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
5 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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have cruised with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean (Allure) and this has been our best family cruise yet. While Allure had more than enough of family friendly activities, the size of this ship and warmth of the crew made it memorable and ... Read More
We have cruised with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean (Allure) and this has been our best family cruise yet. While Allure had more than enough of family friendly activities, the size of this ship and warmth of the crew made it memorable and our best experience to date. We started of flying in the previous day in San Juan and it experienced the great food at Bebo's and beaches within walking distance. We will go back to San Juan again as we found it beautiful. Embarkment was very fast and took less than 15 minutes from drop-off to waiting area as it wasn't busy when we arrived. Once the doors opened it was probably another 10 minutes for onboarding. The bar was open and we grabbed a drink and headed to WindJammer. Lunch was good and not busy either. We explored the ship and immediately greeted by smiles and welcomes. We met our stateroom attendant later and he was also very warm and friendly. Throughout the cruise he greeted us in the mornings and evenings, chatted, and provided us with a great and clean stateroom. He new all of our names by the second day. The ship itself seemed to be the right size for us - not too big or small and we never felt that it was crowded. Every crew member we met was very friendly and many new our names by the end of the cruise. We dined in both WindJammer and MDR for both breakfast and dinner and enjoyed the at sea lunch in MDR. Food was good but all or most of the selections in MDR were available in WindJammer. WindJammer had more selections and we did enjoy all of the food - no complaints at all. We always managed to get good seats in WindJammer (but we are early risers and late eaters). Promenade Cafe also new what we ordered and provided little touches for my daughter (cookies to our table). Sorrento's was good but as always there was a line-up in the afternoon. We went mainly to Boleros and the bartenders were great. Good conversations, they new our drinks and were very friendly and was good to see them in action when busy mixing all of the drinks. We were pleasantly surprised by our cabin (Spacious Oceanview Balcony) with the amount of space - will get the same size room again on future cruises. Slept well and no issues with room size or amenities. Ports were also nice and we took tours in St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Enjoyed all of them (included scenic tours, shopping, and beaches). Our daughter enjoyed it so much that she didn't want to leave. On disembarkment day, we had a late check-out and so we went around to all of the crew members wishing them and exploring the ship one more time. We will be back again on Freedom in the future, but next year it will be Symphony as there are more ports to explore! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because we had never been to the southern Caribbean and 3/4 ports were places we have never visited. We didn’t do ship excursions (we don’t have comments connected with RC). Embarkation- We arrived at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had never been to the southern Caribbean and 3/4 ports were places we have never visited. We didn’t do ship excursions (we don’t have comments connected with RC). Embarkation- We arrived at the cruise port around 4. It was not crowded, but still required gentle herding to find the correct baggage drop off for our deck. After that it was extremely easy walk on process. Cabin- Clean, functional, great shower pressure. Room attendant was amazing. The one thing I had read about and would agree with is uncomfortable (hard) mattress. We did hear some noise between rooms. One of our neighbors were not happy with each other and decided to loudly discussing the matter late at night. But not their tv or normal conversation. Dining- We really liked the food. We sat at the early seating for the main dining room. Food was wonderful. The buffet was a buffet, keep trying till to find something you like. We had one meal that we both nonplussed about. The bottomless brunch tour was very interesting, informative, mimosa and guacamole great, however the brunch itself was subpar. Entertainment- We didn’t really give the entertainment a fair shake. We missed the first night entertainment, which from our table mates they didn’t like. We went to the second night show (best of musicals), we ended up leaving midway through. One of the main singers was off pitch and we aren’t musical buffs so it didn’t have enough other to keep us in our seats. We ended up not going back to other shows in the theater. I really liked the ice show. It was super fun. We also randomly did trivia. Other- Great ports, good cruise ship. Would recommend. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and had a good time. It didn’t stand out as an exceptional vacation but was a good, relaxing vacation. I’ve read some comments regarding Royal Caribbean’s food quality going down but we enjoyed almost all of the food. We would recommend this particular cruise and will most likely go on future Royal Caribbean cruises. 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
4 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Introduction: Myself - 47 and DH 49, 7 cruises, 6 RCI and 1 HA, last one 2017 on RCI Our 4 kids, 2 at home, 2 out of the house; -DS1 - 24 years old, 3 prior cruises with us, last one 2009 -DD1 - 22 years old and her SO, 3 ... Read More
Introduction: Myself - 47 and DH 49, 7 cruises, 6 RCI and 1 HA, last one 2017 on RCI Our 4 kids, 2 at home, 2 out of the house; -DS1 - 24 years old, 3 prior cruises with us, last one 2009 -DD1 - 22 years old and her SO, 3 prior cruises with us, last one 2009 -DD2 - 18 years old and her friend, 1 prior cruise with us, in 2009 -DS2 - 15 years old, 1 prior cruise with us, in 2009 My parents, 76 and 78, one prior cruise with us in 2009. We have sailed on Voyager class ships but nothing as large as Freedom of the Seas. Our prior cruise with everyone in 2009 was on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. DH and I were on Jewel of the Seas on this almost exact same itinerary in 2017. We thoroughly enjoyed the ports and leaving from San Juan. Puerto Rico really has a lot to offer, especially if you are not just there for part of a day on a ship excursion. It does add to the price for airfare, though. We booked this cruise in February, 2018. So anticipation has been building for a long time! Everyone was very excited about going. And everyone participated in the planning of what we were going to do. I am very lucky to have children, who even though they are grown and out of the house, still enjoy vacationing with their parents and younger siblings. And I am very lucky that my parents are also willing and able to join us in the adventure. I am also very lucky that both my husband and I have jobs that allow us to vacation like this with our family. Cabins: My parents and DH and I each had balcony cabins on deck 7. The rest of the folks had interior cabins on deck 7. Usually we stay higher up on the cruise ship. We really liked this level. It was quiet with the library being close by. And it was right in the middle of our dining options (up to Windjammer, down to MDR/Promenade). I think we got more use out of the venues on the promenade since it was just 2 floors down. Drink packages/Specialty Dining: On our last cruise in 2017, we bought the Refreshment beverage package. