My 26 year old daughter, my husband and myself sailed on the Freedom on December 9, 2007.
First I must say that the service on this ship was excellent. The crew could not do enough for you. Without a doubt, this was the best service of any ship I have been on with RC. We have also sailed on the Mariner and the Explorer of the Seas.
We arrived on the ship at approximately 12:30 p.m. and promptly went to the Windjammer for lunch. Our rooms were ready at 1:00 p.m. as promised.
We were scheduled to visit 4 ports; however, since tropical storm Olga followed us everywhere, we had to skip 2 ports (Labadee and Grand Cayman). The ship only docked at ports that were not tendered. I might add that even though we were feeling the affects of the tropical storm with all the wind, there was very little rocking of the ship unlike others who told us they cruised at the same time on a Carnival ship (wish I could remember the name of the ship) and passengers and crew members were getting sick and pictures were falling off the wall. We could barely feel the Freedom rocking.
A few comments on the food. Personally, I thought the food in the Windjammer was good. Excellent variety. We also ate at Johnny Rockets and, as usual, it was good. We ate dinner in the dining room every night. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. As far as the food in the dining room--desserts and appetizers were excellent. But unfortunately, the main course was mediocre. The food on the Mariner was much better in my opinion. We also ate in the pizza place in the promenade area and I thought the pizza was good. I heard some people complain about it but I personally like it. There was also another small eating area in the promenade where you could get small sandwiches, cookies and brownies. If you like brownies, don't miss these. Excellent!! Also, the Freedom did not have the elaborate midnight buffets like the Mariner and the Explorer. Our waiter told us that the ship did try to do the big midnight buffet but because of the number of passengers onboard, the lines became too long so they stopped having the full blown midnight buffet. We did have one midnight buffet but it was small and held in the Windjammer because of the excessive wind on deck. I was disappointed that we did not have the big midnight buffets.
Our stateroom was adequate for 3 people and our room steward was very good. Lots of towel animals and great service.
I was looking forward to the shops onboard. Unfortunately, they were a disappointment. I bought nothing in the shops--the selection was not very good and some shops I thought were useless.
If you are taking younger children on this ship, you will love the H2O Zone which is basically a mini water park for children.
Entertainment on the ship was very good. I cannot comment on the ice show as we missed that but I did hear it was good. The production shows were good. We also enjoyed the comedian. The Cruise Director, Richard Spacey, is excellent. He does a skit during the farewell show that is excellent. It is amazing how much energy this man has.
One thing that I found annoying was participation in some onboard demonstrations lead to a sales pitch of some kind. We attended a demo in the Ship Shape Center and the final outcome of this demo was to try to sell you a $35 consultation. We watched a pasta making demo and they tried to sell you cookbooks. We also attended one of the Island Shopping Preview lectures and that ended up being a sales pitch for a $25 book containing coupons to use on various islands. Be aware that if you buy this book, it contains coupons for islands that you are visiting and many, many coupons for islands that are not scheduled for this cruise. Also, a lot of coupons are only good if you buy specific items in the stores or other coupons are only good if you spend $50 or $100 in the store. Personally, I would not and did not buy this book.
The ship was very clean. Crew were constantly cleaning the ship. At every food entrance, crew members were giving out sanitizers to use on your hands before eating.
We did enjoy the cruise; however, I do not plan to book another cruise on the Freedom. I will go back to the Mariner or another similar RC ship. I just felt the Freedom might have been a little too big and perhaps that is why the food was not up to par. Plus I feel that I do not need to pay extra for the H2O Zone and the Flow Rider which we would not use.
Overall, the cruise was great and I contribute this to the crew and their excellent service. Also, I contribute it to the Cruise Director for making the entertainment so enjoyable.