276 Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Romantic Cruise Reviews

Been on about 10 cruises. Picked this one for a reasonably priced short getaway. Used Southwest for air out of Baltimore to San Juan. Flights filled fast and prices went up accordingly. Two couples traveling together. Flight was ... Read More
Been on about 10 cruises. Picked this one for a reasonably priced short getaway. Used Southwest for air out of Baltimore to San Juan. Flights filled fast and prices went up accordingly. Two couples traveling together. Flight was without incident. No need to take transfers from airport to ship (Pan American Terminal). Many cabs available for 15-20 min. ride. Exit air terminal and queue up at cab stand where you get a piece of paper for the price and are ushered to a waiting cab. Party of 4 was $28 plus tip for cabby. Did not wait for "appointed time" for embarkation which went smoothly. Inside terminal on the left is a wine and liquor store. Two 750 ml bottles of wine allowed to be carried on per person. Frankly, the liquor store bag was not checked by anyone. Note: San Juan is U.S. Territory. Passports are not required. Cell phone service is standard service so no international plan needed. FOS used to be the largest ship in RC fleet. It's been in service a long time with a lot of passengers and crew, ergo a need for amplification. RC treats amplification as an addition of activities and onboard experiences and a refurbishment of facilities, such as cabins. We were an interior cabin, Deck 8, that overlooked the "Royal Promenade". There was a door to our friends' adjoining cabin. The price was right. I was afraid the sound from the RP would be terrible but the cabin kept it out well and any music or other loud entertainment stopped no later than midnight. Our cabin steward was a nice older gentleman from St. Vincent who was okay. The cabin could have been cleaner and it seriously needed refurbishment. The wake up call function of the phone system only played French. A WU call could only be placed with Guest Services and on disembarkation day the wake up call came in late with an apology. The ship's engineers really obsessed over the toilets with constant reminders not to flush anything down them other than tp and waste. Note: As with most cruise ships electrical outlets are few so bring a multi outlet to plug in and if you are coming from Europe bring a converter. My Time Dining is still a joke. You have to make a reservation and you may be "steered" to the same table at the same time over and over. We only ate at our Dining Room, Leonardo, for dinner, save for one night at the Windjammer buffet. Breakfast was always at the Windjammer. Food was good, albeit under seasoned. Service was good. There were two formal nights. We don't do "formal", only "smart casual". BUT people came to Leonardo in all kinds of dress: jeans, tee shirts, shorts, midriffs, short shorts. It seemed the only thing enforced was the wearing of shoes, no cut offs and no torn clothing. Around the pool, you could not get anything to eat. You had to go to Windjammer before 4:30 to get food and then bring it back to the pool area. But there were plenty of bars. Note: Don't sign up for a drink package until you get on board. The price never goes up and they never run out of them. In our case our friends' went DOWN and they were denied a credit on their bill. In essence they were punished for booking in advance. Eating in the Royal Promenade was a non-starter. Sorrento's was often overcrowded (particularly with youngsters) as was the Espresso Cafe. We avoided that area. The pool needed work and was on the small side. It was the first cruise we were on that had lifeguards on duty. The entertainment was good. Liked the ice skating extravaganza (Freedom), the comedy shows (which always seem good), the Marquee Dancers and Once Upon a Time. Activities seemed average but we weren't on the ship much. Service could only be described as "nonchalant". The crew seemed as tired as the ship was. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't enthusiastic. We couldn't single out anyone who provided "above and beyond" service. Loved Olive or Twist Bar, deck 14, for fab view, uncrowded and late night dancing. Ports and Excursions: SAN JUAN. Embarkation port. Landed. Checked in. Got on board. Situated. Went to pool. ST MARTIN (Maarten) Phillipsburg (Dutch side). No excursion. Walked "Boardwalk". Rented chairs and umbrellas on beach. Two chairs with umbrella for $20. Walked all the way to end of boardwalk and lunched at Oranje Cafe with good food, cheap beer and good service. Explored town. Nice beach, clear water, lots of sun. ST KITTS. Private excursion with Myislands Tours by Javin. Terrific experience with this young man. Well organized. Business savvy and great customer service. 12 on our trip (some half day) in Air Conditioned bus. Can take 25 in open air bus. Great tour of the island. Stops at Cotton Mill (to be historical site), Rain Forest (hike, somewhat strenuous), Lava Rocks (wonderful "al fresco" lunch) and snorkel/beach time. Some of the party snorkeled and those who did not were taken to beautiful Cockleshell Beach. Cannot say enough positive things about this tour and its guide, including continuous entertainment by pet monkeys Peaches and Moses. ANTIGUA. Ship excursion Catamaran Cruise with Lobster Lunch. Probably our fav island. Great cruise and lunch. Open bar. No organized snorkeling. Water not too clear at two beaches visited. But we had a fun, wonderful time. Well worth the cost. CASTRIES, ST LUCIA. Ship excursion Segway Safari and Beach Fun. Segway segment was great. Brief instruction. Rode abandoned military trail with partial shade. Segway stop at beach bar. Great views. 25 participants in two groups. One group toured on a bus while other Segwayed. Not much fun on the bus. A lot of lecturing about flora and fauna. Beach fun at the end of excursion was encouragement to eat/drink at nice bar on beach. Should have allowed more time to sit and swim. Beach very crowded. BARBADOS (Bridgetown). Ship Excursion Mount Gay Distillery. Driver was very informative about Bridgetown. Saw a lot of it. Mount Gay was just a visitor center. Distillery itself is well north of Bridgetown. However, if you like rum and how it's made you will like this excursion. SAN JUAN. Ship Excursion Bacardi Rum Distillery with Airport Drop Off. Better than Mount Gay tour. Great way to pass the time before mid afternoon flight. Informative tour and at the airport in plenty of time. We probably won't take this cruise again. Too many other things to see. Some of the above won't apply, probably, after the amplification next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This is my tenth cruise and my wife’s ninth. We celebrated our 20th anniversary on this cruise. We wanted to go somewhere warm that my wife hasn’t been to. We flew into Puerto Rico 2 days early to explore the island. Had a fantastic ... Read More
This is my tenth cruise and my wife’s ninth. We celebrated our 20th anniversary on this cruise. We wanted to go somewhere warm that my wife hasn’t been to. We flew into Puerto Rico 2 days early to explore the island. Had a fantastic time. Uber makes getting around a breeze now. Check in was a breeze. We were in the ship in about 20 minutes. We chose my time dining and really enjoyed our table they kept sitting us at. The waiter was great! The floor 5 cafe had great white chocolate mochas. I think I got my money’s worth on the drink package just from that. Anna and Claudio from The activities staff really made the trivia fun and the comedians were funny. Only complaints would be the hard mattress and the constant up selling of specialty restaurants, which was really bad the first day. Had 10 different workers ask us while sitting down at lunch. Overall it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose to go on this cruise due to the ports. It was harder to get to than a Florida cruise flying to San Juan. The ship is beautiful. I love the 5th floor promenade floor The whole ship was very clean. the public washrooms ... Read More
We chose to go on this cruise due to the ports. It was harder to get to than a Florida cruise flying to San Juan. The ship is beautiful. I love the 5th floor promenade floor The whole ship was very clean. the public washrooms were so clean someone must just stay there and clean all day. Our cabin was amazing. We had a 12th floor panoramic ocean view. With only 30 feet to the outside deck we did not even is the balcony and the view we had was second to none. The main dining room food and service was excellent. Louis was our waiter and really made the dining experience excellent. The ports were amazing and since we have cruises so many times it was nice to go somewhere new. Now for the negative- I was not thrilled at all with the entertainment. I did not like the big productions, the skating show was OK, the comedians where good but overall did not like the shows. (compared to MSC Seaside and others) The activities where OK but very focused on the Spanish clientele. it was really the other guests that made this cruise only a 3 out of 5. I estimate that more than 70-80% of the cruise was from Puerto Rico. More Spanish than English. We have done cruises with MSC where announcements are made in 6 languages and I did not find that as annoying as the "loud" shouting Spanish constantly announced. The buffet was OK but being on any kind of restrictive diet really limited what you can eat. My biggest pet peave. saving chairs. There are signs up saying you can't save chairs but no one polices it. Prime chairs had a towel and flip flop on the chair for over 6 hours (that we were watching) and no one every came to sit there. On Celebrity you don't sign out chairs but you also lose your chair if you are not sitting on it (with your towel) there is staff picking up towels all the time. There is really no saving chairs. I wish all cruise lines would adopt this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
