The Good Embarkation We arrived at the pier around 2:30 PM and were on the ship within 15 minutes. By the time we arrived, most of the crowds had already boarded
The Freedom has one set of elevators/stairs forward and one set aft. All of the decks run the length of the ship, so it was easy to navigate (even for our kids). The Royal Promenade was a great open space in the center. Based on the layout, all venues seemed within steps of each other
The Freedom had the best entertainment that we have seen on a cruise ship. The ice show was phenominal and is something that you do not want to miss. The Arcadia Theatre had a magic show, comedian, acapella singing and a variety show. They also showed 3-D movies in the theatre and kids movies by the pool on deck. The DreamWorks Parade was excellent and unique, entertaining for both kids and adults
The Adventure Ocean staff was very friendly and creative with their activities. Both kids loved the pirate night.
The staff takes great pride in the Freedom and it showed in the cleanliness. Service items rarely sat for long on tables or in hallways. Trash was promptly removed and all staff members seemed engaged with maintaining an orderly ship. The condition of the Freedom was much better than what we had experienced on other RC ships.
The staff was eager to help and readily volunteered information. We were regularly greeted by all facets of the crew, including back office personnel (officers, engineers, maintenance, etc.). The wait and bar staff were very friendly and were always smiling, especially our assistant waiter Augustino, who engaged our kids during meals and helped keep them entertained. Again, the staff on the Freedom was much better than what we had experienced on other RC ships.
We had a four person inside cabin on deck six aft (room 6459). Two bunks dropped from the celling at night and the two floor beds were configured into a king size. A dividing curtain split the room and there was a small couch. For an inside cabin, it was fairly spacious and comfortable, even with four people. Sound insulation was very good and we never heard any noises from the hallway or the surrounding cabins.
The not so Good:
This was a bit of a mess. We were zone 7 and we left the ship 20 or so minutes after the zone was called (before the next set of zones). Even still, we had to wait 30+ minutes to get our luggage and another 10 or so to clear customs. The terminal did not seem big enough to disembark 4500 passengers all at the same time
My Time Dinning
We did not see the point. The available slots were 5:30 â(EURO)" 5:45, then 7:30 â(EURO)" 7:45. Because they assigned tables adhoc, we always had to wait in-line rather than just seating ourselves like in the main dining room. Also, the wait staff always seemed rushed â(EURO)" not sure if this was because tables were not seated at the same time or because they were understaffed. Would rather of had the standard early/late schedule of the other two dining rooms.
Dining Room Dress
We are traditionalists and enjoy dressing-up for cruise dinning. The dining room dress-code was not followed and several passengers wore shorts and tee-shirts to dinner, even on the formal nights.
Food Variety in Windjammer
Although the quality was good, there was not much variation from meal to meal in the Windjammer. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options were similar day to day and there was not much creativity in the menu. Off-schedule dinning (midnight buffets, etc.) was not well publicized in the cruise compass.
This was by far our best experience on Royal Caribbean. Most facets of the cruise were well planned and flowed smoothly. Based on our previous experience with RC, we had reservations about bringing our kids on-board, but instead found the Freedom to be very family oriented and friendly. We really enjoyed the extra touches that the Freedom Class of ships had to offer (flow-rider, ice skating, H2O zone, specialty restaurants, etc.). The ship did not seem overly crowded, even on at sea days, and there was always something to do. We will definitely book another cruise with Royal Caribbean in the future.