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Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by johnb999

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Freedom of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Member Name: johnb999
Cruise Date: August 2011
Embarkation: Port Canaveral
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cabin Category: E1
Cabin Number: 8294
Booking Method:
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Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5.0
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness 5+
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 4.0
Embarkation 4.0
Service 4.0
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 4.0
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Ship Facts: Freedom of the Seas Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Freedom of the Seas Deck Plans
How big is too big?
Last week, my wife and I sailed on the Freedom of the Seas from Port Canaveral for the eastern Caribbean. It was our 6th cruise with RCL and our first on the FOS. While we enjoyed the cruise (it's hard to have a bad cruise!), it seems to us that service and convenience are being diluted on the larger ships. All of our previous cruises were on Voyager Class ships and smaller. The FOS is the next class up (Freedom Class)and was once the largest cruise ship in the world.
So what do you gain from the larger ship? A few more shops on the promenade, a taller rock wall, a small flow rider and around a thousand more people. It was clear in the dining room that the serving staff was stretched to its limits and dinner could take as much as 2 hours to complete. Shows required reservations which could not be completed online and required waiting in in line to obtain. People were constantly arguing with the staff at the doors to the theaters about the reservation requirement. Embarkation and debarkation were generally smooth, but 3 large ships arriving simultaneously at the port(Disney, Carnival and FOS)brought ground transportation to a standstill.

The FOS is a beautiful ship, but if you want to experience the service and charm that made us RCL cruisers for life, stick with the smaller ships. We wouldn't sail on the even larger Oasis and Allure on a bet. Also be aware that RCL is attempting to compete with Disney with their Dreamworks tie-in and we had more than 1000 children on board (nearly 1/4 of the total passengers). While we all love other people's children (right?), it does affect the cruise.

At special meetings with the Captain and his crew held for Crown and Anchor Society members, there were many complaints about the number of children from frequent cruisers. The Captain stated that RCL sees the children as "future cruisers." So if large numbers of children are not your cup of tea, check with your travel agent for those times of year that their numbers are minimal.

As RCL says, "Get out there!" But pick your ship size and sailing schedule carefully.

Publication Date: 09/07/11
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