6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First time in this ship. Overall food was great in the Windjammer and most nights in the dining room. We were a party of 13 with 2 booking last minute. They put us at a table of 11 which was tight. I had gone down to the dining room in ... Read More
First time in this ship. Overall food was great in the Windjammer and most nights in the dining room. We were a party of 13 with 2 booking last minute. They put us at a table of 11 which was tight. I had gone down to the dining room in the afternoon to see about two tables instead. They got a table of two close by but no one called to tell us they couldn’t do anything. We even told the mature d and he never came back to the table after the second night. The people who booked late Even got a note under their door saying not to come to the dining room as there wasn’t room. Someone doesn’t have their act together. Only one towel counter wasopen. There was a long line to return or get towels in the sea day. The sprinkles area for yogurt was in the walking path between the kids pool and the main one. Again only 1 side ever open. Lines were really long. Lines for sorrentos was long. No pizza in the Windjammer. Chair hogs out. Always sat by the kids pool. First island the towels were off the boat. The next time they were on deck 1. Got off mid ship and towels were on deck 2. If you were handicapped you would have to take the elevator back up to two to get towels. To get off they would say go to forward midship. I had to call the operator to find out it was either forward OR midship. Could never understand the person who talked about activities. The elevator buttons didn’t light up in one side but did in the other. Had to call the operatorTo find out where diamond members could disembark on the last day. We wentTo deck 4’and got off. Someone said wait 20 minutes since none of theLuggage was out. CompleteLie. Overall the good outnumbered the things that could be improved. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our group of five had a great time on this cruise. It's not high-end luxury, but it was still a great experience, with moments of excellence and not many frustrations. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, and we were quite impressed ... Read More
Our group of five had a great time on this cruise. It's not high-end luxury, but it was still a great experience, with moments of excellence and not many frustrations. This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, and we were quite impressed by their organization and the quality of the staff. A few thoughts on random things: Embarkation: I'd read a lot about how messy things could be at the San Juan pier. We experienced none of it. We showed up around 12:30 PM (so we could go explore the city before the ship left). Drop-off was speedy, check-in was speedy. It was really, really easy. Food: A little uneven, but quite good overall. The Main Dining Room was generally good. The service was the best part - our waiters and headwaiter indulged every whim. Some of the food was excellent, and some was mediocre. But we always felt taken care of. Windjammer was typical buffet food. We were pleasantly surprised that we could always find a table. The occasional dish was delicious. None of it was bad. Most of it was in between. Tried two specialty restauarants. Chops Grille was fantastic. A truly wonderful dinner. Giovanni's Italian was okay for food, and terrible for service. Sorrento's pizza was fine. Not high quality pizza - but better than chain delivery spots, and come on - it was "free" and available whenever you wanted it. Cafe Promenade had good coffee (free if you didn't need specialty coffee). We never tried Johnny Rockets. The Pool Deck: I have never loved a pool deck on a cruise. Always so crowded, and the pools are too small for all the people. I still didn't love this one. But it was pretty pleasant. At-Sea days were predictably nuts. But by and large, it was a nice place to hang out. The loungers are well maintained. The towel service was really efficient. And the lines at the bars were not outrageous. The Sports Deck and the Gym: A lot of fun to be had here. Mini-golf, rock climbing and the Flow Rider were nice diversions from the norm. The basketball/volleyball court was big, although it was a windy week up there. The gym was excellent. Good equipment, not too crowded and a spectacular view out the windows. Entertainment: Overall, pretty good - with the odd clunker from our family's take. The Arcadia Theatre was a nice place to come to (though note to RCCL - you shouldn't charge for popcorn. You gouge us enough everywhere else). The "in-house" singing and dancing troupe was startlingly good. There were three nights with comics. One was great, one was okay, and one was lame. The various musical acts around the ship were also uneven. The "Caribbean" band