18 of my family and friends sailed on 8/4/19 to 5 different islands to celebrate my mother’s and 2 of my Aunts 60th birthday. 14 people were first time cruisers. The entertainments, the food and the staff were amazing. We were all ... Read More
18 of my family and friends sailed on 8/4/19 to 5 different islands to celebrate my mother’s and 2 of my Aunts 60th birthday. 14 people were first time cruisers. The entertainments, the food and the staff were amazing. We were all pleasantly satisfied with everything and looking forward to future cruise with Royal Caribbean. We missed our tour in San Juan, I contacted the executive office after Customer relations tried to give me a hard time for my refund. The office responded immediately and set up my refund. Excellent customer service on and off the ship. After the kids were in bed, we went out passed midnight almost every night enjoying the night life. The pizza restaurant was delicious, myself and kids enjoyed every slice. Our Waiter Florentina and her assistant went out of their way to take care of us. She found us sits in the crowded Windjammer for breakfast. I would recommend more varieties on the menu in the main dinning room. Also, more entertainment for the kids, we attended the kids disco on the 14th floor which started at 7:15 during dinner time. By the time we finished dinner and went up, it was almost over. The lady on the first day was interactive with the kids however, the guy on the other day just played music with couple of hula hoops and ballon laying on the floor. Both ended at 8:00 pm and 7:45 respectively. I will recommend this cruise line and ship to anyone looking for a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose Freedom of the Seas because we love St Maarten but had not seen the other ports, it was perfect for us. We did not get a chance to stay in Puerto Rico (where it departs from) but we heard so many great reviews from other guests, I ... Read More
We chose Freedom of the Seas because we love St Maarten but had not seen the other ports, it was perfect for us. We did not get a chance to stay in Puerto Rico (where it departs from) but we heard so many great reviews from other guests, I wish we had! We stayed in room 7608. The stateroom attendant was wonderful, I had no issues with the bed and the balcony was great. Port side so there was lots to see on port days. My only issue here was the royal promenade was only 2 floors below us. The late night parties were loud! So after being at port all day, drinking enough to make the drink package worth it, and then going to bed early enough for the next port, we were so disappointed in RC. They do everything so much better than this, the bass was so loud it just thumped until the parties ended. I was sorely disappointed in this. We finally decided to spend that time in the hot tub (open 24 hours) which was empty, because we aren’t parties and had no interest in joining. This was the only way we got through it and I would prefer to not have had to “just get through it”. We did a 3 night specialty dining plan. Then booked The Chefs Table for our actual anniversary which was the Saturday night at the end of the cruise. Choose Grille-my husband loved it! I don’t eat steak. So I ordered fish. There was nothing spectacular about that but he raved on and on about everything. Order the steak and enjoy it! He sure did. Giovanni’s-oh my gosh! So yummy. The food was fantastic, the service even better. We ended up eating here twice (paying for the second outside of our dining package) because it was so good. Sabor- this was typical Mexican food. I wasn’t impressed and would not do it again. It was good but so is the MDR and that is at no extra cost. I can’t give a review on The Chefs Table. We were looking forward to this so much. Our reservation was at 6:30. At 5, they told us they didn’t fill the table and cancelled. Had I known that was a possibility I definitely would not have booked it! Since it was our last night, we now have to fight to get our money back because we didn’t spend 2 hours at guest service the last night on our anniversary. Booking Giovanni’s was difficult and we couldn’t get in until 8:30 because of the short notice. I will never book this pricy meal again knowing that it’s not popular and they won’t do it, if not booked. Disappointing. MDR-it was wonderful. We had no issues getting a table for just the 2 of us during my time dining. They were very willing to accommodate. I was very nervous reading reviews that everything was in Spanish. This is NOT the case. Everything is in English and then repeated in Spanish. Even the game shows were English and later that night Spanish. There was a lot of culture differences coming out of Puerto Rico vs Florida but RC does a great job to accommodate all. I never felt like I was out of place or unwelcome. In fact the opposite. Everyone was unbelievably kind. More so than any other cruise we have ever done. Aruba-we did the kukoo kunuku bus to palm beach. Had a great time and would do this again. We are a restaurant right on the beach and had fresh fish. It was a great experience. You could get a taxi and spend more time there as the bus limited your available beach time. Curacao-we did a beach by boat tour and will definitely do it again. Was wonderful! Bonaire-I think next time in Bonaire I would get off the ship and go snorkeling on my own. We did a 4X4 expedition. It was so informative and beautiful. Since we have done it once I don’t think I’d need to do it again. St Maarten-just get off the ship, jump on the water taxi and get a chair on the beach. Water taxi $7, chair $10 with free WiFi. You will be surrounded by food and shops and my favorite beach! The entertainment was tricky. All of the shows were during dinner time or late at night. We did see the headliner and a few game shows but I was a bit disappointed with how hard it was to try to schedule simply because of timing. We did an anniversary package and our room was decorated so cute! My husband did a shoutout to me on the morning show and afterwards they sent us up a bottle of wine. What an awesome touch. Plus each night they sang to us and gave us cake to celebrate. The crew is simply amazing. I would say overall don’t miss this ship! It is not as outdated as some say. It’s smaller sure than others but the experience was worth it! Order a frozen Mojito when you get on (virgin or with rum) and enjoy your trip! In fact...take me with you?! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Loyal TO RCCL, Overall great cruise, weather outstanding, arrived the day of cruise with no problems, no waiting to check in. Other reviews complained about the food and lack of variety. The windjammer was great, had a huge variety of food ... Read More
Loyal TO RCCL, Overall great cruise, weather outstanding, arrived the day of cruise with no problems, no waiting to check in. Other reviews complained about the food and lack of variety. The windjammer was great, had a huge variety of food to pick from, Sorrentos pizza was ok for a snack as was the Cafe. Main dining room was a disappointment for the main courses however appetizers, soup, salads, sides and desserts were all tasty! Cabin clean and spacious with plenty of room for storage. I love having a balcony and will never cruise without one! All excursions done through RCCL and did not disappoint. Sure you can save money by purchasing on shore but I’m on vacation and rather be safe than sorry just to save a couple of bucks . Used the self assist disembarkment for the first time after 12 cruises due to flight leaving at 10:30 am and was such a breeze I will definitely do it again. Was at the airport by 8:00 and seated at the gate by 8:20! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The ship overall is impressive. Food was great everywhere Gained 10 lbs in 7 days. I couldnt resist... For my husband's BD we ate at Chops grill. Delicious. We got free BD cake, free beer and wine at the end. If you dont know which ... Read More
The ship overall is impressive. Food was great everywhere Gained 10 lbs in 7 days. I couldnt resist... For my husband's BD we ate at Chops grill. Delicious. We got free BD cake, free beer and wine at the end. If you dont know which wine to choose, let them do it for you. Wont be disappointed. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Stairoom with balcony is spacious and very clean. Evening entertainment is ok. Could be better. Only problem with this ship I think is lacking a big adult pool. There is nowhere to swim in adult only part. 12th level of outside area is full of chairs under direct sun. No shade. No pool. No people. Not utilized at all. Overall, we had fun and enjoyed cruising with Freedom of the Seas. In Curacao we went to Avila beach hotel and obtained $10pp beach pass. Great place, delicious food and drinks. In Aruba went to Arashi beach, there is not windy at all, we loved it, then snorkeled on catamaran with Aruba Watersports on Palm beach. It was great.. in St. Kitts we took Rose and Jim island tour as recommended. Rose dropped us off at Reggae beach and picked us up in 3 hrs and took back to the pier. Great. At the pier just ask for Rose. Everyone knows her. In St. Thomas we took island tour with drop off at Emerald beach. We took taxi for $4 pp back to the pier. Great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The class of the ship plus the itinerary was why we chose this cruise, Freedom is a larger size ship with a Royal Promenade. We like that set up. It does not have all the bells and whistles that the newest ships have but there are ... Read More
The class of the ship plus the itinerary was why we chose this cruise, Freedom is a larger size ship with a Royal Promenade. We like that set up. It does not have all the bells and whistles that the newest ships have but there are certainly enough to keep us happy. The entertainment choices were all good especially the ice show. The main dining food was tasty and the choices we tried were good for the most part. Our cabin steward was excellent and readily met our special requests. Our dining room waiters and assistants were beyond accommodating. One evening we ate in the specialty restaurant Chops for an intimate steak dinner. WOW. We especially love the southern Caribbean itineraries and have done them several times. We love Barbados, Aruba, and St Maartens the most but each island has its own special uniqueness. We were able to meet so many interesting people on this cruise and made some friends.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our first experience on a RCI Ship, and we chose this cruise both to try the cruise line and because of the itinerary. We have previously cruised on Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. My initial impression was less than ... Read More
This was our first experience on a RCI Ship, and we chose this cruise both to try the cruise line and because of the itinerary. We have previously cruised on Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. My initial impression was less than positive. My daughter had bought us a gift certificate as a Christmas gift, and I activated it online. I didn't receive any confirmation so I called the customer service line to follow up. After waiting on hold for some time, I was told to call back in a week. This happened two more times before I was told to inquire at check-in. I did, and was told I had to check in with the guest relations onboard. Upon checking with guest relations onboard, I was told to check back after five the next day. Get the idea? I was finally able to confirm the next day by checking my online account. Sadly, this type of disorganization continued through the cruise. I found the customer facing staff friendly and wanting to help, but simply not prepared to answer questions consistently. Muster was a hot mess with different staff directing passengers with conflicting instructions. When we showed up for our first dinner in the main dining room, we discovered they had placed my husband and I at different tables (on different floors). Fortunately, they remedied this quickly. The positives: The ship was beautiful and well-laid out. Rooms (we were in a balcony) were comfortable and spacious. Although the ship was an older one, it seemed to be well-maintained. We loved the Royal Promenade. I also really liked the way the main dining room felt cozy, despite accommodating so many passengers. Food was OK - about what you would expect. The entertainment was very good. We liked the ice show. We never visited the spa or the casino. I never saw any sign of a cruise director. Fellow passengers were a very diverse group with lots of families. Way more kids than I'd expect on an early February cruise, but they weren't disruptive. Staff was very safety conscious - life guards everywhere! Our room steward was amazing. Go Frank! Did one ship excursion in Aruba - the Helmet Dive at De Palm Island. One of the best excursions I've ever done! Other Negatives: We did feel "nickel and dimed" at every turn. On other cruises, there has been plentiful drinking water (because why would you want your passengers dehydrated?). Not so on this cruise. The few water stations we found would be empty and had to wait in a long bar line for a water (and sometimes had to buy a bottle of water instead). Initially I was encouraged by the many signs advising that "chair saving" would not be permitted; however, it was not enforced. Never was able to find a convenient deck chair after 10 AM. Overall- we had a great time. It was a caribbean cruise after all! But I did find that it lacked when compared to the similarly priced Carnival Cruises, and I will probably return to Carnival for the same price point. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We selected the Freedom for the itinerary. Perhaps I'd set my hopes a bit too high...there was just no WOW factor. Yes, the ship is in obvious need of a refurbishment. Stained carpets on the 10th floor, ripped chairs in the ... Read More
We selected the Freedom for the itinerary. Perhaps I'd set my hopes a bit too high...there was just no WOW factor. Yes, the ship is in obvious need of a refurbishment. Stained carpets on the 10th floor, ripped chairs in the theater, etc... and, yes, there is/was a smell. There were several reminders in the Cruise Compass asking that passengers be kind to the the delicate plumbing. If you are thinking about the Freedom, go after she's been gussied up a bit. Our cabin, 1544, was great. Our steward, KeneBeath was excellent. The interior of the cabin was neat, well kept, and quite spacious. The balcony had two lounge chairs, two standard chairs and a table. We took our morning coffee on the balcony every day. (the only note is that the room has two outlets only-bring an extension if you can't manage with two) The itinerary-St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Martin. Three new islands for us. We did RCCL excursions on all of the islands, other than St. Martin. Since we'd been there several times, we chose to take the water taxi over to the town and simply walk around, then get back to the ship while most folks were out. The excursions were well done, and our cabin credit paid for them, so no complaints there. We had the first seating in the MDR-on the first night, our table for two was occupied by two people that had Sea Pass cards with our table number, written in black Sharpie, on them. The waiter and dining room manager were too frazzled to address it on the spot, so we were given a different table for two, right smack in front of the doors to the dining room. By the next morning, we had a message that the mix up had been corrected and the Sharpie folks had been given our table for the late seating, not first. Now, on to the food. It was just okay. We dined in the MDR for breakfast and dinner. Nothing stands out as memorable. Both my husband and I would order with high hopes, only to be done after a couple of bites. The onion soup was reliable and sadly, one of the better offerings. The steaks are only offered in medium rare or medium well, the seafood was completely overcooked. You get the point. (the bonus is that this is the first cruise that I didn't gain weight on) Breakfast was nice-although the addition of a mini buffet for breakfast in the dining room seemed to take away some of the decadence of breakfast in the dining room. We did not do any of the pay extra restaurants, although the efforts to sell those experiences seem to be a major push on the entire week long journey. The Chops grill-for instance-offers tater tots and mac and cheese. Really??? Pay more to be offered tater tots as a side? Nope. I'll leave that for someone else. Our dinner staff, Francis, and the assistant, Envera were tops! They offered to bring us different items from the menu, and we did try, but there was just an underlying blah to the food. We went to the Windjammer twice. Typical, cafeteria style food-all under lights and sitting out. The highlight was the 'mango water", which I am pretty sure was Tang or similar. The promenade cafe and the pizza shop were both our go to when needed. The pizza was actually quite good-they go through so much pizza, there's always a hot and fresh one being sliced and served. It's a thin crust style, which was fine with us. The sandwiches and desserts at the cafe were actually good, too. That was our choice for lunch just because of the traffic and poor quality of the windjammer. The entertainment was standard-a welcome show, a comedian, some carnival style acrobats, an ice show, etc. Again, it was okay. There was no problem getting seats for any of the shows. The fitness center was nice. The gym was never overly crowded, and I was able to find machines available to use. The spa was overpriced, so I passed. I did the free tour and decided that it just didn't have enough appeal. On the final night, after the closing show, the ship turned into one giant pajama party. As we exited the theater, we began to notice people walking around in Christmas pajamas, Disney pajamas, and zip-up onesies. At first I thought we'd missed an announcement in the Cruise Compass about a pajama party, so I looked! Nothing there. Not sure exactly how it unfolded, but it there it was-a floating sleep over. Overall, it was nice to be in warm weather, but we left thinking that our cruise style may be a smaller ship rather than one the size of Freedom. Our past cruises have left us with standout menu or entertainment items, and this one just did not. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
There are going to be a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. I wrote this once and I am not going back to re-read and proof. I did that enough in school and since this is not an email for work, deal with it. Let us get a few things out ... Read More