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It definitely added to our enjoyment of the cruise. We did the same thing this time. I was able to get the package for $17 on the Black Friday deal. I also booked the Deluxe package for DD1/SO and DS1. I was able to purchase that for $44 about 2 months before cruise time. We also booked Chops Lunch for everyone on embarkation day. We are at main seating for dinner and don’t have any other specialty dining planned. Transportation to San Juan: For our last cruise, we flew Jetblue. For this cruise, we gambled a bit and went with Spirit Airlines. The flight to San Juan was OK. But then my son’s flight was cancelled and Spirit couldn’t get him to San Juan before Monday. So we luckily got him on another flight on Sunday on Jetblue. On our return flight, the seats were incredibly cheesy looking and cheap looking. There wasn’t even a pocket in the back of the seat. Just some elastic. And they were really uncomfortable. From our perspective, the money we saved in booking Spirit Air evaporated with the extra ticket we had to buy for my son. Spirit has the reputation of not being good with cancellations and rebooking and that was definitely our experience. So, I don’t think we will be booking with them again. Pre Cruise: We stayed 2 days prior in San Juan at an airbnb and were supposed to do a cave rafting excursion through airbnb. But that got cancelled shortly before we left for San Juan. So we had to come up with a Plan B. We ended up booking another excursion through AirBNB called “Beach, Art and Old San Juan”. It ended up being fantastic. Giovanni, the tour guide, picked us up in Old San Juan and drove us to a beach that was a “locals” beach. Just a bunch of families enjoying the Easter weekend. Everything was already set up for us on the beach. Chairs, umbrellas, coolers with drinks,, snorkel gear, speakers, towels, etc. We swam for a bit and then lunch was delivered to us. Giovanni brought us a variety of food from the local stands that we passed in coming to the beach. It was delicious food; a variety for us all to try. We stayed at the beach a bit more, and then it was time for the art part of the tour. He took us to a local donut shop while he parked the car. Then it was time to do some walking to look at all of the local street art. These are the large paintings that were on the sides of a lot of the buildings. Giovanni knew a lot about each piece and seemed to know a lot of the artists personally. The paintings were amazing as were the stories associated with each. Then it was back to Old San Juan where we took some pictures at El Morro. Giovanni was really amazing. My dad has some mobility issues and he went above and beyond to include him in the day. While we were on the art tour, he had his friend drive my dad around in the car. And at each stop, if my dad wasn’t there when Giovanni told us about the art, Giovanni went and repeated the information to my dad. In addition when we were all done, he drove my dad to the ChocoBar Cortez where we were going to go for an early dinner. It was an amazing day that far exceeded our expectations. If you are looking for something different in San Juan, I would definitely recommend him. While we were in San Juan, in addition to ChocoBar Cortez, we also ate at a couple of restaurants close by our AirBNB in Condado. One of them was Cafe Tresbe. We went here for dinner. We had a variety of items. The ceviche was the best we have had. My husband and son each had a poke bowl and they were delicious. We also found the best breakfast spot. Although I don’t drink coffee, my folks told me that these were the best lattes they have ever had. The restaurant was Cafe Marquesa. We had breakfast there 2 days in row. The red velvet pancakes were delicious. They bake their own bread. They also had carrot/pecan pancakes on Easter that were delicious. The french toast was also delicious. Everything was good. I strongly recommend both of the restaurants. Cruise Day 1: We arrived at the pier at about 10:30 am. We unloaded the large amount of luggage we had, dropped it off with the porters, headed through the security line at the door, then walked right up to the desk and checked in. We waited for another 15-20 minutes or so before they opened the doors. We were on the ship before 11 am or so. Everyone had the drink packages and got a drink at the Solarium Bar. All our luggage arrived by the afternoon, minus one of our suitcases that was down in the “naughty” room with an “ALCOHOL” label on it. After showing the attendant that it was the hot sauce we bought in San Juan, we took it up to our room. We were supposed to have lunch at Chops that day, but since one of our party was not there yet, they allowed us to switch the reservation to day 6 (the only other day it was offered). This was our itinerary: St Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, Day at Sea, St Maarten We had one ship based excursion in St Kitts. The rest of the islands, we had private excursions planned. Day 2 St Kitts This is the one day that we split off into multiple groups. My parents booked the railway excursion through the ship. They enjoyed it. It was perfect for them. DD2, her friend and I booked the island tour through Thenford Grey. The rest of the gang took Thenford Grey’s Eco Tour of the Volcano. For the island tour, Thenford lived up to the expectations that I had from reading reviews. He clearly knows and loves his island. There were a couple of photo stops along the way. He also gave us water partially through. At a lot of the stops, there was a chance to get something to eat/drink. But if you stopped to eat or drink, it took away from your time to explore. The rest walked up the volcano. DH and I had done this in 2017. It is very strenuous. We underestimated it when we climbed it the first time. This time you couldn’t walk as high up as we could last time. I guess the ladder was broken or something. Overall a good day for everyone. Day 3 Antigua Months before the cruise, I contacted Spring Hill Riding Stables for a horseback riding adventure. We don’t have any experience, so that limited our choices. We had a 30 minute trail walk and then some time in the ocean on the horses. This was a great experiences.They knew all of the horses really well. The horses are clearly members of their family. Sue, the owner, did a great job taking pictures and video for us while we were swimming with the horses. Everyone agreed it was a great time. There was no food on this tour, although it was one of the shorter excursions we took. We got back to the ship in time for lunch. Day 4 St Lucia We booked Treetop Canopy Adventure for zip lining. This was a good excursion. They did a great job keeping things moving. There are 12 zip lines that you go through and there are lots of stairs to climb. The zip lines varied in difficulty, some small, some large, some faster than others. The surroundings are beautiful. Keep in mind if you book this that there are some stairs to climb, all throughout the course. The folks that took us on the adventure did a great job. The bus ride there was also interesting and our guide did a good job of narrating and entertaining us on the way to the park. There are a couple of other activities to do at the location, but we only did the zip lining. My mom went with us on the excursion. They took extra good care of her all along the way. It was a very strenuous activity for her (the stairs specifically) but she made it through and enjoyed herself, and was very proud of her accomplishment. We didn’t have any food on this tour, although it was offered. But it seemed to only be standard restaurant food. We might have sampled some, if it has been food specific to the area, rather than hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, etc. Day 5 Barbados We booked Silvermoon catamaran. DH and I did this same excursion last time we were here on Jewel of the Seas. And we would probably do it again if we go back to Barbados. It was amazing. The crew does a great job. The food is great. The boat is very comfortable. There