I was travelling with my partner, my son, his wife, and their two children. My grandson is 16 years old and my granddaughter is 11 years old and will be 12 in one month. My review is somewhat biased because I had travelled on the Holland American ship the Noordam in January. This was the first time on that cruise line but it will not be my last. I thought that there were many areas that they truly excelled. I truly believe the Noordam offered a much better food experience in all departments. Their buffet service was much better thought out and had a much better flow. The food in the main dining room was also head and shoulder's better tasting than on the Freedom. I know I will get slammed by the loyal RCCL following but this is my review and my honest personal thoughts. On the island day on Freedom of the seas there was a horrible flow. We stood in one line to pick up plates, another for a hamburger or hotdog, yet another if you wanted ribs or chicken and still another long line if you dared to want ketsup or mustard.
On the subject of lines, their was a long one funnelled into the building and through the bottle neck of the security line. There seemed to be lines everywhere for everything on this ship. I was on the Indepence of the Seas two years ago and did not feel the crowds like I did on the Freedom. I don't know if their were just fewer people in each cabin or what caused the difference. On the Freedom this trip there was a huge number of families with children so maybe there were four to each cabin.
I don't want to give the impression that I would never travel on Royal Caribbean again. I definitely would given the fact that they do have a lot to offer families with children. My grandchildren enjoyed both the rock climbing wall and the flow rider. That is why I chose this particular cruise. Nor was the food horrible, there was always something you could find to eat. We ate a lot in the main dining area for breakfast to avoid the lines in the Windjammer and had pizza in Sorrento's and ate in Johnny Rockets and enjoyed both. When we travel with the family next year we will try the Carnival Dream since we can get everyone connecting balcony cabins for the same price as connecting inside cabins on the Freedom of the seas. The grandchildren have been on both lines and actually prefer the kids clubs on Carnival. When we travel as a couple we will honestly probably chose Holland America, Celebrity or Princess over Royal Caribbean especially if the itineraries are the same