Freedom of the Seas vs Liberty of the Seas

21 Dec 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Freedom Class cruise ships are an excellent balance of fun things to do onboard and value. They're big enough to include lots of activities, but they don't come with the price tag of newer cruise ships.

Freedom of the Seas aerial drone

Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas are two ships within this category of Royal Caribbean cruise ship that appeal to families looking to get a good value for their vacation dollar.

Read moreWhat I liked (and disliked) about my Liberty of the Seas cruise

I often get questions on how to choose between the two ships, and what you should know about the similarities and differences each has. They're quite similar, but there's just enough variations to make one a better choice over the other depending on your preferences.

It's important to note that Freedom of the Seas received a major upgrade in 2020, while Liberty of the Seas' scheduled upgrade in 2021 was postponed and has yet to happen.  This is going to be a recurring theme in comparing these two ships.

Liberty of the Seas received some updates in 2016, which gave her an edge versus Freedom until its 2020 refurbishment.

Here's a look at Liberty of the Seas vs Freedom of the Seas so you can understand what stands out about each.

Ship size

Technically, Liberty of the Seas is one foot longer than Freedom of the Seas, but you really shouldn't factor that in at all.

Freedom Class cruise ships are 1,111 feet long and they were both the largest cruise ships in the world at the time of their debut.  They've since been eclipsed by larger ships, but they still offer that "big ship" experience many cruisers look for in any vessel.

Here's a look at Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas statistics:

 Freedom of the SeasLiberty of the Seas
Gross Tonnage156,271154,407
(double occupancy)
Crew members1,3651,360


Freedom of the Seas sailing away

Both cruise ships have just under 4,000 passengers, but Freedom of the Seas has a higher guest count because of her upgrades in 2020.

The ship layout is exactly the same, with a Royal Promenade in the middle of the ship, ice skating rink, surf simulator, and water slides. Both ships are 15 decks high.


Playmakers on Freedom of the Seas

The choices in dining venues diverge a bit between the two cruise ships, as you'll find certain restaurants on each ship.

Here's a breakdown of the complimentary dining venues on both Freedom and Liberty of the Seas.

RestaurantFreedom of the SeasLiberty of the Seas
Cafe Promenade✔️✔️
El Loco Fresh✔️
Sorrento's Pizza✔️✔️
Sprinkles Ice Cream✔️✔️
Main Dining Room✔️✔️
Cafe Promenade✔️✔️


The primary difference is that Freedom of the Seas has El Loco Fresh, which is a casual Mexican restaurant on the pool deck.

You'll find nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and chips along with a toppings bar at El Loco Fresh.

Freedom of the Seas has another advantage with its specialty dining offerings, as it has newer venues.

RestaurantFreedom of the SeasLiberty of the Seas
Room Service✔️✔️
Chef's Table✔️✔️
Chops Grille✔️✔️
Johnny Rockets✔️✔️
Ice Cream Parlor✔️✔️
Cupcake Cupboard✔️
Giovanni's Table✔️
Giovanni's Italian Kitchen✔️
Izumi Hibachi & Sushi✔️
Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade✔️

In my opinion, the specialty restaurant choices on Freedom of the Seas are superior because it has a greater variety of popular restaurants.

Both ships have an Italian restaurant, but Giovanni's Italian Kitchen is the updated version with a newer menu and more choices, including pizza.


Izumi hibachi is one of the most popular restaurants on any Royal Caribbean ship, as its teppanyaki tables often sells out every voyage.

Playmakers is super popular with cruisers because it offers a true sports bar experience, along with excellent bar food to go with it.


Hot tub

Because Freedom of the Seas got amplified in 2020, she has a few more bar choices.

At the pool, there's the Lime and Coconut. This is a vibrant multi-deck venue that has a wider selection of drinks and seating choices than you'll find at the pool bars on Liberty of the Seas.

Freedom of the Seas also has Playmakers Sports Bar, which is conveniently located on deck four between the atrium and casino. It replaced what is the photo gallery on Liberty of the Seas.

Playmakers on Freedom of the Seas

Playmakers is a fun spot to catch your favorite sporting event, with dozens of big screen televisions and lots of seating. It also has a great a la carte priced menu you can order from, so you have bar food for the game.

