1,217 Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We joined our close friends (group of 13) on this Birthday celebration cruise. 3 in our party were celebrating birthdays. We flew in to San Juan a few days early and stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan. It was an amazing hotel. A little ... Read More
We joined our close friends (group of 13) on this Birthday celebration cruise. 3 in our party were celebrating birthdays. We flew in to San Juan a few days early and stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan. It was an amazing hotel. A little pricey, but the location was well worth it. The bar in the hotel has great food and drinks. You will likely have to wait to check in as rooms are not available until after 4pm, but they will take your bags so you can spend some time in the bar. they have great wraps in the bar. On Sunday, The staff at the hotel got us a taxi right away to go to the Pan American Pier to get on the Freedom of the Seas. we shared a van taxi with others going to the same pier, so it was pretty inexpensive. We arrived at the port at 1130 and there was absolutely NO LINE! You have to drop your bags off with porters on one side and walk over to the check in area. Not a big deal because there was hardly anyone there. We were checked in and on the ship within 15 minutes! crazy fast! Once on board, they were trying to direct everyone to the Windjammer buffet for lunch, we instead when to Deck 5 (Promenade) and got pizza at Sorrento's and our first drinks at the Bull and Bear Bar. Huge shoutout to Simona in the bar.. she really gave us excellent service. During the first day, dining room staff are making rounds convincing people to sign up for specialty restaurant dining. We signed up for Chops and Giovannis. I liked Giovannis better as we are not big Steak eaters. Both were good, but it was $134 to do both, plus gratuity. Beware if you order the whole lobster... it comes in the shell but the lobster meat was removed, chopped up and mixed with some kind of sauce. not what I was expecting for another $21 on top of everything. We got the beverage package and it was worth every penny. The bar staff and dining room staff are very attentive and bring you drinks constantly. We tipped cash often ($5, $10 here and there) and it payed off in excellent service. The ship has the self serve soda machines and you get a cup as part of your package that has some kind of sensor in it. when you put it up to the machine, it allows you to choose from soooo many drinks, plus water, sparking water, etc. I can only drink clear diet soda so it worked great. Another tip, ask for water with your drinks, you will never run short of bottled water. There are always team members offering water when you exit the ship for excursions as well. Our dining room staff was amazing, especially Inengha ( I am sure I messed up the spelling), but he was so very attentive and did an outstanding job! The food in the dining room was good, I would say definitely better than Carnival or Princess. The food was hot and there were so many choices. The food in the Windjammer was good as well, not the typical buffet fair. They actually had fried eggs available without having to order them special. I typically do not like buffets but there was always something to eat. We ate breakfast in the main dining room two times and it was fabulous each time. They even had a bartender in the dining room and at the Windjammer making drinks (excellent mimosas!) Between the buffet, the dining room, and the pizza, if you go hungry, it is your own fault. Our room steward Froi was OUTSTANDING!!! He fulfilled our every request... I have found if you tip throughout the week, you get really good service. He is very skilled at towel animals too. I liked the room being serviced 2x a day. on Carnival, you have to pick either morning or evening service. We did the Bottomless Mimosas Galley tour and brunch on our sea day. it was awesome... the food was great... the tour was a lot of walking and standing, and you will get hot in the 3 kitchens you tour. but we were rewarded with a great brunch, and more mimosas than I could count! You have to make time to go to Vintages wine bar. Royal has done a great job of staffing the wine bar with true sommeliers... these three gentleman really know their stuff. We did two wine tastings and they were very informative and the wine was excellent! We did excursions in St Maarteen, Barbados, and St. Kitts. every port we were docked so it was great to get on and off. The Barbados pier is very large and the walk is far but they have transportation to get people to and from. We didn't go to most shows, but I heard they were excellent. we did do the "Crazy Quest"... an adult scavenger hunt... it was pretty raunchy and hilarious. definitely adults only. There were a lot of activities on the Promenade, but beware if you have a room that has a widow out to the promenade...you will hear the loud music and parties. 3 in our party had these rooms, the rooms were very nice, and large, but you will hear the noise from the promenade... and don't forget to close your curtains. I have read many reviews that complain about the locals from Puerto Rico on this cruise, but I have to say, I found everyone to be extremely friendly and pleasant. Every announcement was in English and again in Spanish. There were not many children on this cruise that I saw. Overall it was a fantastic time! At the end we chose to do self debarkation with all of our luggage due to an early flight. it was so very easy and fast. We were off the ship by 0730 and on our way to the airport. a taxi ride from the pier to the airport is about $30 plus a tip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise to celebrate my birthday. The food in the Main restaurant was delicious. Our waiters (table 557) , Eduardo and Jostan were fantastic. Christopher the maître d’, was always willing to please us. Junior, The Diamond ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my birthday. The food in the Main restaurant was delicious. Our waiters (table 557) , Eduardo and Jostan were fantastic. Christopher the maître d’, was always willing to please us. Junior, The Diamond Plus Lounge host was very Kind and funny. Víctor our room steward prepared the cabin quickly and efficiently. Our cabin 1828 was very comfortable and the closets were super spacious. The shows were awesome! The embarkation was fast and easy. We don’t know what happened at the Chop Grill but the food and service was not the best as we are used to. My husband was the one who visited the differents ports on foot, he went to museums. In general, the ship is in good condition. The disembarkation was a mess. We don’t understand why there is so much traffic Problems to leave the Port. We had to wait an hour and a half in a traffic jam. Was horrible! We recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my first time going a cruise with my family. We went for my Mums 70th and I must say we were not disappointed. The check in was smooth, food was great with lots to choose from, from main dining to the buffet Wind Jamma which had a ... Read More
This was my first time going a cruise with my family. We went for my Mums 70th and I must say we were not disappointed. The check in was smooth, food was great with lots to choose from, from main dining to the buffet Wind Jamma which had a very wide selection of foods for every taste and many more restaurants to choose from.. Service from staff was secound to none. They were very friendly made time to talk to you and would go that extra mile to meet your needs. It was lovely that I was able to talk to the captain and crew, I mentioned how I looked forward to him coming on the tannoy speaker as he was funny and found to be the same in person. It was also lovely when I had stated it was my first time on a cruise and the reason why, and be for I knew there was a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries sent to my Mums cabin without her knowledge from one of the co-captins. Big thankyou to him, for making her day. The ship it self is amazing so much to do and see for all ages. The cabin me and my sister shared was just right and was cosy and clean. Room attended couldn't do enough for us, big thankyou to Elmer and Sunny who was my Mum and Dad room attended he was very intentive and was a great help to my Dad who was in a wheelchair. I could go on for ever, but want to leave it up to you weather you choose this cruise line. Because of my experience I'm most certainly going to do another cruise in year 2020 and will most definitely be picking this cruise line and hope to get the same ship agan as I would love to see her after she's been amplified. Thankyou agan Royal- Caribbean (Freedom of the seas) for our lovely V K. Hope to see you in 2020 Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I picked this cruise for the date and the itinerary. The price was great. We spent the day before looking around San Juan and loved Old San Juan. This was a special trip with my 2 teenage daughters. Last year I took my younger daughter on ... Read More
I picked this cruise for the date and the itinerary. The price was great. We spent the day before looking around San Juan and loved Old San Juan. This was a special trip with my 2 teenage daughters. Last year I took my younger daughter on our first cruise. Getting my other girl to go with us was a joy. After hearing all about our cruise she was excited to join us this time. Freedom didn't disappoint. Our first site of that huge ship was awesome. Our arrival at the port could not have gone quicker. We were on board by 1 pm and started looking around all the decks. Lunch in Windjammer and drinks by the pool. Our room was a 6th deck balcony and was ready by 3 pm. It was great. Things might be worn but it was all good. We thought it was the room of our dreams. Our room attendant was Winsome from Jamaica? And she was a daily gift. I could not have asked for more. Dining in the main dining room was a fun, elegant time for us. We had great diner mates from Dallas and Columbus. The only meal we did not love was the lasagna. The staff all seemed to enjoy helping us have fun. We booked all our tours thru Royal because as a single mom of teenage girls I was a bit timid and needed the assurance that Royal would be there for me. Buying for 3 I picked general island tours that gave us a good look at the whole area for a good price. We enjoyed them all. Best was Barbados tour with the caves. We did so much during the day that we were too tired to take in any shows. Maybe next time. We did the tour of Old San Juan with airport dfop off at the end of our trip and it was a great way to end our trip. Thank you Royal for giving this mom a trip of a lifetime with her girls. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Please forgive my review, I write reports at work that have to be very matter of a fact. So years of that has drained my creativity, but I will try to make this not boring. My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we ... Read More
