Had a week off in late November, so one week out we began to search for a cruise deal. We had a back-up plan at the beach and live in Central FL so we were not too concerned about getting shut out. On Tuesday before the departure we decided on Freedom of the Seas. A good deal on a balcony cabin, but had we waited until Wednesday, the deal would have even been better. But who can guess perfectly.
PARKING -- Drove over from Orlando with plenty of time to spare and time to find a low-cost off port parking facility, but none of these looked well-managed so we made the more expensive and better choice of parking at the Port.
EMBARKATION -- From the time we got out of the car until we were in our room was about 90 mins. A few long lines but we were getting on at prime time and this is a huge ship.
THE SHIP -- First impression and our impression throughout the week was that this was an exceptional vessel. Upkeep was good, traffic patterns good, and it was spotless. 4400 people on board but we were never in a crowd and always found great spots on deck. As a matter of fact this is a ship where I might do a room without a balcony as there were always private places to get away. The Promenade deck (non-smokers side) is a great place to so some afternoon reading and relaxing.
THE ROOM -- Largest balcony room we have had. Good shower and nicely laid out. Like everything else on the ship it was very clean.
THE SERVICE -- Terrific service in the dining room. Cabin service was outstanding as well. Seems as though RCCL has a big push to increase the quality of service and it shows.
FOOD -- Windjammer buffet where we did lunch and breakfast was good. Not as much variety as I remember on other cruises, but always hot and always properly cooked. Buffet was full but not really crowded. We always found a table near a window. Main dining room was very good. And although we did the specialty restaurants, there really is no need to. We had MY TIME dining, ate at 7:30 pm most nights, got the same staff each night and enjoyed every meal.
CASINO -- A lot of smoke but machines and tables paid out once in a while. As a matter of fact for the 2nd cruise in a row we just about paid for our entire trip hitting jackpots on the 25 cent slots. We are not big gamblers and had never been winners before our past two trips.
DISEMBARKATION -- Carry your bags off. We leisurely walked off the ship at 6:15 am. and were home in Orlando at 7:30 am.
OVERALL -- We have done a lot of Princess Cruises but the quality on this cruise will have us searching out Celebrity and RCCL on our next trips.