were 10 of us plus one other couple on the tour. We spent about 90 -120 minutes with the turtles and the 2 other snorkelling spots. Then we travelled to a more secluded bay where we could swim and then they served us lunch. Lunch included appetizers of spinach quiches and vegetarian samoas with a chili dipping sauce. Main dish was a chicken curry, rice, freshly grilled tuna, and a tossed salad. Dessert included banana bread and lemon bars. All were very good.One of the other couple was a vegan and they created a vegetable curry for her. Drinks were flowing the whole time. The crew did a great job with those in our group that were swim challenged. It was such a relaxing and beautiful day. I can’t recommend this tour enough. As we watched some of the other tours, they had to wear life vests and had someone announcing over the loudspeaker of the boat when there was something to look at. And there were at least 30 of them. In our boat, you could wear a life vest if you wanted but you didn’t have to. There were only 12 of us and there were 2 crew from the boat in the water with us. The turtles were swimming amongst us and surfacing right in the middle of our group. We saw the rays at the bottom, flounder at the bottom, and they brought us a pufferfish and a sea cucumber to look at. After the turtles, it was over to the two shipwrecks to snorkel some more. We saw lots of fish, the spots are just great. DH and I had talked a lot about this excursion to our group and we were afraid that we had oversold it, but after the snorkelling, we were told that we did not oversell it. It was way more than anyone had been able to imagine. Day 6 at sea We pretty much chilled around and relaxed after so many straight days of excursions. We played some cards, etc. We had lunch at Chops, that was not the best. 2 hours long and way overcooked steaks. I would not do that again. (See dining below) Day 7 St Maarten For this day, we decided to visit Pinel Island. We booked kayaks through Caribbean Paddling. We also had one person take the ferry. We booked it with transportation to and from the cruise ship. It is about a 20- 25 minute kayaking trip to the island, about 15 minutes back. You can stop part of the way to the island where there is a large sandbar. There was plenty to look at here. You can then paddle to the island. There are also spots where you can see turtles in the water. You can rent chairs and umbrellas or eat at the 2 restaurants on the island. You can also paddle around the island to another beach where there is some snorkelling. (We didn’t snorkel.) There is also a path to go up on the island or walk to the other side. This was a beautiful area. If I had to do it again, I would bring some shade for the far side of the island so that we could more comfortably stay there. I would also not rent chairs/umbrellas but just find a spot at the restaurant to eat. At one of the restaurants, you could choose your lobster from their catch for the day and they would cook it. We got a large one so that everyone could have some. The food was good. There is also a place to do some souvenir shopping on the island. We paddled back and then rode back to the port. My parents ate at the other restaurant on the island and had burgers that they said were good. I saw some folks with BBQ ribs and it looked and smelled great. Huge plates of food. Dining: We had early seating for dinner. It worked well for us. Everyone was satisfied with the food in the MDR for dinner. We also preferred the MDR for breakfast. It is only open for lunch on the sea day and that day we ate at Chops for lunch. One day when we returned from an excursion, we had lunch in Johnny Rockets. The chili cheese fries and onion rings were good as was the shake. The burger was not great. Very dry and on the cheapest possible bun. When the bun detracts from the burger, you need to get a new bun. It was a lot of food and was late in the afternoon. I don’t think we would chose to do that for lunch again. But it was miles better than our Chops lunch. Our Chops lunch took 2 hours. The steaks were ordered rare and came back medium well. From my perspective, the specialty dining is not worth the extra money. We could always find something in the MDR that we like. I would definitely not do lunch at Chops again, and it doesn’t seem to be worth the extra cost for dinner. Everyone liked the pizza at Sorrentos and the occasional snack from Cafe Promenade. We had a couple who also ate at Ben and Jerry’s, and I was surprised that it was fairly reasonable. It didn’t seem to be any more expensive than you would pay on land. Our MDR waitstaff was good. They did a good job. Our Asst Waiter, Cyrus had a life lesson for us everyday after dinner. It became a running joke. He has been with Royal Caribbean for 25 years. Our waiter had just moved to Freedom of the Seas, and it was his first week aboard the ship. On Ship Activities: DH and I attended only 2 shows - the ice show and the late comedy show on the last evening. Others in our party took part in other activities. There was always something for everyone to do if they wanted. Everyone seemed satisfied with the entertainment. DS2 climbed the rock climbing wall, but no one got to the flowrider. It just wasn’t open enough hours that we had time. I was honestly surprised at how infrequently it was open. Only DS2 was eligible for any kid activities. Because he was on the cruise with his other siblings, he didn’t feel the need to participate in the teen activities. He attempted to join on one night but was a few minutes late, so he wasn’t allowed to participate. Not a big deal. Crew: Everyone was very friendly on the ship. Arnold, our room attendant did a great job. One day, the toilets were not working in our cabins, and he told my parents that he would put a rush order on their room because my dad had mobility issues and needed to be able to use his cabin bathroom. Every time we turned around, someone was doing something above and beyond. The crew is great. Other things that worked well: -Magnetic hooks - I bought some at Amazon for everyone before we left. They worked great. Brought clothespins too but didn’t need those. I would definitely bring the hooks again. -Tuxedo Rental - I rented a tuxedo for DS2 for formal nights. It was 92.10 with shoes and tax. I would absolutely do it again. He doesn’t have any fancy clothes and would outgrow whatever I bought him before he would wear it again. The tux was to his measurements and fit him great. Saved luggage space. -Envelopes with excursion info and tips - This worked great for us. Planned out tips in advance, every day just had to pull the envelope out of the safe. I would have underestimated the amount of cash we needed without doing this. I printed out details on the excursion and put that and appropriate tip money in an envelope for each excursion. -Drink packages - These were great. It added to our cruise experience and I would do it again, no questions asked. We got a great deal on it buying it prior to the cruise. -Tripcast - prior to the cruise, I researched ways to share photos from a trip. I found a site/app called Tripcast. This allowed us to have a private facebook like feed for our trip. You could invite others to join in. So this allowed us to share photos with those at home while we were on our trip (without broadcasting to the world that we are not at home) and it also allows us to share each others photos. Everyone in the feed can download all the pictures from the feed. It was great. -Excursions with meals included - I realized after taking all the excursions, that I would prefer to pay more and have some sort of food included. Or a specific food stop. It just makes the day more relaxing. And preferably something local. For both the volcano climbers and the St Kitts tour, we got back to the ship at like 3 pm without having had lunch. If I had just been DH and I, it would not have been as difficult to find something