Please forgive my review, I write reports at work that have to be very matter of a fact. So years of that has drained my creativity, but I will try to make this not boring. My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we have always enjoyed the cruises. But we really wanted to try Royal Caribbean to get a feel for the experience. We went with two other couples and sailed from Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean from September 15th to September 22nd. We went to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we have always enjoyed the cruises. But we really wanted to try Royal Caribbean to get a feel for the experience. We went with two other couples and sailed from Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean from September 15th to September 22nd. Getting on the boat was easy. We arrived pretty early at around 11 and were on within twenty minutes. We checked our big bags but carried our little ones onboard. Rooms weren't ready until 1330. So we had to lug our smaller bags around. Not a big deal but something to keep in mind. Also we did bring a power strip as outlets tend to be very limited on ships. They called us down confiscated that from our big bag. I've never had that happen before and it was a little disappointing. We were in balcony 7646. Overall the stateroom was very nice. The bathroom was a bit smaller than we were used to but I feel like Royal Caribbean has more mirrors in the room itself so it despite the smaller bathroom, I felt like it was easier to get ready in the mornings and night. The TV only had a few channels that weren't Royal Caribbean, I think they had a bunch of Royal Caribbean channels, a couple ESPN channels, some news, BBC and a few others I've never seen before (variety type stuff). I would have liked a movie channel or something (they do have expensive pay per view). We aren't ones to spend a lot of time in our room, but we could never find something to watch we were getting ready, relaxing for a few hours or going to bed. Our stateroom attendant Liliana was just lovely. We aren't too needy so we didn't ask for much but still I feel like she went above and beyond for us. It was the first cruise for one couple we were with. After the first night we didn't get any towel animals. They asked Liliana about it and we were told that Royal Caribbean was discouraging the attendants from doing those every night as people would tend to "collect" them throughout the cruise and they would run out of towels. But Liliana made us a deal, she'd do them but we'd have to let her reuse the towels every day. For the next six nights she made us some awesome creative animals. It was a small detail, but made us happy. Overall I enjoyed the ship. The previous biggest ship we had been on was the Carnival Breeze and the Freedom of the Seas is quite a bit bigger, tonnage wise at least. I think it holds a similar amount of guests to the Breeze and overall felt less crowded. I spent a lot of the cruise comparing the two ships in my head. I think the Freedom of the Seas wins out. The Royal Caribbean ship has a lot more decorations, attention to detail, amenities ect. Plus the less crowding is a definite plus. One thing I will say, the Carnival ships I've been on seem to "flow" better as far as the interior goes. I can't really put my finger out it, the Carnival ships just seem easier to explore. Whereas the Freedom was more set up like a mega resort in Las Vegas or something. Everything is there and beautiful but it's more straight to the point and has it's own place. The ship and facilities were well maintained. Given that the Freedom is 13 years old now, there were a few spots where you could see rust or the carpet was getting worn but nothing major. I believe the ship is set to go in for a refurbishment so I'm sure they are going to do some updating. Pools on the Freedom were much bigger than I'm used to. Even on busy days, they would get crowded but we never had trouble finding somewhere to sit. One thing that bugged me is the adults only area isn't particularly well marked and since it is on the same deck open areas as the pool, a lot of families ended up there. Staff would ask kids to leave the pool, but they seemed to tolerate them if they were with adults in the seating area. That didn't really bother me, but I do like how Carnival ships secludes the adults only area. All the employees were great, we didn't have a bad experience with anyone. The bar staff was fun, activities people did their best to make sure everyone was having a good time and our waitstaff was just phenomenal. The food was… well the food was cruise ship food. We definitely had some good meals but after a week it all kind of starts tasting the same. We ate at the dining room two nights, did two nights of speciality restaurants and did the buffet/pizza the rest of the time. The stand out for us was Chops. It was a fantastic meal for the money. We also tried Giovanni's Italian restaurant. The food there was good. But they do dinner Italian style with long breaks between courses. So budget at least 2 hours. I'm sure they would bring things out faster if you asked. We didn't and by the end we were getting pretty bored and ready to leave. The dining room was about what I've experienced in the past. Maybe a step above Carnival in food quality. We got the drink package. I always consider it money well spent since we had at least a couple drinks everyday (and a lot of drinks a fews days :P) My wife is a fountain diet coke fanatic so she loved the coke free style machines shattered around the ship. They did a good job maintaining the machines, only a couple times did we run across machines that were out of service and later they would be back up and running. Shows were good. My wife and I missed the two comedies. The other couples went to one and said he was really funny. We did go to a hypnotist that was pretty entertaining. We also saw a Broadway type variety show. We weren't Broadway fans so we thought it was just OK. If you are a fan you'd probably get a lot more enjoyment than we did. The standout was the ice skating show, that was just amazing. Arrive early because that filled up fast. The ports weren't my cup of tea. I won't ding them for this because I knew what I was getting into. Personally I prefer large ports in big areas. My wife enjoyed the ports more than me. She loves the smaller islands so this was her dream cruise. Given that these ports were in smaller Caribbean nations there isn't a ton to do unless you leave the port on an excursion or take a taxi to do some sight seeing or something. Every port was similar, a handful of shops, maybe a restaurant or two. Some you could walk into town if you wanted. The best by far was Barbados which was absolutely beautiful with great people. We did not enjoy Antigua, everywhere we went we were hounded by taxi drivers and vendors. It's part of cruising to have people to try and sell you stuff but this was over the top. For example after probably turning down 30 tours in port, we ventured a little bit into town. One point immediately when we stepped out of a store just outside the port, two cab drivers approached us after telling them no, a vendor tried to sell us stuff, then immediately after another cab driver stopped, got out and tried to get us to do a tour. And these people would not accept a simple no thank you, they would follow and hound you with their sales pitch. I've never experienced anything quite like it. Maybe I was missing something culturally but it wasn't enjoyable for me. All and all it was quite enjoyable. We will go on Royal Caribbean again. But next up is Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The entertainment was good, especially Eileen, the black female singer; the Once Upon A Time show; and the murder mystery dinner in Giovanni’s. We found the timing of some shows inconvenient e.g. ice shows are at 5 or 7pm, which is ... Read More
The entertainment was good, especially Eileen, the black female singer; the Once Upon A Time show; and the murder mystery dinner in Giovanni’s. We found the timing of some shows inconvenient e.g. ice shows are at 5 or 7pm, which is impossible when you have a 6pm dining time. Bingo was fun and much easier now they have electronic tablets instead of paper sheets. Trivia really depended on who was running it - some staff were hard to understand with heavy accents, or went too fast. Others, like Bern running the 80s music trivia on the last night, were amazing. Best food in the main dining room was the Vidalia onion tart, beef tenderloin and rack of lamb, and molten chocolate cake and apple pie. The Tutti salad bar at lunchtime in the main dining room on sea days is really good and a hidden gem. Each day in Windjammer and the cafe, they have a different flavor of pound cake. The caramel toffee bread pudding in Windjammer on day 5 was amazing. Cruise tips. Bring two swimsuits because the first one will not be dry enough overnight to wear again the next day, and putting on wet swimwear feels gross. A highlighter is very useful for marking items of interest in the Compass. So is a travel mug, to allow you to carry coffee around the ship. My white noise machine was invaluable to block out Promenade and hallway noise. Save your trivia answer sheets all week, as they get you extra boards in Bingo. Only a few negatives: 1) Most of the excursions we had booked before the trip were canceled, and one of those cancelations was not communicated, resulting in an unnecessary early wake-up. They canceled the butterfly garden trip in Aruba, the mangrove EcoBoat in Bonaire, the afternoon Segway in Bonaire, and the Adventure Race in St. Maarten. Although in each case we were offered a discount on an alternative activity and ended up having fun, it was still frustrating to get very few of our first choice activities. 2) The early 8am meeting time for many excursions made you not want to stay out late and party or drink much the night before. 3) My only bad food was the duck a l’orange in the main dining room on day 2 or 3; there was barely any meat and it was very fatty. 4) My teenager disliked that very few of the scheduled teen activities happened as planned. The teen staff did not seem interested in enforcing the schedule and just let the teens do whatever they wanted. All in all, we had a fantastic trip. The weather was glorious, the seas were calm, all 4 ports were very interesting to visit, our tour guides were all exceptional, service on board was overwhelmingly good, food options were delicious and varied, and there was plenty to do for all ages. If you go on this trip, you will have a blast! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
18 of my family and friends sailed on 8/4/19 to 5 different islands to celebrate my mother’s and 2 of my Aunts 60th birthday. 14 people were first time cruisers. The entertainments, the food and the staff were amazing. We were all ... Read More
