2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Fantastic time, the first night was a little hectic due to getting everyone on board, the muster drill and getting everyone settled but things smoothed out nicely after the second day. excursions went smoothly, getting the groups checked ... Read More
Fantastic time, the first night was a little hectic due to getting everyone on board, the muster drill and getting everyone settled but things smoothed out nicely after the second day. excursions went smoothly, getting the groups checked in in the air-conditioned theater before going outside to the meeting places was a brilliant idea. We did have an issue with the padding / mattress on the sleeper sofa, had to use 3 padding and folded them together to make it thick enough to mimic a mattress. my back was in such pain trying to sleep on the sofabed we were usually too tired to watch any of the shows. but we did catch the ice show and really enjoyed that. In the beginning, we had an issue with the my time dining reservations. we traveled with a group of 8 and wanted to seat at 7pm. but there were not enough large tables to fit us. the early seating was not finished by 7 so we have to wait for them to finish to get a table. a few items I would like to point out. 1) the smoke coming from the casino made most of the 3rd floor inhabitable. even when no one was in the casino I was still gaging. On sea day it was SO crowded, and everyone was saving chairs that you could NOT use the pool area or the upper deck. EVERY chair was taken with a towel and all the pools were full of people you could not get in. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on cruises before but I just don't remember ever feeling so welcomed and cared about as I did on this cruise. All of the people working on this ship are amazing - from the room attendants, to the waiters, to guest services ... Read More
I have been on cruises before but I just don't remember ever feeling so welcomed and cared about as I did on this cruise. All of the people working on this ship are amazing - from the room attendants, to the waiters, to guest services and bartenders. Everyone goes out of their way and seems to be enjoying themselves as well. The service is impeccable. You will never be treated that well unless you stay in an extremely expensive resort or you're a celebrity. I don't know how they do it day after day. I actually cried and hugged the staff on the last day. Getting on and off the ship was extremely easy and smooth. The ship itself is very clean. The food is good and so is the entertainment. We ate in the main dining room and the buffet - (no special dining for us) and you could always find something good to eat. This was a very full ship with lots of kids and I'm not always thrilled to be around that many people but you could always find a little space if you needed. I would say that the worst thing about this cruise was the other passengers most of whom were annoying or just plain clueless. I really don't see what people have to complain about. No cooking, no cleaning and people to wait on you every second as well as amazing places to visit. All of the ports were amazing. We would just get a cab to take us to an uncrowded beach - each one more beautiful than the last. The entertainment and shows were good - there was always something to do. Overall, a great vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the Southern Caribbean cruise because we enjoy warm weather after a long stint of snow and ice in Ontario, Canada. We sailed a similar cruise on Jewel of the Seas before. Ship - some wear but not noticeable unless someone was ... Read More
We chose the Southern Caribbean cruise because we enjoy warm weather after a long stint of snow and ice in Ontario, Canada. We sailed a similar cruise on Jewel of the Seas before. Ship - some wear but not noticeable unless someone was really looking. Promenade with shops and cafe and pizza was very good. No pushy sales people. The sports area was a bit tucked away though. Plenty of chairs/loungers even on our sea day. Entertainment - good. Same ice show was on 2 days at 2 different times. Good variety. Dining - requested a table for our group of 6. Unfortunately our head waiter had a new assistant waiter and service was slow as molasses. We were usually the last or almost the last to leave the dining room while a couple (also serviced by same waiters) received everything first. Ex: they had dessert before we received our appetizers. Also requested savory bites but was told could not provide :( People - everyone was very friendly. No issues with staff or other guests. Was a bit worried given the many negative reviews, but no issues at all on the cruise. St Thomas - we went to Sapphire Beach and surprisingly there was a water spout to wash off. Bar service and restrooms were available. Our ship docked at Crown Bay so there was an extra cost to go to downtown shopping. Antigua - had a great tour with Gordon Tours. For our group of 6, adults were $40/adult - Jerome was our tour guide. Everyone in our group really enjoyed the tour especially the visit to Nelson's Dockyard. Would suggest more time at the Dockyard as there was a lot to see. Barbados - visited the Boatyard for the first time and it was good. $25/person. As expected given our late docking there were no chairs/umbrella upon arrival. We made due under the pier and very nice people offered theirs when they left. Could not go on the boat to see the turtles even