First time cruiser, myself, husband, 12 & 18 year old sons. Initially I struggled with choosing between the easter and western route. I wasn't thrilled about going to Jamaica or stopping at 4 ports 4 days in a row. I want to have a few days to enjoy what the ship has to offer. So I chose two promenade cabins on deck 8 for the 7 day eastern caribbean on Liberty of the Seas for Oct 12 08. Our stops are : San Juan, St. Maarten and Labadee.
I am considering changing to Mariner of the Seas 7 day eastern caribbean Oct 12, 08. Stops are CocoCay, St Thomas and St Maarten.
Is it true that the Freedom Class is a "stretched out" version of Voyager Class plus the flo-rider? Is the surfing simulator reason enough to book this class of ships? My kids saw a doc on travel channel about Freedom of the Seas. They were impressed with what the ship had to offer including the flo-rider.
There is only a $150 difference in the two cruises. I would appreciate any advice or opinions about the two ships and ports of call. I'm sure we'll enjoy this cruise and book another on in the future. I'm still anxious about choosing the right ship and ports for our first experience. Also, should I be concerned that I am cruising during hurricane season?
Both ships are AWESOME! Given the ages of your kids, I would definitely say (even though I have sailed Mariner several times and am sailing again this coming September 7th) hands down, do Liberty. Not only is there Flow Rider on the Freedom class ships, the kids arcade is outrageous! HUGE with a great selection of machines and games!
If Liberty is only the $150. difference I would go with Liberty. Flowrider in it self is worth the $150.
Your boys will love the liberty!
I'm also looking into the Liberty I would prefer St. Thomas over a stop in San Juan. But Labadee and St. Maarten are wonderful stops with a few seas days to really enjoy a great ship! 8)
CQ's Cruise Resume
Allure Of The Seas
Oasis Of The Seas x2
Liberty Of The Seas x4
Freedom Of The Seas x3
Navigator Of The Seas x2
Explorer Of The Seas x2
Voyager Of The Seas
Enchantment Of The Seas
Rhapsody Of The Seas
Majesty Of The Seas
Monarch Of The Seas
Sovereign Of The Seas
I personally prefer St. Thomas/St. Maarten. Both have great beaches (Magen's Bay on St. Thomas and Orient Beach on St. Maarten are my favorites). San Juan is historic and busy. You can also visit the Bacardi factory for a cool tour. Labadee has gorgeous beach areas and is more pristine than you will find in other ports. Truthfully, you can't go wrong with either of those itineraries!
You'd asked about Liberty being a stretched version of Mariner and the Voyager class ships - that is true. In fact many of the venues even have the same names. The Freedom class (which Liberty is a member of) has a longer, wider Royal Promenade than the Voyager class ships. The Promenade cabins are really nice as well - a GREAT aternative to both Inside and Ocean View. I would suggest if you can to get your cabin assigned on Deck 8 - the design of the window has it slanted on an angle, giving the feel of "more room" in the cabin. Also, avoid the Promenade cabins on Deck 6 as they are directly above the Royal Promenade, with nothing extra to buffer the sound.
Regarding the time of year - hurricane season - just remember that the cruise lines (all of them) will not jeopardize the safety of their passenger, nor will they be inclined to put their multi-million dollar vessels in harm's way. Hurricanes are easy to avoid, and in fact some of the roughest seas I have ever experienced (20 foot seas) occurred in January. I sail often, including during the months of August, September and October (peak hurricane months - highest occurrence being in September), and I have not run into any problems.
That's been my personal (and professional - I own a travel agency) experience. I think you chose wisely! I'm happy to answer any other quesions you may have as well! Have a BLAST!
thanks for the responses.............the liberty is about $150 more than the mariner cruise....I think I made the right choice with the liberty.....I worried that I was paying almost $4000 ($1878 for each promenade cabin) for seeing only what I consider 2 1/2 ports for a 7 day cruise.....we get to San Juan so late.....it almost doesn't even count. After that we only see St Maarten and Labadee.
I have to agree, go with Liberty for that difference in money. Besides the flowrider, the whole pool area is far superior to the Voyager class IMO. As long as you are cruising with kids, they will love Liberty. I also love the Windjammer cafe, the layout is wonderful, unlike Voyager, there are more food stations, so basically you'll hardly be in any lines.