One of Royal Caribbean's Freedom class of ships, Liberty of the Seas is a large ship that can feel crowded, but is ideal for families and offers peace and quiet if you know where to find it.
The ship's heart is in the central Royal Promenade. With glass staircases and bridges that cross from port to starboard lit in cool purple and blue tones, this area, which soars four decks high, comes alive with daily deal seekers and character parades. You’ll also find several bars here, perfect if you like lingering over a pre-dinner aperitif while people watching.
There’s a lot to like about the Liberty of the Seas deck plans. Cabins are spread across eight decks, three of which do not share space with public areas and are sandwiched between room-only decks, allowing for quieter nights. There’s been an effort to place cabins located on the same level as public spaces away from the busiest areas, but cabins on Deck 3 are an unfortunate exception – they’re right between the Main Dining Room, On Air Club, and Studio B. These staterooms, along with a few on Deck 2 midship, are the only Liberty of the Seas rooms to avoid if you want a good night’s sleep.
Despite launching in 2007, Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas feels new and contemporary throughout most of the public areas (though the rooms are a bit worn). Cruisers on Liberty can dine in style in a rich mahogany three-story dining room, each level named in honor of an Italian Renaissance painter, with sparkling chandeliers and romantic sunset views. And there are optional specialty restaurants, as well, making for an easy date night.
The most recent Liberty of the Seas refurbishment took place in 2016 (plans to update it in 2021 were delayed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic), but even the most demanding passengers find the range of Liberty of the Seas activities varied enough for a week-long cruise.
When it comes to outdoor fun, Liberty's got it all with three distinct pool spaces plus an area for thrill-seekers who can't help but scream on the gut-grinding water attraction, Tidal Wave, or The Perfect Storm water slides. There’s also a Flowrider, an ice rink, a rock-climbing wall, and the Liberty Dunes mini golf course on Deck 13. Just don’t expect sleek, spacious cabins – Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas room sizes are just average, and furnishings are a tad worn.
There are no two ways about it though: This is a large ship that regularly hauls over 4,000 passengers, and it can sometimes feel crowded, particularly when you're waiting for an elevator or trying to angle for a slice of pizza in the Windjammer buffet. But while some areas of the ship feel cramped, others do not and once you get a feel for the flow of traffic and part ways with your at-home stress levels, you'll find the quieter, less traveled areas -- if that's what you want.
It’s worth considering Enchantment of the Seas vs. Liberty of the Seas if you'd like an even more easy-going, quieter experience. Enchantment is much smaller at 2,700 passengers and offers great food and fewer extra-fee venues.
Still, the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship is ideal for families, especially given the quality of the onboard programming for kids. You won't find a ton of bells and whistles, technologically speaking, in Adventure Ocean (the kids' club) or the nursery, but children always have a full slate of age-appropriate programming, and without fail, ours asked every day to go back. That leaves plenty of time for parents to relax at the Liberty of the Seas adults-only pool, in the casino or at the spa.
For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Liberty of the Seas, please refer to Royal Caribbean. You can also use Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.
Meals in three main dining rooms, the Windjammer Marketplace, and at Jade, Cafe Promenade, Sorrento’s Pizza, plus continental breakfast room service
Main theater production shows
Most activities and events onboard, including use of the Studio B ice skating rink
Fitness center use (except most fitness classes and personal training sessions)
Use of the Sports Court, mini-golf, water slides, Flowrider surf simulator and rock-climbing wall
Adventure Ocean kids' programming until 10 p.m.
Gratuities, only if you booked your cruise in Australia and New Zealand in AU and NZ dollars
Daily gratuities (amounts vary depending on cabin type)
Auto-gratuities of 18% on all spa, salon and beverages purchases, and all specialty dining venue reservations
Drinks, excluding water, tea (including iced tea), basic coffee and select juices from the Windjammer Marketplace buffet
Room service, excluding free continental breakfast
Dining at most specialty restaurants
Spa and salon treatments and services; most fitness classes in the gym
Select activities including arts and crafts classes, arcade games, bingo, sushi-making demonstrations, events at the onboard shops, the bottomless galley brunch, the behind-the-scenes ship tour and all alcohol tastings
Nighttime group babysitting
Internet access and packages
Onboard art and photography purchases
Liberty of the Seas' population is fairly evenly divided between young families and older empty nesters, which generally makes for a relaxed group of people that mixes well together. The ship's spaces and slate of entertainment reflects that generational divide, too. Liberty sails from Galveston, Texas, which means it tends to draw a large proportion of Americans, and specifically Texans, so prepare to hear a few "y'alls" sprinkled into the conversation.
Daytime: Casual clothing is the norm during the day.
Evening: The Liberty of the Seas dining dress code is relaxed throughout the week, and passengers used to more strictly enforced cruise dress codes might be surprised at the shorts, tank tops and denim that their fellow passengers wear to the dining room -- even on Liberty of the Seas formal nights (though technically these are against RCI's suggested dress code, no one seemed to be turned away). There are two designated formal nights on a seven-night cruise where women bust out their sparkly cocktail dresses and men don suits and ties for the pre-dinner photography (tuxedos are a rare sighting). And anything goes with kids' fashion.
Not permitted: Tank tops and shorts are prohibited in the main dining room and specialty restaurants at dinner. Shoes must be worn in all dining venues at all times.
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From Perfect Day at Coco Cay to Under the Sea in Labadee
Overall solid cruise, great for those newer to cruises