though we signed up right after arriving. Not worth it for us in the future as no guaranteed chairs/shade; not interested in inflatables; turtle boat dicey; last return back to cruise ship with them was 2hrs before all aboard. St Lucia - had a great time doing the Triple Adventure (jeep safari, zip lining and waterfall) with Treetop Adventures. Our guide was Erika/Sunshine. Gave a brief history during the Jeep Safari (tour portion was just ok). Zip lining was fantastic! Safety was huge plus. Groups have 2 guides for the zip lines. One guide goes first to the end of the zip line while the other guide hooks each person and tells you when to go. Way more safe zip lining with them than in Quebec. Afterwards, we had a provided burger and drinks at the waterfall. No "hike", just short walk. St Maarten - we went to Orient Bay and did parasailing and jet ski. We rented 2 chairs & umbrella for $30. Place with red umbrellas even had an outdoor shower. Short walk to other area including Le Macaron (to die for French pastries). There is also a guy who walks around with a wheel barrow selling coconuts. San Juan, PR - we had surf lessons at Pine Grove Surf Club (great instructor) on the Carolina side. Instructor is very patient. $55/person for lesson. Easy to find, just go on the Carolina beach to the right of the Ritz Carleton and there is a tent. We previously had lessons from Wow Surfing but they were rude when we emailed to book again. Kasalta bakery/sandwich place in Parque (close to Condado) - good place for breakfast. Ask for English menu. El Vagon food truck with seating in Miramar - delicious and reasonably priced. Miramar food trucks in Miramar - went there on Sunday around 1PM and there was only 1 food truck open. Went to nearby El Vagon instead. Bebo BBQ near airport - tasty and very cheap. However, salty and no English whatsoever. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the service was excellent.We were travelling with our 4 year old grand daughter and family and our servers Dewa and Putu were so good to us all.They accommodated our special requests and time ... Read More
We enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the service was excellent.We were travelling with our 4 year old grand daughter and family and our servers Dewa and Putu were so good to us all.They accommodated our special requests and time lines and were nothing short of amazing. Our cabin steward ,Randy, became our grand daughter’s new best friend. The ship is still in good shape and well maintained.But the itinerary including Barbados,Antigua,St Maarten ,St Lucia and San Juan were the main reasons we chose this sailing.......as well as the fact that it was March Break.The ports were lovely as always.We did the catamaran to the Pitons in St Lucia through the ship as well as the beach break to Simpsons Bay in st Maarten and both excursions were great. The entertainment was also top notch and we even saw the ice show twice as we enjoyed it so much. My only complaint was the crowds and lines.I just think there were too many people on this ship and everything we did took extra time.We have never felt this crowding on any other ship or cruise line .I would definitely advise getting a balcony if you value any level of peace .The only other option would have been deck 4 on the promenade. The Windjammer was usually a nightmare during peak times and on sea days and there weren’t many other options for lunch to ease this situation.The dining room was slow for breakfast- but quiet and good. I also don’t like the fact that they are charging for room service any time other than for a continental breakfast. The solarium pool was so crowded on a sea day that there was only a small bit of standing room available. I have never experienced this before. I do enjoy the benefits of being a diamond member and I really hope they will continue this perk. There were no enrichment activities other than selling products. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We we're a group of 6 with 2 children under 5. We left from San Juan Puerto Rico after a 2 night stay prior to boarding the ship, which I highly recommend. We stayed in Old San Juan and toured the old forts and spent some time on ... Read More
We we're a group of 6 with 2 children under 5. We left from San Juan Puerto Rico after a 2 night stay prior to boarding the ship, which I highly recommend. We stayed in Old San Juan and toured the old forts and spent some time on our balcony over looking the streets. Amazing atmosphere! Our Embarkation was effortless. Less than 15 minutes from arriving we were already on board as we had no wait and walked straight up to the check in counter. We arrived around 230pm for a 830pm sailing. Our room was ready and we received our luggage at 5pm which just gave us enough time to get ready for dinner before the muster drill at 5:45, which is mandatory. Our balcony room was 9676. Our friends room was 6572. The rooms are clean and comfortable but definitely beginning to show signs of wear, especially on the couch and the corners of the bathroom. Our kleenex holder under the sink fell off from under the counter. But our room steward, Kenneth was amazing. No complaints and always there to help whenever we needed something. Especially when I decided to baby sit the kids one night he even made up the pullout couch for them. The only other spot on the ship that I thought was showing signs of wear, were the hallway carpets, but that doesn't bother me much, just something I noticed. The food I found was to be average. Typical buffet food and we did eat in the dinning room which was nice with excellent service. Personally, I have found Princess Cruises to have the best food. I did not book any excursions through the boat. We did a bus tour of Bonaire which was great. 