This was our 8th cruise and 2nd on Royal Caribbean. I found the ship to be fantastic. Having just recently come out of dry dock, it was in fine shape and the crew eager to please. I was disappointed in the Meet & Mingle. My expectations based on other cruises was that I would see some ship officers in attendance and some information about the ship or even a bridge tour. Instead, a quick greeting, a few raffle prizes and the staff was gone.
The shows were very good, professional in every regard and the Ice Show never stops amazing me. What those skaters can do on the small rink boggles the mind. I did notice that none of the shows were ever more than 2/3 full and many less than that. So it was with some regret that I found Graham's Adult Only show after midnight packed when the others went so unattended. Maybe many folks were on a repeat cruise and had already seen the shows or they just don't like production shows.
The food was good, not the best we have had and not the worst. Our main dining room waiters were excellent although our tables always seemed to be some of the last to get their dessert and leave. We never had problems with lines in Windjammer when we were there for breakfast or lunch. The milk shakes and BLT in Johnny Rockets were great. Having the Cafe and Sorrento's available for a quick snack or even breakfast, lunch or dinner was a real plus and got us through to the late seating at dinner. Try the seafood salad in Sorrento's as well as order a fresh pizza to go. Can't be beat.
I spent some time in the casino and would have spent more but can't stand the smoke. One night was smoke free from 6:00 PM to closing and I really think there were more folks there that night. Whether it was the smoke free aspect or just nothing else to do I don't know. Unlike some cruise lines, the table games started at $5 instead of $10 which may have gotten more folks to play. However, all the Blackjack tables with the exception of the two single deck tables were $6 minimum. This was to encourage the player to play the sucker side bet for $1 while betting $5 on their main bet. Just make the table $5, Folks will still play the side bet in the same numbers!!!
We were on and off the ship very quickly compared to some we have been on. We rented a Budget rental car in Orlando when we came in the day before, drove to Cape Canaveral and spent the night at Country Inn & Suites (free breakfast and shuttle). Turned in the rental just down the road by 10:00 and used the Budget shuttle to get to the ship. We were on board and in Windjammer by 11:00. I always carry small bills with me to tip a couple of dollars to the rental car bus driver or crew taking the bags, etc. They work hard moving our 49.5 lb bags and I am sure make only minimum wage. So many folks seem to take these services for granted.
Enjoyed the ports although I could have skipped Falmouth and been happy. Why Royal Caribbean spends more time in this port and less on Grand Cayman I just don't understand. I has to be because of the time and distance factors to make it to Cozumel the next day. I would have loved more hours on Grand Caymin. Will definitely go back there some day. Labadee was a very relaxing day at the beach. We walked to Columbus Cove and were the first in the water there. Had a Labadoozie and the BBQ lunch and then headed back to the ship to nap and hit the pool and hot tub. Labadee itself is very well done. My only comment was that the shuttles were not running when folks starting coming of the ship. For those with mobility problems, they either had to stop at the first beach or get off the ship later when they could catch a shuttle.
Would love to sail on a Freedom Class ship again.