18 of my family and friends sailed on 8/4/19 to 5 different islands to celebrate my mother’s and 2 of my Aunts 60th birthday. 14 people were first time cruisers. The entertainments, the food and the staff were amazing. We were all pleasantly satisfied with everything and looking forward to future cruise with Royal Caribbean. We missed our tour in San Juan, I contacted the executive office after Customer relations tried to give me a hard time for my refund. The office responded immediately and set up my refund. Excellent customer service on and off the ship. After the kids were in bed, we went out passed midnight almost every night enjoying the night life. The pizza restaurant was delicious, myself and kids enjoyed every slice. Our Waiter Florentina and her assistant went out of their way to take care of us. She found us sits in the crowded Windjammer for breakfast. I would recommend more varieties on the menu in the main dinning room. Also, more entertainment for the kids, we attended the kids disco on the 14th floor which started at 7:15 during dinner time. By the time we finished dinner and went up, it was almost over. The lady on the first day was interactive with the kids however, the guy on the other day just played music with couple of hula hoops and ballon laying on the floor. Both ended at 8:00 pm and 7:45 respectively. I will recommend this cruise line and ship to anyone looking for a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I cruised on this ship during our honeymoon 7 years ago and were excited to be back on board! We did Carnival cruises the last two years, so it was interesting to go back to RCCL for comparison sake. We flew to San Juan a ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on this ship during our honeymoon 7 years ago and were excited to be back on board! We did Carnival cruises the last two years, so it was interesting to go back to RCCL for comparison sake. We flew to San Juan a few days early and stayed at a cool boutique hotel on Isla Verde Beach. We toured the forts and old city and got to eat some great food. We were blown away how hospitable everyone we encountered acted. From taxi drivers, police, shop owners, local beach-goers...they all were so kind and take a lot of pride in their island, especially in the wake of a couple of really difficult years. To the cruise. Embarkation was very fast and organized. It was interesting boarding around 12:30, but not leaving port until 8:30. Turned out to be cool. It was like a sea day and gave us time to get reacclimatized with the ship without feeling like we were missing anything. First day at sea was fun by the pool. Lots of music and dancing! There was an instance during the afternoon where it had started raining, but quite a few people stayed in and around the pools. Out of nowhere, a squall hit and had violent winds complete with flying deck chairs. It was very scary. To the staff’s credit, they immediately cleared everyone in as orderly manner as possible despite the chaos caused by Mother Nature. They are to be commended. Ports were all good, with Curacao and St. Martin being our faves. We chose a poor excursion in Bonaire which we regret because it ended up wasting our day. If you are able bodied, definitely get in the water at all of these islands Ship was in good shape for its age, food was good in buffet (also in Chops and Giovanni’s), service was good overall. Entertainment was good. They had an Adele impersonator singer her songs one night in the main theater - extremely good and nice break from the musical numbers they usually put together. My only gripes: Hard bed - difficult to sleep as a result. Casino was hot!!! We spend lots of time on slots and it was very uncomfortable. Smoking areas were weird. As a smoker, it was odd that non-smokers had to walk through smoke. We felt guilty. Other ships have this figured out better. That’s it though. Otherwise, things were at or above expectations. Finally, I’d like to touch on some of the other reviews I read on here prior to our trip relating to ‘too many Puerto Ricans’ or complaining about announcements in Spanish. This was hands down the best group of fellow passengers we have encountered so far. People were overall very respectful of each other, pleasant, and fun. We witnessed two encounters of inter-family squabbling. Both were not Hispanic. If you are expecting anything other than a Hispanic or Caribbean feel, this is not the trip for you. Maybe consider a riverboat cruise up the Mississippi or something? We choose to embrace being out of our normal confines and seeing and learning how other people live. Isn’t that kind of the point of traveling??? Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We picked this cruise for the itinerary - ABC islands and St. Marten. It was my first time sailing with Royal Caribbean. We flew into San Juan a few days early as we have never been to San Juan either. We stayed in Old San Juan at a VRBO ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the itinerary - ABC islands and St. Marten. It was my first time sailing with Royal Caribbean. We flew into San Juan a few days early as we have never been to San Juan either. We stayed in Old San Juan at a VRBO and loved it. We did a Spoon Food tour the first morning and really enjoyed it. Then we looked around and did a little shopping and had dinner. On Saturday we took a taxi to Charlie's Car Rental in Isle Verde (did not want to drive in Old San Juan as streets are narrow and people parallel park on one side and you can barely squeeze by- the uber and taxi drivers here are very skilled). We drove to Fajardo and did 2 tours with Kayaking Puerto Rico - the mini boat tour and the bio bay kayaking. The mini boat conditions were rough (rough seas and got caught in a squall) - I would only recommend doing this on a calm clear day. The weather was better for the evening kayak tour and we really enjoyed it. Got back to our VRBO at 10pm. Made our way to ship on Sunday and checked in quickly around 11:30am. We stayed on the second floor in an ultra spacious ocean view (cabin 2568) - it had lots of space and can theoretically sleep up to 6 - but it would be tight with only one bathroom. For 3 ladies it was perfect. With two large portholes I didn't miss the balcony and it was very quite with minimal to no motion. Our room steward, Willy, was awesome and helped us with anything we needed and serviced the room both morning and night. We ate dinner in the main dining room every night and didn't try any specialty restaurants. The food was mostly excellent. Only found the fish we ordered to be over seasoned and a little salty. Not a big deal with good appetizer and dessert - we didn't feel the need to order another meal - though they always asked if you would like something else. The waiter also gave his recommendations each night and the few things I didn't care for wasn't one of his recommendations. Both our waiter and asst waiter were great - Putu and Placid at table 314 - we had anytime dining but usually ate at 6pm and sat at the same table. Even though you prepay tips - these people go out of their way to be friendly, helpful, and give you great service. I think Freedom has some of the best service I have received. We ate breakfast twice in the main dining room and lunch twice in the main dining room and I preferred this over the Windjammer which was always so crowded and hard to find a seat. We did like the Cafe for an alternative to breakfast (free coffee there seemed better as well). We also grabbed pizza at the Promenade restaurant for a late lunch after port day and found it to be very good. We went to most of the shows except the last night as we were tired and busy packing. I liked the first night show with the acrobats and comedian. I really liked the ice show and El Gaucho. I also enjoyed the second comedian and repeated acrobat performance. My least favorite was the Marque show and the singer - not that they were bad - just not for me. I also didn't care for the Love and Marriage show - I think things like this should be alternative entertainment and not take up the "main show" for a night. Port and Excursion Reviews: Aruba - this was my favorite port and excursion. We did a third party excursion with Dennis at Aruba Surf School - a private stand up paddle board excursion. It was just me and my teen daughter and we had never done this before. Dennis was an awesome instructor and had us paddling with ease in no time. He picked us up right outside the port and took us to the paddle location. The tour lasted about 2.5 hours and we ended up paddling about 3 miles along the coast line. He had drinks and water and then dropped us back at the pier. We grabbed lunch on the boat and then ventured back out - taking a bus to the butterfly farm and then bus back to pier/town where we shopped a little. Curacao - we did the Discover Curacao tour through Royal Caribbean. This included a stop at a small museum, the Hato Caves, and then the Blue Curacao Distillery with a liquor tasting. Each stop on the tour was somewhat average, but what made the tour for me was the tour guide on the bus. She was so informative with lots of history and how things are in Curacao and surrounding islands. I learned so much. Bonaire - we did a private third party tour with Brenda from H2O Visions. We did the 5 hour tour that included lots of sites on the south side of the island and two great shore snorkel stops. We saw the flamingos, salts fields, slave huts, etc - we stopped for photos and Brenda taught us all about the history of the island and the salt production. The two snorkel stops were awesome and she snorkeled with us and pointed out things we might not have seen without her - like a hawksbill turtle, two spotted eels, an octopus mating, etc. There were lots of fish and the snorkeling was fun. She provided all the gear and had drinks and snacks for us as well. St. Marten - we did the Americas Cup Sailing Regatta that we booked through Royal Caribbean. This was really fun. There are two sail boats and they split the group up between the two - you get to stay with your traveling companions. The captain assigns you a job and they teach you how to do it. You practice a little, then the count down begins and your off on your mini race. It was exciting and fun and for us a very close finish. They have non alcohol drinks on board and then when you're done they drop you at their shop for rum punch and you an purchase pictures on a flash drive for $20. However, they also offer to take pictures while you are one the boat with your camera - and they took a lot. I would highly recommend this excursion. San Juan - on disembarkation day we had a late flight and didn't want to sit at the airport as the boat docks at 6am. So we opted for a Royal Caribbean excursion so they would take our luggage to the airport. The one we opted for was San Juan on your own, but there were a few problems with this. You have to put your luggage out the night before and the excursion desk wasn't very informed on how the carryon luggage that you kept in your room (change of clothes, toiletries, etc) would be handled - how are your supposed to explore if you have to lug around a backpack or carryon. They led us to believe we could leave it on the bus - but that wasn't the case. We were told we had to take it with us. Now, you do meet up with your checked luggage as you take it through customs and you could but your carryon with your checked luggage to be transported to the airport before your get on the tour bus - it will be waiting for you at the airport when they drop you off and there is a rep there watching it the whole time. However, none of this was explained to us and we were mislead. And if there is anything you want to keep with you - you had to take it with you. They also led us to believe there would be two pick up times with the latest being 1pm. For us, there was no earlier time - only the one at 1pm. The tour operator told us it depends on how many people pick to do the excursion. So maybe, sometimes you can leave stuff on the bus, but this time we couldn't. You just can't count on it. We were stuck with our back packs to hoofed it to Barrachina restaurant where we stored them so we could walk around. It retrospect we would have been better off just taking a taxi from the pier straight to Barrachina and storing both our checked bags and carryons and then taking a taxi from there to the airport. Our tour picked us up at 1pm and dropped us at airport 20 min later. It wasn't crowed and we were through security and at our gate at 2pm for our 3:25pm flight - plenty of time. San Juan was hot and nothing was opened early in the morning. Finally, more shops and restaurants opened. Maybe the Bacardi tour would have been better - at least it was air conditioned and inside. Royal Caribbean puts their excursions on sale as you approach your sail date - I would say the closer you get the lower the price goes - we got ours for 30% off, I didn't see them lower and I checked frequently. All in all it was a great cruise. I would sail out of San Juan again, and I would sail with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I recently disembarked a 7 night sailing from Puerto Rico on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. During this cruise, we visited St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. Just for reference, I’ve been on almost 20 ... Read More
