This was our third cruise, all with Royal Caribbean. We previously cruised on the Serenade of the Seas, Radiance class, and the Splendor of the Seas, Vision class. We were very much looking forward to sailing on a Freedom class and had very high expectations. If you are only reading this to see if there were any problems or complaints then you can go on to the next review. We found all of our expectations exceeded with absolutely no complaints at all with the ship, crew or service. Later in the review we will comment on one idiot and one moron.
We had a junior suite on deck ten. There was a slight bit of noise from above, main pool and H2O area during the day which was to be expected. But it was not distracting and we did take mid afternoon naps a couple of days without being bothered. We chose this cabin as it was approximately in the middle of the ship and we are glad we did. The room was always clean and there was no evidence of any wear and tear more than what can be expected. We had two chairs, a small table and two lounge chairs on our balcony. There was plenty of space for storage with the drawers provided in the vanity unit and the walk in closet. The closet had floor to ceiling shelves at one end and a clothes rod that ran the length of the closet. We found that we had as much storage as we did in the Grand Suite on the Serenade of the Seas. Bring a power strip, 110v or 220v, as there is a limited number of power plugs in the cabin. We forgot our power strip but purchased one on the first port for three euros that had five connections and a five meter long cord.
I won't critique the ports as there is an extensive amount of reviews for all of the eight ports visited in other Cruise Critic sections. All ports were docked as opposed to tendering. That may have been why there were so many special needs people on board.
As there is so much negative views about wheelchair and mobility scooter users elsewhere we will comment on that. We found no problems during the two week cruise with any of the chairs or scooters. Occasionally there was a chair in the hallway but there was still room for another chair or scooter to manuever around it. This was for deck ten as we did not explore other cabin decks to see if the same was true for them. I did feel sorry for people who needed them as only one at a time could fit into the elevators. Many times we saw people having to wait for another elevator as there was already a chair or scooter on the elevator. Now let me comment on the only idiot we ran into aboard ship. We were on a full elevator, probably twelve or thirteen people, when a woman with a baby stroller tried to force her way in. There absolutely was no room but she insisted everyone should crunch further together so she could get on. It was only after two people, frustrated over her stupidity, left the elevator was there room for her and her stroller. That was the only incident of inconsideration for others that we saw. When you consider there were four thousand passengers aboard, that says a lot for mutual respect.
Now I guess we should mention the moron. Someone put two very large dents in the hood of the car outside of Vintages. Meaningless vandalism and we hope that they were caught and removed from the ship with a bill for repair to follow.
If you are looking for a ship with almost endless things to see and do while on board look no further. The passengers were decidedly an older crowd and the shows and entertainment geared towards that. The Ice Shows and Royal Caribbean productions were great. Still there was a lot for the younger set to do with lounges and venues geared towards them also. Service in all restaurants, complimentary or special, was top notch. Food in the main dining room did not repeat except for the selection offered in the special section. The waiters always asked if everything was okay and offered to bring another selection if your plate was empty or if you did not finish what was on the plate. The Windjammer offered something for everyone. I could not imagine the food being better when you consider the amount of people being served. The recent addition of the Cupcake Cupboard did not seem to be a big venue for the passengers on our cruise. The Caribbean cruises will probably find a larger number of customers. Ben and Jerry's also seemed to not be very busy but again the Caribbean cruises would see more customers. I did sample a selection in Ben and Jerry's and found the quality to be excellent.
The activity decks were well laid out and we had no problem finding chairs or lounges on any day. The showers on the pool deck are chilly so brace yourself. The hot tubs were not crowded and all were very warm and functional aeration. On the days when it was chilly it was great to relax in them. The solarium is not covered and if I could find fault with the ship then I would suggest they cover it to provide a wind free space. The various lounges are too many to comment on individually, but put a plus beside each in the like column! The fitness center has everything you could want and the Spa was fantastic. The quirky art bits around the ship like the rabbits, birds and large dog puts a smile on your face.
We did have discount books in our cabin so they haven't put them onto the sailpass yet on this ship. Also in passing we would have loved to have had the freestyle coke machine on board but it hasn't arrived on this ship. I would have purchased a soda package solely to have the fun of experimenting with the combinations. In closing I would suggest having a unique way to identify your bags on departure. The tags provided were torn off of three of our bags and we had to search for quite a while to find them in the terminal.
We would definitely sail on this ship again and probably will in the future. Our suggestion is to book a cruise on her and prepare to be Wow'd.