162 Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We chose the cruise for a family vacation. The cruise staff was good, attentive. The headliners were good; great stand up comedy. But, the ship is extremely dated, dirty and in visible need of repairs. We were told that the ship will be ... Read More
We chose the cruise for a family vacation. The cruise staff was good, attentive. The headliners were good; great stand up comedy. But, the ship is extremely dated, dirty and in visible need of repairs. We were told that the ship will be remodeled. So RC is probably very aware of the deplorable condition of the ship and just doesn’t care. Lately and in my experience with RC is that it’s all about the company’s winnings and not about the traveler’s experience. The whole experience felt like a tourist trap. The food was mediocre and cold. It seemed that the only way to get warm food was by paying extra at the specialty restaurants. So much for an all inclusive. The shore excursions, we found them lacking and over priced. At one island we did the $169 per person tour, sponsored by RC, for $95 per couple. I truly would not travel with RC again. It is extremely saddening to plan a family vacation for a whole year and be left wondering why you spent so much money; wasted money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have not had a cruise in four years and was so ready to have a great time. I had a good time but not too much on the ship. I had a lot of firsts on this cruise. We were in room 7566......DO NOT STAY IN THIS ROOM IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC ... Read More
I have not had a cruise in four years and was so ready to have a great time. I had a good time but not too much on the ship. I had a lot of firsts on this cruise. We were in room 7566......DO NOT STAY IN THIS ROOM IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO MOLD!!! As soon as we walked in the room my nose started to burn. After investigating, when you walk out the cabin door you can look to the right and see water stains on the carpet going down the hall. There is about 50 feet of it. So my stay in the room was not good, but the rest of the ship was fine and the nose did not burn. As I found out, all rooms were booked so we would not have been able to go to another room. The guy that cleaned our room was fantastic and accommodated us well!! He was mostly looking tired, but always very nice. The ship itself is beautiful inside but you can see the wear and tear. It's going into refurb next year,so yay!!! I read the reviews on firm beds and I was not phased as I like a firm bed. These were not firm, they were HARD AS ROCK BEDS. I could not tell you the amount of complaints. I made a make shift bed on the floor that was way more comfortable than the bed. So that was the second of my FIRSTS...LOL! The third of my firsts was very rude neighbors on one side. They would come in at 12:30M and literally stomp around for an hour and then go to bed. The one night they bounce a couple times off the walls!!! The food used to be outstanding on RCCL, but now, (I hate to say this), but I have to rate it with Carnival. The hubby and I did get food poisoning, so our only day at sea was spent in the moldy cabin running to the bathroom and sleeping all day. We did two shows. One was an amazing singer and the other a great comedian. We did a couple trivia games on deck 5 in the piano bar area....(seemed to be a big hangout). We listened to some Karaoke a couple nights. Loved the place on Deck five to get cookies and coffee and water. They were always so friendly there. The Anytime dining turned into a same time dining and they stuck us in this corner with a horrible waiter. ......so slow!!! The people we sat around were great though. Played a little putt putt and table tennis one day while in port. The putt putt area needs redone.....horrible, but we had a fun competition going. The captain pulled into two ports late. The first time we didn't care, but the second time we lost a spot on an excursion that we had booked. Oh, wow, that was a 4th first....lol. It was not a ship excursion so that's on us. The Viator company did refund us for the place that we could not go, so that was nice. So all in all, great Itineraries but the ship was old and the food was not great and HORRIBLE BEDS!!! No more RCCL for me!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Have sailed with RC several times over the years as well as a few other lines..On Adventure several times, was always a great experience in all aspects .Also had been on Mariner as well as Liberty..All great. How ever decided on ... Read More
Have sailed with RC several times over the years as well as a few other lines..On Adventure several times, was always a great experience in all aspects .Also had been on Mariner as well as Liberty..All great. How ever decided on Freedom due to itinerary .Which in itself did not disappoint. The Cabin was a balcony..balcony always dirty never cleaned, also toilet, never cleaned , Apparently now one must special request ice !!! and glasses ! ????? Food was fair, not up to the standards we had come to expect from RC. Had ordered room service, put dishes outside door at approx. midnight , noted other dishes in hallway at other cabins, always had coffee delivered in am,6 am... they were prompt, coffee good, however the tray etc could not have been older or more worn out !!! 12 noon placed call to housekeeping as upon return to cabin at this time noted several cups and a glass in front of next cabin were lying in hall broken..was advised that housekeeping did not come on duty until 5 pm !!!!! Overall very disappointed...felt we spent a lot of money for substandard service , food, cleanliness.. We will condsider another line for our next cruise.. Would never recommend Freedom , although I hear they are being overhauled..??? why this cruise was not top notch ?? Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We decided to book back-to-back 7 day cruises (14 days starting 9-15-19) with our adult sons everyone with their own cabin. The first 7 day cruise, San Juan to Barbados and back to SJ, went as planned and expected and we have had fun on ... Read More
We decided to book back-to-back 7 day cruises (14 days starting 9-15-19) with our adult sons everyone with their own cabin. The first 7 day cruise, San Juan to Barbados and back to SJ, went as planned and expected and we have had fun on previous Royal cruises. We plan our own scuba diving shore excursions and they went well. Cabins small but workable. We don't stay in our cabins much anyway. Dining for the first cruise was just as good or better as we have experienced before and we were excited to share all of our fun with the boys. Shows and entertainment was good. Casino is a joke...nobody has a good time on cruise casinos...nothing like shore casinos...no life or fun at all and nobody wins except the ship! Anyway, not there to gamble. Dining is indulgent and the waitstaff is super! My adult boys really love the on-board wave board activity. The real problems started with the second 7 day cruise (starting 9-22-19) which ran consecutively with the first. This cruise went from SJ to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire and St Maarten and back to SJ. This cruise had an entirely different flavor and chemistry. So many young children..it was like being in a floating daycare facility! Entirely different experience from the previous 7 days. Oh well, I have nothing against kids just not expecting so many on my Royal cruise vacation. Then my wife came down with her cold 2 days into the cruise and couldn't dive. Probably the worst was four days into the cruise I came down with E Coli sickness. Worst intestinal illness I have ever experienced!! Didn't dare go to far away from the cabin if you know what I mean. Now we are very, very careful to wash our hands but many are not and the alcohol handwash they dispense on-board WILL NOT kill E Coli or a bunch of other organisms. So there went the rest of my vacation...down the drain. If you've had an E Coli infection, you'll never want another. Took several more weeks to fully recover. We didn't eat ashore anywhere we went so it was likely to be from on-board that I caught it but from where I don't know and never will. We plan to cancel our upcoming Spain to Miami cruise on Royal. 