Our party of 4 (2 couples 42 - 48) flew into Miami from England 3 nights before our cruise. We used this time to look around Miami. We did a boat rip around the waterways showing us the villas of the rich and famous. We used Captain Jo's on Collins Avenue at the junction of 55th Street. We payed $36 each and that included free beer and soda's. It took about 2 hours and was really great. Highly recommend it. We also ate at Smith & Wollenensky Steakhouse, Miami Beach, expensive but lived up to its world renowned reputation. We arranged our meal time to coincide with the departure of Voyager of Seas, a carnival ship and a celebrity ship, fabulous atmosphere.
We boarded the Freedom at about 11am. Only taking us 45 minutes. We have cruised 3 times before, all with RCI, the Voyager and Navigator Caribbean and Brilliance in Europe. The ship was immaculate. Not much difference between it and the Voyager class ships. Our cabin was ready for 1pm. Again not much difference slightly bigger with a flat screen TV. Best bed I've ever slept in, again spotlessly clean and remained so throughout our stay thanks to the lovely Kevin. The atmosphere is brilliant on departure thanks to the people of Miami hooting and waving from the highway.
I have to say we were disappointed in the dinning room, the food was average and only one meal was outstanding. The meals were ordinary and the chicken overcooked. The dessert were very poor and we weren't tempted by them at all, usually a bit of a highlight for us. We certainly felt the quality suffered because of how many meals were being served. It was certainly inferior to other cruises we have done. The same could be said of the Windjammer. The entertainment was good, the Ice Show amazing, glad we made the effort to go before dinner. We felt there is a big hole in the entertainment with nothing going on after late dinning for over an hour. We wondered round the ship looking for something to watch. The musicians were of a high quality and a good variety but all seemed to have a break at 10pm for an hour. On sea days we could feel the congestion in the ship with so many people about although we had no trouble getting sunbeds on the top deck. We are not big into excursions. A quick trip round the town and back aboard to enjoy a quieter ship.
Labadee was fabulous, we got some stunning pictures of the ship from there. Disembarkation looked like being a 2 hour deal but the lines soon moved and we were outside the terminal in just under 1 hour. A good tip for people with a late flight. Take a taxi to the airport check your luggage into Left luggage. We then took a taxi the Miami Sea Aquarium. I was concerned about the size of the pools but the animals seemed well looked after and they are doing good work for the Manatee. All in all we enjoyed our cruise but feel we will probably go with a smaller ship next time.