• Interior

  • Café Promenade

  • Royal Promenade

  • Seven Hearts and Cloud Nine

  • Challenger Video Arcade

  • Center Ice

  • Fitness Center

  • Sports Deck

  • Royal Promenade

  • Shops Onboard

  • Photo Gallery

  • Adventure Ocean and Teen Program

  • The Diamond Club

  • Photo Gallery

  • Skylight Chapel

  • Royal Caribbean Online

  • Conference Center

  • Art Gallery

  • Platinum Theatre

  • Center Ice

  • Screening Room

  • Drinks

  • Main Pool

  • Solarium

  • H2O Zone

  • Main Pool

  • Solarium

  • H2O Zone

  • Deck 12

  • Deck 5 (Promenade Deck)

  • Deck 13, St. Tropez

  • Ship Tour Overview

  • Deck 2

  • Deck 3

  • Deck 4

  • Deck 5

  • Deck 6

  • Deck 7

  • Deck 8

  • Deck 9

  • Deck 10

  • Deck 11

  • Deck 12

  • Deck 13

  • Deck 14

  • Deck 15


There are five basic types of cabins on Liberty of the Seas—interior, promenade view, ocean view, balcony and suite—plus variations within each type. Almost half of the cabins have balconies, and we noted that quite a few cabins (both inside and ocean view) are a fairly snug 150 square feet. Instead, we opted for a Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony, which is about 20 percent larger and adds a 66-square-foot balcony.

The promenade view category is unique—these cabins overlook the ship’s interior atrium. We had a couple concerns with these, both unanswered for now. One was the amount of noise these units experience during festivities transpiring in the mall-like atrium (almost nightly). And we weren’t sure about privacy—when blackout curtains aren’t drawn guests are exposed to those walking through the atrium or in cabins on the opposite side. We’ll assess Royal Caribbean’s promenade view cabins on a future cruise.


It was a decent cabin—except for the flood.

We found this cabin to be a comfy and reasonably sized option for our cruise, though the bathroom—especially the shower stall—was pretty snug. The balcony proved to be a good refuge when the weather was good, and there was a decent amount of storage space for two. But considering the relatively young age of the ship, cabin décor was surprisingly conservative.

We found the mattress (two singles, joined to form a queen) to be comfortable, if a bit spongy, with a pillowtop mostly concealing the seam between singles. The TV was not far from our pillow, and blackout curtains blocked out most of the daylight. Directional reading lights on each side of the bed were much appreciated.

The bathroom was not what we’d call generously sized and the shower, in particular, was tight. From front to back, the depth of the shower stall was just 29 inches, making it very cozy for anyone of broad shoulders or girth. The doors that encircled the shower opening clattered a bit, making the shower felt cheap, flimsy. A single wall-mounted pump dispensed combo shampoo/conditioner, and there was a bar of soap; these were not what we’d call quality products.

A bigger issue was that our shower drain was clogged, unbeknownst to us prior to our first shower. Not only did the stall fill up with about an inch of water but, at that depth, a small opening near the floor served as a release for the overflow. When we got out of the shower, almost every inch of the bathroom floor was bathing in a shampoo rinse. We alerted our cabin attendant and a plumber came to fix the clog an hour later.

A sign next to the towel rack said we could help Royal Caribbean reduce waste and conserve water by using our towels more than once. Leaving our towel on the rack indicated we would use it again, and so we did—but our cabin attendant replaced the towel most days.

This cabin had a fairly typical range of features that met our needs. There were two chairs in the room, one of which was an occasional chair, and a full-length mirror for dressing. The hairdryer was permanently wired within a desk drawer, and there was both a 230-volt plug and two 120-volt plugs at the desk (there was also a combo 120/230-volt plug “for shavers only” in the bathroom).

The closets had a reasonable amount of storage on wire racks and hangers (there was space under the beds to store luggage). The closets were open at the floor level, for ventilation we presume (stinky shoes—who us?). There was no bathrobe in our room, but Crown & Anchor members at the Platinum level can request them.

The cabin TV was a 26” Samsung/Anynet DNle SRS HDTV monitor. The monitors are equipped for PlayStations and Wii consoles, for those who bring them along. One channel offered six movies, each playing at set times through the day and night, once or twice daily. The movies were big Hollywood fare, films originally released to theatres six to twelve months earlier. The TV also had interactive features, allowing us to order room service, review our account, pay gratuities and book specialty dining and shore excursions.

The minibar had sodas ($2.25), Red Bull ($3.95), 330-ml Perrier ($2.75) and 1-liter Evian water ($3.95); packaged snacks were $4.95. All items incurred a 15-percent gratuity. An ice bucket with ice was available on request.

Most ship announcements were made on a channel heard in the hallway. There was also an in-room music system, through a speaker under the desk. This in-room speaker had a volume control, but leaving it on meant ceaseless musical accompaniment; leaving it off meant missing the announcements. It seemed like an unnecessary trade-off.

Cabin lighting was nicely handled. There was one main overhead lighting fixture, controlled at the cabin entrance with an additional switch on one side of the bed. An additional pair of vertical fixtures illuminated from the sides of the bedroom mirror. On either side of the bed was an individually controlled lamp plus a small directional spotlight that was good for reading.

Our balcony was accessed by a sliding glass door and there were two plastic-ribbon deck chairs for enjoying the scenery.
We did not stay in the rest of these cabins, but we have summaries here provided by Royal Caribbean International. Note that any photos on this page may be provided directly by the cruise line and not our reviewer.


Interior

This standard stateroom offers two twin beds, a private bath and all the amenities of our standard staterooms. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (150.7 sq. ft.)

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These staterooms accommodate six in its twin beds, sofa or pullman beds and sitting area. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (323 sq. ft.). Stateroom can accommodate up to 6 guests.

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This stateroom has all the features of a standard stateroom, plus a bowed window overlooking the Royal Promenade. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (160.4 sq. ft.)

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These staterooms accommodate six in its twin beds, sofa or pullman beds and sitting area and include 2 bowed windows overlooking the atrium. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (300 sq. ft.)

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These staterooms offer a gorgeous view, two twin beds and a private bathroom. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (159.3 sq. ft.)

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These larger staterooms offer a gorgeous view, two twin beds and a private bathroom. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) and private bathroom. (175.5 sq. ft.)

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These staterooms accommodate six in its twin beds, sofa or pullman beds and sitting area. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), sofa and/or Pullman beds, sitting area and private bathroom. (338 sq. ft.). Stateroom can accommodate up to 6 guests.

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These staterooms offer a sitting area, vanity area, two twin beds, private balcony and mini bar. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), sitting area (some with sofa bed), private balcony and private bathroom. Rates vary from deck to deck. (199.1 sq. ft., balcony 65.7 sq. ft.)

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These suites offer a comfortable bedroom, small sitting area and a private balcony. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), private balcony, sitting area (some with sofa bed) and private bathroom. (297.1 sq. ft., balcony 94.7 sq. ft.)

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Grand Suite

Our Grand Suites offer a comfortable bedroom, a living area and a private balcony. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size), private balcony, sitting area (some with sofa bed) and private bathroom. (401.5 sq. ft., balcony 104.4 sq. ft.)

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Royal Family Suite

These large suites offer two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living area with a sofa bed. Two bedrooms with twin beds that convert to queen-size beds (one room with third and fourth Pullman beds), a private balcony, two bathrooms and living area with double sofa bed. (587.7 sq. ft., balcony 270.5 sq. ft.). Stateroom can accommodate up to 8 guests.

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Owner’s Suite

These luxurious suites offer separate living areas, private balconies and a mini bar. Queen-size bed, private balcony, private bathroom and a separate living area with a queen-size sofa bed. (594.2 sq. ft., balcony 204.5 sq. ft.)

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Presidential Family Suite

The Presidential Family Suite offers four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a private balcony and a living area with a sofa bed. Two master bedrooms with baths. Two additional bedrooms, each with two Pullman beds and two twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed. Two additional bathrooms with showers and a spacious living area with a sofa bed and dining table. Private balcony with dining area and lounge chairs. (1,209.9 sq. ft., balcony 805.1 sq. ft.). Stateroom can accommodate up to 14 guests.

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Royal Suite

Our Royal Suites offer separate bedrooms, balconies, whirlpool bathtubs, and some even offer baby grand pianos. Separate bedroom with king-size bed, private balcony, living room with queen-size sofa bed and private bathroom. (1,358.4 sq. ft., balcony 313.2 sq. ft.)

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Although we didn’t have a bathrobe in our cabin or a chocolate on our pillow, the reading lights were a nice plus.



The menu was perfunctory—there wasn’t much to get excited about.

Breakfast can be ordered using a door tag, to be left out before 3 a.m. with delivery times in 30-minute increments between 6:30 and 10 a.m., or by calling room service. Options included four varieties of packaged cereal (granola, Corn Flakes, Special K, Raisin Bran), yogurt, a fruit plate and whole fruit (apple, banana, orange). Hot selections were limited to scrambled eggs or scrambled Egg Beaters, with sides of bacon, sausage or hash browns and baked tomato available. Apple or orange juice, coffee, tea and milk were offered while the baked items included wheat or white toast with butter and jam or pastries.

Beyond breakfast, the standard room service menu was a little more diverse and included a soup of the day, fruit plate and Caesar or Mediterranean chicken salads. Sandwiches available were baguette with smoked salmon and cream cheese, turkey and Swiss cheese Panini, and a steak sandwich. Entrées included fried honey-stung chicken, hamburger, spinach and artichoke dip with corn chips, breaded fillet of flounder, and cheese or peperoni pizza. Desserts available were a cheese plate, chocolate and pear tart, raspberry cheesecake or cookies.

