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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.

First Time on RCI - mixed review

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by roxiesmom19

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View Balcony
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.
roxiesmom19’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 4B 8232
Cabin was great! We really enjoy towel animals and were sad to only get a towel animal for three of the seven nights.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews