We went to the July 18th sailing of the Freedom of the Seas. Overall, the food was good, the service was great, and this was my best Royal Caribbean cruise thus far and the first cruise where I thought Royal Caribbean was better than Carnival. My previous cruises were on the Rhapsody and the Enchantment.
STATEROOM: I chose the Promenade Stateroom, and the size and location (mid-ship, deck 8) were good. We also had one connecting stateroom which opened up nicely. I did a price check, and having 2 connecting staterooms for 4 people (since each promenade stateroom had a max of 2 people) was only a couple hundred dollars total more expensive than doing 4 to a room. The noise level is pretty good. You had to listen very closely to hear faint music, and most of the time you didn't hear anything other than when there was a parade going on. You did hear a little noise here and there in the connecting room, but it wasn't bad. I only wish the staterooms were a little bigger. That's the one thing Carnival is better at, bigger staterooms and bigger bathrooms.
PORTS: Our first stop was at Cococay. The island was mediocre. I thought the Carnival private island (forgot the name) was much better. It was too rocky. There were too many rocks, even in the sand. However, the bbq lunch was pretty tasty.
The next stop was St. Thomas. We took the Magens Bay Beach Getaway tour. The taxi driver of our open air bus was crazy. He hit the curb on the way out, and then almost got into an accident on the way back. However, Magens Bay is really pretty and nice. The sand was soft, and the water clear and warm. There was also no waves.
The final stop was St. Martaan. This was a really beautiful island. We took the Sensations and Beach Break excursion. There was a 2 hour driving tour of the island, a one-hour shopping stop, and then approximately 3 hours at Orient Beach. The location of the restaurant and where we were parked was the end of the beach, so there was not much nudity. The restaurant had a private beach area, but the bad part was there were no lifeguards nearby.
SHIP: Freedom is pretty awesome. Top notch entertainment, and a very nice ship. It never felt crowded or full. The only missing thing is a water slide.
DINING: The food at the dining room was good, but beware that everything was really salty. The french onion soup was super salty. The Windjammer buffet served decent food. There is also an Asian section in the buffet. The pizza at Sorrento's at the Promenade was very good also. Cafe Promenade, which also serves Seattle's coffee, served sandwiches and other goodies for 24 hours.
Overall, this was a very good cruise. It was definitely worth the extra money to sail on Freedom of the Seas. We had some rocky sailing on the 2nd and 3rd day, but I think it was because Bonnie was coming into the shores. There were 40 to 50 mph winds, so the ship was rocky but not enough to cause major sea sickness.
Our fellow travelers, ages 8 and 10, loved the kids club and never wanted to leave.