In-room dining could also be ordered using the TV’s interactive features. A late night service charge of $3.95 was assessed for orders placed between midnight and 5 a.m.
Meals were brought on a modest-sized tray, with plates covered by plastic lids and stacked two- and three-high. Salt and pepper packets were on the side, and breakfast condiments included ketchup, strawberry jam, butter and sugar and sugar substitutes. The glass of orange juice had a paper cover; no glass was brought for the bottle of beer we ordered at lunch.

We ordered lunch one afternoon and were told to allow 40 to 45 minutes for delivery; the knock on the door came 47 minutes later. The Mediterranean chicken salad was okay, just as advertised—chunks of feta, a few green olives, slices of red onion—but no more. Our breaded fillet of flounder was a trip to the golden arches, served with a cup of unusually sweet rémoulade. Seasonal veggies on the side are broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, zucchini and an asparagus spear—unseasoned, flavorless. The chocolate pear tart is dense and rich with chocolate, but the imbedded chunks of pear were completely overwhelmed by the chocolate; a mound of blueberries and blackberries on the side was a nice touch.

Our first breakfast was ordered by phone and we were asked to allow 45 minutes; 25 minutes later the phone rang telling us our order was on the way and 10 minutes after that the delivery arrived. But we asked for milk with our coffee and this was not on the tray; we called back down to request it and a carton of milk came just four minutes later. We ordered a fruit plate and assorted pastries—all were fine. The pitcher of hot coffee was enough for three cups.

We ordered a second room service breakfast by phone and were told it would be delivered within 40 minutes. In fact, the order arrived just 10 minutes later (“we lucked out,” said the server). While our eggs, sausage and toast were warm, the hash browns and baked tomato were at room temperature—our order probably would have been better if a hot plate had been used. The small glass of apple juice had plastic wrap and a paper lid, but with the plastic slightly torn, some of the liquid spilled, wetting the napkin.

Room service could bring coffee, tea, milk and hot chocolate, while the ship’s standard drink menu was also available. The minibar had a small selection of sodas, Perrier and Evian water.
While there was an array of dining options beyond the Main Dining Room, a majority of the alternatives leaned to casual fare.


We found dining to be a mixed bag on Liberty of the Seas, with meals focused around two key venues. The three-story Main Dining Room had different names for each deck—Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Botticelli—but the menu is the same at all three. The fare here had a distinct assembly-line quality, and most of our dishes were pretty middling; we didn’t care for any of the desserts we tried.

The other key restaurant is the ship’s buffet, the side-by-side Windjammer Café and Jade. At its best, food here was cafeteria quality at best, though we were impressed with how easy it was to navigate the buffet lines and get a table in the sprawling seating area that wraps around the aft section of Deck 11.

Most of the dining alternatives required a surcharge. The steakhouse Chops Grille didn’t wow us, but we enjoyed the Italian restaurant Portofino and would recommend it for a special night out. There is also a Johnny Rockets burger joint which has a small surcharge—it met our hankering for a cheeseburger and shake quite nicely one afternoon. The Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream outpost and the Cupcake Cupboard delivered the goods, but these had a pricetag attached, as well. The only non-surcharge alternative was Sorrento’s Pizza, which pleased a certain crowd but was otherwise a pretty basic deli option.

Set seating times were 6:30 and 9 p.m. (there was also a 7 and 9:30 p.m. option for those assigned to Deck 3 dining). Royal Caribbean promotes My Time Dining—available between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.—as an alternative to set seating times, but we were told there are only 600 seats per cruise (out of more than 3600 passengers) allotted for this option. By the time we booked our cruise (two months ahead of sailing), all spaces for My Time Dining were filled.


Whenever we wanted a drink there was a venue nearby with a bartender at the ready.

With more than a dozen dedicated bars, plus the liquor stocked at restaurants, the café and in the main theatre, there was no shortage of social lubrication. Most bars were heavily themed—mojitos at Boleros, wine at Vintages, etc.—though there was plenty of crossover.

A 15 percent gratuity was also added to all drink purchases. The ship’s usual drinking age is 21, but can be lowered to 18 (at Royal Caribbean’s discretion) for cruising in certain regions. Royal Caribbean strictly enforced its policy regarding bringing wine onboard—none was allowed.
Royal Caribbean stocks a somewhat larger than average beer selection. In addition to the usual domestic faves in 16-oz. bottles ($5.25), the standard bar menu included Samuel Adams Bostan lager, Blue Moon Belgian ale, Smirnoff Ice, Corona, Dos Equis, Pilsner Urquell, Red Stripe and Stella Artois—all priced $4.75—and Sierra Nevada pale ale ($5.75). Beer lovers, however, might want to head straight to the Hoof & Claw Pub, where an expanded beer list was available.

The standard bar menu had a short selection of wines by the glass or bottle. These ranged from Castle Rock chardonnay, Peter Lehman shiraz and Beringer White Zinfandel for $7, to Clos de Bois merlot ($9) and Ferrari-Carano chardonnay ($16). All of these were available by the bottle (ranging $27-$62). An expanded selection was available at Vintages Wine Bar, while bubbly was uncorked at the Champagne Bar.

All the usual mixed drinks were available, along with a selection of cocktails from Royal Caribbean’s drink list, with twists on old favorites. This included such items as a Torched Cherry and Coke (Bacardi Torched Cherry rum and Coca-Cola), Japanese Collins (Ketel One vodka, Midori Melon, Sprite and sweet and sour), and a Coconut Blast (Bacardi Coconut rum, sour apple liqueur, pineapple juice and Red Bull), at prices ranging $5.75-$10.25. Several different margaritas were available for $8.25-$9.25. A variety of rum-based frozen concoctions were offered for $7-$8.50. Multiple iterations of the martini were priced $8.25-$10.25.

Wine packages were available in 5-, 7-, 10- and 12-bottle increments, from collections classified as Gold, Platinum and Diamond. These availed a per-bottle discount starting at about 10 percent for five bottles, but unless you compared the wine prices carefully you might end up paying as much for the package as the per-bottle options. As such, we didn’t feel the wine packages were a great investment for a couple.

The soda package—availing unlimited fountain soda—was priced $6.50 per day for adults 18 and up, and $4.50 a day for kids. A bottled water package was also available.

In addition to soft drinks and Red Bull, mixed drinks without alcohol included a Bora Bora Brew (pineapple juice, grenadine syrup and ginger ale) and Berry Banana Colada (banana, strawberry, grenadine syrup and piña colada mix), at prices ranging $2.95-$4. O’Doul’s beer was available for $4.25.

From the climbing wall and surf simulator to the spa and gym, Liberty of the Seas offered plenty of activities catering to all ages and interests.



Coffee served at the buffet was pretty poor, so we rang up a bill at the coffee shop.

Café Promenade

The ship’s coffee house serves Starbucks coffee drinks for a surcharge, but the pastries and sandwiches are free—some of these appeared to mirror what was on offer at the ship’s buffet. The joint is fitted out with couches and cushy leather chairs, though the ambience is a little busier and less cozy than our coffee shops at home. This was the one food and drink spot on the ship that was open 24 hours.

Drink

Cappuccino, latte and caramel macchiato range $2.75-$3.25 for a tall to $3.50-$4.25 for a venti. Tazo tea and chai lattes also available, along with Frappuccino drinks at $4 for a grande. During our cruise we found the quality of brewed (free) coffee both here and at the buffet very inconsistent—sometimes watery, sometimes strong; not what we would consider Starbucks quality.
The ship was designed with a variety of public areas to cater to a very broad-spectrum crowd.


Royal Promenade

Liberty of the Seas’ four-story atrium runs almost the length of the ship, and it’s a fairly impressive feature. The ground floor (Deck 5) is dedicated to shopping, with several food and drink options to keep the consumers fed and watered.

Also found here is the Guest Relations desk, the Explorations (shore excursions) desk, and the future cruise department.

Shows and Performances

A number of events are scheduled here, announced in the daily Cruise Compass newsletter. Among them, the Dreamworks “Move It Move It” parade along with photo ops with the characters (Shrek, Princess Fiona), the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception and various dance parties that turn the atrium into a street festival—neat trick.

Seven Hearts and Cloud Nine

This side-by-side pair of rooms next to Olive or Twist on Deck 14 serves as meeting space and was unattended during our cruise. Mostly it was used as an informal card and game room, though no special events were scheduled that we noticed.

Challenger Video Arcade

This was the ship’s arcade room, which stayed busy well into the wee hours. From air hockey and foosball to the latest video games, there was something for all the pinball wizards. Using dollar bills, arcade credits are loaded onto room keys for play.

Managed by Steiner Leisure, which oversees spa facilities on a majority of cruise ships today, the Liberty Day Spa on Deck 12 was a blandly efficient facility that offered a full range of treatments. From a variety of facials and massages to body treatments, skin care, salon services and acupuncture, there was an attendant available to take care of us.

Although Steiner Leisure’s pricing is fairly consistent from ship to ship, they seem fairly heady to us, compared to land-based resorts anyway. Rates ranged from $119 for a 50-minute Reflexology or Swedish massage to $199 for a 75-minute bamboo massage. Facials started at $125 for the 50-minute Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial; the Men’s Facial was $95 and included a shave. A massage class for couples was held one afternoon, $60 per couple. After a day or two, specials started to blossom, with discounts on certain services and package offers.

