This is the fifth cruise for my wife and I together....the third on Royal Caribbean and the second on the Freedom of the Seas.
We both agreed this was the smoothest embarkation process we've ever had. We got to the terminal relatively early at about 11am. We pulled right up to drop off our bags, and there were NO lines for security or for the check in desk! We were on the ship in less than 20 minutes!
Our room wasn't ready yet (in fact, you couldn't get to the staterooms at all. They had doors closed with signs saying come back at 1pm) So....we went and had lunch in the Windjammer and walked around a bit. Since we had been on the ship before we already knew where everything was. We ended up getting into the room right at 1!
The stateroom was nice. We had the same type of room we had on our last Freedom Cruise...a "superior" balcony cabin aft on deck 9. Room was perfectly clean of course and our stateroom attendant was great throughout the whole cruise...including leaving us several of those famous towel animals!
The cruise overall was very fun and relaxing. Of course, the ship is huge and always busy....we rarely found ourselves with nothing to do! We've both found on the Freedom though that there is a major lack of pool space on sea days. The main pools were always MOBBED! So mobbed in fact you couldn't even find a single chair, or even find a space in the water! We used the Solarium pool (for adults only.) That was a bit less crowded and we were always able to find a chair and a spot in the pool. We also LOVE the hot tubs that stick out from the side of the ship in the Solarium so we were there several times. My one complaint was we went a couple of times late at night only to find one hot tub closed and the other filled with pre-teens! They needed to do a better job policing to keep the teens out of the Solarium! But on the whole, it wasn't bad.
Food: The food was great. I know there have been a lot of people complaining about a drop in dining room food quality. We've only been cruising for a couple of years on Royal so I don't know how it was years ago...but we had no major complaints. We had a great waiter who would tell us his "Number 1" choices every night. And if we didn't order his choice, more often than not he'd bring it anyway for us to try! We didn't have a bad dinner all week...but I will say the food on both of our Disney cruises was better. Breakfast in the Windjammer was mostly good (although we did have some nasty french toast one morning) My wife loved the taco bar they had for afternoon snacks. We also ate at Johnny Rockets one afternoon....that was fun too but comes at an extra charge.
Entertainment: Allan Brooks was our cruise director. He is FANTASTIC in our opinion...very funny. He even hosted a daily morning show on the stateroom TV wearing a pink bath robe!
As for the nightly shows, this is where my wife and I were both a little disappointed. They had a comedian on the first night and a comedian on the last night. Both were....pretty terrible. We've never been a big fan of Royal's stage shows either. We went to the first one "Marquee"....it was OK. Basically it was a hodgepodge of different songs from different Broadway plays. We skipped the second show "Once Upon A Time." We had seen that last year and thought it sucked.
Magician Drew Thomas also had a show. It was the same show he did last year but still entertaining. They also had a singer named Earl Turner. He was FANTASTIC! Definitely the show of the week!!
We also enjoyed the Love & Marriage Game Show, the Freedom.com Ice Show and the Quest!
One thing I will mention for smokers out there...they've changed their smoking policy a bit since our last cruise. You no longer can smoke on one side of the Boleros lounge or in the pub on the Promenade. They've also changed smoking in the casino. Instead of having smoking and non smoking nights....they've permanently made smoking and non smoking sections of the casino....with the casino bar always being non smoking. I'm a smoker...but wasn't offended by any of the changes. One other note....the casino seemed pretty dead on this cruise...but I think that's because there were a lot of families.
Since there's no option for a Coco Cay port review...I will say we had a very relaxing day on Royal Caribbean's island. We didn't do any activities, just hung out on the beach and in the ocean. It wasn't as crowded as I feared with the Freedom's size (but that could have been because there were a few rain showers in the morning)
Overall....we had a great time. Very relaxing (which we both needed), great ship, and a great value for the money.