After reading Sarisweet's review of the Aug.28 sailing of Freedom/Seas, I had to reply. Our family of four was on the ship exactly the same week. Shared the same space, breathed the same air, enjoyed the same beautifully calm sea. Although I'm sorry she seemed disappointed in her experience, our family, which has done its share of world travel, found the week on FOS to be just great in all ways. Maybe it has something to do with expectations.
On a ship with 4,000 passengers, serving 12,000 meals a day, FOS does a great job. The food is not inedible, it's very good, and a terrific variety. The evening meal was excellent. Our service was great. No staff member in any way gave us a "sob story" of their hard life. Quite the opposite. Our dining room server was a computer expert who enjoyed the travel opportunities on RC and has chosen to be a waiter for 7 years. Every staff person gave us smiles and prompt service.
Our shore excursions were completely fun: snorkeling and hiking. We chose activities that did not have a learning curve. If you want a great scuba or any other type of shore experience in depth, a cruise is NOT the place to get that, period. Cruises are smorgasbords of experience. If you want a great scuba experience, then stay in St. Thomas for a week and scuba with the pros. It's like complaining that you don't get to watch the sunset on the beach because the ship has to leave port at 5:00. Be realistic and choose excursions that you know you will be able to enjoy at your own level.
The evening shows were simply great. We are professional musicians and know what it takes to put on these shows every night. The quality of talent in every venue on board was satisfying and fun. Constant bands in the pool area. Every type of music you'd want (even a little classical here and there). Dancing lessons. Talks with the captain. Chef classes. The ice show was amazing, as were the Hungarian aerialists.
The pools meet every need, from babies to adults wishing a quiet place. The fitness center is huge. There's a jogging track on Deck 12. Soft-serve ice cream. Plenty of silly stuff happening at the pool at all times. Entertaining in all ways.
Yes, you pay for things on a cruise. That's how they make their profits. Grow up, budget for your fun, and smile and enjoy it. We agreed that the first day on the ship, we should just go to the pool, ignore all the "special offers" and kick back. We (2 parents, 2 teenagers) had a wonderful time on FOS and highly recommend it as a family vacation. Our kids LOVED the Flowrider, our daughter won the rock-climbing contest, they made friends from all over the world, and they were safe at all times. We parents could relax.
Go for it! Enjoy Freedom of the Seas!