There was also menu of services for kids, which included an ice cream manicure or pedicure ($45-$65), a mother and daughter manicure or pedicure ($90-$130) and a Teen Spa Pamper Party held every evening—$99 per teen.

A 15-percent gratuity was automatically added to the bill for all treatments.

No question here: Liberty of the Seas has a terrific selection of active pursuits.


Center Ice

An ice rink at sea was a pretty audacious concept when Royal Caribbean debuted its first, but now they’re standard-issue on all of the line’s Oasis-, Freedom-, and Voyager-class ships. Ingeniously, this venue is also dual-purpose, hosting both free skating for guests and an impressive performance by pro skaters.

Sports and Fitness

Center Ice was open for free skating daily, but not straight through. Generally there would be 30-minute sessions during a period of several hours. Unfortunately, sessions weren’t announced in the Cruise Compass newsletter—the only way to find out seemed to be by going down to the ice rink on Deck 3. Skates were loaned for free and no prior experience was necessary.

Long pants and socks were required for skating, along with signing a liability waiver.

Fitness Center

The gym onboard Liberty of the Seas sprawled across Deck 11 forward, with a sufficient amount of Life Fitness treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes. Only on the first morning of the cruise did we see a (short) wait for equipment.

Sports and Fitness

A number of classes were offered on our cruise, but most of them carried a surcharge. This included spinning, yoga and Pilates ($12 each), Power-Box conditioning ($15), and Body Sculpt Boot Camp ($69 for two sessions). There’s even an Everlast boxing ring—though we never saw it in use during our cruise.

A 15-percent gratuity was automatically added to the bill for all fitness center services.

Sports Deck

One of the key attributes of Liberty of the Seas is an abundance of sports activities, and you’ll find most of them here, on the Sports Deck, the aft portion of Deck 12. There’s a basketball court and a nifty miniature golf course, called Liberty Dunes. A golf simulator experience was available, for a fee of $25 an hour. But the two stars here are the rock climbing wall and the surf simulator.

Sports and Fitness

At the rock-climbing wall, guests could scale an artificial rock wall built against one of the ship’s smokestacks, guided safely by an instructor who belayed guests from below. Ascending the easiest route on the wall took us more than 200 feet above the sea, a pretty awesome perch. There were multiple routes to try, and some were definitely more challenging. All guests have to do is sign the liability release, wear socks, harness and helmet, clip in and aim for the bell at the top of the wall.

The FlowRider is a steady, flat current of water that flows up an incline, creating an inverted wave of sorts that allows guests to ride on a boogie board. Although it takes a little while to get the hang of it, after a few tries the balancing act starts to fall into place (it helps to attend the demo on the first afternoon of the cruise, when instructors show off their skills and provide a few tips). The FlowRider is free to all, though there is a line; on our cruise the wait was never more than about 10 or 12 minutes that we saw. Alternatively, one-on-one lessons run $75/hour; or a group can rent the facility for $350/hour.

The surf simulator operational hours were detailed in the daily Cruise Compass newsletter—usually several hours each in the morning and afternoon. Use of the FlowRider requires signing a waiver (parents sign for those under 18). There’s also a minimum height requirement—52” for boogie boarding, 58” for stand-up surfing.
With its mall-like setting and atmosphere, the Royal Promenade was the focus of the ship’s onboard shopping.


Royal Promenade

Liberty of the Seas’ four-story atrium runs almost the length of the ship, and it’s a fairly impressive feature. The ground floor (Deck 5) is dedicated to shopping, with several food and drink options to keep the consumers fed and watered.

Also found here is the Guest Relations desk, the Explorations (shore excursions) desk, and the future cruise department.

Shops Onboard

The Royal Promenade is designed like an indoor suburban shopping mall, with shops, bars and eateries lining a four-story corridor running the length of the ship. Charming? Not really, but the area stayed busy on sea days and particularly in the evening, with stores open till 11 p.m. Fliers for merchandize and sales arrived in our cabin daily.

Retail

The jewelry store featured watches by Tonino Lamborghini, Tag Heuer, Rado, Ramond Weil, Victorinox, Bulova and Longines, plus jewelry by Korite, Le Vian, Effy, Auragento and Roberto Coin. At the Fashion Boutique we found sunglasses, amber jewelry, Swarovski crystals, Bijoux Terner accessories, Fossil-brand sunglasses, handbags and leather products, Guess-brand clothing and accessories.

The Perfume and Cosmetics store covered most of the big brands—Bvlgari, Chanel, Ralph Loren, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, with a good array of skin care products from Lancôme, Shiseido, La Prairie, StriVectin, Dr. Brandt and Estée Lauder. At the Logo Souvenir shop, there was plenty of Royal Caribbean merchandise—T-shirts, teddy bears, mugs, thermos bottles, plus Liberty of the Seas model ships—as well as resort wear that didn’t flaunt the RCL logo. Also here was a small selection of sundries, including sun block, tampons, pain relievers, toothpaste, etc.

The General Store carried duty-free liquor and cartons of cigarettes, both of which could be collected during final disembarkation off the ship. Also here were paperback fiction titles, snacks and candies, and more sundries as well as a few oddball items, like a Sharper Image nose and ear hair trimmer, a hand-held luggage scale, luggage locks and walkie-talkies. A shop called Get Out There had active wear Nautica watches, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Quicksilver clothing, hats and flip flops, Lacoste clothing, Puma shoes and outdoor wear, Australian Gold sunblock, Roxy resort wear.

A staff of photographers roamed the ship at seemingly all hours of the day, snapping photos of guests as they enjoyed their holiday. Formal portraits were also available, at $23.54 for 8×10s, as well as DVDs of the overall voyage.

Retail

The Photo Gallery also has a small retail store that sells Nikon and Canon point-and-shoot style cameras and Olympus binoculars.

Cruise Compass, the ship’s newsletter, kept us up to speed on the many activities taking place throughout the day and evening.


Adventure Ocean and Teen Program

With more than 1000 kids onboard some holiday and summer cruises, Liberty of the Seas boasts one of the most extensive kids programs at sea, broken down by age bracket. An open house is hosted for families just prior to disembarkation, for tours and registration.

Adventure Ocean has dedicated areas for pre-teens, with corresponding activies scheduled for each age group. Kids age 3-5 are Aquanauts and take part in face painting, cookie creation, marshmallow roasts. Explorers (age 6-8) and Voyagers (age 9-11) participate in games, crafts and science experiments. Hours vary (the facilities were open longer on sea days), but generally activities were scheduled between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m.; a fee of $6 per hour applied for children 11 and under participating in late night party activities (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.).

Teens age 12-17 have their own parent-free spaces: the Living Room, a teen lounge, and Fuel, their private nightclub, both on Deck 12. Activities included meet-and-greet sessions, scavenger hunts, dance parties, sports sessions, and Scratch DJ Academy. Teens received a reduced internet rate of .30/minute at computer stations and are allowed to come and go from activities on their own.

Note that a curfew for all public areas of the ship was in effect after 1 a.m. nightly, unless involved in a scheduled Adventure Ocean or Teen activity or accompanied by an adult.

The Fisher-Price themed Royal Babies and Royal Tots Nursery handles children age 6 months to 36 months. The facility charges an hourly rate of $8 (per child) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. to midnight daily. There is a water play area designated for children still in diapers, a toy lending program, and a black light puppet show called ImaginOcean. The nursery stocks a basic supply of essential childcare items, but parents need to bring diapers, bottles and milk, food, sippy cups and an extra set of clothes. In-cabin babysitting services are also available.

The Diamond Club

This is the private lounge for Diamond-level members of Royal Caribbean’s frequent-cruiser program, the Crown & Anchor Society. We snuck a peak.

A staff of photographers roamed the ship at seemingly all hours of the day, snapping photos of guests as they enjoyed their holiday. Formal portraits were also available, at $23.54 for 8×10s, as well as DVDs of the overall voyage.

Skylight Chapel

On Deck 15, the highest public space on the ship, we found this sweet little chapel where weddings can be conducted by prior arrangement.

Royal Caribbean Online

This was the ship’s internet station, unattended, with an ample collection of PCs for surfing the web. The basic rate was .65/minute, but packages were available that brought the per minute rate down—60 minutes for $35 (.58/minute), 100 minutes for $55 (.55/minute), etc. WiFi was available ship-wide for those who brought their own laptops.

There was a discounted rate of .30/minute for stations in the Teen Zone.

Conference Center

A conference facility was available for groups sailing on Liberty of the Seas.

The ship had an art gallery featuring contemporary artists. We didn’t pull out our checkbook.

The Platinum Theatre hosted big productions that kept us wowed.


Platinum Theatre

This well-designed venue was home to the ship’s biggest shows, seating more than 1300 on two levels. Sightlines were excellent from most seats, with a minimum of obstructing columns to block the stage. Bar service was available at showtime.

There were two headliner shows in the theatre on our cruise, and both were well above-average. Exclusive to Liberty of the Seas, “Saturday Night Fever” was a 75-minute version of the Broadway and West End hit. All the hits from the movie are featured and the cast was generally solid, leaving the audience cheering and dancing up the aisles. “In the Air” is an homage to Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, replete with zany costumes, trippy music and unfathomable storyline. The individual acts were spot-on.

