We arrived at our hotel the day before embarkation November 4, 2012. We stayed at the Residence Inn Marriot. This hotel was a bit pricey but worth every cent!
Our shuttle arrived the next day at approx. 12pm. The lines were very long outside the cruise terminal and it was so very hot! Finally, once we were inside the terminal, the wait until we finally got on the ship was about 45 minutes. The first thing I noticed was how worn out the carpet looked on the ship. We made sure my father in law made it into his cabin and then we headed straight to the Windjammer. It was so very crowded in there that we had to stand a few minutes before we could find a seat. The food was not good at all. Some of my friends that sailed with us absolutely loved the food. I am from the South and I just could not find much of anything on this entire ship that tasted good. The few foods that stand out that I did enjoy were the Key lime pie(only offered on the last night), Johnny Rockets( highly recommend) and the breakfast buffet. I found the food was very bland. You may choose Sorrentos Pizza on the promenade deck. They are open until 3am. CCL pizza is much better.
If I wrote a full review of everything it would take several pages. I will sum it up as best I can. The coffee on the ship is HORRIBLE! You can opt to buy a cup of Starbucks at the CAFE PROMENADE. They do not open until 7am!
Some things to know: You can get BUY ONE GET ONE MARGARITAS every single evening only in the Schooner Bar from 4:30-7:30pm only. You will pay around 6.90 for two! That's only 3.45 per drink! We took advantage of this several nights. If you want to buy T-shirts, they will have a sale around the 5th or 6th day. They sign reads 2 for 20.00. However, you can buy one for 10.00.
Our dining room experience was not a good one. We only went the first 2 nights. It was very slow. The food wasn't good at all. There were 5 of us at the table and none of us liked the food. We decided to dine in the Windjammer every evening and we were so very glad we did. The service there was far more superior than that of the dining room! I have been on 8 cruises and this was the best service I have ever received in any dining room. Also, I mentioned Johnny Rockets earlier. The service was excellent and the food was great. Bonny was our server. He was excellent! They will dance several times while you eat. The price is 4.95 per person there. This food is all-you-can eat and dessert is included! They start out and bring you french fries, onion rings and dip. The dip is divine!!!
Another tip: On the last night, they hold a FREEDOM FEST on the Promenade deck. There are lot's of free food and music. This is the one night you can get free chocolate covered strawberries! Also, this is the only night they will sell 2 for 1 Bahama Mamas. You just have to look for the location. Ours was across from the Bull and Bear.
If you want serenity, and I do mean serenity, you MUST go to deck 12 to the OLIVE OR TWIST Lounge! I loved it! This bar sits very high above the ship and you can look out and see EVERYTHING! The ship is laid out odd. You will definitely get confused with decks 3 and 4. You have to walk through the casino a lot which we didn't prefer. The cigarette smoke is overwhelming.
Don't forget to pack your razors. RCCL doesn't give you the free basket on this ship..lol.
My husband ordered me 3 red roses while on this cruise. The price was very reasonable. Only 12.95!
PORTS: Coco Cay was very disappointing. Maybe this was because Sandy had just came through a week prior. Not sure. You could really tell that it was a man made island. Everything here is very expensive as well. The island sells a drink called a COCOLOCO.This is a fruity drink. My hubby ordered one and the rum was very strong. They do not skimp on the alcohol here!I ordered one without the rum and it was delicious! St. Thomas: This was my 3rd time here. It is always very hot there. St. Thomas is a beautiful island. You must do the tour. It only costs 25.00pp. There are a lot of things you can do there.Too many to mention. ST.Maarten: This was my 2nd time here. We did the Ultimate Island and Explorer tour. The cost is 56.00 pp and worth every penny! An air-conditioned bus will pick you up at the pier. You will see both the Dutch and French sides of the island. While on the French side you will board your double decker party boat called The Explorer. You will enjoy free rum punch, free beer, free soft drinks and juice. Our tour guide was Anki and she was awesome!!! Our DJ was Jeffrey. He is a hoot and he really gets the crowd going! The complete tour from beginning to end last around 4 hours. You will get off the boat on the Dutch side and the bus is waiting to take you back to the ship or you can opt to be dropped off to shop.
The FREEDOM is an absolutely gorgeous ship. It is the most beautiful ship I have been on. They have really out done themselves on the decor. However, the food is nothing to brag about. The food presentation is an art....it just doesn't taste like it looks...lol. The lines were never long in the Windjammer except for the last day at breakfast, but then it died down.
The showers in the Ocean View cabins are TINY! They aren't open like the other cruise lines. I felt like I was inside a capsule. Overall, we had a great vacation. It just wasn't what we had expected from reading all the reviews. Some loved it and some did not. I, however will probably not sail this ship again. I hope my review has helped some.