by the pool was tight; the Latin band that played in various bars was quite good. The other music was a bit cheesy. The piano lounge singer was...well, let's just say he wasn't our fave. As for other types of entertainment? We went to two skating performances. The Christmas show was lousy, but the regular performance was very good. We ignored the "sexy man" competition by the pool. But as a guilty pleasure, the belly flop competition was a lot of fun. And speaking of guilty pleasure, the take-off on the Newlywed Game was hilarious. Excursions: We did a bit of ship-based stuff, and a bit on our own. In short: Curacao - Arranged our own private tour for the day. It was fantastic. Did the Hato Caves, Shete Boka, Grand Knip beach (completely gorgeous and worth the drive), and hung out at Blue Bay for lazy time and potent, tropical drinks. Aruba - This was our pure beach day. We did Eagle Beach, and it was about as nice as one could hope for. St. Kitts - we did a simple ship excursion, the "Panoramic Drive". It was....the worst thing about this cruise. The tour guide was terrible. And the dozen or so people on the tour were all laughing at how bad an experience it was. We met friends for lunch on the island afterward at Cockleshell Beach, and learned more from our cab driver than we had on the organized tour. St. Thomas: We had booked an underwater scooter tour, which we were so looking forward to. But it was cancelled, presumably because of the windy weather. We grabbed an impromptu tour from a guy on the pier and it was fine. By the way - San Juan itself was incredible for exploring. Highly recommend doing 1-2 days either before or after the cruise. If you don't, you are doing yourself a disservice. FInally, a word on the "vibe" on the ship. The atmosphere was just fine. Lots of different ages. Lots of different cultures. And it felt like it all worked. We observed only a couple of our fellow passengers who were rude to staff or other passengers. For the most part, it just seemed that people were having a good time. Hope this is helpful. I would say that if you have booked Freedom of the Seas, you can feel optimistic that you'll have a good vacation. It's not the newest ship or the biggest or the most glamorous. But for us, the memories of this cruise will be very good, indeed. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my seventh cruise, overall, and fourth with RCI. I just don't know what I could complain about. Getting on and off was fast and easy. The ship is beautiful. My eighth floor balcony cabin as spacious and felt like new.....I just ... Read More
This was my seventh cruise, overall, and fourth with RCI. I just don't know what I could complain about. Getting on and off was fast and easy. The ship is beautiful. My eighth floor balcony cabin as spacious and felt like new.....I just love balcony cabins.......We ate three nights in the regular restaurant and the other four nights in the specialty restaurants (my time dining) and all were excellent. The entertainment in both the small venues and the large production shows (two ice shows and seven main theater shows) was great. As is always the case on cruise ships, the service was over the top great. The people work so very hard, and always are so pleasant and accommodating. You are not going to get treated better at any five star hotel, While the ship was sold out with over 4500 passengers on board, it never felt crowded. There was always room in the pools and hot tubs, for example. This ship is a city, and like any city, at any time, you can be surrounded by a thousand partying people if you want to, or, you can easily find ten public spots on the ship where you are completely alone. We went on four excursions, and all, like everything else on the ship, were extremely well organized. When I read what some people in other reviews complain about, it just amazes me. I guess some people are just always going to be complainers. Do yourself a favor, ignore them, and go have a great cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Would not recommend taking this cruise unless you can speak and understand Spanish. Found some bartenders that didn’t speak English. The MC of several functions or events only spoke Spanish. People carry their own boom box and ... Read More
Would not recommend taking this cruise unless you can speak and understand Spanish. Found some bartenders that didn’t speak English. The MC of several functions or events only spoke Spanish. People carry their own boom box and played annoying loud. When you ask a crew member to get it turned down they just stare at you. Beyond that the ports are awesome. The ship was clean and decorated for Christmas. Boarding was smooth. Had a balcony cabin and the cabin steward was the best ever. Took an ATV excursion in Bonaire and it was amazing. Signed up for a special dining package and the food and service was excellent. Attended most of the shows an they were well structured and entertaining. Recommend going to San Juan a day or two early to see old San Juan, it is well worth it. The cruise value was good overall. Just need to consider the language issue. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We are 2 sisters with husbands in tow, all of us mid 50's, from the "mainland" US. We booked this cruise because we had previously been on the Independence and Liberty (sister ships to Freedom), the deal for balcony rooms was ... Read More