I recently disembarked a 7 night sailing from Puerto Rico on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. During this cruise, we visited St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. Just for reference, I’ve been on almost 20 cruises with various different cruise lines and this was my second time sailing with Royal Caribbean. I traveled with a group of 17 people. Embarkation: This was my first time sailing from the Panamerican cruise port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We picked up a taxi from our hotel that was across the street (Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino) and arrived at the pier by 11:15am. Once you get to the port, you need to drop off your luggage in the area designated for the deck your cabin is on. After that, you can head inside, go through security, straight on line for check-in and SetSail Pass pick up, take your welcome aboard picture and head straight onto the ship. It literally went exactly that way. There was no stopping in between or anything. Like I mentioned, we were dropped off at 11:15am and were onboard the ship at 11:30am. The process was easy and so smooth. Dining: During our cruise, we selected the traditional early seating dining (6:00pm) and were assigned Galileo’s Dining Room on Deck 5. We ate here every night of the cruise and I thought the food tasted very good. Sometimes it was a bit fancy, but I would order things plain or without certain things and the staff was only too happy to meet my request. Our wait staff, Danisha and Pavlo, were awesome! They were always one step ahead getting our drinks and bread. Pavlo was actually in Windjammer in the morning and was amazing there as well. Whenever he would see us, he would start getting the drinks he knew we wanted or helped us find seats. Speaking of the Windjammer, this is where we had both breakfast and lunch everyday. The food here was good. They had some items that were the same everyday with a few newer items mixed in, but the food always tasted good. Some other places we visited during the cruise were Sorrento’s, Promenade Cafe and Ben & Jerry’s. The pizza at Sorrento’s was fine. I am a bad judge since I am a New Yorker and slightly bias. Promenade Cafe had great specialty coffees and it was the only place onboard where I could find chocolate chip cookies! Ben & Jerry’s required a slight up charge but had a multitude of options such as cups, waffle cones and sugar cones. For a minimal fee, I think it was totally worth it to say I had Ben & Jerry’s on a cruise ship! Packages Offered: I purchased 3 packages for our cruise prior to sailing. The packages were the Deluxe Beverage Package, the VOOM Surf & Stream Package and the All Digital Photo Package. The Deluxe Beverage Package includes alcoholic beverages such as mixed drinks, glasses of wine and beers plus specialty coffee and bottled water. I personally highly recommend purchasing it prior to your cruise as the Cruise Planner sometimes has some great deals on it and you won’t have to pay full price. Given all the package offers, I believe it is definitely worth it and makes your cruise easier. If you have the package, there is no need to sign every time and keep track of receipts. The VOOM Surf & Stream Package is the internet package on board Freedom of the Seas. During my last sailing on Anthem of the Seas, I purchased the same package as well and thought it was quicker on that ship. I still believe it’s worth it and that you should get it, but keep in mind if you've been on newer ships, it might be slower on Freedom. The All Digital Photo Package allows you to receive all of your pictures from the cruise digitally. On Freedom of the Seas, you have to make sure all of your photos are linked to your account and 4-7 days after the cruise you will receive a link with the photos for download. Given the price of each picture is around $20, if you take 10 photos you’ve made the package worth it. Keep in mind this package is a good $50-$100 more on board the ship than on the Cruise Planner so if you are considering purchasing it, then do it prior to your cruise. Entertainment & Activities: As always Royal Caribbean delivers in the entertainment department. The two main stage shows, Marquee and Once Upon a Time, featured amazing singers and actors. Another treat on this ship is the ice show, Freedom-Ice.com, which was an ice skating show. It was excellent and the fact that these people can ice skate on a moving ship while doing different tricks seriously amazes me. Entertainment on other nights included a magician, a comedian and an acapella group, MO5AIC, which was awesome. In terms of other events, there was RED, which is described as a high performance nightclub experience, a silent disco, a 70’s party and a caribbean party. Spearheading these parties and events was our super energetic cruise director, Katie. Whether she was leading off The Crazy Quest, a hilarious and fun adult game show, or was dressed as a Police Officer from the Village People, she was always around. Like most ships, there were always tons of bars and lounges to hang out. While I didn’t utilize these facilities, Freedom of the Seas also has a FlowRider and Rock Climbing Wall as well as an opportunity to ice skate at the rink, Studio B. Ports of Call: Philipsburg, St. Maarten Our first stop was Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Since I was there a few years ago, we kind of relaxed for the day and spent it at the area in front of the cruise port. St. Maarten has some great places to shop and pick up souvenirs so if you aren’t into touring or doing anything crazy, the port is a great area to hang out. Basse-terre, St. Kitts & Nevis Next up was Basse-terre, St. Kitts and Nevis. Once again, we didn’t want to do anything too crazy here so we kind of kept the day casual and walked around the cruise port. Now, I do want to mention, St. Kitts can get kind of crazy when you get off the ship with people trying to sell you tours. Once you get into the area of the stores, you should be ok, but the walk from the welcome building to the stores consists of lots of people shouting and pestering you to take their tour. St. John, Antigua To add a bit of variety into our week, we decided to visit a beach in Antigua. After doing some research onboard, we decided to visit Dickenson Bay in Antigua. It was relatively easy and cheap to pick up a cab once we disembarked the ship. The cab ride was also pretty quick, maybe a 15 minute drive. The beach is beautiful and located right next to Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa (which looks beautiful). While there are some people on the beach selling items, if you tell them you aren’t interested they don’t persist. You are able to purchase chairs and umbrellas here, which was good. The water was absolutely beautiful and I really enjoyed spending the day at this beach. Castries, St. Lucia: St. Lucia impressed from the minute I opened my balcony. The scenery was just beautiful. Even though we only spent the day in the shopping area by the ship, I think it would be a great island to explore. It offered some beautiful scenery and was clean. Bridgetown, Barbados: For our final port of call, we decided to do an Island Tour through Royal Caribbean. The tour was called Barbados Highlights and we stopped at 3 main areas: Gun Hill Signal Station, Bathsheba Beach and Farley Hill National Park. Our tour guide was great and was very knowledgeable about every location we went to. Cabin: Our cabin this year was a Junior Suite located on deck 9. The room was a great size for 3 adults for a week. The sofa pulled out into a full size bed which was a nice size. The highlight of our stateroom was our Room Steward, Randy Cato. If you have Randy as your room steward, you are one lucky person. He is the best. Aside from the fact that he kept the room immaculate, he was always waiting to greet us in the hall, whether it was morning or night and always there with a smile. You knew when Randy was around because you could hear him in the hallway saying hello to everyone he could. I can’t say enough good things about him. Final Thoughts: As always, Royal Caribbean provided a wonderful vacation onboard Freedom of the Seas for my family and me. The ports were wonderful, the crew was amazing as was the entertainment and the ship, which made the experience awesome! If I had the chance again, I would definitely sail from San Juan on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We sailed on the Freedom of the Seas on a Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Maarten. We had a great time on this ship! The staff were all super friendly and helpful starting from check in / ... Read More
We sailed on the Freedom of the Seas on a Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Maarten. We had a great time on this ship! The staff were all super friendly and helpful starting from check in / embarkation. We had the key, which I highly recommend if you plan on purchasing an internet package. Despite it saying boarding started at 12:30pm, we got there about an hour before that and got on the ship very quickly. With the key we got lunch at Chops and it was a very good way to start the cruise! Dining: Our main dining room staff of Warren and Lester (Waiter and Assistant Waiter) were excellent! They gave great recommendations each night, were very friendly and prompt with anything we needed. The head waiter for our section, Dennis, was quite frankly the best cruise employee we've ever encountered. He made it a point to remember everyone in his sections names, and shake their hand every time he saw them and ask detailed questions about how their cruise and day were going. He also was actively helping out all of his waiters. I've rarely seen better leadership anywhere. Dennis should be running his own department on a ship soon, he was that good! Ports: The ports of call were great on this cruise! We scheduled excursions through the ship for all of them. For Aruba we did snorkeling and it was so fun! We got to snorkel over a reef and see tons of cool fish. We also snorkeled over a WWII German freighter that was shipwrecked off the island. So cool! For Curacao we did a caves / city tour and a bar crawl. The cave tour was really cool! I would not recommend the bar crawl though as the drinks were just mediocre and 1 of the bars was very divey. The other two bars were good though. In Bonaire we did a bicycle tour and it was very fun! You do need to be in shape though! Lastly, in St. Maarten, we did the SeaTrek which was very unique! We got to both snorkel as well as do the SeaTrek, which is walking on the ocean floor with their special helmet on. It was a bit pricier compared to our other excursions but was definitely a cool experience. Debarkation: Debarkation was a bit of a mess. It was very busy and backed up in the terminal and at customs. We had a bit of a wait to get off the ship but since we were the key, we had a priority customs lane which is lucky because the normal customs line was huge. Like, Disneyland in July huge. Just another positive mark for the key! A lot of reviews cite the fact that there are a lot of Puerto Ricans on this cruise as a negative, I am not sure why. Yes, there were a lot of a Puerto Ricans but they are all very friendly and made for a fun atmosphere on the ship! All shows, games and programs were in English, but they do make Spanish announcements. So I guess if you don't want to hear any Spanish or encounter any awesome Puerto Rican people, maybe don't go on a cruise out of San Juan? Cons: While not many, to be balanced here are a few negatives/cons we ran into. Bar service could be a bit slow at times depending on the bar you were in. The buffet could be a madhouse depending on the time you went and didn't have a ton of variety. Drink prices are a bit high, so if you plan to drink a lot, the beverage package makes the most sense for you. They do try and up sell you a lot. Debarkation was a bit crazy, and if we didn't have the key would have been an absolutely insane wait to clear customs. The gym could get very busy at times as well. Overall we would highly recommend if you want a fun Southern Caribbean cruise! Also since it leaves out of San Juan, we would highly recommend spending some time there as well either before or after. We spent 2.5 days in old San Juan before and it was great! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose Freedom of the Seas for the outstanding itinerary; the Southern Caribbean route was the one of the few available for the week we could travel (late May). I had read some horrible reviews of this ship and the Royal Caribbean ... Read More
