Detailed Liberty of the Seas Review - Cruising with 4 yr old Feb 26, 2017 sailing

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#1
Texas
30 Posts
Joined May 2011
Hi All -

This is my first review on the blog but I read a lot of others and found them helpful so I wanted to pass on my experience. DH and I are in our early 30s and this was our fourth cruise but first with RC. This was our DD's second cruise. We live within driving distance to Galveston and got a great deal on a balcony cabin through Costco which is why we chose this cruise.

Pre-Cruise Stay -
We spent the night at the Drury Inn Houston Hobby based on recommendations I saw on here. We wanted to get most of the driving done the day before so we could just get up and go Sunday morning. It was a nice hotel. With AAA discount it was $79 plus tax and we got popcorn, soda, a dinner buffet and breakfast in the morning (everyone gets those things, AAA just discounted the room price). Great value and was within a hour of Galveston.
Embarkation -
Really smooth and easy. We got an email from RC saying their may be delays getting to Galveston because of Mardi Gras celebrations and I read on here that there may be construction traffic so we gave ourselves lots of time to get to port...too much time. There was no construction or traffic so we ended up at the pier at 9:30 and waiting inside at 9:45. We anticipated getting there early, just not that early. We had stuff to keep us busy while waiting, so it wasn't bad. We were in the first group on non "status holding" cruisers to get on. So once we got on the ship we went straight to the buffet and had our pick of seats.

Dining -
We ate at all the specialty restaurants on board. I got the first night done right deal for $15 pp, Sabor for $15 pp when it was on sale in the cruise planner, Giovannis for $21 pp when it was on sale in the cruise planner and Costco gave us a four person specialty dinner coupon which we were able to use twice because DD was free so we split it between Giovannis and Sabor. For some reason we couldn't use that at Chops. We also got a free Johnny Rockets meal as part of our perks so we ate lunch there one day. I have pix of all our food on youtube because there are a lot of pix and they are too big for me to upload here. So here's the link if you want to see pix:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OJTq9oIE8c

Windjammer: Overall I thought the food was pretty good. We ate breakfasts there, a few lunches and one dinner. There were days when the pancakes were crunchy and you wondered what you just put in your mouth lol, but then you switched to bacon. A lot of variety to choose from. The Izumi sushi was AMAZING! Loved it. It's good to have options for a 4 yr old so we ended up there at the end of the night a few times for DD's second dinner.

MDR: We only ate one dinner here. The first formal night. I thought the food was good. Scallops au gratin had the smallest scallops I've seen in my life. They were around the size of a pea. Still tasted good, but you could see they saved some money there. Steak (can't remember what cut it was that day) was good. I don't think it was Grade A beef, but it still tasted good. My DH got shrimp ravioli which he liked. DD got spaghetti and french fries and ate about as much as I expect a 4 yr old to eat lol. My lemon meringue pie was awesome! DH liked the strawberry cheesecake, but I tried a bite and it's not exactly the texture I am used to but he liked it.

Chops: The food was good, service was good. Wish we could have gone there more than once. I got the shrimp and crab cake and it was good. My husband thought the onion soup was delicious. I got the filet mignon and it was great. DH got the NY strip and liked it. We got mashed potatoes, spinach and mushrooms and they were all good as well. DD got a burger and fries but wasn't into eating that night. We got dessert to go. I had the red velvet cake and DH got huckleberry cheesecake. I liked mine a lot, but DH didn't care for his.