on our own, but with such a large group, when we had to get food on our own, it took significant time. So I would prefer a tour with the meal time built into the schedule. Things that didn’t work well- -Internet on ship - We heard a lot about how great the internet is on Freedom of the Seas. If that was great, I would hate to see not great. I don’t know if I am just spoiled by my internet at home, but we were not happy. You really couldn’t do anything with Surf and Stream. We weren’t even trying to stream anything. Downloading an app was impossible. Uploading a picture to SnapChat would time out. We had purchased a 4 pk before we left and we purchased another 4 pk on board. With the 4 pk on board, I was not able to connect another device, I could not switch between my iPad and phone. That made it less than useful to me. We could only upload pictures in the early morning hours (prior to 7 am), after that, it would time out. -New paper straws - This bothered some people in my group more than others. If I go on another cruise, I would bring some sort of straw to use. The straws just did not hold up in a frozen drink. Overall, the cruise was fantastic. Everyone had a great time. It had been a long time since my kids had been on a cruise. It was a totally different experience for them this time. We were busy every day but everyone enjoyed what we did. We had a variety of activities scheduled. Every port was different. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I loved Freedom of the Seas. This was our 3rd cruise and we loved it so much 2 weeks later my parents got a last minute trip on this same cruise (which they are on right now). The ship is huge! When we would pull up to ... Read More
My husband and I loved Freedom of the Seas. This was our 3rd cruise and we loved it so much 2 weeks later my parents got a last minute trip on this same cruise (which they are on right now). The ship is huge! When we would pull up to ports our ship could eat every other ship. But it does not feel like you are on a massive boat with 4500 people, it is so spread out it is not overwhelming. They were always doing something to update the ship, painting, etc, it looked brand new. The elevators are slow, we ended up taking the stairs so if you go to the top deck a lot I recommend getting a higher floor room. We were on floor 6 so right in the middle which was fine with us. Food: Amazing food on this ship. I recommend just eating at the main dining room. We booked a BOGO for specialty restaurants and they were not worth it. But the main dining rooms food was delicious, my favorite was the molted chocolate cake on formal night, and the garlic parm tiger shrimp. So delicious. Our server was wonderful, he even remembered our names. We had your time dining so we were able to sit whenever, if you don't make reservations, esp on formal night, you might wait a little; But we never had a problem.The buffet for lunch was good, I like their hot dogs a lot, and their bread pudding. Dining did not have many options that I loved. The pizza is very good on the ship too, that is served til 3am. Chefs Table: highly recommend, best chefs table experience we ever had and we have done 3, food was perfect, service and wine all incredible and we made friends with others on the boat! Entertainment: It was wonderful. Our nightly shows kept us very entertained. We loved the comedian, he was very funny. We went to both of his shows (I do not remember his name). And the final show was Once Upon a Time, it was a Disney production, very good. Shopping: On the first night we went to the jewelry store on board they had a 50% off sale, my husband bought me a beautiful diamond wedding band. Fitness Center: Was beautiful and large! Bring your workout clothes. Our stops: St. Kitts: Awesome shopping, and we did the dolphin adventures which was great! we booked that right through the dolphin adventure place and took a $10 taxi there and back. Very small island, not much to do. Antigua: We took a taxi about 25 minutes $8 pp each way to Ffryes beach. There were 3 other ships in port so everything was so busy there. Ffryes beach is beautiful on the Caribbean side. The guys for the Taxis were Orange and will schedule a pick up time for you. St. Lucia: We did a tour through JJ tours. Took a speed boat to the Sulphur springs, water fall, snorkeling, then to lunch and back. Great tour I highly recommend it. Barbados: My least favorite island. I researched the best beach, so we went to brownes beach, take note, all beaches are on the same bay and just separated by different umbrellas. There were all locals on browns beach. Our friends we made from the boat went to Sharkeys bar, which is just down on the other side of the bay, I recommend going to that area of the bay/beach. St. Maarten: We did "resortforaday" at Sonesta beach resort on Maho beach. All inclusive, $180 for the two of us + taxi which is $5 pp each way. You wear a wrist band and they drop you off at the Maho beach bar which is about 2 blocks from the hotel. The Maho beach bar is packed! So I recommend going to this resort because you are right there to see the planes but you have your own private beach. It is about 25 minutes from the cruise ship. Service, food, experience everything was wonderful! I highly recommend the Freedom of the Seas. Our next cruise is on Princess to Rome/Greece, I cannot wait to compare it to RC. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Sadly this ship is in immediate need of refurbishment. This will come at the end of the year but until then the early 2000 feel is evident. The rooms and the old carpeting was worn and dingy. The bed was equivalent of a pull out ... Read More
Sadly this ship is in immediate need of refurbishment. This will come at the end of the year but until then the early 2000 feel is evident. The rooms and the old carpeting was worn and dingy. The bed was equivalent of a pull out mattress with poor quality linens. The food in the main dining room and specialty restaurants was very good. The Buffet on the other hand was laughable....awful. Horrible quality many of the choices..example the hamburgers were super gross plastic like disc. Compare that to say a Carnival ship and Guys Burger Bar and Royal should be ashamed. They do have Johnny Rockets and at $12 a burger you can keep that junk. Entertainment....not sure you can call it that! I have not been on a ship were the quality of acts were so poor the theater on a 4000 passenger ship was maybe half full for each show. Entertainment in evening was hard to find...the ship was quiet at night...weird...walked around from bar to bar looking for something and well minus well go to the casino ...nothing really going on. Pool decks were lousy ....adult pool had no music of any kind and you would never know you were at sea because you can’t see it . Compare to MSC adult pool sits on back of ship and gorgeous views from all angles. One highlight was the ship staff were exceptional in every way. However, I do find leaving the extra tip envelopes in your room super tacky. Now when I leave a ship I usually am planning another. Not this time... thinking never another Royal cruise for me. In fact was playing in a poker tournament were the prize was a free cruise...yikes ...no thanks...choose to lose with a 10..3 letting someone else win it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Fantastic time, the first night was a little hectic due to getting everyone on board, the muster drill and getting everyone settled but things smoothed out nicely after the second day. excursions went smoothly, getting the groups checked ... Read More
