3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary, and got a good deal on a grand suite. Room and steward was great. Itinerary was great. Ship needs to be refreshed. It is clean, but needs updated especially Voom internet. Not worth the ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary, and got a good deal on a grand suite. Room and steward was great. Itinerary was great. Ship needs to be refreshed. It is clean, but needs updated especially Voom internet. Not worth the ridiculous price they ask for. In port Internet was practically non existent. At sea it worked half the time if you're lucky. Main dining room service was poor and disorganized. Likewise the food was poor. Chicken Cordon Bleu seriously tasted like Tysons cordon bleu you get at Sam's Club. Had dinner at Sabors and Chops which was good. The Windjammer was OK, but nothing outstanding. There is an area over the bridge that is largely unused wasted space. Could add a solarium like the Oasis class and have a nice usable area. Needs a water feature like the Liberty of the Seas. Some of the public area furniture was threadbare. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because of the islands visited and the fewest at seas days. Being new to cruising we found the embarkation process and luggage drops confusing and didn't like our cases being left in the hallways for anyone to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the islands visited and the fewest at seas days. Being new to cruising we found the embarkation process and luggage drops confusing and didn't like our cases being left in the hallways for anyone to pick up. the cabin was a little dated although very clean and our cabin attendant Grace did a fantastic job all week and was always friendly and helpful. we chose my time dining and were less than impressed with both the service and the food in the main dining room and only ate there twice because of this. on our second visit our waitress Bulawala was rude whilst taking our order after a 30 min wait she began talking to another member of staff, it was like we were invisible. when the food eventually came it was luke warm. the windjammer food was what you would find on any all inclusive buffet however people just cut the lines and reached across in front of your plate. the chairs were also tightly packed in so difficult to move around. Sorrentos pizza was good however busy and only a small restaurant and they put the pizza slices on top of each other so the topping comes off. We watched the main show and ice show both we good. the sea day was very busy on deck and crowded as were the restaurants so glad we only had 1 day at sea. hoping on and off at the ports was easy and we were docked each day close to port shopping. As it was our first time cruising we booked all Royal Caribbean trips we were disappointed with the St kitts open air adventure and the beach hop island style in Barbados says visit 3 beaches but they were all on the same bay and didn't visit st Lawrence gap as advertised. disembarkation was a nightmare with people cutting lines and staff ignoring this and guests shouting at each other it took 2 hours to collect our cases and clear customs. the area should have been lined off to prevent this. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because of the day by day Island hopping and boy was it worth it. We swam with the Dolphins in St Kitts and it was a beautiful experience with our 4 year old. In St Maarten we found an excursion at the port and paid ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the day by day Island hopping and boy was it worth it. We swam with the Dolphins in St Kitts and it was a beautiful experience with our 4 year old. In St Maarten we found an excursion at the port and paid $25 each (child was free) for a very nice 3.5 hour tour on an air conditioned bus with other tourists. Extremely informative with many picturesque stops including the famous airport. In Barbados we took a $5.00 shuttle taxi (with many others that we did not know in nice bus) to the Boatyard beach; it’s very clean and private and they offer free sea turtle snorkel trips with your entrance free. Worth it! They also have a few water “toys” like a slide and trampoline and swing for the bigger kids and adults. In st Lucia we booked a private tour (HIGHLY recommend) with Ride St Lucia and they took us by water boat to the volcano mud baths, a beautiful waterfall that you get under and a local lunch and beach. This was our highlight. In Antigua we just found a tour at the port and rode around the island in air conditioning... it was “ok.” The actual ship is big and could use remodeling like others have mentioned but it in no way takes away from your experience. I wish it offered more Broadway shows as they only offered two but they were great. Loved it. I traveled with my husband our son and my parents. We had a late flight on the last day and booked an excursion in San Juan Puerto Rico on our own with airport shuttle. I recommend that as well. The Fort is a must see with gorgeous views . Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We boarded the FOTS in San Juan. We have sailed on this ship twice before. So disappointed in the way that RCCL has allowed the ship to be trashed. Embarkation was kaos. Everything from the promenade staff drinking to the poor quality of ... Read More
We boarded the FOTS in San Juan. We have sailed on this ship twice before. So disappointed in the way that RCCL has allowed the ship to be trashed. Embarkation was kaos. Everything from the promenade staff drinking to the poor quality of the food. The highlights were the outstanding cabin service on deck 10 aft and the outstanding service in the main dining room. The quiet pool was far from quiet. Boom boxes were allowed as well as jumping in the pool. There was no quiet, relaxing area. We went to the dining room for breakfast as a party of 7 but were told everyone had to be present to be seated. Why was this silly rule in place, there were no rules anywhere else on the ship. Sorrentos looked like there was a food fight...food all over the floor and no one attempted to clean it up. The quality of the food in the Windjammer was poor. This area was as well, kaotic and the floors and carpets were littered. The staff looked overworked and tired in the Windjammer and just frustrated with the kaos. This is not the FOTS we knew. Sorry RCCL, you have some great staff, some not-so-great and overall, this ship has been left unsupervised and your guests are not likely to return. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this boat because it offered a great itinerary (not lots of sea days and the opportunity of exploring the southern Caribbean). We like Royal Caribbean options for young families (daycare is a life saver). Let me start by saying ... Read More
We chose this boat because it offered a great itinerary (not lots of sea days and the opportunity of exploring the southern Caribbean). We like Royal Caribbean options for young families (daycare is a life saver). Let me start by saying that we like to have a good time when we travel but we are definitely not on a cruise to rage all night. If you are looking to party all night this for sure is a LOUD PARTY boat! People were extremely loud at ALL times of day and night plus we had constant banging from people jumping on the room on top of us not letting my wife and young son sleep. People skip all lines, specially the buffet (it is like they never eat!). Don’t forget your prom dress as there will be major quinceañeras throughout the boat taking portraits at all time. Finally the boat could us a major face lift. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
First of all, I would like to express my eternal debt of gratitude to Royal Caribbean for all the invaluable humanitarian assistance that the company, particularly the crew of the Adventure of the Seas, provided to the residents and ... Read More
First of all, I would like to express my eternal debt of gratitude to Royal Caribbean for all the invaluable humanitarian assistance that the company, particularly the crew of the Adventure of the Seas, provided to the residents and visitors to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and St. Maarten in the immediate aftermath of the horrible hurricanes of 2017. I can't start another review of your cruise line without acknowledging that. No matter how lousy any future cruises with RCI, this great act of ultimate corporate social responsibility will forever earn you 5 stars. Now, on to the specifics of this Freedom cruise. SHIP - Even if up there in years already, the crew of the Freedom keep her in top shape. No complaints here. CABIN - We had a great cabin, number 7700. Extra large Ocean View. I believe it is larger than a JS, except that it has no balcony. It's tucked almost at the end of deck 7, port side. Would recommend for all the extra space for no extra cost if not having a balcony is not an issue. Attendant Nola was outstanding and lovely. Very busy with large family groups in her part of the kingdom, but always available and in great spirits. Our grandson loves and misses her! DINING - We did My Time Dining every night. The reservations people always managed to hold the same table for us, and were also great adapting to changes. Food was very good, our servers were great. No issues here. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES - We enjoyed everything, except maybe the overcrowding issues most times, especially in the Windjammer and the Solarium. I did some asking around, found no hard answers, but it seems that this sailing was sold well over 100% occupancy, with large family groups, and even multiple-large-family groups. It made for some sporadic uncomfortable moments, as for example sometimes the partying spilled over some to supposedly quiet areas like the Solarium. But all in all, there were no serious issues, passengers were well behaved (even if some things could come as a culture shock for those not used to boisterous partying), and you were always able to find a quiet place to rest if you looked, well, hard enough. Us, we skipped going ashore on some frequently visited ports to be able to enjoy a quiet ship. That was the plan all along, anyway. SERVICE - Overall, very good. Not excellent, as IMO, these mandatory gratuities and almost mandatory beverage packages breed some complacency in many of the crew. PORTS - Those we did go down to, we did on our own, as we are very familiar with these southern routes. KIDS - We traveled with our 10 year old grandson and he enjoyed it very much. He loved the Adventure Ocean and the staff there. We always felt comfortable leaving him there, and since this was his favorite activity, it worked well for everyone. He also made a lot of friends in the pool area. Didn't think there would be so many kids on board in October, but it was a real treat for him as he home schools and doesn't get to socialize with kids his age very often. All in all, a very enjoyable, if not restful, cruise. I would definitively recommend. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was a spur of the moment decision for us and we booked this cruise at the last minute. We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary, the ship (second time on Freedom) and the length of the cruise. We had Any Time Dining ... Read More
This was a spur of the moment decision for us and we booked this cruise at the last minute. We chose this cruise because we loved the itinerary, the ship (second time on Freedom) and the length of the cruise. We had Any Time Dining and on day one we were able to make an 8pm dinner reservation every night for the entire cruise. We usually were seated at table number 254 in Leonardo's. John was our Waiter and the Assistant Waiter was Igeede. They were both outstanding. They were very friendly, very attentive and extremely professional. They were always asking if there was anything else we would like to eat or was there anything else they could do to make our dining experience more enjoyable. Our Head Waiter was Ischem. Of all the cruises we have been on (27) Ischem was by far the friendliest and most professional Head Waiter. He was every where! Always mingling with the passengers and making sure the service and hopefully the food met their expectations. If there was an issue, he addressed it immediately. All three of the gentlemen are each such an asset to the RCCL team. Truly the Best of the Best! Regarding the food, my husband and I always found something we enjoyed. The way I look at it, there were 4400+ passengers on board. Taking that into consideration, I think they do a very good job. Yes, it may not be what you find at your very favorite restaurant at home or in one of their specialty restaurants but all things considered, it was very good. We never left hungry!! Usually I always like to book private tours when we go into a port. This time I booked two snorkel excursions thru the Ships Excursion Desk. Ingrid was behind the desk and she could not have been more helpful. I told her exactly what I wanted and she told me the two tours she recommended should not disappoint and they didn't. She was very friendly and very patient. Even though there was quite a few people in line waiting to make tour arrangements I noticed and then experienced Ingrid treated you as if you were the only person at the desk. She really was helpful. We thought the entertainment was very good. The Broadway style production, Marquee was outstanding. It was as good as any show we've seen on Broadway. The ice show was amazing. The comedian Jim David was very funny. We went to both his first show and then his Adults only show. Although the Adult Only show we were amazed at the number of people that brought their kids. It started after 11:00pm. They made repeated announcements that the show was for adults and may be inappropriate for children. Personally, I find it difficult to understand the mentality of people bringing their children to an Adult Only Show. This brings me to the final part of my review.....the Passengers. We booked this cruise because we really like RCCL, we like Freedom of the Seas and we really liked the itinerary. We have cruised out of San Juan in the past and had a great time and never experienced any issues. Sadly, this time was different. I have never sailed with such a large group of people that were so disconcerting.. They were loud, they were pushy, they were rude and had total disregard for their fellow passengers or the crew. Many were ill mannered and obviously were never taught any social skills. This is the first time I have ever experienced this on any ship. When talking to other passengers, we found that we were not the only ones who shared this same opinion. Many passengers said they loved the itinerary, the ship and the crew and would do it again in a heart beat but never would leave out of San Juan again. I know booking a cruise leaving from San Juan would not be our first choice. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Our son gave us this cruise for our anniversary because we had never been on a cruise before. Thank you royal carribean for making our first cruise ever a wonderful experience. The food everywhere was excellent and the entertainment so ... Read More
Our son gave us this cruise for our anniversary because we had never been on a cruise before. Thank you royal carribean for making our first cruise ever a wonderful experience. The food everywhere was excellent and the entertainment so enjoyable. The ports were fantastic and the experience of leaving and returning to the ship was made easier than expected. There was not a crew member or staff that wasn’t courteous or helpful. Especially our state room attendant Roy and our dining room waiters Samphan and Placid. We made new friends everywhere and especially enjoyed our times at the pool. The only bad experience was one piece of our luggage having a broken wheel when delivered to our room on the first night. When I reported it Fabio at the guest desk went out of his way to help and two days later we had a new piece of luggage delivered to our room. Thank you Fabio and also for his guidance on beaches to see to Aruba which was a wonderful experience. Excellent crew and staff. We will be cursing again with royal carribean freedom of the seas Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We arrive in San Juan a few days before and stays at my parent's house. The day of departure arrives to the port around 12. The embarkation process was fast and super easy. In less than 20 minutes we were on board. Disembarkation ... Read More
We arrive in San Juan a few days before and stays at my parent's house. The day of departure arrives to the port around 12. The embarkation process was fast and super easy. In less than 20 minutes we were on board. Disembarkation was as tedious as always. Especially because of the way the girl in charge of our group was talking to us. More on that later. After we got out of the ship the line to get through immigration was incredibly long. But if get one of the guys that help with baggage they take you through a shorter line. This was the Average Cruise Vacation. Wake up in the morning breakfast at Windjammer. The Windjammer was always packed. And there was always a line. But the service was great. There was a good amount of waiters, always offering coffee, juice, and water. The same thing repeats at lunch. Our cabin was very nice and comfortable. It was on deck 12. To the front of the ship. This area was remodeled and is completely different from the rest of the ship. The halls and cabins are decorated in beige, white and navy colors. We were on cabin #1858 a Spacious Panoramic Oceanview. It was an amazing Cabin, comfortable and clean. And the location was ideal. The service on the Main Dining Room was great. Our waiters were very nice. They were always on top of things. The food was good. Ok, Entertainment. I think there were trying to entertain. But they are still doing the same activities and playing the same songs from 10 the last 10 years. At the sail away party, they play La Macarena. We went to a TV Theme Trivia and all the TV shows were from the 70s. They did the 70s Disco Party and out came the guys dress as the Village People. There was this girl from the Cruise Director Crew. She was hosting a game, we were in the middle of the game. Somebody came an ask her if she knew were was someplace located. She remembered that she had to be in that same place, picked her things and left. She didn't say anything. We didn't finish the game, we didn't know who won, nothing. From there on every time we saw that she was the hostess of an activity we were left. That was the same girl in charge of our disembarkation area. And she was treating people like garbage. There were only to Highlight on Entertainment of the Week The Search for the Nations Game. They give you a paper at the beginning of the week and you spend the rest of the week looking for the signature of the different employees of the ships depending on the country they are from. My kids came in Second Place and they got a Medal and Royal Caribbean Back Pack The other one was the Spanish Music Trivia. The Guy who hosted the game was great. And we ended up partying with another couple and singing all songs in the trivia. In the end, it was a party. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Unless you really need the room don’t book the grand “family” suite. Not grand in any sense of the word. Located amongst the cheapest cabins on the ship, this “suite” offers nothing in the way of enhanced decor or amenities. ... Read More
