2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
So we chose this cruise to celebrate 20 years of marriage. We went all out and booked the owner suite. We were contacted by the concierge prior an asked if we were celebrating anything I said 20 year anniversary and we turn diamond ... Read More
So we chose this cruise to celebrate 20 years of marriage. We went all out and booked the owner suite. We were contacted by the concierge prior an asked if we were celebrating anything I said 20 year anniversary and we turn diamond plus this cruise, neither thing was acknowledged. We did enjoy the perks of the concierge floor although basically the same as diamond lounge with free drinks and snacks. Of all the cruises we have been on we thought this was the worst food. Sabor the Mexican and Chops were just ok, Giovanni's was awful. The windjammer was the same food every day! We reported Giovanni's and were called on the last night about it but nothing was done. The casino was awful with rude cashier and host who did not care about anyone, to busy personal messaging.The comps program is not even worth it anymore! We did like the ports, Bonaire was my favorite, if you love animals visit the donkey sanctuary. Although we just turned diamond plus we are thinking of jumping ship after this cruise Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because we needed specific dates in July and also because the itinerary was new for us and the ship was a good size and attractive. PORT - We flew in to San Juan Puerto Rico the day before and stayed in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we needed specific dates in July and also because the itinerary was new for us and the ship was a good size and attractive. PORT - We flew in to San Juan Puerto Rico the day before and stayed in the Sheraton near the cruise port. We got up before sunrise and took an Uber to the Fort to watch the sunrise then walked around Old San Juan. It was our first time with an 8:30pm set sail time but was nice because we headed right over to the ship when we had to check out from our hotel at noon and then we didn't feel like we were rushing to get on. Our rooms weren't available until 1:30 sharp so that gave us some time to head straight to Guest Services to do switch who was in which rooms together which was no problem. Once our rooms were ready we unpacked everything so we were ready to enjoy the week. CABIN/SHIP - Our cabin - panoramic ocean view - was GORGEOUS! It is on deck 12 and is an area that was refurbished in 2015 and is very attractive. We could hear some talking in the next cabin when sitting right next to the wall, but otherwise no noise, only some wind noise when it was very windy out because we were on the 12th deck. The public spaces on the ship were very attractive and did not look like cheesy Vegas decor as some ships do. The dining room was especially beautiful without being stuffy or too ornate. We mostly ate in the Windjammer for the buffet. The food was ample but the way it flows does seem to create more congestion than I've experienced on other ships. FOOD - The food was pretty tasty, although he desserts looked much better than they tasted. We all agreed we liked Carnival's food better, but it still wasn't bad. ENTERTAINMENT - The timing of the main show in the theater each night was different, not consistent start times and not consistent theme so it seemed disjointed, whereas on our previous cruises it seemed there were set times for the main shows and there tended to be a theme. We felt that overall the entertainment was lacking. But we didn't come on the cruise for the shows, we came to experience being on a ship and exploring exotic ports in the Caribbean. PORTS OF CALL - St. Thomas, St, Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados. We had pre-planned excursions in all ports (which I organized on my own, not through RCI). St. Lucia as our absolute favorite (it's so green, lush, mountainous, gorgeous water/best snorkeling of all stops) and Barbados was our least favorite, but glad we got to all of them. When stopped in St. Thomas we took the water ferry to nearby Water Island (it's close enough you can still see the ship in port) and spent the day on Honeymoon Beach - so beautiful - swimming, snorkeling, rented jet skis, and enjoyed food and drinks at the bar. OVERALL - we would go on Freedom of the Seas again because it was a large ship without being too big, it was attractive and we loved our cabin! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose cruise due to itinerary, great experience on Cuba cruise and large screen movies. First main dining room servers were exceptional. Stateroom above average not great. All customer service people on ship really nice and ... Read More
We chose cruise due to itinerary, great experience on Cuba cruise and large screen movies. First main dining room servers were exceptional. Stateroom above average not great. All customer service people on ship really nice and friendly. Itinerary was fun. Activities, like golf, ice skating and many more fun. Now letdowns. Jade is not Sushi anymore. One night only and awful. just plain rolls, no fish, except smoke Salmon and 90 percent rice. We had a few pieces and just said no more. TV in room still advertises nightly sushi but a lie. They have a sushi express for a fee. Now we know why they have played games with Jade. No real Caribbean food. Weak attempt for jerk chicken / pork. Just some off attempt on outside of pork / Chicken, no real Jamaican type. Sorrento's on Cuba had many self serve type Pizza's with tons of cheese. The ship had three same options with one different one daily, hardly any cheese. We went once and never again. It seems goal is to avoid people getting free food. Cafe another letdown. Cuba has Cuban sandwiches throughout day. Makes sense since Cuba cruise. Evenings soup, guacamole etc, wonderful. This ship lousy wraps, grocery store nonsense. Once again ruining experience for bottom line. Disgusting, we never went to cafe, mission accomplished for them. Big screen movie. My 11 year old son and i travel alone. Such a great father / son time on Cuba trip for us to sit in hot tub chit chat and watch movie. This ship my son wanted to watch from pool due to location. After half hour of movie they close pool, maybe 10:30pm. We move to hot tub. At 11 we are told that too is now closed. We leave to stateroom, no more movies rest of trip. Big waste. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My wife and I cruised on this ship during our honeymoon 7 years ago and were excited to be back on board! We did Carnival cruises the last two years, so it was interesting to go back to RCCL for comparison sake. We flew to San Juan a ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on this ship during our honeymoon 7 years ago and were excited to be back on board! We did Carnival cruises the last two years, so it was interesting to go back to RCCL for comparison sake. We flew to San Juan a few days early and stayed at a cool boutique hotel on Isla Verde Beach. We toured the forts and old city and got to eat some great food. We were blown away how hospitable everyone we encountered acted. From taxi drivers, police, shop owners, local beach-goers...they all were so kind and take a lot of pride in their island, especially in the wake of a couple of really difficult years. To the cruise. Embarkation was very fast and organized. It was interesting boarding around 12:30, but not leaving port until 8:30. Turned out to be cool. It was like a sea day and gave us time to get reacclimatized with the ship without feeling like we were missing anything. First day at sea was fun by the pool. Lots of music and dancing! There was an instance during the afternoon where it had started raining, but quite a few people stayed in and around the pools. Out of nowhere, a squall hit and had violent winds complete with flying deck chairs. It was very scary. To the staff’s credit, they immediately cleared everyone in as orderly manner as possible despite the chaos caused by Mother Nature. They are to be commended. Ports were all good, with Curacao and St. Martin being our faves. We chose a poor excursion in Bonaire which we regret because it ended up wasting our day. If you are able bodied, definitely get in the water at all of these islands Ship was in good shape for its age, food was good in buffet (also in Chops and Giovanni’s), service was good overall. Entertainment was good. They had an Adele impersonator singer her songs one night in the main theater - extremely good and nice break from the musical numbers they usually put together. My only gripes: Hard bed - difficult to sleep as a result. Casino was hot!!! We spend lots of time on slots and it was very uncomfortable. Smoking areas were weird. As a smoker, it was odd that non-smokers had to walk through smoke. We felt guilty. Other ships have this figured out better. That’s it though. Otherwise, things were at or above expectations. Finally, I’d like to touch on some of the other reviews I read on here prior to our trip relating to ‘too many Puerto Ricans’ or complaining about announcements in Spanish. This was hands down the best group of fellow passengers we have encountered so far. People were overall very respectful of each other, pleasant, and fun. We witnessed two encounters of inter-family squabbling. Both were not Hispanic. If you are expecting anything other than a Hispanic or Caribbean feel, this is not the trip for you. Maybe consider a riverboat cruise up the Mississippi or something? We choose to embrace being out of our normal confines and seeing and learning how other people live. Isn’t that kind of the point of traveling??? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We picked this cruise for the itinerary - ABC islands and St. Marten. It was my first time sailing with Royal Caribbean. We flew into San Juan a few days early as we have never been to San Juan either. We stayed in Old San Juan at a VRBO ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the itinerary - ABC islands and St. Marten. It was my first time sailing with Royal Caribbean. We flew into San Juan a few days early as we have never been to San Juan either. We stayed in Old San Juan at a VRBO and loved it. We did a Spoon Food tour the first morning and really enjoyed it. Then we looked around and did a little shopping and had dinner. On Saturday we took a taxi to Charlie's Car Rental in Isle Verde (did not want to drive in Old San Juan as streets are narrow and people parallel park on one side and you can barely squeeze by- the uber and taxi drivers here are very skilled). We drove to Fajardo and did 2 tours with Kayaking Puerto Rico - the mini boat tour and the bio bay kayaking. The mini boat conditions were rough (rough seas and got caught in a squall) - I would only recommend doing this on a calm clear day. The weather was better for the evening kayak tour and we really enjoyed it. Got back to our VRBO at 10pm. Made our way to ship on Sunday and checked in quickly around 11:30am. We stayed on the second floor in an ultra spacious ocean view (cabin 2568) - it had lots of space and can theoretically sleep up to 6 - but it would be tight with only one bathroom. For 3 ladies it was perfect. With two large portholes I didn't miss the balcony and it was very quite with minimal to no motion. Our room steward, Willy, was awesome and helped us with anything we needed and serviced the room both morning and night. We ate dinner in the main dining room every night and didn't try any specialty restaurants. The food was mostly excellent. Only found the fish we ordered to be over seasoned and a little salty. Not a big deal with good appetizer and dessert - we didn't feel the need to order another meal - though they always asked if you would like something else. The waiter also gave his recommendations each night and the few things I didn't care for wasn't one of his recommendations. Both our waiter and asst waiter were great - Putu and Placid at table 314 - we had anytime dining but usually ate at 6pm and sat at the same table. Even though you prepay tips - these people go out of their way to be friendly, helpful, and give you great service. I think Freedom has some of the best service I have received. We ate breakfast twice in the main dining room and lunch twice in the main dining room and I preferred this over the Windjammer which was always so crowded and hard to find a seat. We did like the Cafe for an alternative to breakfast (free coffee there seemed better as well). We also grabbed pizza at the Promenade restaurant for a late lunch after port day and found it to be very good. We went to most of the shows except the last night as we were tired and busy packing. I liked the first night show with the acrobats and comedian. I really liked the ice show and El Gaucho. I also enjoyed the second comedian and repeated acrobat performance. My least favorite was the Marque show and the singer - not that they were bad - just not for me. I also didn't care for the Love and Marriage show - I think things like this should be alternative entertainment and not take up the "main show" for a night. Port and Excursion Reviews: Aruba - this was my favorite port and excursion. We did a third party excursion with Dennis at Aruba Surf School - a private stand up paddle board excursion. It was just me and my teen daughter and we had never done this before. Dennis was an awesome instructor and had us paddling with ease in no time. He picked us up right outside the port and took us to the paddle location. The tour lasted about 2.5 hours and we ended up paddling about 3 miles along the coast line. He had drinks and water and then dropped us back at the pier. We grabbed lunch on the boat and then ventured back out - taking a bus to the butterfly farm and then bus back to pier/town where we shopped a little. Curacao - we did the Discover Curacao tour through Royal Caribbean. This included a stop at a small museum, the Hato Caves, and then the Blue Curacao Distillery with a liquor tasting. Each stop on the tour was somewhat average, but what made the tour for me was the tour guide on the bus. She was so informative with lots of history and how things are in Curacao and surrounding islands. I learned so much. Bonaire - we did a private third party tour with Brenda from H2O Visions. We did the 5 hour tour that included lots of sites on the south side of the island and two great shore snorkel stops. We saw the flamingos, salts fields, slave huts, etc - we stopped for photos and Brenda taught us all about the history of the island and the salt production. The two snorkel stops were awesome and she snorkeled with us and pointed out things we might not have seen without her - like a hawksbill turtle, two spotted eels, an octopus mating, etc. There were lots of fish and the snorkeling was fun. She provided all the gear and had drinks and snacks for us as well. St. Marten - we did the Americas Cup Sailing Regatta that we booked through Royal Caribbean. This was really fun. There are two sail boats and they split the group up between the two - you get to stay with your traveling companions. The captain assigns you a job and they teach you how to do it. You practice a little, then the count down begins and your off on your mini race. It was exciting and fun and for us a very close finish. They have non alcohol drinks on board and then when you're done they drop you at their shop for rum punch and you an purchase pictures on a flash drive for $20. However, they also offer to take pictures while you are one the boat with your camera - and they took a lot. I would highly recommend this excursion. San Juan - on disembarkation day we had a late flight and didn't want to sit at the airport as the boat docks at 6am. So we opted for a Royal Caribbean excursion so they would take our luggage to the airport. The one we opted for was San Juan on your own, but there were a few problems with this. You have to put your luggage out the night before and the excursion desk wasn't very informed on how the carryon luggage that you kept in your room (change of clothes, toiletries, etc) would be handled - how are your supposed to explore if you have to lug around a backpack or carryon. They led us to believe we could leave it on the bus - but that wasn't the case. We were told we had to take it with us. Now, you do meet up with your checked luggage as you take it through customs and you could but your carryon with your checked luggage to be transported to the airport before your get on the tour bus - it will be waiting for you at the airport when they drop you off and there is a rep there watching it the whole time. However, none of this was explained to us and we were mislead. And if there is anything you want to keep with you - you had to take it with you. They also led us to believe there would be two pick up times with the latest being 1pm. For us, there was no earlier time - only the one at 1pm. The tour operator told us it depends on how many people pick to do the excursion. So maybe, sometimes you can leave stuff on the bus, but this time we couldn't. You just can't count on it. We were stuck with our back packs to hoofed it to Barrachina restaurant where we stored them so we could walk around. It retrospect we would have been better off just taking a taxi from the pier straight to Barrachina and storing both our checked bags and carryons and then taking a taxi from there to the airport. Our tour picked us up at 1pm and dropped us at airport 20 min later. It wasn't crowed and we were through security and at our gate at 2pm for our 3:25pm flight - plenty of time. San Juan was hot and nothing was opened early in the morning. Finally, more shops and restaurants opened. Maybe the Bacardi tour would have been better - at least it was air conditioned and inside. Royal Caribbean puts their excursions on sale as you approach your sail date - I would say the closer you get the lower the price goes - we got ours for 30% off, I didn't see them lower and I checked frequently. All in all it was a great cruise. I would sail out of San Juan again, and I would sail with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our family of 10 cruised out of San Juan for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and had a great time. Embarkation - We arrived at 10:45am to check-in and it was a breeze. People were there, but there was only 1 family waiting in ... Read More
Our family of 10 cruised out of San Juan for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and had a great time. Embarkation - We arrived at 10:45am to check-in and it was a breeze. People were there, but there was only 1 family waiting in front of us. We waited around for 15 minutes and they let us in. We spent the afternoon exploring the ship, eating lunch, and it was nice to not be rushing, rushing, rushing in crowds... just taking our time and getting to know where everything was. Room - We had our first balcony and it was nice to have extra room, but I wouldn't pay for it next time. We hardly spent any time out there or in our room. I slept like a baby all week between the beds being very comfortable and the ship rocking me to sleep. I wish the shower was a bit bigger though. Also, the ship is going in for a rehab and it's time for an upgrade. Food & Beverage - The buffet was a typical buffet. I never found anything that ever bit me and said - WOW, I am fabulous. We had dinner in the formal dining room every night and two mornings of breakfast. Our servers were very attentive and everything I chose was outstanding. I thought the variety was a little lax because 5 years ago when we cruised, there was more fish, cold soups, fresher fruit, and things were overall a bit tastier and more appetizing. Maybe the head chef changed? Everyone at our table got an extra lobster tail that night, and sometimes extra deserts. OH, do NOT forget to try the warm dark chocolate chip cookie. Best desert of the week. Not a cookie, but complete heaven. Their beef stroganoff was not stroganoff, so be careful what you think your dinner will be. The pizza shop on the promenade was part of the package (not a specialty shop), but it tasted like frozen pizza so you can skip it. Some bar staff make tasty drinks, others water it down so good luck finding the right person. Activities - Several of us tried the wave runner and rock climbing wall. Those were fun and now I can saw I did those. We played shuffle board, basketball, the pool, several games in the clubs (family and adult). Most times the pool wasn't overly packed, except don't go to the pool on the ocean day - it was packed and just not enjoyable. Teen Club - Be Careful! Our teens enjoyed themselves overall because they met kids their own age. The older child made lots of friends and although I didn't feel comfortable, had free reign to walk around wherever he wanted. I would have preferred adult supervision. The younger child got into a confrontation and started getting bullied and there was no adult around for support, including when it got physical. Fortunately, his brother was around at the time. We got no phone call, just a report from my kids that one was hurt. It's nice to have something like this if it is run right and adults are around to run the activities, not just let them run around. Staff - Everyone we met was very courteous and helpful. We had a special request to have our balcony doors locked so the kids couldn't go out on the balcony while we were sleeping and that was helpful. When one person got sick for 24 hours, the doctor's office was helpful and they took good care of that family member. We always came back to a clean, made-up room and that was nice. Excursions - It was HOT! We sweat all week. Going to a beach? You have to pay $22+ for a beach chair and umbrella or risk getting third degree burns even with suntan lotion on. If you take a van/car somewhere for your excursion, it's the Caribbean and they were all a bit run down, so don't expect too much air conditioning, which can lead to car sickness (1/2 of the 12 on our bus were ready to pass out). Some islands are not as wealthy as others, so don't expect all touristy, rich looking, colorful buildings. It's safer booking excursions than hopping on a taxi where you could get mugged or left somewhere with no help. Many have driving on the left side of the road, so just expect it. Be safe! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I recently disembarked a 7 night sailing from Puerto Rico on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. During this cruise, we visited St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. Just for reference, I’ve been on almost 20 ... Read More
I recently disembarked a 7 night sailing from Puerto Rico on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. During this cruise, we visited St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. Just for reference, I’ve been on almost 20 cruises with various different cruise lines and this was my second time sailing with Royal Caribbean. I traveled with a group of 17 people. Embarkation: This was my first time sailing from the Panamerican cruise port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We picked up a taxi from our hotel that was across the street (Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino) and arrived at the pier by 11:15am. Once you get to the port, you need to drop off your luggage in the area designated for the deck your cabin is on. After that, you can head inside, go through security, straight on line for check-in and SetSail Pass pick up, take your welcome aboard picture and head straight onto the ship. It literally went exactly that way. There was no stopping in between or anything. Like I mentioned, we were dropped off at 11:15am and were onboard the ship at 11:30am. The process was easy and so smooth. Dining: During our cruise, we selected the traditional early seating dining (6:00pm) and were assigned Galileo’s Dining Room on Deck 5. We ate here every night of the cruise and I thought the food tasted very good. Sometimes it was a bit fancy, but I would order things plain or without certain things and the staff was only too happy to meet my request. Our wait staff, Danisha and Pavlo, were awesome! They were always one step ahead getting our drinks and bread. Pavlo was actually in Windjammer in the morning and was amazing there as well. Whenever he would see us, he would start getting the drinks he knew we wanted or helped us find seats. Speaking of the Windjammer, this is where we had both breakfast and lunch everyday. The food here was good. They had some items that were the same everyday with a few newer items mixed in, but the food always tasted good. Some other places we visited during the cruise were Sorrento’s, Promenade Cafe and Ben & Jerry’s. The pizza at Sorrento’s was fine. I am a bad judge since I am a New Yorker and slightly bias. Promenade Cafe had great specialty coffees and it was the only place onboard where I could find chocolate chip cookies! Ben & Jerry’s required a slight up charge but had a multitude of options such as cups, waffle cones and sugar cones. For a minimal fee, I think it was totally worth it to say I had Ben & Jerry’s on a cruise ship! Packages Offered: I purchased 3 packages for our cruise prior to sailing. The packages were the Deluxe Beverage Package, the VOOM Surf & Stream Package and the All Digital Photo Package. The Deluxe Beverage Package includes alcoholic beverages such as mixed drinks, glasses of wine and beers plus specialty coffee and bottled water. I personally highly recommend purchasing it prior to your cruise as the Cruise Planner sometimes has some great deals on it and you won’t have to pay full price. Given all the package offers, I believe it is definitely worth it and makes your cruise easier. If you have the package, there is no need to sign every time and keep track of receipts. The VOOM Surf & Stream Package is the internet package on board Freedom of the Seas. During my last sailing on Anthem of the Seas, I purchased the same package as well and thought it was quicker on that ship. I still believe it’s worth it and that you should get it, but keep in mind if you've been on newer ships, it might be slower on Freedom. The All Digital Photo Package allows you to receive all of your pictures from the cruise digitally. On Freedom of the Seas, you have to make sure all of your photos are linked to your account and 4-7 days after the cruise you will receive a link with the photos for download. Given the price of each picture is around $20, if you take 10 photos you’ve made the package worth it. Keep in mind this package is a good $50-$100 more on board the ship than on the Cruise Planner so if you are considering purchasing it, then do it prior to your cruise. Entertainment & Activities: As always Royal Caribbean delivers in the entertainment department. The two main stage shows, Marquee and Once Upon a Time, featured amazing singers and actors. Another treat on this ship is the ice show, Freedom-Ice.com, which was an ice skating show. It was excellent and the fact that these people can ice skate on a moving ship while doing different tricks seriously amazes me. Entertainment on other nights included a magician, a comedian and an acapella group, MO5AIC, which was awesome. In terms of other events, there was RED, which is described as a high performance nightclub experience, a silent disco, a 70’s party and a caribbean party. Spearheading these parties and events was our super energetic cruise director, Katie. Whether she was leading off The Crazy Quest, a hilarious and fun adult game show, or was dressed as a Police Officer from the Village People, she was always around. Like most ships, there were always tons of bars and lounges to hang out. While I didn’t utilize these facilities, Freedom of the Seas also has a FlowRider and Rock Climbing Wall as well as an opportunity to ice skate at the rink, Studio B. Ports of Call: Philipsburg, St. Maarten Our first stop was Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Since I was there a few years ago, we kind of relaxed for the day and spent it at the area in front of the cruise port. St. Maarten has some great places to shop and pick up souvenirs so if you aren’t into touring or doing anything crazy, the port is a great area to hang out. Basse-terre, St. Kitts & Nevis Next up was Basse-terre, St. Kitts and Nevis. Once again, we didn’t want to do anything too crazy here so we kind of kept the day casual and walked around the cruise port. Now, I do want to mention, St. Kitts can get kind of crazy when you get off the ship with people trying to sell you tours. Once you get into the area of the stores, you should be ok, but the walk from the welcome building to the stores consists of lots of people shouting and pestering you to take their tour. St. John, Antigua To add a bit of variety into our week, we decided to visit a beach in Antigua. After doing some research onboard, we decided to visit Dickenson Bay in Antigua. It was relatively easy and cheap to pick up a cab once we disembarked the ship. The cab ride was also pretty quick, maybe a 15 minute drive. The beach is beautiful and located right next to Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa (which looks beautiful). While there are some people on the beach selling items, if you tell them you aren’t interested they don’t persist. You are able to purchase chairs and umbrellas here, which was good. The water was absolutely beautiful and I really enjoyed spending the day at this beach. Castries, St. Lucia: St. Lucia impressed from the minute I opened my balcony. The scenery was just beautiful. Even though we only spent the day in the shopping area by the ship, I think it would be a great island to explore. It offered some beautiful scenery and was clean. Bridgetown, Barbados: For our final port of call, we decided to do an Island Tour through Royal Caribbean. The tour was called Barbados Highlights and we stopped at 3 main areas: Gun Hill Signal Station, Bathsheba Beach and Farley Hill National Park. Our tour guide was great and was very knowledgeable about every location we went to. Cabin: Our cabin this year was a Junior Suite located on deck 9. The room was a great size for 3 adults for a week. The sofa pulled out into a full size bed which was a nice size. The highlight of our stateroom was our Room Steward, Randy Cato. If you have Randy as your room steward, you are one lucky person. He is the best. Aside from the fact that he kept the room immaculate, he was always waiting to greet us in the hall, whether it was morning or night and always there with a smile. You knew when Randy was around because you could hear him in the hallway saying hello to everyone he could. I can’t say enough good things about him. Final Thoughts: As always, Royal Caribbean provided a wonderful vacation onboard Freedom of the Seas for my family and me. The ports were wonderful, the crew was amazing as was the entertainment and the ship, which made the experience awesome! If I had the chance again, I would definitely sail from San Juan on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports. We flew to Puerto Rico the day before and walked around site seeing on our own. Lots of places to shop and explore. We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan which is great for Carnival cruises but Royal ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports. We flew to Puerto Rico the day before and walked around site seeing on our own. Lots of places to shop and explore. We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan which is great for Carnival cruises but Royal Caribbean docks about 10 mins away and you’ll need to get a taxi, unfortunately. Embarkation was quick and we were onboard in no time! Shockingly, one of our suitcases made it to the cabin before we did and the other was delivered shortly after. Our cabin was ok. Nothing special. The balcony was a good size and the chairs were comfortable. This ship is older and needs the update it will soon be getting. Other areas of the ship weren’t that bad but the staterooms did make me cringe a little. It’s just dated and a little dirty. Our AC didn’t work well and it was hot and humid. We ate at Windjammer for breakfast and had no issues. Good food, huge variety. Lunches we were off the ship except for the one sea day and we ate at Sabor! It was amazing! Loved the guacamole. Unfortunately, I read this restaurant will be going away with the upcoming remodel. For dinner we would go to the dining room during the my time. It was always busy and they take reservations so plan to make them or you will be waiting for a table but one seated, service