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
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1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I've sailed on the Oasis and Allure in the past which drew me to another RCI cruise. Definitely not the same food, service and feel of the big ships. I was expecting the same overall serivce but was disappointed in the food, service ... Read More
I've sailed on the Oasis and Allure in the past which drew me to another RCI cruise. Definitely not the same food, service and feel of the big ships. I was expecting the same overall serivce but was disappointed in the food, service and overall morale of the staff. The pressure of the diningroom staff to order and speed us through our dinner was disappointing as well. I understand the sittings required but I've never felt so rushed in my past cruises. Windjammer had a great variety but lacked taste and some food was dry. I know if food sits out for a long time, it dries out. Get that! The staff didn't seem to enjoy what they were doing. Glum faces and not very interative. There wasn't enough music playing. It needed to be more up-beat and lively. When we embarked from a port, a neighbouring Carnival cruise line had music playing, were passing out drinks and passengers were greeted by a dancing captain. Not a fan of being nickel and dimed for everything as well. We'll skip our next cruise with RCI and try Carnival. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
over all poor rating is due to my not find this ship to be is handicap friendly at all , and is was extremely hazardous . Automated door buttons don’t work , doors don’t open , there was a raised door sill into bathroom what made ... Read More
over all poor rating is due to my not find this ship to be is handicap friendly at all , and is was extremely hazardous . Automated door buttons don’t work , doors don’t open , there was a raised door sill into bathroom what made getting in there on knee scooter difficult , there was no seat in shower despite written request with reservations & request verification before sailing ( service desk said “ yes yes yes “ ) still had to contact housekeeping before one was found & brought to room , large square shower open into room on 2 sides, shower curtain only covers 1 side , so no mater how you work it 1/2 of bathroom drenched. As a right below knee amputee I found the entire ship is a trip hazard, it is covered in multiple floor elevation changes( Lumps Bumps and raised doorways ) with no variation in coloring as warning , my balance & Mobility are decent and yet I stumbled and tripped thought out the ship. people with canes , walkers , wheelchairs required assistants. Boarding the ship at EVERY port was humiliating, the metal hardware in my prosthstitic leg sets off the alarms , I understand the FULL strip & pat down the first couple of times ..... but the same crew , EVERY TIME ? 2 & 3 times a day for all 7 days ? I tried to explain , showed them how it fit , what the parts were ,,,, NO I got more action from the security lady then I did from my husband. Dining room : seating is So Packed & tight there is little room to navigate, constant bump & bang from waitstaff & next table Food so-so , English truffle , advertised as “ sponge cake marinated in sherry” was JELLO , if I wanted jello I would go to buffet. Waitstaff was wonderful, friendly.. to bad food did not love up to the waitstaff THE KEY :CHOPS on embarkation day was wonderful, but that was the only thing about “ THE KEY “ that worked , advanced easy access for boarding was a joke , there was a mass surge of humanity it resembled “ the running of the bulls “ and Handicap, mobility challenged or wheel chair cruisers were trampled , internet sucked , reserved hours for attractions were seldom, only one attraction a day ,always at inconvenient times, who wants to climb rock wall from 9-10 PM. The sit down breakfast was great , disembarkation was a bit smother , with only a couple hundred people standing on the stairs waiting for doors to open at 8am. luggage pick up quick & easy . We did a ships tour after disembarking and we went into San Juan and our luggage went to the airport . Evening movies on big screen were current movies , mission impossible, ant man , crazy Asians .....but they started at 6pm so anyone with early diner reservations only saw the end of them , no blankets, popcorn..... no “ movie under the stars “ Ports were great , did ship excursions in Bonaire & St Martian , (make your reservations online well in advance , most excursions were full at boarding ) there was no consistency with towels for excursions, pick them up on ship , pick them up off ship ...... get yours by the pool and if attendant asks you tell him your going to use them on board 24 hour coffee shop doesn’t start making ( real brewed ) coffee until 6:30 , they did have the strap coffee from buffet available earlier but no special coffees pastries are not made fresh but are frozen , Ice coffee is 2 punches on card , if you have a reusable straw bring it with you as paper ones on board collapse quickly we did not use pools , but there always seemed to be room , always a spot in one of the many hot tubs , children pool was colorful and fun ( very few kids , mostly to young for school ) even watched the scuba diving class one morning in the adult pool. Hubby is a cigar smoker , the smoking area on deck 11 was large , lounge chairs & tables , great ventilation , never smoky or stale , always clean ,covered ash trays emptied often Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I traveled with a friend who is a cruise travel agent and a group of about 35 other friends who usually do at least one cruise a year. The agent arranges the cruise, independent excursions and travel to and from the ship. This is the ... Read More
I traveled with a friend who is a cruise travel agent and a group of about 35 other friends who usually do at least one cruise a year. The agent arranges the cruise, independent excursions and travel to and from the ship. This is the first cruise I have done on a larger ship. My other cruises have been on Azamara and Paul Gaugin which are small all inclusive ships. I tried this because the price was good, there were friends to travel with and I was glad to get away from the cold. The size of the ship was overwhelming at first. We had one sea day and it was difficult to find a place at a pool. We preferred the quiet pool but did watch the "belly flop" contest at the main pool. We diined together at the late setting. Some of the food was great, most was ok. Several evenings they had some kind of dining staff program that was disruptive since we were directly under a loud speaker and in an alcove. We could not see what was happening and it was difficult to enjoy our dinner with the commotion. The buffet was very busy for breakfast and lunch, most food was ok and there were a lot of choices. We did breakfast in the dining room several days and enjoyed it. We did one shore excursion on St Kitts that was a tour of the island and a visit to Brimstone Hill. Three other island excursions were private and arranged for our group. Entertainment was ok. I attended several programs and liked the ice show the best. They real emphasize shopping. The majority of the tv channels were about shopping and there were new shopping brochures every day. Service on the whole was great. We never got our room service breakfast the first day but it was ok the rest of the time. Our cabin attendant was great as were our dinner staff. They got an extra tip. I enjoyed the cruise and would cruise Royal again if the right opportunity comes up. I still prefer the smaller all inclusive ships especially Azamara. 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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