Giovanni's: We ate there twice. First time service was good, but food wasn't that great. Second time service wasn't great but food was better. I was disappointed when we got there because the menu isn't the same as what it posted online. It's a very limited menu. Stuff I wanted to try wasn't offered so I was kind of bummed. Over the two visits, we got the antipasta, which was as expected, meat and cheese, minestrone, which was a daily special. Although, I have to say it's not minestone how I know it. It was good, but it was mostly broth with teeny tiny white beans and finely chopped veges. DH got caprese salad, slices of tomato and mozzerella. My grilled prawns were overcooked and under seasoned. I got the branzino the second time and it was better, but still under seasoned in my opinion. DH got the steak the first time and thought it was good, not great. He got the veal the second night and thought it was good. We got the gorgonzola pasta, pasta bolognese, risotto and a pasta of the day, brisket ravioli. They were all OK. Our desserts were the best part of the meal. Tiramisu and olive oil cake. Although my DH olive oil cake came with a lemon sorbet the first night which he loved, but vanilla ice cream the second night, so I'm not sure if they ran out or what. The biggest complaint I have was the first night my pasta and prawns were cold. I think the waitress/kitchen got the timing of things wrong because a steak doesn't cook in the same time as prawns, which were probably why mine were over cooked as well. I'm not the type to complain, mostly because I'm afraid if I send something back they'll do something to my food. The manager the second night cleared our plates and was checking in on us more than our waiter. I think they must be understaffed or something because things just seemed a little off there. I'd put Giovanni's at the bottom of the specialty restaurant list.

Sabor: Our favorite. We ate here twice as well. Great service, both servers so nice to our DD and made napkin animals and oragomi frogs to entertain her. Food was really good. Husband order a smoky margherita and like it very much. DH doesn't eat guacomole so I got the whole thing to myself and loved it! We got calamari and chicken jalepeno poppers which were great. The queso fundido wasn't want I was expecting. I thought it'd be liquid, like cheese sauce but it was like a hunk of cheese I had to cut up and put on soft tortillas. Barbacoa tacos were the best. DH liked his carnitas burrito. Spicy chicken flautas were good. Dessert plate was good. Second night the "creme brulee" part wasn't made right so it was scrambled egg like. If you can only go to one specialty I'd go to this one.

Johnny Rockets:Very good. A fun change of pace. DD ate the best here, so I liked that part. She had a grilled cheese and fries. I had a bbq onion ring chicken sandwich which was really good. DH had the smokehouse burger but realized later that they forgot to put onion rings on it. Hot fudge sundae for dessert was good too. The only point I'll make it that it opened the day we went at 11:30. We got there at 11:20 and there was already a line 10 people long. When we left there was still a line. This is a very popular place so if you want to go, go early.

Character Breakfast: We went to the first dreamworks character bfast. Our characters were Puss in Boots and Shrek. I know the last bfast had Po, not sure who was at the middle one. Characters were fun, staff played music and tried to get kids involved. It was fun, but food was gross. It was at the main dining room, floor 5. They had a plate of chocolatey pastries in the center of the table when you first got there. Most of those were good and it ended up being my breakfast. I ordered a cheese omelet and it had weird color streaks inside and was super greasy. The toast I got, I literally banged it on the table to show my husband how hard it was. DH got french toast which is said was just OK and a super small portion. DD got milk and cheerios so she was fine.

to be continued...
#2
Texas
30 Posts
Joined May 2011
Activities:
Pool - We spent a fair amount of time at the pool. My DD likes to swim so we used the "normal" pool not the splashpad. The first day we tried to use the splashpad it was literally like a tornado out there. Pool chairs were shaking like they were going to fly up and nothing could be put down because it would fly away. It was only this way at the splash pad, not the normal pools. I don't know if it has to do with the design or location but as soon as you walked past the dividing wall all was calm. The water in the splash pad and one of the pools was freezing. Thankfully one of the pools was heated so that was the one we used. Oddly, the pool seemed to be busier on port days than at sea days. Not sure why. Maybe it was just the times we went, but it was opposite of my previous experiences. Having said that, it wasn't hard to find a chair in either case.

Rock Wall: DH and I did the rock wall and this was the only unpleasant experience I had with the crew. The three people working there looked as if they would rather be anywhere else.

Shows: I only saw the Ice Show and half of one of the variety shows. They were good. All the performers were good. I liked the ice show, but the variety show just isn't my thing. I left early because my DD was getting antsy. Performers were talented, I'm just not the target audience.