We are 2 sisters with husbands in tow, all of us mid 50's, from the "mainland" US. We booked this cruise because we had previously been on the Independence and Liberty (sister ships to Freedom), the deal for balcony rooms was fantastic, we had never been to the southern Caribbean, and it was our anniversary. Dicken's may have said it before me, but it was indeed "the best of times and the worst of times". We flew into San Juan from Orlando the morning of the cruise and everything went picture perfect. We splurged on a private SUV transfer to the cruiseport (Elegant Steering) and were dropped off steps from the doors to the terminal. However, people from the previous cruise were departing at the same time and made it a little difficult to figure out where to go. The pillars are marked with your floor#, but on the opposite side so we did not see the signs but were directed by kind porters. Tip them a few $ per bag to handle them. The line at that time (about 12 pm) wasn't too long and we got our seapass cards and were on board with a drink in hand at the Schooner bar by 12:30. Since we saved on the trip cost, we splurged on the all-inclusive drink package. Best decision of the trip! More on beverages later. First we checked our dining arrangements to make sure we were seated together and not near the kitchen door, had a bite to eat at Windjammer (nearly impossible to find a free table, already! May be because the locals [from Puerto Rico] come early and get on right away and head there. More on this later too.), and finished just in time for the doors to the rooms to open. This was the first glitch. They never should have opened those doors. Our room had not been readied yet, not bags delivered, and frantic maids and stateroom attendants dealing with upset passengers while trying to do their jobs. So we turned around, got out and found another bar! Things were set right by 2:30 when we returned to the room. Luggage was there except for 1 bag that never got delivered but we happened to see stuck in a little maintenance room we passed. Weird. We unpacked and had a little time to kill before mandatory muster drill. So, of course, we had a cocktail! Muster was at 5:30 I think (which we thought was strange since early dinner seating was at 6) and it was disorganized and hot as we jam packed with other sweaty bodies on the decks outside. Don't try to skip this - they hold everybody up there until they account for all passengers. After we headed to dinner but had to wait while they reset the tables (apparently the DR was used to muster people as well). We met our lackluster waiter who was very dry and hard to hear. He pretty much did the bare minimum to get us in and out. Our assistant waiter actually worked his tail off and although hard to understand, we got along great. The big surprise on this cruise was that the head waiter (boss of the dining room) actually appeared at our table, every night, making the rounds and personally asking about the service. He addressed every one of our issues and the day after I mentioned to him that I missed having cold fruit soup on the menu every night, it magically appeared the next night! Coincidence? His name was AJ and I think he most likely will be promoted to a bigger better ship before long! We did the shows, which were pretty good, and exceptional juggling act, the quest, etc. Decent entertainment. We tended to favor the Irish pub since it was mostly deserted on this cruise and had an awesome acoustic guitar player (I think his name was Adam Coe?) The reason it was mostly empty is because the cruise was almost 3/4 Puerto Rican. So the other entertainment, karaoke, pool music, etc. was heavily Puerto Rican. I don't blame RC for catering to the home port locals, but I wish it would have been stated somewhere before we booked, and we would have gave a little more thought. PRs tend to be a more lively, loud, energetic, loud bunch, and it was overwhelming for us. They seemed to look down on us, like we were invading their ship. OK, rant over. Our balcony room was 9th floor midship and was perfect for us. My sister had the one next door and we opened the balcony dividers between us and enjoyed a glass of wine before dinner out on the balcony. The room was smallish and the bathroom the typical coffin size, but for a week it was fine. We hit up most of the bars and found the Bloody