14 days is far too long to be cooped up on a ship with thousands of other kids and adults and Royal has not returned my calls about our experiences and will not get my business again anytime soon. I was a fan of Royal Caribbean but not anymore. . Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose cruise due to itinerary, great experience on Cuba cruise and large screen movies. First main dining room servers were exceptional. Stateroom above average not great. All customer service people on ship really nice and ... Read More
We chose cruise due to itinerary, great experience on Cuba cruise and large screen movies. First main dining room servers were exceptional. Stateroom above average not great. All customer service people on ship really nice and friendly. Itinerary was fun. Activities, like golf, ice skating and many more fun. Now letdowns. Jade is not Sushi anymore. One night only and awful. just plain rolls, no fish, except smoke Salmon and 90 percent rice. We had a few pieces and just said no more. TV in room still advertises nightly sushi but a lie. They have a sushi express for a fee. Now we know why they have played games with Jade. No real Caribbean food. Weak attempt for jerk chicken / pork. Just some off attempt on outside of pork / Chicken, no real Jamaican type. Sorrento's on Cuba had many self serve type Pizza's with tons of cheese. The ship had three same options with one different one daily, hardly any cheese. We went once and never again. It seems goal is to avoid people getting free food. Cafe another letdown. Cuba has Cuban sandwiches throughout day. Makes sense since Cuba cruise. Evenings soup, guacamole etc, wonderful. This ship lousy wraps, grocery store nonsense. Once again ruining experience for bottom line. Disgusting, we never went to cafe, mission accomplished for them. Big screen movie. My 11 year old son and i travel alone. Such a great father / son time on Cuba trip for us to sit in hot tub chit chat and watch movie. This ship my son wanted to watch from pool due to location. After half hour of movie they close pool, maybe 10:30pm. We move to hot tub. At 11 we are told that too is now closed. We leave to stateroom, no more movies rest of trip. Big waste. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My family of five, two older daughters and a younger daughter of 12, sailed Freedom of the Seas to the Southern Caribean this past July. Unfortunately our cruise began with a death of a fellow passenger on the boat within just a few hours ... Read More
My family of five, two older daughters and a younger daughter of 12, sailed Freedom of the Seas to the Southern Caribean this past July. Unfortunately our cruise began with a death of a fellow passenger on the boat within just a few hours of arriving on the ship. This very much tainted the feelings around our entire vacation. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribean and to the Caribean. We had cruised to Alaska before with Princess and Holland America. Cabins: 5 Great cabins, we had adjoining rooms theough the balconies. We had no issues with our rooms. Dining: 2 The only food we really enjoyed was food in the main dining room. We found the buffet crowded all the time with very poor quality food. The food at the buffet seemed to stay the same from day to day with the same low quality. The restaurants that cost extra were good, but it seemed like they were trying to gorge you witth so much food. Embarkation: 3 Despite the death at the beginning of the cruise, the captain did his best to get the cruise to leave as timely as possible. I respect how well this cruise staff dealt with this tragedy and how this must have affected schedules/vacations/ect. Enrichment Activities: 1 It seemed like the only activities planned were trivia or things that cost money dealing with different shops on the boat. Entertainment: 1 The entertainment was awful. The shows were terrible, the ice show was terrible, the acts they brought on the boat such as an acapella group were also terrible. So disappointing! Service: 5 Our favorite part of this cruise were the different employees and how kind and helpful they were. We liked to hear their stories and where they were from. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we like RC and the ships.We sailed on Oasis of the Seas 2 years ago and loved it.We were also looking forward to going to Puerto Rico.We flew down the day before and got a great ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and we like RC and the ships.We sailed on Oasis of the Seas 2 years ago and loved it.We were also looking forward to going to Puerto Rico.We flew down the day before and got a great recommendation from the Hotel staff on places to eat where we could get authentic PR food.The food and service were outstanding.The people we met were very friendly and welcoming.Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship within 20 minutes.The ship is overall good.We found the staff to be friendly and helpful.We went to the majority of the shows and found them to be good.We did not spend a lot of time at the pools because of the crowds and we had excursions planned for most days.This cruise went to Aruba,Curaçao,Bonaire and St.Maarten.We liked Aruba the best because of the beautiful beaches.St.Maarten has some work to do as it is still in bad shape in some places.The biggest issue we had and people we talked to said the same thing and that was the quality of the food.Windjammer had the same food every day and the crowds were rude and that’s putting it mildly.We ate in the main dining room every night and although there were different options each night,it was always room temperature at best. I understand feeding 4000 people isn’t easy but we didn’t have a single meal that was memorable.That wasn’t the case on Oasis.The last night I ordered the Chops filet with an up charge of $17 and even it was cold.The other major issue we had was the constant up selling to buy a specialty restaurant package the staff does.They even interrupt you while you’re trying to eat.Cruising is still a great option and at some point we might try it again but we will have to decide if we want to try another cruise line or if we just chalk it up to being this particular ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Sadly this ship is in immediate need of refurbishment. This will come at the end of the year but until then the early 2000 feel is evident. The rooms and the old carpeting was worn and dingy. The bed was equivalent of a pull out ... Read More
