1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Chose this cruise for the many islands offered and size of ship - just under 3,000 passengers so not too large and many amenities offered. The food unfortunately I would rate 3 out of 5. Same menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner if dining ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the many islands offered and size of ship - just under 3,000 passengers so not too large and many amenities offered. The food unfortunately I would rate 3 out of 5. Same menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner if dining the in the Windjammer. We dined in the evening often in the Dining Room and found that food to be very nice, so recommend this to anyone to use the Dining Room as much as you can. I recommend everyone to book their dinner reservations for specific time for the Dining Room in advance and not do the "my time" dining as you could be waiting awhile. Even with the specific time reservations, we found the line ups very long at times, so be sure to arrive a good 15-20 min in advance of your reservation. The service was always excellent as all the wait staff in the Dining Room and Windjammer Cafe are always exceptionally attentive. The food in the Windjammer cafe was a little boring after being offered the same menu 7 days straight. They even had a "Caribbean Night" which they highlighted so we went their for dinner that night which was nothing special and little variety from the usual being offered. First day of arriving we had an with our room. The line for customer service was ridiculously long with only 4 people behind the customer service desk. I commented on this and I was given an explanation which in my opinion was inadequate. If you have 2,500-3,000 passengers on board and only 10% of them have issues (which is a safe assumption with the number of people in this long line), it makes sense to have more people available at customer service the very first day of arriving. We were in line for over 45 minutes - very irritating and more people definitely needed for customer service (just for the first day people are getting on board) You have to pay for absolutely everything "extra" on this cruise so be prepared for that. We did not purchase the beverage package for ourselves but got the refreshment package for the kids. For us to get a simply water, lemonade which is free was not easily obtained when we were on the deck as we were told only offered in the dining rooms. So basically you get nothing offered to drink (free drinks) while you are out on the deck sunning or swimming (they only offer you the alcoholic drinks, pops or mocktails. That we found was unfortunate, inconvenient and a little annoying. Would give the cruise 3 out of 5 overall. Some of the excursions offered I would re-think as they do not showcase the islands but that is a personal preference. Ports unfortunately really focus on nabbing you for shopping and the piers are built up for tourists - you will have to get a taxi or an excursion to really see the beauty of the islands. Not a problem just a comment for anyone booking excursions to consider. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
So we chose this cruise to celebrate 20 years of marriage. We went all out and booked the owner suite. We were contacted by the concierge prior an asked if we were celebrating anything I said 20 year anniversary and we turn diamond ... Read More
So we chose this cruise to celebrate 20 years of marriage. We went all out and booked the owner suite. We were contacted by the concierge prior an asked if we were celebrating anything I said 20 year anniversary and we turn diamond plus this cruise, neither thing was acknowledged. We did enjoy the perks of the concierge floor although basically the same as diamond lounge with free drinks and snacks. Of all the cruises we have been on we thought this was the worst food. Sabor the Mexican and Chops were just ok, Giovanni's was awful. The windjammer was the same food every day! We reported Giovanni's and were called on the last night about it but nothing was done. The casino was awful with rude cashier and host who did not care about anyone, to busy personal messaging.The comps program is not even worth it anymore! We did like the ports, Bonaire was my favorite, if you love animals visit the donkey sanctuary. Although we just turned diamond plus we are thinking of jumping ship after this cruise Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise for the ports and excursions. For me, the ship is often just a means of getting to excursions. I plan my excursion so that they are all different and hopefully unique, with a mix of active and less active tours. That ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the ports and excursions. For me, the ship is often just a means of getting to excursions. I plan my excursion so that they are all different and hopefully unique, with a mix of active and less active tours. That was difficult to do on this trip, as two of our five excursions were cancelled at the last minute, forcing us to scramble for others. The entertainment was so-so, with most of the comedians the worst of all. Technical difficulties tripped up the RC singers and dancers. The promenade was unbelievably crowded and loud; even young people were complaining about the volume. Making our way through the crowds was treacherous, and we could see several small children with their parents almost get run over by the crowds. Activities on the ship were mainly geared toward spending money in the shops, casino, spa, and restaurants. We always enjoyed dance classes and games on other ships. They were very scarce (only 1 dance class at an awkward time) on this cruise. Plumbing on Freedom was sketchy at best. At times we would flush the toilet and it would actually flush 3-5 minutes later. We spent WAY too much time at the service desk. Our worst experience was finding a mysterious bottle of champagne and 3 bottles of water in our cabin labelled "Complements of Crown and Anchor Society" for which the ship wanted to charge us! We were eventually able to argue them out of it. Please form your own opinion but, for us, we plan never to sail on Freedom again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to try a new cruise line. Previously have cruised with Carnival. Love the ports of call for this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkion were extremely smooth and quick. The ship is beautiful. I have read reviews that adult pool ... Read More