Both of these productions are quite popular, with two separate shows each, and because the large theatre doesn’t have enough seats for all aboard, tickets are issued on a first-come first-serve basis at a makeshift box office in the Sphinx lounge on the first day of the cruise. We’d recommend getting the tickets, though there were a few empty seats remaining at showtime for both of the shows we attended.

The Platinum Theatre is also used for some of the Bingo sessions, headliner shows (loved the Beatlemaniacs concert), game shows and movies. The 3-D presentation for one film we attended was slightly dim, but otherwise large and crisp (and much preferable to the ship’s pint-sized screening room).

Center Ice

An ice rink at sea was a pretty audacious concept when Royal Caribbean debuted its first, but now they’re standard-issue on all of the line’s Oasis-, Freedom-, and Voyager-class ships. Ingeniously, this venue is also dual-purpose, hosting both free skating for guests and an impressive performance by pro skaters.

Shows and Performances

“Encore: An Ice Spectacular” is a terrific 45-minute review of ice skating prowess by 10 fine skaters who perform jumps, lifts and spins that kept the audience enthralled. The show plays several times each cruise and, because the venue has a limited capacity, tickets were issued on a first-come first-serve basis at a makeshift box office in the Sphinx lounge on the first day of the cruise. We’d recommend getting the tickets, though there were a few empty seats remaining at the show we attended.

Screening Room

This small room was the main venue for watching films. It wasn’t bad but the screen was small and we found overall presentation to be much better in the Platinum Theatre, for the few films screened there. A half-dozen relatively recent films were shown in the screening room at various times throughout the cruise; most of them were also shown on TVs in staterooms (at other hours).

Between shows, nightclubs and the casino, there was no shortage of pumping energy after dark.


One of the larger gambling facilities at sea, Casino Royale on Deck 4 has more than 300 slot machines and plenty of tables offering craps, roulette, blackjack, Texas Hold’em, three card poker and Caribbean stud poker. The blackjack tournament was an especially popular event one night.

Our room key was good for a $2000 advance for the casino; a 3 percent fee is applied to cash advances.

Although a section of the casino was designated as non-smoking, we found the entire venue fairly smoky, even when it was closed.

Drinks

A fully stocked bar at the center of the casino kept us limber.

One of the ship’s strongest assets was an abundance of open areas to swim and enjoy the sun and sea breezes.



There were three good-sized pools on Deck 11, plus a terrific children’s play area. And those party-sized cantilevered whirlpools were smashing social areas.

Main Pool

Sitting at mid-ship on Deck 11, there were actually two side-by-side pools here, along with a pair of whirlpools, showers and an overhead video monitor which played occasional music videos and movies. There was a towel station, and we had to use our room key to obtain a towel; a $25 charge would be assessed for towels not returned. There was a DJ here at certain hours of the day, mostly on sea days.

On sunny afternoons this was the busiest area of the ship, and a number of loungers were reserved by guests using clothing and books (despite signs warning guests not to). Staff didn’t seem to make an effort to enforce the rules, so a number of guests went without loungers. We felt the ship, overall, had enough deck chairs and loungers for all—it’s just that not all of them were located where the party was pumping.

Solarium

This pool area was more adult oriented, with a minimum of kids scampering about. At almost 7 feet, the pool was deeper than the others, and could be used for short laps. But the best selling point for this area was a pair of giant whirlpools on either side of the ship cantilevered from Deck 11, out over the ocean. They were popular, adults-only spots, often holding as many as 20 guests.

H2O Zone

This terrific water park is what quickly keyed us in that Liberty of the Seas is one of the best cruise ships available for families. We didn’t find big attractions, like the slides proliferating on some ships, but the variety of pools and play areas at various depths kept kids happy for hours, with fountains, waterfalls and a small circular river to play in. Babies in diapers weren’t allowed.

From the wraparound Promenade Deck to the action-packed Sports Deck, the ship had no shortage of open areas.


Main Pool

Sitting at mid-ship on Deck 11, there were actually two side-by-side pools here, along with a pair of whirlpools, showers and an overhead video monitor which played occasional music videos and movies. There was a towel station, and we had to use our room key to obtain a towel; a $25 charge would be assessed for towels not returned. There was a DJ here at certain hours of the day, mostly on sea days.

On sunny afternoons this was the busiest area of the ship, and a number of loungers were reserved by guests using clothing and books (despite signs warning guests not to). Staff didn’t seem to make an effort to enforce the rules, so a number of guests went without loungers. We felt the ship, overall, had enough deck chairs and loungers for all—it’s just that not all of them were located where the party was pumping.

Solarium

This pool area was more adult oriented, with a minimum of kids scampering about. At almost 7 feet, the pool was deeper than the others, and could be used for short laps. But the best selling point for this area was a pair of giant whirlpools on either side of the ship cantilevered from Deck 11, out over the ocean. They were popular, adults-only spots, often holding as many as 20 guests.

H2O Zone

This terrific water park is what quickly keyed us in that Liberty of the Seas is one of the best cruise ships available for families. We didn’t find big attractions, like the slides proliferating on some ships, but the variety of pools and play areas at various depths kept kids happy for hours, with fountains, waterfalls and a small circular river to play in. Babies in diapers weren’t allowed.

Deck 12

The big, broad deck had sun loungers and ashtrays. Towards the rear of the ship the deck blended into the Adventure Ocean kids areas, where there were ping pong tables, and the Johnny Rockets joint, with its outdoor seating area.

Deck 5 (Promenade Deck)

This was a really appealing, broad promenade that wrapped the entire ship. Near the ship’s bow, stairs took the promenade up a level (a sign said jogging wasn’t permitted). Still, it was a great area for strolling or lounging, and we could play Kate and Leonardo by heading up to the very front of the bow. The deck was cantilevered around the Main Dining Room, which made for a nifty perch to watch the pilot boats pick up their captains. Photo ops, anyone?

Deck 13, St. Tropez

The top deck above the bridge, nicknamed St. Tropez, was a great spot for stretching out on sunny sea days.

At mid-ship was a separate, private deck for Royal Caribbean’s gold-level members of the Crown & Anchor Society. No matter how nice the weather this deck seemed to be empty during our entire cruise.

The staff had a lot of guests to keep happy, and for the most part the crew was competent and upbeat.


Embarkation and disembarkation went relatively smoothly, with a minimum of lines to navigate. Although there was almost always a line at Guest Services, the staff worked the line to solve smaller issues ahead of reaching the counter. But one port of call was poorly handled, when dozens of motor coaches arrived from shore excursions during the hour before our scheduled departure; many passengers waited in line (or on buses) 25 minutes or longer, funneling through a single access point—quite a few were irritated.

With so many activities and shows on offer, the ship’s daily newsletter, Cruise Compass, had a lot of ground to cover, and it did so efficiently. Delivered to our cabin each evening, the newsletter detailed the following day’s activities, shows and hours of operation. Along with the requisite info on tipping and disembarkation came a ream of marketing—spa discounts and merchandize offers. It was all a bit overwhelming (and wasteful).
With 15 public decks, there is a lot of ground to explore while aboard Liberty of the Seas.


Ship Tour Overview

Deck 2

Deck 3

Deck 4

Deck 5

Deck 6

Deck 7

Deck 8

Deck 9

Deck 10

Deck 11

Deck 12

Deck 13

Deck 14

Deck 15

Ship policies were impressively detailed in the cabin handbook—they seemed written by legal counsel.


For the most part, the crew of 1,300 aboard Liberty of the Seas was professional and aimed to please a wide spectrum of guests. We had a couple interactions with bartenders and servers that could have been better but these were vastly outweighed by more favorable impressions. The entertainment staff, in particular, was both talented and dedicated. One employee, in particular, went way out of her way to assist a guest when their computer charger went missing, loaning her own for the evening.

Our cabin was well attended, and room service was efficient.

Royal Caribbean’s suggested gratuities total $11.65 per day, per passenger. The suggested allocation is $3.75 for the dining room waiter (per person, per day), $2.15 for the assistant waiter, $.75 for the headwaiter, and $5 for the cabin attendant (or $7.25 for suites). On the final day of our cruise, four envelopes were left in our room for us to distribute the tips. Royal Caribbean also provides an option to put the tips on the checkout bill; in this case pre-printed vouchers were provided for the envelopes.

An automatic 15 percent gratuity was added for spa services. A 15 percent gratuity was also added to all drink purchases, including minibar items.

Royal Caribbean doesn’t make a big deal out of dress codes. On casual nights, the only restriction for the main dining room was “bare feet, short pants and tank tops are not permitted.” Curiously, although Liberty of the Seas had a frighteningly detailed guest conduct policy, the exact dress code for formal night (typically two during a seven-night cruise) was not outlined in any of the ship literature we received. On formal night, many cruisers were dressed casually.

Dinner at the ship’s two main specialty venues was described as Smart Casual—no short pants.

Royal Caribbean’s alcohol policy is that no beverages may be brought onboard the ship. Bottles brought aboard were confiscated at the security checkpoint and marked with a cabin number to be returned on the last night of the cruise. The standard drinking age was 21, but in some circumstances (such as European cruises) Royal Caribbean reserved the right to lower the drinking age to 18. A lengthy description of the line’s alcohol policy was found in the cabin directory.

Editor's Note: In November 2012 Royal Caribbean relaxed its policy regarding bringing wine onboard, fleet-wide. Guests are now allowed to bring two 750-ml bottles of wine per cabin during the embarkation process. A $25 corkage fee applies to any wines that are opened in the ship's restaurants or bars.