Sadly this ship is in immediate need of refurbishment. This will come at the end of the year but until then the early 2000 feel is evident. The rooms and the old carpeting was worn and dingy. The bed was equivalent of a pull out mattress with poor quality linens. The food in the main dining room and specialty restaurants was very good. The Buffet on the other hand was laughable....awful. Horrible quality many of the choices..example the hamburgers were super gross plastic like disc. Compare that to say a Carnival ship and Guys Burger Bar and Royal should be ashamed. They do have Johnny Rockets and at $12 a burger you can keep that junk. Entertainment....not sure you can call it that! I have not been on a ship were the quality of acts were so poor the theater on a 4000 passenger ship was maybe half full for each show. Entertainment in evening was hard to find...the ship was quiet at night...weird...walked around from bar to bar looking for something and well minus well go to the casino ...nothing really going on. Pool decks were lousy ....adult pool had no music of any kind and you would never know you were at sea because you can’t see it . Compare to MSC adult pool sits on back of ship and gorgeous views from all angles. One highlight was the ship staff were exceptional in every way. However, I do find leaving the extra tip envelopes in your room super tacky. Now when I leave a ship I usually am planning another. Not this time... thinking never another Royal cruise for me. In fact was playing in a poker tournament were the prize was a free cruise...yikes ...no thanks...choose to lose with a 10..3 letting someone else win it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
over all poor rating is due to my not find this ship to be is handicap friendly at all , and is was extremely hazardous . Automated door buttons don’t work , doors don’t open , there was a raised door sill into bathroom what made ... Read More
over all poor rating is due to my not find this ship to be is handicap friendly at all , and is was extremely hazardous . Automated door buttons don’t work , doors don’t open , there was a raised door sill into bathroom what made getting in there on knee scooter difficult , there was no seat in shower despite written request with reservations & request verification before sailing ( service desk said “ yes yes yes “ ) still had to contact housekeeping before one was found & brought to room , large square shower open into room on 2 sides, shower curtain only covers 1 side , so no mater how you work it 1/2 of bathroom drenched. As a right below knee amputee I found the entire ship is a trip hazard, it is covered in multiple floor elevation changes( Lumps Bumps and raised doorways ) with no variation in coloring as warning , my balance & Mobility are decent and yet I stumbled and tripped thought out the ship. people with canes , walkers , wheelchairs required assistants. Boarding the ship at EVERY port was humiliating, the metal hardware in my prosthstitic leg sets off the alarms , I understand the FULL strip & pat down the first couple of times ..... but the same crew , EVERY TIME ? 2 & 3 times a day for all 7 days ? I tried to explain , showed them how it fit , what the parts were ,,,, NO I got more action from the security lady then I did from my husband. Dining room : seating is So Packed & tight there is little room to navigate, constant bump & bang from waitstaff & next table Food so-so , English truffle , advertised as “ sponge cake marinated in sherry” was JELLO , if I wanted jello I would go to buffet. Waitstaff was wonderful, friendly.. to bad food did not love up to the waitstaff THE KEY :CHOPS on embarkation day was wonderful, but that was the only thing about “ THE KEY “ that worked , advanced easy access for boarding was a joke , there was a mass surge of humanity it resembled “ the running of the bulls “ and Handicap, mobility challenged or wheel chair cruisers were trampled , internet sucked , reserved hours for attractions were seldom, only one attraction a day ,always at inconvenient times, who wants to climb rock wall from 9-10 PM. The sit down breakfast was great , disembarkation was a bit smother , with only a couple hundred people standing on the stairs waiting for doors to open at 8am. luggage pick up quick & easy . We did a ships tour after disembarking and we went into San Juan and our luggage went to the airport . Evening movies on big screen were current movies , mission impossible, ant man , crazy Asians .....but they started at 6pm so anyone with early diner reservations only saw the end of them , no blankets, popcorn..... no “ movie under the stars “ Ports were great , did ship excursions in Bonaire & St Martian , (make your reservations online well in advance , most excursions were full at boarding ) there was no consistency with towels for excursions, pick them up on ship , pick them up off ship ...... get yours by the pool and if attendant asks you tell him your going to use them on board 24 hour coffee shop doesn’t start making ( real brewed ) coffee until 6:30 , they did have the strap coffee from buffet available earlier but no special coffees pastries are not made fresh but are frozen , Ice coffee is 2 punches on card , if you have a reusable straw bring it with you as paper ones on board collapse quickly we did not use pools , but there always seemed to be room , always a spot in one of the many hot tubs , children pool was colorful and fun ( very few kids , mostly to young for school ) even watched the scuba diving class one morning in the adult pool. Hubby is a cigar smoker , the smoking area on deck 11 was large , lounge chairs & tables , great ventilation , never smoky or stale , always clean ,covered ash trays emptied often Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were in the 4 bedroom presidential suite doing the south Caribbean the past week. As I am sure there will be reviews on here about the passengers on this cruise, I had no issues and will focus on facts about the line, service and value ... Read More
We were in the 4 bedroom presidential suite doing the south Caribbean the past week. As I am sure there will be reviews on here about the passengers on this cruise, I had no issues and will focus on facts about the line, service and value of RCCL. We were 7 comprising of 2 senior ladies, their sons and wives and on grandchild 9 years of age. My wife and I and child cruise every year and have done simple like carnival victory to NCL Haven. This by a long shot was the worse cruise for value for dollars and service. Embarkment was chaos and no support for 2 members with special needs, even after indicating this at time of booking and every email through the 2 years worth of communication. But local Peurtaricans were given all access... I get it locals looking after their own...just realize when they advertise priority for suites...it does not apply until once through security. On board the ship is old but in fair shape on the service. And got to room with no issues. We get suites for the perks to make travelling easier as we have 2 cardiac 2 anxiety disorder a special needs kid and one mobility issue related to back. In this department there are no real perks minus one. We still got free room service. No dedicated staff for the room. Not even a visit by consierge. We had to go to home during his 3 hour window fos issues which was daily. Our room was not clean and our Stewart made no issue informing us we was just a cleaner. Yet underwear and cups from the previous week