Just got back from a week on the Freedom of the Seas and had a wonderful time. We have sailed previously on Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America, and this was definitely our best cruise ever, for a variety of reasons.
Embarkation - we stayed the night before at the Hampton Inn Gateway village near the Orlando airport and then had a 45 minute drive in the morning. We had pre-paid our parking in the port ($120), so parking was quick and we were easily able to get covered parking. We arrived at about 10:15, went through the short security and check-in lines, and were on board exactly as advertised at 11 am.
Ship - this is the largest ship we have been on and we were really impressed by all of the activities, venues, and especially by the vibe on the Promenade. It really felt like a town square.
Service - excellent, excellent service, from our waiter to room attendant to the staff throughout the ship. Each person was friendlier and more helpful than the next, which really made the trip pleasant.
Dining - we did the "My Time" dining and ate most nights in the main dining room (which was very elegant). We made reservations before hand so we were always able to walk right in and have the same wait staff. I really liked how dinner would take about an hour, in comparison to the sluggish two hours it has taken on most of our previous cruises. The food in the dining room was fine - tasty with small portions. We did have dinner one night at Portofino, and that was fabulous - elegant, delicious and fun - and highly recommended. I was also impressed by the Windjammer cafe at lunch and dinner, both for the variety and quality of the food, and by the way that there were NEVER any lines, regardless of the day or time.
Entertainment - wow! Make sure you pre-reserve tickets to the ice show - really amazing and it will sell out. All of the main stage performances were excellent, including aerialists, comedians, a tremendous magician, and two Broadway-style shows. In addition, current 3D movies were available in the theatre during the day and other movies were shown on the large screen over the main pool at night.
Activities - I enjoyed trying the FlowRider surfing and the climbing wall, and also did the miniature golf. Again, surprisingly, little or no lines, at least partially due to how efficient the staff was running these activities.
Cabin - not a negative, but not as strong as the other elements on the ship, but since we knew the cabin would be smaller than we were used it, it wasn't so bad. We had a balcony cabin with about 199 square feet, which was OK for two people, and a small balcony. It would have been a tight fit for 3 people, but we were fine. The room was a little drab and felt a little old, but no major complaints.
Disembarkation - again, amazing lack of lines. We did the 'take the suitcases off yourself' process, and after a full breakfast in the Windjammer we left our room at 6:45 am and were in our car and heading home by 7 am!
Summary - a great vacation! Beautiful ship, friendly staff, no lines to speak of, and lots of fun things to do and see. Highly recommended!
Great time on CocoCay - plenty of lounge chairs on several nice beaches, plus two restaurants and several bars. I went jet-skiing and had an amazing time. Also saw peacocks and large iguanas roaming the island.
Didn't do an excursion, but enjoyed the 15 minute walk downtown and some nice shopping. The excursions sounded nice but decided not to do any.
Really enjoyed the excursion to St. John, with about 1.5-2 hours to relax and enjoy Trunk Bay. Only complaint is that the stay on St. Thomas is so short that we had to choose between exploring St. Thomas or going on the St. John excursion.