Fifth cruise with Royal Caribbean and have found a serious degradation in the dining room experience. Roast Duck cooked to leather shoe quality, brick-like pastries, and assistant waiters tapping me on the shoulder to interrupt as I converse with other guests at my table. Our table mates were wonderful and we truly enjoyed their company but we avoided the dining room and chose the always wonderful Windjammer buffet. The food selection is outstanding as is the taste and quality of each item.
Also, the chaos we experienced when trying to connect with our shore excursions was shocking. We had a particularly troubling time in Jamaica and Grand Cayman; a throng of madness as everyone had no idea where to go or when. The shore representatives seem disorganized and overwhelmed and not terribly anxious to answer the same question a hundred times. If I pay Royal Caribbean for an excursion, then I expect a Royal Caribbean Rep to walk me to my embarkation popint or at least make sure that all is well. Making things worse, is the fact that 4 cruise ships are in the same port at the same time and ALL are looking for their excursion! These cruise lines have no problem taking our money but make little effort to see that their service meets their hype.
Back to the ship - thankfully for me, there is an "adult only" pool area on the ship, but there is no one making sure that the kids keep out. I (as well as other fed-up adults) threw several kids out of the pool and off the lounge chairs - a responsibility that should fall to the cruise line. We will probably cruise again - but not sure if the Freedom will be our choice. One small point for those of you who do not like the Starbucks type coffee - Royal Caribbean serves Seattle's Best which tastes too much like Charbucks for me. I will bring my own instant in the future. A week without a good ole cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee was almost too long :-)