We wanted to try a new cruise line. Previously have cruised with Carnival. Love the ports of call for this cruise. Embarkation and disembarkion were extremely smooth and quick. The ship is beautiful. I have read reviews that adult pool area was overcrowded, but I only found this to be true a couple times. The hot tubs were hot which was nice. Food in main dining and the Wind Jammer was average and not on par with Carnival Dream or Conquest. Bar staff was slow in most places. Though I did not attend, my travel companions said the ice skating show was very good. We participated in a table tennis and a volleyball tournament. Neither were run very well. Almost like staff had never done it before. The last day of the cruise I got sick. I am not a needy or complaining type of traveler and do not ever ask for extra assistance of any kind. So, when I went to the infirmary it was because I knew I was extremely sick with something. The door was locked and had a list of times that it was open. What the heck! Be aware you can only be sick from 8 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and then not again until after 4 p.m. I asked a passing staff member for help as I really felt like I might pass out. He opened the door and let me in. He spent a couple minutes talking with infirmary staff but I could not hear. There was a mom and little boy ahead of me. I sat there shaking uncontrollably and terribly ill. The boy was called in and after I was sitting there for over 30 minutes with no one saying a word to me, a staff member (nurse?) came out and looked at me and said “You have to leave.” “You came in after 11, you need to leave and come back at 4.” Now I wish I had given her a few choice words, but I was speechless and on the verge of tears. I sat there shaking and she said “Is this an emergency?”. I told her I had multiple bouts of diarrhea and she reluctantly agreed to look at me. She barely spoke to me and with no real explanation told me I would be quarantined to my room. She gave me Imodium and an anti nausea medication and told me to go. I personally thought hooking me up to some saline was warranted but what the heck do I know. Got multiple calls to make sure I stayed in my room. I was so sick that all I could do is stay in bed anyway, so the quarantine was not a problem and luckily it was the last day anyway. So I will not cruise with Royal again because of the awful way I was treated when I was obviously sick and in great distress. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We've cruised several times before -- this was our first experience on Royal Caribbean. Let me be upfront... we had a great week. We are not up-tight, difficult-to-please travelers. We loved the ship. We loved the people we were ... Read More
We've cruised several times before -- this was our first experience on Royal Caribbean. Let me be upfront... we had a great week. We are not up-tight, difficult-to-please travelers. We loved the ship. We loved the people we were with. We came home happy, and relaxed, with no regrets, and an extra inch or two around the waist. That being said, chances are that if you are reading this it's because you are looking for some additional information to help you make a decision. So let me just mention a few things to be aware of: 1. Boarding. Fast and easy. We arrived at the Pan American terminal at 10:30 am (based on others' recommendations on Cruise Critic), and we were happy we did. We checked in, got our Cruise Cards, and waited in line for a few minutes for boarding to start. The boarding doors opened at 10:45 am. 2. The ship. Freedom is a wonderful ship. That being said, it is only fair to point out that it is less than a year away from dry-dock (January 2020) and it looks it. Everything is clean, but a bit worn. It never bothered us, and nothing was so worn that it affected the quality of the cruise. But if you are one of those who expect everything to be fresh, polished, and shined all of the time, then this is not the ship for you right now. 3. Food. Acceptable, and plentiful, but nothing that blows your doors off. Most of it would be considered sub-par at your local Applebee's. I heard that the food was one of the real differentiators between Royal and some of the others. We didn't really see that on the Freedom. We took the galley tour on one of the days at sea and the operation is amazing. Just getting the food to the tables is a small miracle. I don't cruise for the quality of the food -- no matter what the cruise ship, there are always better restaurants in every city in America. The food was fine. And there was lots of it. 3.2 IMPORTANT....Food Part II. We were pretty shocked at how few choices the ship offered. Sorrento's (pizza) was not bad, especially considering they were pumping out a pie every 30 seconds all day long. The Promenade Cafe was a few cookies (not bad) and mini-sandwich choices. The Windjammer was plentiful but slam packed (barely room to move) and the food was.... well.... average. Jut trying to help. Reviews make it sound like there is food everywhere. It's just not true. And BTW... the one soft serve ice cream station was a spectacle. Worked about half the time. Overwhelmed by the crowds. It was almost comical to watch. I promise I am not complaining! 