We chose Freedom of the Seas for the outstanding itinerary; the Southern Caribbean route was the one of the few available for the week we could travel (late May). I had read some horrible reviews of this ship and the Royal Caribbean passengers, but we found the ship to be in great condition (needs new carpet in guest hallways, some new furniture in public areas...but what older ships don't?), and our fellow passengers friendly and respectful! I would absolutely jump on an opportunity to sail on this ship and itinerary again any day. We were in cabin #7408, which is a corner aft balcony cabin on the starboard side. It is for 3 people, as it has a pull-down berth for the third passenger. We thought the room was a bit small for 3, and the pull-down was uncomfortable according to my adult son. The balcony was huge, and we spent most of our time outside. It is mostly covered by the superstructure of the ship, which offered shade from the blazing sun and shelter from the pouring rain (both of which we had a lot during our week). We dined in all 3 available specialty venues, Chops, Sabor and Giovanni's Table. Food and service in these restaurants was just wonderful, and we found them all well worth the price of the 3 night package we purchased on sale through the cruise planner prior to the sailing. The main dining room exceeded our expectations. Though we were assigned Traditional Dining which was not to our liking, the Maitre D', Rama, worked with us to see that we found suitable accommodations each of the 4 nights we dined there. Service on those 4 nights ranged from acceptable to great, and my perception of the just acceptable service was that is was due to us barging in on the setting and placing an additional burden on the servers. Windjammer was OK, we are generally not buffet fans, but we always managed to find something we enjoyed and we never left hungry. We also really liked the pizza at Sorrento's and the ice cream at Sprinkles (self-serve by the pool). The bar service was outstanding, we never had to wait long at any bar or pool for service, always with a smile. Entertainment was good. We went to most of the headliners and one ice show and were impressed with everything we saw. There was live music going on in the pools and lounges virtually all day, and we often had to choose what we wanted to do because there were many options. The ports speak for themselves! We were in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. We did excursions independently in 3 ports and loved them all! Can't wait to go back! We can highly recommend My Island Tours by Javin (with his monkey Peaches) on St. Kitts, Joy's Adventure Cruises in St. Lucia and Silver Moon catamaran cruise with lunch in Barbados. Please do not hesitate to book a cruise on Freedom of the Seas! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our freebie cruise using RCCL credit card points. We added a few $$ to upgrade from oceanview to balcony. Since there were extra sea days, the balcony was well worth it, not having to tote items for a lounge chair on the public ... Read More
This was our freebie cruise using RCCL credit card points. We added a few $$ to upgrade from oceanview to balcony. Since there were extra sea days, the balcony was well worth it, not having to tote items for a lounge chair on the public decks. Our deck chairs allowed you to recline. We also did the anytime dining. On the first night they asked if you had a preference of when to dine. We stayed with coming anytime when the dining room was open. We went various times and never experienced waiting for a table. We had been to these ports previously (with the exception of Bonaire) and wanted something different to do. Aruba – 8am – 9pm. This was the only stop without a tour as we had done a Harley tour around the island on a previous trip (that was great also). We wanted a beach day, but did not need a tour for this. We chose to go to Arashi Beach on the north end of the island. It is so easy to get there by local bus, don’t let the taxi drivers tell you differently. I had left my vacation notes at home (shame on me!), so I needed a little help to remember where the bus stop was at. I had read where another CC member had asked directions for the bus from a taxi driver, who told them the bus doesn’t go that far. I got the same response (they wanted $26 + tip one way). Someone else pointed the bus station out to me. Once leaving the ship, at the street, look about 1:00 o’clock and it will be right there. Costs $2.60 USD pp one way, try to have exact change for them. You can tell the bus driver you want Arashi Beach, as well as he will announce the beach stops. This stop is the last one on the route. It takes about 20 minutes and you will get some sightseeing in as the bus goes by the big resorts/timeshares and along the various beaches. The tourists staying at those places all ride the bus. We rented 2 beach chairs for $16 (found areas with shade). Arashi beach has both sandy shoreline as well as rocky for snorkelers. With your rental you get a ticket to use the restroom (it was clean) and there are showers for rinsing off. You can rent snorkel gear and those little things that pull you through the water so you don’t have to propel yourself. Sorry, but I did not get the price for the rentals. The sand, water and weather was beautiful, but a little breezy. The breeze was nice for cooling off, but stirred up the water to discourage taking underwater pics. There is also a beach bar onsite for refreshments. There are taxis sitting around if you don’t want to wait for the bus that comes about every 20 minutes. In fact, the taxi drivers there will also tell you that it will be an hour before the bus comes. (Boy these guys lie!!! I would hate to see what else they do to scam money out of you.) The bus got us back to the station in town just fine and we were off to check out the shopping and casinos. If you are interested in casinos, just about all the casinos in the islands accept USD. All the casinos are equipped to offer you a free drink after gambling a few minutes. Curacao – 8am-8pm. Booked city tour through Irie Tours online for $20/pp. They met us once off the ship and provided us with beer and bottled water on the bus. They took us through the historic neighborhoods in town, Curacao distillery, scenic overlook, and to Mashi beach. You had several options once at Mashi Beach. 1) stay at the beach for 1-1/2 hours; 2) stay at Mashi Beach as long as you want and get your own transportation back; 3) go to the aquarium. We chose the first option. The beach was small but very nice with rock pilings out a ways to eliminate the rough surf (another breezy day). We walked around; did a little shopping; and laying on hammocks with a Mudslide. Back in town we did more shopping and hit more casinos. Can you guess by now my DH loves casinos? LOL! The day ended with a beautiful sunset. Bonaire – 8am-5pm. This island has been a prime destination for divers, so it is behind the curve for every day tourists. Not a lot of shopping. Rented mopeds to tour the island. $45 USD per moped. Do get the free map of Bonaire and follow the route mapped out for you. We had the map but did not follow the route which resulted in some backtracking along the way. It is true that you can see the whole island in a day. Do NOT forget to apply the sunscreen! This is from someone who does beach and boating every week in Florida. If you love bird watching, there are some really colorful ones along the countryside. Saw flamingos, lots of iganuas, and the salt pans. The salt pans provide some beautiful color from the white salt and various colors of pink in the pans against the blue sky. Don’t forget to pick up your piece of salt rock left for you at the front gate of the facility. Ended the day chilling with some drinks and people-watching. The waitress told us that after our ship leaves, they shut down for the season. St. Maarten – 8am-5pm. Booked online with Rhino Riders for boat ride out of Simpson Bay. We took a group taxi to Simpson Bay. It was about $15 for the two of us. You get a small RIB with a center seat like that of a wave runner. The guide takes you around Simpson Bay and on out to the French side of the island. Showed us various sites, snorkeled in beautifully clear water, and swung by the late Steve Job’s yacht. It was a great time and by booking it online vs. through the ship (with the same company) we saved $50+. We walked across the street from Rhino Riders and caught the bus back to Phillipsburg. (About $5 for the 2 of us.) We then shopped and enjoyed some drinks along the beach in town. After having 12 & 13 hour days in Aruba and Curacao, the 9 hour stop in St. Maarten seemed too short. The next day we disembarked in San Juan for our flight back home. Immigration has made it so much easier to navigate the process since they have gotten rid of the immigration and declaration forms for cruises. Just show your passport and you are on your way. YAY!!! Everyone questions how much time to allow to catch flight back home. In this case where the ship’s last port was just a skip from San Juan; the ship was cleared to disembark at 7:00am. We carried our own bags off the ship at 7:30, caught a cab, and was at the airport by 8:30am (without any rushing on our part).This quick process is due in part with San Juan having a system in place to transport passengers from cruise terminal to airport efficiently and quickly. I’m ready for cruise #27!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Loyal TO RCCL, Overall great cruise, weather outstanding, arrived the day of cruise with no problems, no waiting to check in. Other reviews complained about the food and lack of variety. The windjammer was great, had a huge variety of food ... Read More
