I was participating in a large concert/theme cruise on the Freedom of the Seas, my first experience with Royal Caribbean.
The good things - the ship was lovely and well-kept. I was in a aft inside cabin and though small, it was about the size I would expect for what I paid and I wasn't bothered much by the motion of the ocean (despite having some very rough weather). The staff, by and large, was helpful and courteous, though there were a few bumps in the road here and there. Bed was very comfortable, linens were lovely. My Room Steward, Erlinda, was attentive without being overbearing. My requests for bed configuration (including egg-crate) were done prior to my arrival. I was missing a sharps container that I had requested via the special needs form, and it was brought reasonably quickly. Johnny Rocket's was good, and the cover very reasonable.
Food quality and variety overall was much better than Carnival, though in my opinion, not as good as Disney. I More
went to Chops one night and had a lovely meal, though the cover charge price on those specialties I thought was a little high. Windjammer surprised me with having a delicious crepe bar one night, though most nights I was in the MDR. I had the lobster tail one night and was very disappointed in its quality. The texture was not ideal and I do not believe that it was the fault of the preparation.
Some of the desserts in the MDR could use some creativity, since I'm a dessert fan. The Chocolate crisp Pear dessert sounded beautiful on paper, but taste and presentation definitely left something to be desired.
The soft serve machine on the pool deck has disappointingly limited hours. The pizza place also leaves much to be desired, though some of the non-pizza items are better than the pizza. The cafe on the promenade occasionally had amazing treats, but those were hard to predict.
Beverage-wise, I cannot drink alcohol currently due to health reasons. I bought the unlimited soda pass with the cup to use the freestyle machines. Very unhappy overall with that. The cups are bulky to haul around, which makes it easy to forget them in your room or wherever you are. There is no good way to clean them during the week. I wish there was an RFID tag on the SeaPass for the Freestyle machine instead. Additionally, you could get unlimited non-alcoholic cocktails only if you buy the alcohol package. I would love to see a package that included the non-alcoholic drinks so I could have virgin drinks with abandon. It seems a little silly that the only way you can get that is via the alcohol package.
Ship layout: overall, no true complaint, though it was a pain for levels two and three if you needed to switch sides of the ship. If you were at the Arcadia Theater and wanted to go to Studio B, I believe on the same floor, you have to go up a couple levels, then back down, because you can't go straight through. You adjust but it is less than ideal.
I did not participate in any of the ship sponsored activities, nor did I get off at any ports, but overall I would cruise on RCI again, though I would check and see if it would be possible to get myself onto a Disney ship first. Less
Freedom of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean