4-time cruiser tries RCCL for first time: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by popapez
Overall Member Rating
4-time cruiser tries RCCL for first time
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Big enough for us. The bed was very comfortable. I love the light switch right above the bed that turns off the entrance light so you don't have to get up! The bathroom was small but fine. Disney has two bathrooms on their ships- one for the shower and one for the toilet, which was really nice.
As I said, we both love food! The food in the dining rooms was very nice. We had a hard time choosing just one appetizer so we often ordered 2 or even 3. I would highly recommend eating breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms instead of doing the buffet. While the buffet is fine, and quick, breakfast and lunch in the dining room is just as good as dinner! At breakfast they have a standard menu of about 7 items that More doesn't change and then they have 1 special item that's different every morning. Lunch has a great salad bar (like really, extraordinary); about 20 different toppings, 6 kinds of lettuce, 8 dressings. And then obviously the lunch menu which was just delicious.
We tried both of the specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofino. We both agreed that the appetizers at both restaurants were well worth the money. The entree at Portofino was also fabulous- it may have been the best meal I have ever had (order 2 or 3 appetizers!). Chops' entrees are wonderful cuts of meat (I would recommend the rack of lamb) but we both felt that it was not worth it because we could go to any nice steakhouse on land and get the same piece of steak. I would definitely try Portofino though, it is exceptional!
We made it to almost every show, including the ice show (which you need to get a ticket for in advance). They get very crowded so get to them at least 15 mins early. The actors were great but what really made the shows for me was the cruise director- he was just hilarious! He also ran a few of the trivia/game show events and those were great. The love & marriage game is a lot of fun, as well as Quest, the adult scavenger hunt. Very funny.
In Labadee, we decided to do the zipline. It is the longest zipline over water in the world. It was fun and different. My boyfriend and I both agree that we were happy we did it, but it's not something that we would do again or even recommend to other people. You do not get a thrill from riding it; it is not fast, but it was a cool experience.
In Ocho Rios, we took a taxi to Dunns River Falls. You can do this yourself for half the price that the ship charges for this excursion. It is a nice, long hike up the falls. It's not scarey, you feel safe while climbing it and the water feels great!
In Cozumel, we rented a scooter for the day. You can do this for just ~$30 and it is a blast! Neither of us had driven one before, but the guy that rented it to us pointed us in the direction with hardly any traffic and advised us not to "drink TOO much tequila" and we were off! There was only one road really, so we couldn't get lost and we traveled around the entire island (about 1.5-2 hour ride). It was much more fun than the dune buggies or other excursions where you were in a line of people and could not go exploring.
Unfortunately, the weather was too rough to stop in Grand Caymen; we were going to go to Stringray City :(
The ship was very nice. The royal promenade felt like a city street, it was great. I loved grabbing a sandwich or slice of pizza here before our late dinner. I had no problems finding chairs on the top decks ever. The rock-climbing wall, surf machine, ice skating rink and mini-golf course were all nice touches. There are lounges everywhere; all of which had a nice ambiance.
The casino was nice- half of it was smoking and half was non-smoking, but the ventilation was great. You could hardly tell that anyone was smoking (especially at the poker table). Poker was at an electronic table and was a $2/$5 cash game almost all of the time except for a few hours during the week when it was $1/$2. The rake is high (10%, $15 max) but the table was full from around 8pm-2 or 3 am, sometimes with a waiting list. They had satellite tournaments throughout the cruise where each winner or top 2 played on the final day for a package which included a cruise for 2 and entry into a championship tournament on Dec 11 (which I won!). I guess they are running them from June 2010 to June 2011 for this year's event. The structure of these satellites was awful but the maine event has a very nice structure.
We received great service from everyone. The entire staff was attentive and smiley and always helpful.The dealers in the casino were a lot of fun and were all rooting for you to win! If I had to compare it to my previous Disney cruises, I would say that our waiters on the Disney cruises got to know our table at dinner a little more than on Royal Caribbean. They spent more time making jokes and getting to know our food preferences, which was a nice touch.
Overall, it was a great vacation. It is hard to compare the Disney ship with Royal. They were both nice and had their own perks. If you've never cruised with RCCL, it's definitely worth a shot! Less