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of the Seas
Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Sept. 13, 2008
By Mary & Vincent Finelli
There isn't a cruise line at sea that welcomes passengers back like
Royal Caribbean International (RCI). First day on board there were
several knocks at our stateroom door; each bringing the following:
One dozen American Beauty Roses, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut
Champagne chilling in an ice bucket with two glasses, a tray of
chocolate dipped strawberries, and finally a huge bowl of fruit. VIP
treatment for “Diamond + frequent floaters” is wonderful and it
signals a wonderful week to come: Exotic destinations, unique
experiences with old and new friends on board!
The first surprise was to see Captain Charles Teige as master, since
we had enjoyed meeting him on the Voyager of the Seas in 2006. What
a pleasure to sail and dine with him again on the Liberty of the
Seas. This lovely ship is well run and affords travellers such
unique marvelous opportunities including the following: the Flow
Rider, a surf simulator; the Ice Skating Rink presenting Olympic
quality Ice Skating Shows; the Rock Climbing Wall, the nine hole
Mini Golf, etc., etc., etc! This, our first review of the Liberty of
the Seas, will cover the entire ship and point out some of its
On Saturday I-95 traffic was bearable, we arrived at the Port
of Miami at 12:45pm and had wheelchair assistance from the point of
luggage drop off all the way to our stateroom. Check-in was simple,
then we were escorted to a waiting area from which the ship's crew
took us on board. We were in our cabin in less than one half hour.
This was all simple and no hassle.
This Freedom class ship, the Liberty of the Seas, is sister
to both the Freedom of the Seas and the newest of this triumvirate,
Independence of the Seas. The Liberty made her maiden voyage on May
19, 2007. She was built at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Turku, Finland.
Her gross tonnage is 160,000 and she is 1,112 feet long and 185 feet
wide, with a draft of a mere 28 feet. She is approximately the same
as the Empire State Building laid on its side -- nearly four times
the size of the Statue of Liberty and three times the size of the
Titanic! She has a cruising speed of 21.6 knots and 15 passenger
decks, 14 elevators, and can accommodate 4,375 guests. This cruise
she carried 4,100 passengers and a crew of 1,360. This ship has
1,817 staterooms of which 1,084 are ocean view (842 of these have
balconies). There are 733 interior cabins of which 172 have a view
of the Royal Promenade. The RCI Royal Promenade concept, in both the
Voyager and Freedom classes, is a village street in the interior
part of the ship (with a Pub, a Barber Shop, Logo Shops, Boutiques
and restaurants). This is an excellent place to stroll, shop, sit
and read, or meet with fellow passengers. Next will follow a deck by
deck description of the Liberty of the Seas.
Deck 1 has the medical facility and crew areas.
Deck 2 forward has the Conference Center and the Screening Room,
plus passenger cabins and the first level of the Platinum Theater.
Deck 3 forward has the Platinum Theater with its gorgeous curtain
“Pearls” with 13 separate panels, a total of 28 feet tall and 46
feet wide with seven statuesque female figures with head pieces and
dresses of 76,000 hand sewn sequins and 4,000 Austrian crystals.
Their shoes are of 4,000 ruby red bugle beads. The total effect is
elegant. Also forward is the Art Gallery; mid ship is the “Catacombs
Disco” with Harry Cardross' Stained Glass Windows titled the “Ravens
of the Catacombs.” Norse mythology call them Hugin and Munin. Simon
Dray has painted the god Odin, who gave one eye in return for
knowledge -- his other eye is the sun. Dray also painted Frigg,
Odin's wife. She was a strong woman who often got the best of Odin.
Needless to say the disco is striking.
Next is the Ice Center and the Studio B Entertainment complex. Aft
is the Rembrandt Dining Room which is the bottom level of the tri
level restaurant. It is a RCI triumph, with a massive chandelier
seen from all tiers. The triple staircase holds the bandstand which
provides live music each evening during dinner.
Deck 4 has the Schooner Bar and the Casino Royale with its
Hollywood, Casablanca and Oceans' 11 characters on murals (Bogart,
Bergman, the Rat Pack of Sinatra, Martin, Davis Jr. and Dickinson).
Artists Smolover and Zaiba call the murals “Casino.” These two
artists also did the primordial garden of glass floral sculptures in
the Bolero Bar. They are fantastic giant agave blooms in warm colors
of yellows and oranges. The Michelangelo Dining room is aft.
