Our first cruise (not with Royal Caribbean) was a nightmare due to the neglect the cruise line showed it's passengers. Because of that, it took me two years to talk my husband into trying another cruise with a different cruise line. After one cruise with Royal Caribbean, we have become try die-hard Royal Caribbean fans just like we are die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler fans.
I booked the cruise through Royal Caribbean's website. On several occasions I did call their customer support line. EVERY time I called, they were so patient with me and took the time to answer ALL my questions to MY satisfaction. They were very courteous, not rude and in a hurry like the first cruise line. They really cared about what I had to say!!
The only glitch with this vacation was our connecting flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems and the airlines re-routed us through Ft. Lauderdale's airport instead of Miami's. The airlines also lost one piece of our luggage so we had our formal wear for dinner on formal night, the winter clothes we wore from home, our medications, and my snorkel gear.
The Royal Caribbean representative at the airport went above and beyond the call of duty by promising to get to the bottom of our missing luggage and walked us through everything we needed to do. She also stayed with us and escorted us to the bus that was to take us from the airport to the Port of Miami.
Check in at the Port of Miami took us all of 20 minutes as compared to standing in lines for over three hours on our first cruise!!! It was a dream!! It actually took us longer to get from point A to point B in the building than it did to register!!
Once on the ship, it became very evident how they were going to try and protect the passengers from the nasty Norovirus. They were handing everyone a anti-bacterial wet-one to wipe their hands with before entering the ship. The whole week you could see them using anti-bacterial solution to wipe down the banisters, elevator buttons, door handles, phones, etc. Also, before being permitted to enter the buffet area, you were handed another anti-bacterial wet-one to wipe your hands with before touching anything. (Although we only had lunch there once due to timing with our booked excursion. The food at the buffet was excellent compared to our first cruise.)
The food in the main dining room was superb and our servers Benedick and Rey were fantastic and very entertaining. On our first cruise the only good thing we could say about it was our servers Calixto and Martin were fantastic but the food did leave a lot to be desired.
After our first cruise, we couldn't understand why people said it was like a 24/7 foodfest when you were hard put to find anything to eat after 11:30 pm. (Even the frozen pizza place buy the buffet was closed.) Well, on the Freedom of the Seas, there was always someplace to get something to eat, including excellent fresh Sorrento's pizza!!!
Our balcony stateroom was delightful and very well kept the entire cruise!!! The balcony was roomier than our first cruise and I really liked the shower doors as compared with the shower curtain on the first cruise. Every time the ship would rock, the shower curtain would get stuck to you which would have really tried my patience on this cruise since the Eastern Caribbean cruise was not as smooth as the Western Caribbean cruise we went on the first time.
The one excursion we booked was at St. Thomas on the Sea Blaster. That was the best excursion ever!!! Captain Greg, 1st Mate Tammy, and 2nd Mate Steve really showed us a great time and kept the rum punch/Pain Killer flowing afterward. (They got us hooked on the Pain Killer to the point we got the recipe and make it at home!) I only wish they had been the operators for the Sting-Ray City/Coral Reef Snorkel excursion we had taken at Grand Cayman on our first cruise.
The entertainment was top notch in the Arcadia and the ice rink. We looked forward every evening to seeing the different shows. One night we actually caught the show in the Arcadia and then rushed over to the ice rink for a game show. There was entertainment going on all day long and all evening long into the wee hours of the morning so you have to decide as to what you want to do and when you want to rest or you would just burn yourself out. We also caught the ice skating show which was top notch. They even did the difficult moves and jumps with the ship rocking and never missed a step or a que!!!!
The last day on the cruise we tried to talk them into turning the ship around and heading back out to sea as we really were sorry to see the cruise end after such a wonderful and relaxing time compared to the first cruise. We are looking forward to booking another cruise on Royal Caribbean (once we can agree on which one to book).
As for anything I wish they would change, I wish they would drop the surcharge for eating at Johnny Rockets.