We too were on the August 28th sailing of Freedom of the Seas. We flew into Orlando, and rented a car through Avis for one day, nice to have a convertable to go to the beach. Checked into the Four Points Sheraton Cocoa Beach, a cool hotel with some weird quirks however, IE. Pool in the parking structure! Overall not a bad spot, and the price was right for around $100 for the night.
We went to the Avis rental car on Atlantic BLVD, and returned our vehicle to the depot, and the boarded what might be the most overheated trip I've ever had. The bus driver in the 95 degree heat +80% humidity had no AC on until we reached the port, which was a killer, we looked like we came out of a steam room!
Arriving at Port Canaveral, it seemed like the lines were moving smoothly, we were curb to ship entrance in about 30-40 mins.
It had been a few years since I had been on a RCI boat, and this one did not dissapoint, all my usual favorites were in their place. Grabbed a quick bite at the Windjammer, everything was great as always.
We got to a rough start as our room preference had not been adhered to, and also, we were not assigned a dining room, or table number. We got the run around from several dining room members trying to figure this out. The line to fix it was extremely long. We were told to come back at 430, then 630, then 8pm for our dinner seating at 830. After this got sorted out we were put at a table of 10, not my preference, but we had a great time with our table mates. I thought this would be an issue after the runaround received, but we had a great time.
Our stateroom was just fine, I usually opt for an interior room as we did on this cruise as I spend little time in the room, also being so dark lets me sleep really well. This room was typically laid out, I love that Royal Caribbean has the glass shower doors, you'd be surprised how much you miss it when it's not there!
Ate in the Main Dining Room 5 nights out of the 7. Our waiter Dennis was fantastic, everything was hot, fresh and tasty. I am not a tremendous foody, but do have Hotel and Restaurant Management experience, and to serve a quality to this standard was impressive. Steaks were cooked right, food was the right temperature, and the menu had something for everyone always tasty!
Windjammer for breakfast and lunch was always good as well. I like buffets I will not lie. The eclectic mix I can put on my plate is something I don't get to do at home, so why not? Everything at the Windjammer was fresh, well presented and tasted very good.
Ate at Johnny Rockets Twice, not sure it was worth the extra money, but for $4.95, who really cares, its fun and has awesome onion rings and good burgers.
Sorrentos was always good as well, loved going for interesting new pizza every night, service was always quick.
Ate at Chops one night as well. Very much worth the extra $25 to eat in there for one night. French Onion Soup, Caesar Salad, 10OZ Filet with sauce choice, Onion Rings, Asparagus, Green Beans, Mushrooms, all prepared perfectly. The Mississippi Mud Pie is worth the admission by itself. Also sampled the Red Velvet Cake, huge and delicious.
Everything we saw on Freedom was well done. Particularly impressive was the Ice Show in Stuido B. Being from Canada, I can tell bad quality ice pretty easily, and this was bad ice, yet the performers pulled off some amazing stuff. The comedians, magicians, and cruise director James Andrews all did a fabulous job. I know when going on Royal Caribbean the quality to expect, and this cruise did not let me down, a significant upgrade from both Princess and Costa.
Nassau- went their due to Hurricane Irene's destruction of Cocoacay, I was actually pleased, I like going to cities generally instead of ship islands, its more interesting. Hit the beach, it was a swelteringly hot day!
St. Thomas- booked the Sea Trek helmet dive, for $90 bucks seemed like a good value. We had a semi-long drive out to Coral World Ocean park. The Helmet diving is truly awesome, put on a space suit and walk around on the ocean floor. A VERY worthwhile experience.
St. Maarten- Went to Princess Juliana Airport and hit Maho Beach, a far drive through the french quarter to the beach. For any aircraft enthusiast, this is a must. Being in the water and watching a 747 cruise above your head and land only feet behind you is thrilling and a bit frightening!
All in all a FANTASTIC cruise and I really do fail to see how anyone can complain. Sure you do spend a bit of money on extras, but that's a vacation for you.
All staff we experienced were having a great time, interacting with guests, and overall very friendly.
Freedom is a great boat, and I look forward to planning my next cruise with Royal Caribbean!