guess was under beds all week and only on final night we pointed this out while taking pictures for my blog. To be clear, we had issues from the first day with trying to get the hottub filled, only to have our Stewart forced back to our room to show us how to fill and unfill hottub...all week we did this ourself and also cleaned it ourself as he only cleaned it on last night tip night. Spa. Booked services for mother and her friend which they tried charging her and upselling for a cheaper service even though I had already paid. I have always sent my child and wife for s mani or pedi on formal night sea day in every line without issue. I had called and email management consierge and spa onboard over the year leading up and within the weeks before boarding to ensure my child was good. Emails confirmed service and payment made. Day of treatment was told my kid cant go and no refund was going to be issued, so my wife would need to get a lesser treatment or take another adult. After embarrassing the manager with copies of all emails every received and sent.. mix got a teen nail treatment. No apology from spa of note. Mother bought and paid for photo book. Last day they recharged her account and was trying to force her into more charges until I got involved with Dudley the cousiearge guy. 4 hours later charges were reversed. No apology from photo gu, just Dudley, like it was his fault. Only excursion we booked through ship was a joke. Bonaire highlight and chill beach. Bus went zooming by anything of interest and not spotting and they were booked with other groups. So it was a drive around the island learning about how evil "rich people" were and s drop off to a resort, which was nice btw. Finally we suspected issues with the AC as 2 persons had to use emergancy inhalers daily. One member got angania from air quality in room and coughing and only felt better on the deck or of the ship. We all now have been confirmed with bacterial infections on throats since returning.Thanks Royal. The good was the staff in the dining room. In all our cruises, never have I seen the main floor manager/head waiter at our table every night and helping out. Our staff all got to know us and really made sure we were looked after. So of the best staff ever. The ugly...So Royal has found out z new way to increase profit st the cost of its workforce. We were told by a few crew members that at the end of the cruise their would be a survey sent and if the average scores in their areas were below 75% they dont get paid. Any surveys not done count as well. So those graturities that are suppose to be used to pay staff are now finding their way into corporate hands... I for one will not cruise on Royal again and will be open and honest on all my media forms to offer factual information on this cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The combination of many small issues made this cruise very disappointing. Below is a summary of those issues. We did like the ports of call and time spend off ship was very enjoyable. Since this cruise was over New Year's it was ... Read More
The combination of many small issues made this cruise very disappointing. Below is a summary of those issues. We did like the ports of call and time spend off ship was very enjoyable. Since this cruise was over New Year's it was very expensive. We splurged for a GS, beverage/internet package and dining package- all not worth the extra money. We did share our thoughts/concerns with RC and they did say sorry and they would share our comments with the ship staff but nothing else. Internet- We purchased a surf and stream package with our beverage package. We could not stream anything all week. We could surf albeit slowly. I mentioned this on board and was told "yes the internet is not good". Guest services would not refund any portion of the package because we had purchased a beverage/internet combo package even though we did not get what we purchased. Beverages- We purchased the beverage package but never got our favorite vacation drink because there was no mint on board. I had to seek out my second favorite drink because only one bar had the mango puree to make it. They eventually ran out of mango too. The bars typically served drinks with flat components. Bartenders could see the beverage was flat when the poured it into the glass but served it anyway. It seemed they did not care. Food- this was the only cruise we have been on where we were served raw meat or a dishes that were not edible because they were way, way over salted. We left food hardly touched on our plates in Sabor and Chops because it tasted spoiled. The servers just ask if they can clear your plates and never asked what was wrong with the food. The chefs apparently do not taste all the dishes they serve. The staff do not care if you are happy with your food or not. Also a welcome food gift was brought to our cabin on the first day and on formal night. The first gift was three cookies and the second gift was three cupcakes. There were four of us in the cabin so someone was left out each time. This is another example of how the staff did not care. Yes it was a suite perk but one that would definitely caused an issue with the person left out. Staff- In general when you said “how you doing to staff” frequent responses were “tired” or “long day” or such. The exception was our cabin steward. It was likely the source of the uncaring vibe of the ship. Suite Perks Main Dining Menu Available for In Suite Dining /Complimentary 24-Hour Room Service- Here is an example how the room service was not well done or even to general expectations. We ordered room service dinner one evening. We called and told room service that we wished to dine in our suite. We ordered two salads and two desserts. The salads were not prepared as described on the menu (missing items, iceberg lettuce substituted for arugula), the salads did not come with the salad dressing described (they were dry), the room service tray did not come with bread, or condiments, or water or anything else you would expect on a room service tray anywhere else. Private Lunch Seating in Specialty Restaurants- On this ship we were told to get our lunch from the buffet and then come to Chops. However, we do not see how this suite perk. Yes technically you are seated in an area other than the buffet but once in Chops the servers that were setting up for dinner service ignored the passengers that were eating lunch. They did not set up the tables. They did not offer water. They did not take used plates away. If we sat outside Chops, the servers would do all these things. So this was actually a downgrade in service. Private Breakfast Seating- If you did not get to Chops by 9:30 am, you were told to help yourself to the buffet and return to Chops to sit. However, just like with lunch service the servers did not set up the tables, offer coffee or other beverages, remove dirty plates or provide any service at all. Again it was actually a downgrade from sitting at the buffet where servers would provide these services. Departure Breakfast- breakfast was at the buffet. No difference for non-suite guests. There was coffee in the suite departure lounge though but hardly a perk. Reserved Section in Theater/Pool- Yes there was reserved seating sections but there was no enforcement of the reserved seats. For example on sea days, people would use the reserved seats for their stuff while their use the hot tubs or pools or other ways of getting around the pool attendant who only checked for gold cards twice a day as far as I could tell. No one checked for gold cards in the theater the times we were there. Suite Party Invitation- this invitation was for a cocktail party. The party was held at 11 am. The concierge asked why we were not going and I mentioned we were not inclined to be drinking at 11 am and we had already eaten breakfast so I did not see the point. It did not occur to them that this was not a good time to have a cocktail party. Suite Lounge/Concierge Club Access (Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails Each Evening on Itineraries of 5+ Nights) The suite lounge did have nice people working there and I really wanted to like it. But it was a dreary room with no windows and the music played was primarily from one band that me and my family really do not like. Seven days same music same band made us really not want to stay in the lounge. We also did not like that the Cruise Next person was in the lounge every night. If we wanted to book our next cruise we could have went to his office. It just seemed like every night they were trying to sell you your next cruise. Also the concierge made our restaurant reservations by calling the reservation hotline same as we could. There was no additional inventory or priority for suite guests as far as we could tell. The reservation hotline gave her the same dates and times as anyone else who called. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have been on the Freedom of the Seas many times and was one of my favorites until now. I have always loved cruising the Southern Caribbean, so when I saw my favorite ship and a Southern Caribbean cruise, it was time to book. I guess ... Read More
I have been on the Freedom of the Seas many times and was one of my favorites until now. I have always loved cruising the Southern Caribbean, so when I saw my favorite ship and a Southern Caribbean cruise, it was time to book. I guess the 1st thing I noticed was the lack of service from the porters at the terminal. I was almost wondering if I needed to place my luggage on the rack for them. In Ft Lauderdale, Miami and Port Canaveral all are helpful with bags and answering questions you may have. San Juan obviously doesn't have that work ethic. The checking after I got into the terminal was quick and friendly. There was no issues all the way to the ship. I made my way to the windjammer and to grab a meal for lunch. The lunch was typical food for the windjammer, nothing to write home about. The rooms were ready so I headed to my balcony. My room was very neat and clean. The room attendant was very nice and what I enjoy about most cruises on Royal Caribbean. A friendly conversation and a funny jokes always put a smile on both are faces. The concierge lounge was very nice and not crowded at all. The concierge was always pleasant and helped me with a few request I had. Now Come the things that have turned me sour on this ship. It started as a mior irritation and slowly built up to a point where I was not enjoying my cruise at all. The bulk of the ships passengers were local and I guess no of the children were going to shool because it appeared that 1/3 of the passengers were children.I din't think school was out so either there was a holiday I didn't know about or the parents don't mind yanking their children out of school. at least 1/2 of the children were unruly and running all over the place. I was in the windjammer for breakfast when the ship was dock and the kids were all piled up against the windows disturbing the passengers that were eating next to the window, so there were kids bumping into their table. I could see their disgust from the uncontroled children. Then the same large families holding up the elevators because they wanted to talk to someone for another 30 seconds after part of their group got off. They also held the elevator as their other family member that were somewhere down the hall slowly walked to get on. Sorrentos pizza was a disaster to get something to eat because the same people would take all the pizza. If you don't speak Spanish, I would not put any of the San Juan Cruises on your list, I can already tell that this may be a bad decision for Royal Caribbean. You just have to do a search of Caribbean cruises and San Juan cruises are some of the cheapest. I had already booked another cruise in January before I went on this one. Had I known what many of the the other reviews have echoed, I would not have booked this cruise ship again. Take my advice and select a cruise out of Miami, Ft Lauderdale, or Port Canaveral before considering San Juan. Freedom was a great ship in 2017 but until it leaves San Juan, I will not consider it again Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Freedom of the Seas review Mediocre Experience – Won’t be cruising RCCL again anytime soon (after 9 cruises, 3 with RCCL). We were on the same ship July 2009 – what a fabulous experience!! Delicious food, fantastic service, ... Read More
Freedom of the Seas review Mediocre Experience – Won’t be cruising RCCL again anytime soon (after 9 cruises, 3 with RCCL). We were on the same ship July 2009 – what a fabulous experience!! Delicious food, fantastic service, outstanding entertainment, fun activities. There were 10 in our group, and a good time was had by all. This time, it was the exact opposite experience. While there were a few things that were excellent (details below), overall we were very disappointed. EMBARKATION: Quick and easy. Arrived at the terminal at 12:30; on board in less than 10 min. Hint: use Uber in San Juan; ¼ the price of taxi’s. Yes, they can go to the cruise piers. DEBARKATION: What a mess! No organization whatsoever. We did self-assist (carried all of our bags); had no idea where to go when we walked off the ship – bizarre twisting long lines of people in the middle of the terminal; staff yelling at you to get in line, but no clear lines marked. Exact opposite of embarkation. 30 min from walking off ship to getting into a taxi. TAXI TO/FROM SAN JUAN AIRPORT: Getting a taxi was a fantastic experience!! Run by PR authorities. Quick, simple, they tell you exactly how much $$ to your destination before you get into taxi, and hand you a piece of paper with fare written down! I travel extensively around the USA and Europe, and this is RARELY seen. Love it; wish more cities did this. ROOM: Balcony. Fine. Clean. Bathroom showing age (mirror glazing chipped off in several places). Had room in center of “the hump” (aft, port side, room 8638); it is a COMPLETE myth that these cabins have a larger room or larger balcony – NOT TRUE. Never met our cabin attendant (in 8 previous cruises, we met the cabin attendance the first 5 min we were in the room!); he kept our room clean, but I have zero idea what he looked like. I do not understand the complaints about soft beds – our bed was very sturdy – certainly not soft or hard – somewhere in the middle. When we got back home, we realized our brand new Tempurpedic extra firm mattress was 10x harder than our bed on Freedom. DINING: 1. Main dining room: mediocre food. Service was OK (Diana was smiling and friendly, but we rarely saw her after we ordered; saw the maitre’d more times than we saw our server). I love food – all food! – but everything we had in the main dining room (breakfast & dinner) was just so-so. If I had been served ANY of Freedom’s food at a restaurant in my local city, I would never return to that restaurant – it was that bad/bland/mediocre. My husband (who will eat ANYTHING and never complains) felt the same way, as did the couple that went with us, and two other couples we shared a table with – none of us were happy with any of the food (appetizers, soups, salads, main courses and desserts). Every night, one of the couples at our table demanded a different entrée after taking a bite of what they ordered – it was THAT bad. RCCL no longer has themed nights in the Main Dining Room (remember Italian night, French night Caribbean night, etc?). While the menu changes only slightly each night (only two new items on the menu each night), everything else is the same EVERY NIGHT. UGH! And lobster night – that is now a joke: it was the next-to-last night; my lobster tail was less than 3 oz (I got 3 tiny bites out of it); if you want a second lobster tail, it will cost you $29.95(!) (remember the days when they brought around extra lobster tails and practically threw them at you – those days are GONE, my friends). None of the desserts were worth the calories – and this is coming from someone with a serious sweet tooth; I took 1 bite of my dessert each night, then pushed it away. 2. Windjammer buffet: 98% of the food was mediocre. What did they do right? Super crisp bacon on the breakfast buffet, and the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (this, coming from a properly raised Southern woman), served at lunch on a sea day. 3. Chops Grill: We ate here the first night, and the last night. Everything the first night was excellent – all of the food (except the desserts) and the service. The steaks and salmon were cooked to perfection (nice crisp seared exterior, and the perfect medium-rare interior). All of the sides were excellent (asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes). The desserts were disappointing – the key lime meringue pie was bitter (this is what happens when bottled lime juice is used, as opposed to freshly squeezed limes), and the red velvet cake was bone-dry (i.e., overbaked). The last night, everything (except the steak, which was again cooked to perfection) was dreadful. The salmon was overcooked, dry and no seared crust; the lobster bisque was burnt; the crab cakes were made with the fake “sea legs” (RCCL – SERIOUSLY?!? I would expect this crap from my local Red Lobster, not a specialty dining venue that cost me $35 pp); the asparagus was undercooked; the truffled French fries had zero truffles on them; the red velvet cake was still bone-dry (I have no idea why my friends insisted on having it again, after complaining about it all week); and the chocolate lava cake was overbaked (hence, no lava). Just awful! If we had been served the last night’s meal on the first night, we would not have returned. 4. Giovanni’s Table: Hit and (mostly) miss. I’ve spent the last 10 years travelling through Italy extensively, so I know how real Italian food should taste. Terrible service – sat at our table for 20 min before the waiter arrived (and we were there at 6:30 when they opened; so they can’t use “we were busy” as an excuse). The Spaghetti Bolognese was outstanding – the best I’ve ever had; I’d kill for their recipe (it was THAT good). The Linguini Carbonara was a joke – almost no sauce (bone-dry) and maybe a ½ piece of bacon in the entire bowl. The Gorgonzola Gnocchi had maybe a teaspoon of gorgonzola cheese in the sauce – so it was very bland. Thank goodness the Tiramisu was excellent! However, the dark chocolate cake had zero flavour (just enough cocoa powder added to give it a dark color, but not enough to give it even a hint of chocolate flavour) and was bone-dry (i.e., yet another piece of cake that was overbaked). My husband took the All Access tour. During the tour, the group went through the Galley and was told that all RCCL cooks (I don’t dare call them chefs because that would most definitely be an insult to chefs everywhere) must have at least 3-years experience at a 5-star restaurant before being considered for a job with RCCL. HAHAHAHAHA – what a joke. That is either a whopper of a lie told by the RCCL staffer giving the tour, or being a dish washer qualifies as the “3-years experience at a 5-star restaurant” … RCCL food does NOT – I repeat, NOT – reflect anything resembling 5-star cuisine. 5. Room Service: we absolutely REFUSE to pay the $7.95 room service fee (the only exclusion is coffee and/or continental breakfast), so we ordered coffee and steamed milk to be delivered to our room every morning; we enjoyed the coffee on our balcony; then went down to the main dining room for breakfast (Windjammer is INSANE for breakfast). One morning, the coffee wasn’t delivered; when we left to head out for breakfast, the room service order form was still handing on our door – no excuse for Room Service not getting it – the deadline is 2am and we put the form out at 10:15pm. What I REALLY didn’t appreciate about Room Service? The attendant who brought our coffee (someone different each morning) would linger in the room for an extra 15-20 secs, like they were waiting for me to hand them a tip – sorry, RCCL now forces me to pay a gratuity per day – get your tip from them!!!!! There is no Izumi on board the Freedom (yet it is listed on the ship’s web site). There is no Starbucks on board the Freedom (again, as listed on the web site). No problem – this saved me at least $40 over the week. ENTERTAINMENT: Mostly Good. We’re the type of nerds that enjoy the trivia games; 3-4 of those each day. There was an ‘action comedian’ in the main theatre one night – we went with the expectation that it would be a cheesy act, but big surprise – he was HILARIOUS and very good at what he does. RCCL now shows movies around the pool at night; decent selection, and great weather for doing this. ‘Game shows’ (Love & Marriage, Finish The Lyrics, Lip Sync Battle, etc) were lots of fun. The big disappointment – anything involving the Royal Caribbean dancers, singers and ‘orchestra’; the two female lead singers were constantly trying to out-sing one another, but in the process they only embarrassed themselves by sounding cheesy and pitchy. The first night’s show was a Broadway revue – so-so; the last night’s “Once Upon A Time” show was so awful, we walked out after the first song (we just couldn’t take the screeching of the singing voices). Basically, it was like watching a re-run of “The Solid Gold Dancers” (if you’re old enough to get this reference, you now understand just how bad it really was). Back in 2009, everything that went on in the Arcadia Theater was outstanding … once again, RCCL disappoints. SHORE EXCURSIONS: As always, the ship charges way too much and you get way too little. On Curacao, we walked around a bit (sorry, but all Caribbean islands look the same; we naively hoped the Southern Caribbean would be different), and then decided to hire a local driver for a 2-hour island tour - $20pp. He did a great job. One of our stops (for about 10 min) was Cabana Beach … trust me – if you’re reading this review, and one of your stops is Curacoa, skip everything else on the island and have a taxi take you directly to Cabana Beach – it is so beautiful. Cost $3.50 pp to get on the beach; there are many, many thatched umbrellas and chairs, warm water, soft sand, and several bars and restaurants. If we had seen Cabana Beach at 9am, rather than 2:30pm – we would have stayed all day. On Aruba, the men booked the JetLev excursion for the morning. Look it up on YouTube. They