Loyal TO RCCL, Overall great cruise, weather outstanding, arrived the day of cruise with no problems, no waiting to check in. Other reviews complained about the food and lack of variety. The windjammer was great, had a huge variety of food to pick from, Sorrentos pizza was ok for a snack as was the Cafe. Main dining room was a disappointment for the main courses however appetizers, soup, salads, sides and desserts were all tasty! Cabin clean and spacious with plenty of room for storage. I love having a balcony and will never cruise without one! All excursions done through RCCL and did not disappoint. Sure you can save money by purchasing on shore but I’m on vacation and rather be safe than sorry just to save a couple of bucks . Used the self assist disembarkment for the first time after 12 cruises due to flight leaving at 10:30 am and was such a breeze I will definitely do it again. Was at the airport by 8:00 and seated at the gate by 8:20! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We booked this cruise 2 years in advance so we could afford the Grand Suite. By booking that far ahead, all 3 of us (husband, me, 10 year old granddaughter) flew to San Juan for free w/points. We stayed at the Hilton Plaza Coronado the ... Read More
We booked this cruise 2 years in advance so we could afford the Grand Suite. By booking that far ahead, all 3 of us (husband, me, 10 year old granddaughter) flew to San Juan for free w/points. We stayed at the Hilton Plaza Coronado the day before and the day after the cruise (again, free because of points). Plus we had $800 of OBC because of points. We flew in the day before and did a nighttime kayak tour LED tour right down the street from our hotel. Lorenzo, JP and Robert were excellent guides and we saw lots of star fish, lobster and fish. We were picked up at the airport by Puerto Rico Go Green transportation (Edgar) and it was great. He stopped by the Fire Dept as my husband is a firefighter and he got to meet some of the guys. We enjoyed the hotel as it was in a great location. Still some damage from the hurricane but we really liked it. We took a cab the next day to the terminal (we could see our ship come in from our balcony at the hotel). It was easy to get to the port. We had priority board due to a grand suite. This was our first experience with a grand suite and I have to tell you I don't know if I can go back to balcony! I loved the benefits associated with this and it was definitely worth every penny for us!! We don't drink so we use the money for a suite. We do spend a lot of time on our balcony so it was worth it for us. I have to say the port in San Juan is not nearly as nice as Port Canaveral but everyone was friendly. I appreciate RCCL checking the custody papers on our granddaughter to make sure it was OK for us to take her. We did take advantage of free breakfast each day in Chops Grille. It was a nice perk. I also enjoyed the reserved seating at the pool. However, people did climb over the rope and sit there. I did see RCCL staff come around a few times and check passes and they would ask people to leave. We also took advantage of the reserved seating at the shows. People got a bit miffed because they couldn't sit there but my feeling is you could have it too if you want to pay for it. When I fly, I don't expect to be treated the same as first class because I'm in steerage!! We did get a free VIP kitchen tour and a suite guest cocktail party when we sailed away from St. Kitts. This was done on the helipad which my husband enjoyed. My granddaughter and I were getting our hair done for formal night. Here are the things I did NOT like: 2/4 ports were closed. To me, this is unacceptable. Apparently May 1 is a national holiday in Aruba EVERY YEAR! RCCL should have known this. There was hardly anything open. We did rent a Jeep from Amigo and went to the lighthouse and a few beaches. We had to return the Jeep after the lighthouse because the tire was worn down to the canvas. I was not happy about this and when we returned it, they would not issue any credit (I did not want a refund) for the inconvenience. I was told, "You were lucky they changed the tire." Excuse me!! It's your car, you SHOULD change it. I did e-mal customer service once we returned and received a $25 credit. I did not appreciate the sexy man contest at the pool. The MC was a man and he actually licked the nipple of another man. Really? With kids at the pool? I took my granddaughter and we left. In St. Kitts we did the volcano hike through Thenford Gray. I would recommend this tour but not necessarily this operator. We had a guide named Hilton and he went so fast. I was unable to complete the hike (I stopped after about an hour) due to some recent lung issues. We passed one tour group and he said to our guide that he needed to slow down. Hilton told him no way, he was on military time. The other guide commented that he didn't like it when Hilton led a group because he didn't pay attention to his clients. On the way down, he was on his phone the whole time (per my husband) and didn't pay attention. If you want to do this hike, know that it is extremely strenuous and I would recommend hiking shoes. Our guide did have walking sticks for our group which the others did not. In Curacao we rented a car thru Celestia and he was awesome! He gave us a GPS with points of interest already loaded, gave us a great recommendation for authentic restaurant, and where to snorkel for sea turtles. He was spot on. We found out the night before that St. Thomas was basically closed due to Carnivale. Our concierge Fabio was kind enough to cancel our rental car since there was no point. We just walked around the port. We did enjoy the Concierge Lounge, we had great stateroom attendant (Junior) and wonderful wait staff (Turkessa and Charmine). We also did unlimited digital photos although there were a lot not included and we had to take them off the wall so they could be put in our package. Got some pictures of other people (not sure who they were) in our package. All in all, we enjoyed it very much. I do think RCCL should have known better than to take us to four ports and 2 were closed. Curacao and Aruba could have been switched around. The gym was good too. We did use it several times. Refrigerator in room not very cold, our granddaughter enjoyed the kids' club. There was a little bit of a language issue because of leaving from PR but she enjoyed it. My husband commented one night that he liked fried plantains; we got them every night after that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were on this ship on July 2008, the ship was pretty new since it was built on 2006. At that time it was the largest cruise ship, and had some unique features, like the flow rider. We decided on taking another cruise on the Freedom ... Read More
We were on this ship on July 2008, the ship was pretty new since it was built on 2006. At that time it was the largest cruise ship, and had some unique features, like the flow rider. We decided on taking another cruise on the Freedom because of the ports it was visiting, and didn't expect to find that this time the ship was even better than when it was new. It is very clean and you can't see many signs of aging, even though it is going to be renewed in 2020. The crew was wonderful and made us feel like royalty even more than on other ships. Room service was excellent and very quick. The quality of the food is excellent. There is a greater variety of dishes. This chefs are highly qualified in a grand variety of international cooking. Both the Main restaurant and the Windjammer were excellent. I did miss the Solarium for breakfast and dinner. Our cabin was a junior suite and had more closet and living space than the same cabin category on other ships. Very comfortable cabin and impeccably clean. There were many activities and the entertainment were great. As usual in most cruises the trivias were always full of enthusiasts. Bolero lounge had a trio that kept everyone dancing until late hours. I recommend the Freedom of the Seas for first timers and experienced cruisers, it's worth the experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have cruised with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean (Allure) and this has been our best family cruise yet. While Allure had more than enough of family friendly activities, the size of this ship and warmth of the crew made it memorable and ... Read More
We have cruised with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean (Allure) and this has been our best family cruise yet. While Allure had more than enough of family friendly activities, the size of this ship and warmth of the crew made it memorable and our best experience to date. We started of flying in the previous day in San Juan and it experienced the great food at Bebo's and beaches within walking distance. We will go back to San Juan again as we found it beautiful. Embarkment was very fast and took less than 15 minutes from drop-off to waiting area as it wasn't busy when we arrived. Once the doors opened it was probably another 10 minutes for onboarding. The bar was open and we grabbed a drink and headed to WindJammer. Lunch was good and not busy either. We explored the ship and immediately greeted by smiles and welcomes. We met our stateroom attendant later and he was also very warm and friendly. Throughout the cruise he greeted us in the mornings and evenings, chatted, and provided us with a great and clean stateroom. He new all of our names by the second day. The ship itself seemed to be the right size for us - not too big or small and we never felt that it was crowded. Every crew member we met was very friendly and many new our names by the end of the cruise. We dined in both WindJammer and MDR for both breakfast and dinner and enjoyed the at sea lunch in MDR. Food was good but all or most of the selections in MDR were available in WindJammer. WindJammer had more selections and we did enjoy all of the food - no complaints at all. We always managed to get good seats in WindJammer (but we are early risers and late eaters). Promenade Cafe also new what we ordered and provided little touches for my daughter (cookies to our table). Sorrento's was good but as always there was a line-up in the afternoon. We went mainly to Boleros and the bartenders were great. Good conversations, they new our drinks and were very friendly and was good to see them in action when busy mixing all of the drinks. We were pleasantly surprised by our cabin (Spacious Oceanview Balcony) with the amount of space - will get the same size room again on future cruises. Slept well and no issues with room size or amenities. Ports were also nice and we took tours in St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Enjoyed all of them (included scenic tours, shopping, and beaches). Our daughter enjoyed it so much that she didn't want to leave. On disembarkment day, we had a late check-out and so we went around to all of the crew members wishing them and exploring the ship one more time. We will be back again on Freedom in the future, but next year it will be Symphony as there are more ports to explore! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Introduction: Myself - 47 and DH 49, 7 cruises, 6 RCI and 1 HA, last one 2017 on RCI Our 4 kids, 2 at home, 2 out of the house; -DS1 - 24 years old, 3 prior cruises with us, last one 2009 -DD1 - 22 years old and her SO, 3 ... Read More
