Liberty of the Seas Vs Freedom of the Seas



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Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas are two of Royal Caribbean’s most popular ships. Part of the Freedom Class, they were twin ships when they launched within a year of each other, with only very minor differences.

A split-image comparison showing the top decks of two Royal Caribbean ships, Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas, each boasting thrilling waterslides, pools, and sports courts, inviting guests to choose their preferred type of maritime adventure.

But that’s since changed. One of the ships has undergone significant renovation, while the other hasn’t. So now, they offer quite different experiences onboard.

Why is that, and how do you know which one is the best for you?

In this guide, I’ll explain what happened to make these ships so different and give you a full side-by-side comparison so that you can pick the best ship for your next cruise.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships docked at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island, where guests can enjoy exclusive beach activities, with the vibrant colors of the aqua park and island attractions highlighting the ultimate vacation experience.

Royal Caribbean’s Amplification Program

In 2018, Royal Caribbean began work on its Amplification Program. This was a plan to upgrade several of the more popular ships in the fleet, adding some of the exciting features that had debuted on ships released more recently in the Quantum Class and Oasis Class.

The Vision Class (the eldest) and the Radiance Class weren’t going to be upgraded, but the plan was to renovate all of the ships in the Voyager Class and the Freedom Class, including both Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom of the Seas was the second Freedom-class ship to be Amplified, in early 2020. The other ship in the class – Independence of the Seas – was one of the first to undergo the program in 2018.

But then the global shutdown happened, and Liberty of the Seas never underwent the program. The cruise line obviously had to focus on economic recovery from that point, and despite cruising being as popular now as it was pre-shutdown, the Amplification Program still remains paused.

This is why these two ‘twin’ ships are now quite different.

Read more: Royal Caribbean Amplification Schedule

An overhead view of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship sailing the deep blue ocean, featuring a bustling top deck with aqua-colored waterslides, swimming pools, and ample lounging areas for a fun-filled sea day.
Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas is a slightly larger ship than Liberty of the Seas since her Amped renovation – she now has a higher gross tonnage. She can also accommodate more guests. Despite that, the newer Liberty of the Seas is actually one foot longer.

ShipYear LaunchedGross tonnageLength (feet)Width (feet)Guest capacity (double occupancy)Crew capacity
Freedom of the Seas2006156,2711,1111853,9261,365
Liberty of the Seas2007154,4071,1121853,7981,360

The differences in ship size and capacity are fairly minimal. In terms of choosing a cruise, you’re not going to make your decision based on these stats since it’s not like one ship is a completely different size to the other.

The accommodation options on Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas are almost identical, with only two key differences – Liberty of the Seas still has a 4-bedroom Villa Suite that Freedom no longer has, while Freedom has extra Oceanview options near the kids’ clubs.

The 4-bedroom Villa Suite is one of the biggest suites in the Royal Caribbean fleet in terms of capacity, although not in size. It can accept up to 14 guests in total between the four bedrooms and the sofa beds in the living areas.

Freedom’s Villa Suite was replaced with Junior Suites, probably due to a lack of guests booking it. This still did leave some guests unhappy:

“Personally I don't see how four juniors is equal to a 4 bedroom villa suite. The Royal suite does provide that common area and the balcony with hot tub, but with that route I would lose a bedroom and everyone else is down the hall.”
Source: CruiseCritic

However, Freedom of the Seas does have some Spacious Ocean View cabins that aren’t on Liberty of the Seas, situated on Deck 12 right next to the arcades and kids’ clubs. These rooms are likely a nightmare if you’re travelling without kids, but for families they are definitely worth considering!

Read more:

Winner – Liberty of the Seas

Liberty of the Seas wins purely because it has one extra accommodation option compared to Freedom of the Seas.

If you’re travelling with a large group, Liberty of the Seas might have the better option. However, those Spacious Oceanview cabins on Freedom of the Seas are worth considering if you’re sailing with kids, so it’s a close call.

The biggest differences between the two cruise ships are in their dining options.

Freedom of the Seas had several new restaurants and venues added during the Amplification upgrade, although there are a couple of venues that you’ll find on Liberty of the Seas and not her sister ship too.

