Wow! What a great way to rid those mid-winter blues. We were a group of 40 adults who flew American Airlines from St. Louis to Miami where we set sail on the Freedom of the Seas for 7-nights to the Eastern Caribbean. As a first time cruiser I did not know what to expect. I was presently surprised. The embarkation took awhile, but it was well organized and for us went smoothly.
This ship is beautiful and is tastefully decorated. Our inside stateroom was larger than I expected and was very comfortable with a large closet that included hangers, a safe, comfortable beds, a flat screen TV, a small couch, table, dressing table, and a bathroom (it was small but functional). We looked forward to the nightly towel animals that would be in our room on one of the beds after returning from dinner. Our cabin host (Ryan) was great, and took good care of our room every day.
The ship was very clean and the food was good. Several of us chose to eat in the Wind Jammer Cafe for breakfast and lunch instead of going to the dining room. The cafe had a very good selection of food as well as wonderful views of the sea. We did eat in the dining room every evening and the wait staff was great. The food was good, and the presentation was excellent.
Every evening we took in the after dinner show, which was something different every night and very enjoyable. The performers were talented and professional and included singing, dancing, magic, and great costumes. The Cruise Director, Richard, was phenomenal. He had so much energy, was very funny, attractive, and knew how to play to the crowd; making the trip much more enjoyable. We went to Quest, with Richard as the host, and we laughed continuously.
The weather was great. Every day was a sunny day, and we spent several hours a day on the pool deck (deck 11) where the sun shined, the band played our favorite tropical tunes, and we soaked up as much of the January sun as possible while enjoying the large pools and hot tubs. The Pool Bar served all of our favorite drinks and the staff was very friendly.
We got up early every day and turned in late every night, but felt very relaxed and rested because we were on vacation and having a great time.
We stopped in Puerto Rico (arrived late in the afternoon) and would have preferred to stop there in the morning so we could have a full day, but it was ok, we took an island tour and visited the fort and then did some shopping in Old Puerto Rico.
We also stopped in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. What beautiful islands they both are. We took tours, did the sky view ride in St. Thomas (highly recommend it) and shopped. After returning to the ship, we were always greeted by the staff and felt welcome.
There are so many things to do on this ship that you could never be bored. But, if you chose to just "chill out" there were places you could go to do that. I had a manicure and pedicure in the Spa the day before we disembarked in Miami and it was wonderful (although pricey).
Our disembarkation went smoothly, orderly, and did not take too long. I will cruise again, especially during the winter and in the tropics. I would also cruise on this ship again as it was fantastic and a good value.