Unless you really need the room don’t book the grand “family” suite. Not grand in any sense of the word. Located amongst the cheapest cabins on the ship, this “suite” offers nothing in the way of enhanced decor or amenities. Other than access to the concierge club and a nice big living room, this room is nothing special. Hearing our screaming drunk neighbors all night long, long walks from our room to anywhere else on the ship and 15 bug head to toe bites last night (while in bed!). Again, other than the concierge in the concierge club there was no recognition of us being suite guests. I will never book another royal Caribbean family suite. And the pool scene on ocean days is a nightmare. Wall to wall people. I elected to stay in the cabin to escape the mob scene. I do recommend chefs table. Quite nice. This ship is just too big to be fun. I strongly recommend RC’s smaller ships. Or sail on celebrity instead. Much, much nicer! Just Disappointed Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had a great cruise on the Freedom of the Seas sailing from San Juan on September 29. I'm currently sitting in the airport lounge writing this review so that it is all fresh in my head. My wife and I spent two days in San Juan ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Freedom of the Seas sailing from San Juan on September 29. I'm currently sitting in the airport lounge writing this review so that it is all fresh in my head. My wife and I spent two days in San Juan in an Airbnb prior to the cruise. When pricing the cruise, the flights were about the same from PHL to SJU as they were to MIA or FLL. That being said, it seemed like a no brainer to get a few extra "port days" and leave from PR. EMBARKATION We arrived on embarkation day via TAXI at around 1230pm. Bags went with the porter and we got in line. Check in was a breeze. We hit the Duty Free for some libations. Getting on the ship was easy. We hit the Windjammer for lunch. I will say that the upsell to specialty dining on embarkation day is a little rough. We must have been pitched 3 or 4 times during our lunch. It does seem a little insulting since we just sat down after paying several thousand dollars for a cruise and now we're being asked to pay more. Nonetheless, we had a good lunch and the rooms were ready by 1:30pm. THE ROOM We met our cabin attendant De De for balcony room 8216. EXCELLENT room, as it is the forward most balcony on the deck. There was an entire glass "wall" where the divider would be, giving us a tremendous view of the boat moving forward. Only warning about the room... the bed is HARD. Like... REAL hard. Luckily we were so tired every night and just passed out. The shower was A+... great pressure and HOT. THE FOOD Our only other cruise experience was about 5 years ago on Norwegian. Our dining room experience then was mediocre at best. We expected the same on Freedom. BOY were we wrong! We had MyTime dining and ate in the main dining room 5/7 nights (one in the buffet and the other at Chops for our anniversary). I was SUPER impressed with the food. Steaks cooked perfectly, excellent appetizers, etc. The service was phenomenal. We had Makram and Delly as our waiters, and both got to know us personally and would bring our drinks without us asking. Truly made us feel like family. The Windjammer was pretty good. Crowded. Room Service breakfast was good also. We used it 4 times, each time paying the extra $10 for a real breakfast. We ate on our balcony which was awesome. Chops was incredible. So good. THE ENTERTAINMENT We only went to three shows, two comedians and the 'Once Upon a Time' show on the last night. AWESOME. Super impressive. We're 30 going on 80 so we were in bed by 10pm every night, so unfortunately I don't have anything to add for the late night stuff. THE SHIP We loved the ship for its size and family atmosphere. She is a bit worn, though. Carpets have some wear and tear, some chipping of the paint... etc. Don't expect a brand new ship. PORTS St. Thomas was a lot of fun. We rented a scooter. DO NOT DO THIS unless you are an avoid motorcycler. Also keep in mind that the FOTS docks at a port away from the other ships. The main port town was CLOSED on the day that we went since there weren't any other ships. The highlight of this port stop was Magens bay. We try to avoid major tourist spots (lol... like I'm not a tourist), however this was the most beautiful beach. The pelicans are CRAZY... and worth the price of admission to watch them hunt. Curacao was far and away our favorite. We rented a car from ADVANCE car rental. Do it. $75 for a car, GPS and a cell phone, drop off and pick up at the MEGA PIER. We hit a few beaches, including Playa Porta Marie (WILD PIGS), Playa Grandi (swim with TURTLES!) and Playa Knip. All beautiful. We bought our own snorkel gear prior to the trip. Highly recommend as we didn't see a whole lot of rental spots. The town is full of great color. Aruba was OK. Rainy day. We rented a car at the pier and hit a few beaches. St. Martin was kind of a miss. We rented a car here as well (Coastal Car Rental... good experience). The weather was bleh and traffic was bad. My suggestion is to take the $7 water taxi to the main town of Phillipsburg and go to the Lazy Lizard. Great food. $20 for an umbrella, two chairs and 6 beers. Nik the owner is a very nice guy. DEBARKATION We did the express debarkation with self luggage. Easy. Off the ship and through customs in about 20 minutes. We took a taxi to the airport and rented a car from Enterprise for $30. We needed a place to keep our luggage and wanted to explore Old San Juan for another day. FELLOW GUESTS INCREDIBLE. I don't know why I was surprised (ignorance), but I'd estimate 60% of the passengers were Puerto Ricans. SO MUCH FUN. So many large families traveling together. So much laughter and Boricua pride. The PR children were so well behaved and polite. My wife and I mentioned on more than one occasion that we want to cruise out of San Juan more just to have some PR culture in our lives. OVERALL Great cruise. Excellent service. Phenomenal food. Would cruise the FOTS again in a heartbeat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Looked for a cruise which we could combine with a visit to San Juan and visit St Maarten as well as the southern Caribbean islands. This one fit that bill. Enjoyed our pre cruise visit to San Juan and would go back again loved the ... Read More
Looked for a cruise which we could combine with a visit to San Juan and visit St Maarten as well as the southern Caribbean islands. This one fit that bill. Enjoyed our pre cruise visit to San Juan and would go back again loved the people, beauty and energy of the city as it rebuilds. Unfortunately that was the highlight of the trip. The ship was fully occupied and included many children from the island. The children were well behaved but did not expect so many on a cruise during the regular school year. They kind of overwhelmed the staff and facilities even the adults only areas were over run. Love kids but this was a bit much. Understood later that there were special discounts afforded to families from Puerto Rico. We were in a balcony room but there were inside cabins accross from us with 4 or 6 in the room. The housekeeping staff seemed overwelmed. Our Cabin was a 9th floor balcony which was quite adequate except for our bed. I normally like a firm mattress but it was like sleeping on a concrete pad. I complained but was told that there was nothing they could do. I left the ship with a back ache which took a week to go away. We had the early seating at the main dining room and enjoyed our servers and our table mates but the food was mediocre at best. Royal Caribbean seems to be pushing people to their specialty dining rooms and adding extra cost items to the regular menu more and more. On the lobster night it was difficult to get a second serving. On the plus side we had a good dinner in Giovani's which included a fun murder mystery show. We also had a great lunch at Chops. Unfortunately Royal caribbean seems to have been taken of by the bean counters who are more concerned about the bottom line than having guests come back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We are experienced cruisers with 20+ trips. Mostly on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We go to the Caribbean during the Stormy Season and usually do well getting lower prices. We planned to do the Southern Caribbean partly based on the ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers with 20+ trips. Mostly on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We go to the Caribbean during the Stormy Season and usually do well getting lower prices. We planned to do the Southern Caribbean partly based on the knowledge that if you go south you will often miss any Hurricanes. This time we were met with some dark skies. Light rain in Aruba and a deluge in Saint Martin. We still had a great time. The SHIP is aging but gracefully. The design is sound and still works. Our CABIN was OS 1334. We reserved a GS and got a call asking if we'd like a low cost upgrade to an OS. We took the upgrade for a few dollars more. We