The Crown & Anchor Society is Royal Caribbean’s frequent-cruiser program, with one point awarded for each day sailed (two for those booking suites). Guests become Gold (entry-level) members after attaining 3 points; benefits include an invite to the welcome-back party (on a future cruise) and quarterly savings certificates. At 30 points, Platinum level is attained and perks include priority check-in, bathrobes for use onboard and discounts on balcony cabins and suites. At Emerald level (55 points), members receive a welcome gift and beverage.

Other thresholds include Diamond level (80 points), Diamond Plus (175 points) and Pinnacle Club (700 points).

Attention to hand sanitation at the buffet seemed particularly acute.


During the mandatory Muster Drill the procedures for an emergency evacuation were detailed, including instructions for wearing a life vest. Passengers were specifically told to familiarize themselves with the Guest Conduct Policy, a detailed four-page document found in the cabin directory.

The speaker volume during the Muster Drill was unnecessarily loud, with many passengers covering their ears during the presentation.

Located on Deck 1 aft, the clinic was open 9 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. daily.

Royal Caribbean says their ships are designated as non-smoking, but that certain areas of Liberty of the Seas were designated for smoking. Maybe, but non-smokers should not assume they will experience a smoke-free vacation—wandering smoke and stale cigarette smell was an issue, and on occasion we saw passengers smoking in the open area of the Royal Promenade.

Dedicated smoking areas included the port side of Boleros, the Hoof and Claw Pub, the Connoisseur Club, and the forward/port side of the casino, including both tables and slots and the bar. Outside, smoking was allowed on Deck 4 and the topside decks, on the port side. Smoking was also allowed on stateroom balconies, but not in the cabins themselves.

With a 2011 renovation under her belt, Liberty of the Seas offers the cruise ship experience on steroids. Plumped with activities, diversions and entertainments, the ship is not unlike a theme park in its zeal to appeal to the broadest possible spectrum. The bevy of bells and whistles range from a surf simulator and rock-climbing wall to cantilevered party-size whirlpools and a casino big enough to get lost in. Running through the center of the ship is the Royal Promenade, an atrium lined with shops, dining and drinking, much like a mall.

On Liberty of the Seas, nothing comes in half-measures. Consider how the captain is introduced during the Welcome Aboard Reception: Held inside the four-story Royal Promenade, the captain arrives by way of a “flying bridge” that descends from the roof of the atrium, hovering like a spaceship with music blaring and the crowd cheering—the only thing missing was a laser light show. The overall experience is high-energy—often to a fault, as with the needlessly ear-blistering announcements from the ship’s cruise director (especially at the Muster Drill, when we saw some passengers plugging their ears).

Liberty of the Seas spends winters in the Caribbean and summers in the Med—not that the destination much matters. Based on sheer size alone, there is more to experience on Liberty of the Seas than most of us can tackle in a week—who needs ports of call when you’ve got an onboard shopping mall? And that was a central complaint for us: Royal Caribbean made little effort to connect us with the fabulous ports the ship sails to—except for the obligatory sales pitches for shore excursions and port shopping. Instead, Liberty puts its muscle behind onboard diversions, and the offerings are varied and often impressive.

We found the two headliner shows in the Platinum Theatre entertaining. “Saturday Night Fever,” an abridged version of the Broadway hit, is a perfect excuse for a ship-wide contagion of disco fever, while “In the Air” is a big-scale homage to Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, replete with zany costumes and trippy music. “Encore: An Ice Spectacular” is just that—and between shows the ice rink is open to guests for skating. The rock-climbing wall and surf simulator are other offerings that make the ship inviting to active types, and there’s no add-on fee for any of these. Royal Caribbean has built tie-ins with crowd-pleasing brands like Johnny Rockets and Dreamworks (creator of the Shrek franchise) and, with a solid kids program and terrific H2O Zone, the ship is a natural for families, especially teens.

Carrying 3634 passengers at double occupancy (and usually sailing with more), we were impressed that—overall—Liberty’s traffic flow was smooth and crowding was not usually a problem. Free tickets were issued for the most popular shows (the venues are not large enough to accommodate all passengers), but there were still scattered seats available at showtime for performances we attended. Still there were a lot of bodies to manage, and it didn’t always run smoothly. We found a line present at the Guest Relations Desk through most of the day (thankfully, a crewmember frequently went out to “work” the line, trouble-shooting simpler issues). And at one port long lines formed in the hour prior to disembarkation, leading to frustration for many guests—shore excursions should have been better timed to minimize the logjam.

Our dining experience was—at best—average for the cruise industry. The buffet offerings were uninteresting, and the main dining room was a hit and miss affair. Of the specialty restaurants, Johnny Rockets delivered just what we expected while the Italian Portofino was a fairly good meal, helped by attentive service; the steakhouse Chops Grille was a letdown and not quite worth the surcharge.

There are a lot of common areas to navigate and these were mostly appealing. There was a sufficient amount of pool and deck space, much of it linked to the various activities. We liked the large interactive touch screens found at each elevator/stairwell, which provided directions to major areas of the ship, as well as “what’s on now” information. We found the art in stairwells fun—contemporary photos that toy with reality and illusion—while in hallway corridors there were photos and art, with a theme for each floor. One is exotic monuments, another magicians and sorcery, and another dedicated to recent movie heroes (Jar Jar Binks, really?). On the downside, Royal Caribbean says “our ships are designated as non-smoking,” but we found cigarette smoke persistent, sometimes inescapable in quite a few indoor (non-smoking) areas.

Liberty of the Seas is neither intimate, nor subtle, and the ports are more sideshow than true destination. In trying to cater to the widest possible audience on a grand scale, the ship won’t be a good match for some cruisers. But one of Liberty’s strengths is that there is something for almost every age bracket at almost all hours of the day and evening, making it an especially good pick for a multi-generational family cruise. While the dining was unimpressive, bring an appetite for fun and entertainment and Liberty of the Seas could be a good fit for you.
It was okay, but food quality was sacrificed in the interest of expediently processing upwards of 3,000 meals a night.


A big ship deserves a big main dining room, and for Liberty of the Seas the venue encompasses three decks that surround a large crystal chandelier. The lowest floor—on Deck 3—is called the Rembrandt Dining Room; above that is Michelangelo and on Deck 5 is the Botticelli Dining Room (we wondered if the Renaissance masters would approve of this pecking order). The menu is the same on all decks.

Service was generally good, though dishes came out quickly at times and ponderously at others. But on the last nights of our cruise the waiters put an uncomfortable amount of emphasis on receiving favorable comment cards from us.

We weren’t much impressed with our dinners in the main dining room, with the food having an assembly-line quality. While our waiters always offered to replace plates we were unhappy with, this grew tiresome. There was a decent lamb shank, and we enjoyed the rich scallop risotto. But prime rib was ordered medium-rare—it arrived with virtually no obvious pink meat. We pointed this out to the waiter and another was brought in just a few minutes. Desserts were particularly unimaginative—there wasn’t one in the six we tried that we wanted to finish.

We did have a very tasty lunch on one sea day—a salad of arugula, shaved fennel and shredded pork, lightly dressed. But lunch is not offered most days (mostly just sea days), so we’re not sure if this was an anomaly. Breakfasts were par for the course and included a daily egg special. Our fruit plate delivered a bit more variety than the Windjammer buffet offered, while huevos rancheros were made without tortillas and didn’t much resemble the dish we grew up with.

On some (all?) nights it was possible to order filet mignon “from the Chops Grille menu,” with a $14.95 surcharge. We didn’t try it but this was a cheaper option than the usual cover charge for the specialty venue. There was also a “Vitality” menu which highlights a starter, entrée and dessert from the regular menu with a combined calorie count under 800 calories, plus vegetarian dishes nightly.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available in the main dining room.

Diners are assigned a specific table and dining time for the length of the cruise. Set dining times are 6:30 and 9 p.m., though a slightly later seating was in effect for the Rembrandt level—7 and 9:30 p.m. (we’re not sure how one obtains this seating time). A limited number of My Time Dining tables are available, allowing one to dine any time between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., but these slots were taken two months ahead of our cruise. Breakfast was available in the Main Dining Room Daily, and lunch was offered on sea days.
The buffet restaurant was large and efficiently operated, but we found the menu constrained and the food fairly pedestrian.


Windjammer Café and Jade are basically the same venue, with buffet lines just a few feet apart and sharing the same seating area—we’ll treat them as one. The Jade section has a few Asian items, but we didn’t find much more here than we do in the Asian section of conventional buffets.

The overall venue sprawls, wrapping around most of the aft section of Deck 11, and an unending parade of carts rumbling over the tile floors wipes out any semblance of ambience or tranquility. But otherwise the buffet is well laid out, with smooth traffic flow and minimal congestion. Part of this might be because the food selection was not as broad as most we’ve seen. We also would have liked if an outdoor terrace had part of the seating area, but this is not to be.

Hand sanitizer was strongly encouraged as we entered Windjammer, from the first day of our cruise to the last.

The breakfast selection was just fine, with the usual array of boxed cereal, oatmeal (which was only lukewarm), breads and pastries, sliced fresh fruit, cold cuts and cheeses, bacon, sausage links and corned beef. The omelet station was on top of its game, turning around orders for egg dishes in about two minutes—they could be made with egg whites or Egg Beaters and ingredients included bacon, ham, salmon, cheese, bell pepper, jalapeno, mushroom, onion and tomato. More exotic breakfast fare included miso soup and rice with condiments, dal, roti, black pudding.