Mary's to be better than expected, and most of the drinks good although the fruity frozen one's tended to be just OK which was disappointing. We didn't feel like they watered anything down but the drink of the day usually left us scratching our heads. Every bartender was friendly and although service was slow at times, we had no complaints. We never felt that we needed to tip for good service, but toward the end of the cruise we rewarded a few that went the extra mile. The package included "fancy" coffee drinks but the coffee was not that great to begin with (although to be fair, I am that person that usually likes my sugar and cream with a splash of coffee added). My sister got the frozen frosty ice cream drink and said it was great, but the lattes and cappuccinos were not. Even adding the provided liquors did not measurably help. Next rant: The push for the specialty restaurants. It is a real thing. Nearly constant the first 2 days. Very annoying. It would almost be forgivable if the food were better than what was served in the main dining room. IT IS NOT!! We fondly remembered eating at Chops on our last 2 cruises so we booked with the first annoying salesperson the first night. She kept trying to get us to buy the 3 night package. Ugh! Anyway, we looked forward to it being stellar as usual. This was a HUGE waste of money and big disappointment!!! There were no assistant waiters, no drink staff. The one harried, overworked, sweaty waiter had to do it all. We waited almost 20 minutes for a drink order, which was coming from the bar right outside the restaurant! We could have physically got it ourselves faster! No attention to detail, and most of the offerings were THE SAME AS THE MAIN DINING ROOM!! Not kidding! The filet was fantastic, when it finally arrived, but no music, frantic scurrying waiters, and it was about 85 degrees in there as the open kitchen pumped heat into the room. Advice: check the menu before and if it looks a lot like the dining room one...skip it and order your filet from the dining room for less. Shame on you RC for fleecing your guests like that. Disembarkation was a little disorganized as they let small groups down the gangway and held everyone back on the warm ship (doors open). Something to note: after you get off the ship, find your suitcases and head for the customs line (which can be LONG) you can pay a porter to carry your cases for you (I think it was $5 a person) and we skipped the long line and were through customs and outside in a matter of minutes. Quick note about excursions: We did not book with RC but went with self tour or outside tour groups. We were robbed in Curacao when our unattended tour bus was broken into while we were snorkeling. Our credit card was stolen (RC main desk on the ship was very helpful allowing a phone call to cancel it) and iPhones were taken. High crime in Curacao so keep your important stuff ON your person (purchase little waterproof cases you can attach to yourself). Probably good advice for anywhere you go. I would not take this cruise out of San Juan again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose Thanksgiving week because my DH and SIL’s DH have very busy schedules and there wasn’t much going on due to the holiday. Our balcony cabin 8356 was very nice. Good closet space. Dining room food and staff was great ... Read More
We chose Thanksgiving week because my DH and SIL’s DH have very busy schedules and there wasn’t much going on due to the holiday. Our balcony cabin 8356 was very nice. Good closet space. Dining room food and staff was great too. Marian and Ya were wonderful. The 3 shows we saw were very good. Unfortunately too many of the other passengers were rude, loud and inconsiderate. People screaming all the time and running you down. Literally! Even in the elevators. Playing loud music on the balconies and even by the pool with the ships music and live bands. This was our 2nd cruise out of San Juan and the first one on Jewel of the Seas was polar opposite of this one as far as clientele and overall relaxed feeling of the ship. We will likely not go in another from San Juan. It’s too bad because the uteneraries are great. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Freedom of the Seas review Mediocre Experience – Won’t be cruising RCCL again anytime soon (after 9 cruises, 3 with RCCL). We were on the same ship July 2009 – what a fabulous experience!! Delicious food, fantastic ... Read More
Freedom of the Seas review Mediocre Experience – Won’t be cruising RCCL again anytime soon (after 9 cruises, 3 with RCCL). We were on the same ship July 2009 – what a fabulous experience!! Delicious food, fantastic service, outstanding entertainment, fun activities. There were 10 in our group, and a good time was had by all. This time, it was the exact opposite experience. While there were a few things that were excellent (details below), overall we were very disappointed. EMBARKATION: Quick and easy. Arrived at the terminal at 12:30; on board in less than 10 min. Hint: use Uber in San Juan; ¼ the price of taxi’s. Yes, they can go to the cruise piers. DEBARKATION: What a mess! No organization whatsoever. We did self-assist (carried all of our bags); had no idea where to go when we walked off the ship – bizarre twisting long lines of people in the middle of the terminal; staff yelling at you to get in line, but no clear lines marked. Exact opposite of embarkation. 30 min from walking off ship to getting into a taxi. TAXI TO/FROM SAN JUAN AIRPORT: Getting a taxi was a fantastic experience!! Run by PR authorities. Quick, simple, they tell you exactly how much $$ to your destination before you get into taxi, and hand you a piece of paper with fare written down! I travel extensively around the USA and Europe, and this is RARELY seen. Love it; wish more cities did this. ROOM: Balcony. Fine. Clean. Bathroom showing age (mirror glazing chipped off in several places). Had room in center of “the hump” (aft, port side, room 8638); it is a COMPLETE myth that these cabins have a larger room or larger balcony – NOT TRUE. Never met our cabin attendant (in 8 previous cruises, we met the cabin attendance the first 5 min we were in the room!); he kept our room clean, but I have zero idea what he looked like. I do not understand the complaints about soft beds – our bed was very sturdy – certainly not soft or hard – somewhere in the middle. When we got back home, we realized our brand new Tempurpedic extra firm mattress was 10x harder than our bed on Freedom. DINING: 1. Main dining room: mediocre food. Service was OK (Diana was smiling and friendly, but we rarely saw her after we ordered; saw the maitre’d more times than we saw our server). I love food – all food! – but everything we had in the main dining room (breakfast & dinner) was just so-so. If I had been served ANY of Freedom’s food at a restaurant in my local city, I would never return to that restaurant – it was that bad/bland/mediocre. My husband (who will eat ANYTHING and never complains) felt the same way, as did the couple that went with us, and two other couples we shared a table with – none of us were happy with any of the food (appetizers, soups, salads, main courses and desserts). Every night, one of the couples at our table demanded a different entrée after taking a bite of what they ordered – it was THAT bad. RCCL no longer has themed nights in the Main Dining Room (remember Italian night, French night Caribbean night, etc?). While the menu changes only slightly each night (only two new items on the menu each night), everything else is the same EVERY NIGHT. UGH! And lobster night – that is now a joke: it was the next-to-last night; my lobster tail was less than 3 oz (I got 3 tiny bites out of it); if you want a second lobster tail, it will cost you $29.95(!) (remember the days when they brought around extra lobster tails and practically threw them at you – those days are GONE, my friends). None of the desserts were worth the calories – and this is coming from someone with a serious sweet tooth; I took 1 bite of my dessert each night, then pushed it away. 2. Windjammer buffet: 98% of the food was mediocre. What did they do right? Super crisp bacon on the breakfast buffet, and the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (this, coming from a properly raised Southern woman), served at lunch on a sea day. 3. Chops Grill: We ate here the first night, and the last night. Everything the first night was excellent – all of the food (except the desserts) and the service. The steaks and salmon were cooked to perfection (nice crisp seared exterior, and the perfect medium-rare interior). All of the sides were excellent (asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes). The desserts were disappointing – the key lime meringue pie was bitter (this is what happens when bottled lime juice is used, as opposed to freshly squeezed limes), and the red velvet cake was bone-dry (i.e., overbaked). The last night, everything (except the steak, which was again cooked to perfection) was dreadful. The salmon was overcooked, dry and no seared crust; the lobster bisque was burnt; the crab cakes were made with the fake “sea legs” (RCCL – SERIOUSLY?!? I would expect this crap from my local Red Lobster, not a specialty dining venue that cost me $35 pp); the asparagus was undercooked; the truffled French fries had zero truffles on them; the red velvet cake was still bone-dry (I have no idea why my friends insisted on having it again, after complaining about it all week); and the chocolate lava cake was overbaked (hence, no lava). Just awful! If we had been served the last night’s meal on the first night, we would not have returned. 