were located just a short walk fro the Concierge Lounge. That lounge was small so we wandered off to find the Diamond Lounge where we went most evenings to get free drinks and meet fellow cruisers. We met some very nice folks there as we have in the past. One of the perks of being in a Suite is getting the MDR menu available for delivery to the room. We did that a lot since we had a large table in our room and a large veranda with room to have dinner and enjoy the view of the Caribbean as we toasted the day's high points. The only issue we had with the room was the TV. It was a jury rig of some kind with a retro fit screen in the space. It was difficult to get it to work. We called the attendant and then the tech staff but it was not always working. They offered two devices to control the system. We mentioned the issue to our Concierge who was not surprised so it seems to be an ongoing issue. maybe we should have told her earlier. DINING: The quality of food from MDR is excellent. However, it is also not very imaginative. We suspect that the innovative dining is done in the Specialty restaurants, We got a strong sales pitch for the first three days aboard to buy the Specialty Dining. That was annoying. We went to Chops Grile for breakfast every morning. Very nice service available to Suite class. We tried the Windjammer a few times and got great food and some crowds. ENTERTAINMENT: Shows were entertaining but not as good as bigger ships. We tried Trivia at Schooner Bar and loved it. Captain's party had a classical guitarist who was delightful. SERVICE: We enjoyed the fine service throughout the cruise. EXCURSIONS: All trips were via the cruise line. St Thomas. Did an underwater bicycle and snorkel adventure. One of us loved it, the other is claustrophobic and abandoned the device quickly along with another person who felt uncomfortable. Curacao. Went on Speed Boat ride plus beach. The boat got old the snorkeling didn't happen. The beach was great. They offered us soda and chips, which was a disappointment for what we payed. Aruba. Went on a sailboat ride down the coast of Eagle Beach and stopped at a beach where we could swim. Got some rain that dampened things. But, the water was still very nice. We watched tons of seaweed get taken away to compost inland. Later that day we took a ride on a bigger boat down the same coast. Entertaining as we went down the coast with lots of drinks. They ran out of food before may of the folks got fed. Would not trust this outfit a second time. Nice boat, lousy service. Rain in Aruba is rare. St Martin. Went to the beach in the morning. Cloudy day. Beach was nice. Nice place for a swim. I love to collect the shells on the shore. Lunch was very nice. Then the skies opened and a 30 minute deluge followed. The afternoon excursion was cancelled. We headed back to the ship after a pleasant day. Summary, we had a great time. Sometimes it was because we know how to manage the system. Rookie cruisers might have had problems. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I wanted to write a quick review regarding my experience on the Freedom of the Seas. Overall this was a great trip and we had a relaxing week. Embarkation was as smooth as can be. I filled out everything beforehand and had printed ... Read More
I wanted to write a quick review regarding my experience on the Freedom of the Seas. Overall this was a great trip and we had a relaxing week. Embarkation was as smooth as can be. I filled out everything beforehand and had printed documents and identification ready to go. We arrived around 11 am and was on the ship within 15mins. I carried on two bottles of wine and they didn't blink an eyelash at me. We headed straight to the Windjammer and settled in for lunch. The food wasn't anything to write home about. I quickly headed to the bar to break in my deluxe drink package. I was expecting to sign a receipt for each drink. I didn't have to sign a thing which makes the process even smoother. The cabin announcement quickly followed! Our aft cabin was nice and the balcony is a great addition to any vacation. I should have spent more time on it, but there is always next time. It did have an odd smell most of the time but I learned to ignore it. I always tip my cabin steward first to ensure we get off on the right foot. He was average and we didn't have any complaints. We ate mostly in the main dining room which I found to be just "ok". The service was top notch but the food left a lot to be desired. I did my best to stay away from the Windjammer due to the children. It always felt like a cattle call and the other passengers seem to have no regard for personal space. We also ate at Johnny Rockets which I also found just "ok" We didn't really do many activities on board but we did attend the late-night comedy show (complete with young children). I thought he was funny and kept me laughing the entire hour. We also played in the Love and Marriage show and WON!! It was a blast and my hubby appreciated the notoriety for the rest of the cruise. The ship is beautiful! It is beginning to show it's age but still impressive. I tried to explore some of it but spent the most time in Vintages and Arcadia. I have no idea about the other venues or bars. Here is my opinion of Ports St. Thomas - BEAUTIFUL! We didn't have a planned excursion but did a tour with Martin. We hopped off the ship and headed for the taxis. We were quickly stopped and pointed in the right direction. For $29 plus tip, we had an AMAZING tour and beach stop. He took us on a heart-pounding trip up the mountain to see the island and back down to the beach. We stopped along the way for plenty of pictures and he gave excellent descriptions of all the sites. I HIGHLY recommend this if you don't have anything planned. It was worth every single pen and then some. Curacao - BEAUTIFUL! We had a planned RC excursion - Beach by Boat. Overall it was ok. The boat ride over was ROUGH and not for the weak. Once we arrived at the resort it was every man for himself. You had to quickly navigate to the correct section for prime seating. We lost. We did end up under a palm tree and settled in for what seemed like a hot minute later and we had to return to the boat. Unfortunately, the day was overcast and the water wasn't warm enough for me. Moving this excursion to slightly later in the day would have made it much more enjoyable. We returned back to the port and walked around a bit and headed back to the ship. I wanted to take the Irie West Side beach tour but it wasn't being offered. I was very disappointed and will make it my life's mission to return to the beaches of Curacao Aruba - I'm certain this a beautiful place if planned properly. This is purely my mistake and the day suffered for it. We ended up renting a car so that we could eat at the famous Zee Rovers (a local favorite). We couldn't get cell service due to our sim cards not being able to register on the network. We eventually found the restaurant with the help of a "tourist shopping map" and lots of local help. I would highly recommend eating here if you enjoy seafood and something off the beaten path. The food is fresh and the atmosphere is great. The flies are also in full effect so beware! We then headed off in search of a nice beach to pass the time until our sunset boat cruise. This was a bust due to the rain. We found a bar on the beach and drank our sorrows away. We were due back for 4:45 for the RC excursion Sunset catamaran boat cruise. This was very enjoyable and you got your money's worth. Thankfully it stopped raining and we got a beautiful sunset and amazing pictures. The only negative thing I have to say is RC needs to work harder on diversity. I fully understood we sailed from San Juan but would have appreciated more English announcements and music. Bottom line - We had fun and would do it again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Travelled with my partner on our first cruise, departing San Juan on September 22. We spent three nights in San Juan prior to the cruise departing, exploring Old San Juan on our first full day, and spending the second doing some shopping ... Read More
Travelled with my partner on our first cruise, departing San Juan on September 22. We spent three nights in San Juan prior to the cruise departing, exploring Old San Juan on our first full day, and spending the second doing some shopping (in preparation for the cruise) and chilling out at our hotel. We arrived at the port around 12:30pm to throngs of people, however overall the embarkation process was smooth and we were on the ship in about twenty minutes. We had a twelve-pack of spring water in our carry on baggage but the only time this would have been picked up was when the bags were put through the x-ray scanner, and nothing was said at all by the security staff. While the decor of our cabin was dated, it was very clean and well-maintained - in the age of smart devices the main downside was the absence of bedside power sockets, but otherwise the design included numerous spaces to store things so everything was out of the way, making the room feel less cramped. The only other downside was the mini-fridge which did a better job of keeping the small space it was in warm than it did keeping drinks chilled. We pre-booked a four night specialty dining package, as well as the soda/internet combo and some arcade credit. The amusement arcade on the ship needs an overhaul - too many of the games in there either didn't work, or would fail (e.g. reboot) while you played them - air hockey was the only thing I found worth playing in there. Internet worked a