I knew this new ship was going to cause "FREEDOM FRENZY" :-)
I am a CLIA Certified MCC. (Master Cruise Counselor) While on a Royal Caribbean Seminar at Sea, each person on our winning Team WON a stateroom on the Freedom of the Seas as our Reward! WOW! AND we could take our spouse or whoever else we wanted! I was thrilled to be able to take my honey! We are Diamond Members with Royal Caribbean and are booked on the Sept 24th sailing so we were REALLY excited to check out 'OUR SHIP'!
We live 20 minutes out of Boston so we drove our car in. RCCL had complementary Event Parking for us. From the parking lot they shuttled us over to the Black Falcon Pier. (3 minutes?) I LOVE cruising out of Boston as they always have dozens of people there to check people in! After showing our ID's we were given out SeaPass Cards which were inside a nice 3-D Pocket folder. The cards were marked Inaugural Celebration 2006. We were appointed an Aft Inside Stateroom on Deck 9. We were onboard early. They announced that the Staterooms were not ready but we were invited to explore the ship. So we immediately headed up to Deck 5 to see The Promenade. We walked across the lighted walkway that we had seen so many time on the RCCL website! To our right was the Guest RElations Desk, to our left the elegant Champagne Bar. Our first stop was up ahead on our left, the Cafe Promenade for a chance to get our bearings and grab a quick bite, but first I walked our to Guest Relations to get a copy of the 'Compass' to see what was going on for the Days Events. There were not many people on board yet so I walked around and got a few photos of the barber shop, A Clean Shave (there was already someone getting a cut!) and Ben N Jerry's. We walked the promenade taking photos of the pubs and headed up one deck(6) to check out the Schooner Bar, then the Crypt, the Gothic two level Dance Club. Continuing on Deck 6 we approached the Casino. IT IS HUGE! I was really surprised as I had not heard a word about it's size! A BIG SURPRISE! Lots of machines, pennies and up. Plenty of Tables, Roulette and one Craps.
We continued to the Photo Shop and learned about the new way to get your photos. At certain times during the cruise, say you wanted your portrait taken .... they swipe your SeaPass Card. The next day, you go to the photo shop, swipe your card and ANY of your photos will come up on their computer for you to see, IF you had it swiped before it was taken. Very Cool! Next on to Boleros. I met Adrianne. We told him we'd be back 'cause we 'heard about him on Cruise Critic! And that he has a wonderful reputation already! :-) We took a peek at the Dining room....WOW! Beautiful! Then grabbed the elevator UP to Deck 8 to see if we could locate the stateroom we'll be in in September. We choose this location as it is near the internet cafe, Royal Caribbean Online. It has a nice open feeling and a small seating area that overlooks the promenade. (Good idea as it will help pass the time for someone who's waiting for you... when your checking your emails.;-)
Next UP to Deck 11, The Pool Deck, we HAD to see Whirlpool that jets out over the sea! WOW! We were surprised to see how spacious the whirlpools were! Got a great photo with the first man in! Heading towards the pools we decided time to have a Welcome Aboard Cocktail at the Pool Bar. I belive I had a Dirty Banana? It was delicious! (Did I mention everything was FREE!) We left a nice gratuity. With drinks in hand we walked across the 'bridge' between the two pools (sports pool on the left, main pool on the right and then two hot tubs also on the right.) It is AWESOME! WOW! I am not a pool person but I can become one real quick as one of the pools is wading shallow. We continued to walk towards midship to see the H2O Zone. When we walked around the corner (there's a big wall separating the two pool areas) I literally exclaimed WOW!!!!! IT IS AWESOME!!!!!! AWESOME!!!! There are plenty of chairs of all types available... in the shade, in the sun, in the line of the fine spray that may blow your way. NICE! Real Nice!
Next is Squeeze, a Juice Bar. Fresh and Friendly. Checked out Chops and Portfinos and walked through the Windjammer Cafe. All pretty much the same as the larger Voyager Class ships. We walked back past the pool area and took the stairs near the Pool Bar UP to Deck 12. We walked the upper deck noticing there is a jogging track that is about 1/3 the length of the ship. That'll make a nice walk in the mornings working towards collecting those ShipShape Dollars! Next was all the Young people's area...Adventure Ocean, FUEL(A soda bar that has internet access available too) Looks like a place I'd enjoy. :-) No Adults allowed. :-( Johnny Rocket's is on the other ship of the ship offering hot dogs, burgers, etc and ONION RINGS!!!! YUM!!!