was top notch and food was typical. One evening we had dinner at Chops. It was the best steak I’ve had in a long time! Service was great as well. There wasn’t much in the evenings. We always seemed to miss stuff. However, we did see the ice show which was great and also another production show which was ok. I loved that they served popcorn and candy ($2.50 extra). It’s worth the little extra! We were late arriving to St Maarten and had a diving excursion booked through RC. They should have cancelled the dive. We were only under water for 8 mins and then back up and loaded back in the boat. Very disappointed. St Kitts we found a tour guide once off the ship and went to a beach. Wasn’t impressed with where he took us at all. I should have done more research. Antigua was great! We did the lobster and catamaran cruise through RC. It was amazing! The first beach they took us too was the most perfect place. The second beach wasn’t as nice and there were jelly fish swimming around in the water. Food was great and drinks were strong! St Lucia was the prettiest place I’ve ever been. Picture perfect and breathtaking. We booked an excursion on our own using JJ Speedboat Tours. It was perfect! Highly recommend this company! Barbados we did the Jolly Rogers Pirate Adventure booked through RC. It was a blast. You can walk the plank and swing from a rope swing. They serve lunch (additional) and also a short snorkeling excursion. Staff were friendly and drinks were strong (and included). The one sea day didn’t have much going on. We got a massage and then napped. Disembarkation was quick. Definitely use a porter and you will skip the line! Maybe one day we will do it again to do the ABC islands but it’s just too busy and I’m tried. I need more sea days on my cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise for the ports and excursions. For me, the ship is often just a means of getting to excursions. I plan my excursion so that they are all different and hopefully unique, with a mix of active and less active tours. That ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the ports and excursions. For me, the ship is often just a means of getting to excursions. I plan my excursion so that they are all different and hopefully unique, with a mix of active and less active tours. That was difficult to do on this trip, as two of our five excursions were cancelled at the last minute, forcing us to scramble for others. The entertainment was so-so, with most of the comedians the worst of all. Technical difficulties tripped up the RC singers and dancers. The promenade was unbelievably crowded and loud; even young people were complaining about the volume. Making our way through the crowds was treacherous, and we could see several small children with their parents almost get run over by the crowds. Activities on the ship were mainly geared toward spending money in the shops, casino, spa, and restaurants. We always enjoyed dance classes and games on other ships. They were very scarce (only 1 dance class at an awkward time) on this cruise. Plumbing on Freedom was sketchy at best. At times we would flush the toilet and it would actually flush 3-5 minutes later. We spent WAY too much time at the service desk. Our worst experience was finding a mysterious bottle of champagne and 3 bottles of water in our cabin labelled "Complements of Crown and Anchor Society" for which the ship wanted to charge us! We were eventually able to argue them out of it. Please form your own opinion but, for us, we plan never to sail on Freedom again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose this cruise because the port of call. It was our 4th cruise 2 with royal Caribbean. The highlight of our trip was dining at main dining room wilfred from india and Jose from the Dominican republic made this cruise 4 stars. Food ... Read More
I choose this cruise because the port of call. It was our 4th cruise 2 with royal Caribbean. The highlight of our trip was dining at main dining room wilfred from india and Jose from the Dominican republic made this cruise 4 stars. Food was surprisingly good and Wilfred was always so helpful with recommendations. We ate there everyday, the kindness and superb service was the best we ever had in a cruise. Bottom line freedom of the seas is an old ship but doable. Food at the buffet breakfast was limited and the same menu for the entire cruise. Shows were just ok, ice show and the comedian kilby was the only one good. I know people complain about announcement about activities but here was super lacking we never knew what was taking place if didn't check the paper. After cruising with Norwegian, royal Caribbean felt flat. Norwegian cruise made me feel like a queen they where always in party mode and Im a middle age lady. Every time we returned to the Norwegian ship from excursion it was a party waiting to greet us they reallyseen happy i was back. Sorry royal Caribbean must of the staff dont look happy. The entertainment for teens were lacking activities, my daughter went one night and found a small group of teenagers kissing and without supervision. As a result my 13year old daughter spent all cruise qith my husband and I. I also want to send a shout out to the singing chef that performed by the pool, your rendition of shine bright like a diamond was amazing sorry Rianna. Lol Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to try a new cruise line. Previously have cruised with Carnival. Love the ports of call for this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkion were extremely smooth and quick. The ship is beautiful. I have read reviews that adult pool ... Read More
We wanted to try a new cruise line. Previously have cruised with Carnival. Love the ports of call for this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkion were extremely smooth and quick. The ship is beautiful. I have read reviews that adult pool area was overcrowded, but I only found this to be true a couple times. The hot tubs were hot which was nice. Food in main dining and the Wind Jammer was average and not on par with Carnival Dream or Conquest. Bar staff was slow in most places. Though I did not attend, my travel companions said the ice skating show was very good. We participated in a table tennis and a volleyball tournament. Neither were run very well. Almost like staff had never done it before. The last day of the cruise I got sick. I am not a needy or complaining type of traveler and do not ever ask for extra assistance of any kind. So, when I went to the infirmary it was because I knew I was extremely sick with something. The door was locked and had a list of times that it was open. What the heck! Be aware you can only be sick from 8 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and then not again until after 4 p.m. I asked a passing staff member for help as I really felt like I might pass out. He opened the door and let me in. He spent a couple minutes talking with infirmary staff but I could not hear. There was a mom and little boy ahead of me. I sat there shaking uncontrollably and terribly ill. The boy was called in and after I was sitting there for over 30 minutes with no one saying a word to me, a staff member (nurse?) came out and looked at me and said “You have to leave.” “You came in after 11, you need to leave and come back at 4.” Now I wish I had given her a few choice words, but I was speechless and on the verge of tears. I sat there shaking and she said “Is this an emergency?”. I told her I had multiple bouts of diarrhea and she reluctantly agreed to look at me. She barely spoke to me and with no real explanation told me I would be quarantined to my room. She gave me Imodium and an anti nausea medication and told me to go. I personally thought hooking me up to some saline was warranted but what the heck do I know. Got multiple calls to make sure I stayed in my room. I was so sick that all I could do is stay in bed anyway, so the quarantine was not a problem and luckily it was the last day anyway. So I will not cruise with Royal again because of the awful way I was treated when I was obviously sick and in great distress. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had traveled with Royal Caribbean years ago when our kids were small. We were taking our whole family, two adult children and their spouses along with five grandchildren ages 5-12. We thought Royal Caribbean was a good choice for kids ... Read More
We had traveled with Royal Caribbean years ago when our kids were small. We were taking our whole family, two adult children and their spouses along with five grandchildren ages 5-12. We thought Royal Caribbean was a good choice for kids activities. We did have a wonderful time being with our family and watching the kids enjoy being together and the activities on the ship. However, we will go back to Holland America or Princess when it is just the two of us. Check in at San Juan was a breeze. We were on the ship by noon. We were able to enjoy that entire day at the pool. We had two family cabins with large windows and one balcony room.The family cabins were very roomy and made the trip with five in a room much less hectic. The balcony room was larger than most we have had. Our porters were great. One even decorated our daughter and son-in-law's cabin for their anniversary. The only real problem with the cabins were the beds. They are literally hard as a rock, and they had no egg crates or other cushion to put on them. My husband had bursitis for the first time in his life, I woke up several times during each night to horrible hip pain, and my daughter had hip and back pain. Whoever invested in these mattresses made a huge mistake. The waiters were excellent . We had five children, and they were amazing with them. They knew all our names the first night. We food was fine. It was not exceptional however. The food on both Holland America and Princess are far superior. We had one night in the Chops Grille. It was good and service was good, however other lines were superior here too. The Windjammer was mediocre and the lack of staff was noticed. Sorrentos had outstanding pizza we enjoyed often. The coffee bar was also great. We were able to get coffee whenever we wanted and relax. We were disappointed in the shows. The singers and dancers were good but not great. The comedians, magicians were just OK. The pool area is great for kids. It has a splash park and whirlpool plus a pool and many hot tubs. It also has an adult only pool that was always jammed. The kids loved the ice cream on the deck!!! We booked three port excursions through the ship. We went to the Adventure Race on St. Marten. It was fun but hard for the little kids. I would recommend this for adults and older teens. On St, Kitts we did catamaran and snorkeling. It was a lovely day for all. In Antigua some of us did swimming with the stingrays and others did zip line. We enjoyed both. In Barbados we did a private tour where we went to Harrison's cave. It was Ok, but we were somewhat disappointed after visiting other caves in the world. While most of the staff was friendly, we did have one encounter with a shore excursions staff member. She was beyond curt, condescending, and rude. My husband and I were taken back at her attitude because cruise ship staffs are always so helpful. This was our 16th cruise and have never had that happen before. We complained to customer service, and they were very apologetic and sent a bottle of wine to our room. The ship is nice but very big, and you tend to walk yourself to death. This ship is definitely for families and young people who like to party. We had fun, but back to Holland America next time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We sailed on the Freedom of the Seas on a Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Maarten. We had a great time on this ship! The staff were all super friendly and helpful starting from check in / ... Read More