Deck 5 is the most used passenger center, since it has the Guest
Relations Desk, Exploration Desk for shore excursions and the
Shopping Desk and the Promenade with the following: Shops on Board
(perfume, sports and logo), Ben & Gerry's Ice Cream, a Barber shop,
Wine Bar, Hoof & Claw Pub, Cafe' Promenade and Sorrento's Pizza
featuring antipasti, artisan breads, pizzas, and desserts of fresh
fruits and biscotti! The walls inside have photos of many famous
Italo-Americans from Caruso to Mario Lanza and Joe DiMaggio.
Aft is the Botticelli Dining Room with a mural of “Venus rising...”
Forward is the Sphinx Lounge. Its entrance is flanked by huge
statues of Pharaohs, while on its walls are murals of “Views of the
Nile” and “Figures from Daily Life, Egypt” by Clarissa Parish. Look
for the Novidis statue of Tutankahaman, it is a representation of the
one in the Cairo Museum. Its beauty is in black and gold.
Decks 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are mainly cabins plus the Business
Services area, the Library, the RCI computers and the Concierge
lounge all of which are located near the aft elevators.
Deck 11 forward has the fitness center and the Solarium with an
excellent pool and two giant whirlpools which extend out over the
ocean! On this deck there are 6 whirlpools, 3 swimming pools and the
Sea Trek Dive Shop. Mid ship is the Sprinkles Ice Cream and aft are
two specialty restaurants: Chops Grille, excellent filet and veal
chops, etc. and superbly run; the Portofino, with Italian cuisine,
featured a new menu with updated items; all the way aft is the Jade
(oriental food) and the Windjammer Buffet serving all day long
everything from soup to desserts.
Deck 12 has the Johnny Rockets Restaurant, a nineteen fifties
railroad car diner, all chrome and red Naugahyde booths plus juke
boxes with all the golden oldies. They specialize in hamburgers, hot
dogs, French Fries, onion rings and old fashion soda fountain fare:
Ice cream floats, sundaes and apple pie a la mode. Here also are the
Adventure Ocean Youth Center, Fuel Teen Disco and the Game Arcade.
Deck 13 is the Sports Deck with a Rock Climbing Wall, Mini Golf and
Golf Simulator, Basketball Court, Flow Rider (for surfers) and the
Wipe Out Bar.
Deck 14 has the Sports bar and night club Olive or Twist, the 7
Hearts Card Room, Cloud 9 Club and the second Concierge Lounge
overlooking the sea.
Deck 15 holds the Skylight Chapel which accommodates 45 people:
Great for weddings at sea!
The ship is artfully decorated with designs too numerous to mention
here. It reflects the excellent taste of RCI. Suffice it to say
there is a surprise around every corner and in every stairwell.
We had wheelchair accessible cabin #7624 on Deck 7. It is a large
roomy stateroom decorated very tastefully in teal blue and gold.
When entering, the door is a bit too narrow for a wheelchair and we
had to do special maneuvers each time. On the left there are
armoires with both shelves and hangers and a personal safe. Then,
there is a long desk/vanity with lighted mirrors.
When entering on the right there is a large bathroom with safety
rails all around and a shower stall with a fold away seat. The
mirrored medicine cabinet is roomy. Then there is a sofa, a coffee
table, and an upholstered chair. RCI has a new bedding program
featuring a king size bed, upgraded sheets, and a nice duvet (the 20
pound variety, which is a bit too much for the Caribbean).
Two night stands flank the bed with two reading lamps. The far wall
is all windows, floor to ceiling and a door to the balcony, which
holds a chaise, two chairs, and a small table. The balcony is extra
long and deep, and very spacious. Our Cabin Stewardess was Evelyn Marcosa, the sweetest, and most efficient we've had. Brava!
SERVICE & FOOD
The Hotel Director Christos Karavos is a very capable man who
gave us much detailed ship data. We can't thank him enough. He runs
an excellent ship, where service is always smiling and fast. We used
Room Service every morning for breakfast and the RS Supervisors
Theresa and Teeana should be proud of the prompt and accurate
RCI's Crown & Anchor Society has many perks to offer returning
passengers in the way of cocktail parties, gifts (i.e. caps and
beach towels), concierge services by Pretty Shamu, Anthea Helmsing,
and Mario Reyes who preside over the two lounges on Deck 10 and Deck
14: Great service and cordiality from all three, especially from
Anthea who made our dinner and show reservations and provide us with
the Italian language newspaper. The lounges are open for breakfast
8-11am and cocktails 5-8:30pm. It is a nice way to meet new people
on board and to connect up with old friends.
