Western Caribbean: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by dmarchman
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My wife and I (51 and 54) have been on four previous cruises (Disney, Norwegian, Princess and Celebrity). Two of them have been with a Caribbean itinerary, so we have some experience with which to compare Freedom of the Seas.
First the good: Freedom of the Seas service is the best we have experienced on any ship (including Disney). The stateroom attendant, the bar and wait staff, the spa services and throughout the ship the service was excellent. Only the snooty guy at the desk relations desk was a disappointment. For whatever reason Guest Relations is a bit of a misnomer on most ships as they are either not friendly or lacking in knowledge.
Cruise Director Graham Seymore is hands down the best cruise director we have ever seen. People on the elevators and other places on the ship were commenting on what a great job he did. Not your More typical bland host. Funny and outrageous, he made the cruise even more fun.
Entertainment on board was surprisingly good. The comedians, the magician, the ice show, the main theater band, and music throughout the ship were quite good. Not to sound like a cranky old guy but the music on the Royal Promenade, especially from the Bull and Bear Pub was ridiculously loud.
Our cabin was a junior suite so we cannot compare it to other cabins we've had. But at 317 square feet and a balcony of 101 square feet it was bigger than most hotel rooms. The walk-in closet was great and the bed very comfortable. The clingy shower curtain was, however, still a problem. And the lack of a large table on the balcony for dining was also disappointing given that there is plenty of room for one.
Now the bad: Our western Caribbean itinerary was good: Jamaica, Haiti, Grand Cayman (which we missed due to weather) and Cozumel. Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee, Haiti was nice. We just had the lunch served there and took in some sun. The tours of Jamaica and Cozumel, however, were just one tourist trap after another. Except for Dunn's River Falls nothing of much interest was presented as we were shuttled from one shopping area to another on the pretense of seeing an interesting attraction and even the Falls failed to live up to the hype and was just another excuse to herd you to a shopping area.
The food overall was average at best. The main dining room entrees were bland and uninspiring. The best course was the appetizers, with the scallops and risotto and then the crab cakes being two of the standouts. The desserts were among the worst we have had on any cruise. The buffet was fine but the sushi in Jade was subpar. Chops, one of the specialty restaurants was, of course, several cuts above the main dining room as far as food quality was concerned. The Adventures Club or perhaps one of the other children's play areas was right above our sitting areas and loud footsteps and rolling carts could be heard all during dinner. In spite of paying the $50 surcharge (for two people) in addition to the regular cruise fare, we were informed that if we wanted to split the lobster tails to go along with our filets that it would be an extra $10. Shameful...maybe another reason that some people are turned off by the cruise industry.
The public rooms were all quite attractive, however, the ship is starting to show its age and could use new carpeting in the hallways and staterooms.
There was little in the way of enrichment classes. Those that were offered were for a fee such as wine and liquor tastings.
Boarding the ship was a long process, starting outside and then winding our way through several hallways and then through security and up an escalator, we were then greeted by...another long line. Luckily, as suite holders we were taken to the front of the line.
Disembarkation was quicker and customs was a breeze.
We did enjoy our cruise and we might sail on the Freedom or one of her sister ships again, but only if we were to get another great deal such we did on this cruise. Less