Just got back from 7 days on the 160,000 Ton Freedom of the seas. It was a great trip. The weather was not so great. It rained 2 days, and it was so windy on Saturday (Final Sea Day) They closed the upper decks of the ship.
Embarkation - as a diamond member, we were given priority embarkation, and we were on the ship by 1130am. The line seemed to move pretty fast for those behind us.
The Ship - IT is a new ship, as we were only on voyage 22. Very Clean! Staff for the most part was very friendly! To be honest with everyone, if you didn't like the voyager class for whatever reason, you will not like the Freedom Class, as they are very very similar, If you liked the voyager class, you will like the freedom. I do like the addition of the kids' pool area (H20 zone) as it did take away the crowds from the other pool areas. THe pools on this ship are all freshwater. People are saying that the solarium hot tubs were always too crowded to get in, I did not find that to be the case. There always was room! That was not the case, however, for the Flow rider, there was always quite a line to use it, but it was open several hours a day. (9 to 6 sea days and 10-6 ports)
Food - the food was good - normal RCCL food fare, nothing spectacular, but it was, again, good!
Entertainment - I was disappointed, several things listed on the compass never happened (Majority rules game show, Late night comedy cabaret on Saturday night (Monday's happened), beach volleyball in Labadee, etc etc), it was disappointing to be excited for something all day, and to wait where it is supposed to occur, and it never happened. They also took out other games such as Liars Club. But there were a few other activities added that were fun - they had a 70's dance in the promenade for an hour one night, that was great. THey also seemed to have more outdoor parties, which was also very good!
The stage shows were not as good as on the other RCCL ships, I think because one of the female singer's voice was not that great. I left early during both. There were 2 comedians, 1 very funny and 1 not funny at all. They obviously had the Love and Marriage and the Quest.
The Ice Shows were on Wed and Thurs and Tickets are required.. The theatre holds 800, and there are 4100 people on board, so there is a total capacity for 3200 people to see the show (4 shows), so get there early! The ice show was very good!
The ports, people have beat the ports to death on other reviews, so I will just leave a few comments about 2 of them.
1) Montego Bay. I was talking with the head of security for the ship, he said every week, 5-8 people are arrested in Jamaica for possession of Marijuana during the search to get back on the ship - The search, they do a routine pat search, (In the terminal)of males 15-22 years of age, sometimes taken behind a curtain. I did not see any females being given that thorough of a search. It surprises me how many stupid people there are that try to bring drugs back on to the ship! Because of this search, there is a long line to get back on the ship.
2) Labadee - it used to be a nice place for a beach day, now EVERYONE wants a cash tip - the guy that gets a lawn chair for you. If you try to get it yourself, he will try try try to do it for you and move it 5 feet so you tip him. There are also several that walk around all day and try to take your picture (With your camera) for a tip. I was actually surprised when this happened, as I had not seen it the previous 2 times I was there.
Cruise Director: Ken Rush - was awesome, and really got into the activities.
Captain: Erik Tangleson - seemed like a nice guy.
Overall, we had a great week on the Freedom, it is a great new ship. Would I chose the freedom in the future for a cruise, yes, would I chose it over another Voyager class ship, No, just not as many differences as I thought there would be.
That's my review folks, if anyone has any questions, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org