There are going to be a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. I wrote this once and I am not going back to re-read and proof. I did that enough in school and since this is not an email for work, deal with it. Let us get a few things out of the way first. I am a 27-year-old who traveled with my 26-year-old girlfriend. This was our second ever cruise (we did one two years ago out of the same port, Puerto Rico, and had the times of our lives). We hardly ever go on vacations, let alone full week ones.. guess we don't follow that pesky millennial stereotype. By reading these reviews I think you can see that many skews towards an older demographic. Not saying that is a bad thing, but I would just like to give a different perspective. I think if you read these reviews as a first-time cruiser, you would do anything other than want to go on a RC cruise. Now I get it, the majority of these people writing these reviews are experienced cruisers. 20, 30, 40+ cruises under their belts. Diamond Club members. I can go on and on. Do I think some of their comments have merit? The nickel and diming, somewhat. The food, possibly. The crowds...ok. You have to keep in mind these people are comparing it to a time when cruising was something completely different. Kind of like taking a plane. You got dressed up, you had a fancy mean...essentially coach was like first class. However, things change. Some for the better and some for the worse. And if this demographic thinks they are for the worse, then so be it, They are entitled to their opinion. But here is mine. While I am sure things have changed, I see nothing wrong, and I encourage everyone and anyone to go on a cruise. Because as someone who was DREADING going on his first cruise two years ago, I think back and realize how much of an idiot I was. ...with the said. the cruise. Itinerary: Puerto Rico, Cruising, Curacao, Aruba, Cruising, St. Kitts, St.Thomas We like going out of Puerto Rico due to a majority of things...better ports, warmer weather, and a smaller ship population. We also go in December because of the price, the idea that parents do not want to take their kids out of school for a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the weather, because why would we want to go on a cruise in the summer when its warm in Maryland where we are from? Now I know there are some negative comments about going out of Puerto Rico. Some about the process of getting on the ship. Some about the port. And other about the locals and having to know Spanish to enjoy the ship. Well here we go... 1. Embarkation - Since this is the only port we have every gone out of I have nothing to really compare. Do I think there could be better processes, sure do. But you also have to remember where you going out of. You cannot compare it to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Second time obviously knowing what we were doing, by the time we got to the port, were through all the obstacles and on the promenade having a coffee in about 25 minutes. The key is to be patient (YOU ARE GOING ON VACATION, BE HAPPY!) and tip. Yes, tip. I know it is annoying. I know if you don't and getting smug look back from the guy handling your 60-pound luggage bag is a pain. But guess what, you paid a grand for this cruise, whats two bucks to help a guy out. 2. The port - Easy. We flew in the night before and stayed at an Embassy Suites by the airport (highly recommend). I use to go to PR in college for our swimming training trip and that is where we stayed. Took a 15 minute uber to the port no problem. 3. The locals - OOOOooooooOOOO. Guess what, the ship goes out of PR, there are going to people who live in PR on the cruise. Where there more on this cruise than the last? Yes. Do I think RC had a promotion that sold discounted rates if the ship was going to be empty? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with that...hell no. Where there some things that may annoy me? Yes. But that is going to happen at any port you go out of. Again, I am here to say that you are going on vacation. You are there to have fun. The ship is meant to hold X amount of people and to accommodate all people without feeling cramped. And yes, they do speak Spanish on the boat...but they go over everything in both English and Spanish...because, and this is just a hunch... when 60% of the ship speaks Spanish, it probably makes sense to make sure you explain to them in their native language the safety rules. The Ship Beautiful. Our first cruise was on the adventure of the seas. Freedom was slightly bigger. We love everything about it from the promenade to the solarium and back to the sports court. Also, so clean. You would see people night and day. The ship makes you feel like royalty. The Room We originally had an interior room. Now we don't do this because we are cheap...but also aren't rich because if we were I would be booking one of those suites. However, we literally only use the room to sleep, change and shower. Quite literally here is a break down of our day(s) - again I know different strokes for different folks but I wanted to provide a different perspective here: - Wake up 7:30 - Breakfast at 8 -Shore excursion 9-1 - Quick snack/lunch windjammer 1-2 - Pool/Solarium/Hottub/Sports court 2-6 -Back in the room to shower change 6-6:30 - Vintages wine bar 630-730 - Dinner 730-9 - Show/casino/karaoke/bar/nightclub/etc 9-1 BUT on this cruise we were able to upgrade to an ocean view balcony for an extra 200. And the best part, this balcony was on the backside (floor 6) of the ship. So we didn't have people staring in on us on the sides. Best room on the entire ship. Highly recommend. Our room steward was AMAZING - I think everyone has come to know this. These are the hardest working guys on the ship. The Entertainment & Activities The shows compared to Adventure were outstanding. And this is not to say Adventure was bad. It just speaks to how great Freedom's entertainers were. Comedians, 2 Broadway acts, a Cirque du Soleil act, a variety show (stealing from their website because it explains it better...The Great DuBois' is a fast-paced, all ages, variety show showcasing incredible feats of juggling, hula hoops, unicycle, aerial, circus stunts, contortion, magic, and audience interaction all wrapped in a blanket of comedy. ), and acapella group and of course all the standard ship shows. Activities, well the flow rider, rock wall, mini-golf, free gambling lessons were all great. We did a free message seminar. Participated in a mini golf and dodgeball tournament. Honestly, even on Freedom, there is never enough time of the day. Food and Beverage ....dom dom dom....It's great. Again I am sure it could have been better years ago. But by reading other reviews you would think they are serving you cereal and toast all day. Is the windjammer crowded in the morning, yes? It is. But can you find a seat? Yes, yes you can. Do you maybe have to wait an extra 30 seconds for a piece of bacon...unfortunately you do. But I think we can all live. Never had an issue with the food being cold or sparse. The crew kills themselves to make sure the stations are are same no matter the time. We ate in the MDR every night for dinner and it is wonderful. Our server was great. The food was fantastic. And we are by no means simpletons. Maybe it was because both me and my girlfriend have worked in the food industry. Maybe it is because we understand how many people are getting served and feed in X amount of time. But trust me, you will survive and you will leave with a full tummy. We ate at Sabor for lunch on our first sea day. We did the guacamole and margarita class. SO WORTH IT. If you are unsure of eating in a specialty restaurant, then do this class. For ~30ish dollars you get lunch (anything you want - and it's unlimited - on the menu. Appetizers, in addition to the guac, tacos, quesadillas, sides (beans, street corn etc, and a dessert platter). Oh did I mention unlimited margaritas...which will make you want nothing else the entire cruise. In addition, we had the pizza and normal affair on the promenade. Sure the pizza line was long...but after an excruciating five-minute wait, you had unlimited pizza at your fingertips. We did the drink package, which is 100% worth it. Coffee was great. Water was cold. And the bar drinks were well made. Nothing watered down. Always great service. And had some of the best wine of my life on the trip. Excursions We did all our excursions through the ship. I think this is one area where having become more familiar with ports, we will probably venture out on own in the future. Don't get me wrong, we didn't have bad experiences, we just want to have better flexibility with time as well as maybe pay a little less. We always get off at the port and try to experience a new country. We really do not do anything extravagant. We just like to go to the beach so those are the excursion we tend to choose. Curacao - Went to blue bay beach. Beautiful. I would say take a cab and avoid the excursions. Location is safe and well worth venturing too. Aruba - Probably our least favorite port, which was a surprise. Maybe because we had such high expectations? While the north shore is completely un-inhabited to keep the natural beauty, we felt it was still commercialized with the various tour groups. We went to Palm Beach and Eagle Beach and these were just very crowded due to the hotels. St. Kitts - Funny. This was the port we were least excited to visit because, on our last cruise, this was our least favorite island (and the only one we were revisiting). So we decided to do a catamaran to Nevis. Completely worth it. Took a catamaran right from the port over to Nevis and had unlimited beverage, our own beach, and a great lunch. The highlight of the trip. St. Thomas - This was my girlfriends favorite part of the trip. We took a catamaran to buck island to snorkel in two spots. Service Not even a question. 10/10. Everyone from our room attendant. bartenders, servers, etc. Were all fantastic. I never fill out survey's but whenever RC sends me it after the cruise I do it immediately because these people work their tails off and definitely make the cruise experience what it is. Con's - They seemed in some areas of the ship to be confused with some reservations we had. I think it has to do with us changing room two days before and not everything in the system updated. But we survived. All we had to do was explain the situation and everything got resolved. - They do try to upsell the dining and drink packages. More so than what I remember on the Adventure. Is it annoying...meh? All you have to do is politely say no thank you and move on with your day. Trust me, you will survive someone asking you to save money on drinks and offering you an opportunity to eat at a fabulous restaurant. So there it is. That's all I got. Hopefully, I provided a different perspective on RC cruises. We have always had a fabulous time. Maybe we, 20-something's who are not on their honeymoon and just on for vacation, are the minority. But everyone we came across seemed to be having a great time. And we for sure did. Can't wait for our next cruise on Oasis of the Seas in Dec. 2019! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We choose this cruise for the ports, as we have never sailed the southern Caribbean, and this was our honeymoon. We have sailed with Royal in the past, we got married on Harmony of the seas, and we have sailed with Anthem, and Explorer of ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the ports, as we have never sailed the southern Caribbean, and this was our honeymoon. We have sailed with Royal in the past, we got married on Harmony of the seas, and we have sailed with Anthem, and Explorer of the seas. We have also sailed Celebrity, and Disney. We have always had a splendid time on Royal thus far, and have sailed out of New Jersey, and Florida where embarkation is a breeze, and the terminals are immaculate. However, upon our arrival we were not surprised at how small this port is, but rather how the staff at the port treated the guests. We first got dropped off at the wrong terminal, and when asking a staff member, he just looked at us and pointed towards the other terminal.We walked through hoards of people to get to where we needed to be. Once at the correct terminal, we asked one of the gentleman with a "porter" t shirt on where we could put our luggage. Now, I may be spoiled as I have only sailed out of New Jersey, and Florida, but when you are sailing out of those places the porter takes your bag, places it in the appropriate place, and you are free to go on your merry way into the terminal. This was not like that at all. It was busy, rushed, hot, and the porter told us we had to walk all of our luggage to a spot that was not clearly marked at all. He said "over there, by orange poles." The different locations for certain areas of the ship weren't clearly marked at all, and trying to lug our bags clear to the other end of the terminal was frustrating. We asked several people who were wearing the port t-shirts if they would take our bag, and they looked at us as if we were bothering them. We continued on....We finally reached the spot our luggage was to be placed at, and there were about 8 grown men standing around one tiny desk having a grand ol time talking amongst themselves while a few guests were waiting to be waited on. they finally turn around take the bags from all of us place it on the cart directly behind them, and then say " we accept tips." I was DUMBFOUNDED!!! What am I supposed to tip you for? you did absolutely nothing for us at all except place our luggage on the cart. I couldve done that, since I have already done the whole job of lugging my luggage the entirety of the terminal. We tipped them none the less, because we didnt want to get to our room later that night and find that our luggage had mysteriously disappeared. After that, we got into the terminal, and it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out, except the fact that we quickly found out we were in the minority this sailing. Which whatever, that's fine, but I found a lot of the other passengers to be rude, pushy, and loud. A few times when we were in line for pizza at Sorrento's, or in line for a show, some of the guests would be in line, and then let a few dozen family members in line ahead of us. That was just plain rude, and inconsiderate. The Quest show was a MESS!!! we usually LOVE the Quest show, and usually have a really good time, however the night of the game show people were bringing in small children to watch and hang out. We were informed that day in English, and in Spanish that this was an ADULTS only show, but here we were women pushing crew members out of the way to get to the show with their small children. I just don't understand, I think that there should have been some sort of security at the door letting people in, and turning away guests with small children. Another thing we were somewhat upset about was the fact that the Love and marriage game show was only shown in Spanish. I get that the majority of the passengers were Hispanic, but it would have been nice to have that show in English as well as we really love to watch it. Good things to note, the ports were AMAZING!! we visited Curacao, Aruba, Antigua (supposed to be Bonaire, but was canceled three weeks out.) And St. Maarten. There were so many lovely crew members that we met especially our room attendant Orhiannah who was so sweet, and made us feel really at home on the cruise. We also met a sweet woman in the gift shop, who we made friends with and she sent us a sweet card congratulating us on our marriage. Then we had a cruise long friend in one of the art dealers Garneth, who we would talk to on a nightly basis. He was awesome, we would talk, and talk, and talk, and he just made our night every time we spoke to him. It was like seeing a friend you hadnt seen in a while and catching up. We really enjoyed his company. MDR food was FANTASTIC every meal we had in there was always very delicious. We ate in Chops and as always it was superb. We also dined in Giovanni's, but it was just ok, the desserts were the best though. The next cruise manager was not helpful at all, she acted like she couldn't be bothered with us, and also the loyalty desk manager was the same way. I don't know what their issues were, but we just felt like they could care less about us. over all it was a good cruise, we enjoyed the crew members listed above, and the food, but I dont think we will sail royal out of San Juan again unless its an amazing deal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had a great cruise on the Freedom of the Seas sailing from San Juan on September 29. I'm currently sitting in the airport lounge writing this review so that it is all fresh in my head. My wife and I spent two days in San Juan ... Read More
We had a great cruise on the Freedom of the Seas sailing from San Juan on September 29. I'm currently sitting in the airport lounge writing this review so that it is all fresh in my head. My wife and I spent two days in San Juan in an Airbnb prior to the cruise. When pricing the cruise, the flights were about the same from PHL to SJU as they were to MIA or FLL. That being said, it seemed like a no brainer to get a few extra "port days" and leave from PR. EMBARKATION We arrived on embarkation day via TAXI at around 1230pm. Bags went with the porter and we got in line. Check in was a breeze. We hit the Duty Free for some libations. Getting on the ship was easy. We hit the Windjammer for lunch. I will say that the upsell to specialty dining on embarkation day is a little rough. We must have been pitched 3 or 4 times during our lunch. It does seem a little insulting since we just sat down after paying several thousand dollars for a cruise and now we're being asked to pay more. Nonetheless, we had a good lunch and the rooms were ready by 1:30pm. THE ROOM We met our cabin attendant De De for balcony room 8216. EXCELLENT room, as it is the forward most balcony on the deck. There was an entire glass "wall" where the divider would be, giving us a tremendous view of the boat moving forward. Only warning about the room... the bed is HARD. Like... REAL hard. Luckily we were so tired every night and just passed out. The shower was A+... great pressure and HOT. THE FOOD Our only other cruise experience was about 5 years ago on Norwegian. Our dining room experience then was mediocre at best. We expected the same on Freedom. BOY were we wrong! We had MyTime dining and ate in the main dining room 5/7 nights (one in the buffet and the other at Chops for our anniversary). I was SUPER impressed with the food. Steaks cooked perfectly, excellent appetizers, etc. The service was phenomenal. We had Makram and Delly as our waiters, and both got to know us personally and would bring our drinks without us asking. Truly made us feel like family. The Windjammer was pretty good. Crowded. Room Service breakfast was good also. We used it 4 times, each time paying the extra $10 for a real breakfast. We ate on our balcony which was awesome. Chops was incredible. So good. THE ENTERTAINMENT We only went to three shows, two comedians and the 'Once Upon a Time' show on the last night. AWESOME. Super impressive. We're 30 going on 80 so we were in bed by 10pm every night, so unfortunately I don't have anything to add for the late night stuff. THE SHIP We loved the ship for its size and family atmosphere. She is a bit worn, though. Carpets have some wear and tear, some chipping of the paint... etc. Don't expect a brand new ship. PORTS St. Thomas was a lot of fun. We rented a scooter. DO NOT DO THIS unless you are an avoid motorcycler. Also keep in mind that the FOTS docks at a port away from the other ships. The main port town was CLOSED on the day that we went since there weren't any other ships. The highlight of this port stop was Magens bay. We try to avoid major tourist spots (lol... like I'm not a tourist), however this was the most beautiful beach. The pelicans are CRAZY... and worth the price of admission to watch them hunt. Curacao was far and away our favorite. We rented a car from ADVANCE car rental. Do it. $75 for a car, GPS and a cell phone, drop off and pick up at the MEGA PIER. We hit a few beaches, including Playa Porta Marie (WILD PIGS), Playa Grandi (swim with TURTLES!) and Playa Knip. All beautiful. We bought our own snorkel gear prior to the trip. Highly recommend as we didn't see a whole lot of rental spots. The town is full of great color. Aruba was OK. Rainy day. We rented a car at the pier and hit a few beaches. St. Martin was kind of a miss. We rented a car here as well (Coastal Car Rental... good experience). The weather was bleh and traffic was bad. My suggestion is to take the $7 water taxi to the main town of Phillipsburg and go to the Lazy Lizard. Great food. $20 for an umbrella, two chairs and 6 beers. Nik the owner is a very nice guy. DEBARKATION We did the express debarkation with self luggage. Easy. Off the ship and through customs in about 20 minutes. We took a taxi to the airport and rented a car from Enterprise for $30. We needed a place to keep our luggage and wanted to explore Old San Juan for another day. FELLOW GUESTS INCREDIBLE. I don't know why I was surprised (ignorance), but I'd estimate 60% of the passengers were Puerto Ricans. SO MUCH FUN. So many large families traveling together. So much laughter and Boricua pride. The PR children were so well behaved and polite. My wife and I mentioned on more than one occasion that we want to cruise out of San Juan more just to have some PR culture in our lives. OVERALL Great cruise. Excellent service. Phenomenal food. Would cruise the FOTS again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had only cruised once before many years ago and wanted a cruise worthy of being the 30 year Anniversary honeymoon we never had. We chose this particular cruise based on the itinerary and the reputation of the cruise line per other ... Read More
