We had sailed twice on Holland America (western Caribbean and Alaska) and enjoyed it a lot. We are in our late 50s and took our 9-year old grandson with us on this trip. So we felt we needed a cruise that might have more for kids. In doing our research we felt Royal Caribbean was the best answer for what we wanted (relaxing with things to do if we chose to) and what he wanted (hang with other kids, play sports). Freedom of the Seas provided that to us.
The ship was in good shape. The food was very good. The staff friendly enough. We ate 1 night in the dining room, 2 nights in Chops, 1 in Portofino, and the rest at Windjammer. Everything - stateroom, deck furniture, food, specialty restaurants, service, etc. was a step below Holland America but it was fine.
There were a few things we didn't like. The Adventure Ocean program for the kids was not as good as we had hoped, particularly on days we were in port. The staff (some great, some would rather be elsewhere and let you know it) was not as fun for the kids to be around as we would expect. For the most part, they were glorified baby sitters, which is not what a 9-year old is looking for. While in port at Labbadee,we had our grandson spend the morning with Adventure Ocean. The few kids there did virtually nothing the entire morning. They were not allowed to go swimming although they were right on the beach. They were kept in 1 location and the kids were very bored.
Our other problem with Royal Caribbean had to do with their attitude toward their passengers. On the first full day at sea they started telling us about filling our forms to leave the ship 6 days later. I just started my vacation. I don't want to think about leaving. Also, they did everything they could to wrestle every last dollar they could from you. They were constantly coming over the loud speaker trying to sell the spa, the shops, the specialty restaurants, the special deals, etc. I know the shops are there. I know the specialty restaurants and the spa are there. I don't need to be constantly reminded.
The flow rider and the climbing wall are big sellers for Freedom. But in reality, unless you want to wait in line a very long time, you won't use the flow rider and not many used the climbing wall after the first few days.
Read the fine print on the specialty packages. The soda package, for instance, does not cover root beer - just coke and sprite.