The lunch and dinner options should have been more extensive, although beyond the core selection items rotated in and out. In addition to entrées there was a pizza station and a section for small pre-made sandwiches, and usually three soups on offer, including a cold fruit soup. An Indian section offered fish masala (much better than the in-room fish dish), vegetable kurma, papadums, “tikka” butter chicken; the vegetable biriyani and other dishes showed the ship’s galley is not afraid of a little cumin—we found the Indian food nicely spiced, a little daring. At the Jade counter there was sushi and various stir-fry dishes.

The salad bar was not as diverse as we like, but we appreciated the whole fruits—apple, orange, banana, kiwi and grapes. A dessert bar featured a range of cookies, cakes and pastries, plus an ice cream freezer with toppings, but we didn’t find these any better than the ones we received in the main dining room.

There was a drink station that offered complimentary coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade and sugar-free fruit punch at lunch; orange drink and apple juice were available at breakfast. A cart offering freshly squeezed orange juice was set up near the entrance—the juice was delicious (though most of the pulp was strained out), but the add-on was steep: $3.50 for the 12-ounce cup. Single-serving bottles (187-ml) of Alice White chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot were available for $5.50. The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Plaza Bar, at the entrance to Windjammer.

A character breakfast featuring stars of Dreamworks’ animated films was offered on two mornings of our cruise; advance signup was required.

Breakfast was generally offered daily from 7 to 11 a.m. Lunch came out from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m., while the dinner offerings were available from 6 to 9 p.m.
The steak hit the mark, but the accompaniments were middling.


We looked forward to a good steak dinner aboard Liberty of the Seas, and the ship’s steakhouse was the place to find it. But despite a $30 surcharge for dining at Chops Grille, we found the experience wanting. The venue itself is a pleasant setting, situated right next to the heavily trafficked entrance to Windjammer buffet. Inside, the ambience is quieter, more reserved, with most tables sidling up to the big picture windows, which offer fine sea views from the 11th deck. While there’s a good amount of wait staff, we found our server a bit overbearing with recommendations, most of which did not impress.

Appetizers included a number of steakhouse stalwarts—shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, crab and shrimp cakes, and a warm goat cheese and basil soufflé. Our waiter recommended the Asian-inspired spicy tuna, which was raw fish perched on a sesame seed and parmesan flatbread, sprinkled with a salsa of tomato and avocado and micro greens. While the presentation and trimmings were fine, the fish itself tasted a bit gamey, as though the spice was there to mask the tuna flavor. The Chops Grille salad was a hearty dish, with fat strips of bacon, boiled egg and wedges of tomato—a meal in itself. We noted that ingredients differed from what was described on the menu.

Entrées included filet mignon (in a 7- or 10-ounce portion), 12-ounce New York strip, 18ounce porterhouse, veal chop, mixed grill beef short ribs, along with pan-fried barramundi and Alaskan halibut. Our filet mignon was decent, neither spectacular nor disappointing, but cooked just as ordered (medium-rare) and sparked with a spoonful of chimichurri sauce. For sides we ordered the potato with prosciutto and parmesan, and a mushroom and leek dish. Both were uninteresting and—lacking the pivotal flavors of prosciutto and leek—not worth the calories. Other sides included baked or mashed potato, sautéed broccolini, steamed asparagus, and fried onion rings. We chose the mud pie for dessert, but it was a wedge of thick chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache and a chocolate crust—pretty, but crude-tasting.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at Chops Grille along with an expanded wine list.

Chops Grille was open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m.
The ship’s best overall meal carried a surcharge, but it was worth it.


The Italian restaurant on Liberty of the Seas rewarded with romantic but understated décor and satisfying dishes with a Ligurian bent. Although the kitchen is open and bright, we were surprised that noise was kept to a minimum and the lighting was still subdued. The rear area of the venue is darker and more romantic, but also busier and more crowded, so we didn’t mind our table in the middle of the restaurant. We found our server to be very polished—attentive but not pushy. Alas, as the restaurant began to fill towards the end of our meal, service slowed to a crawl. Still, we felt the modest surcharge was well rewarded at Portofino.

We got off to a flying start with a bowl of various breads arrives, accompanied by spreads of diced tomato, olive tapenade and red pepper pesto, plus roasted garlic and a tarn of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Appetizers included minestrone, ciuppin (Ligurian style fish soup), carpaccios of tuna or beef, along with several samplers for two—antipasti, fried, crostini. We chose a small, cheerfully stacked salad of prosciutto, thin slices of apple and mozzarella—a perfect starter. The risotto topped by sautéed prawns was delicious, though the fried onions on top might have been overkill.

Among the entrées was pappardelle tossed with mushrooms and Mascarpone, a lemon-herb oil marinated tuna steak, roast lamb chops with asparagus and fried eggplant and a char-grilled T-bone steak. We chose the veal saltimbocca, which was wrapped with salty prosciutto and sage and served atop a mound of mushroom risotto—delicious.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at Portofino along with an expanded wine list.

Portofino was open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m.
There were no surprises at this floating version of the California burger chain—and that was a good thing.

**

We originally thought the idea of putting Johnny Rockets on a cruise ship seemed a bit uninspired. But one look at the line waiting to get in at lunch tells a different story. If you’re in the mood for a classic American burger—not some gussied-up nouveau interpretation—Johnny Rockets hits the spot. Save your nickels for the modest cover charge (the table-mounted retro jukeboxes don’t work) but music is still part of the show: When “Last Dance” comes over speakers the mostly-Philippine servers break out in a line dance. When the crowd thinned out a bit, the staff performed magic tricks for wide-eyed kids.

Although Johnny Rockets was packed the first couple days of our cruise (pagers were handed out), towards the end of the itinerary is was easier to get a table, especially after the main lunch seating. There are additional tables outside, when the weather cooperates (amazingly, this is the ship’s only restaurant with outdoor dining). Note that, with the basketball court upstairs, this venue can get pretty noisy.

The menu more-or-less mirrors the ones back home—juicy, flavorful burgers, with several different options available: the St. Louis (bacon, Swiss cheese, grilled onions), the Smoke House (cheddar, bacon, onion rings and barbecue-ranch sauce), and the Streamliner (meatless Boca burger with grilled onions), etc. Extra trimming scan be ordered at no additional charge, including a plus-sized patty, chili, egg, grilled mushrooms, etc. One complaint: Although the onion rings were crunchy and flavorful in the best way, our French fries seemed a bit tired.

Other options included hot dogs, chicken tenders and grilled chicken breast, and there were sandwiches such as grilled chicken, tuna salad, grilled ham and cheese, a BLT and a club sandwich.

All in all, considering the quality of most other food options onboard Liberty of the Seas, Johnny Rockets delivered what was almost our most satisfying meal.

Beer and soda was available, plus flavored fountain sodas—all at a surcharge. But the star of the drink selection was classic shakes, malts and floats. We had a delectable strawberry and banana shake topped with a sprout of whipped cream ($4.50).

The hours for Johnny Rockets varied daily, depending on port schedule, but in general the restaurant was open from somewhere between noon and 3 p.m. till midnight.
Vermont’s favorite was on offer—at a surcharge


We love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and wish that Royal Caribbean would stock it as part of their regular dessert offerings, rather than tacking on charges. Cups and sugar cones range $2.50-$4 (single, double, triple scoop), with ice cream in freshly baked waffle cones priced $3.25-$4.75. Shakes and sundaes were $4.50-$5. For fellow cheapskates, note that we found a free self-service ice cream dispenser next to the pools on Deck 11. It was generally only open till 6 p.m. but, needless to say, the Ben & Jerry’s treats were far better.

There were eight flavors available during our cruise—mostly tried and true favorites, while some of Ben & Jerry’s quirkier tastes were m.i.a. This was disappointing, as the real reason for imbibing in these quality treats isn’t for the chocolate and vanilla, but to dive into exotica like Bonnaroo’s Coffee Caramel Buzz or Chubby Hubby.

The hours for Ben & Jerry’s varied daily, depending on port schedule, but in general the stand was open from somewhere between noon and 2 p.m. till 1 a.m.

For true Ben & Jerry’s addicts, consider booking cabin 6305. It’s a promenade view unit with a panorama obstructed by the rears of two plastic heffers atop the B&J entrance. For the inconvenience, we’re told guests in this cabin get coupons for free ice cream each day of the cruise.
These were pro forma, sugary-rich treats—and there were decorating lessons, too.


A deli case stocked with cupcakes proved irresistible to many cupcake lovers.

There were about a dozen flavors on offer, from Oreo and red velvet, to cappuccino and apple pie cinnamon. We tried the turtle fudge cupcake, which received an injection of caramel before it was handed to us, and found it sweeter than our sweet tooth could handle.

Hands-on cupcake decorating classes were held on several days of our cruise, but the additional fee of $22 ($15 for kids) was a turnoff to us.

The hours for Cupcake Cupboard varied daily, but in general the stand was open from 4 till 11:30 p.m., opening earlier on sea days.
Loved the décor, but we prefer our crusts in the Neapolitan style.


With a backdrop of Italian movie posters and 8x10 glossies of Italian-American heroes—Brooklyn Dodgers, Sinatra, etc.—Sorrento’s décor tweaks the clichés amusingly, but the food doesn’t get very far beyond your basic New York-style pizza, served by the slice. But staying open till well after midnight, this is the spot to satiate late-night hunger pangs.

