This was our second cruise on the Freedom of the Seas. Our first time was a Western Caribbean and was wonderful on all accounts. With that, we were excited to return to the Freedom for this Eastern Caribbean sailing. Overall the cruise was pleasant, but there were noticeable differences from our previous sailing and not for the better. Almost like the cruise line is pinching pennies and it shows.
First off, the main dining room. We had the 5:30pm seating. The service was lacking. I do not know if our waiter and assistant waiter had too many tables or what. The food was just ok. It also seems to be the same menu offered that we had 3 years ago. The cruise line strongly promotes the crown and anchor membership and encourage repeat cruisers, so why not offer a little variety in the menus? Our second night at dinner, our waiter informed us that he will be service a VIP table with the hotel director. Needless to say, our service went down even more that night. Therefore, the remaining 5 nights, we either ordered room service, or went to either the windjammer, cafe promenade or sorrento's. The Windjammer service was good for what it is. The food was good. The sushi was also offered every night as well.
Our stateroom was nice and the balcony was very roomy. This was our first time in a Jr. suite. The stateroom attendant was lacking though. There were days that he did not return the pull out bed back to the couch. Also, one morning some coffee was spilled onto the bed. He did pull off the bead spread but remade the bed with the dirty sheets with the damp coffee spot still on them. We had mold in the tub that took him till day 3 to finally get cleaned after continued request. I also did not like the fact that I returned to the room one day to find our door propped open and our attendant in the service room on the phone. I went to the pool deck but forgot my towel, so I again returned to the stateroom and he was still on the phone with our door wide open.
The shows were not much to write home about. There were no real headliners. The first night was some couple that basically swang from a cargo net hanging over the stage. They were followed by a comedian (who was pretty funny) that had been guest appearances on a variety of tv shows. The RC singers and dancers and the ice show seemed really Hodge podge. The magic show was Drew Thomas i think ( the guy from Americas Got Talent) was pretty good until technical problems half way through and they stopped the show. No one came out to address the audience. The cruise director was not even there. The new reservation system that they have started means absolutely nothing. They scanned our sea pass on the first night only. We almost did not get into the ice show because they let in people that did not have a reservation or ticket, and we were there 45 min. early. Both the Arcadia and Studio 9 had seats that the backs were falling off or the seat itself was broken.
I was not too fond of the Dream works addition. The characters were a bit much. There really seemed to be a lot more little kids on this cruise. They should leave the character interaction to Disney. That being said, they let these kids run ramped. There was one time that 5 boys (maybe 6-8 in age) were running back and forth screaming in the adult only area. Two RCI security walked right past them and did nothing. I stopped on of the deck managers if he could do something about it. What he did was disappear.
The sports staff was great. I had a lot of fun on the flow rider and they interacted with the guest showing them how to do the boogie board and stand up surf,and encouraged the guest to try tricks.
They were great on the rock wall as well. Then on the last day, their Flow show that they put on was very good.
In Vintages, Shane and Harbinder were very friendly and knowledgeable. They took time to talk with us every time we were in there. These two RCI staff were the only ones that I gave the WOW cards to. I carried a stack of them with me the whole cruise wanting to reward those crew members that really gave a WOW in service.
The different events that RCI put on for the Cruise critic meet and mingle and the past guest were nice.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the cruise and will still cruise RCI and even the Freedom. Just compared to our first time on this ship, this trip did not match up to the same standard.
Embarkation and debarkation went very smooth.