We sailed on the Freedom of the Seas on a Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Maarten. We had a great time on this ship! The staff were all super friendly and helpful starting from check in / embarkation. We had the key, which I highly recommend if you plan on purchasing an internet package. Despite it saying boarding started at 12:30pm, we got there about an hour before that and got on the ship very quickly. With the key we got lunch at Chops and it was a very good way to start the cruise! Dining: Our main dining room staff of Warren and Lester (Waiter and Assistant Waiter) were excellent! They gave great recommendations each night, were very friendly and prompt with anything we needed. The head waiter for our section, Dennis, was quite frankly the best cruise employee we've ever encountered. He made it a point to remember everyone in his sections names, and shake their hand every time he saw them and ask detailed questions about how their cruise and day were going. He also was actively helping out all of his waiters. I've rarely seen better leadership anywhere. Dennis should be running his own department on a ship soon, he was that good! Ports: The ports of call were great on this cruise! We scheduled excursions through the ship for all of them. For Aruba we did snorkeling and it was so fun! We got to snorkel over a reef and see tons of cool fish. We also snorkeled over a WWII German freighter that was shipwrecked off the island. So cool! For Curacao we did a caves / city tour and a bar crawl. The cave tour was really cool! I would not recommend the bar crawl though as the drinks were just mediocre and 1 of the bars was very divey. The other two bars were good though. In Bonaire we did a bicycle tour and it was very fun! You do need to be in shape though! Lastly, in St. Maarten, we did the SeaTrek which was very unique! We got to both snorkel as well as do the SeaTrek, which is walking on the ocean floor with their special helmet on. It was a bit pricier compared to our other excursions but was definitely a cool experience. Debarkation: Debarkation was a bit of a mess. It was very busy and backed up in the terminal and at customs. We had a bit of a wait to get off the ship but since we were the key, we had a priority customs lane which is lucky because the normal customs line was huge. Like, Disneyland in July huge. Just another positive mark for the key! A lot of reviews cite the fact that there are a lot of Puerto Ricans on this cruise as a negative, I am not sure why. Yes, there were a lot of a Puerto Ricans but they are all very friendly and made for a fun atmosphere on the ship! All shows, games and programs were in English, but they do make Spanish announcements. So I guess if you don't want to hear any Spanish or encounter any awesome Puerto Rican people, maybe don't go on a cruise out of San Juan? Cons: While not many, to be balanced here are a few negatives/cons we ran into. Bar service could be a bit slow at times depending on the bar you were in. The buffet could be a madhouse depending on the time you went and didn't have a ton of variety. Drink prices are a bit high, so if you plan to drink a lot, the beverage package makes the most sense for you. They do try and up sell you a lot. Debarkation was a bit crazy, and if we didn't have the key would have been an absolutely insane wait to clear customs. The gym could get very busy at times as well. Overall we would highly recommend if you want a fun Southern Caribbean cruise! Also since it leaves out of San Juan, we would highly recommend spending some time there as well either before or after. We spent 2.5 days in old San Juan before and it was great! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose Freedom of the Seas for the outstanding itinerary; the Southern Caribbean route was the one of the few available for the week we could travel (late May). I had read some horrible reviews of this ship and the Royal Caribbean ... Read More
We chose Freedom of the Seas for the outstanding itinerary; the Southern Caribbean route was the one of the few available for the week we could travel (late May). I had read some horrible reviews of this ship and the Royal Caribbean passengers, but we found the ship to be in great condition (needs new carpet in guest hallways, some new furniture in public areas...but what older ships don't?), and our fellow passengers friendly and respectful! I would absolutely jump on an opportunity to sail on this ship and itinerary again any day. We were in cabin #7408, which is a corner aft balcony cabin on the starboard side. It is for 3 people, as it has a pull-down berth for the third passenger. We thought the room was a bit small for 3, and the pull-down was uncomfortable according to my adult son. The balcony was huge, and we spent most of our time outside. It is mostly covered by the superstructure of the ship, which offered shade from the blazing sun and shelter from the pouring rain (both of which we had a lot during our week). We dined in all 3 available specialty venues, Chops, Sabor and Giovanni's Table. Food and service in these restaurants was just wonderful, and we found them all well worth the price of the 3 night package we purchased on sale through the cruise planner prior to the sailing. The main dining room exceeded our expectations. Though we were assigned Traditional Dining which was not to our liking, the Maitre D', Rama, worked with us to see that we found suitable accommodations each of the 4 nights we dined there. Service on those 4 nights ranged from acceptable to great, and my perception of the just acceptable service was that is was due to us barging in on the setting and placing an additional burden on the servers. Windjammer was OK, we are generally not buffet fans, but we always managed to find something we enjoyed and we never left hungry. We also really liked the pizza at Sorrento's and the ice cream at Sprinkles (self-serve by the pool). The bar service was outstanding, we never had to wait long at any bar or pool for service, always with a smile. Entertainment was good. We went to most of the headliners and one ice show and were impressed with everything we saw. There was live music going on in the pools and lounges virtually all day, and we often had to choose what we wanted to do because there were many options. The ports speak for themselves! We were in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. We did excursions independently in 3 ports and loved them all! Can't wait to go back! We can highly recommend My Island Tours by Javin (with his monkey Peaches) on St. Kitts, Joy's Adventure Cruises in St. Lucia and Silver Moon catamaran cruise with lunch in Barbados. Please do not hesitate to book a cruise on Freedom of the Seas! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Sure excursions were great, except for mini speedboat experience as our boat was not working properly. My husband loved all the food, however as I am gluten-free I felt the options were limited and flavor lacking. The ship was ... Read More
Sure excursions were great, except for mini speedboat experience as our boat was not working properly. My husband loved all the food, however as I am gluten-free I felt the options were limited and flavor lacking. The ship was well-maintained and never felt too crowded. Entertainment was very good, Especially rock show and comedian. Did not like having to walk through the casino to get to the theater on one of the floors. Our cabin was fine, interior and felt spacious enough for us. Over all the servers in the buffet, While nice enough we’re not very knowledgeable about gluten-free, or ingredients in any of the food. The dining Aimed to please, and they did take my gluten-free need seriously, however the chefs need to have a better understanding of what gluten-free is to know that I can have seasoned food instead of the bland food I was served. Also very limited vegetables both in the buffet in the dining room unless you ask for them. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My friend & I chose this cruise specifically for the ABC Islands and St Maarten itinerary. We both prefer Carnival, but the dates and prices were right on for this one. Overall it was a great time! ** See my port reviews ** We flew ... Read More