really enjoyed it, although both agreed the $189 price tag was too steep for a 15 min session. This took place on Palm Beach. I read so many great things about Palm Beach before we left, but was underwhelmed when we got there; it’s about a 3-mile stretch of nothing but one hotel chain after another. Looks just like any other beach strip in the USA (Virginia Beach, Miami, Ocean City) – meh! In the afternoon, we did the undersea submarine; it was OK, but certainly not worth $66pp. On St Kitts, I booked a private 4-hour full island tour with Beulah, who owns Welcome Tours (you can find her on TripAdvisor and at tourstkittsandnevis.com). She was delightful to deal with via e-mail, and even more delightful in person. She met us when we got off the ship, turned us over to one of her drivers (Moschina) and we had a FANTASTIC day. It was the four in our group, plus another couple from another ship. We were having so much fun, the tour ended up being nearly 6 hours, yet we were only charged the originally agreed amount of $46pp. Beulah, Moschina and Welcome Tours is highly recommended. On St Thomas, we booked the shore excursion through the ship to go snorkelling on St John’s (this was our 4th time on St Thomas). The $44pp was actually worth it – nice boat ride to St John’s, snorkel equipment included, a bus driver who gave us a mini-tour on the way to our beach (even letting us get out and take photos along the way); it was so nice to get way from the hordes of rude passengers on the ship. We had about 2 ½ hours at the beach – perfect amount of time for us. Passengers: Unfortunately, RCCL is now catering to the lowest common denominator. A good portion of the passengers were rude, pushy and loud. My husband is the easiest going person I know; in 28 years together, I’ve only heard him raise his voice twice … he raised his voice a third time during our cruise on Freedom. One night in the Arcadia Theater, a group of women (7 or 8) sat in the row behind us and talked NON-STOP. After about 20 min of this, my husband turned around the yelled at them to “shut up or get out”. Imagine my shock … but he WAS absolutely justified!! I travel a lot for business (average of one week per month, for the last 20 years), and sadly this is happening more and more everywhere. People are so inconsiderate of one another and of their environment. I am growing tired of spending my hard-earned money to vacation with “the masses”. Some of the reviews of this ship on this web site stated problems with the Puerto Rican passengers – it’s not just the Puerto Ricans folks; I saw passengers of all shapes, sizes, sexes, and nationalities who were rude and disrespectful. So will we book another RCCL cruise? Not at this time. One of our dinner mates (main dining room) summed it up perfectly: Royal Caribbean’s prices have remained basically the same over the last 10 years … but the quality of what you get has been drastically reduced. Nailed it! We had a long talk on the way home, and we’ve decided that we’ll take a chance on an upscale cruise line for our next cruise. Probably Viking – they don’t allow anyone under 19 years of age on their cruises; all rooms are balconies; with the exception of hard liquor and spa treatments – everything is inclusive (water, soft drinks, beer & wine at lunch and dinner, specialty restaurants, wifi, even one shore excursion at each por)t. By the time you look at how much you spend to upgrade to a balcony, the occasional glass of beer (hubby) or wine (me), specialty restaurants, and shore excursions – we can cruise on Viking for only a few dollars more. I really don’t plan to return to RCCL unless I read many, many, many rave reviews … good luck with that, RCCL. Bye-bye (said in my best David Spade flight attendant voice). Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I traveled on Freedom of the Seas, Sept. 22, 2018. I now read similar reviews/complaints and wonder if their corporate executives have lost their minds. This was my 26th cruise/and 2nd time on Freedom (2013 & 2018). We chose this ... Read More
I traveled on Freedom of the Seas, Sept. 22, 2018. I now read similar reviews/complaints and wonder if their corporate executives have lost their minds. This was my 26th cruise/and 2nd time on Freedom (2013 & 2018). We chose this sailing, to help bolster the economy in SJU, and thought less children might be on board (w/school in session) and its Southern Caribbean itinerary. Instead, it was the daycare cruise from Hell. Now, I read (online) if ships sailing out of SJU-aren't going out full-they give extremely low rates to the local families, to fill it. These passengers ran havoc-pushing and shoving- at elevators-food & drink areas-and children ran unsupervised and out of control. The entertainment was so upset by uncontrolled screaming children, they were making comments, while on mike. It could be said, "there's nothing they can do to control this" but, there are no boundaries or rules in place, except: Children under 17 should be back in there cabins by 1 a.m. Really? That's it? I saw little ones in ship bars until the wee hours; while parents partied, too drunk from the never-ending liquor packages. The ships TV was a great example of RC's 'focus' with their over 6 solicitation channels. It was all about getting passengers to buy jewelry, excursions, or future cruises. Subtlety, is no longer an RC virtue. And I've never been so "nickled and dimed" to death. With very little TV (and I refuse to include cartoon channels) we could pay $11.99 'per movie'. Room service meant spending an additional $7.95 (per room service) PLUS 18% gratuity. And I always looked forward to sleeping/lulled by the movement of a ship. That was impossible. These beds felt like I was on top of a table. And if by chance we did fall asleep-the drunks were screaming and laughing down the hallways. The staff did what they could, but they also watched in despair, as people ran wild. Fights broke out on the promenade (70's party night). Drunk tempers flared, while children watched. No standards, guidelines, or rules in place. The food in the dining room's also become uneatable. The first night I ordered prime rib (requested med/rare). It came out gray, cold, dry, w/gravy and a full sprig of raw rosemary 'shoved in it'. We ate in the dining room just a few times (hoping they'd redeem themselves). It blew our minds when the crab cakes were made with fake crab meat. I understand they think people have no palates, or might be too dumb/drunk to know the difference..but they'd be wrong. Many of us talked, complained, or discussed the food and our disappointments. When your buffet is better than your dining room-that's pretty sad. And is this happening because they hoped we'd pay more to upgrade to their food packages? And when we're already billed almost $15 a day (for tipping-regardless of service) why are we receiving additional envelops? If I'd received exceptional service, I'd make sure those individuals were compensated. Instead; we were made to feel we were not doing 'our part' for their contracted staff. The cruise staff appeared to have no authority. This might also be why (during our Aruba excursion) a couple brought a toddler on a 50 ft. snorkeling wreck. This catamaran staff had to babysit, while the mom & dad swam. Evidently they didn't want to pay for the ships daycare. Over sixty people were in the water, not monitored properly, because the staff were babysitting. The RC cruise line should have implemented