lot better than I expected - while there would be short periods of time where the internet was unavailable, these weren't numerous. The soda package was good, but on this ship more needs to be done maintaining the machines - I counted 7 on the ship - four in the Windjammer, two adjacent to Sorrentos and one in the arcade. The one in the arcade worked for the first day then was out of commission for the rest of the cruise, while those outside Sorrentos became hard to access given how popular this eating location was, resulting in the soda machines being obstructed by people lining up for pizza - I think by the last couple of days of the cruise one machine outside Sorrentos and two in the Wiindjammer were still working - i.e. more than 50% out of action! We dined at Chops Grille and Giovanni's Table once, and Sabor twice. The food and service in both Chops and Sabor was excellent. Giovanni's was good but the service was all over the place. The 40% discount on wine that came with the dining package meant that having a bottle of wine with these meals didn't blow the budget. We ate in the Windjammer occasionally for lunch but for a buffet I didn't find the food that amazing - it was just okay - I don't recall any of the items there making me crave seconds. We dined once in the MDR which was good (particularly the service), and once at Johnny Rocket's which was (to my surprise, admittedly) a very good meal. We had room service on the final night of the cruise and it was pleasant enough. We also did the brunch tour of the galley behind the MDR, which was really interesting - we definitely got our money's worth with the champagne top ups! With the exception of the service at Giovanni's on the first night, all of the service staff we encountered were friendly and looked like they enjoyed their jobs. We went to several shows in the Arcadia Theatre, and all were good, particularly Once Upon a Time and Marquee. We spent a couple of nights in the Bull & Bear pub as well listening to Jack Wallis perform - he was great. Rather than go on organised tours we elected to do our own thing on port days. The final port of St Kitts was cancelled due to tropical storm Kirk, meaning we spent an extra day at sea. At St Thomas we caught a "taxi" with others to Magen's Bay which was stunning, and walked around Willemstad in Curacao. We had planned to go to Eagle Beach in Aruba but wet weather there put us off. As well as handwashing some items we used the laundry service, including the "bag wash" special that was available a couple of days - I'd be wary of using this again, given some white items were blue when returned - thankfully the colour washed out when they were laundered again (maybe it was soap?) but it was an unwelcome surprise. Getting off the ship in San Juan was also fairly painless - the building where you collect your luggage from was crowded, but once in line for customs it was a smooth process. I read somewhere to get in the line on the left (well second from the left, the far left is the porters' queue) and this did seem to go faster! We were at the airport about 45 minutes after leaving our room. Overall we had a great time on the ship - it being our first time we were a bit apprehensive about some aspects of the cruise (e.g. dress codes!) but we're now looking forward to taking another one again in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise because we wanted a Southern cruise from Puerto Rico. We usually cruise with Celebrity and noticed several differences; small but comparable. The layout particularly the Promenade was difficult to navigate at times. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we wanted a Southern cruise from Puerto Rico. We usually cruise with Celebrity and noticed several differences; small but comparable. The layout particularly the Promenade was difficult to navigate at times. Some restaurants, stores and pubs are located there attracting a crowd in a relatively small space. The production shows were good. We did not eat in the Windjammer because it was too crowded during breakfast, and lunch times. We did eat breakfast in the dining room which was very nice. The dinner menu in the dining room was varied enough for any taste. The preparation and taste was O.K.==not great. The service could have been better. Some appetizers were forgotten to be served etc. We had a problem with our server and discussed this with the Matre De which ultimately resolved the problem. Cabin staff was great. Overall I didn't feel it had the upscale feel that Celebrity has. Aside from these comments we did enjoy ourselves and loved the cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because friends were booking it and thought it would be fun catching up with them and trying a different cruise line. We had previously sailed one time each on Norwegian and Carnival. I would say that overall, RC was a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because friends were booking it and thought it would be fun catching up with them and trying a different cruise line. We had previously sailed one time each on Norwegian and Carnival. I would say that overall, RC was a fun, memorable experience for us. Freedom is a good size ship, yet not too big so that the service was never lacking. The ship is older and due up for refurbishment soon, but it was still clean and lovely! The service in all areas was exceptional and we never had to wait to receive attention at all. Staff was always smiling, even the gentleman in the Windjammer that greeted us every day, dancing until the day we left. We chose My Time Dining and fell in love with our wait staff right away. Table 61, Rafael and Estevam. We would have reserved that table all week from the get go had we known they were in such high demand, but managed to be seated with them three or four nights. So attentive, friendly, knew our names immediately and since we had the drink package, they always had our favorite drinks delivered and replenished without asking. They chatted with us and never rushed us out of the restaurant, which was nice. Food was good. We had cabin 8684, nice balcony. Suzanne was our room attendant, always greeted us with a smile and new us by name. She kept our room very clean. The comedian, El Gaucho (I think) was hysterical! Recommend this show. Didn’t do all of the shows, they didn’t appeal to us personally. Buffet was lack luster and didn’t have a lot of variety for me, from day to day. Would have liked more greens vs root vegetables. They really pushed upgrading to the dining packages. We were approached 4 times during our first meal, which was annoying. I don’t think the extra expense is worth it, when I’m paying all that money to begin with. I like to walk on board, the track was too small, full of people strolling while people tried to exercise, but it was Ok- could be better situated away from the upper pool deck area. Cave and city tour in Curacao was great. In Aruba, did Kukoo Konukoo day bus tour privately with Carlo. So fun! Took us to the Chapel, the lighthouse ( which was unfortunately closed) then to Eagle beach for 2 hours. (The ship excursions weren’t very descriptive and seemed similar in some ports). Went back out to the town at night on our own since it was our longest day. In St Thomas we went to Sapphire beach via cab, absolutely beautiful with no crowds. St. Kitts was cancelled due to an impending hurricane so we had an extra sea day and the Captain did a great job of steering us west to stay way ahead of the storm, so it was always calm and sunny! We were on and off this ship without too much hassle. I would cruise RC again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I traveled on Freedom of the Seas, Sept. 22, 2018. I now read similar reviews/complaints and wonder if their corporate executives have lost their minds. This was my 26th cruise/and 2nd time on Freedom (2013 & 2018). We chose this ... Read More
I traveled on Freedom of the Seas, Sept. 22, 2018. I now read similar reviews/complaints and wonder if their corporate executives have lost their minds. This was my 26th cruise/and 2nd time on Freedom (2013 & 2018). We chose this sailing, to help bolster the economy in SJU, and thought less children might be on board (w/school in session) and its Southern Caribbean itinerary. Instead, it was the daycare cruise from Hell. Now, I read (online) if ships sailing out of SJU-aren't going out full-they give extremely low rates to the local families, to fill it. These passengers ran havoc-pushing and shoving- at elevators-food & drink areas-and children ran unsupervised and out of control. The entertainment was so upset by uncontrolled screaming children, they were making comments, while on mike. It could be said, "there's nothing they can do to control this" but, there are no boundaries or rules in place, except: Children under 17 should be back in there cabins by 1 a.m. Really? That's it? I saw little ones in ship bars until the wee hours; while parents partied, too drunk from the never-ending liquor packages. The ships TV was a great example of RC's 'focus' with their over 6 solicitation channels. It was all about getting passengers to buy jewelry, excursions, or future cruises. Subtlety, is no longer an RC virtue. And I've never been so "nickled and dimed" to death. With very little TV (and I refuse to include cartoon channels) we could pay $11.99 'per movie'. Room service meant spending an additional $7.95 (per room service) PLUS 18% gratuity. And I always looked forward to sleeping/lulled by the movement of a ship. That was impossible. These beds felt like I was on top of a table. And