4. Staff. Our dining room staff were wonderful. As was the staff in the Windjammer. Wow those people work hard! We loved them. I was not too impressed with many of the others. Bar staff -- unfriendly. Cabin steward -- just not a people person. Other staff -- lots of frowns, not many smiles. Nothing particularly terrible -- just nothing that really jumped out at you. It was fine... not terrible, but certainly not exceptional. 5. Entertainment. The ice show was great. The Whitney Houston show was as well. The production shows were ok... gave us something to do. No complaints. Not as good as some of the other ships we have been on. Lounge acts were OK. 6. Ports. Love the slate of ports. We had been to Aruba and St. Maarten before. And the addition of Curacao and Bonaire were amazing. Great islands to visit. 7. One REAL Complaint. My goodness, I have never seen a cruise ship that attempts to sell more with every breath. There was not one announcement that didn't attempt to sell us something -- sometimes more subtle than others. I am surprised they didn't try to sell us monogrammed life jackets at the muster. It was just overboard (no pun intended). At first it is fine. Then a little exhausting. And by the last two days it was just ridiculous. We'll try Royal Caribbean again. Friends we trust swear by it. I think even they were under-whelmed by this one. In the future, I will pay more attention to the year the ship was built and/or dry-docked. Was it a great week? Yes, absolutely. A week on a cruise ship in the Caribbean is always going to be special. Read Less
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
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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first experience on a RCI Ship, and we chose this cruise both to try the cruise line and because of the itinerary. We have previously cruised on Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. My initial impression was less than ... Read More
This was our first experience on a RCI Ship, and we chose this cruise both to try the cruise line and because of the itinerary. We have previously cruised on Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. My initial impression was less than positive. My daughter had bought us a gift certificate as a Christmas gift, and I activated it online. I didn't receive any confirmation so I called the customer service line to follow up. After waiting on hold for some time, I was told to call back in a week. This happened two more times before I was told to inquire at check-in. I did, and was told I had to check in with the guest relations onboard. Upon checking with guest relations onboard, I was told to check back after five the next day. Get the idea? I was finally able to confirm the next day by checking my online account. Sadly, this type of disorganization continued through the cruise. I found the customer facing staff friendly and wanting to help, but simply not prepared to answer questions consistently. Muster was a hot mess with different staff directing passengers with conflicting instructions. When we showed up for our first dinner in the main dining room, we discovered they had placed my husband and I at different tables (on different floors). Fortunately, they remedied this quickly. The positives: The ship was beautiful and well-laid out. Rooms (we were in a balcony) were comfortable and spacious. Although the ship was an older one, it seemed to be well-maintained. We loved the Royal Promenade. I also really liked the way the main dining room felt cozy, despite accommodating so many passengers. Food was OK - about what you would expect. The entertainment was very good. We liked the ice show. We never visited the spa or the casino. I never saw any sign of a cruise director. Fellow passengers were a very diverse group with lots of families. Way more kids than I'd expect on an early February cruise, but they weren't disruptive. Staff was very safety conscious - life guards everywhere! Our room steward was amazing. Go Frank! Did one ship excursion in Aruba - the Helmet Dive at De Palm Island. One of the best excursions I've ever done! Other Negatives: We did feel "nickel and dimed" at every turn. On other cruises, there has been plentiful drinking water (because why would you want your passengers dehydrated?). Not so on this cruise. The few water stations we found would be empty and had to wait in a long bar line for a water (and sometimes had to buy a bottle of water instead). Initially I was encouraged by the many signs advising that "chair saving" would not be permitted; however, it was not enforced. Never was able to find a convenient deck chair after 10 AM. Overall- we had a great time. It was a caribbean cruise after all! But I did find that it lacked when compared to the similarly priced Carnival Cruises, and I will probably return to Carnival for the same price point. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We experienced less staff at dinner than were used to. Dishes were so long after the other. We waited so long for drinks at dinner, I started ordering two drinks at a time. The dining room ran out of my wine too. Breakfast doesn't ... Read More