Fantastic time, the first night was a little hectic due to getting everyone on board, the muster drill and getting everyone settled but things smoothed out nicely after the second day. excursions went smoothly, getting the groups checked in in the air-conditioned theater before going outside to the meeting places was a brilliant idea. We did have an issue with the padding / mattress on the sleeper sofa, had to use 3 padding and folded them together to make it thick enough to mimic a mattress. my back was in such pain trying to sleep on the sofabed we were usually too tired to watch any of the shows. but we did catch the ice show and really enjoyed that. In the beginning, we had an issue with the my time dining reservations. we traveled with a group of 8 and wanted to seat at 7pm. but there were not enough large tables to fit us. the early seating was not finished by 7 so we have to wait for them to finish to get a table. a few items I would like to point out. 1) the smoke coming from the casino made most of the 3rd floor inhabitable. even when no one was in the casino I was still gaging. On sea day it was SO crowded, and everyone was saving chairs that you could NOT use the pool area or the upper deck. EVERY chair was taken with a towel and all the pools were full of people you could not get in. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on cruises before but I just don't remember ever feeling so welcomed and cared about as I did on this cruise. All of the people working on this ship are amazing - from the room attendants, to the waiters, to guest services ... Read More
I have been on cruises before but I just don't remember ever feeling so welcomed and cared about as I did on this cruise. All of the people working on this ship are amazing - from the room attendants, to the waiters, to guest services and bartenders. Everyone goes out of their way and seems to be enjoying themselves as well. The service is impeccable. You will never be treated that well unless you stay in an extremely expensive resort or you're a celebrity. I don't know how they do it day after day. I actually cried and hugged the staff on the last day. Getting on and off the ship was extremely easy and smooth. The ship itself is very clean. The food is good and so is the entertainment. We ate in the main dining room and the buffet - (no special dining for us) and you could always find something good to eat. This was a very full ship with lots of kids and I'm not always thrilled to be around that many people but you could always find a little space if you needed. I would say that the worst thing about this cruise was the other passengers most of whom were annoying or just plain clueless. I really don't see what people have to complain about. No cooking, no cleaning and people to wait on you every second as well as amazing places to visit. All of the ports were amazing. We would just get a cab to take us to an uncrowded beach - each one more beautiful than the last. The entertainment and shows were good - there was always something to do. Overall, a great vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the Southern Caribbean cruise because we enjoy warm weather after a long stint of snow and ice in Ontario, Canada. We sailed a similar cruise on Jewel of the Seas before. Ship - some wear but not noticeable unless someone was ... Read More
We chose the Southern Caribbean cruise because we enjoy warm weather after a long stint of snow and ice in Ontario, Canada. We sailed a similar cruise on Jewel of the Seas before. Ship - some wear but not noticeable unless someone was really looking. Promenade with shops and cafe and pizza was very good. No pushy sales people. The sports area was a bit tucked away though. Plenty of chairs/loungers even on our sea day. Entertainment - good. Same ice show was on 2 days at 2 different times. Good variety. Dining - requested a table for our group of 6. Unfortunately our head waiter had a new assistant waiter and service was slow as molasses. We were usually the last or almost the last to leave the dining room while a couple (also serviced by same waiters) received everything first. Ex: they had dessert before we received our appetizers. Also requested savory bites but was told could not provide :( People - everyone was very friendly. No issues with staff or other guests. Was a bit worried given the many negative reviews, but no issues at all on the cruise. St Thomas - we went to Sapphire Beach and surprisingly there was a water spout to wash off. Bar service and restrooms were available. Our ship docked at Crown Bay so there was an extra cost to go to downtown shopping. Antigua - had a great tour with Gordon Tours. For our group of 6, adults were $40/adult - Jerome was our tour guide. Everyone in our group really enjoyed the tour especially the visit to Nelson's Dockyard. Would suggest more time at the Dockyard as there was a lot to see. Barbados - visited the Boatyard for the first time and it was good. $25/person. As expected given our late docking there were no chairs/umbrella upon arrival. We made due under the pier and very nice people offered theirs when they left. Could not go on the boat to see the turtles even though we signed up right after arriving. Not worth it for us in the future as no guaranteed chairs/shade; not interested in inflatables; turtle boat dicey; last return back to cruise ship with them was 2hrs before all aboard. St Lucia - had a great time doing the Triple Adventure (jeep safari, zip lining and waterfall) with Treetop Adventures. Our guide was Erika/Sunshine. Gave a brief history during the Jeep Safari (tour portion was just ok). Zip lining was fantastic! Safety was huge plus. Groups have 2 guides for the zip lines. One guide goes first to the end of the zip line while the other guide hooks each person and tells you when to go. Way more safe zip lining with them than in Quebec. Afterwards, we had a provided burger and drinks at the waterfall. No "hike", just short walk. St Maarten - we went to Orient Bay and did parasailing and jet ski. We rented 2 chairs & umbrella for $30. Place with red umbrellas even had an outdoor shower. Short walk to other area including Le Macaron (to die for French pastries). There is also a guy who walks around with a wheel barrow selling coconuts. San Juan, PR - we had surf lessons at Pine Grove Surf Club (great instructor) on the Carolina side. Instructor is very patient. $55/person for lesson. Easy to find, just go on the Carolina beach to the right of the Ritz Carleton and there is a tent. We previously had lessons from Wow Surfing but they were rude when we emailed to book again. Kasalta bakery/sandwich place in Parque (close to Condado) - good place for breakfast. Ask for English menu. El Vagon food truck with seating in Miramar - delicious and reasonably priced. Miramar food trucks in Miramar - went there on Sunday around 1PM and there was only 1 food truck open. Went to nearby El Vagon instead. Bebo BBQ near airport - tasty and very cheap. However, salty and no English whatsoever. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the service was excellent.We were travelling with our 4 year old grand daughter and family and our servers Dewa and Putu were so good to us all.They accommodated our special requests and time ... Read More
