1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Freedom of the Seas
Our group of five had a great time on this cruise. It's not high-end luxury, but it was still a great experience, with moments of excellence and not many frustrations. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, and we were quite impressed by their organization and the quality of the staff. A few thoughts on random things: Embarkation: I'd read a lot about how messy things could be at the San Juan pier. We experienced none of it. We showed up around 12:30 PM (so we could go explore the city before the ship left). Drop-off was speedy, check-in was speedy. It was really, really easy. Food: A little uneven, but quite good overall. The Main Dining Room was generally good. The service was the best part - our waiters and headwaiter indulged every whim. Some of the food was excellent, and some was mediocre. But we always felt taken care of. Windjammer was typical buffet food. We were pleasantly surprised that we could always find a table. The occasional dish was delicious. None of it was bad. Most of it was in between. Tried two specialty restauarants. Chops Grille was fantastic. A truly wonderful dinner. Giovanni's Italian was okay for food, and terrible for service. Sorrento's pizza was fine. Not high quality pizza - but better than chain delivery spots, and come on - it was "free" and available whenever you wanted it. Cafe Promenade had good coffee (free if you didn't need specialty coffee). We never tried Johnny Rockets. The Pool Deck: I have never loved a pool deck on a cruise. Always so crowded, and the pools are too small for all the people. I still didn't love this one. But it was pretty pleasant. At-Sea days were predictably nuts. But by and large, it was a nice place to hang out. The loungers are well maintained. The towel service was really efficient. And the lines at the bars were not outrageous. The Sports Deck and the Gym: A lot of fun to be had here. Mini-golf, rock climbing and the Flow Rider were nice diversions from the norm. The basketball/volleyball court was big, although it was a windy week up there. The gym was excellent. Good equipment, not too crowded and a spectacular view out the windows. Entertainment: Overall, pretty good - with the odd clunker from our family's take. The Arcadia Theatre was a nice place to come to (though note to RCCL - you shouldn't charge for popcorn. You gouge us enough everywhere else). The "in-house" singing and dancing troupe was startlingly good. There were three nights with comics. One was great, one was okay, and one was lame. The various musical acts around the ship were also uneven. The "Caribbean" band by the pool was tight; the Latin band that played in various bars was quite good. The other music was a bit cheesy. The piano lounge singer was...well, let's just say he wasn't our fave. As for other types of entertainment? We went to two skating performances. The Christmas show was lousy, but the regular performance was very good. We ignored the "sexy man" competition by the pool. But as a guilty pleasure, the belly flop competition was a lot of fun. And speaking of guilty pleasure, the take-off on the Newlywed Game was hilarious. Excursions: We did a bit of ship-based stuff, and a bit on our own. In short: Curacao - Arranged our own private tour for the day. It was fantastic. Did the Hato Caves, Shete Boka, Grand Knip beach (completely gorgeous and worth the drive), and hung out at Blue Bay for lazy time and potent, tropical drinks. Aruba - This was our pure beach day. We did Eagle Beach, and it was about as nice as one could hope for. St. Kitts - we did a simple ship excursion, the "Panoramic Drive". It was....the worst thing about this cruise. The tour guide was terrible. And the dozen or so people on the tour were all laughing at how bad an experience it was. We met friends for lunch on the island afterward at Cockleshell Beach, and learned more from our cab driver than we had on the organized tour. St. Thomas: We had booked an underwater scooter tour, which we were so looking forward to. But it was cancelled, presumably because of the windy weather. We grabbed an impromptu tour from a guy on the pier and it was fine. By the way - San Juan itself was incredible for exploring. Highly recommend doing 1-2 days either before or after the cruise. If you don't, you are doing yourself a disservice. FInally, a word on the "vibe" on the ship. The atmosphere was just fine. Lots of different ages. Lots of different cultures. And it felt like it all worked. We observed only a couple of our fellow passengers who were rude to staff or other passengers. For the most part, it just seemed that people were having a good time. Hope this is helpful. I would say that if you have booked Freedom of the Seas, you can feel optimistic that you'll have a good vacation. It's not the newest ship or the biggest or the most glamorous. But for us, the memories of this cruise will be very good, indeed.

An easy cruise to enjoy

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by JackNeedsAVacation

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Our group of five had a great time on this cruise. It's not high-end luxury, but it was still a great experience, with moments of excellence and not many frustrations. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, and we were quite impressed by their organization and the quality of the staff.

A few thoughts on random things:

Embarkation: I'd read a lot about how messy things could be at the San Juan pier. We experienced none of it. We showed up around 12:30 PM (so we could go explore the city before the ship left). Drop-off was speedy, check-in was speedy. It was really, really easy.