If you're on Liberty of the Seas and want to watch sporting events, they have the On Air club.  It doubles as a karaoke bar and de-facto sports bar because it has a few televisions that can show sporting events.  But it's not nearly as expansive as Playmakers, nor does it have food.

The rest of the bar choices is largely similar between the two ships.

Cabins and suites

Panoramic suite

You will find plenty of the core four cruise ship room categories on both Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, such as inside, oceanview, balcony, and suite cabins.

There are Promenade View cabins on both ships, which have a bay window that looks into the Royal Promenade rather than outside.  While there's no natural light with these rooms, it's great for people watching and offers a bit more space than a conventional interior room.

There are two very popular types of cabins that quickly sell out on most sailings.

Balcony room

A balcony located on the ship's "hump" can be found on either ship.  This refers to the rooms that are located on the outwards part of the ship deck plan, right around the middle.

The reason why these rooms are desirable is because their balcony space tends to be larger than other balcony cabins without a higher price.

Speaking of balconies, the other room type worth looking at is an aft balcony.

Aft balcony

Located on the back of the ship, these balcony rooms face the ship's wake and their balcony space can be enormous.

Aft balcony rooms on the lower decks have the most balcony square footage, and it's like having a suite balcony.

Both ships also have family oceanview cabins at the front of the ship, which have bunk beds and an extra bathroom. They may not have a balcony, but they're great choices for families on a budget.

Freedom of the Seas bow

The suite offerings on Freedom and Liberty are more or less the same, but there is one important distinction.  

The cabins are similar, but the suite sun deck choices are different. Freedom of the Seas received the Lime & Coconut bar, which took up the space that used to be reserved for suite guests. Liberty of the Seas still has reserved chairs right in the middle of the pool deck for suite guests only.

Suite Lounge door entrance

The suite lounge has a newer look on Freedom of the Seas.


Saturday night fever

Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas have the same entertainment venues, but the show line-ups are different.

Liberty of the Seas has a full Broadway show onboard, while Freedom of the Seas does not.  Guests can enjoy Saturday Night Fever, which is shown in its entirety as you would see it in a theater on land.  The show is complimentary.


In the theater on Freedom of the Seas, you'll find musical acts and dance production shows, but nothing with as much plot and familiar music as what Liberty has.

Both ships have an ice skating rink, where you can see ice skating shows at no additional cost.

Schooner Bar on Mariner of the Seas

At the bars and lounges on both ships, there is live music each day. The pool deck has a live band as well as a DJ.  In the evening, the Schooner Bar has a piano player and the English pub has a guitarist.  There are other live musical acts at Boleros and other venues.

Pools & slides

Freedom of the Seas bow

Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas both have multiple pools and whirlpool hot tubs to enjoy, but the aesthetics of both differ along with the top-deck attractions.

Both ships have a common set of activities onboard:

Freedom of the Seas' pool deck has a Caribbean vibe to it, while Liberty has the traditional Royal Caribbean pool deck look.

Freedom of the Seas amplified slides

More importantly are the water slides. Both ships have a pair of Perfect Storm racer waterslides, but Liberty of the Seas has a big difference.

In addition to the duo of water slides, Liberty has "Tidal Wave", which is a boomerang style slide where two guests ride in a raft that goes up a near vertical wall to provide a moment of weightlessness before sliding back down.

Read moreThe best cruise itineraries for every type of traveler

Bottom line

Is Freedom of the Seas or Liberty of the Seas better for you? It really depends on which features are the most important, as well as the itinerary.

The biggest difference between the ships are the dining choices and pool deck experiences. The newer restaurants on Freedom of the Seas represent some of the best concepts the line has come up with in recent years.  That isn't to say the specialty dining on Liberty of the Seas is sub-par by any means.

The itineraries offered might be the most compelling factor to select one over the other.

Freedom of the Seas aerial at CocoCay

Freedom of the Seas sails from South Florida year-round and offers cruises to Royal Caribbean's private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay. In summer 2024, Freedom will start offering longer Caribbean cruises.

Liberty of the Seas mixes up her itineraries, and moves between Florida cruises in the winter, and the Northeast United States in the summer.  Liberty visits Canada, New England, and Bermuda, along with longer sailings to the Bahamas.

The two sister ships are quite similar, and you really have to dig into the details to find a good reason to select one over the other.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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