We began our vacation travelling by car from Alabama to Orlando (8 hr trip) where we stayed one night at a local hotel where I had a free night. The next morning, we drove 45 min to the Radisson Hotel in Port Canaveral where we parked for the week. They charge $6.99 a day to park on site for the week and shuttle up to 4 people to the terminal where we began embarkation (this is cheaper than parking at the cruise terminal). We arrived at 11am and were allowed to go ahead and check-in and board. The process went very smoothly and we were eating lunch at the buffet by 12pm. We were allowed to go to our staterooms at 1:30pm and received our luggage between 2-3pm.
The Freedom of the Seas is a beautiful ship. We were in awe of her size compared with our previous cruise ships. The Royal Promenade runs through the middle of the ship with shops and restaurants/cafes along the side with most at no extra charge. We found the ship, although large, to be easy to figure your way around. The main dining room was beautifully decorated and designed after the one on the Titanic and they played live music each night. Most of the food was good except for the seafood and lobster entrees. We were very disappointed because we look forward to lobster night on cruises but ours was the worst we have ever eaten. It was a very small portion and was actually mushy. By the way, there is no problem if you want to order an additional appetizer or dessert. The food in the Wind Jammer was better than average for cruise buffets. There were specialty restaurants that you could pay an upcharge for but we never tried them so can't comment. The entertainment was excellent every night (especially Finis Henderson) and you never ran out of things to do including shows, piano bars, clubs, trivia, casino, etc. The pool area is very nice with a separate kids zone and approx. 5 jacuzzis (two hung over the side of the ship). This is where my husband spent much of his time.
Sometimes you had trouble finding available chairs around the pool especially on sea days since people lock them up even though you are not supposed to. The sports deck included putt putt, a rock climbing wall, basketball/dodgeball court with competitions, and the Flowrider which my sons and husband enjoyed "trying". The ice show was good and you can also ice skate yourself. The service aboard this ship was excellent in the restaurants, room service, etc. I can honestly say that I never ran into one employee that did not speak as we passed and acted like they enjoyed their jobs (better than Carnival).
The debarkation process went very smoothly. We decided to debark using the express departure which allows you to be the first to leave the ship between 6-7am as long as you carry all of your luggage. It was fast and easy and allowed us to get on the road early since we had a long trip back home.
This was the best family trip and cruise that we have ever been on and would highly recommend it to anyone.