if by chance we did fall asleep-the drunks were screaming and laughing down the hallways. The staff did what they could, but they also watched in despair, as people ran wild. Fights broke out on the promenade (70's party night). Drunk tempers flared, while children watched. No standards, guidelines, or rules in place. The food in the dining room's also become uneatable. The first night I ordered prime rib (requested med/rare). It came out gray, cold, dry, w/gravy and a full sprig of raw rosemary 'shoved in it'. We ate in the dining room just a few times (hoping they'd redeem themselves). It blew our minds when the crab cakes were made with fake crab meat. I understand they think people have no palates, or might be too dumb/drunk to know the difference..but they'd be wrong. Many of us talked, complained, or discussed the food and our disappointments. When your buffet is better than your dining room-that's pretty sad. And is this happening because they hoped we'd pay more to upgrade to their food packages? And when we're already billed almost $15 a day (for tipping-regardless of service) why are we receiving additional envelops? If I'd received exceptional service, I'd make sure those individuals were compensated. Instead; we were made to feel we were not doing 'our part' for their contracted staff. The cruise staff appeared to have no authority. This might also be why (during our Aruba excursion) a couple brought a toddler on a 50 ft. snorkeling wreck. This catamaran staff had to babysit, while the mom & dad swam. Evidently they didn't want to pay for the ships daycare. Over sixty people were in the water, not monitored properly, because the staff were babysitting. The RC cruise line should have implemented passenger policies, as well as for their excursion providers. And each day was a freaking 'shell game' (when on an island) as to where the towel stand would be: on the dock/ somewhere else/ or on deck 3 & 11. Everything was a crap shoot-with no direction. And RC might respond, "you should've picked a higher ship class". But, I would reply, "YOU are not living up to your stated brand and name. Lastly, this is an example of what we passengers dealt with daily. I was in the solarium hot tub. A group of 12 young adults (with food & drinks) sat along the half moon, and on top of our belongings. I got out to get my things from under a young woman. She didn't speak English and would not move, so I had to pull my things out from under her butt. Another couple got out, and walked over. The husband looked at my belongings (now in my arms) gagging and pointing. There was period blood on my things. We watched as this girl got into the hot tub, with her group, and ran off those who'd been in it. Royal Caribbean might believe all that matters is their bottom line, but slowly, those who've supported their brand, are going to stop sailing their ships. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This trip consisted of two one week back to back cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean. The first week ports were St, Thomas, Aruba and Curacao. The second week visited Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Martin and ... Read More
This trip consisted of two one week back to back cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean. The first week ports were St, Thomas, Aruba and Curacao. The second week visited Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Martin and St. Kitts. I have been to all of these places several times, but for anyone looking for an introduction to the southern Caribbean, it would be hard to beat this itinerary. Worries about tropical storm Isaac caused us to skip St. Martin on the first week, but it was visited the second week. The first week cruise got an extra sea day and the second week only one sea day was on this port intensive itinerary. I was on this ship in May and a great deal of maintenance work was being conducted due to the fact that a scheduled dry dock has been postponed. This problem is continuing with stairwells closed for carpeting replacement and other work crews around the ship doing additional work. This is inconvenient and annoying for people who have scheduled and paid for their vacation to relax and enjoy. Some problems noted in May have been corrected, such as moving the salsa and dance bands from Boleros lounge to the larger and more private Star lounge. But other things that could be corrected simply, such as having grapefruit in the buffet at breakfast, remain. Many have commented on the petty cost cutting. This has reached a new low to the point that it was impossible to find a selection of small boxed breakfast cereals with adult oriented brands as has always been a staple in both the Windjammer buffet and the main dining room. All that was available was a small selection of mostly sugared children's cereals in bulk, stale containers. Truly ridiculous. Others have noted a limited selection of lunch deserts, vegetable selections and the long lines at the ice cream machine on the pool deck. Still no machine in the dining room and no visible changes responding to these frequent guest complaints. Are they really saving that much money? Why don't they respond? As a Diamond Plus member it really make me wonder. At least the Concierge Club and Diamond Club continue to be well run and a very welcome loyalty benefit. The lobster and steak in the main dining room was very good. Disembarcation from the ship has improved, but the line for customs was exceptionally long. There was no captain's corner on the last day of the second week and lines at guest services were frequently very long. I like this ship and have been on it several times. The ice show and two production shows are some of the best. Cruising from San Juan allows for visiting ports that are not so frequently visited. Hopefully Royal will listen a bit more seriously to the desires of their guests in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had only cruised once before many years ago and wanted a cruise worthy of being the 30 year Anniversary honeymoon we never had. We chose this particular cruise based on the itinerary and the reputation of the cruise line per other ... Read More
We had only cruised once before many years ago and wanted a cruise worthy of being the 30 year Anniversary honeymoon we never had. We chose this particular cruise based on the itinerary and the reputation of the cruise line per other family members and our travel agent, but also because of the affordability for the quality of the experience. I had dreaded the check-in process, remembering long lines in the heat and crankiness of people on both sides of the counter from our previous experience, but check in was a breeze, from airport pickup to SeaPass issuing to being in our cabin in less than an hour. Check out was just as easy, with staff providing clear and efficient directions and assistance. The Freedom of the Seas was everything we hoped it would be and all was kept in fine order despite being at the end of the season. There were some issues with overhead lights in the dining room and toilets that stopped flushing, but these were addressed immediately when reported. The staff was friendly, attentive, and made an effort to personalize each encounter. The Dining Room and Windjammer buffets had consistently good food, although main dining room selections were limited and portions/quality needed addressing at times. Our excursions were all through Royal Caribean and, for the most part were well organized but the descriptions provided were not always accurate. I highly recommend the Horseback Riding on the Beach in St. Johns, Antigua as the best riding experience I have had anywhere. The best-trained horses and attentive guides made sure every rider in our large group was personally ensured a wonderful, enjoyable, non-hurried ride according to their ability. We had to cancel our planned excursion in Barbados due to a health issue and went on the Mount Gay Rum Experience as an alternative even though we are not big drinkers and had a wonderful time. Our guide kept the group entertained as well as educated. We were not prepared for the devastating effects of last years' hurricane Florence that remained or of the desperation of the island peoples that remains. It was a bit annoying at times to be swarmed by locals attempting to sell their goods, especially on the beach at St. Lucia. We were also not prepared for the focus on jewelry sales over almost anything else. More affordable souvenirs were hard to come by. Many of our fellow cruisers were frequent cruisers and overall still recommend Royal Caribbean as comparably the best, and I know we will be recommending it as well. Can't wait for our next one! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I departed for our seven-day Royal Caribbean 5 year anniversary cruise on September 8th on Freedom of the Seas. This was our first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean. We were excited to depart on a relaxing romantic Caribbean ... Read More