Here’s a look at all the restaurants on both ships:

RestaurantTypeLiberty of the SeasFreedom of the Seas
Main Dining RoomComplimentaryYESYES
Windjammer BuffetComplimentaryYESYES
Room ServiceChargedYESYES
Cafe PromenadeComplimentaryYESYES
El Loco FreshComplimentaryNoYES
Sorrento’s PizzeriaComplimentaryYESYES
Sprinkles Ice CreamComplimentaryYESYES
Chef’s TableChargedYESYES
Chops GrilleChargedYESYES
Cupcake CupboardChargedYESNo
Giovanni’s Italian KitchenChargedNoYES
Giovanni’s TableChargedYESNo
Ice Cream ParlorChargedYESYES
Izumi Hibachi & SushiChargedNoYES
Johnny Rockets BurgersChargedYESYES
Playmakers Sports Bar & ArcadeChargedNoYES
SaborChargedYESNo

Freedom of the Seas has more of the popular dining locations. You get an extra complimentary dining venue with El Loco Fresh, a Mexican eatery that serves breakfast burritos, nachos and tacos throughout the day.

Liberty of the Seas does have its own Mexican restaurant Sabor, but it’s not free and it isn’t as popular with Royal Caribbean guests.

Freedom of the Seas also has Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade that serves pub bites including burgers and wings, and the Izumi Hibachi and Sushi restaurant. It has the more relaxed Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen too, compared to Liberty of the Seas’ more formal Giovanni’s Table.

A couple shares a joyous moment at Giovanni's on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, with the woman holding a refreshing Aperol Spritz and the man engaging in a delightful culinary experience, dipping bread into olive oil. The backdrop of the restaurant's chic interior, along with their assortment of salads and charcuterie, sets the scene for a luxurious dining experience at sea.
Giovanni’s on Freedom of the Seas

Winner – Freedom of the Seas

There’s a reason that venues like Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Playmakers were added to Freedom of the Seas – guests on other Royal Caribbean ships love them.

So if you want the better variety, including a complimentary Mexican venue in El Loco Fresh, then Freedom of the Seas is the better ship.

Freedom of the Seas received significant upgrades for its activities and live entertainment as part of the Amplification Program, and it has several key venues and features missing from Liberty of the Seas, such as laser tag and the Lime & Coconut bar.

Bars

Most of the bars on the two ships are the same, but Freedom of the Seas has two newer additions missing from Liberty of the Seas. That’s Playmakers Sports Bar, and the Lime & Coconut cocktail bar on the pool deck.

Three friends enjoy the vibrant poolside ambiance at the Lime & Coconut on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. They're relaxing in the water with tropical drinks in hand, against the backdrop of a sunny sky, the ship's deck, and the colorful bar sign, encapsulating the ultimate cruise leisure experience.
Freedom of the Seas Lime & Coconut

This venue has proven very popular on Royal Caribbean ships – Icon of the Seas has four of them!

There is a sports bar on Liberty of the Seas, called On Air. By day it shows sport and at night it converts into a karaoke bar.

Water Features

Both ships have a pool deck area with a Splashaway Bay splash park for the smaller kids. Freedom of the Seas’ pool deck was renovated to give it a Caribbean vibe, and the Splashaway Bay was given some new water features too.

Children splash and play in the sun-drenched Splashaway Bay on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. Joyful expressions light their faces as they run through water arches, with a vibrant aquatic playground behind them, capturing the essence of carefree fun on a family-friendly cruise vacation.
Splashaway Bay on Freedom of the Seas

Both ships have the same Perfect Storm racing waterslides, but Liberty of the Seas actually has one slide that’s missing from Freedom of the Seas – Tidal Wave, a boomerang slide that sends you on a raft up an almost-vertical slope before sliding back down.