Most cruisers equate service with the treatment in the dining rooms
and restaurants. This cruise Exec. Chef Johan Petutschnig was on
board; he is another old acquaintance of ours. Feeding over 5,000
people every day is a daunting task, but he is up to it and he can
be seen making the rounds of the many various venues daily.
The Captain's Dinner on Formal Night was exquisite -- escargot,
Lobster bisque, Caesar salad, linguini Alfredo with truffled wild
mushrooms (Mary's choice) and a perfectly done Filet of Beef
(Vincent's selection). The Chef's Surprise dessert was a delicate
mousse topped with a spun sugar basket filled with wild berries.
What a way to end dinner with Captain Teige. Excellent conversation,
delicious food, and a sweet taste in our mouth.
Each evening we dined in the Botticelli Restaurant Deck 5. Head
Waiter Myra Fuentes was constantly watching that everything went
smoothly. Our Waiter was Pedro Arevalo and both he and his assistant
Ning were perfect. They brought each course at a nice pace, but not
rushed. The food was typical RCI, good quality and we are happy to
note smaller portions. Vincent felt that the beef was not of
We especially enjoyed Sorrento's on the Promenade and highly
recommend Chop's Grill where quality was top notch, with meat cooked
to perfection, and served well. The Mississippi Mud Pie is the
ultimate in chocolate. Food and service are alive and well on board!
This Freedom Class of ships has so many diverse possibilities
for fun for everyone. For the sports minded there are unique items
only to RCI venues like the Flow Rider: stand up surfing from 8-9am
and 3-4pm and boogie boarding from 10-11am and 4-6pm. Then there is
Rock Climbing Wall and ice skating. No other cruise line offers all
of these. There are also skating, golf, jogging, shuffleboard, and
ping pong. For those enjoying gambling there are Bingo, poker and
slots tournaments, and other Casino games. For the less athletic
minded, there is Daily Trivia, and a great library with many
comfortable leather sofas and chairs overlooking the the Royal
Promenade. This is a much coveted spot for viewing the many Parades
on the Promenade.
The nightly shows include comics, variety shows ,and Broadway style
musicals -- all very entertaining. Cruise Director James Andrews
keeps passengers informed of the many activities on board. James is
very friendly and approachable. We cruise for rest and relaxation,
but many cruise for activities and RCI has the best and most afloat.
“Get out there!”
PORTS OF CALL
Saturday: Port of Miami, FL Sail Away 5:00pm.
Sunday: At Sea.
Monday: At Sea.
Tuesday: Philipsburg, St. Maarten Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm
Wednesday: San Juan, Puerto Rico Arrive 7:00am Depart 2:00pm
Thursday: Labadee, Haiti Arrive 8:00am Depart 4:30pm
Friday: At Sea
Saturday: Port of Miami, FL Arrive 7:00am Debarkation
We cruised two years ago on the Freedom of the Seas,
sister ship of the Liberty of the Seas, and were amazed by the
immense dimensions of this "giga" ship and, most of all, by the many
innovative features first seen at sea. However, now we spend more
time going around and admiring the individual pieces of artwork
which decorate the various areas of these ships. It is like visiting
a museum. Each day we tour different areas, take the time to enjoy
the interesting sights and learn something new. We rarely visit the
ports of call, since we have been there many times, but we leisurely
enjoy the ship.
We are addicted to cruising. This was our 75th cruise and our 35th
on RCI ships, thus it is evident that RCI is one of our favorite
cruise lines. The main reason is that the perks and benefits offered
to Crown & Anchor Society members are substantial, especially to
those repeaters (“Frequent Floaters”) who have achieved the Platinum
and Diamond levels. We are looking forward to sailing on the newest
of the RCI ships, Independence of the Seas, Nov. 29th. Other cruises
already booked are the Norwegian Pearl, on Jan. 4th, Ruby Princess,
on Jan. 24th, Celebrity Solstice, transatlantic cruise, on April
19th and the inaugural cruise of the Oasis of the Seas, on Dec. 12th
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