We had only cruised once before many years ago and wanted a cruise worthy of being the 30 year Anniversary honeymoon we never had. We chose this particular cruise based on the itinerary and the reputation of the cruise line per other family members and our travel agent, but also because of the affordability for the quality of the experience. I had dreaded the check-in process, remembering long lines in the heat and crankiness of people on both sides of the counter from our previous experience, but check in was a breeze, from airport pickup to SeaPass issuing to being in our cabin in less than an hour. Check out was just as easy, with staff providing clear and efficient directions and assistance. The Freedom of the Seas was everything we hoped it would be and all was kept in fine order despite being at the end of the season. There were some issues with overhead lights in the dining room and toilets that stopped flushing, but these were addressed immediately when reported. The staff was friendly, attentive, and made an effort to personalize each encounter. The Dining Room and Windjammer buffets had consistently good food, although main dining room selections were limited and portions/quality needed addressing at times. Our excursions were all through Royal Caribean and, for the most part were well organized but the descriptions provided were not always accurate. I highly recommend the Horseback Riding on the Beach in St. Johns, Antigua as the best riding experience I have had anywhere. The best-trained horses and attentive guides made sure every rider in our large group was personally ensured a wonderful, enjoyable, non-hurried ride according to their ability. We had to cancel our planned excursion in Barbados due to a health issue and went on the Mount Gay Rum Experience as an alternative even though we are not big drinkers and had a wonderful time. Our guide kept the group entertained as well as educated. We were not prepared for the devastating effects of last years' hurricane Florence that remained or of the desperation of the island peoples that remains. It was a bit annoying at times to be swarmed by locals attempting to sell their goods, especially on the beach at St. Lucia. We were also not prepared for the focus on jewelry sales over almost anything else. More affordable souvenirs were hard to come by. Many of our fellow cruisers were frequent cruisers and overall still recommend Royal Caribbean as comparably the best, and I know we will be recommending it as well. Can't wait for our next one! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I departed for our seven-day Royal Caribbean 5 year anniversary cruise on September 8th on Freedom of the Seas. This was our first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean. We were excited to depart on a relaxing romantic Caribbean ... Read More
My wife and I departed for our seven-day Royal Caribbean 5 year anniversary cruise on September 8th on Freedom of the Seas. This was our first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean. We were excited to depart on a relaxing romantic Caribbean cruise... or so we thought. After being locked out on our balcony and bruised from getting knocked down, it was anything but what we were expecting. Our Cabin Steward, even though he accidentally locked us out on our balcony, we ended up liking a good deal. After coming in to bring us a bucket of ice that I requested on the first night, he found us on the balcony and wished us a good night. Out of habit, he closed and latched the door as he left. We stayed out there for a while, not realizing we were locked out before trying to come back in. At the point we realized we were locked out, we couldn’t see anyone else out on their balcony. We waited there for a portion of the night and what seemed like an eternity. Just as I started climbing over the rail to get to the next balcony and bang on their door, we caught the attention of someone four rooms down who went for help. A couple days later, my wife was knocked to the ground in the overcrowded windjammer buffet area and a member of the staff just stood there and shrugged with a look on his face expressing “I know, but nothing I can do”. We were told by several guest that due to the threat of a hurricane developing, the bookings had dropped to about 30% capacity and in order for Royal Caribbean to make a profit, the remaining cabins were advertised and sold locally in Puerto Rico at a fraction of what we paid. This filled the boat with a crowd acting like it was their first and last Spring Break they would ever take. It’s hard to relax when boom boxes could be heard from stern to bow blaring techno-pop music. In the elevators, on our balcony, even just sitting in our room, the high energy beat could be both heard and felt. I wrote Royal Caribbean expressing how this was anything but the relaxing romantic Caribbean cruise advertised and sold to us by a member of the Royal Caribbean sales staff. After receiving my letter, a team member in the executive office called me to explain how it’s really not their problem and implied I was lying since I did not report the events when they occurred. He did offer us a $100 voucher to use on board the next Royal Caribbean cruise. Would this be acceptable to you? We understand that sometimes getting locked out and knocked down is part of life. What truly matters is who is there to pick you back up. Unfortunately, we found Royal Caribbean is not one of those stand-up companies that can recognize and do the right thing. They would rather just stand there and look down on you counting their profits. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are seniors and this was our 5th cruise, first on RCCL. I chose the cruise because we were treating our 2 adult daughters and their significant others. They like tropical vacations as well. The price was right. The ship was ... Read More
We are seniors and this was our 5th cruise, first on RCCL. I chose the cruise because we were treating our 2 adult daughters and their significant others. They like tropical vacations as well. The price was right. The ship was beautiful to look at inside and out. I didn't really care for the layout of the ship as the halls aren't always predictable. We went down to a dead end too many times. Studio B has the skating rink which served as a show venue and the disembarkation meeting place. We really struggled with that one. The ship was beautiful to look at inside and out. The shows were not as good as we have seen in the past. The schedule of shows also varied from day to day. One day was the ice show and we couldn't get in to either presentation. That was the only show available that day. We saw it later in the week in the afternoon. I prefer a set time for shows that you can plan your day around, something like 7&9:00 or 8&10:00. The Windjammer was usually crowded and the food was okay. We could always find something to eat but nothing was exceptional. The Galileo Main Dining Room had excellent service. The food was good, not great. The portions there are all you care to eat and some in my party ate a lot. I loved getting 2 appetizers. The pools were small for the size of the population, one for children, one with a smoking are, and one for adults only. Of course every lounger had towels on them and no one used them. Overall the pools were too small. The fitness center had tons of equipment but we didn't use it as we walked so much on the islands. There were great parties at night but starting them at 10:30 was far too late for us. The Dancin' in the Street party was fun and packed with people. Oh to be young again. The casino was smoky and we heard about winners. One fellow won close to $22,000 and that was wired to his bank with any taxes required! The casino was also smoky but since we had a smoker in our group, I saw that smoking spots were limited. The service from stem to stern was excellent every single time and I fell in love with people from the Philippines. They are so hospitable and make the best staff on a ship. We had a galley tour which was interesting. For shore excursions, we took the St Kitts bus/train tour. The bus driver was interesting. The train piece was disappointing. The train was screechy. The tour guide could not be heard from the open air deck because of engine noise and the blenders making your "free" drinks. The service there was ok. We took buses on Aruba with good success. We walked too much in Curacao and then signed up for Caspers tour of the island and the stop for 2 hours at Mambo Beach. The driver did not pick us up at 4:00 however. She sent someone else who took us in their overcrowded van back to the pier. On St. Thomas, we went on the ferry to Trunk Bay because the cabbies recommended it. We were looking for snorkeling but Trunk Bay has little of that, including the dead self guided trail. We should have taken a cab on St. Thomas to Sapphire Beach where we know there is dependable snorkeling and it is 2 minutes from Red Hook Ferry station. Disembarkation was chaos. We were rushed off the ship quickly only to get into a long, long, long line. It is no exaggeration that we waited in the baggage hangar for 90 minutes in order to clear customs. There were largely unmarked serpentine lines that traveled up and down the length of the hangar but people were entering the lines at every turn. Our line was especially slow as we saw people jump into line 45 minutes after us and get out 30 minutes before us. Word to the wise, get into the far left line, just to the right of the porters line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I was hesitant to book another cruise having been on 3 others as I tend to dislike crowds and waiting in line-just have to keep that in mind and deal with it and yes it was an issue. The ship itself is beautiful, cabin was fine and ... Read More