Character appearances: I took DD to just about every one they had. While they were great and DD loved them, I found the locations to be less than ideal. They put most of them in the promenade where everyone is coming and going and people are trying to get thru and kids are running cuz they're excited and it just creates a traffic problem. They should be somewhere that is not in the way.

Cupcake class: DD and I did the kids class and it was fun. We were all given three cupcakes. They would become Shrek, Fiona and Po. The instructor was really great and did a good job explaining what to do. This was another Costco included perk so it didn't cost us anything, but out of pocket I think it's $19 for kids and $30 for adults or something like that. I thought that was high before I took the class, but then I saw how much stuff is used to make the cupcakes and thought is was a fair price. I think it lasted close to an hour. I'd do it again if I had a kid that eats cupcakes, but my DD doesn't so her father and I were stuffing cupcakes into our mouths any free second the rest of the cruise.

Arcade: We went to the arcade probably 5 times. DD and DH play air hockey with each other so they had fun. And it was hard to find things for kids to do at night on board so arcade it was! The prize machine wouldn't dispense the prize the second time we used it, but it would have just been another tiny toy to get lost in the shuffle so it wasn't a big deal to us, but if you had more tickets it might be upsetting to a kid. Just a nervous mom side note, there are adult who hang out in the arcade so just be aware of that if you're sending your kids off alone.

Mini Golf: We played mini golf a few times. During our cruise hardly anyone was ever there. It's a fun course. Very cute and great kid activity.

Room:
We got a guaranteed balcony. We found out our stateroom number 45 days before our cruise. It was 6244. It was the first room you hit coming off the elevators, so I was curious if it would be loud. It wasn't. Very quiet. You couldn't hear any promenade noise or elevator noise even on party nights. It had a pullman bed which my DD liked. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a pullman, but once we were actually there it was fine. Great stateroom attendant. Always seemed to know when we were out so we came back to a cleaned room.
#3
Denver, CO
1,230 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
following, thank you for taking the time write this for us!
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#4
Texas
30 Posts
Joined May 2011
We did one excursion in Grand Cayman. It was the dolphin push, pull and swim with the turtle center. I think it was less than a $10 difference to add the turtle center which is why we did. We really just wanted to swim with dolphins. The excursion was shorter than expected. We only got 25 mins at the turtle place which is directly across the st from the dolphin center. I'm just letting you all know that if you book a combo package you probably won't get much time at one of the places. The dolphins were amazing. One of my favorite family memories. We got to hold onto the dolphins flippers and get pulled. Then held onto a boogie board and had the dolphin push us. Then we all got kisses from the dolphin, got to kiss the dolphin, got to dance with the dolphin and got to pet it. Really great. DD didn't want to do the push and pull part cuz she was nervous but loved the up close interaction with the dolphin. Pictures were pricey, $180 for 3 people, but we got over 70 pics and it was a once in a lifetime thing so we got them and are happy we did.

Debarkation: We had a smooth process. We were in group 22 which left at 9:45. We got to our car at 10:25. I did notice from my balcony there seemed to be a line in the self carry group that was at a standstill for a bit. It was obvious most people do self carry so if you decide to do it you probably will experience more crowds than we did.

Overall we had a lot of fun and a good vacation. Having said that I don't think we'll be sailing RC again for one reason. Their constant borderline harassment of trying to get you to buy extras. I had my path blocked three times trying to sell me specialty dining which I already had. I tried to stop them but they are trained to just keep talking over you until their pitch is finished. All the parties are held in the promenade where all the tables are out selling stuff. The first day we were eating pizza at Sorrentos and the person who wipes the tables said we should take the cupcake class and she'd show me where to sign up. I told her I already did, which was true, but it just proves the point everyone on that ship is trained to constantly be a salesman. Other lines I've been on have had sales announcements and sales promotions in fliers and maybe even the first day in the atrium ask if you're interested in this or that, but this was overly aggressive. Too much for me. I felt like I was trapped at sea with the lotion guy from the mall kiosk.