My friend & I chose this cruise specifically for the ABC Islands and St Maarten itinerary. We both prefer Carnival, but the dates and prices were right on for this one. Overall it was a great time! ** See my port reviews ** We flew in the day of the cruise from Ft Lauderdale. Took a cab to the port. NO lines anywhere, since ship departs at 8pm. Dropped off our bags around 3pm, and found the room. Then got another cab to head to downtown Old San Juan. Went to the street with the umbrellas to take some pics. Walked from there down the cobblestone roads. Made it back to the ship around 6:15 pm. ** We missed the safety briefing!! ** (not on purpose, but it was an added BONUS!) We were invited to a "private" safety briefing in a nice comfortable air-conditioned conference room with about 25 other late-comers. So much better! Had the early seating (6pm) for dinner. I wish we had chosen the late; we always seemed to be rushing to get ready, then would be full and tired by 8:30pm and want to sleep by about 9:30pm (!) HA! But the service at the Main Dining Room was superb!! Food was what you expect for cruising. My favorite is always the pork chop. Didn't care for any of the desserts - ended up ordering chocolate ice cream and choc chip cookies like I saw kids getting! We signed up in advance for the Guacamole Class at SABOR, the Mexican Restaurant, for one of our sea days, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For the cost to just eat there (around $30 pp) we got the "class", making our own big bowl of guacamole. They also showed how to make three different types of margaritas. Then everyone was offered any of those margaritas - as many as you like. We got appetizers, main course, and dessert. I loved their mini churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce! Glad we did it. Entertainment was pretty good. At the Welcome Aboard Show, the comedian was great -- Monique Marvez. There was an aerial act also -- Jimmy and Anna -- they were awesome! The band out by the pool was wonderful -- One Love -- played Caribbean music. Loved the ice skating show!! Just show up at least 15 minutes early by the doors so you get a seat when they open. There was a funny activity going on when we waited one night, "If You Know It, Sing It". Hilarious to watch! I was bummed that there was no water slide, but oh well. I tried to go up and walk/jog every morning on the track, but there is one section that is like a wind tunnel - crazy! The exercise equipment looked pretty good, but I'm not a gym person. The ship is easy to learn your way around. Not enough outdoor space or windows for me though. I do like that you can walk out from Deck 4 or 5 forward to the bow where the Helipad is. Many people don't know how to get there. Debarkation was relatively organized. Only stood in lines for about 20 - 30 minutes total. I would take this cruise again, just for the itinerary. Port are great! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we like RC and the ships.We sailed on Oasis of the Seas 2 years ago and loved it.We were also looking forward to going to Puerto Rico.We flew down the day before and got a great ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we like RC and the ships.We sailed on Oasis of the Seas 2 years ago and loved it.We were also looking forward to going to Puerto Rico.We flew down the day before and got a great recommendation from the Hotel staff on places to eat where we could get authentic PR food.The food and service were outstanding.The people we met were very friendly and welcoming.Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship within 20 minutes.The ship is overall good.We found the staff to be friendly and helpful.We went to the majority of the shows and found them to be good.We did not spend a lot of time at the pools because of the crowds and we had excursions planned for most days.This cruise went to Aruba,Curaçao,Bonaire and St.Maarten.We liked Aruba the best because of the beautiful beaches.St.Maarten has some work to do as it is still in bad shape in some places.The biggest issue we had and people we talked to said the same thing and that was the quality of the food.Windjammer had the same food every day and the crowds were rude and that’s putting it mildly.We ate in the main dining room every night and although there were different options each night,it was always room temperature at best. I understand feeding 4000 people isn’t easy but we didn’t have a single meal that was memorable.That wasn’t the case on Oasis.The last night I ordered the Chops filet with an up charge of $17 and even it was cold.The other major issue we had was the constant up selling to buy a specialty restaurant package the staff does.They even interrupt you while you’re trying to eat.Cruising is still a great option and at some point we might try it again but we will have to decide if we want to try another cruise line or if we just chalk it up to being this particular ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our freebie cruise using RCCL credit card points. We added a few $$ to upgrade from oceanview to balcony. Since there were extra sea days, the balcony was well worth it, not having to tote items for a lounge chair on the public ... Read More
This was our freebie cruise using RCCL credit card points. We added a few $$ to upgrade from oceanview to balcony. Since there were extra sea days, the balcony was well worth it, not having to tote items for a lounge chair on the public decks. Our deck chairs allowed you to recline. We also did the anytime dining. On the first night they asked if you had a preference of when to dine. We stayed with coming anytime when the dining room was open. We went various times and never experienced waiting for a table. We had been to these ports previously (with the exception of Bonaire) and wanted something different to do. Aruba – 8am – 9pm. This was the only stop without a tour as we had done a Harley tour around the island on a previous trip (that was great also). We wanted a beach day, but did not need a tour for this. We chose to go to Arashi Beach on the north end of the island. It is so easy to get there by local bus, don’t let the taxi drivers tell you differently. I had left my vacation notes at home (shame on me!), so I needed a little help to remember where the bus stop was at. I had read where another CC member had asked directions for the bus from a taxi driver, who told them the bus doesn’t go that far. I got the same response (they wanted $26 + tip one way). Someone else pointed the bus station out to me. Once leaving the ship, at the street, look about 1:00 o’clock and it will be right there. Costs $2.60 USD pp one way, try to have exact change for them. You can tell the bus driver you want Arashi Beach, as well as he will announce the beach stops. This stop is the last one on the route. It takes about 20 minutes and you will get some sightseeing in as the bus goes by the big resorts/timeshares and along the various beaches. The tourists staying at those places all ride the bus. We rented 2 beach chairs for $16 (found areas with shade). Arashi beach has both sandy shoreline as well as rocky for snorkelers. With your rental you get a ticket to use the restroom (it was clean) and there are showers for rinsing off. You can rent snorkel gear and those little things that pull you through the water so you don’t have to propel yourself. Sorry, but I did not get the price for the rentals. The sand, water and weather was beautiful, but a little breezy. The breeze was nice for cooling off, but stirred up the water to discourage taking underwater pics. There is also a beach bar onsite for refreshments. There are taxis sitting around if you don’t want to wait for the bus that comes about every 20 minutes. In fact, the taxi drivers there will also tell you that it will be an hour before the bus comes. (Boy these guys lie!!! I would hate to see what else they do to scam money out of you.) The bus got us back to the station in town just fine and we were off to check out the shopping and casinos. If you are interested in casinos, just about all the casinos in the islands accept USD. All the casinos are equipped to offer you a free drink after gambling a few minutes. Curacao – 8am-8pm. Booked city tour through Irie Tours online for $20/pp. They met us once off the ship and provided us with beer and bottled water on the bus. They took us through the historic neighborhoods in town, Curacao distillery, scenic overlook, and to Mashi beach. You had several options once at Mashi Beach. 1) stay at the beach for 1-1/2 hours; 2) stay at Mashi Beach as long as you want and get your own transportation back; 3) go to the aquarium. We chose the first option. The beach was small but very nice with rock pilings out a ways to eliminate the rough surf (another breezy day). We walked around; did a little shopping; and laying on hammocks with a Mudslide. Back in town we did more shopping and hit more casinos. Can you guess by now my DH loves casinos? LOL! The day ended with a beautiful sunset. Bonaire – 8am-5pm. This island has been a prime destination for divers, so it is behind the curve for every day tourists. Not a lot of shopping. Rented mopeds to tour the island. $45 USD per moped. Do get the free map of Bonaire and follow the route mapped out for you. We had the map but did not follow the route which resulted in some backtracking along the way. It is true that you can see the whole island in a day. Do NOT forget to apply the sunscreen! This is from someone who does beach and boating every week in Florida. If you love bird watching, there are some really colorful ones along the countryside. Saw flamingos, lots of iganuas, and the salt pans. The salt pans provide some beautiful color from the white salt and various colors of pink in the pans against the blue sky. Don’t forget to pick up your piece of salt rock left for you at the front gate of the facility. Ended the day chilling with some drinks and people-watching. The waitress told us that after our ship leaves, they shut down for the season. St. Maarten – 8am-5pm. Booked online with Rhino Riders for boat ride out of Simpson Bay. We took a group taxi to Simpson Bay. It was about $15 for the two of us. You get a small RIB with a center seat like that of a wave runner. The guide takes you around Simpson Bay and on out to the French side of the island. Showed us various sites, snorkeled in beautifully clear water, and swung by the late Steve Job’s yacht. It was a great time and by booking it online vs. through the ship (with the same company) we saved $50+. We walked across the street from Rhino Riders and caught the bus back to Phillipsburg. (About $5 for the 2 of us.) We then shopped and enjoyed some drinks along the beach in town. After having 12 & 13 hour days in Aruba and Curacao, the 9 hour stop in St. Maarten seemed too short. The next day we disembarked in San Juan for our flight back home. Immigration has made it so much easier to navigate the process since they have gotten rid of the immigration and declaration forms for cruises. Just show your passport and you are on your way. YAY!!! Everyone questions how much time to allow to catch flight back home. In this case where the ship’s last port was just a skip from San Juan; the ship was cleared to disembark at 7:00am. We carried our own bags off the ship at 7:30, caught a cab, and was at the airport by 8:30am (without any rushing on our part).This quick process is due in part with San Juan having a system in place to transport passengers from cruise terminal to airport efficiently and quickly. I’m ready for cruise #27!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Loyal TO RCCL, Overall great cruise, weather outstanding, arrived the day of cruise with no problems, no waiting to check in. Other reviews complained about the food and lack of variety. The windjammer was great, had a huge variety of food ... Read More