The pizzas are primarily Margherita and Pepperoni, along with a daily special—potato and chicken one day was a good find. If you time the line right you’ll be able to get something fresh out of the oven. Panini is also available, and the deli counter has a few salad and antipasti options—marinated artichoke hearts, olives, cold cuts, and the like. For dessert, there’s cannoli and biscotti.

Happily, there are no add-on fees for the food at Sorrento’s. A full bar is available, at regular prices. The hours were 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Liberty of the Seas’ four-story atrium runs almost the length of the ship, and it’s a fairly impressive feature. The ground floor (Deck 5) is dedicated to shopping, with several food and drink options to keep the consumers fed and watered.

Also found here is the Guest Relations desk, the Explorations (shore excursions) desk, and the future cruise department.

A number of events are scheduled here, announced in the daily Cruise Compass newsletter. Among them, the Dreamworks “Move It Move It” parade along with photo ops with the characters (Shrek, Princess Fiona), the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception and various dance parties that turn the atrium into a street festival—neat trick.

The ship’s coffee house serves Starbucks coffee drinks for a surcharge, but the pastries and sandwiches are free—some of these appeared to mirror what was on offer at the ship’s buffet. The joint is fitted out with couches and cushy leather chairs, though the ambience is a little busier and less cozy than our coffee shops at home. This was the one food and drink spot on the ship that was open 24 hours.

Cappuccino, latte and caramel macchiato range $2.75-$3.25 for a tall to $3.50-$4.25 for a venti. Tazo tea and chai lattes also available, along with Frappuccino drinks at $4 for a grande. During our cruise we found the quality of brewed (free) coffee both here and at the buffet very inconsistent—sometimes watery, sometimes strong; not what we would consider Starbucks quality.

Occupying the catbird seat on Deck 14, the ship’s martini bar is a great spot for taking in sunset. A live band offered light dance music starting each evening around 9:30 or 10 p.m.

Along with a special martini list, the ship’s standard bar menu was available at Olive or Twist.

Located at the aft end of the Royal Promenade, this is the spot for bubbly, though we wish it weren’t located in such a high-traffic area. Still, it’s good for people watching, and a number of quality champagnes were available by the glass.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Champagne Bar, but the reason to come here is for tiny bubbles. Offerings by the glass started with Chateau Ste. Michelle and Domaine Chandon ($7-$10) and marched up to Veuve Clicquot ($19), Gosset Grand rosé ($23) and Krug Grande Cuvée ($55)—all were available by the bottle and some by the half-bottle. There was also a nice roster of champagne cocktails, including Kir Royale, Flirtini, Mimosa and Bellini ($7.75 each). The menu also covers a variety of classic cocktails, martinis and nightcaps.

Tucked into a stone- and wood-lined room off the Royal Promenade, we were were warmly welcomed by a knowledgeable bartender.

A small but tasty selection of hors d’oeuvres were offered to those ordering wine, including luscious olives, feta and grilled veggies.

At Vintages, wine aficionados will find more than 70 wines available by the glass, in 2- or 5-ounce pours in a selection that spans a range of both old and new world wineries, including Caymus, Domaines Barons de Rothschild, Penfolds and Robert Mondavi. While a few wines were available in standard starting at $7, most were priced in the $12-$20 range. Themed flights of three pre-selected 2-oz tastings were also available, at $11-$24.

A couple dozen more bottles were available from Enomatic Wine Preservation machines, dispensed directly from a sealed bottle (inert gas preservation minimizes the oxygen which would otherwise change the wine’s character).

The English pub on Liberty of the Seas has lots of ambience, but the two evenings we came in we found it filled with cigarette smoke that spilled into the Royal Promenade (apparently Royal Caribbean doesn’t know that England outlawed smoking in pubs years ago). A singer-guitarist was live most evenings starting at 9 p.m.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Hoof & Claw Pub, but the reason to come here is for the beer list, which encompasses 40 brews, about half of which are not found at the ship’s other bars. While most of the list was fairly ordinary, we found a few special treats, such as Widmer Hefeweizen ($6.25), Samuel Adams Imperial White ($6.50) and a 750-ml bottle of Chemay Blue ($19.95). Loved finding “beer cocktails” such as the Michelada (Corona, bloody Mary mix and lime). A few other unique cocktails included a London Lemonade (Beefeater gin, sweet and sour, Sprite) and Jameson and Ginger.

Named for the steamy slow-dance of Cuba, Boleros percolated with Latin energy each evening when the band Latin Magic cranks up the salsa and meringue. The dance floor was a particularly seductive lure for couples nightly. Smoking is allowed on one side of the bar, not on the other, but the smoke wandered freely.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at Boleros, along with a number of special Latin-themed cocktails. Try a Caipirinha (Leblon Cachaça with sugar and lime juice) or Caipiroska (with Stolichnaya instead) or one of several flavored mojitos ($6-$7.25).

The was the ship’s catchall lounge, pleasantly decorated with a nautical theme. The piano perked up most evenings after 9 p.m. By day, this venue also hosted trivia contests, acupuncture seminars, Sudoku challenges, etc.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Schooner Bar.

Trimmed in Egyptiana, the Sphynx is a multi-purpose room that is sometimes used as a bar. This was where our room key could be used to secure show reservations the first day of the cruise, some Bingo sessions were held, and a party band or DJ rocked on several evenings.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Sphinx.

The two-story disco on Liberty of the Seas was decked out in gargoyles and medieval arches. The adults-only club generally didn’t start up till 11 p.m., but the music was pretty fierce.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Catacombs.

This is the bar at the entrance to the ice rink, and it was generally staffed before and after ice shows, and then at various hours in the evening. A small stage provided the ship’s main karaoke venue, but there are also private booths to show off your chops without the glare of an audience.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the On Air Club.

Conveniently located between the Windjammer Café and the main pool, liquid “fitness fuel” was served here—power shakes, energy drinks and fruit smoothies. Choose your fruit (strawberry, mango, peach, etc.) and your “poison” (fat burning, muscle building, etc.) and blend. Prices ranged $4.50-$5.50.

The ship’s standard bar menu was also available at Squeeze Bar.

Overlooking the busy main pool from Deck 12, the ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Sky Bar.

Located on the Sports Deck, the Wipe Out Bar had a fairly short selection of soft drinks and beer available.

This well-designed venue was home to the ship’s biggest shows, seating more than 1300 on two levels. Sightlines were excellent from most seats, with a minimum of obstructing columns to block the stage. Bar service was available at showtime.

There were two headliner shows in the theatre on our cruise, and both were well above-average. Exclusive to Liberty of the Seas, “Saturday Night Fever” was a 75-minute version of the Broadway and West End hit. All the hits from the movie are featured and the cast was generally solid, leaving the audience cheering and dancing up the aisles. “In the Air” is an homage to Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, replete with zany costumes, trippy music and unfathomable storyline. The individual acts were spot-on.

Both of these productions are quite popular, with two separate shows each, and because the large theatre doesn’t have enough seats for all aboard, tickets are issued on a first-come first-serve basis at a makeshift box office in the Sphinx lounge on the first day of the cruise. We’d recommend getting the tickets, though there were a few empty seats remaining at showtime for both of the shows we attended.

The Platinum Theatre is also used for some of the Bingo sessions, headliner shows (loved the Beatlemaniacs concert), game shows and movies. The 3-D presentation for one film we attended was slightly dim, but otherwise large and crisp (and much preferable to the ship’s pint-sized screening room).

An ice rink at sea was a pretty audacious concept when Royal Caribbean debuted its first, but now they’re standard-issue on all of the line’s Oasis-, Freedom-, and Voyager-class ships. Ingeniously, this venue is also dual-purpose, hosting both free skating for guests and an impressive performance by pro skaters.

“Encore: An Ice Spectacular” is a terrific 45-minute review of ice skating prowess by 10 fine skaters who perform jumps, lifts and spins that kept the audience enthralled. The show plays several times each cruise and, because the venue has a limited capacity, tickets were issued on a first-come first-serve basis at a makeshift box office in the Sphinx lounge on the first day of the cruise. We’d recommend getting the tickets, though there were a few empty seats remaining at the show we attended.

Center Ice was open for free skating daily, but not straight through. Generally there would be 30-minute sessions during a period of several hours. Unfortunately, sessions weren’t announced in the Cruise Compass newsletter—the only way to find out seemed to be by going down to the ice rink on Deck 3. Skates were loaned for free and no prior experience was necessary.

Long pants and socks were required for skating, along with signing a liability waiver.

This small room was the main venue for watching films. It wasn’t bad but the screen was small and we found overall presentation to be much better in the Platinum Theatre, for the few films screened there. A half-dozen relatively recent films were shown in the screening room at various times throughout the cruise; most of them were also shown on TVs in staterooms (at other hours).

This side-by-side pair of rooms next to Olive or Twist on Deck 14 serves as meeting space and was unattended during our cruise. Mostly it was used as an informal card and game room, though no special events were scheduled that we noticed.

There were three good-sized pools on Deck 11, plus a terrific children’s play area. And those party-sized cantilevered whirlpools were smashing social areas.


Sitting at mid-ship on Deck 11, there were actually two side-by-side pools here, along with a pair of whirlpools, showers and an overhead video monitor which played occasional music videos and movies. There was a towel station, and we had to use our room key to obtain a towel; a $25 charge would be assessed for towels not returned. There was a DJ here at certain hours of the day, mostly on sea days.