3.5 hours which took us around to Rincon and seen pink flamingo's and stopped at a Cactus Distillery. There was a distinct taste, but was delicious. Then we traveled to the south end of the island and seen the salt flats and slave huts. Definitely worth the time and money, which I believe was around $59pp, again, not through the ship. In Aruba, I met up with some friends that were staying in Aruba for the month at Boca Catalina Beach. It is up near the North end of the island and there are no tourists on this beach. Amazing snorkeling and this is where all the catamarans come from the cruise ships. But you are not with them. You can get to this beach by taking the public bus which is one block south of the cruise terminal. $2.60 each way pp or $10 per day pp to ride unlimited times. A taxi ride up to this beach for 2 people was $26 plus tip. When we snorkeled here, we seen star fish, flounders, and even sea turtles if you are patient, they will come up for air within feet of you. Amazing! and no crowds. In Curaco we went on a jet ski tour, again not through the cruise ship. It was OK. The waters were rough, and apparently this was considered a calm day. But we also snorkeled here and it was also amazing. But here we jumped in and we immediately found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of jellyfish. We did get a couple stings but nothing hurt us. Your guide is supposed to check for them first but ours did not. It was beautiful but we did not stay long. Next stop after a sea day was St. Maarten. We went to Maho Beach to see the planes come in at the airport. Again, do not go through the cruise line to do this. The 4 of us paid $64 US round trip for a taxi to go to Maho Beach. I believe the cruise line was charging $89 pp and only there for max 2 hours. We spent 6 hours their. The bar had entertainment and cheap drinks (A bucket of 6 beers for $20) It is busy but not excessively busy. Definitely the cruise is worth the itinerary. I would do it again just for Aruba and St. Maarten alone. The ship is overall nice, I just found the windjammer to be excessively busy most of the time and often they had one side of the buffet closed. With the kids, they have a pool area with a "water park: near the back of the ship, but for most of the cruise the water park portion was closed or just not operating which was a bummer for the kids. The entertainment did not appeal to us this cruise (32-35 year olds) They had one comedy show on at 11:45pm and the next morning the ship was docked at 7:30am. It would have been nice to see it, but we had to be off the boat and at our excursion for 8:00am. Otherwise it was just typical filler shows with music and dancing, which did not appeal to us. Skating on this boat was only open for like an hour or 2 per day and it was first come first served. The lines were huge. Maybe I missed something, but I'm not sure why they couldn't have the rink open all day or for hours at a time. The kids wanted to go so badly but never got a chance to get on the ice. I have been on Allure of the Seas and I found myself comparing this cruise to that one. Allure never felt busy and definitely had more options for free dining. I just wish the bigger boats could travel to the smaller ports. Disembarkation was just as efficient as embarkation. We were in a taxi within 10 minutes of leaving the ship. In case you were unaware, you are allowed to bring on 2 bottles of wine per stateroom and 1 case of 12 pops per stateroom, which we did and was well worth it. We hung out on the balcony and enjoyed a beverage while the kids were in bed and before dinner. Definitely saved us some money. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We have sailed with Royal 3 other times.. Very good experiences in the past.. We had not been on a Cruise in like 4 years and decided to go on this one being that we wanted to go to these ports... We had 4 new Cruisers with ... Read More
We have sailed with Royal 3 other times.. Very good experiences in the past.. We had not been on a Cruise in like 4 years and decided to go on this one being that we wanted to go to these ports... We had 4 new Cruisers with us... When we arrived we were very unhappy to see that we had to pay for Room Service (past cruises this was not the case) We had a Balcony which was great... When I opened the Refrigerator in past Cruises the refrigerator was stocked and if you happen to drink anything they replenish and of course charge you. So every evening we needed to make sure to grab water to bring to the room or any pop just in case you woke up and were thirsty... Pool side was disappointing it did not seem like they had many pool side workers walking around taking orders. Past Cruises the workers would walk around with Drinks of the day trying to get you to buy. It was also disappointing that there were really only two places we could go to eat later in the evening which was Sorentos and the Promenade.. Needless to say after adding up what we had spent our decision to not Cruise for a long while was made.. WE will stick to All Inclusive Resorts... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
