This was our 13th cruise, one port which was Cozumel and the rest at sea. We have cruised on Carnival, NCL and RCCL .
This is our first time on the Freedom class ship and it will be very difficult to go back to something smaller. That size offers so many more options throughout the ship that will keep you entertained the entire cruise. As I describe all the different areas on the ship everything seemed big and comfortable vs the smaller ships where lounges, pools and most areas seemed confined.
Solarium-Adult Pool Area was just that, no children around. One or two showed up and were quickly asked to leave. Deck chair saving was still happening but there was staff there to assist you if you needed a lounger. The one day I requested one he found me one quickly and then found an additional one shortly thereafter. Don't get me wrong there were plenty of towels and books saving the loungers but if you wanted one I'm sure he would have tagged one and if no activity after 30 minutes it would be yours. The pool (fresh water) was bone chilling cold. Refreshing but I was in and out when I needed to cool off.
The main pool area had the usual salt water pools with the band/entertainment stage nearby. The band provided background noise and not much else. They were at least versatile in what they played vs the 100% reggae music I have experienced most of the time. Kids had their own area and it looked like they were enjoying it.
The flow rider and rock climbing looked challenging and fun and I only watched, never did find the boxing ring. The ship is so big I never made it to the 3rd deck where the ice show and karaoke was until the last day. Quiet areas are everywhere for reading, sleeping and relaxing; you just need to walk the ship to find yours.
We didn't spend a lot of time in them but there were many throughout the ship. It has the full gambit of cigar, dance club, champagne, high end wine, beer specialty lounges along with the many regular bars everywhere. Entertainment in them was also the usual piano bar, salsa etc.
We enjoyed the shows. I didn't make the opening night comedy/welcome to the cruise one. The adult late night comedy on the first night was nothing outstanding but served its purpose. The 'On Air' presentation was very good. A few parts were slow but some of it was stunning and made up for it.
Saturday Night Fever had its moments but overall entertaining. I was in the front row and although my neck was strained at times it was exciting to see the effort the entertainers put in to it. Comedian/Magic show was also very good.
The Ice Show was excellent. There was a guest skater from Vegas that came out with a silver hula hoop and I thought, ok we are just buying some time until they reset for the next part of the show. It was anything but boring. That one hoop turned into 12 that she managed to do things with that I struggle with one and all the time she was on skates!
Comedian/Magic show was also very good.
Dining rooms were stunning with 3 open air levels in the aft. I thought the food was very good. Soups could have had a little more to them but we both enjoyed all the entrees. We did the MTD and had a table for two either by the outside of the ship or more in the middle. The reason I bring that up is it got quite warm the first two nights when we were seated on the outside. We mentioned that after leaving the second night and they said the ship retains that heat from the day sun and it is warmer. We asked for and got a table the remaining two nights overlooking the three dining rooms from the 5th deck and it was great.
Windjammer food was just that. You expect it and find what works for your individual taste each day. I found the carving stations to be a good spot to visit. The prime rib and pork were outstanding. The beef round on the first day looked good under the lights of the heater but it turned out really dry when it got time to eat it. There were two days where they had huge bowls of shrimp if you like that. Plenty to choose from, you won't starve!
A nice option is the Cafe Promenade. They offer sweets and small chilled sandwiches along with free coffee 24/7. Sorrento's had the usual boring pizza with not enough toppings but I saw a lot of people choosing other deli like items along with sweets.
As I type this review I realize how much I never got a chance to experience because of the size of the ship. I say that in a positive tone because it offers so much to so many different interests you couldn't possibly do it on a four day cruise. No doubt I will be back!
Embarkation was smooth but there is road construction in the area which will improve traffic flow in the future but not now. The terminal Liberty goes out of is certainly not state of the art but manageable. We did the self carryout and was off the ship in 30 minutes. The majority of the wait was the long stretched out walk to get off and then the slow process of customs.