An aerial view showcases the dynamic and colorful waterslides of Liberty of the Seas, twisting above the ship's deck. Below, the deep blue sea rushes past, framing the ship's bustling activity areas, including the pools and lounging decks, inviting a sense of adventure and relaxation on the high seas.
Liberty of the Seas waterslides

Other Activities

The other activities you can enjoy on the two cruise ships are, again, almost identical. Both ships have a rock climbing wall, an adults-only solarium for relaxing, kids’ clubs with different spaces for different age groups, a FlowRider surf simulator, and mini-golf.

Rock climbing wall on Liberty of the Seas

However, the kids’ clubs and the Solarium were upgraded when Freedom of the Seas was Amplified, meaning the facilities are newer and of a higher quality.

Beneath a striking glass canopy, guests unwind in the tranquil waters of the Solarium on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. The pool area offers a serene oasis with panoramic ocean views, capturing the essence of relaxation and luxury at sea.
Solarium on Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas also gained a new laser tag attraction, Clash for the Crystal City, which means it has slightly more variety in terms of activities.

Amidst vibrant neon colors and an inflatable arena, a family is fully engaged in a lively laser tag match on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. The excitement and action-packed fun of the game illuminate their faces, offering a glimpse into the ship's thrilling and interactive entertainment options.
Laser tag on Freedom of the Seas

Live Shows

There are some differences between the live shows performed in the theatres and bars on the two ships. Liberty of the Seas has Broadway productions in the theatre, along with a Saturday Night Live show.

The shows on Freedom of the Seas are instead all original productions – still amazing quality, but if you want to enjoy theatre productions you’ve heard of before then you may prefer the offering on Liberty of the Seas.

Vibrant energy bursts from the stage as performers dazzle in a musical number aboard Liberty of the Seas. A central singer in a black outfit, complete with a striking afro, captivates the audience while dancers in flowing pink dresses whirl around him, their movements evoking the exuberant spirit of showtime at sea.
Liberty of the Seas

Winner – Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas has the edge with onboard activities thanks to the Amplification upgrades. The Lime & Coconut and Playmakers bars great venues to relax in, and the upgrades to the Solarium, Splashaway Bay and kids’ clubs have definitely given the ship a more modern and fun-packed feel.

Liberty of the Seas does have some good features though, including that thrilling Tidal Wave slide and the Broadway productions – so it depends on what you want to prioritise.

When choosing a cruise, you’re just as likely to make your decision based on where you’re sailing as you are on the ship – so destination is a key differentiator.

Liberty of the Seas is cruising from Cape Liberty during the summer of 2024, with cruises to Bermuda and to Canada.

During the 2024/25 winter season, she will be sailing from Fort Lauderdale, cruising to the Eastern Caribbean on shorter 4-5 night sailings. Her summer 2025 plans aren’t yet clear – this may be when she undergoes her own Amplification renovation.

Freedom of the Seas is offering short cruises from Miami from February until July in 2024, all sailing to the Bahamas, with the cruise line’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay featuring on most itineraries.

She will then transfer to Fort Lauderdale, joining her sister ship for sailings to the Caribbean until at least April 2025. However, her itineraries will be longer, mostly lasting for 8 nights.

The aerial shot captures Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas docked at the vibrant and picturesque CocoCay. The ship's deck is bustling with activities and amenities, while the crystal-clear Bahamian waters and the island's inviting beaches frame this idyllic cruise destination.
Freedom of the Seas at CocoCay

There’s no winner here – if you want to cruise from Cape Liberty then you’d look at Liberty of the Seas, while Miami has Freedom of the Seas.

When both sail from Fort Lauderdale, it will depend on whether you prefer Liberty of the Seas’ shorter cruises or the longer sailings on Freedom of the Seas.

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Final Word

Overall, Freedom of the Seas is the better ship than Liberty of the Seas for more cruise guests, purely because she has already received her Amped upgrades.

However, if the Amplification Program is restarted, then Liberty of the Seas will likely be at the front of the queue for upgrades, and since they’ll be a few years newer than Freedom’s, she may become the overall better ship.

They are still quite similar overall, with a lot of venues shared between them – so if you prefer Liberty’s itineraries, you aren’t missing out on too much. Of course, it’s worth checking out the whole fleet because there might be an even better Royal Caribbean ship for you.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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