We experienced less staff at dinner than were used to. Dishes were so long after the other. We waited so long for drinks at dinner, I started ordering two drinks at a time. The dining room ran out of my wine too. Breakfast doesn't start till 7:00 in Windjammer and 8:00 in the formal breakfast area. For us this was too late. I'm up to catch the sunrise every morning when I'm on vacation. I was starving before breakfast actually came. The trick to getting coffee before then is to order it from room service or go to the Promenade and get the free coffee in the espresso place or buy specialty coffee there 24/7. Room attendant was great! Rooms were clean. I told the cruise line i have to eat gluten free. I was not ever told they had gluten free section in the windjammer till second day, because I kept walking around asking if something was gluten free. I got frustrated with the staff not knowing, so they gave me the head waiter to assist me. He then told me about the gf section. There was nice choices there for main cuisine, but hardly any desserts. I mean I didn't just have dental work done, I do not want jello. Oh and bring your own toilet paper from home, there's will tear you up! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We selected the Freedom for the itinerary. Perhaps I'd set my hopes a bit too high...there was just no WOW factor. Yes, the ship is in obvious need of a refurbishment. Stained carpets on the 10th floor, ripped chairs in the ... Read More
We selected the Freedom for the itinerary. Perhaps I'd set my hopes a bit too high...there was just no WOW factor. Yes, the ship is in obvious need of a refurbishment. Stained carpets on the 10th floor, ripped chairs in the theater, etc... and, yes, there is/was a smell. There were several reminders in the Cruise Compass asking that passengers be kind to the the delicate plumbing. If you are thinking about the Freedom, go after she's been gussied up a bit. Our cabin, 1544, was great. Our steward, KeneBeath was excellent. The interior of the cabin was neat, well kept, and quite spacious. The balcony had two lounge chairs, two standard chairs and a table. We took our morning coffee on the balcony every day. (the only note is that the room has two outlets only-bring an extension if you can't manage with two) The itinerary-St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Martin. Three new islands for us. We did RCCL excursions on all of the islands, other than St. Martin. Since we'd been there several times, we chose to take the water taxi over to the town and simply walk around, then get back to the ship while most folks were out. The excursions were well done, and our cabin credit paid for them, so no complaints there. We had the first seating in the MDR-on the first night, our table for two was occupied by two people that had Sea Pass cards with our table number, written in black Sharpie, on them. The waiter and dining room manager were too frazzled to address it on the spot, so we were given a different table for two, right smack in front of the doors to the dining room. By the next morning, we had a message that the mix up had been corrected and the Sharpie folks had been given our table for the late seating, not first. Now, on to the food. It was just okay. We dined in the MDR for breakfast and dinner. Nothing stands out as memorable. Both my husband and I would order with high hopes, only to be done after a couple of bites. The onion soup was reliable and sadly, one of the better offerings. The steaks are only offered in medium rare or medium well, the seafood was completely overcooked. You get the point. (the bonus is that this is the first cruise that I didn't gain weight on) Breakfast was nice-although the addition of a mini buffet for breakfast in the dining room seemed to take away some of the decadence of breakfast in the dining room. We did not do any of the pay extra restaurants, although the efforts to sell those experiences seem to be a major push on the entire week long journey. The Chops grill-for instance-offers tater tots and mac and cheese. Really??? Pay more to be offered tater tots as a side? Nope. I'll leave that for someone else. Our dinner staff, Francis, and the assistant, Envera were tops! They offered to bring us different items from the menu, and we did try, but there was just an underlying blah to the food. We went to the Windjammer twice. Typical, cafeteria style food-all under lights and sitting out. The highlight was the 'mango water", which I am pretty sure was Tang or similar. The promenade cafe and the pizza shop were both our go to when needed. The pizza was actually quite good-they go through so much pizza, there's always a hot and fresh one being sliced and served. It's a thin crust style, which was fine with us. The sandwiches and desserts at the cafe were actually good, too. That was our choice for lunch just because of the traffic and poor quality of the windjammer. The entertainment was standard-a welcome show, a comedian, some carnival style acrobats, an ice show, etc. Again, it was okay. There was no problem getting seats for any of the shows. The fitness center was nice. The gym was never overly crowded, and I was able to find machines available to use. The spa was overpriced, so I passed. I did the free tour and decided that it just didn't have enough appeal. On the final night, after the closing show, the ship turned into one giant pajama party. As we exited the theater, we began to notice people walking around in Christmas pajamas, Disney pajamas, and zip-up onesies. At first I thought we'd missed an announcement in the Cruise Compass about a pajama party, so I looked! Nothing there. Not sure exactly how it unfolded, but it there it was-a floating sleep over. Overall, it was nice to be in warm weather, but we left thinking that our cruise style may be a smaller ship rather than one the size of Freedom. Our past cruises have left us with standout menu or entertainment items, and this one just did not. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Third time out of San Juan. Like it because we see new islands. Never been on this ship but have cruised RC 12 other times out of Rome Miami Galveston New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale. Got off to a good start with check in. Room and ... Read More
