Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Royal Caribbean International
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeSmall

Since her debut in 2007 as the second of three Freedom-class ships, Liberty of the Seas gained even more innovative features in 2012. The DreamWorks Experience includes characters such as Shrek and his pals; there’s also a nursery and puppet shows. Digital signage makes navigating the ship simpler. Adults can finish the evening with a selection of reds or whites at the intimate Vintages wine bar.Read More

Although they are no longer the world’s largest cruise ships, the Freedom-class vessels live up to Royal Caribbean’s reputation for creative thinking that results in features to stir the imagination and provide a resort-like atmosphere at sea. Whether you are hanging 10 in the surf simulator, going a few rounds in the boxing ring, or strolling the Royal Promenade entertainment boulevard, there’s almost no reason to go ashore. The layout is more intuitive than you might expect on such a gigantic ship. A mall-like promenade is lined with shops and bistros, an ice-skating rink/theater, numerous lounges, and dining options, but these are not simply enlarged Voyager-class ships. With plenty of room, even the most intimate spaces feel uncrowded. A good fit for extended families, these ships have expansive areas devoted to children and teens and enough adults-only spaces to satisfy everyone.

Big, bigger, biggest! Royal Caribbean has the largest modern mega cruise liners in the world, as well as some of the most innovative technology on its newest ships, from robot bartenders to the fastest Wi-Fi at sea. Its fleet of 25 and counting are all-around favorites of passengers—arguably the most multigenerational (and Millennial) crowd at sea—who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Each ship in the fleet has action-packed activities such as surfing pools, rock-climbing walls, and on the newest ships, skydiving simulators, and 10-story slides.

Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.

  • 15 passenger decks
  • 2 specialty restaurants, dining room, buffet, ice cream parlor, pizzeria
  • Internet, Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD (some)
  • 3 pools, children’s pool
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
  • 14 bars, casino, cinema, 2 dance clubs, library, 3 showrooms, video game room
  • children’s programs (ages 3–17)
  • dry-cleaning, laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • no-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
FlowRider surfing simulator is exciting, even for observers
The H2O Zone is a fun place to beat the heat beneath a waterfall, in the fountain sprays, and along a lazy river
A sports pool accommodates water volleyball, basketball, and golf
The location of a self-serve frozen-yogurt bar near the kids’ pool means that it often ends up messy
Hang on to your wallet—the malts in Johnny Rockets Diner aren’t included in the price
On a ship this large, lines are inevitable, particularly at disembarkation

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Layout
Amenities
Accessibility

Although 60% are outside cabins—and 78% of those have balconies—bargain inside cabins, including some with a bowed window overlooking the promenade, are plentiful. Cabins in every category have adequate closet and drawer–shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves. Family ocean-view cabins with a window sleep up to six people with two twin beds (convertible to queen size), bunk beds in a separate area, a sitting room with a sofa bed, a vanity area, and a shower-only bathroom. At 1,215 square feet, the Presidential suite sleeps 14 people and has an 810-square-foot veranda with a hot tub and bar.

Wood cabinetry, a small refrigerator-minibar, broadband Internet connection, a vanity-desk, a flat-panel TV and DVD player, a safe, a hair dryer, and a seating area with sofa, chair, and table are typical features in all categories. Bathrooms have shampoo and bath gel. Premium beds and bedding complete the package.

Thirty-two staterooms are wheelchair accessible.

Food & Drink

Food

Triple-deck-high dining rooms serve open seating breakfast and lunch; dinner is served in two assigned seatings or open seating. Two specialty restaurants—Portofino, serving Italian, and Chops Grille, a steak house—both charge a supplement and require reservations. The casual Lido buffet offers service nearly around the clock for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Jade, a section in the buffet, serves Asian food. Johnny Rockets (cover charge) is a popular option for casual meals. In the promenade are a complimentary pizzeria and a coffee bar serving regular and specialty coffees (also complimentary, unlike on other lines). There’s also a Cupcake Cupboard and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but they charge a fee. A complimentary ice-cream bar is poolside, as is a juice bar, which charges by the item. Room service is available 24 hours; however, there is a delivery charge after midnight.

Entertainment

Nightlife runs the gamut from Broadway-style production shows to ice-skating extravaganzas on all three and a real Broadway Show—Saturday Night Fever—onLiberty of the Seas. Lounges range from a piano bar and a pub to a wine bar, a Latin-themed dance club, and even a disco. You can end the evening with a movie on the outdoor screen overlooking the pool on all three ships or in the 3-D cinema on Freedom and Liberty.

Spa & Fitness

The full-service spa operated by Steiner Leisure offers an extensive treatment menu including facials, teeth whitening, body wraps and scrubs, massages, rasul, acupuncture, and FDA-approved medi-spa treatments performed by trained physicians. Spa rituals also include treatments designed especially for men and teens. While there are no thermal suites, complimentary saunas and steam rooms are located in men’s and women’s changing rooms.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2007
Number of Cabins
1,817
Passenger Capacity
3,634
Crew Members
1,360
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.67
Gross Tons
160000
Width
185 feet
Length
1,112 Feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
305/539–6000 or 800/327–6700

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