I was hesitant to book another cruise having been on 3 others as I tend to dislike crowds and waiting in line-just have to keep that in mind and deal with it and yes it was an issue. The ship itself is beautiful, cabin was fine and balcony bigger than expected. The bed was not as hard as I expected from other reviews. Food in the main dining room was good and service excellent-was so nice to be able to sit as a couple as well most of the time but have others beside us we could talk to if we liked. Buffet was a different story-long lines with few exceptions-they need to have more than 1 omelet station and more than 1 person cooking omelets-was a mess. The 1st day we had to pay to eat at Johnny Rockets as there was no where else to go without encountering mobs of people. Loved the Cafe Promenade for getting coffee early in the am or breakfast bites. Drinks and service at the bars were great and was well worth getting the beverage package. Only saw 2 shows as most others we were interested in were way too late in the evening for us-wish they offered more around 7:30/8:00pm. One show we ended up walking out of as it was geared only toward the Spanish speaking population. The ports of call were fabulous and for that reason I might consider cruising again but disembarkment from the ship was absolutely horrendous-took us at least 2 1/2 hours to get off-no joke-why they don't have more control over logistics I don't know but everyone was unhappy -no one came by to update us; there were babies crying and screaming and people having to sit on the stairs and wait and wait and wait-once the line finally got moving one of the staff had the audacity to say "let's all have big smiles"...needless to say no one smiled...we had to cut short the excursion we had planned-maybe doing the luggage and getting off the ship on your own is better-but since we had a late flight that wasn't feasible. Spent too much time in the casino-not a good idea and would've loved to use the spa but as usual find the prices way too high. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were delighted with every aspect of the whole experience from start to finish, the ship was amazing and there was so much to see and do, the cabin was lovely, spacious and clean, the dining facilities was out of this world, we were ... Read More
We were delighted with every aspect of the whole experience from start to finish, the ship was amazing and there was so much to see and do, the cabin was lovely, spacious and clean, the dining facilities was out of this world, we were seated at table 377 in Leonardo's deck 3 our waiters Rian and Martin were great, Martin made it even better with his attention to detail and fabulous personality, I hope that on our next cruise I have the pleasure of his company to greet us every morning to set the mood for the day with his contagious happy personality, the entertainment and activities were very professional and Topi the entertainment director is doing a fabulous job, there was something to suit everyone, the shore excursions was great and we were treated very well and felt safe in our adventures, keep up the good work you guys! and thank you for making our honeymoon the best holiday of our lives, looking forward to our next cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was a round-trip cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico stopping at a different port each day in the southern (or lesser) Antilles islands down to Barbados. We arrived mid-afternoon and found our Junior Suite to be fairly nice. We loved ... Read More
This was a round-trip cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico stopping at a different port each day in the southern (or lesser) Antilles islands down to Barbados. We arrived mid-afternoon and found our Junior Suite to be fairly nice. We loved eating breakfast each day and watching as we arrived and docked at a different port. Then each evening, we would eat our dinner watching as we left that port. The one time when we weren't yet seated at dinner when just leaving port, we found out that the ship had left while we were walking around the on-board shops and we were amazed that we couldn't tell the ship was moving. Needless to say, we never took our drama mean. Two of our three shore excursions were great. We really liked the Sea Trek St Maarten and A Taste of Antigua Rum tours. The Sea Trek was a wonderful underwater experience with "sea helmets" allowing us to walk around under water. My wife is a poor swimmer, and she felt safe with the many nearby scuba staff showing us different things. There were young kids and much older folks -- all had fun. The taste of rum tour was not just rum but also a history lesson about Antigua and the other islands. That tour also was wonderful. However, we simply picked the wrong day for A Day Trip to Nevis with Lunch. The day we were there, the island was celebrating a holiday. So, we couldn't see the Alexander Hamilton house and museum and our guide couldn't convey any of that history. The dining experience ranged from great to awful. Not surprisingly, the specialty restaurants had the best chefs and wait staff. These were generally recommendable, but some were better than others for either food quality or service. We did try a regular restaurant for breakfast one day. We were there when the doors opened along with a long line of other passengers. Seating was immediate after the doors opened. However, it took a half hour to get a waiter to take our order and another twenty-five minutes after that to get our breakfast. The Windjammer buffet restaurant worked better for breakfast or lunch. Think smorgasbord, though. There was plenty of food, but unremarkable in its preparation. For example, I would like to have had eggs over easy for breakfast, but the short-order cooks had their stoves too hot. Their eggs were leaping off the sizzling, popping stove so the eggs were scorched on the outside and raw in the middle. The made-to-order omelettes were a better bet -- only one out of three was too burnt to eat. While onboard, we did discuss our dining experiences in the non-specialty restaurants with two other couples. Both volunteered that the Freedom class of ships seemed to get the "second class" help. Independently, they both said that the top talent was on the Oasis class ships. On our last night, we were in a specialty restaurant seated next to a Royal Caribbean employee on vacation. That employee confirmed that he, too, had noticed that trend. So, if you like the RCCL big ships, this is another reason to go that way. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Overall my experience was average at best. Royal caribbean is just too expensive for no reason. I would've gotten more bang for my buck on Carnival cruise. The entertainment was too Hispanic oriented, if your not Spanish you Cant ... Read More
Overall my experience was average at best. Royal caribbean is just too expensive for no reason. I would've gotten more bang for my buck on Carnival cruise. The entertainment was too Hispanic oriented, if your not Spanish you Cant help but feel left out. The ship was well kept and clean and rooms are not bad. The ports were the best part of my vacation. Too much Hagglers! Every where you go there's someone trying to sell you something it's very annoying, to have to deal with this on the ship and ports. The crewmembers work hard and the service shows I get the feeling their not paid enough though. I hate the Gratuities taken out every day way too much!. The drink package is too expensive and not worth it save your money, as well as the internet which is very slow for the price. Won't do royal again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I live in Puerto Rico, when my wife saw the offer for the 3 night cruise we decided to give it a try. We are Diamond class and the line for Diamond class and beyond were eliminated. The experience in the Windjammer was a nightmare, we were ... Read More
I live in Puerto Rico, when my wife saw the offer for the 3 night cruise we decided to give it a try. We are Diamond class and the line for Diamond class and beyond were eliminated. The experience in the Windjammer was a nightmare, we were always able to find a table but it was very hard to get a plate of food due to the lines and the few stations available. I was on the Harmony of the Seas last December and booked the Symphony on board during that trip, the Freedom of the Seas was kind of a spur of the moment and I ended up regretting it. The cabin was same as always but the bathroom was not as clean as it should be. I was also unable to use the pool because it was always full of people yelling and screaming nonsense which I believe should not have been allowed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The itinerary was great. Villa was amazing. We ordered room service for breakfast and ate in the large lanai. Room service could not get our orders right during our trip. The first day we tried the kids club, we were told our 4 year old ... Read More