We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the service was excellent.We were travelling with our 4 year old grand daughter and family and our servers Dewa and Putu were so good to us all.They accommodated our special requests and time lines and were nothing short of amazing. Our cabin steward ,Randy, became our grand daughter’s new best friend. The ship is still in good shape and well maintained.But the itinerary including Barbados,Antigua,St Maarten ,St Lucia and San Juan were the main reasons we chose this sailing.......as well as the fact that it was March Break.The ports were lovely as always.We did the catamaran to the Pitons in St Lucia through the ship as well as the beach break to Simpsons Bay in st Maarten and both excursions were great. The entertainment was also top notch and we even saw the ice show twice as we enjoyed it so much. My only complaint was the crowds and lines.I just think there were too many people on this ship and everything we did took extra time.We have never felt this crowding on any other ship or cruise line .I would definitely advise getting a balcony if you value any level of peace .The only other option would have been deck 4 on the promenade. The Windjammer was usually a nightmare during peak times and on sea days and there weren’t many other options for lunch to ease this situation.The dining room was slow for breakfast- but quiet and good. I also don’t like the fact that they are charging for room service any time other than for a continental breakfast. The solarium pool was so crowded on a sea day that there was only a small bit of standing room available. I have never experienced this before. I do enjoy the benefits of being a diamond member and I really hope they will continue this perk. There were no enrichment activities other than selling products. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Went with a group, nice price....took us to the airport, then to port. Upon entering my room, aboard ship....my balcony, table an chairs were so dirty, we washed them so we wouldn;t get dirt on our white clothing.....then I spent the ... Read More
Went with a group, nice price....took us to the airport, then to port. Upon entering my room, aboard ship....my balcony, table an chairs were so dirty, we washed them so we wouldn;t get dirt on our white clothing.....then I spent the entire day waiting for luggage...I couldn;t swim...I didn"t get to the main dining room because my suitcase didnt never arrived....so there was day one ruined. Next we found under the bed toms of garbage???? Our sink did not have hot water....a little mold hidden in the shower. I never had a ship that was dirty. I have been on many RC cruises plus other brands. The entertainment was always good as was the food was great.......I am done crusing...what do u do in the middle of the ocean wwwith lousy food...dirty ship??? WASH HANDS OFTEN.....VERY LOUSLY entertainment.....Use to be a crusier NO MORE...This ship has a lousy casino...very old machines...not many slots,,,this is another thing I enjoy, it stunk Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We have sailed with Royal 3 other times.. Very good experiences in the past.. We had not been on a Cruise in like 4 years and decided to go on this one being that we wanted to go to these ports... We had 4 new Cruisers with ... Read More
We have sailed with Royal 3 other times.. Very good experiences in the past.. We had not been on a Cruise in like 4 years and decided to go on this one being that we wanted to go to these ports... We had 4 new Cruisers with us... When we arrived we were very unhappy to see that we had to pay for Room Service (past cruises this was not the case) We had a Balcony which was great... When I opened the Refrigerator in past Cruises the refrigerator was stocked and if you happen to drink anything they replenish and of course charge you. So every evening we needed to make sure to grab water to bring to the room or any pop just in case you woke up and were thirsty... Pool side was disappointing it did not seem like they had many pool side workers walking around taking orders. Past Cruises the workers would walk around with Drinks of the day trying to get you to buy. It was also disappointing that there were really only two places we could go to eat later in the evening which was Sorentos and the Promenade.. Needless to say after adding up what we had spent our decision to not Cruise for a long while was made.. WE will stick to All Inclusive Resorts... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our 4th RC sailing and 3rd on this class of ship. We booked this sailing through Casino Royale based on sailing date and itinerary, as we had never visited any of the ports (Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten). After we ... Read More
This was our 4th RC sailing and 3rd on this class of ship. We booked this sailing through Casino Royale based on sailing date and itinerary, as we had never visited any of the ports (Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten). After we booked, three other couples decided to join us, so we were travelling with a party of 8. After reading many reviews prior to our sailing, I'll hit the highlights and my recommendations. First of all, some passengers are just spoiled and entitled and others are just miserable. If you want the Ritz Carlton, spend a lot more money and sail on one of the high end cruise lines. If you don't like being around a lot of people, don't go on a cruise. We have never and will never sail on Carnival. We live in Houston near the Port of Galveston, so we hear all the horror stories. Royal Caribbean provides a fantastic mid-tier cruising experience at a great value compared to other vacation options. We sailed out of San Juan, arriving early morning on a red eye flight. We booked it through RC which I highly recommend. If you run into flight delays they will take care of you. This is especially important on an overseas cruise. We spent the morning in Old San Juan with one couple in our party who had arrived the day before. Had we fully understood the logistics, we would not have purchased the inbound transfer, as we ended up not using it and took an Uber from our friends' hotel to the pier. We arrived at the pier around the time check-in opened. I would NOT recommend this. If I had it to do over again, we would have had a leisurely lunch in Old San Juan and waited for the crowd to clear out. As I had read in other reviews, luggage drop off at the pier was extremely disorganized and chaotic and the lines to drop off luggage and get through security were very long. It took us about 45 minutes to get inside the terminal. Thankfully three of the 8 of us are Gold members, so our entire party was able to check in almost immediately, and by the time we got on board just a short time later our cabins were already ready. Be sure to show up with your RC luggage tags printed and already on your bags. Believe it or not you will see people showing up with NO cabin tags which really slowed things down. On the other end, disembarkation is a snap if you purchase an airport transfer AND use the porters. There is an "express lane" for people using the porters to handle and load their luggage onto the trucks that deliver it to you at the airport. Freedom of the Seas is definitely due for a rehab, which she will be getting in Jan 2020. The common areas are still very nice, but the cabins are showing some wear. Having said that, our cabin was very clean and everything functioned properly. Our cabin steward Dmitry was very sweet, personable, thorough and efficient. We gave him $20 on Day 1 which is our normal practice. This is neither necessary nor expected, and I don't know if it really makes a difference, but we have always had excellent service from all of our cabin attendants. We were in 9504 which is a "spacious oceanview" cabin facing outward on the very front of the ship. We didn't see the need for a balcony on this sailing, loved the cabin location, and would book this exact cabin again in the future if we could. The extra space was nice to have, and I took someone's suggestion to move the coffee table into the corner behind the bed. It turned something that was just in the way into a nice storage area. We never eat in our cabin, so we didn't need it for that purpose. Be sure to bring at least one multiplug or power strip with you. There was only one double outlet in our cabin located at the vanity. We bring one that includes USB ports for device charging. Regarding dining, we eat in the Main Dining Room every dinner along with breakfast and lunch if we can. The service and food are always excellent, and especially on a Caribbean sailing the dress code is pretty lax. It beats the chaos in the Windjammer and the food is far better. If you are traveling with a group I would strongly recommend picking either the