4. Giovanni’s Table: Hit and (mostly) miss. I’ve spent the last 10 years travelling through Italy extensively, so I know how real Italian food should taste. Terrible service – sat at our table for 20 min before the waiter arrived (and we were there at 6:30 when they opened; so they can’t use “we were busy” as an excuse). The Spaghetti Bolognese was outstanding – the best I’ve ever had; I’d kill for their recipe (it was THAT good). The Linguini Carbonara was a joke – almost no sauce (bone-dry) and maybe a ½ piece of bacon in the entire bowl. The Gorgonzola Gnocchi had maybe a teaspoon of gorgonzola cheese in the sauce – so it was very bland. Thank goodness the Tiramisu was excellent! However, the dark chocolate cake had zero flavour (just enough cocoa powder added to give it a dark color, but not enough to give it even a hint of chocolate flavour) and was bone-dry (i.e., yet another piece of cake that was overbaked). My husband took the All Access tour. During the tour, the group went through the Galley and was told that all RCCL cooks (I don’t dare call them chefs because that would most definitely be an insult to chefs everywhere) must have at least 3-years experience at a 5-star restaurant before being considered for a job with RCCL. HAHAHAHAHA – what a joke. That is either a whopper of a lie told by the RCCL staffer giving the tour, or being a dish washer qualifies as the “3-years experience at a 5-star restaurant” … RCCL food does NOT – I repeat, NOT – reflect anything resembling 5-star cuisine. 5. Room Service: we absolutely REFUSE to pay the $7.95 room service fee (the only exclusion is coffee and/or continental breakfast), so we ordered coffee and steamed milk to be delivered to our room every morning; we enjoyed the coffee on our balcony; then went down to the main dining room for breakfast (Windjammer is INSANE for breakfast). One morning, the coffee wasn’t delivered; when we left to head out for breakfast, the room service order form was still handing on our door – no excuse for Room Service not getting it – the deadline is 2am and we put the form out at 10:15pm. What I REALLY didn’t appreciate about Room Service? The attendant who brought our coffee (someone different each morning) would linger in the room for an extra 15-20 secs, like they were waiting for me to hand them a tip – sorry, RCCL now forces me to pay a gratuity per day – get your tip from them!!!!! There is no Izumi on board the Freedom (yet it is listed on the ship’s web site). There is no Starbucks on board the Freedom (again, as listed on the web site). No problem – this saved me at least $40 over the week. ENTERTAINMENT: Mostly Good. We’re the type of nerds that enjoy the trivia games; 3-4 of those each day. There was an ‘action comedian’ in the main theatre one night – we went with the expectation that it would be a cheesy act, but big surprise – he was HILARIOUS and very good at what he does. RCCL now shows movies around the pool at night; decent selection, and great weather for doing this. ‘Game shows’ (Love & Marriage, Finish The Lyrics, Lip Sync Battle, etc) were lots of fun. The big disappointment – anything involving the Royal Caribbean dancers, singers and ‘orchestra’; the two female lead singers were constantly trying to out-sing one another, but in the process they only embarrassed themselves by sounding cheesy and pitchy. The first night’s show was a Broadway revue – so-so; the last night’s “Once Upon A Time” show was so awful, we walked out after the first song (we just couldn’t take the screeching of the singing voices). Basically, it was like watching a re-run of “The Solid Gold Dancers” (if you’re old enough to get this reference, you now understand just how bad it really was). Back in 2009, everything that went on in the Arcadia Theater was outstanding … once again, RCCL disappoints. SHORE EXCURSIONS: As always, the ship charges way too much and you get way too little. On Curacao, we walked around a bit (sorry, but all Caribbean islands look the same; we naively hoped the Southern Caribbean would be different), and then decided to hire a local driver for a 2-hour island tour - $20pp. He did a great job. One of our stops (for about 10 min) was Cabana Beach … trust me – if you’re reading this review, and one of your stops is Curacoa, skip everything else on the island and have a taxi take you directly to Cabana Beach – it is so beautiful. Cost $3.50 pp to get on the beach; there are many, many thatched umbrellas and chairs, warm water, soft sand, and several bars and restaurants. If we had seen Cabana Beach at 9am, rather than 2:30pm – we would have stayed all day. On Aruba, the men booked the JetLev excursion for the morning. Look it up on YouTube. They really enjoyed it, although both agreed the $189 price tag was too steep for a 15 min session. This took place on Palm Beach. I read so many great things about Palm Beach before we left, but was underwhelmed when we got there; it’s about a 3-mile stretch of nothing but one hotel chain after another. Looks