I traveled on the Freedom of the Seas with my husband and 5 children in July 2011.
We arrived at about 12:30 pm and were able to get on the ship without much delay. We parked at the port garage (cost us 105 dollars for 7 days)! We have absolutely no complaints with getting our luggage sent to the rooms, finding a parking space, and getting into the terminal. Smooth as can be.
There was a line at the terminal but it was fast...it did help that we were able to get into the express line because we were suite guests. After we boarded we headed up to the WindJammer on 11 and got some lunch. It was pretty crowded but we found a table without any difficulty. There was some delay getting into the rooms which was a little annoying(we were told 1:30 but it was closer to 2:00). We had connecting Junior Suites with verandahs which were very nice (Disney was a little nicer...not by too much). We were on the 10th floor. Loved the proximity to Windjammer, kids club, and gym. After we got to our rooms the kids got into their bathing suits and we headed to the H20 zone. The kids had a blast and played for a few hours. Sprinkles the self serve soft serve ice cream machine was a hit.
We are very laid back people and leave many things to chance so we went on the ship with nothing booked. No excursions, special dinner reservations, or anything. We took our chances and got pretty much everything we wanted.
We only went to the dining room 3 nights. Service was ok, except for the first night where it was disorganzied and slow. We liked the dining room staff. Everyone was nice. I loved the Vitality menu. Calories are listed on this special little menu. Appetizer, entree, and dessert all listed. Loved it. We dined at Chops as well. Steaks were very good. I wasn't fond of the desserts, but it was just my opinion. Loved the view at Chops..to die for. We went to Johnny Rockets (for an upcharge) one night and there was no wait. Food was good..but bad! We also had a meal at Sorento's the pizza place...we got some resistance when we asked for more than a couple of slices. Not cool. Sorento's does not have an upcharge. Check out Cafe promenade for the coffee station that is included in your cruising fee. Inside the same place there is a Seattle's best for an upcharge. Go inside and you will find coffee 24/7 again with no upcharge. There is a cupcake place and a Ben and Jerry's for upcharges. These places are nice and if you get over the nickel and diming you can enhance your experience with checking out these places.
Gym. Beautiful. Loved working out on the ellipitical looking at the ocean. I saw a beautiful rainbow while I was getting my sweat on. Sweet! Weights were nice too. Never saw anyone use that boxing ring. I did see people in the bodypump classes. There are 2 water fountains in the gym. There were no cups for water because they want you to buy the 2.50 20 ounce bottled water. I did bring a water bottle and filled it up at the water fountain..on my second workout. I forgot it my first workout and ended up buying water..which pissed me off a little. I never forgot my bottle again. Water is hard to get on this ship. They don't make it easy!
Water. Oh, water. They don't make it easy to get! There is self serve water that you can get in the Cafe Promenade and Sorento's on deck 5. There is a label that says that you are not to fill up water bottles. There are cups that you can fill up! There's no rule that you can use a cup to fill your bottles! If you call guest services and ask them how to get water they will offer to sell you a pack of water for 71.00 for a pack of 24. They will also tell you to use room service for water. Which we did. Sorry..I'm not paying for water. We didn't get the refillable cups for soda. I did bring some crystal light to use if I felt I needed some flavor.
Rock climbing was fun. We loved it! Mini golfing fun! My son loved the Flowrider! Women in bikini's beware...you will lose your top on that machine! I loved running on the track. Beautiful! Hubby and I got the couples massage...expensive...but heavenly. Went to the 3D movie Kung Fu Panda 2 awesome! Saw the Dreamworks parade..fun! Arcade fun..but..cha ching!
Do you like to drink? Make sure you budget in some serious cash! It adds up quickly!
Haiti- went to the beach. Got ripped off by the lounge chair and mini cabana people. Decide what you want to pay them in tip before you go there. Deciding on the fly with your spouse is a really bad idea. They tell you the chairs are free but most people tip 20 dollars for 2 chairs and an umbrella. We stayed about 4 hours then the minute we got up someone came to take it to sell it again. My daughter was still sitting on the chair and some dude was trying to yank it out from her. I was pissed. My son wanted to zip line and we did miss out because we didn't reserve. So, you might want to book that one. 80 dollars for a couple of seconds. Probably worth it. But, I don't know. Didn't do the rollercoaster.
Jamaica- had a good time. Did the Dunn's river falls and Grotto cave excursion. Our 4 year old was allowed to go up the falls on this one. Cave tour was fun. 7 dollars to rent water shoes for the falls. We brought our own. They also came in handy on the beach.
Grand Cayman- Did the stingray and Tiki beach excursion. Stingrays were fun but the bus to Tiki beach didn't show up. Tiki beach was beautiful but it was not fun. The rocks on that beach can cut your feet! The beach was incredibly crowded. The bar food was horrible and crazy overpriced. If I ever go back I've got to do it differently. I do not recommend Tiki beach.
Mexico. Didn't pay for an excursion. Went out on our own. We watched the shopping show on the Freedom for tips about how to get around Cancun and what to watch out for. Taxi was 7 bucks for 4 people, 14 the larger sized taxi. We had fun shopping and eating too much delicious Mexican food.
Kids club. Kids liked it. If you want them there for lunch or dinner you have to reserve early. There is an upcharge if the kids club go to Johnny Rocket's for dinner. You have to pick the kids up during lunch time or dinner time if you don't get on the list on time. No exceptions. Kids club closes at 10 but you can leave them there until 2 am for 6 bucks an hour.
We really did have a great time. I was a little shocked (but should have know better) by all of the extra spending. We have a large family so all extra spending was multiplied by too much! I do recommend the Freedom of the Seas. Beautiful boat. Fun activities. I would go again! Don't let nickel and diming get you down. Pay for what you want to do and bring home the memories!