early or late seating in the MDR vs. My Time dining. It's just so much easier to coordinate, and everyone will always know where to be and when. If you choose My Time, be sure to visit the My Time reservation desk as soon as you get on board. Have everyone's cabin numbers with you. The larger your group, the harder it will be to get a table at peak times. Our group of 8 had our choice of 6:00 or earlier or 8:45 or later. We chose 6:00 which worked out great, because we were the first seating at our table. After the first night we made sure they knew we wanted that table at that time every night, and for the rest of the cruise we were able to walk right in without even stopping at the front or waiting in line. We had zero issues with the food - everyone in our party enjoyed everything they ordered and frequently ordered multiple items. If you do ever order something you don't care for, they will be happy to bring you something else. We booked excursions through RC's website for all four ports. All were fun and well run with very knowledgeable guides. Snorkeling in Bonaire and Aruba was a bit disappointing but only because it was extremely windy with strong currents both days. I'd recommend skipping the Curacao distillery. It was very tourist trappy and they really rush you through it. On the other hand, the Topper's Rhum distillery in St. Maarten was so fun and very informative - one of the highlights of our trip. We haven't yet decided where or when our next Royal Caribbean cruise will take us, but there will be many more in our future! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We we're a group of 6 with 2 children under 5. We left from San Juan Puerto Rico after a 2 night stay prior to boarding the ship, which I highly recommend. We stayed in Old San Juan and toured the old forts and spent some time on ... Read More
We we're a group of 6 with 2 children under 5. We left from San Juan Puerto Rico after a 2 night stay prior to boarding the ship, which I highly recommend. We stayed in Old San Juan and toured the old forts and spent some time on our balcony over looking the streets. Amazing atmosphere! Our Embarkation was effortless. Less than 15 minutes from arriving we were already on board as we had no wait and walked straight up to the check in counter. We arrived around 230pm for a 830pm sailing. Our room was ready and we received our luggage at 5pm which just gave us enough time to get ready for dinner before the muster drill at 5:45, which is mandatory. Our balcony room was 9676. Our friends room was 6572. The rooms are clean and comfortable but definitely beginning to show signs of wear, especially on the couch and the corners of the bathroom. Our kleenex holder under the sink fell off from under the counter. But our room steward, Kenneth was amazing. No complaints and always there to help whenever we needed something. Especially when I decided to baby sit the kids one night he even made up the pullout couch for them. The only other spot on the ship that I thought was showing signs of wear, were the hallway carpets, but that doesn't bother me much, just something I noticed. The food I found was to be average. Typical buffet food and we did eat in the dinning room which was nice with excellent service. Personally, I have found Princess Cruises to have the best food. I did not book any excursions through the boat. We did a bus tour of Bonaire which was great. 3.5 hours which took us around to Rincon and seen pink flamingo's and stopped at a Cactus Distillery. There was a distinct taste, but was delicious. Then we traveled to the south end of the island and seen the salt flats and slave huts. Definitely worth the time and money, which I believe was around $59pp, again, not through the ship. In Aruba, I met up with some friends that were staying in Aruba for the month at Boca Catalina Beach. It is up near the North end of the island and there are no tourists on this beach. Amazing snorkeling and this is where all the catamarans come from the cruise ships. But you are not with them. You can get to this beach by taking the public bus which is one block south of the cruise terminal. $2.60 each way pp or $10 per day pp to ride unlimited times. A taxi ride up to this beach for 2 people was $26 plus tip. When we snorkeled here, we seen star fish, flounders, and even sea turtles if you are patient, they will come up for air within feet of you. Amazing! and no crowds. In Curaco we went on a jet ski tour, again not through the cruise ship. It was OK. The waters were rough, and apparently this was considered a calm day. But we also snorkeled here and it was also amazing. But here we jumped in and we immediately found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of jellyfish. We did get a couple stings but nothing hurt us. Your guide is supposed to check for them first but ours did not. It was beautiful but we did not stay long. Next stop after a sea day was St. Maarten. We went to Maho Beach to see the planes come in at the airport. Again, do not go through the cruise line to do this. The 4 of us paid $64 US round trip for a taxi to go to Maho Beach. I believe the cruise line was charging $89 pp and only there for max 2 hours. We spent 6 hours their. The bar had entertainment and cheap drinks (A bucket of 6 beers for $20) It is busy but not excessively busy. Definitely the cruise is worth the itinerary. I would do it again just for Aruba and St. Maarten alone. The ship is overall nice, I just found the windjammer to be excessively busy most of the time and often they had one side of the buffet closed. With the kids, they have a pool area with a "water park: near the back of the ship, but for most of the cruise the water park portion was closed or just not operating which was a bummer for the kids. The entertainment did not appeal to us this cruise (32-35 year olds) They had one comedy show on at 11:45pm and the next morning the ship was docked at 7:30am. It would have been nice to see it, but we had to be off the boat and at our excursion for 8:00am. Otherwise it was just typical filler shows with music and dancing, which did not appeal to us. Skating on this boat was only open for like an hour or 2 per day and it was first come first served. The lines were huge. Maybe I missed something, but I'm not sure why they couldn't have the rink open all day or for hours at a time. The kids wanted to go so badly but never got a chance to get on the ice. I have been on Allure of the Seas and I found myself comparing this cruise to that one. Allure never felt busy and definitely had more options for free dining. I just wish the bigger boats could travel to the smaller ports. Disembarkation was just as efficient as embarkation. We were in a taxi within 10 minutes of leaving the ship. In case you were unaware, you are allowed to bring on 2 bottles of wine per stateroom and 1 case of 12 pops per stateroom, which we did and was well worth it. We hung out on the balcony and enjoyed a beverage while the kids were in bed and before dinner. Definitely saved us some money. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had a great vacation but the cruise portion was average at best. Fortunately, we had long days in port and only two sea days. The service staff all did a stellar job. My only complaint here is that sometimes the food servers were a ... Read More
