Review of Liberty of the Seas
A Royal Caribbean Cruise
Carrying over 3,600 passengers and 1,360 crew members on board, and with 15 decks, Liberty is a huge cruise ship. In fact it is the second largest ship in the world. It belongs to the Freedom class of ships from RCI and combines almost all favorites of its class. So if you are considering this ship for your voyage, then you must be looking at endless options for on-board entertainment, activities and fitness. And you won't be disappointed.
Although the ship was first launched in 2007, in 2011 the ship went through major renovations adding lot more features and amenities including eateries, many more activities and entertainment for all. Liberty has been one of the contracted ships for Bermuda making regular calls. In Bermuda it docks at Royal Naval Dockyard.
The Cabins or Staterooms
There are large number of options in state rooms. You can choose from four categories - Suites, Balcony rooms, Ocean view rooms and Interior rooms. And within each category there are plenty of options. The ship has a total of 1,817 state rooms and almost half of them have balconies (which is what most want these days).
All state rooms are equipped with modern amenities like flat screen TV (lots of cable channels for all), interactive options (kids can bring in their play stations and plug it into the TV), Wi-Fi internet, desk, hair drier, mini fridge etc.
In suites, you have choices of Royal Suite (separate bedroom and a balcony), Presidential Family Suite (four bed rooms, four bathrooms, a living area and a balcony), Owner's Suite (separate living area and a private balcony), Royal Family Suite (large suites with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living area), Grand Suite (one bedroom, separate living area and a private balcony), Junior Suites (have sitting area and a private balcony). Some junior suites are accessible by wheelchairs. Suites are meant for luxury travel and belong to the costliest category. Some suites have concierge services including access to private lounge and having complimentary personalized services.
Next are the Balcony Rooms that all have private balconies. Here you have choices of Superior Ocean View (with a sitting area and a private balcony), Accessible Deluxe Ocean View (two twin beds with private balcony and great views), Deluxe Ocean View (small sitting area with a private balcony with great views).
The next category is Ocean View Rooms which have nice ocean view but no private balconies. Family Ocean View Rooms have two twin beds, sofa bed and a sitting area. Large Staterooms have excellent view of the ocean and have two twin beds. Accessible Ocean Views rooms have two twin beds and nice ocean views.
The lowest category is the Interior rooms. The Promenade Family Staterooms have bow windows overlooking the Royal Promenade of the ship. Each can accommodate 6 persons and have twin beds and sofa beds. Family Interior Rooms have no windows and can also accommodate 6 persons in twin beds and sofa beds. There are smaller rooms as well including Interior Staterooms, Promenade Staterooms and Accessible Interior Staterooms.
Restaurants and Dining Options
The main dining room spans across three decks with a staircase leading through the floors and a massive chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling. The dining room can accommodate all passengers together at the same time if required. You can opt for 'My Time Dining' anytime between 6.00pm to 9:30pm and also change the reservations if needed. Dress code is formal for one night in a five-night cruise. Rest of the days you can be on casuals. The cost of breakfast, lunch an dinner in the main dining room is included in your cruise package. While there is always Chef's Signature Dishes on the menu, some of the favorites here includes Fisherman's Plate (lobster tail, shrimps etc), BBQ Chicken, Crab Cakes etc. Choices in desserts are limited though.
In dining, some of the other complimentary options include:
1) Windjammer Café : food placed centrally and seats are around the periphery, nice salad bar, Asian dishes, choices of wraps and sandwiches etc.
2) Jade Sushi and Asian-fusion cuisine.
3) Sorrento's Pizza: This is a traditional Italian pizza place. Other than four types of pizzas including daily specials, it also offers other dishes like frittatas, prosciutto as well as desserts like biscotti, macaroons etc. Alcohol is chargeable.
4) Café Promenade: Located in the promenade and open all time. Serves authentic coffee, snacks, brownies, cookies, pastries etc. Alcoholic drinks are also available (but chargeable). Nice comfortable leather couches for seating.
As part of its renovations, the ship has introduced a bakery (Cupboard Cupcakes) offering many different types of cupcakes ($2.50). They also offer cupcake decorating classes ($22 for adults). Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream offers different flavors of ice creams as well as sorbets and frozen yogurts. Johnny Rockets is another eatery where you will get burgers, sandwiches, onion rings, fries etc. Burgers are surprisingly quite excellent.
