Just returned from our 1st ever cruise on the Freedom of the Seas. We had a fantastic time but spent a little more money than we had planned. First off embarkation was relatively painless. This was in part aided by the priority check in with a suite. Our room was a Junior Suite and it was a nice size and very comfortable. It was well worth the extra money, especially after seeing the size of a balcony.
The ship was laid out nicely and did a good job of separating adults and kids. The rock climbing wall and flowrider were a blast. However they need more sessions on flowrider as the wait was quite long at times. FYI they do offer private lessons which allows you to have flowrider to yourself, just book it early.
Jade and windjammer food was pretty standard buffet fare. The main dining room food was good and I cant say enough good things about Portofino's. Well worth the extra $20.00 pp. It was a nice atmosphere and meal which as stretched out over and hour and half. Wait staff was pleasant and attentive. Royal is trying "my time" dining which allows you to eat any time. We did not use this and most of the people we spoke with did not like it.
The service onboard the ship was fantastic. Our cabin attendant was pleasant each and every day and did a fantastic job of keeping happy in our demands for extra towels and tissue. Dining room staff was excellent. This means you Renato and Sheryl.
Our complaints about the ship. We were overbilled on four separate occasions. The staff at guest relations was pleasant however, when they said a charge would be credited that evening it wasn't. This made numerous trips back to guest relations a reality. My wife did not like the spa experience. She is used to a tranquil experience of waiting for a spa treatment. The spa on freedom had no such thing. In fact she was told to go downstairs to get a robe and change in the gymnasium locker room. and then had to walk up the glass stairs in her robe as the gentleman working out below got a good peek. There were also a lot of extra charges, such as espresso, Ben and Jerrys, bottled water. However this is to be expected anywhere.
All in all it was a great experience so much that we booked a western itinerary in April 2009. Things I would recommend an ultimate shave at the barber shop in royal promenade and the wine and dine packages. There were also a number of wine tasting classes at Vintages that were good.