Our last cruise was with RCI in January 2012 on the Navigator of the Seas, we were so impressed with the ability to have a vacation that the adults and our 5 year old could enjoy, we booked another cruise for December of this year. We were not disappointed.
The Ship - The refurbishment on Freedom of the Seas was evident in the new carpets, upgraded bedding in the staterooms, and the overall freshness of the ship. In addition, the Dreamworks entertainment available was fun and readily available. The H2O water area for the kids was great on the days when it was not so windy (the spraying water and high winds was not pleasant).
The Kids Club - My son really enjoyed the Kids Club on the Navigator so we had high hopes for this vacation. One of the Kids Club attendants had been on the Navigator in January and remembered our son (I was very impressed). He was not as thrilled this time to participate, mostly because it was the same activities as last time, and the attendants seemed to be worn out. On Navigator they tended to have more enthusiasm and took the kids out for regular treks around the ship. The new part of the Kids program however, was the ability to leave your child on the ship while the parents go into port. We took advantage of that when we did not have an excursion and it was more enjoyable for my son than looking at shops at the port.
Food - We ate in the main dining room every night. The first night we were not happy with the waiter (he was very flustered) or the table,they seated 5 people at a table made for 4 and it was in the traffic pattern of the Waiters station. I asked for a new table assignment and we were re-assigned to a table for 11 in a great location by the window with charming dinner mates. The food itself I felt was very high quality for complimentary meals, and there was enough variety, there was something unique each night.
One night I ordered the filet mignon from Chops Grille in the main dining room. It tasted as though it had been dry aged (close to the quality of Ruth's Chris), and cooked to my liking. My only complaint would be that there were only steak sauces (A1 and Heinz 57)and horseradish as an accompaniment. I would have preferred a warm sauce such as Bearnaise or a pan sauce.
Kids dining was great in the main dining room! They have a kids menu with typical kids favorites (mac and cheese, hamburgers, chicken fingers)including kids oriented appetizers (fruit, carrots and ranch, etc). The kids club will pick up your children for the evening session outside the dining room at 6:45. My son's meal was always delivered with plenty of time for him to eat before the evening session.
Stateroom - This is probably the most unique part of our cruise, we had an Aft cabin with a HUGE balcony. The balcony was easily twice the size of an ordinary balcony for the same price. The stateroom itself was slightly smaller, however. It sleeps three because the loveseat does not fold out, instead there is a bunk bed above the double bed. It is a unique layout, but it really suited our family of three, he loved the bunk bed!
Embarkation and debarkation - Both were quick. RCI now allows for two bottles of wine (not beer or hard liquor) to be brought on board per stateroom. We took advantage of this. Our stateroom attendant provided us wine glasses and a corkscrew.
Service - Pretty standard, no complaints.