A $995 Sturhling watch was discounted for $145. Thatsounds terrific; but, when registering with Sturhling after returning home, I learned the watch is sold normally onine for $95; that's a $50 mark-up over retail - not wholesale, ... Read More
A $995 Sturhling watch was discounted for $145. Thatsounds terrific; but, when registering with Sturhling after returning home, I learned the watch is sold normally onine for $95; that's a $50 mark-up over retail - not wholesale, and certainly no discount. Both the ship's signage and their employee hawked the watch as 'heavily discounted' for RCI passengers. Staffing is more focused on operational efficiency than customer service. Airport RCI transfer when disembarking was 45 minutes longer and $14 more than the inbound taxi a week earlier. Sound system - in main dining room very poor and garbled if not on the the main floor (Deck 3). - in cabin: disconnected Soda package slightly pricey. Many used the machines without buying the package. Photographers had carte blanche control, shutting down stairwells and the 'bridge' in front of Guest Services with zero regard for passengers unable to move between decks on that end of the ship. Food highlight: the oatmeal. The French Onion soup is a chicken broth, not beef based; the flavor is onion, but the substance is not. The chicken parmegian had no cheese. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had a great vacation but the cruise portion was average at best. Fortunately, we had long days in port and only two sea days. The service staff all did a stellar job. My only complaint here is that sometimes the food servers were a ... Read More
We had a great vacation but the cruise portion was average at best. Fortunately, we had long days in port and only two sea days. The service staff all did a stellar job. My only complaint here is that sometimes the food servers were a bit too attentive. It became very obvious they were doing this so that we would rate them a 10 on the post cruise survey. At first, It became somewhat of a joke between my husband and I. By the end, we were getting very annoyed by the dinner interruptions to remind us of the survey. Other areas of improvement include the food selection and entertainment schedule. The windjammer served the same food day in and out. Additionally, the main dining room menu served variations of the same proteins with little thought or creativity night after night. By the second sea day, there was no fresh mint to be found which meant the end of my favorite vacation drink, the mojito. Luckily, I had enjoyed my fair share prior to this. :-) Our biggest gripe was with the entertainment schedule. There were a few nights when there was literally nothing that appealed to us. There were lots of opportunities for trivia and game shows structured to embarrass the participants but those aren't our cup of tea. One minor thing that would have greatly improved our experience was live music before dinner. Instead, it was often nearly 10 pm before any of the musicians started. As stated at the beginning, our vacation itself was lovely but we cruise for the itinerary. If you cruise for the ship, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our 4th RC sailing and 3rd on this class of ship. We booked this sailing through Casino Royale based on sailing date and itinerary, as we had never visited any of the ports (Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten). After we ... Read More
This was our 4th RC sailing and 3rd on this class of ship. We booked this sailing through Casino Royale based on sailing date and itinerary, as we had never visited any of the ports (Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten). After we booked, three other couples decided to join us, so we were travelling with a party of 8. After reading many reviews prior to our sailing, I'll hit the highlights and my recommendations. First of all, some passengers are just spoiled and entitled and others are just miserable. If you want the Ritz Carlton, spend a lot more money and sail on one of the high end cruise lines. If you don't like being around a lot of people, don't go on a cruise. We have never and will never sail on Carnival. We live in Houston near the Port of Galveston, so we hear all the horror stories. Royal Caribbean provides a fantastic mid-tier cruising experience at a great value compared to other vacation options. We sailed out of San Juan, arriving early morning on a red eye flight. We booked it through RC which I highly recommend. If you run into flight delays they will take care of you. This is especially important on an overseas cruise. We spent the morning in Old San Juan with one couple in our party who had arrived the day before. Had we fully understood the logistics, we would not have purchased the inbound transfer, as we ended up not using it and took an Uber from our friends' hotel to the pier. We arrived at the pier around the time check-in opened. I would NOT recommend this. If I had it to do over again, we would have had a leisurely lunch in Old San Juan and waited for the crowd to clear out. As I had read in other reviews, luggage drop off at the pier was extremely disorganized and chaotic and the lines to drop off luggage and get through security were very long. It took us about 45 minutes to get inside the terminal. Thankfully three of the 8 of us are Gold members, so our entire party was able to check in almost immediately, and by the time we got on board just a short time later our cabins were already ready. Be sure to show up with your RC