Loyal TO RCCL, Overall great cruise, weather outstanding, arrived the day of cruise with no problems, no waiting to check in. Other reviews complained about the food and lack of variety. The windjammer was great, had a huge variety of food to pick from, Sorrentos pizza was ok for a snack as was the Cafe. Main dining room was a disappointment for the main courses however appetizers, soup, salads, sides and desserts were all tasty! Cabin clean and spacious with plenty of room for storage. I love having a balcony and will never cruise without one! All excursions done through RCCL and did not disappoint. Sure you can save money by purchasing on shore but I’m on vacation and rather be safe than sorry just to save a couple of bucks . Used the self assist disembarkment for the first time after 12 cruises due to flight leaving at 10:30 am and was such a breeze I will definitely do it again. Was at the airport by 8:00 and seated at the gate by 8:20! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We've cruised several times before -- this was our first experience on Royal Caribbean. Let me be upfront... we had a great week. We are not up-tight, difficult-to-please travelers. We loved the ship. We loved the people we were ... Read More
We've cruised several times before -- this was our first experience on Royal Caribbean. Let me be upfront... we had a great week. We are not up-tight, difficult-to-please travelers. We loved the ship. We loved the people we were with. We came home happy, and relaxed, with no regrets, and an extra inch or two around the waist. That being said, chances are that if you are reading this it's because you are looking for some additional information to help you make a decision. So let me just mention a few things to be aware of: 1. Boarding. Fast and easy. We arrived at the Pan American terminal at 10:30 am (based on others' recommendations on Cruise Critic), and we were happy we did. We checked in, got our Cruise Cards, and waited in line for a few minutes for boarding to start. The boarding doors opened at 10:45 am. 2. The ship. Freedom is a wonderful ship. That being said, it is only fair to point out that it is less than a year away from dry-dock (January 2020) and it looks it. Everything is clean, but a bit worn. It never bothered us, and nothing was so worn that it affected the quality of the cruise. But if you are one of those who expect everything to be fresh, polished, and shined all of the time, then this is not the ship for you right now. 3. Food. Acceptable, and plentiful, but nothing that blows your doors off. Most of it would be considered sub-par at your local Applebee's. I heard that the food was one of the real differentiators between Royal and some of the others. We didn't really see that on the Freedom. We took the galley tour on one of the days at sea and the operation is amazing. Just getting the food to the tables is a small miracle. I don't cruise for the quality of the food -- no matter what the cruise ship, there are always better restaurants in every city in America. The food was fine. And there was lots of it. 3.2 IMPORTANT....Food Part II. We were pretty shocked at how few choices the ship offered. Sorrento's (pizza) was not bad, especially considering they were pumping out a pie every 30 seconds all day long. The Promenade Cafe was a few cookies (not bad) and mini-sandwich choices. The Windjammer was plentiful but slam packed (barely room to move) and the food was.... well.... average. Jut trying to help. Reviews make it sound like there is food everywhere. It's just not true. And BTW... the one soft serve ice cream station was a spectacle. Worked about half the time. Overwhelmed by the crowds. It was almost comical to watch. I promise I am not complaining! 4. Staff. Our dining room staff were wonderful. As was the staff in the Windjammer. Wow those people work hard! We loved them. I was not too impressed with many of the others. Bar staff -- unfriendly. Cabin steward -- just not a people person. Other staff -- lots of frowns, not many smiles. Nothing particularly terrible -- just nothing that really jumped out at you. It was fine... not terrible, but certainly not exceptional. 5. Entertainment. The ice show was great. The Whitney Houston show was as well. The production shows were ok... gave us something to do. No complaints. Not as good as some of the other ships we have been on. Lounge acts were OK. 6. Ports. Love the slate of ports. We had been to Aruba and St. Maarten before. And the addition of Curacao and Bonaire were amazing. Great islands to visit. 7. One REAL Complaint. My goodness, I have never seen a cruise ship that attempts to sell more with every breath. There was not one announcement that didn't attempt to sell us something -- sometimes more subtle than others. I am surprised they didn't try to sell us monogrammed life jackets at the muster. It was just overboard (no pun intended). At first it is fine. Then a little exhausting. And by the last two days it was just ridiculous. We'll try Royal Caribbean again. Friends we trust swear by it. I think even they were under-whelmed by this one. In the future, I will pay more attention to the year the ship was built and/or dry-docked. Was it a great week? Yes, absolutely. A week on a cruise ship in the Caribbean is always going to be special. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose Freedom of the Seas because we love St Maarten but had not seen the other ports, it was perfect for us. We did not get a chance to stay in Puerto Rico (where it departs from) but we heard so many great reviews from other guests, I ... Read More
We chose Freedom of the Seas because we love St Maarten but had not seen the other ports, it was perfect for us. We did not get a chance to stay in Puerto Rico (where it departs from) but we heard so many great reviews from other guests, I wish we had! We stayed in room 7608. The stateroom attendant was wonderful, I had no issues with the bed and the balcony was great. Port side so there was lots to see on port days. My only issue here was the royal promenade was only 2 floors below us. The late night parties were loud! So after being at port all day, drinking enough to make the drink package worth it, and then going to bed early enough for the next port, we were so disappointed in RC. They do everything so much better than this, the bass was so loud it just thumped until the parties ended. I was sorely disappointed in this. We finally decided to spend that time in the hot tub (open 24 hours) which was empty, because we aren’t parties and had no interest in joining. This was the only way we got through it and I would prefer to not have had to “just get through it”. We did a 3 night specialty dining plan. Then booked The Chefs Table for our actual anniversary which was the Saturday night at the end of the cruise. Choose Grille-my husband loved it! I don’t eat steak. So I ordered fish. There was nothing spectacular about that but he raved on and on about everything. Order the steak and enjoy it! He sure did. Giovanni’s-oh my gosh! So yummy. The food was fantastic, the service even better. We ended up eating here twice (paying for the second outside of our dining package) because it was so good. Sabor- this was typical Mexican food. I wasn’t impressed and would not do it again. It was good but so is the MDR and that is at no extra cost. I can’t give a review on The Chefs Table. We were looking forward to this so much. Our reservation was at 6:30. At 5, they told us they didn’t fill the table and cancelled. Had I known that was a possibility I definitely would not have booked it! Since it was our last night, we now have to fight to get our money back because we didn’t spend 2 hours at guest service the last night on our anniversary. Booking Giovanni’s was difficult and we couldn’t get in until 8:30 because of the short notice. I will never book this pricy meal again knowing that it’s not popular and they won’t do it, if not booked. Disappointing. MDR-it was wonderful. We had no issues getting a table for just the 2 of us during my time dining. They were very willing to accommodate. I was very nervous reading reviews that everything was in Spanish. This is NOT the case. Everything is in English and then repeated in Spanish. Even the game shows were English and later that night Spanish. There was a lot of culture differences coming out of Puerto Rico vs Florida but RC does a great job to accommodate all. I never felt like I was out of place or unwelcome. In fact the opposite. Everyone was unbelievably kind. More so than any other cruise we have ever done. Aruba-we did the kukoo kunuku bus to palm beach. Had a great time and would do this again. We are a restaurant right on the beach and had fresh fish. It was a great experience. You could get a taxi and spend more time there as the bus limited your available beach time. Curacao-we did a beach by boat tour and will definitely do it again. Was wonderful! Bonaire-I think next time in Bonaire I would get off the ship and go snorkeling on my own. We did a 4X4 expedition. It was so informative and beautiful. Since we have done it once I don’t think I’d need to do it again. St Maarten-just get off the ship, jump on the water taxi and get a chair on the beach. Water taxi $7, chair $10 with free WiFi. You will be surrounded by food and shops and my favorite beach! The entertainment was tricky. All of the shows were during dinner time or late at night. We did see the headliner and a few game shows but I was a bit disappointed with how hard it was to try to schedule simply because of timing. We did an anniversary package and our room was decorated so cute! My husband did a shoutout to me on the morning show and afterwards they sent us up a bottle of wine. What an awesome touch. Plus each night they sang to us and gave us cake to celebrate. The crew is simply amazing. I would say overall don’t miss this ship! It is not as outdated as some say. It’s smaller sure than others but the experience was worth it! Order a frozen Mojito when you get on (virgin or with rum) and enjoy your trip! In fact...take me with you?! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this cruise 2 years in advance so we could afford the Grand Suite. By booking that far ahead, all 3 of us (husband, me, 10 year old granddaughter) flew to San Juan for free w/points. We stayed at the Hilton Plaza Coronado the ... Read More