We HAD to SEE THE FLOW RIDER!!!!!!!! Only One More Deck UP... I thought the Flow Rider was going to be a Gimmick, a fun gimmick. IT IS SO MUCH MORE! FUN!!!!! We did not get to do it (we can't swim anyway) they had Demonstrations going on every 1/2 hour. BUT the surfers were enjoying it SO much they just kept DOING IT!! THEY are LOVING their JOB!!!! It was mesmerizing and SO FUN to watch! It's Exciting! It's addicting to WATCH! I know where I'll be much of the time when we cruise in September.... WATCHING people WIPE OUT!!!! FUN!!!! Wicked FUN!!! I think we will even DO IT! It isn't deep, what is there to lose? LOL except maybe your bathing suit top. :-) LOL Be careful. FUN.
Big KUDOS RCCL! Plenty of seating and tall horizontal surf boards off to the side so you can stand and eat and drink and enjoy, in the sun. Fun! Next to the Flowrider is the Mini Golf then the Basketball Court and Rock Climbing wall. A very active deck in deed.
OK..... where's the "Diamond Club" we've been hearing about? UP one deck to Deck 14. Located up near Royal Caribbean's signature Viking Crown Lounge high atop the ship. It was not open. It is what used to be the Ninth Hole. I'm sure it will be real nice when it's open. Great View! It was time to head down to our stateroom as dragging our carry on around was, well, becoming a drag. We headed back up to the Promenade, Deck 5 and bumped into our neighbors who were invited guests. They wanted to have a cocktail so ...... we took them to SCHOONER BAR! They have never been on a cruise but he was in the Navy a WWII Veteran. They had a meeting to attend so we headed down for a slice of Pizza at Sorrentos. :-) We headed back to our stateroom.
We had an inside stateroom which had a BIG ROUND mirror on the wall, over the bed directly across from you as you entered. A small sofa (small) and mini coffee table, a vanity and plenty of storage. (But please know we are used to the 'smallness' of stateroom living.) There was a refridge and hair dryer but nothing more than wrapped soap. No Shower cap etc. There was a soap dispenser in shower. The TOWELS thou.... Oh! The Towels! They were SO THICK and SO SOFT I thought for sure they would not be absorbent...They WERE! They WERE AWESOME!!! Now the bed. We BOTH did an Ahhhhh......when we laid down. Unbelievably comfortable. Thick 9" mattresses with pillow tops. Sheets ... smooth and crisp and yet soft. WHITE and embroidered with the RCCL logo in satin thread. PILLOWS!!! Lots of pillows! The bedding and the sleep was delicious. Our bed was made into a queen configuration which doesn't leave much room to get over to the night table or phone. If you wanted more room and didn't mind not sleeping together, have them make it into two twin beds and it would double your walking space.(You can meet in the middle between the two beds. ;-) hee hee
We got changed and headed down to the dining room for dinner. It was open seating. The service was great! To my surprise they had the Best of Everything on the Menu.... so I had the escargot, salad and beef. The meat could melt in your mouth and the escargot....as expected. :-) They served our choice of wine again complimentary. Dinner was wonderful, again Great Service. The weather was very nice all day. The two days prior were pretty rainy and yucky, so we were lucking out. All of a sudden my hubby pointed out the sky, it was white on the bottom and a thick darkness that looked like a 7 and white caps in the water like I've never seen before while at sea! We were fine... we headed to check out the casino as we were now far enough out for it to open, but FIRST we have to go see Adrianne at Boleros.
Boleros was hopping. Adrianne was everything I heard he was.... very entertaining. He WILL become a Freedom of the Sesa attraction! We look forward to seeing him and his bar mates again. We had a Mojito and headed to the Casino. I made a small donation and had fun trying to figure out HOW to play the machines. It was a long day but now we were off to see the SHOW in the main theater. We sat way up high in the balcony. There was plenty of room everywhere but that's where we choose to be. The Cruise Director Ken Rush introduced the show and the lights went down. It NEVER fails, It doesn't matter WHAT show I am at...... When the lights go down, and the music is playing ... I nod off. A sleepy comfortable NOD. (Like how some people NOD OFF when they are 'watching' a a ball game?) Same thing....comfy nod. What i DID see of the show was very good.
After the show we headed to bed, never did get back to The Crypt, but we will. It was a long day., but FUN!
I thought the Freedom was going to be Too Big...She's Not! Where you 'feel' the largness of the ship is in the public areas, The Ship Shape Center, The Casino, the Adventure Ocean, the Pool Deck, the H2O Zone. She's very similar to the Voyager (ie: Voyager Class) which made it very easy for us to navigate. Great ship. Not too big. Didn't "SEEM' like there were that many people on the same ship. We only had the one day, did what we could and Can't WAIT to get back onboard on September 24th with my Cruise Critic Pals! Bon Voyage!
Did I mention the bedding? :-)