May 2014 - Liberty of the Seas to Europe - Western Mediterranean
I researched many cruises and read many reviews before selecting a cruise line for our Mediterranean cruise. The two cruise lines came down to the Disney cruise line and Royal Caribbean. We had sailed on Disney a couple of times before so we decided to try the Liberty of the Seas. It had gotten good reviews and was highly ranked.
We booked a two bedroom/two bath suite (8414) as there were 5 of us and all were adults. The suite also came with a living room and a very large deck (table with 4 chairs and two chaise lounges). Because of it being a suite, we were entitled to perks such as: priority check-in, preferred tender seating, use of a concierge, the concierge lounge, reserved seating at shows, full menu in suite service and complimentary robes.
The suite: The suite itself was very nice but not everything worked. The master TV remote control did not work, we had 3 phones and not one phone's housekeeping button would work,. A dirty towel had been left on a chaise lounge, the deck table had not been cleaned. Housekeeping on this cruise was the worst we had experienced in 9 cruises. Our room steward did not replenish our soaps or shampoo for the first 4 days of the cruise. We ran out of tissues and the empty tissue box was removed but not replaced. When asking for anything (such as towels so we could shower), we had to ask multiple times or else help ourselves to the towel cart located in the halls. No robes were provided in the suite, we had to ask for them (for use to go to the pool.) You could not contact housekeeping as the phone button did not work and no phone number was listed.
Dining: We elected to use MyTime dining and could not have been more pleased. We always had the same table in Boticelli. Our wait staff was Alphonso and Jose who took excellent care of us and went above and beyond what was called for. We found most of the food very good and enjoyed our time in the dining room. We did go to Chops one night and found the food there (and the staff) excellent as well. We only ate a couple of times at the Windjammer and found it difficult to find a table to sit at. We also ate at Johnny Rockets and felt that the experience was overpriced and overhyped.
Concierge: Our concierge was Carlos and I cannot say enough good things about him. Carlos took care of errors made by Royal Caribbean on our behalf, he also was instrumental in helping resolve a return airline flight issue for us, he booked all of our premium dining reservations and he personally walked us off the ship so we were able to make an early flight back to the US. Additionally, the Concierge Lounge provided complimentary cocktails/wine/beer and hot appetizers every night prior to dinner. We could not be more pleased with the Concierge and the Concierge Lounge. A much appreciated perk of a suite booking.
Excursions: We booked all but one excursion through Royal Caribbean. The Royal Caribbean excursions were large group excursions on buses. Not the most personal. However, the guides that were leading the excursions were experts in their fields. Our guide to Rome and the Vatican actually worked in the Vatican as a historian/archeologist. Our guide to Pompeii was an ancient Roman expert who lived near Pompeii. His insights into Pompeii were phenomenal. The excursions were excellent.
Entertainment: We attended the Promenade parade (which was pretty lame) and 3 of us attended the ice show which they enjoyed. We did not go to any other shows on the ship due to excursions and the timing of dinner. We did participate in ice skating and the surfrider activity.
The top cruise lines we have gone on are Princess, Disney and Royal Caribbean. I, personally, prefer Disney as they have such a high standard of quality. Their entertainment is not to be missed and even the restaurant with its animation is spectacular. The family rooms on the Disney cruise ship are also top-notch as is the food. But, with Disney, you also contend with lots of children which might not be your ideal vacation. I would go on another Royal Caribbean cruise again but I would not necessarily make it my first choice for a cruise line.