So this concludes my review. Hopefully it helps someone like everyone elses helped me! Happy sailing!
#5
203 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Thank you for your review ! We are taking our 6 year old for his first time so appreciate the info on the child aspect. Did you utilize the kids club? If so, thoughts?
#6
Texas
30 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by famof4togo
Thank you for your review ! We are taking our 6 year old for his first time so appreciate the info on the child aspect. Did you utilize the kids club? If so, thoughts?
We registered her the first day. They have an open play type thing while parents register aka fill out a form. She loved it then. We kept asking her if she wanted to go back and she said yes on the third day so we went to drop her off. There were a lot of kids there, maybe 20ish. She's the type of kid who doesn't like crowds so I could tell by the look on her face she was a little overwhelmed, so she stayed for a whole minute!


Just to explain the setup I saw, there was a masking tape rectangle on the floor and all the kids were sitting in the rectangle playing with toys. That's what I think she didn't like because she thought she'd get to play on the ship playground they have in there. She's more of a playground kid then a sit and color kid. I think the room for your kids age group is larger and has computers and stuff in it. I heard kids at the cupcake class say how they couldn't wait to go back to "school" when the class was done, so I think a lot of kids do like it there.
#7
Lees Summit, Missouri
1,163 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by famof4togo
Thank you for your review ! We are taking our 6 year old for his first time so appreciate the info on the child aspect. Did you utilize the kids club? If so, thoughts?

When my 12 year old daughter was 6 and 7 we could not drag her out of adventure ocean. By 9 she was bored, only because they have the same events every cruise kind of like the MDR menu. First couple of times it's wonderful then it becomes old hat. First world problem. Your 6 year old will have a blast in Adventure Ocean and want to stay until the last minute then you will carry a crashed child back to your state room. I hope you are in good shape
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03-19-2017 Liberty of the Seas
03-19-2004 Majesty of the Seas
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#8
1,027 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Originally posted by LeesSummitCruiser1
When my 12 year old daughter was 6 and 7 we could not drag her out of adventure ocean. By 9 she was bored, only because they have the same events every cruise kind of like the MDR menu. First couple of times it's wonderful then it becomes old hat. First world problem. Your 6 year old will have a blast in Adventure Ocean and want to stay until the last minute then you will carry a crashed child back to your state room. I hope you are in good shape

This is my experience as well - I need to start lifting weights so I can get my 6 yo back to our room in April! She is likely to use her last bit of useful energy crying because I am picking her up! Ha!

When she was 4 - she loved the younger room too - they definitely played on the ship climbing structure - just not every minute!! But she is a daycare kid - so very used to the fact that there is a 'move from one activity station to another' sort of routine!!


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#10
Central Illinois
114,439 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Very nice report, thanks.
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#11
Carrollton, Texas (dfw)
2,656 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
I see the word room but nothing after.... How was the room? Where were you on the ship? Thanks for a great review!!


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#12
221 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
so interesting to see the swings in quality!

we sailed the week before you, and Sabor was by far the worst (I mentioned it in the Sabor specific thread) with both overcooked and undercooked food served.

and we had guac made at the table.

but we loved Giovanni's and had excellent food there both times.

weird how they aren't consistent!


(note about the adults in the arcade. . . was that because it's attached to Johnny Rockets? We saw folks waiting for tables by hanging out in the arcade)
#13
Texas
30 Posts
Joined May 2011
(note about the adults in the arcade. . . was that because it's attached to Johnny Rockets? We saw folks waiting for tables by hanging out in the arcade)

The adults we saw were there playing games and it seemed like they were there to be in the arcade. There's nothing wrong about it, it's just like Dave and Busters, I just think some people assume arcades are kids areas and I just wanted to give a heads up there's adults hanging out there too.
#14
Texas
30 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by 232271
I see the word room but nothing after.... How was the room? Where were you on the ship? Thanks for a great review!!