luggage tags printed and already on your bags. Believe it or not you will see people showing up with NO cabin tags which really slowed things down. On the other end, disembarkation is a snap if you purchase an airport transfer AND use the porters. There is an "express lane" for people using the porters to handle and load their luggage onto the trucks that deliver it to you at the airport. Freedom of the Seas is definitely due for a rehab, which she will be getting in Jan 2020. The common areas are still very nice, but the cabins are showing some wear. Having said that, our cabin was very clean and everything functioned properly. Our cabin steward Dmitry was very sweet, personable, thorough and efficient. We gave him $20 on Day 1 which is our normal practice. This is neither necessary nor expected, and I don't know if it really makes a difference, but we have always had excellent service from all of our cabin attendants. We were in 9504 which is a "spacious oceanview" cabin facing outward on the very front of the ship. We didn't see the need for a balcony on this sailing, loved the cabin location, and would book this exact cabin again in the future if we could. The extra space was nice to have, and I took someone's suggestion to move the coffee table into the corner behind the bed. It turned something that was just in the way into a nice storage area. We never eat in our cabin, so we didn't need it for that purpose. Be sure to bring at least one multiplug or power strip with you. There was only one double outlet in our cabin located at the vanity. We bring one that includes USB ports for device charging. Regarding dining, we eat in the Main Dining Room every dinner along with breakfast and lunch if we can. The service and food are always excellent, and especially on a Caribbean sailing the dress code is pretty lax. It beats the chaos in the Windjammer and the food is far better. If you are traveling with a group I would strongly recommend picking either the early or late seating in the MDR vs. My Time dining. It's just so much easier to coordinate, and everyone will always know where to be and when. If you choose My Time, be sure to visit the My Time reservation desk as soon as you get on board. Have everyone's cabin numbers with you. The larger your group, the harder it will be to get a table at peak times. Our group of 8 had our choice of 6:00 or earlier or 8:45 or later. We chose 6:00 which worked out great, because we were the first seating at our table. After the first night we made sure they knew we wanted that table at that time every night, and for the rest of the cruise we were able to walk right in without even stopping at the front or waiting in line. We had zero issues with the food - everyone in our party enjoyed everything they ordered and frequently ordered multiple items. If you do ever order something you don't care for, they will be happy to bring you something else. We booked excursions through RC's website for all four ports. All were fun and well run with very knowledgeable guides. Snorkeling in Bonaire and Aruba was a bit disappointing but only because it was extremely windy with strong currents both days. I'd recommend skipping the Curacao distillery. It was very tourist trappy and they really rush you through it. On the other hand, the Topper's Rhum distillery in St. Maarten was so fun and very informative - one of the highlights of our trip. We haven't yet decided where or when our next Royal Caribbean cruise will take us, but there will be many more in our future! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose it for the itinerary. This was my first cruise and I could not have been happier! Each and every ship employee I came in contact with went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed. I was impressed with how the crew would ... Read More
Chose it for the itinerary. This was my first cruise and I could not have been happier! Each and every ship employee I came in contact with went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed. I was impressed with how the crew would remember our names. Our cabin attendant (Reynaldo G) was the highlight!! He was always so happy eager to help in any way he could. The ONLY rude people I came in contact with were some of the passengers, never a crew member. I read reviews of people budging in line during the bag drop off but with that in mind our group was willing to "redirect" these people back to the end of the line. The check-in and check-out process was very well organized and went smoothly. The shows were amazing. We attended a comedian show and the ice show. The shore excursions reserved through the ship were very well organized. In two ports we didn't go through the ship and had no problems with the excursions we chose in port. The ship was immaculate but some areas were dated. I did hear that Freedom of the Seas was going into dry dock at the end of the year for an overhaul. The only "complaint" I had was the information meeting for St. Maarten. It was advertised as a 30 minute show to introduce us to things to do in St. Maarten but ended up being a 1 hour "show" talking about jewelry stores on the island. Granted, some of the deals were amazing but nowhere did the advertising mention this and again, it said 30 minutes, not 1 hour. All in all, I would certainly book through Royal Caribbean for my next cruise! Read Less
Freedom of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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