We booked this cruise 2 years in advance so we could afford the Grand Suite. By booking that far ahead, all 3 of us (husband, me, 10 year old granddaughter) flew to San Juan for free w/points. We stayed at the Hilton Plaza Coronado the day before and the day after the cruise (again, free because of points). Plus we had $800 of OBC because of points. We flew in the day before and did a nighttime kayak tour LED tour right down the street from our hotel. Lorenzo, JP and Robert were excellent guides and we saw lots of star fish, lobster and fish. We were picked up at the airport by Puerto Rico Go Green transportation (Edgar) and it was great. He stopped by the Fire Dept as my husband is a firefighter and he got to meet some of the guys. We enjoyed the hotel as it was in a great location. Still some damage from the hurricane but we really liked it. We took a cab the next day to the terminal (we could see our ship come in from our balcony at the hotel). It was easy to get to the port. We had priority board due to a grand suite. This was our first experience with a grand suite and I have to tell you I don't know if I can go back to balcony! I loved the benefits associated with this and it was definitely worth every penny for us!! We don't drink so we use the money for a suite. We do spend a lot of time on our balcony so it was worth it for us. I have to say the port in San Juan is not nearly as nice as Port Canaveral but everyone was friendly. I appreciate RCCL checking the custody papers on our granddaughter to make sure it was OK for us to take her. We did take advantage of free breakfast each day in Chops Grille. It was a nice perk. I also enjoyed the reserved seating at the pool. However, people did climb over the rope and sit there. I did see RCCL staff come around a few times and check passes and they would ask people to leave. We also took advantage of the reserved seating at the shows. People got a bit miffed because they couldn't sit there but my feeling is you could have it too if you want to pay for it. When I fly, I don't expect to be treated the same as first class because I'm in steerage!! We did get a free VIP kitchen tour and a suite guest cocktail party when we sailed away from St. Kitts. This was done on the helipad which my husband enjoyed. My granddaughter and I were getting our hair done for formal night. Here are the things I did NOT like: 2/4 ports were closed. To me, this is unacceptable. Apparently May 1 is a national holiday in Aruba EVERY YEAR! RCCL should have known this. There was hardly anything open. We did rent a Jeep from Amigo and went to the lighthouse and a few beaches. We had to return the Jeep after the lighthouse because the tire was worn down to the canvas. I was not happy about this and when we returned it, they would not issue any credit (I did not want a refund) for the inconvenience. I was told, "You were lucky they changed the tire." Excuse me!! It's your car, you SHOULD change it. I did e-mal customer service once we returned and received a $25 credit. I did not appreciate the sexy man contest at the pool. The MC was a man and he actually licked the nipple of another man. Really? With kids at the pool? I took my granddaughter and we left. In St. Kitts we did the volcano hike through Thenford Gray. I would recommend this tour but not necessarily this operator. We had a guide named Hilton and he went so fast. I was unable to complete the hike (I stopped after about an hour) due to some recent lung issues. We passed one tour group and he said to our guide that he needed to slow down. Hilton told him no way, he was on military time. The other guide commented that he didn't like it when Hilton led a group because he didn't pay attention to his clients. On the way down, he was on his phone the whole time (per my husband) and didn't pay attention. If you want to do this hike, know that it is extremely strenuous and I would recommend hiking shoes. Our guide did have walking sticks for our group which the others did not. In Curacao we rented a car thru Celestia and he was awesome! He gave us a GPS with points of interest already loaded, gave us a great recommendation for authentic restaurant, and where to snorkel for sea turtles. He was spot on. We found out the night before that St. Thomas was basically closed due to Carnivale. Our concierge Fabio was kind enough to cancel our rental car since there was no point. We just walked around the port. We did enjoy the Concierge Lounge, we had great stateroom attendant (Junior) and wonderful wait staff (Turkessa and Charmine). We also did unlimited digital photos although there were a lot not included and we had to take them off the wall so they could be put in our package. Got some pictures of other people (not sure who they were) in our package. All in all, we enjoyed it very much. I do think RCCL should have known better than to take us to four ports and 2 were closed. Curacao and Aruba could have been switched around. The gym was good too. We did use it several times. Refrigerator in room not very cold, our granddaughter enjoyed the kids' club. There was a little bit of a language issue because of leaving from PR but she enjoyed it. My husband commented one night that he liked fried plantains; we got them every night after that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We were on this ship on July 2008, the ship was pretty new since it was built on 2006. At that time it was the largest cruise ship, and had some unique features, like the flow rider. We decided on taking another cruise on the Freedom ... Read More
We were on this ship on July 2008, the ship was pretty new since it was built on 2006. At that time it was the largest cruise ship, and had some unique features, like the flow rider. We decided on taking another cruise on the Freedom because of the ports it was visiting, and didn't expect to find that this time the ship was even better than when it was new. It is very clean and you can't see many signs of aging, even though it is going to be renewed in 2020. The crew was wonderful and made us feel like royalty even more than on other ships. Room service was excellent and very quick. The quality of the food is excellent. There is a greater variety of dishes. This chefs are highly qualified in a grand variety of international cooking. Both the Main restaurant and the Windjammer were excellent. I did miss the Solarium for breakfast and dinner. Our cabin was a junior suite and had more closet and living space than the same cabin category on other ships. Very comfortable cabin and impeccably clean. There were many activities and the entertainment were great. As usual in most cruises the trivias were always full of enthusiasts. Bolero lounge had a trio that kept everyone dancing until late hours. I recommend the Freedom of the Seas for first timers and experienced cruisers, it's worth the experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean ( I have been on Carnival and Princess several times) and thought I would see if it was better. As far as fun, fun and more fun I personally prefer Carnival , but overall Freedom of the seas ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean ( I have been on Carnival and Princess several times) and thought I would see if it was better. As far as fun, fun and more fun I personally prefer Carnival , but overall Freedom of the seas rated a 8 out of 10 for me. The ship is beautiful we booked a interior room which had a sofa and king size bed , it was a bit tight moving around sides of bed but hey its a cruise and I new that interior rooms are not huge. My regret was not booking a balcony room , I sometimes would catch a glimpse of passengers out on the quiet decks relaxing with the private view of the ocean and breeze and I was jealous. Our room attendant Ronnel was the best, he was so polite and always kept our room super clean. Day 1- boarding ship was crazy, it was pouring rain so we went straight to the ship and tried to figure out where to drop off luggage because it is not well organized, But once you drop of luggage inside security area is quick and a simple process. Day 2 - DAY at SEA, little boring at times personally for me . I am not a person that likes to hang out at the pool all day. It was extremely crowed so we just walked around the ship and ate, ate, ate. Also Day 2 was formal night. Day 3- Curacao- Lovely island, we got on a off ship tour on the pier with IRIE Tours with Miguel for $20 he took us on a about a 2 hour tour of the island and then dropped us off at the beach for about 3 hours and then returned to pick us up. The tour included water and beer. Back on the ship I highly recommend Battle of the sexes in the Studio B lounge for ADULTS only in the evening. Day 4- Aruba- It was a holiday so everything was closed, but we loved it we rented 3 JEEPs on the pier from Journey and we toured the whole island with a group of our 16 friends and went to all the historic sites with our map and went to the beaches we wanted and had a great time. Day 5- Day of Sea- not loving it, would prefer that there was only one day at sea . There is only one ice cream machine so there is always a long line , the pool is really crowed below in the shaded areas. Day 6- St. Kitts- This was the only island I booked a Shore excursion with the ship to the Dolphin Experience at Dolphin Discovery. I highly recommend , I loved it . spent about 35 minutes touching and playing with the Dolphins inside the water. BEWARE Dolphin pictures are expensive and you are not allowed to use your cameras. Day 7- St Thomas. - we took a taxi to Coki Beach with some new friends from the ship and loved it, out of all the beaches on this cruise this was my favorite. The cruise experience had little things that I did not like there was never enough seating at the Pizza place and only water was provided instead of ice tea or lemonade. But that was minor issues , the ship is lovely the staff is excellent, Our waiters each evening Crispolo and Anthony greeted us by name with the biggest smiles and laughs, they already had the things we preferred each evening without asking and they are the hardest workers and the staff is the reason this ship was a great experience for me. I am already booked for 2021 Harmony of the Seas. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The ship overall is impressive. Food was great everywhere Gained 10 lbs in 7 days. I couldnt resist... For my husband's BD we ate at Chops grill. Delicious. We got free BD cake, free beer and wine at the end. If you dont know which ... Read More
The ship overall is impressive. Food was great everywhere Gained 10 lbs in 7 days. I couldnt resist... For my husband's BD we ate at Chops grill. Delicious. We got free BD cake, free beer and wine at the end. If you dont know which wine to choose, let them do it for you. Wont be disappointed. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Stairoom with balcony is spacious and very clean. Evening entertainment is ok. Could be better. Only problem with this ship I think is lacking a big adult pool. There is nowhere to swim in adult only part. 12th level of outside area is full of chairs under direct sun. No shade. No pool. No people. Not utilized at all. Overall, we had fun and enjoyed cruising with Freedom of the Seas. In Curacao we went to Avila beach hotel and obtained $10pp beach pass. Great place, delicious food and drinks. In Aruba went to Arashi beach, there is not windy at all, we loved it, then snorkeled on catamaran with Aruba Watersports on Palm beach. It was great.. in St. Kitts we took Rose and Jim island tour as recommended. Rose dropped us off at Reggae beach and picked us up in 3 hrs and took back to the pier. Great. At the pier just ask for Rose. Everyone knows her. In St. Thomas we took island tour with drop off at Emerald beach. We took taxi for $4 pp back to the pier. Great. Read Less
Freedom of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 4.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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