Third time out of San Juan. Like it because we see new islands. Never been on this ship but have cruised RC 12 other times out of Rome Miami Galveston New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale. Got off to a good start with check in. Room and baggage was timely but diner was a mess. Did My time but seating was disorganize. Many trying to be seated without reservations. New Year’s Eve was worse plus service timing was horribly offand kitchen backed up. It improved as we went thru the week but quality and selection was average at best. Formal night, particularly NYE was laughable. Those of us who chose to dress up found ourselves surrounded by jacket less open collars, some in jeans Entertainment was subpar in most venues. This was a disappointment because we were always told RC went out of their way for high quality shows on New Years cruises What really surprised us with the percentage of Puerto Rican guest, over half. Kinda overwhelmed us. We been out of San Juan many times and other foreign ports but the Freedom did a poor job of balancing the music and activities to everyone. Top desk was a Puerto Rican party with Spanish music most of the time. Cruise director and staff was for the most part mia. Cabin service was good, support staff helpful and rooms well maintained. Saw some great islands but in the end for the cost of a new years cruise and travel it was missing the mark Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Would not recommend taking this cruise unless you can speak and understand Spanish. Found some bartenders that didn’t speak English. The MC of several functions or events only spoke Spanish. People carry their own boom box and played ... Read More
Would not recommend taking this cruise unless you can speak and understand Spanish. Found some bartenders that didn’t speak English. The MC of several functions or events only spoke Spanish. People carry their own boom box and played annoying loud. When you ask a crew member to get it turned down they just stare at you. Beyond that the ports are awesome. The ship was clean and decorated for Christmas. Boarding was smooth. Had a balcony cabin and the cabin steward was the best ever. Took an ATV excursion in Bonaire and it was amazing. Signed up for a special dining package and the food and service was excellent. Attended most of the shows an they were well structured and entertaining. Recommend going to San Juan a day or two early to see old San Juan, it is well worth it. The cruise value was good overall. Just need to consider the language issue. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We are 2 sisters with husbands in tow, all of us mid 50's, from the "mainland" US. We booked this cruise because we had previously been on the Independence and Liberty (sister ships to Freedom), the deal for balcony rooms ... Read More
We are 2 sisters with husbands in tow, all of us mid 50's, from the "mainland" US. We booked this cruise because we had previously been on the Independence and Liberty (sister ships to Freedom), the deal for balcony rooms was fantastic, we had never been to the southern Caribbean, and it was our anniversary. Dicken's may have said it before me, but it was indeed "the best of times and the worst of times". We flew into San Juan from Orlando the morning of the cruise and everything went picture perfect. We splurged on a private SUV transfer to the cruiseport (Elegant Steering) and were dropped off steps from the doors to the terminal. However, people from the previous cruise were departing at the same time and made it a little difficult to figure out where to go. The pillars are marked with your floor#, but on the opposite side so we did not see the signs but were directed by kind porters. Tip them a few $ per bag to handle them. The line at that time (about 12 pm) wasn't too long and we got our seapass cards and were on board with a drink in hand at the Schooner bar by 12:30. Since we saved on the trip cost, we splurged on the all-inclusive drink package. Best decision of the trip! More on beverages later. First we checked our dining arrangements to make sure we were seated together and not near the kitchen door, had a bite to eat at Windjammer (nearly impossible to find a free table, already! May be because the locals [from Puerto Rico] come early and get on right away and head there. More on this later too.), and finished just in time for the doors to the rooms to open. This was the first glitch. They never should have opened those doors. Our room had not been readied yet, not bags delivered, and frantic maids and stateroom attendants dealing with upset passengers while trying to do their jobs. So we turned around, got out and found another bar! Things were set right by 2:30 when we returned to the room. Luggage was there except for 1 bag that never got delivered but we happened to see stuck in a little maintenance room we passed. Weird. We unpacked and had a little time to kill before mandatory muster drill. So, of course, we had a cocktail! Muster was at 5:30 I think (which we thought was strange since early dinner seating was at 6) and it was disorganized and hot as we jam packed with other sweaty bodies on the decks outside. Don't try to skip this - they hold everybody up there until they account for all passengers. After we headed to dinner but had to wait while they reset the tables (apparently the DR was used to muster people as well). We met our lackluster waiter who was very dry and hard to hear. He pretty much did the bare minimum to get us in and out. Our assistant waiter actually worked his tail off and