I wanted to write this review for all of those out there that have ever wondered if a cruise would be a good choice for a vacation. This was the first cruise for both myself and my wife and even after talking to several friends about going on a cruise, we still wondered if it was right for us. I decided to book a cruise for our 25th anniverary leaving out of Port Canaveral for the Eastern Caribbean aboard Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas.
We arrived at the port at 11:30am for a 1:30 boarding time to make sure we had time to get through security and dropped our luggage with the porters. After a quick 45 minute wait in a line of passengers, we were on the ship and starting to explore our new surroundings. It was no hassle at all getting on and was much easier than we had anticipated. Very well organized and everyone on the RC staff was very friendly and helpful to the 'newbies'.
Our first impression was a big WOW. The ship was extremly clean, very well kept
and huge. It took all of a day and a half to get our bearings around the ship but the info boards around the ship were very helpful getting the layout straight. We headed to our room at 1:30(superior oceanview w/ balcony deck 10).
Room was spotless with plenty of storage for the two of us and the balcony was awesome.
For dining, we chose 'my time dining' which worked out perfect for us since we didnt want to be tied down to a specific time to eat not knowing for sure what we would be doing during the early evening hours. We ended up reserving a 6:30 time for the days we would be eating in the main dining room. Food was fantastic and our waiter Albert and asst. waiter Rismaya were nothing less than fabulous. If you are going on Freedom, ask for table 152 or any table with Albert (my time dining deck 5). Food in the Windjammer was good and it was open all day so you always could get something to eat. The only time we noticed it as being crowded was the few hours on the ship before we left port canaveral.
Entertainment was great, staff onboard was fantastic, ship was very clean and well organized and ports of call (Coco Cay,St Thomas, and St Maarten)were beautiful. It was a little windy the first day and there was some movement in the ship, but nothing that made us uncomfortable. On the return leg of the trip, there was a medical emergency onboard and we ended up diverting to Nassau to drop off the individual, which says alot about Royal Caribbean and the care for their passengers safety. After leaving Nassau, we ran into a major storm system with 55+ mph sustained winds and at least 15ft seas. There was some slight rolling of the ship and wind noise from the balcony area of our room but with the size of this ship it was still very tolerable.
Spent lots of time in the casino which was bigger than I thought it would be and they have real dealers for all of their table games. Some cruise ships have gone to electronic gaming which I hope Royal Caribbean never does. Some reviews had indicated that it was smokey, but I never even noticed a smokey smell much less actual smoke.
We did get the unlimited soda package for my wife which was did save us some money on sodas, but having to carry around a bottle to fill at the soda stations was kind of a pain.
The only issue we had on the ship was noise from an adjoining stateroom due to a crying baby. After three nights of being awakened every 2 hours from a screaming baby, I went to guest services and complained (at 2:30am). The manager called us the next morning and had us moved to a junior suite one room over so there was a one room barrier between us and the screamer. Not only that, but they sent us a bottle of wine and an apology for the inconvenience. Guest services was fantastic. Thank you Sean and Olivia!
Being a first time cruiser, its hard to compare to others but I will say this was the most enjoyable vacation we have ever been on. The service on this ship was nothing short of outstanding, food was fantastic, and there is so much to do that you will never be bored.
On a scale of 1-10, I would give this ship and crew a 14. Top notch all the way. Thank you to all of the folks at Royal Caribbean for a fantastic vacation.