On sunny afternoons this was the busiest area of the ship, and a number of loungers were reserved by guests using clothing and books (despite signs warning guests not to). Staff didn’t seem to make an effort to enforce the rules, so a number of guests went without loungers. We felt the ship, overall, had enough deck chairs and loungers for all—it’s just that not all of them were located where the party was pumping.

This pool area was more adult oriented, with a minimum of kids scampering about. At almost 7 feet, the pool was deeper than the others, and could be used for short laps. But the best selling point for this area was a pair of giant whirlpools on either side of the ship cantilevered from Deck 11, out over the ocean. They were popular, adults-only spots, often holding as many as 20 guests.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Solarium Bar.

This terrific water park is what quickly keyed us in that Liberty of the Seas is one of the best cruise ships available for families. We didn't find big attractions, like the slides proliferating on some ships, but the variety of pools and play areas at various depths kept kids happy for hours, with fountains, waterfalls and a small circular river to play in. Babies in diapers weren’t allowed.

The gym onboard Liberty of the Seas sprawled across Deck 11 forward, with a sufficient amount of Life Fitness treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes. Only on the first morning of the cruise did we see a (short) wait for equipment.

A number of classes were offered on our cruise, but most of them carried a surcharge. This included spinning, yoga and Pilates ($12 each), Power-Box conditioning ($15), and Body Sculpt Boot Camp ($69 for two sessions). There’s even an Everlast boxing ring—though we never saw it in use during our cruise.

A 15-percent gratuity was automatically added to the bill for all fitness center services.

One of the key attributes of Liberty of the Seas is an abundance of sports activities, and you’ll find most of them here, on the Sports Deck, the aft portion of Deck 12. There’s a basketball court and a nifty miniature golf course, called Liberty Dunes. A golf simulator experience was available, for a fee of $25 an hour. But the two stars here are the rock climbing wall and the surf simulator.

At the rock-climbing wall, guests could scale an artificial rock wall built against one of the ship’s smokestacks, guided safely by an instructor who belayed guests from below. Ascending the easiest route on the wall took us more than 200 feet above the sea, a pretty awesome perch. There were multiple routes to try, and some were definitely more challenging. All guests have to do is sign the liability release, wear socks, harness and helmet, clip in and aim for the bell at the top of the wall.

The FlowRider is a steady, flat current of water that flows up an incline, creating an inverted wave of sorts that allows guests to ride on a boogie board. Although it takes a little while to get the hang of it, after a few tries the balancing act starts to fall into place (it helps to attend the demo on the first afternoon of the cruise, when instructors show off their skills and provide a few tips). The FlowRider is free to all, though there is a line; on our cruise the wait was never more than about 10 or 12 minutes that we saw. Alternatively, one-on-one lessons run $75/hour; or a group can rent the facility for $350/hour.

The surf simulator operational hours were detailed in the daily Cruise Compass newsletter—usually several hours each in the morning and afternoon. Use of the FlowRider requires signing a waiver (parents sign for those under 18). There’s also a minimum height requirement—52” for boogie boarding, 58” for stand-up surfing.

The Royal Promenade is designed like an indoor suburban shopping mall, with shops, bars and eateries lining a four-story corridor running the length of the ship. Charming? Not really, but the area stayed busy on sea days and particularly in the evening, with stores open till 11 p.m. Fliers for merchandize and sales arrived in our cabin daily.

The jewelry store featured watches by Tonino Lamborghini, Tag Heuer, Rado, Ramond Weil, Victorinox, Bulova and Longines, plus jewelry by Korite, Le Vian, Effy, Auragento and Roberto Coin. At the Fashion Boutique we found sunglasses, amber jewelry, Swarovski crystals, Bijoux Terner accessories, Fossil-brand sunglasses, handbags and leather products, Guess-brand clothing and accessories.

The Perfume and Cosmetics store covered most of the big brands—Bvlgari, Chanel, Ralph Loren, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, with a good array of skin care products from Lancôme, Shiseido, La Prairie, StriVectin, Dr. Brandt and Estée Lauder. At the Logo Souvenir shop, there was plenty of Royal Caribbean merchandise—T-shirts, teddy bears, mugs, thermos bottles, plus Liberty of the Seas model ships—as well as resort wear that didn’t flaunt the RCL logo. Also here was a small selection of sundries, including sun block, tampons, pain relievers, toothpaste, etc.

The General Store carried duty-free liquor and cartons of cigarettes, both of which could be collected during final disembarkation off the ship. Also here were paperback fiction titles, snacks and candies, and more sundries as well as a few oddball items, like a Sharper Image nose and ear hair trimmer, a hand-held luggage scale, luggage locks and walkie-talkies. A shop called Get Out There had active wear Nautica watches, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Quicksilver clothing, hats and flip flops, Lacoste clothing, Puma shoes and outdoor wear, Australian Gold sunblock, Roxy resort wear.

One of the larger gambling facilities at sea, Casino Royale on Deck 4 has more than 300 slot machines and plenty of tables offering craps, roulette, blackjack, Texas Hold’em, three card poker and Caribbean stud poker. The blackjack tournament was an especially popular event one night.

Our room key was good for a $2000 advance for the casino; a 3 percent fee is applied to cash advances.

Although a section of the casino was designated as non-smoking, we found the entire venue fairly smoky, even when it was closed.

A fully stocked bar at the center of the casino kept us limber.

With more than 1000 kids onboard some holiday and summer cruises, Liberty of the Seas boasts one of the most extensive kids programs at sea, broken down by age bracket. An open house is hosted for families just prior to disembarkation, for tours and registration.

Adventure Ocean has dedicated areas for pre-teens, with corresponding activies scheduled for each age group. Kids age 3-5 are Aquanauts and take part in face painting, cookie creation, marshmallow roasts. Explorers (age 6-8) and Voyagers (age 9-11) participate in games, crafts and science experiments. Hours vary (the facilities were open longer on sea days), but generally activities were scheduled between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m.; a fee of $6 per hour applied for children 11 and under participating in late night party activities (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.).

Teens age 12-17 have their own parent-free spaces: the Living Room, a teen lounge, and Fuel, their private nightclub, both on Deck 12. Activities included meet-and-greet sessions, scavenger hunts, dance parties, sports sessions, and Scratch DJ Academy. Teens received a reduced internet rate of .30/minute at computer stations and are allowed to come and go from activities on their own.

Note that a curfew for all public areas of the ship was in effect after 1 a.m. nightly, unless involved in a scheduled Adventure Ocean or Teen activity or accompanied by an adult.

The Fisher-Price themed Royal Babies and Royal Tots Nursery handles children age 6 months to 36 months. The facility charges an hourly rate of $8 (per child) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. to midnight daily. There is a water play area designated for children still in diapers, a toy lending program, and a black light puppet show called ImaginOcean. The nursery stocks a basic supply of essential childcare items, but parents need to bring diapers, bottles and milk, food, sippy cups and an extra set of clothes. In-cabin babysitting services are also available.

This was the ship’s arcade room, which stayed busy well into the wee hours. From air hockey and foosball to the latest video games, there was something for all the pinball wizards. Using dollar bills, arcade credits are loaded onto room keys for play.

This is the private lounge for Diamond-level members of Royal Caribbean’s frequent-cruiser program, the Crown & Anchor Society. We snuck a peak.

The big, broad deck had sun loungers and ashtrays. Towards the rear of the ship the deck blended into the Adventure Ocean kids areas, where there were ping pong tables, and the Johnny Rockets joint, with its outdoor seating area.

This was also the ship’s jogging track, and 2½ laps around equaled a mile (one lap = .43 miles to be exact). There were also fitness stations sprinkled along the course, encouraging various stretching exercises.

A staff of photographers roamed the ship at seemingly all hours of the day, snapping photos of guests as they enjoyed their holiday. Formal portraits were also available, at $23.54 for 8x10s, as well as DVDs of the overall voyage.

The Photo Gallery also has a small retail store that sells Nikon and Canon point-and-shoot style cameras and Olympus binoculars.

This was a really appealing, broad promenade that wrapped the entire ship. Near the ship’s bow, stairs took the promenade up a level (a sign said jogging wasn’t permitted). Still, it was a great area for strolling or lounging, and we could play Kate and Leonardo by heading up to the very front of the bow. The deck was cantilevered around the Main Dining Room, which made for a nifty perch to watch the pilot boats pick up their captains. Photo ops, anyone?

There were shuffleboard courts and equipment on both sides of the ship.

The ship’s library on Deck 7 was perfunctory. We didn’t find a wide selection to choose from.

On Deck 15, the highest public space on the ship, we found this sweet little chapel where weddings can be conducted by prior arrangement.

This was the ship’s internet station, unattended, with an ample collection of PCs for surfing the web. The basic rate was .65/minute, but packages were available that brought the per minute rate down—60 minutes for $35 (.58/minute), 100 minutes for $55 (.55/minute), etc. WiFi was available ship-wide for those who brought their own laptops.

There was a discounted rate of .30/minute for stations in the Teen Zone.

A conference facility was available for groups sailing on Liberty of the Seas.

The ship had an art gallery featuring contemporary artists. We didn’t pull out our checkbook.

The top deck above the bridge, nicknamed St. Tropez, was a great spot for stretching out on sunny sea days.

At mid-ship was a separate, private deck for Royal Caribbean’s gold-level members of the Crown & Anchor Society. No matter how nice the weather this deck seemed to be empty during our entire cruise.

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