We had a 5* cruise experience on our 14 Jan 2007 sailing of the Freedom. We don't use our precious time scrutinizing every detail of any ship. There has to be some bad with the good. Patience is what we have learned.
Embarkation was as good as it could be and the employees were so polite and hospitable. We found no problems with our cabin, if we did, we would go back to the perfect ship and stay there. Our cabin steward, like all the rest we have encountered, was exceptionally caring and thorough. I am beginning to think that our attitudes dictate what we receive. We are not critical to others nor are we demanding.
We may have had better food on other lines but we were not there solely for the food they prepared for us. As long as they had an abundance of healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, what else is there? The service was wonderful. The optional dining restaurants are something we never do. We have not yet seen the value. The ship does not have the outdoor cooking of hamburgers and hotdogs and transfat fries because they are people movers. There were plenty of hamburgers and hotdogs available in the windjammer.
Also the ships are in business to make money. The price of cruising has not gone up in 20 years. The company has to make money so they make it off of the people who drink and gamble. I won $400.00 on a quarter machine in the casino the first night. Followed by two small bingo's. In all, I came home with some nice mall money. I paid $9.00 or so for a fancy drink 3 times and kept the pretty glasses. We had 2 bottles of wine in a week, drank up our share of o.j., ice tea, lemonade and water. I bought some jewelry and some junk at the ports. We went there to get out of our weather, swim in the gorgeous caribbean sea, enjoy the balmy weather, and all the rest was the topping on the cake. The ice skating show was more wonderful than we expected and the remaining shows were great if you like that, if not, go do something else. The dance music was so enjoyable, the entertainment was really complete. To tell the truth, we felt we got more than we paid for. We are Diamond class as well as Elite class on Princess. We are always happy, healthy and our stress level is 0.