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At Liberty to explore

The first thing any cruiser should know about the Liberty of the Seas is that it’s identical to the Freedom of the Seas in every way except for the art and decor. There are no never-seen-before-on-a-cruise-ship activities, no new restaurants, and no twists on the old stateroom categories. The only difference is the art on the Liberty has an illusion-or-reality theme.

Not that that’s a bad thing. There’s plenty to do on the Liberty, and having two sister ships sailing alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries gives cruisers more choice and flexibility within the Freedom-class experience. Plus, Royal Caribbean launched new programming along with the ship, so guests can take advantage of enhanced kids and teen activities, a variety of health and wellness features, and an expanded shipboard wedding program.

I spent the past two days exploring the Liberty, and as with the Freedom, I liked what I saw. The food was excellent in both the main dining room and the specialty restaurants, and I was especially pleased with the wide variety of food options in the Windjammer buffet restaurant.

The production show, “Ever After,” was enjoyable but not as wonderful as its prequel on the Freedom. I also caught the tail end of the soca parade down the Royal Promenade, a festive event complete with fun costumes and jaw-dropping acrobatics. I toured many types of cabins and can vouch that families will have many options for sleeping arrangements, as long as you don’t mind your kids sleeping on a bed that comes out of the ceiling right over the head of the master bed.

The ship was not sailing at full capacity, but there were still thousands of people onboard. Most of the time I didn’t experience any crowding because guests were spread throughout the ship. However, at certain times, the crowds were blaringly apparent. The lines for the Internet stations on Deck 8 were quite long, and the Royal Promenade took a long time to clear after the parade—you could hardly walk down the hall. The bar areas around the main dining room and Platinum Theater were packed to the gills just before and after dinner and show performances, and there’s no room to be antisocial in any of the hot tubs.

However, I never had to wait long at the buffet lines, for a cardio machine at the gym, or at the rock wall. Even the FlowRider wasn’t crowded, but I chock that up to chilly weather.

It’s nice to know that on a ship carrying more than 3,000 guests, you can still find a quiet spot in the library or get a table at your favorite bar. But why would you want to seek out peace and quiet when there are so many exciting things to see and do onboard?

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