This was our first RCCL cruise. We've taken 9 cruises on Carnival. We moved away from Carnival because they allow smoking in cabins (can you say fire hazard? not to mention subjecting others to more second hand smoke). RCCL is pretty much a non-smoking ship. There are a few designated areas for smoking, but as long as you know where they are and stay away, you aren't subjected to it. Biggest plus, there is no smoke in the cabin corridors! That was wonderful!
The Freedom (launched in 2006) is larger than the largest Carnival ship (the Dream) and it is absolutely beautiful! The promenade was 5 levels like a huge mall, with restaurants and shops and inside cabins with full windows looking down into it; the weather cooperated for the mostpart =)
Pros - the ship, they didn't skimp on the furnishings; the non-smoking policy; the cleaniness everywhere (we sailed on the Dream on it's first voyage out of Canaveral and it already had stains on the carpets, seating, etc); the staff is courteous and friendly.
Cons - all their ships are almost identical in design only difference is the size (even the Oasis class); the wall art in the ship doesn't look professional (they skimped); on board entertainment wasn't up to Carnival's (we enjoyed the comedy club on the Dream); the food couldn't compare to Carnival like no lobster without paying for it, prime rib in dining room was so-so, you could get the food they were serving in the dining room @ the buffet and most nights, the buffet food was superior; Cococay (the first port and we tendered, which is not an option on review list) is owned by RCI so you were basically on an island with the same people from the ship; the gratuity policy (you pay all standard tips on your seapass or if you don't eat in the dining room, you have to hand out cash in evelopes to the individuals); until we got to St. Thomas (on the 3rd day) there was a stinky sewer smell at the rear of the ship like they needed to empty the waste (think Christmas Vacation and Eddie needs to dump the RV waste); they nickel and dime you for everything, we took a tour and had to fork out $4 to lock our valuables up for 2 hours; it's unclear what's included in the cruise price and what isn't.
Overall, it wasn't a bad cruise but there's much room for improvement. We most likely won't cruise RCCL again.