keep the young ones busy. Debarkation:
The only time you’ll ever notice you just sailed with over 4000 others is on debarkation day. Unfortunately our tax dollars don’t seem to go any farther than to hire 4 Customs and Immigration officers which makes for a very long wait getting off the ship. With this in mind, I opted for the Express Departure, where you carry off all your luggage. We were called to depart the ship at 6:15am and breezed through Customs in about 15 mins. Arriving at the Miami airport at 7:00am for a 2pm flight, I opted to pay the $25.00 change fee an was accommodated on a 9am American Airlines flight via Dallas back to San Diego and was home by 2pm—with luggage this time. Summary:
All in all this was a wonderful cruise. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the ship handled over 4000 people and never felt overly crowded. I’m still not a fan of the big ships—Radiance and Vision class still remain my favorites, but I would not hesitate to sail or recommend the Liberty of the Seas.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com
I also have over 200 pictures of the public rooms and cabin/suites at: http://community.webshots.com/user/rdeagazio