Arrived in Orlando around midnight on the 23rd. Used Triple AAA taxi service from Airport to Hilton in Cocoa Beach. (Cost was $85). Checked-in and hit our pillow around 2:00am. Used same service from hotel to pier. $25 for family of 4.
Really smooth embarkation. Long line at pier, but worker told us to go to 2nd building. Glad we did since the line there was much shorter. Passed through security in about 15 minutes. Went upstairs to get Sea Pass cards. If you do the set-up on the RCL website, it goes much quicker. Had cards in 10 minutes and went on to the ship.
Freedom of the Seas:
First reaction was WOW! Was on the Star Princess last August for Alaskan cruise, and this ship blew it away. Very elegant! Lunch at the Windjammer was good, and we were able to site see the ship before it got crowded.
Superior Ocean Stateroom w/balcony. A tight fit for 2 kids (14 & 12) DW, and DH but we managed. Bathroom shower was small, but pressure was great. Hint: Bring 1-2 extension cords since there are not a lot of outlets in room. Lola our room steward was fantastic. Best animals made out of towels we ever saw. Room was always clean and kept.Dinner's/Lunch/Breakfast:
My time dining - Deck 5, Galileo - Waiter - Kerry Smith ("Smith"), Assistant Waiter John. Both were outstanding, but "Smith" was something special. My son and him bonded, and they both treated us with the upmost respect! Food was very good. Nothing mind-blowing, but we are not "foodies", so we all tried something different each night. Kids enjoyed lobster tail for the first time, and it was a treat to watch "Smith" crack the shell for them! DH went with Chef's recommendation each night and it was definitely worth it.
Note: We used the RCL website to make reservations which was fine, but there were a few nights we selected to eat by ourselves, and some nights with a group of people. It turned out, we ate by ourselves each night, so I'm not sure if it matters what you select. We did eat at the same table except for 1 night, and our Waiter and Assistant Waiter were the same each night. We didn't mind, but why have the option if it doesn't matter?
Windjammer Cafe each day. Fresh made omelet station was a hidden gem in back. Made fresh with only a short wait. Kids/DW loved the fruit/pancake/egg options. Food was good and hit the spot. Lunches hit the spot with your usual lunch buffet options.Shows: Really enjoyed the shows. Not a fan of big production shows, but enjoyed "Marquee". High production level and the live orchestra was a nice touch.
The Bon Jovi tribute band was outstanding and they rocked the house. The Ice Show was spectacular! Note: You must make reservations in advance! They only perform a couple of days during the cruise, and it's sold out each day, so book online early!
The "Quest" was the highlight. Note: Not appropriate for kids under 12. We brought ours along, and it pushed the limit, but was hilarious. That's all I'm going to say, but it's definitely a must see!!!
We spent a lot time in the Pharoah lounge watching the "Game Shows". Some were better then others, but overall it was a good, fun time.
Casino: Only played 1 night, but won $50 at the blackjack table. Too many slots, and not enough tables.
Snooba in St. Thomas was fantastic. Cocoa Cay cancelled due to weather. Beach and shopping in St. Maarten. (Our favorite of the ports!)
All in all, there was not 1 negative about the cruise except the cancelled port in Cocoa Cay. Captain made right decision to bypass and once we sailed 2 hours south, it all was sun for the rest of the week. The ship, crew, were fantastic.
Best of luck to the honeymooners from Ireland we met, and to anyone thinking about this ship, go for it, you won't be sorry! If you are prone to sea-sickness, DW's combo of patch, green apples, and ginger candies (Trader Joe's), did the trick!