My wife and I departed for our seven-day Royal Caribbean 5 year anniversary cruise on September 8th on Freedom of the Seas. This was our first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean. We were excited to depart on a relaxing romantic Caribbean cruise... or so we thought. After being locked out on our balcony and bruised from getting knocked down, it was anything but what we were expecting. Our Cabin Steward, even though he accidentally locked us out on our balcony, we ended up liking a good deal. After coming in to bring us a bucket of ice that I requested on the first night, he found us on the balcony and wished us a good night. Out of habit, he closed and latched the door as he left. We stayed out there for a while, not realizing we were locked out before trying to come back in. At the point we realized we were locked out, we couldn’t see anyone else out on their balcony. We waited there for a portion of the night and what seemed like an eternity. Just as I started climbing over the rail to get to the next balcony and bang on their door, we caught the attention of someone four rooms down who went for help. A couple days later, my wife was knocked to the ground in the overcrowded windjammer buffet area and a member of the staff just stood there and shrugged with a look on his face expressing “I know, but nothing I can do”. We were told by several guest that due to the threat of a hurricane developing, the bookings had dropped to about 30% capacity and in order for Royal Caribbean to make a profit, the remaining cabins were advertised and sold locally in Puerto Rico at a fraction of what we paid. This filled the boat with a crowd acting like it was their first and last Spring Break they would ever take. It’s hard to relax when boom boxes could be heard from stern to bow blaring techno-pop music. In the elevators, on our balcony, even just sitting in our room, the high energy beat could be both heard and felt. I wrote Royal Caribbean expressing how this was anything but the relaxing romantic Caribbean cruise advertised and sold to us by a member of the Royal Caribbean sales staff. After receiving my letter, a team member in the executive office called me to explain how it’s really not their problem and implied I was lying since I did not report the events when they occurred. He did offer us a $100 voucher to use on board the next Royal Caribbean cruise. Would this be acceptable to you? We understand that sometimes getting locked out and knocked down is part of life. What truly matters is who is there to pick you back up. Unfortunately, we found Royal Caribbean is not one of those stand-up companies that can recognize and do the right thing. They would rather just stand there and look down on you counting their profits. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I are in our 50's. This was our 7th or 8th cruise spanning RCCL, Carnival, and Princess. My wife and I sailed on this class of ship last year so quite familiar with the features, age, etc. We selected the cruise for ... Read More
My wife and I are in our 50's. This was our 7th or 8th cruise spanning RCCL, Carnival, and Princess. My wife and I sailed on this class of ship last year so quite familiar with the features, age, etc. We selected the cruise for two reasons. We had never been to southern caribbean islands before and we were able to cash in points for the cruise at a low rate. The embarkation process was a breeze. We arrived right at noon and were on the ship within 15 minutes. We purchased drink and internet packages online and both were available immediately upon arrival. Out of all of the prior cruises, I believe this one had the best overall service. From dining staff, room steward, bartenders, etc. Absolutely the best part of the ship. We stayed in cabin 9286. Beds were very hard but not a big problem for me. As stated by others, they really pushed the upgrade for restaurants to the point it became annoying (multiple interruptions during the same meal). We tried the upgrades on a prior cruise and did not find them of sufficient quality to warrant doing so this time. We felt the dining room experience was fine for us. My wife had a facial in the spa and felt it was fine as well. They used expensive products and tried to sell her the package at around $600+. No thanks. We started with My Time dining and found a table and wait staff we really liked. We scheduled appointments from then on so we would get the staff we liked. The ship was older but fine for us. We were quite disappointed in the Entertainment. The theater shows had good talent but choreography was not strong. The magician was talented but the show featured a lot of card tricks using a video camera over a table. The ice show was good but nothing spectacular. I would rate the shows as the worst part for us. We explored the excursions and quickly realized that all the island activities were basically the same across islands. We cruise a lot in the western caribbean and were use to specific highlights per island (i.e. Grand Cayman - stingrays). Not so here. If you want to spend $ for white sandy beaches on each stop, this is the cruise for you. If not, pick a couple and enjoy but do not look for differentiation. We eventually ran out of things to do that were entertaining after day 5. We used the rest of the time relaxing and enjoying. Alcoholic drink selection is outstanding and they use the highest quality. Departing out of San Juan meant a large percentage of the cruisers were Latin American. We are Caucasian and only speak english. It was a little annoying having everything repeated in both languages but we understood. Overall - we would not do this cruise again. I could get the same experience or better out of Galveston and save the expense of flying into San Juan. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We flew into San Juan and spent the day prior to the cruise exploring Old San Juan on our own. Old San Juan is gorgeous and filled will all kinds of shopping, dining and historical buildings, and you could easily spend days there doing ... Read More
We flew into San Juan and spent the day prior to the cruise exploring Old San Juan on our own. Old San Juan is gorgeous and filled will all kinds of shopping, dining and historical buildings, and you could easily spend days there doing everything that OSJ has to offer. We stayed at the Hampton Inn near the airport, which was a little noisy due to runway noise from the neighboring airport, but did not disturb us at night due to decent soundproofing. Saturday morning, embarkation day, we took an Uber to the port, and he dropped us off in front of a massive crowd of people. We started to walk inside and were quickly turned around and told to go to a certain colored column to drop our luggage. Unfortunately, the columns are colored near the bottom, and nearly impossible to see through the crowd, thus turning it into a free for all of people trying to get to the right line, but unable to see where the line goes from the end of the line. Once the luggage was loaded into the carts, we set out for security and check-in. Security, as usual, was questionable at best, and provided little in the way of assurance of actual security, and more of a security theater setting. After security, we were directed to check-in, and were placed in a line for Crown and Anchor guests, which moved no faster than the normal check-in line, and check in was provided by a very soft spoken employee, who did not seem terribly interested in her job. Maybe it was the heat? Security and check in were extremely hot, but it's the tropics, so what can you do? We were then directed up an escalator to the ship, where we were advised that our stateroom was ready. We proceeded to our stateroom at the front of deck 9 (9504) where we were greeted with a typical stateroom, excluding the large porthole at the front. After some careful moving (pro tip: move the coffee table to the other side of the bed near the porthole for more room to move in the "living room" area) we began to unpack. My wife noticed that the hair dryer did not work, but there was a second one provided in the drawers below. These rooms do lack more than 2-3 outlets total, so don't plan on too many devices charging at once. The colors were, to quote my wife, "atrocious" and the stateroom was done up in a well worn green and peach motif, with yellow patterned curtains. The bed was comfortable, but pillows were lacking, and were very thin (we asked for extras) We spent most of the first day exploring the ship, and trying to get acquainted with the various areas on board. It was at this point we noticed that boarding had continued to fill an already crowded ship to absolute max capacity. When we went down for the muster drill, we filed into a crowded space at the front of the ship to hear the muster drill briefing, but had to listen to it once in English, then again in Spanish, followed by a number of chants, in Spanish, from the mainly Puerto Rican crowd. When we returned to our stateroom, we were greeted with a paper informing us that our tour for our first port was cancelled. We immediately went to the Shore Excursions desk and were informed that the tour was cancelled due to "lack of participation" from others. We were given an alternate tour with a discount. After a decent dinner with mediocre service in the main dining room, and a reservation for an alternate table the next night with the MyTime desk, we returned to our room to be told that our replacement tour was ALSO cancelled, due to "lack of participation"--we then returned to the Shore Excursions desk to rebook AGAIN, and when questioned on the "lack of participation" on a completely full ship, we were told that the Puerto Rican population did not like to purchase shore excursions, and that we should be prepared for more of the same in other ports. We booked a third excursion that they guaranteed would go out. Our first port, in the US Virgin Islands was docked at the former US Submarine base, and when we got off the ship, we were greeted with a group of friendly locals, one of whom was the taxi driver for the Champagne Cat Tour that we booked. We piled