Food: A little uneven, but quite good overall.

The Main Dining Room was generally good. The service was the best part - our waiters and headwaiter indulged every whim. Some of the food was excellent, and some was mediocre. But we always felt taken care of.

Windjammer was typical buffet food. We were pleasantly surprised that we could always find a table. The occasional dish was delicious. None of it was bad. Most of it was in between.

Tried two specialty restauarants. Chops Grille was fantastic. A truly wonderful dinner. Giovanni's Italian was okay for food, and terrible for service.

Sorrento's pizza was fine. Not high quality pizza - but better than chain delivery spots, and come on - it was "free" and available whenever you wanted it. Cafe Promenade had good coffee (free if you didn't need specialty coffee). We never tried Johnny Rockets.

The Pool Deck: I have never loved a pool deck on a cruise. Always so crowded, and the pools are too small for all the people. I still didn't love this one. But it was pretty pleasant. At-Sea days were predictably nuts. But by and large, it was a nice place to hang out. The loungers are well maintained. The towel service was really efficient. And the lines at the bars were not outrageous.

The Sports Deck and the Gym: A lot of fun to be had here. Mini-golf, rock climbing and the Flow Rider were nice diversions from the norm. The basketball/volleyball court was big, although it was a windy week up there. The gym was excellent. Good equipment, not too crowded and a spectacular view out the windows.

Entertainment: Overall, pretty good - with the odd clunker from our family's take. The Arcadia Theatre was a nice place to come to (though note to RCCL - you shouldn't charge for popcorn. You gouge us enough everywhere else). The "in-house" singing and dancing troupe was startlingly good. There were three nights with comics. One was great, one was okay, and one was lame.

The various musical acts around the ship were also uneven. The "Caribbean" band by the pool was tight; the Latin band that played in various bars was quite good. The other music was a bit cheesy. The piano lounge singer was...well, let's just say he wasn't our fave.

As for other types of entertainment? We went to two skating performances. The Christmas show was lousy, but the regular performance was very good. We ignored the "sexy man" competition by the pool. But as a guilty pleasure, the belly flop competition was a lot of fun. And speaking of guilty pleasure, the take-off on the Newlywed Game was hilarious.

Excursions: We did a bit of ship-based stuff, and a bit on our own. In short:

Curacao - Arranged our own private tour for the day. It was fantastic. Did the Hato Caves, Shete Boka, Grand Knip beach (completely gorgeous and worth the drive), and hung out at Blue Bay for lazy time and potent, tropical drinks.

Aruba - This was our pure beach day. We did Eagle Beach, and it was about as nice as one could hope for.

St. Kitts - we did a simple ship excursion, the "Panoramic Drive". It was....the worst thing about this cruise. The tour guide was terrible. And the dozen or so people on the tour were all laughing at how bad an experience it was. We met friends for lunch on the island afterward at Cockleshell Beach, and learned more from our cab driver than we had on the organized tour.

St. Thomas: We had booked an underwater scooter tour, which we were so looking forward to. But it was cancelled, presumably because of the windy weather. We grabbed an impromptu tour from a guy on the pier and it was fine.

By the way - San Juan itself was incredible for exploring. Highly recommend doing 1-2 days either before or after the cruise. If you don't, you are doing yourself a disservice.

FInally, a word on the "vibe" on the ship. The atmosphere was just fine. Lots of different ages. Lots of different cultures. And it felt like it all worked. We observed only a couple of our fellow passengers who were rude to staff or other passengers. For the most part, it just seemed that people were having a good time.

Hope this is helpful. I would say that if you have booked Freedom of the Seas, you can feel optimistic that you'll have a good vacation. It's not the newest ship or the biggest or the most glamorous. But for us, the memories of this cruise will be very good, indeed.
JackNeedsAVacation’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 2D 6276
The cabin had everything we needed most. The bed was really comfortable, the balcony was big (and expanded even more) as we took down the partition with the balcony of our family member next door). Yes, the bathroom is small - but the shower was great. Amazing water pressure.

The safe worked. The TV was good enough. Storage space was completely adequate. Was there a bit of peeling paint? Yes. But the furniture was all in excellent condition, and we would not have expected more. One caution - our kids (14 and 19) stayed across the hall in an internal cabin. It was a bit tighter for the two of them. And the noise from the 5th deck affected them some nights.

Have to say something about our stateroom attendant Gede - he was amazing. Better than we experienced on our other cruises (Norwegian and Disney). And when my mom bumped her head, he was very caring in securing her an ice pack and checking up to make sure everything was okay.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins