My husband and I along with my sister and her husband recently returned from our cruise on the Freedom of the Seas. First I would like to say that we felt the ship was beautiful and very well maintained. We have cruised several other cruise lines and feel that this ship lived up to all the reviews we read about it. Our embarkation was very quick and we were soon at the Windjammer for our first lunch. The food was very good, however we did feel that it was a bit confusing with the way the food stations were arranged. We all agreed that we would rather eat our meals in the dining room rather than looking for our traveling companions or a table. We were very satisfied with all selections for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, as well as the evening meals. It was the first cruise for my brother-in-law and he enjoyed trying entrees that he had never eaten. I can't say enough about our waiter and assistant waiter--they were very prompt with their service as well as friendly and accommodating with all our requests.
We had balcony cabins and were very pleased with the size of the cabins with lots of storage and closet space. The bathrooms were larger than some we have encountered so we were pleased with that!! Our room steward was also remarkable, keeping us equipped with ice, wine glasses, etc the first day and every day thereafter. The 'towel animals' were an added enjoyment.
Entertainment was also very good. We were not aware that the ice skating show would be available at night in lieu of a production so we made reservations to see the ice show in the afternoon, which meant there was no show in the evening. We did miss that attraction but ended up going to the Schooner Bar and enjoyed the piano player there. We didn't really go to the other bars so can't comment on them. We enjoyed the usual 'Marriage Game' and of course 'The Quest' is not to be missed--it was hilarious!!
The pool areas were comfortable and although we didn't spend a lot of time on deck, we didn't have a problem finding chairs. We were surprised that we had to check out beach towels and would be charged if not turned in at the close of the cruise. There were some that had some problems on the last day, as they had turned in their towels but it hadn't registered so that charge showed up on their bill--which meant standing in a long line at guest services the last day.
There were a lot of children on our cruise but they were well behaved and we didn't feel they were an inconvenience at all. In fact we enjoyed watching them try the 'flow rider' and other activities. Of course the fact that we all have grandchildren may have been a factor in enjoying the young people.
All in all, we were very pleased with our cruise and would consider Royal Caribbean for another cruise. This size ship was a comfortable fit for us--we don't care for any larger than this. We felt the ports we visited were good--we have been to all three previously but my sister and her husband hadn't so they enjoyed them. We did visit Maho Beach this time and it isn't to be missed--quite a site having the planes come right over the beach area. We just walked around in St. Thomas, and CocoCay was spent on the beach and the water.
We did like the option of having our gratuities paid on our sea pass account or with envelopes, which we prefer, since we like to give extra to those that served us in the dining room as well as our room steward.