although hard to understand, we got along great. The big surprise on this cruise was that the head waiter (boss of the dining room) actually appeared at our table, every night, making the rounds and personally asking about the service. He addressed every one of our issues and the day after I mentioned to him that I missed having cold fruit soup on the menu every night, it magically appeared the next night! Coincidence? His name was AJ and I think he most likely will be promoted to a bigger better ship before long! We did the shows, which were pretty good, and exceptional juggling act, the quest, etc. Decent entertainment. We tended to favor the Irish pub since it was mostly deserted on this cruise and had an awesome acoustic guitar player (I think his name was Adam Coe?) The reason it was mostly empty is because the cruise was almost 3/4 Puerto Rican. So the other entertainment, karaoke, pool music, etc. was heavily Puerto Rican. I don't blame RC for catering to the home port locals, but I wish it would have been stated somewhere before we booked, and we would have gave a little more thought. PRs tend to be a more lively, loud, energetic, loud bunch, and it was overwhelming for us. They seemed to look down on us, like we were invading their ship. OK, rant over. Our balcony room was 9th floor midship and was perfect for us. My sister had the one next door and we opened the balcony dividers between us and enjoyed a glass of wine before dinner out on the balcony. The room was smallish and the bathroom the typical coffin size, but for a week it was fine. We hit up most of the bars and found the Bloody Mary's to be better than expected, and most of the drinks good although the fruity frozen one's tended to be just OK which was disappointing. We didn't feel like they watered anything down but the drink of the day usually left us scratching our heads. Every bartender was friendly and although service was slow at times, we had no complaints. We never felt that we needed to tip for good service, but toward the end of the cruise we rewarded a few that went the extra mile. The package included "fancy" coffee drinks but the coffee was not that great to begin with (although to be fair, I am that person that usually likes my sugar and cream with a splash of coffee added). My sister got the frozen frosty ice cream drink and said it was great, but the lattes and cappuccinos were not. Even adding the provided liquors did not measurably help. Next rant: The push for the specialty restaurants. It is a real thing. Nearly constant the first 2 days. Very annoying. It would almost be forgivable if the food were better than what was served in the main dining room. IT IS NOT!! We fondly remembered eating at Chops on our last 2 cruises so we booked with the first annoying salesperson the first night. She kept trying to get us to buy the 3 night package. Ugh! Anyway, we looked forward to it being stellar as usual. This was a HUGE waste of money and big disappointment!!! There were no assistant waiters, no drink staff. The one harried, overworked, sweaty waiter had to do it all. We waited almost 20 minutes for a drink order, which was coming from the bar right outside the restaurant! We could have physically got it ourselves faster! No attention to detail, and most of the offerings were THE SAME AS THE MAIN DINING ROOM!! Not kidding! The filet was fantastic, when it finally arrived, but no music, frantic scurrying waiters, and it was about 85 degrees in there as the open kitchen pumped heat into the room. Advice: check the menu before and if it looks a lot like the dining room one...skip it and order your filet from the dining room for less. Shame on you RC for fleecing your guests like that. Disembarkation was a little disorganized as they let small groups down the gangway and held everyone back on the warm ship (doors open). Something to note: after you get off the ship, find your suitcases and head for the customs line (which can be LONG) you can pay a porter to carry your cases for you (I think it was $5 a person) and we skipped the long line and were through customs and outside in a matter of minutes. Quick note about excursions: We did not book with RC but went with self tour or outside tour groups. We were robbed in Curacao when our unattended tour bus was broken into while we were snorkeling. Our credit card was stolen (RC main desk on the ship was very helpful allowing a phone call to cancel it) and iPhones were taken. High crime in Curacao so keep your important stuff ON your person (purchase little waterproof cases you can attach to yourself). Probably good advice for anywhere you go. I would not take this cruise out of San Juan again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise for the ports, as we have never sailed the southern Caribbean, and this was our honeymoon. We have sailed with Royal in the past, we got married on Harmony of the seas, and we have sailed with Anthem, and Explorer of ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the ports, as we have never sailed the southern Caribbean, and this was our honeymoon. We have sailed with Royal in the past, we got married on Harmony of the seas, and we have sailed with Anthem, and Explorer of the seas. We have also sailed Celebrity, and Disney. We have always had a splendid time on Royal thus far, and have sailed out of New Jersey, and Florida where embarkation is a breeze, and the terminals are immaculate. However, upon our arrival we were not surprised at how small this port is, but rather how the staff at the port treated the guests. We first got dropped off at the wrong terminal, and when asking a staff member, he just looked at us and pointed towards the other terminal.We walked through hoards of people to get to where we needed to be. Once at the correct