This was the cruise that almost never happened having been buried in snow here in Richmond Va. It started snowing on Friday morning and ended Saturday nite dropping 12" on top of the previous 14" the weekend before, but our 7am flight on Sunday morning was ontime and arrived in Orlando at 9am. We called Travelynx after getting our baggage and they picked us up in 5 minutes ( we had a reservation). I found them on cc and they were the least expensive at $25 per person. They generally wait to fill the 8 passenger van but took us right away due to the early flight. We had a good conversation with our driver Alan.
Embarkation was swift and friendly and we waited in a seating area til 11:30 when we boarded. While waiting it was apparent this was an older crowd, high number of senior citizens which was confirmed in talking to crew members. They say it has to do with the port. I don't think I'd go out of this port again.
Our inside cabin on deck 6 was quiet and a short walk down 1 flight to the promenade where we spend much time people watching at the Cafe Promenade & Sorrento's. We generally book an inside cabin since we spend very little time there, we ended each day at 2am in Boleros lounge enjoying the Latin music. Our stateroom attendant O'neil from Jamacia kept our cabin spotless as do all the attendants. The weather during the week was great, better than the cooler weather you get in January, with little humidity. We did experience some rough seas but this ship handles it well. Since I am prone to sea sickness, I prefer these larger ships and it was not an issue and we only choose ships with a promenade deck. The Freedom is large but not crowded and easy to learn and navigate. Alan Brooks, the cd was great as we sailed with him last year on the Indy. The crew was very friendly.
ENTERTAINMENT: The ice show and production shows were very good & professional. The 3 Tenors from Las Vegas was awsome, we went to both shows. They were 2 areial acts by a couple that was outstanding. The comedians were a disappointment. Cruise ship comedians have always brought me to tears, not on this ship. The first one, Phil, was ok. The second one, I think his name was Carl Banks, included drive by shootings in his act which was totally inapproiate not only for people on vacation, but for the young children in the crowd.
FOOD: We ate almost all our meals at the Winjammer where the service is great. One nite we ate at Chops, which had a great filet and worth the extra cost. A note on gratuities at chops, the policy is not very clear. The menu does not mention gratuties, and is rarely mentioned in the Compass. Unsure of the policy, I asked our waiter and he said it was not included in the cover charge. When I added a tip he acted a little weird, I thought maybe I didn't tip large enough. I went down to guest relations and asked about the gratuities and was also told they were not included. The following morning I read in the Compass that they were in fact included in the charge. I called the manager at Chops and explained what happened and felt it was very dishonest. He said there was a misunderstanding. We did not use Johnny Rockets this trip and it always seemed empty.
Pools: We only used the adult only pool which is quiet, except for the constant bar people selling their drinks. On sea days it fills up quick due to the limited lounge chairs. We had an extra sea day since we missed Grand Cayman due to wind. This is a common occurance from what I've read. They did credit our sea pass account $12 per person for the port charge. We also had self serve ice cream at Sprinkles by the main pool, although there are no sprinkles with the ice cream, it was very good.
The fitness center is very nice although we did not use it. You can walk out to the bow of the ship by the helicopter pad which is quiet and a nice view. Kinda feel like you're in the movie " Titanic".
In summary this was a nice cruise on a very clean & friendly ship. I think I'll stick with the Freedom class and do the Liberty on my next cruise. Feed back from crew members and other cruisers feel the larger Oasis is too big. While this review had some critisim, the bottom line is crew members work hard to please us and we come to expect perfection, which is not possible but comes close to on a cruise, thats why we all come back again.