We had a great vacation but the cruise portion was average at best. Fortunately, we had long days in port and only two sea days. The service staff all did a stellar job. My only complaint here is that sometimes the food servers were a bit too attentive. It became very obvious they were doing this so that we would rate them a 10 on the post cruise survey. At first, It became somewhat of a joke between my husband and I. By the end, we were getting very annoyed by the dinner interruptions to remind us of the survey. Other areas of improvement include the food selection and entertainment schedule. The windjammer served the same food day in and out. Additionally, the main dining room menu served variations of the same proteins with little thought or creativity night after night. By the second sea day, there was no fresh mint to be found which meant the end of my favorite vacation drink, the mojito. Luckily, I had enjoyed my fair share prior to this. :-) Our biggest gripe was with the entertainment schedule. There were a few nights when there was literally nothing that appealed to us. There were lots of opportunities for trivia and game shows structured to embarrass the participants but those aren't our cup of tea. One minor thing that would have greatly improved our experience was live music before dinner. Instead, it was often nearly 10 pm before any of the musicians started. As stated at the beginning, our vacation itself was lovely but we cruise for the itinerary. If you cruise for the ship, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
A $995 Sturhling watch was discounted for $145. Thatsounds terrific; but, when registering with Sturhling after returning home, I learned the watch is sold normally onine for $95; that's a $50 mark-up over retail - not wholesale, ... Read More
A $995 Sturhling watch was discounted for $145. Thatsounds terrific; but, when registering with Sturhling after returning home, I learned the watch is sold normally onine for $95; that's a $50 mark-up over retail - not wholesale, and certainly no discount. Both the ship's signage and their employee hawked the watch as 'heavily discounted' for RCI passengers. Staffing is more focused on operational efficiency than customer service. Airport RCI transfer when disembarking was 45 minutes longer and $14 more than the inbound taxi a week earlier. Sound system - in main dining room very poor and garbled if not on the the main floor (Deck 3). - in cabin: disconnected Soda package slightly pricey. Many used the machines without buying the package. Photographers had carte blanche control, shutting down stairwells and the 'bridge' in front of Guest Services with zero regard for passengers unable to move between decks on that end of the ship. Food highlight: the oatmeal. The French Onion soup is a chicken broth, not beef based; the flavor is onion, but the substance is not. The chicken parmegian had no cheese. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose it for the itinerary. This was my first cruise and I could not have been happier! Each and every ship employee I came in contact with went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed. I was impressed with how the crew would ... Read More
Chose it for the itinerary. This was my first cruise and I could not have been happier! Each and every ship employee I came in contact with went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed. I was impressed with how the crew would remember our names. Our cabin attendant (Reynaldo G) was the highlight!! He was always so happy eager to help in any way he could. The ONLY rude people I came in contact with were some of the passengers, never a crew member. I read reviews of people budging in line during the bag drop off but with that in mind our group was willing to "redirect" these people back to the end of the line. The check-in and check-out process was very well organized and went smoothly. The shows were amazing. We attended a comedian show and the ice show. The shore excursions reserved through the ship were very well organized. In two ports we didn't go through the ship and had no problems with the excursions we chose in port. The ship was immaculate but some areas were dated. I did hear that Freedom of the Seas was going into dry dock at the end of the year for an overhaul. The only "complaint" I had was the information meeting for St. Maarten. It was advertised as a 30 minute show to introduce us to things to do in St. Maarten but ended up being a 1 hour "show" talking about jewelry stores on the island. Granted, some of the deals were amazing but nowhere did the advertising mention this and again, it said 30 minutes, not 1 hour. All in all, I would certainly book through Royal Caribbean for my next cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I've sailed on the Oasis and Allure in the past which drew me to another RCI cruise. Definitely not the same food, service and feel of the big ships. I was expecting the same overall serivce but was disappointed in the food, service ... Read More
I've sailed on the Oasis and Allure in the past which drew me to another RCI cruise. Definitely not the same food, service and feel of the big ships. I was expecting the same overall serivce but was disappointed in the food, service and overall morale of the staff. The pressure of the diningroom staff to order and speed us through our dinner was disappointing as well. I understand the sittings required but I've never felt so rushed in my past cruises. Windjammer had a great variety but lacked taste and some food was dry. I know if food sits out for a long time, it dries out. Get that! The staff didn't seem to enjoy what they were doing. Glum faces and not very interative. There wasn't enough music playing. It needed to be more up-beat and lively. When we embarked from a port, a neighbouring Carnival cruise line had music playing, were passing out drinks and passengers were greeted by a dancing captain. Not a fan of being nickel and dimed for everything as well. We'll skip our next cruise with RCI and try Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We're regular cruisers splitting companies between RCL and Holland America. Ship was in good condition. Embarkation was easy. Cabin was a standard ocean view balcony. We had excellent cabin service from John. We, unfortunately, ... Read More
We're regular cruisers splitting companies between RCL and Holland America. Ship was in good condition. Embarkation was easy. Cabin was a standard ocean view balcony. We had excellent cabin service from John. We, unfortunately, had a mishap in the MDR on the first night when our reserved table for two was given away. Luckily, the dining room staff did their best to make things better for us and we were satisfied with very good service. The Windjammer meals were so-so. The food was good. Staff attentive and easy to talk to. Breakfast service was the same menu every day. A little more variety would have been better. We planned all excursions through RCL and they were worth it. Very well organized and we departed the ship in a timely manner. We disembarked with a airport transfer and Baccardi tour. We had a short wait but went through customs and onto the tour bus quickly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
The class of the ship plus the itinerary was why we chose this cruise, Freedom is a larger size ship with a Royal Promenade. We like that set up. It does not have all the bells and whistles that the newest ships have but there are ... Read More
The class of the ship plus the itinerary was why we chose this cruise, Freedom is a larger size ship with a Royal Promenade. We like that set up. It does not have all the bells and whistles that the newest ships have but there are certainly enough to keep us happy. The entertainment choices were all good especially the ice show. The main dining food was tasty and the choices we tried were good for the most part. Our cabin steward was excellent and readily met our special requests. Our dining room waiters and assistants were beyond accommodating. One evening we ate in the specialty restaurant Chops for an intimate steak dinner. WOW. We especially love the southern Caribbean itineraries and have done them several times. We love Barbados, Aruba, and St Maartens the most but each island has its own special uniqueness. We were able to meet so many interesting people on this cruise and made some friends.. 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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