terminal, we asked one of the gentleman with a "porter" t shirt on where we could put our luggage. Now, I may be spoiled as I have only sailed out of New Jersey, and Florida, but when you are sailing out of those places the porter takes your bag, places it in the appropriate place, and you are free to go on your merry way into the terminal. This was not like that at all. It was busy, rushed, hot, and the porter told us we had to walk all of our luggage to a spot that was not clearly marked at all. He said "over there, by orange poles." The different locations for certain areas of the ship weren't clearly marked at all, and trying to lug our bags clear to the other end of the terminal was frustrating. We asked several people who were wearing the port t-shirts if they would take our bag, and they looked at us as if we were bothering them. We continued on....We finally reached the spot our luggage was to be placed at, and there were about 8 grown men standing around one tiny desk having a grand ol time talking amongst themselves while a few guests were waiting to be waited on. they finally turn around take the bags from all of us place it on the cart directly behind them, and then say " we accept tips." I was DUMBFOUNDED!!! What am I supposed to tip you for? you did absolutely nothing for us at all except place our luggage on the cart. I couldve done that, since I have already done the whole job of lugging my luggage the entirety of the terminal. We tipped them none the less, because we didnt want to get to our room later that night and find that our luggage had mysteriously disappeared. After that, we got into the terminal, and it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out, except the fact that we quickly found out we were in the minority this sailing. Which whatever, that's fine, but I found a lot of the other passengers to be rude, pushy, and loud. A few times when we were in line for pizza at Sorrento's, or in line for a show, some of the guests would be in line, and then let a few dozen family members in line ahead of us. That was just plain rude, and inconsiderate. The Quest show was a MESS!!! we usually LOVE the Quest show, and usually have a really good time, however the night of the game show people were bringing in small children to watch and hang out. We were informed that day in English, and in Spanish that this was an ADULTS only show, but here we were women pushing crew members out of the way to get to the show with their small children. I just don't understand, I think that there should have been some sort of security at the door letting people in, and turning away guests with small children. Another thing we were somewhat upset about was the fact that the Love and marriage game show was only shown in Spanish. I get that the majority of the passengers were Hispanic, but it would have been nice to have that show in English as well as we really love to watch it. Good things to note, the ports were AMAZING!! we visited Curacao, Aruba, Antigua (supposed to be Bonaire, but was canceled three weeks out.) And St. Maarten. There were so many lovely crew members that we met especially our room attendant Orhiannah who was so sweet, and made us feel really at home on the cruise. We also met a sweet woman in the gift shop, who we made friends with and she sent us a sweet card congratulating us on our marriage. Then we had a cruise long friend in one of the art dealers Garneth, who we would talk to on a nightly basis. He was awesome, we would talk, and talk, and talk, and he just made our night every time we spoke to him. It was like seeing a friend you hadnt seen in a while and catching up. We really enjoyed his company. MDR food was FANTASTIC every meal we had in there was always very delicious. We ate in Chops and as always it was superb. We also dined in Giovanni's, but it was just ok, the desserts were the best though. The next cruise manager was not helpful at all, she acted like she couldn't be bothered with us, and also the loyalty desk manager was the same way. I don't know what their issues were, but we just felt like they could care less about us. over all it was a good cruise, we enjoyed the crew members listed above, and the food, but I dont think we will sail royal out of San Juan again unless its an amazing deal. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
To start with my wife an I have been on more than 30 cruises, and sailed on all the major brands. RCCL is generally our favorite. No matter what happens we general go with the flow and have a good time. This was our second trip on the ... Read More
To start with my wife an I have been on more than 30 cruises, and sailed on all the major brands. RCCL is generally our favorite. No matter what happens we general go with the flow and have a good time. This was our second trip on the Freedom of Seas. First one was from Miami in April. Having sailed as many times as we have, we notice subtle changes that some might not. To us it appears that RCCL is getting cheap and greedy. They continue to build bigger and newer ships with all the latest bells and whistles, but they also continue to charge you for every little item they can. We flew to San Juan the day before and got our own hotel at Marriot near the port. Everything went smooth. Had a nice dinner at a local restaurant. The next morning we shared a cab with another couple who were going to ship also. They drop us off at baggage drop off area. The line was very long and moving slowly, I quickly found out why...people continually kept cutting in ahead of us. When I said something they wou,d just ignore me. We finally get close to front of line just to be told we were in wrong line because we were midship. We were directed to another line for a second 15-20 minute wait. Once