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Room:
We got a guaranteed balcony. We found out our stateroom number 45 days before our cruise. It was 6244. It was the first room you hit coming off the elevators, so I was curious if it would be loud. It wasn't. Very quiet. You couldn't hear any promenade noise or elevator noise even on party nights. It had a pullman bed which my DD liked. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a pullman, but once we were actually there it was fine. Great stateroom attendant. Always seemed to know when we were out so we came back to a cleaned room.
#15
Carrollton, Texas (dfw)
2,656 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Strange it's still blank for me


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Carnival Vista April 2019
Anthem of the Seas October 2018
Liberty of the Seas February 2018
Emerald Princess Alaska May 2017
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Carnival Conquest Turkey Week 2007
RC Rhapsody of Seas June 2007
Carnival Conquest Turkey Week 2006
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#16
Central Illinois
114,439 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by 232271
Strange it's still blank for me
Blank for me too. I suspect the links are to Facebook, or some other site that is blocked.
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#17
1,027 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Originally posted by Casester1015
Room:
We got a guaranteed balcony. We found out our stateroom number 45 days before our cruise. It was 6244. It was the first room you hit coming off the elevators, so I was curious if it would be loud. It wasn't. Very quiet. You couldn't hear any promenade noise or elevator noise even on party nights. It had a pullman bed which my DD liked. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a pullman, but once we were actually there it was fine. Great stateroom attendant. Always seemed to know when we were out so we came back to a cleaned room.

I am quoting the room post here in hopes it will show up for the OP. It does not show up in my feed but I can see it in my preview pane and when I quote it!?!?



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#18
1,027 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Room:
We got a guaranteed balcony. We found out our stateroom number 45 days before our cruise. It was 6244. It was the first room you hit coming off the elevators, so I was curious if it would be loud. It wasn't. Very quiet. You couldn't hear any promenade noise or elevator noise even on party nights. It had a pullman bed which my DD liked. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a pullman, but once we were actually there it was fine. Great stateroom attendant. Always seemed to know when we were out so we came back to a cleaned room.


**this time I am getting rid of the quote**


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#19
North Dakota
160 Posts
Joined Aug 2016
Originally posted by Casester1015
Overall we had a lot of fun and a good vacation. Having said that I don't think we'll be sailing RC again for one reason. Their constant borderline harassment of trying to get you to buy extras. I had my path blocked three times trying to sell me specialty dining which I already had. I tried to stop them but they are trained to just keep talking over you until their pitch is finished. Too much for me. I felt like I was trapped at sea with the lotion guy from the mall kiosk.
I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with sales people. I was on Liberty earlier in February and was never approached by anyone to buy anything. Sales people were visible and there was no shortage of promotional flyers, but they never approached. I usually just smiled and said hello as we walked right by them. We just booked Freedom for the entire family next year. We loved it! Goes to show that different people will experience the same ship differently. Better luck on your next cruise.
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#20
Carrollton, Texas (dfw)
2,656 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by Cel_cruise
Room:
We got a guaranteed balcony. We found out our stateroom number 45 days before our cruise. It was 6244. It was the first room you hit coming off the elevators, so I was curious if it would be loud. It wasn't. Very quiet. You couldn't hear any promenade noise or elevator noise even on party nights. It had a pullman bed which my DD liked. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a pullman, but once we were actually there it was fine. Great stateroom attendant. Always seemed to know when we were out so we came back to a cleaned room.


**this time I am getting rid of the quote**


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Thank you!! We are on deck six to! Sounds great


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Caribbean Princess March 6, 2016
HAL Noordam Alaska Sept 19 2015
RC Navigator of Seas February 22 2015
Disney Dream May 2014
Carnival Magic Feb 2014
Celebrity Century Alaska Aug 2013
Disney Magic May 2013
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Carnival Magic August 2012
Celebrity Millennium, Alaska June 2012
Carnival Truimph January 2012
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Carnival Ecstasy February 2011 (cruise to nowhere)
RC Voyager of Seas Turkey Week 2010
Carnival Conquest March 2009
Carnival Conquest Christmas 2008
Diamond Princess Alaska July 2008
RC Voyager of Sea March 2008
Carnival Conquest Turkey Week 2007
RC Rhapsody of Seas June 2007
Carnival Conquest Turkey Week 2006
Disney Wonder June 2005