just like any other beach strip in the USA (Virginia Beach, Miami, Ocean City) – meh! In the afternoon, we did the undersea submarine; it was OK, but certainly not worth $66pp. On St Kitts, I booked a private 4-hour full island tour with Beulah, who owns Welcome Tours (you can find her on TripAdvisor and at tourstkittsandnevis.com). She was delightful to deal with via e-mail, and even more delightful in person. She met us when we got off the ship, turned us over to one of her drivers (Moschina) and we had a FANTASTIC day. It was the four in our group, plus another couple from another ship. We were having so much fun, the tour ended up being nearly 6 hours, yet we were only charged the originally agreed amount of $46pp. Beulah, Moschina and Welcome Tours is highly recommended. On St Thomas, we booked the shore excursion through the ship to go snorkelling on St John’s (this was our 4th time on St Thomas). The $44pp was actually worth it – nice boat ride to St John’s, snorkel equipment included, a bus driver who gave us a mini-tour on the way to our beach (even letting us get out and take photos along the way); it was so nice to get way from the hordes of rude passengers on the ship. We had about 2 ½ hours at the beach – perfect amount of time for us. Passengers: Unfortunately, RCCL is now catering to the lowest common denominator. A good portion of the passengers were rude, pushy and loud. My husband is the easiest going person I know; in 28 years together, I’ve only heard him raise his voice twice … he raised his voice a third time during our cruise on Freedom. One night in the Arcadia Theater, a group of women (7 or 8) sat in the row behind us and talked NON-STOP. After about 20 min of this, my husband turned around the yelled at them to “shut up or get out”. Imagine my shock … but he WAS absolutely justified!! I travel a lot for business (average of one week per month, for the last 20 years), and sadly this is happening more and more everywhere. People are so inconsiderate of one another and of their environment. I am growing tired of spending my hard-earned money to vacation with “the masses”. Some of the reviews of this ship on this web site stated problems with the Puerto Rican passengers – it’s not just the Puerto Ricans folks; I saw passengers of all shapes, sizes, sexes, and nationalities who were rude and disrespectful. So will we book another RCCL cruise? Not at this time. One of our dinner mates (main dining room) summed it up perfectly: Royal Caribbean’s prices have remained basically the same over the last 10 years … but the quality of what you get has been drastically reduced. Nailed it! We had a long talk on the way home, and we’ve decided that we’ll take a chance on an upscale cruise line for our next cruise. Probably Viking – they don’t allow anyone under 19 years of age on their cruises; all rooms are balconies; with the exception of hard liquor and spa treatments – everything is inclusive (water, soft drinks, beer & wine at lunch and dinner, specialty restaurants, wifi, even one shore excursion at each por)t. By the time you look at how much you spend to upgrade to a balcony, the occasional glass of beer (hubby) or wine (me), specialty restaurants, and shore excursions – we can cruise on Viking for only a few dollars more. I really don’t plan to return to RCCL unless I read many, many, many rave reviews … good luck with that, RCCL. Bye-bye (said in my best David Spade flight attendant voice). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I wanted to see as many islands as possible...this was the right ticket! From the first view on the first day of Saba Island (on our way to St Kitts) to old San Juan, was perfect! Weather was iffy in some ports, but that’s life. ... Read More
I wanted to see as many islands as possible...this was the right ticket! From the first view on the first day of Saba Island (on our way to St Kitts) to old San Juan, was perfect! Weather was iffy in some ports, but that’s life. Freedom of the Seas was wonderful, even with an inside cabin. We enjoyed a drink/internet package and specialty dining; Bull &Bear became a regular hangout before dinner. There were so many ports or call, there was no time to be bored. Staff was friendly and helpful, food was wonderful. Found lovely areas to read my book, enjoying an adult beverage most days. Only downside was confusion during embarkation outside terminal in San Juan, however after getting inside and on line, process went smoothly. Cabins were ready quickly so we were unpacked and fed and hydrated well before muster drill. Cabin was inside, but roomy. There was lots of storage for a seven day cruise. Totally enjoyed my seven days aboard Freedom of the Seas! Read Less
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 4.4
Family 5.0 4.4
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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