again the line cutters ruled. The port needs to have better signs directing you which line to be in. Next came security line. This was one single line where once again people rudely cut in line. Because we're platinum members we got express line for check in. Went very smooth and we were on the ship by noon. Entire boarding process too about 40 minutes. The rooms weren't ready so we headed to buffet for a quick snack. After lunch we walked around the ship until our cabin was ready. The balcony cabin was typical room. Nothing too impressive, but well suited for our 7 day trip. Overall it was clean and comfortable, but starting to see some wear and tear. Won't be long until a refurb will be needed. Dining-we had booked 6 months in advance and requested early seating. When we checked in we were told we had anytime seating and would need to talk to the restaurant host. I went to the host desk and waited in line. When I got to the desk I was told there were several large groups on the ship and there was no available seating at the early set dining time. They said we could have a set dining time in the anytime dining room, and it would essentially be the same. Reluctantly I accepted. Exactly as I expected, the service was lower in this dining room. It was no fault of the wait staff, it's the way the system is set up. RCCL is killing their staff with this model. One table next to us is getting desserts, when our main course is being served, while on the other side the group is just sitting down. No eb and flip for the waiters.frequently we would be served our salad and appetizers at the same time...or just the opposite. We wouldn't even be done with our appetizers and he main course would arrive. The wait staff would set it aside which meant is was Luke warm when it was served. Hot items were frequently warm, and cold items were frequently warm. Mediocre at best. Generally main finding menus would have 2-3 everyday items, with most of the menu changing daily....not anymore. 75% of menu was exact same everyday with only a couple items different each day. Another way to cut corners on costs. The buffet was a better selection of food and the items were hot and cold when they were suppose to be. But the passengers were again extremely rude and pushy. Standing in line to get fresh cut roast beef, when a lady pushed here way into the line. SeverL people said something to her. She said something in Spanish and then ignored everyone....then waved for several other family members to come join her. They all cut into the line in front of about 40 people that were waiting. Shows- having been on many ships we don't attend a lot of shows. The comedians were pretty good. The ice show was ok, and the singing Broadway shows were not very good. My biggest complaint....rude people and line cutting. People would push there way around you when entering the show venue and then save rows of seats but sitting in every other seat and putting items in them. This was a very port intensive trip with only 1 day at sea. The islands were awesome, and lots of activities to chose from. We booked our excursions on our own with suggestions we got from Cruise Critic. Everything went well. Once again the only complaint was getting on and off the ship. Rude pushy people. The daily activities on the ship generally focused on selling you something. Wine or liquor tasting, art auction, spa services. Ship tour, or speciality dining. Very few free activities except trivia contest. Disembarkation was a disaster. They want to get everyone off the ship as soon as possible and called numbered luggage tags. No one paid attention to this. Can you guess it...people pushing, shoving and cutting in line even though there number wasn't called. Baggage pick up and immigration was a total cluster. Words of advice GET A PORTER. The few bucks you spend will save you a ton of time and headache. Got a cab to airport and headed home. Final thoughts-RCCL is slowly slipping towards Carnival level. Food was good but not great. Drink prices were rediclous, (4.50 for a coke), figure every way to squeeze a I me out of you, and not real organized. As I said at the start, we had a good time because we didn't let the little thing bother us, I just wanted to share some of my observations and opinions. We are already looking for our next cruise and most likely will be on RCCL...but definitely Won't be from San Juan...rude..rude..rude people. Even the staff I spoke to on the ship said this and often apologized about it, Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose the itinerary and the approximate date and this was the shipped that matched. The ship shows its age. Food was good but not great. The personnel were wonderful. We booked our excursions through RCCL. Some were better than ... Read More
We chose the itinerary and the approximate date and this was the shipped that matched. The ship shows its age. Food was good but not great. The personnel were wonderful. We booked our excursions through RCCL. Some were better than others. The last day we went to a beach in St Maarten and it was great. The ladies running the excursion were very helpful. We stayed in a Junior Suite which was nice and roomy although the bathroom was showing its age. Unfortunately the entertainment lineup (with times) was not available before the day of the event. I was unable to get a list even after on-board the ship. It was hard to plan our meals and activities without advance knowledge of the entertainment events and times. Not being able to make reservations for the shows also meant we couldn’t get in one because it was full. Disembarkation with wheelchair assistance went beautifully. Read Less
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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