Ok I waited for over 15 months to go on this beautiful ship and it was well worth the wait. I am an avid cruiser of RCI and I have to say that I new the ship inside and out before I even got onboard. It is extremely similar to the Voyager Class just a tad bit bigger and has a couple new things that the voyager class does not. So here goes my review. I hope it helps people that are getting ready to go on the Freedom.
Embarkation - This process went extremely smooth. From the time we got out of the shuttle to when we actually got onboard was 30 minutes. We arrived at the pier at 12:00pm and were onboard at 12:30 pm. We couldn't go to our stateroom, yet but by the time you get up to the Windjammer and eat it was already 1:00pm.
One thing about embarkation is don't listen to the porters about tipping them. They all tell you that if you tip well they will personally take your luggage onboard and make sure it gets to your room quickly. I saw a lot of people out of a lot of money by these lies. The porters are not even allowed on the ship, so this is a scam that is being done at the port by this outsourced company. Other than that, make sure and do the Set Sail Pass. It really speeds things up. I had a whole group and they all got on very fast.
Ship - Like I said in the start of this review the ship is almost just like the Voyager Class. The only difference is they added a couple other places to the Promenade and the flowrider of course. Everything else is the same. It is a huge ship and it's great if you want to do a lot of activities during your vacation. If you really are looking for much more one on one and a relaxing vacation I don't really think a ship of this size is the one.
Luckily, since I have been on the Voyager Class I was able to relax because I have seen it all already. For the Freedom to be a new ship it really seemed that the ship has been out for many months. There was not a new feel about it. I can't explain this statement, but it just didn't feel like the inaugural season of the ship. Over all the decor is nice and it is an amazing ship. You can't believe that something so big floats.
Staff - The Cruise Director is the best. His name is James and if you have the opportunity to meet and interact with him during your cruise make sure you do. He is so sweet and down to earth. This is the 2nd cruise I was on that he was my cruise director and boy he is a treat. The activities manager David from Australia is just as nice and is willing to meet everyone. Guest relations was always pleasant and my room attendant Alyson was amazing. Overall customer service was top notch. Oh, I can't forget Francois. He was the Concierge Lounge Attendant. He was awesome.
Cabin - We were in a Grand Suite #1282. The cabin was amazing. I couldn't of been happier with my cabin. I did see every category of cabins on the ship and all the cabins are very comparable in size to other cruise lines. Not much to say accept if you have the chance to sail in a suite don't pass it up! They are really nice!
Food - Well this is my biggest negative point about the whole cruise. It's the only thing that I have to complain about. I was very disappointed by the quality and presentation of the food on this ship.
I was on the Mariner 3 months after it launched and it was the best food I have ever had on a cruise. Being I have sailed so many times on RCI I figured the food would be the same. It wasn't the same at all it was not good.
The dining room we chose not to go to 2 nights because it was mediocre at best. I was so disappointed in the dining room food. One thing I look forward to on a cruise is dressing up and having a nice meal at night in the dining room. What a shame. RCI needs to reevaluate there menu.
Johnny Rockets was good. You really can't mess up at hot dog. Chops though was the best meal of the whole week. If you have a chance don't miss the chance to go to CHOPS. Amazing food. The Windjammer is cafeteria food at best. Sorrentos pizza is ok, I sure did eat a lot of it. It taste good at 2am. Room service was the same as any other ship. Overall, food was bad. They really need to do something about it and fast. That's really the only complaint I here.
Ports - There isn't much to say. I have been to all of them 100 times. If you have seen one island you have seen them all. I do have to say that Labadee was my favorite and I would go there over and over again. It is true paradise. Jamaica is a little scary. Cozumel and Grand Cayman are great islands. Every cruise we go on we buy alcohol on the islands and the ship because you will not find it cheaper in the states and we entertain a lot so you can't beat the prices. I always get my excursions when I get off the ship. I seem to get them a heck of a lot cheaper.
Disembarkation- This went real smooth as well. Customs was a little slow processing people so that was the longest wait. We were off the ship by 9:30.
Overall - I would go on the Freedom again but I will go on others before I would spend that same amount again. Its a great ship but quality of food needs to be raised.