Introduction: Myself - 47 and DH 49, 7 cruises, 6 RCI and 1 HA, last one 2017 on RCI Our 4 kids, 2 at home, 2 out of the house; -DS1 - 24 years old, 3 prior cruises with us, last one 2009 -DD1 - 22 years old and her SO, 3 prior cruises with us, last one 2009 -DD2 - 18 years old and her friend, 1 prior cruise with us, in 2009 -DS2 - 15 years old, 1 prior cruise with us, in 2009 My parents, 76 and 78, one prior cruise with us in 2009. We have sailed on Voyager class ships but nothing as large as Freedom of the Seas. Our prior cruise with everyone in 2009 was on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. DH and I were on Jewel of the Seas on this almost exact same itinerary in 2017. We thoroughly enjoyed the ports and leaving from San Juan. Puerto Rico really has a lot to offer, especially if you are not just there for part of a day on a ship excursion. It does add to the price for airfare, though. We booked this cruise in February, 2018. So anticipation has been building for a long time! Everyone was very excited about going. And everyone participated in the planning of what we were going to do. I am very lucky to have children, who even though they are grown and out of the house, still enjoy vacationing with their parents and younger siblings. And I am very lucky that my parents are also willing and able to join us in the adventure. I am also very lucky that both my husband and I have jobs that allow us to vacation like this with our family. Cabins: My parents and DH and I each had balcony cabins on deck 7. The rest of the folks had interior cabins on deck 7. Usually we stay higher up on the cruise ship. We really liked this level. It was quiet with the library being close by. And it was right in the middle of our dining options (up to Windjammer, down to MDR/Promenade). I think we got more use out of the venues on the promenade since it was just 2 floors down. Drink packages/Specialty Dining: On our last cruise in 2017, we bought the Refreshment beverage package. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It definitely added to our enjoyment of the cruise. We did the same thing this time. I was able to get the package for $17 on the Black Friday deal. I also booked the Deluxe package for DD1/SO and DS1. I was able to purchase that for $44 about 2 months before cruise time. We also booked Chops Lunch for everyone on embarkation day. We are at main seating for dinner and don’t have any other specialty dining planned. Transportation to San Juan: For our last cruise, we flew Jetblue. For this cruise, we gambled a bit and went with Spirit Airlines. The flight to San Juan was OK. But then my son’s flight was cancelled and Spirit couldn’t get him to San Juan before Monday. So we luckily got him on another flight on Sunday on Jetblue. On our return flight, the seats were incredibly cheesy looking and cheap looking. There wasn’t even a pocket in the back of the seat. Just some elastic. And they were really uncomfortable. From our perspective, the money we saved in booking Spirit Air evaporated with the extra ticket we had to buy for my son. Spirit has the reputation of not being good with cancellations and rebooking and that was definitely our experience. So, I don’t think we will be booking with them again. Pre Cruise: We stayed 2 days prior in San Juan at an airbnb and were supposed to do a cave rafting excursion through airbnb. But that got cancelled shortly before we left for San Juan. So we had to come up with a Plan B. We ended up booking another excursion through AirBNB called “Beach, Art and Old San Juan”. It ended up being fantastic. Giovanni, the tour guide, picked us up in Old San Juan and drove us to a beach that was a “locals” beach. Just a bunch of families enjoying the Easter weekend. Everything was already set up for us on the beach. Chairs, umbrellas, coolers with drinks,, snorkel gear, speakers, towels, etc. We swam for a bit and then lunch was delivered to us. Giovanni brought us a variety of food from the local stands that we passed in coming to the beach. It was delicious food; a variety for us all to try. We stayed at the beach a bit more, and then it was time for the art part of the tour. He took us to a local donut shop while he parked the car. Then it was time to do some walking to look at all of the local street art. These are the large paintings that were on the sides of a lot of the buildings. Giovanni knew a lot about each piece and seemed to know a lot of the artists personally. The paintings were amazing as were the stories associated with each. Then it was back to Old San Juan where we took some pictures at El Morro. Giovanni was really amazing. My dad has some mobility issues and he went above and beyond to include him in the day. While we were on the art tour, he had his friend drive my dad around in the car. And at each stop, if my dad wasn’t there when Giovanni told us about the art, Giovanni went and repeated the information to my dad. In addition when we were all done, he drove my dad to the ChocoBar Cortez where we were going to go for an early dinner. It was an amazing day that far exceeded our expectations. If you are looking for something different in San Juan, I would definitely recommend him. While we were in San Juan, in addition to ChocoBar Cortez, we also ate at a couple of restaurants close by our AirBNB in Condado. One of them was Cafe Tresbe. We went here for dinner. We had a variety of items. The ceviche was the best we have had. My husband and son each had a poke bowl and they were delicious. We also found the best breakfast spot. Although I don’t drink coffee, my folks told me that these were the best lattes they have ever had. The restaurant was Cafe Marquesa. We had breakfast there 2 days in row. The red velvet pancakes were delicious. They bake their own bread. They also had carrot/pecan pancakes on Easter that were delicious. The french toast was also delicious. Everything was good. I strongly recommend both of the restaurants. Cruise Day 1: We arrived at the pier at about 10:30 am. We unloaded the large amount of luggage we had, dropped it off with the porters, headed through the security line at the door, then walked right up to the desk and checked in. We waited for another 15-20 minutes or so before they opened the doors. We were on the ship before 11 am or so. Everyone had the drink packages and got a drink at the Solarium Bar. All our luggage arrived by the afternoon, minus one of our suitcases that was down in the “naughty” room with an “ALCOHOL” label on it. After showing the attendant that it was the hot sauce we bought in San Juan, we took it up to our room. We were supposed to have lunch at Chops that day, but since one of our party was not there yet, they allowed us to switch the reservation to day 6 (the only other day it was offered). This was our itinerary: St Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, Day at Sea, St Maarten We had one ship based excursion in St Kitts. The rest of the islands, we had private excursions planned. Day 2 St Kitts This is the one day that we split off into multiple groups. My parents booked the railway excursion through the ship. They enjoyed it. It was perfect for them. DD2, her friend and I booked the island tour through Thenford Grey. The rest of the gang took Thenford Grey’s Eco Tour of the Volcano. For the island tour, Thenford lived up to the expectations that I had from reading reviews. He clearly knows and loves his island. There were a couple of photo stops along the way. He also gave us water partially through. At a lot of the stops, there was a chance to get something to eat/drink. But if you stopped to eat or drink, it took away from your time to explore. The rest walked up the volcano. DH and I had done this in 2017. It is very strenuous. We underestimated it when we climbed it the first time. This time you couldn’t walk as high up as we could last time. I guess the ladder was broken or something. Overall a good day for everyone. Day 3 Antigua Months before the cruise, I contacted Spring Hill Riding Stables for a horseback riding adventure. We don’t have any experience, so that limited our choices. We had a 30 minute trail walk and then some time in the ocean on the horses. This was a great experiences.They knew all of the horses really well. The horses are clearly members of their family. Sue, the owner, did a great job taking pictures and video for us while we were swimming with the horses. Everyone agreed it was a great time. There was no food on this tour, although it was one of the shorter excursions we took. We got back to the ship in time for lunch. Day 4 St Lucia We booked Treetop Canopy Adventure for zip lining. This was a good excursion. They did a great job keeping things moving. There are 12 zip lines that you go through and there are lots of stairs to climb. The zip lines varied in difficulty, some small, some large, some faster than others. The surroundings are beautiful. Keep in mind if you book this that there are some stairs to climb, all throughout the course. The folks that took us on the adventure did a great job. The bus ride there was also interesting and our guide did a good job of narrating and entertaining us on the way to the park. There are a couple of other activities to do at the location, but we only did the zip lining. My mom went with us on the excursion. They took extra good care of her all along the way. It was a very strenuous activity for her (the stairs specifically) but she made it through and enjoyed herself, and was very proud of her accomplishment. We didn’t have any food on this tour, although it was offered. But it seemed to only be standard restaurant food. We might have sampled some, if it has been food specific to the area, rather than hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, etc. Day 5 Barbados We booked Silvermoon catamaran. DH and I did this same excursion last time we were here on Jewel of the Seas. And we would probably do it again if we go back to Barbados. It was amazing. The crew does a great job. The food is great. The boat is very comfortable. There were 10 of us plus one other couple on the tour. We spent about 90 -120 minutes with the turtles and the 2 other snorkelling spots. Then we travelled to a more secluded bay where we could swim and then they served us lunch. Lunch included appetizers of spinach quiches and vegetarian samoas with a chili dipping sauce. Main dish was a chicken curry, rice, freshly grilled tuna, and a tossed salad. Dessert included banana bread and lemon bars. All were very good.One of the other couple was a vegan and they created a vegetable curry for her. Drinks were flowing the whole time. The crew did a great job with those in our group that were swim challenged. It was such a relaxing and beautiful day. I can’t recommend this tour enough. As we watched some of the other tours, they had to wear life vests and had someone announcing over the loudspeaker of the boat when there was something to look at. And there were at least 30 of them. In our boat, you could wear a life vest if you wanted but you didn’t have to. There were only 12 of us and there were 2 crew from the boat in the water with us. The turtles were swimming amongst us and surfacing right in the middle of our group. We saw the rays at the bottom, flounder at the bottom, and they brought us a pufferfish and a sea cucumber to look at. After the turtles, it was over to the two shipwrecks to snorkel some more. We saw lots of fish, the spots are just great. DH and I had talked a lot about this excursion to our group and we were afraid that we had oversold it, but after the snorkelling, we were told that we did not oversell it. It was way more than anyone had been able to imagine. Day 6 at sea We pretty much chilled around and relaxed after so many straight days of excursions. We played some cards, etc. We had lunch at Chops, that was not the best. 2 hours long and way overcooked steaks. I would not do that again. (See dining below) Day 7 St Maarten For this day, we decided to visit Pinel Island. We booked kayaks through Caribbean Paddling. We also had one person take the ferry. We booked it with transportation to and from the cruise ship. It is about a 20- 25 minute kayaking trip to the island, about 15 minutes back. You can stop part of the way to the island where