The itinerary was great. Villa was amazing. We ordered room service for breakfast and ate in the large lanai. Room service could not get our orders right during our trip. The first day we tried the kids club, we were told our 4 year old would have to adhere to the rules. Sliding on your bottom down the slide and staying at the table (he lost a game and got frustrated and went to a corner to take breaths) that is not allowed. Got a massages and the therapist rushed through the treatment she talked for most of it about all the products that would be “helpful” for me to purchase. Not once did she stop to check in on the pressure. Food quality in the main dining and windjammer was poor. The only quality foods are the specialty restaurants. Our room attendant Samason and Junior the concierge were the MVPs they provided excellent service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Robert Hagea, our head waiter, and Joseph De Bourgh, our stateroom attendant both rendered exceptional service and were committed to meeting our every need. Our only complaint regarding the stateroom was that the phone button for ... Read More
Robert Hagea, our head waiter, and Joseph De Bourgh, our stateroom attendant both rendered exceptional service and were committed to meeting our every need. Our only complaint regarding the stateroom was that the phone button for Housekeeping only caused an Error message to appear when pushed. The food and beverage on the Freedom was one of the best we had experienced from many of the ships we had sailed previously. Coffee seemed to be a problem on them; getting a flavorful and hot cup on other cruises was almost impossible. The coffee on the Freedom was a good medium strength at all times and also piping hot. Our food in Leonardo's was always delicious and prepared properly. A good selection was offered every evening. We were confused, though, about the dinner time the first night as our Sea Pass card had one time on it for the first seating, but the Compass had another. The lemonade, however, was awful, and a kahlua and cream I ordered was too thick and then I found out they were using the vanilla ice cream mix instead of half and half. Then at the Arcadia theater they were trying to sell popcorn for $2 a box, when you can go to Sorrento's and get a whole pizza for free??? Some of the entertainment was not what we had come to expect from Royal. Don Barnhart, the first comedian, was not funny at all. Scott Alexander and Kivi Rogers, however, were hilarious. Peter and Ildiko were also very entertaining with their gymnastics and aerial work. The Freedom of the Seas dancers and singers were pretty good. We didn't care for the bands or DJs. Initiative, the island music band, left much to be desired and did not play very long or as many soca or reggae tunes as we expected. For a cruise line with Caribbean as their middle name it was disheartening to not have good Caribbean music onboard, especially on the pool deck. Venues that had music for dancing could not accommodate dancers. The Latin music was played at the Boleros lounge which had a small sliver of a dance area, instead of a venue with a nice big dance floor like the Star lounge or the Olive or Twist. Since the cruise originated in San Juan there was a large number of Hispanics wanting to enjoy the Latin music, but Boleros had no room for everyone, and people were packed all over the decks above and below. DJ Tecoy in the Olive or Twist lounge would play songs that no one seemed to want to dance to. And he would turn up the bass very loud and make it uncomfortable. Speaking of Olive or Twist, the windows of the Viking Crown, where the main draw is the beautiful view, were dirty and needed cleaning. The cruise director's staff was not good at being the MC for the various events and games. Nicola Cottrell and her partner Geoff were terrible and looked like they threw things together at the last minute. Also, the music in a lot of places was way too loud: On Air, the Star Lounge, the fitness center, even around the pool deck. Thankfully, two of the shore excursions we went on were a blast; the off-road UTV tour in Aruba and the rhino rider experience in St.Maarten are favorites of ours and we do them every time we visit those islands. But the Flavors of St. Thomas Culinary Tour was quite a disappointment. We had done the same tour by the same company in San Juan and received much better value there - five stops at different restaurants and bars as opposed to only three in St.Thomas, and at a much lower price, too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Went on the Southern Caribbean Cruise June 30, 2018 for 1 week, went to Curacao, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba with start and finish at Puerto Rico. Loved the itinerary, all the places were great and the excursions were wonderful. The ... Read More
Went on the Southern Caribbean Cruise June 30, 2018 for 1 week, went to Curacao, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba with start and finish at Puerto Rico. Loved the itinerary, all the places were great and the excursions were wonderful. The ship had some issues...first let me say I have cruised several times before and have cruised on Royal Caribbean in the past and was super impressed, it is why we chose to come back to Royal. Freedom of the Seas is a little dated with decor and needs some maintenance like painting, replacing broken items, etc. Our room attendant was not very attentive, it seemed he was burned out. He would say hello and was friendly. I am used to towel animals on every cruise every night and this one I had to leave a note asking to have some animals....that being said we only had 2 :( Our bed was really hard and by the end of the ship we were really sore from sleeping in it. Balcony was wonderful to sit on and enjoy the view, have breakfast, etc. The only problem on the balcony is if you sit in the chairs it is very difficult to see as the banister is right in line sight. You have to look above it or below it which is hard to do if you are say between 5'5' and 6 feet due to the banister. We had a spacious ocean view balcony room, 8688. RESERVATIONS: Our Royal Caribbean reservationist had made promises that didn't happen i.e. chocolate covered strawberries will be in the room upon arrival, they weren't and guest services said they weren't put in the computer but they were able to get us some anyways. DRINKS: We bought the soda package and there are several machines throughout the ship, I know we found them on deck 5 and deck 11. Most of them didn't work at all, some were always out of soda and the lines of the ones that did work were so long it wasn't worth it. We complained twice to guest services and were told to go to the bars to get refills. When we went to the bars, several bartenders seemed annoyed and frustrated to refill soda cups. Cruises are big for alcohol and LOTS of it! It is sold and pushed EVERYWHERE....free samples to look at jewelry or book another cruise.....sure let's get drunk and spend our money foolishly ugh! I'm a non-drinker so it was frustrating to be treated differently at dinners and bars just because I don't drink alcohol. Total waste of money to get the soda package if the machines are not working. If you are a drinker, the alcohol package is well worth it as drinks are VERY expensive. DINING: We did my time dining. MAKE RESERVATIONS during the day! We didn't make reservations one night and the wait was 30+ minutes. On the nights we made reservations we got to sit in the section with the best waitstaff....Nicola and Addson were great! Other dining staff on other nights were not attentive, didn't seem to care we were even there. On the last night at dinner it was obvious something was wrong as most of the dining staff was clearly stressed out more than usual and very few were smiling. SHIP: there are plenty of ways to direct you on the ship with maps and interactive screens. The cruise compass (daily news if you will) tells you everything that is happening and where. READ IT! Explore the ship, get familiar with where things are. Always something happening. Much of the ship announcements were in Spanish and most of them translated to English but some didn't. Some staff didn't speak English at all and some had very limited English. Room service didn't understand us when we called for orders. FOOD: Main dining room was good, steaks are so yummy. Dinner at Mystery Theater was great! Pizza was ok. Windjammer buffet has okay food, nothing special and is super busy most of the time so can be very chaotic. The only food option we found after dinner time was pizza (which is free) until 3am. Johnny Rockets (service charges) open until 11pm and the Cafe with coffee, tea and snacks. Johnny Rockets has great burgers! Overall we had fun, mostly at the ports and less so on board. I really am quite disappointed this time as Royal Caribbean didn't make me feel welcomed or special in any way. Every turn is a hard sell of something. Service charges are added to everything and there is a distinct expectation of additional tips on top of that. You are nickeled and dimed every where you go on the ship. I LOVE cruising but will not go back on this ship and not sure I will even travel on Royal Caribbean again after this experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We took this cruise for our honeymoon and my birthday we planned activities so we could have plenty of time as a couple and on water. Each island on the this cruise was beautiful and got more beautiful at each port. We spent time ... Read More
We took this cruise for our honeymoon and my birthday we planned activities so we could have plenty of time as a couple and on water. Each island on the this cruise was beautiful and got more beautiful at each port. We spent time snorkeling, on the beach, and on a boat in almost every port. If you like water activities I highly recommend the excursions, they were great! I was disappointed that the Barbados rum excursion was cancelled and we didn't really have much to do there with the night before notice that the excursion was cancelled. The ship was clean and the staff was friendly. It was well worth every penny spent before, during and after the cruise. The boarding process in each port was easy so was the embarkation and disembarkation at the beginning and end of the cruise. We will be cruising with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Freedom of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 4.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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