There are however two specialty restaurants - Chops Grille (a nice steakhouse, try out the fillet mignon) and Portofino(a traditional Italian restaurant). They have cover charges ($30 for Chops Grille and $20 for Portofino) and then you can choose whatever you like from the menu. Alcohol is separately chargeable.
You can also order for food through room service. While the room service menu is limited, it's complimentary. However a late night surcharge applies if you order between midnight and 5am. Choices include (salad, soup, burgers, pizza, cakes etc). You can also make an early breakfast request (bread, eggs, bacon, juices etc).
Onboard Entertainment and Activities
In my view, the endless options of entertainment and activities are the primary reasons why one would choose a cruise on Liberty of the Seas. After all you will end up spending most of your time on the cruise ship while on a voyage to a destination like Bermuda, and you want to make the most of your time while on cruise.
You can surf on the FlowRider surf simulator for free and also take one-on-one lessons (chargeable). Ice Skating Rink, Mini Golf Course, Rock Climbing Wall, full size Basket Ball court and a boxing court are available. The ship has four pools including one adult only pool (solarium with swing chairs), six whirlpools out of which two are cantilevered and have great views of the ocean through large glass panels while you hang 100ft above the ocean!
Other facilities include Library, Card Room etc. The Main Theater hosts series of programs including complimentary Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, Ice Skating shows etc. The casino has 304 slot machines and 18 tables. Black Jacks, stud pokers and roulettes are the common favorites.
Liberty of the Seas has 22 bars, clubs and lounges without any cover charges (alcohol is chargeable though). Boleros Latin-themed lounge and Hoof & Claw English Pub are quite popular. The wine bar Vintages has been newly enhanced.
The Royal Promenade has variety of branded duty free shops offering perfumes, chocolates, dress materials, jewelry and lot more. Lots of choices for men, women and even kids.
The Vitality Spa has extensive treatments and massages including acupuncture and medi-spa treatments. The ShipShape fitness center is as good as it can get with large number of fitness equipment of all types. The row of treadmills face the sea. Regular Yoga, stretching and Tai Chi classes are also held.
RCI has carefully designed many activities for the Kids and Families as well on this cruise ship. Kids have great time through parades, meets and greets, dining with favorite studio characters etc. Some of the other offerings for children include youth programs, babies and tots nursery, water park for kids (H2O zone), teen lounge area and disco, poolside movies, 3D movies, and lots of other games, contests, lecture sessions etc.
Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the ship (chargeable though). You can access internet from your cabin as well. There is also an internet cafe on deck-8 with PCs. For quiet work, the library (on deck-7) and Business Center (on deck-6) are good places to choose. Wifi indicative rates are given in the section below.
Cost that are outside the cruise deal
Watch out for these extra charges which are not covered in your basic cruise deal package:
A $12 per day per person gratuity is charged by the cruise line. It can be pre-paid in advance or added to your shipboard account.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all bar bills.
Spa treatments are charged extra and the prices can be steep. However Acupuncture is free.
FlowRider surfing lesson costs $75 per hour per person.
Liberty of the Seas offers wi-fi access throughout the ship including in the cabins. You can either pay at a flat rate of $0.65 per minute or avail a package like $35/hr, $55/100 minutes etc (rates are subject to change).
Cell phone roaming is enabled in the ship so that you can make international calls and send SMSs. But it can be quite pricey (it's international roaming) and additional charges get added.
There are no self-service launderettes in Liberty of the Seas. Laundry charges are extra. You can also avail laundry special package like $25 for a bag full of washable clothes. No irons either and ironing is chargeable.
Our overall review and opinion
1. You are likely to find lots of families travelling with kids. In fact during the vacation days like the Easter holidays, the cruise ship gets swamped with kids. Why not? After all the ship boasts of its most impressive and end less line of entertainment and activities of all sorts.
2. Passengers profiles include all types of nationals including Asian, European and north Americans, although north Americans form the majority.
3. Very friendly and courteous staffs and they will try their best to satisfy you every way they can.
4. Food at the Main Dining room is average but adequate. The specialty restaurants are far better.
5. With lot many entertainment options, eateries and activities added in 2011 as part of a major renovation, Liberty of the Seas is like a small city on the Ocean. Overall a great cruise to plan your vacation to Bermuda.