there is a large sandbar. There was plenty to look at here. You can then paddle to the island. There are also spots where you can see turtles in the water. You can rent chairs and umbrellas or eat at the 2 restaurants on the island. You can also paddle around the island to another beach where there is some snorkelling. (We didn’t snorkel.) There is also a path to go up on the island or walk to the other side. This was a beautiful area. If I had to do it again, I would bring some shade for the far side of the island so that we could more comfortably stay there. I would also not rent chairs/umbrellas but just find a spot at the restaurant to eat. At one of the restaurants, you could choose your lobster from their catch for the day and they would cook it. We got a large one so that everyone could have some. The food was good. There is also a place to do some souvenir shopping on the island. We paddled back and then rode back to the port. My parents ate at the other restaurant on the island and had burgers that they said were good. I saw some folks with BBQ ribs and it looked and smelled great. Huge plates of food. Dining: We had early seating for dinner. It worked well for us. Everyone was satisfied with the food in the MDR for dinner. We also preferred the MDR for breakfast. It is only open for lunch on the sea day and that day we ate at Chops for lunch. One day when we returned from an excursion, we had lunch in Johnny Rockets. The chili cheese fries and onion rings were good as was the shake. The burger was not great. Very dry and on the cheapest possible bun. When the bun detracts from the burger, you need to get a new bun. It was a lot of food and was late in the afternoon. I don’t think we would chose to do that for lunch again. But it was miles better than our Chops lunch. Our Chops lunch took 2 hours. The steaks were ordered rare and came back medium well. From my perspective, the specialty dining is not worth the extra money. We could always find something in the MDR that we like. I would definitely not do lunch at Chops again, and it doesn’t seem to be worth the extra cost for dinner. Everyone liked the pizza at Sorrentos and the occasional snack from Cafe Promenade. We had a couple who also ate at Ben and Jerry’s, and I was surprised that it was fairly reasonable. It didn’t seem to be any more expensive than you would pay on land. Our MDR waitstaff was good. They did a good job. Our Asst Waiter, Cyrus had a life lesson for us everyday after dinner. It became a running joke. He has been with Royal Caribbean for 25 years. Our waiter had just moved to Freedom of the Seas, and it was his first week aboard the ship. On Ship Activities: DH and I attended only 2 shows - the ice show and the late comedy show on the last evening. Others in our party took part in other activities. There was always something for everyone to do if they wanted. Everyone seemed satisfied with the entertainment. DS2 climbed the rock climbing wall, but no one got to the flowrider. It just wasn’t open enough hours that we had time. I was honestly surprised at how infrequently it was open. Only DS2 was eligible for any kid activities. Because he was on the cruise with his other siblings, he didn’t feel the need to participate in the teen activities. He attempted to join on one night but was a few minutes late, so he wasn’t allowed to participate. Not a big deal. Crew: Everyone was very friendly on the ship. Arnold, our room attendant did a great job. One day, the toilets were not working in our cabins, and he told my parents that he would put a rush order on their room because my dad had mobility issues and needed to be able to use his cabin bathroom. Every time we turned around, someone was doing something above and beyond. The crew is great. Other things that worked well: -Magnetic hooks - I bought some at Amazon for everyone before we left. They worked great. Brought clothespins too but didn’t need those. I would definitely bring the hooks again. -Tuxedo Rental - I rented a tuxedo for DS2 for formal nights. It was 92.10 with shoes and tax. I would absolutely do it again. He doesn’t have any fancy clothes and would outgrow whatever I bought him before he would wear it again. The tux was to his measurements and fit him great. Saved luggage space. -Envelopes with excursion info and tips - This worked great for us. Planned out tips in advance, every day just had to pull the envelope out of the safe. I would have underestimated the amount of cash we needed without doing this. I printed out details on the excursion and put that and appropriate tip money in an envelope for each excursion. -Drink packages - These were great. It added to our cruise experience and I would do it again, no questions asked. We got a great deal on it buying it prior to the cruise. -Tripcast - prior to the cruise, I researched ways to share photos from a trip. I found a site/app called Tripcast. This allowed us to have a private facebook like feed for our trip. You could invite others to join in. So this allowed us to share photos with those at home while we were on our trip (without broadcasting to the world that we are not at home) and it also allows us to share each others photos. Everyone in the feed can download all the pictures from the feed. It was great. -Excursions with meals included - I realized after taking all the excursions, that I would prefer to pay more and have some sort of food included. Or a specific food stop. It just makes the day more relaxing. And preferably something local. For both the volcano climbers and the St Kitts tour, we got back to the ship at like 3 pm without having had lunch. If I had just been DH and I, it would not have been as difficult to find something on our own, but with such a large group, when we had to get food on our own, it took significant time. So I would prefer a tour with the meal time built into the schedule. Things that didn’t work well- -Internet on ship - We heard a lot about how great the internet is on Freedom of the Seas. If that was great, I would hate to see not great. I don’t know if I am just spoiled by my internet at home, but we were not happy. You really couldn’t do anything with Surf and Stream. We weren’t even trying to stream anything. Downloading an app was impossible. Uploading a picture to SnapChat would time out. We had purchased a 4 pk before we left and we purchased another 4 pk on board. With the 4 pk on board, I was not able to connect another device, I could not switch between my iPad and phone. That made it less than useful to me. We could only upload pictures in the early morning hours (prior to 7 am), after that, it would time out. -New paper straws - This bothered some people in my group more than others. If I go on another cruise, I would bring some sort of straw to use. The straws just did not hold up in a frozen drink. Overall, the cruise was fantastic. Everyone had a great time. It had been a long time since my kids had been on a cruise. It was a totally different experience for them this time. We were busy every day but everyone enjoyed what we did. We had a variety of activities scheduled. Every port was different. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My husband and I loved Freedom of the Seas. This was our 3rd cruise and we loved it so much 2 weeks later my parents got a last minute trip on this same cruise (which they are on right now). The ship is huge! When we would pull up to ... Read More
My husband and I loved Freedom of the Seas. This was our 3rd cruise and we loved it so much 2 weeks later my parents got a last minute trip on this same cruise (which they are on right now). The ship is huge! When we would pull up to ports our ship could eat every other ship. But it does not feel like you are on a massive boat with 4500 people, it is so spread out it is not overwhelming. They were always doing something to update the ship, painting, etc, it looked brand new. The elevators are slow, we ended up taking the stairs so if you go to the top deck a lot I recommend getting a higher floor room. We were on floor 6 so right in the middle which was fine with us. Food: Amazing food on this ship. I recommend just eating at the main dining room. We booked a BOGO for specialty restaurants and they were not worth it. But the main dining rooms food was delicious, my favorite was the molted chocolate cake on formal night, and the garlic parm tiger shrimp. So delicious. Our server was wonderful, he even remembered our names. We had your time dining so we were able to sit whenever, if you don't make reservations, esp on formal night, you might wait a little; But we never had a problem.The buffet for lunch was good, I like their hot dogs a lot, and their bread pudding. Dining did not have many options that I loved. The pizza is very good on the ship too, that is served til 3am. Chefs Table: highly recommend, best chefs table experience we ever had and we have done 3, food was perfect, service and wine all incredible and we made friends with others on the boat! Entertainment: It was wonderful. Our nightly shows kept us very entertained. We loved the comedian, he was very funny. We went to both of his shows (I do not remember his name). And the final show was Once Upon a Time, it was a Disney production, very good. Shopping: On the first night we went to the jewelry store on board they had a 50% off sale, my husband bought me a beautiful diamond wedding band. Fitness Center: Was beautiful and large! Bring your workout clothes. Our stops: St. Kitts: Awesome shopping, and we did the dolphin adventures which was great! we booked that right through the dolphin adventure place and took a $10 taxi there and back. Very small island, not much to do. Antigua: We took a taxi about 25 minutes $8 pp each way to Ffryes beach. There were 3 other ships in port so everything was so busy there. Ffryes beach is beautiful on the Caribbean side. The guys for the Taxis were Orange and will schedule a pick up time for you. St. Lucia: We did a tour through JJ tours. Took a speed boat to the Sulphur springs, water fall, snorkeling, then to lunch and back. Great tour I highly recommend it. Barbados: My least favorite island. I researched the best beach, so we went to brownes beach, take note, all beaches are on the same bay and just separated by different umbrellas. There were all locals on browns beach. Our friends we made from the boat went to Sharkeys bar, which is just down on the other side of the bay, I recommend going to that area of the bay/beach. St. Maarten: We did "resortforaday" at Sonesta beach resort on Maho beach. All inclusive, $180 for the two of us + taxi which is $5 pp each way. You wear a wrist band and they drop you off at the Maho beach bar which is about 2 blocks from the hotel. The Maho beach bar is packed! So I recommend going to this resort because you are right there to see the planes but you have your own private beach. It is about 25 minutes from the cruise ship. Service, food, experience everything was wonderful! I highly recommend the Freedom of the Seas. Our next cruise is on Princess to Rome/Greece, I cannot wait to compare it to RC. Read Less
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
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
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
Sail Date March 2019
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 ... 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
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
Sail Date December 2018
Freedom of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 4.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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