in with 12 other guests (The absolute bare minimum for the tour to go out) and took a long and winding hour ride to the other side of the island to meet our Catamaran. The tour was pleasant, and Captain Dave, along with Brandon and Esther, made our first half of the day a success, despite the numerous cancellations from the desk. We got back on the ship after noon, and spent most of the rest of the day between the very crowded pool deck and the common areas of the ship. Dinner was in the main dining room, and was highlighted by our new waiter Merlissa and her assistant waiter Kresimir. Both were excellent and very informative. We were informed that night of a tropical storm (Isaac) brewing to the east of us, headed westbound towards the area. Our second day was spent at sea en route to Curacao, and was fairly uneventful. There was live entertainment all day, but deck space again was at a minimum. The Windjammer was full on this day, and it remained difficult all week to get breakfast in any sort of orderly fashion. Lines went every which way, there was no cohesive direction, and none of the staff tasked to provide any sort of guidance other than the standard of handing out purell like it was going out of style. Tables were at a premium, and lines in the main dining room for breakfast spanned a great stretch of the ship. Third day in Curacao was punctuated by a trip through the island on a tour bus with a decent tour guide. The tour was informative, as was the trek through Hato Caves and the Curacao distillery. We punctuated this night with a Sunset Harbor Cruise, which we highly recommend. The guide was informative and the views were gorgeous. Fourth day in Aruba was where the plans began to unravel. The evening of the third day, we found out yet another of our tours (Off Road Land Rover Tour) was cancelled due to "operational concerns" and there was no other tour to take it's place. We were also informed that due to the incoming storms, our fourth port (St. Maarten) was cancelled and that we would instead spend the last two days at sea. Our other tour in Aruba was to Palm Beach, and was a nice ride, but could have spent more time at the beach. Worth doing on your own, rather than taking the RCCL tour for this one. We also stopped and had lunch at a local seafood restaurant to break up the monotony of the windjammer's lunch options--which were repetitive and limited. We went to dinner in the dining room, only to find out that our table had been given away, and we were instead seated contrary to our wishes in the middle of another section. I protested the table choice with the desk, only to be told that they would seat us where they had room, and that we were to go where they sat us. Luckily, our protests seemed to make it across to one of the section leaders, who smoothed things over and got us close to our normal section, with our normal waitress and assistant waiter. At this point, we were stressed out, frustrated and rather annoyed with the service onboard and the lackluster attitudes among some of the staff. The dining room manager came over and we spoke briefly about the issue, and he assured me that it would be handled from that point forward. Our waitress and assistant waiter were apologetic (even though it wasn't their doing!) and said they would work on it from their end as well. The fifth day was spent at sea, and was generally used by sitting on the pool deck, attempting to get service at crowded pool bars and finally retreating to our stateroom. The activities all week were centered on the latino crowd, and seemed to be more for the benefit of the locals on board than those who had traveled long distance to try to relax. We had a conversation with Gazetty, the guest services manager on this day, reference our complaints, and while she empathized with us, she admitted that there was not much she could do in reference to most of the issues, but did take down our concerns, and seemed to be receptive to our criticisms. The sixth day was spent similarly to the fifth, as we were still at sea on a packed boat, but winds and waves began to pick up, and we experienced heavy seas and infrequent squalls with driving rain. The staff, at this point, seemed exhausted and that they were more interested in getting off the ship than the passengers were, which did not say much for either side. Disembarkation was a complete and total disaster, as we had a shore excursion planned, and were told in no uncertain terms that we would be moved off the ship efficiently to get us to our shore excursion. Unfortunately, this was hampered by the flood of people separating the shore excursion group who were instructed to get off the ship immediately and the groups of Puerto Rican locals who were in a scramble to get off as fast as possible. This made for a confusing and difficult time getting off the ship, through customs and reunited with our luggage. The building is not well marked as to the next step, and there was much confusion as to the path to get out of the building. Eventually, we made it to our tour bus, and our tour guide Hector was a great guide. He shared his experiences, plus stops to Old San Juan and the Bacardi Rum Tour. He navigated the tight streets of San Juan with ease in his bus, and provided good commentary. The tour ended with a drop off at the airport and after going through customs we headed home. My thoughts on this cruise lead my wife and I to hold on our plans to schedule another cruise, as Royal Caribbean has obviously lowered standards of quality. The highlights were definitely sparse, and the Freedom is in desperate need of a refit and update. The staff is generally young, and lacks experience and polish that we expect on RCCL ships. Though the ship is well maintained, technology seems outdated, with terrible speeds on the onboard internet, and various systems that required repair or replacement, including the public address system in the rooms, Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, various monitors throughout the ship, the lack of outlets near the bed in our cabin, the elevator system and the heating and cooling system. Our room failed to stay cold throughout the day, even with the thermostat on the lowest setting, and air circulation seemed to be non-existent throughout much of the ship. The doors from the pool deck to the interior stairwells seemed to work intermittently, and maintenance staff was frequently seen in the hallways and common areas attempting to repair issues. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall, if you are looking for a fun time and lots of activities, I would recommend this ship! Embarkation was fairly quick and easy in San Juan (our embarkation port) the disembarkation was not as organized, and caused some ... Read More
Overall, if you are looking for a fun time and lots of activities, I would recommend this ship! Embarkation was fairly quick and easy in San Juan (our embarkation port) the disembarkation was not as organized, and caused some frustration. Our ship was clean and beautiful! Walking around felt like a treasure hunt, finding something new around every turn. Our interior cabin was nicely sized, much larger than those I had previously experienced on Princess or Carnival. Overall, I was disappointed in the dinning. The food quality was not up to what I have come accustomed to on Princess. The variety in the buffet seemed lacking, I ended up mainly eating sautéed veggies and mashed potatoes each day (I am not adventurous with food) The main dinning at night also left something to be desired. I hardly every finished my meal or dessert. We very much so enjoyed the entertainment! The shows were good and varied. We had two good comedians, but enjoyed their (family friendly) shows best. I also very much enjoyed the ice skating shows as well as free skate! The ice show was the BEST in my opinion! My friend who cruised with me did complain about the ice rink being very rough when we had our turn to skate. I think that was just because we had a late session, but it did bother her. The bar service was the BEST on the ship! Our room attendant and wait staff had difficulty learning our names, but not the bar staff! They were very personable, friendly and made our entire trip wonderful! Bebin at skybar was fantastic! He is not only an excellent bartender, but he also helped up choose entertainment to "not miss" and gave great port excursion suggestions as well. He is such an asset to the Freedom ship! St. Thomas was great, we took a ferry (with RCL) to St. John then took a taxi ($12 roundtrip) to Trunk Bay beach. Hands down the best beach I have been to! Curacao was a bit disappointing, but I did enjoy Dinah's herb garden. The distillery was horrible, I wouldn't return. Aruba. I personally cannot handle the strong sun and do not like the wind, but I know almost everyone else LOVES Aruba. It's just not my favorite thing. But we did take a taxi ($15 each way) to Eagle Beach this time (my 3rd time in Aruba) and it was lovely despite the wind and sun (lol) The beach was quiet, lots of open space and offered a bar and shower area! Our 4th port, St. Maarten, was canceled due to weather. But that was okay. It gave us more time to enjoy onboard activities :) Overall, we had an amazing cruise on the Freedom. The ship never felt too crowed and the bar staff (particularly SkyBar) exceeded all expectations! I would sail on Freedom again, but with lower expectations for food quality. (This is my 7th cruise overall, but 1st with RCL) 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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