passenger policies, as well as for their excursion providers. And each day was a freaking 'shell game' (when on an island) as to where the towel stand would be: on the dock/ somewhere else/ or on deck 3 & 11. Everything was a crap shoot-with no direction. And RC might respond, "you should've picked a higher ship class". But, I would reply, "YOU are not living up to your stated brand and name. Lastly, this is an example of what we passengers dealt with daily. I was in the solarium hot tub. A group of 12 young adults (with food & drinks) sat along the half moon, and on top of our belongings. I got out to get my things from under a young woman. She didn't speak English and would not move, so I had to pull my things out from under her butt. Another couple got out, and walked over. The husband looked at my belongings (now in my arms) gagging and pointing. There was period blood on my things. We watched as this girl got into the hot tub, with her group, and ran off those who'd been in it. Royal Caribbean might believe all that matters is their bottom line, but slowly, those who've supported their brand, are going to stop sailing their ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I took the cruise out of San Juan in order to visit the southern Caribbean. As with everything there was the good, the bad and ugly, let’s start with the good. Embarkation and Debarkation were painless, was one of the first on the ... Read More
I took the cruise out of San Juan in order to visit the southern Caribbean. As with everything there was the good, the bad and ugly, let’s start with the good. Embarkation and Debarkation were painless, was one of the first on the ship and one of the last off. I was on deck 8, starboard outside cable (balcony). The room was excellent, not sure why I have read people saying the rooms need updating, it’s a typical cabin. I was not happy that some brainless smoker was dropping ashes down from a balcony above (smoking is not allowed in rooms but they seldom get caught). The dining was excellent in the actual dining rooms, superb service by Roxanne (you should be so lucky to get her if you take a cruise). The Windjammer was like any other trough, the food was OK and was there for a quick meal if needed. This Pizza on the promenade was surprisingly good also (had to wait in line some of the time). The nightly entertainment had its ups and downs -- The theater is too big for a magic show; however, the stage show singing and dancing was excellent – worth seeing again if you ask me. The excursion on Curacao was outstanding; great tour guide and the beach was perfect – plenty of chairs to rent (with umbrellas) and cabanas also (get the cabana). The only thing is I wish we could have stayed longer. Now for the bad The shore excursions on St Thomas and Aruba were pathetic. St Thomas, Magen beach break was not worth it. The driver that took us there was great and the beach was not bad. It was the accommodations that were lacking. No beach umbrellas; plenty of chairs could be rented, but no umbrellas. There is a bar that has a roof over it (shade), however every chair was taken. Makes me wonder if they don’t have umbrellas so people are forced into the bar area. Aruba, do not take the tour of Aruba with a beach break at the end. Five-hour tour and beach break (the beach was only 45 minutes. We had the chance to see a big rock that you can walk to the top of (I stayed in the bus – seen big rocks before. The next stop was the “Natural Bridge”. It had collapsed a few years ago so there was no bridge – guess they wanted us to see the broken rocks in the water. The third stop was the California Light House, not worth it. Finally, the beach break – as I said only 45 minutes – not enough time to rent a jet ski. My advice is if you go to Aruba on a cruise – take a cab to the beach and rent an umbrella and chair – the beach is great. We also took the sunset cruise on Aruba – seems they don’t have running lights on the boat. A tad bit scary cruising at night without running lights. Perhaps the lights are not required in Aruba, its just plain not safe not to have them. The adult only pool area is too small for what is needed. The general pool area where all the activities was good – the children’s pool area is HUGH. I would suggest that it should be smaller and enlarge to adult only pool area. Now for the ugly Tour groups from hell; with their children. I took this cruise because I assumed most children would be back in school. Apparently not in Porta Rico. When dining in the windjammer the free-range children would crowd around you if you had a seat near the window; parents didn’t seem to care that they were invading other people’s space. The groups would stop in the middle of the promenade oblivious that other people were trying to move through the area. They would cut in front of you in the Windjammer. You always had to be cognizant when exiting and elevator the mob may be trying to get on – seems they didn’t know you are to let the exiting people off first. I could go on – the bottom line is because of the mobs and RCI no controlling them I have soured on taking any more cruises – it was the worse cruise I had ever taken Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I departed for our seven-day Royal Caribbean 5 year anniversary cruise on September 8th on Freedom of the Seas. This was our first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean. We were excited to depart on a relaxing romantic Caribbean ... Read More
My wife and I departed for our seven-day Royal Caribbean 5 year anniversary cruise on September 8th on Freedom of the Seas. This was our first cruise ever on Royal Caribbean. We were excited to depart on a relaxing romantic Caribbean cruise... or so we thought. After being locked out on our balcony and bruised from getting knocked down, it was anything but what we were expecting. Our Cabin Steward, even though he accidentally locked us out on our balcony, we ended up liking a good deal. After coming in to bring us a bucket of ice that I requested on the first night, he found us on the balcony and wished us a good night. Out of habit, he closed and latched the door as he left. We stayed out there for a while, not realizing we were locked out before trying to come back in. At the point we realized we were locked out, we couldn’t see anyone else out on their balcony. We waited there for a portion of the night and what seemed like an eternity. Just as I started climbing over the rail to get to the next balcony and bang on their door, we caught the attention of someone four rooms down who went for help. A couple days later, my wife was knocked to the ground in the overcrowded windjammer buffet area and a member of the staff just stood there and shrugged with a look on his face expressing “I know, but nothing I can do”. We were told by several guest that due to the threat of a hurricane developing, the bookings had dropped to about 30% capacity and in order for Royal Caribbean to make a profit, the remaining cabins were advertised and sold locally in Puerto Rico at a fraction of what we paid. This filled the boat with a crowd acting like it was their first and last Spring Break they would ever take. It’s hard to relax when boom boxes could be heard from stern to bow blaring techno-pop music. In the elevators, on our balcony, even just sitting in our room, the high energy beat could be both heard and felt. I wrote Royal Caribbean expressing how this was anything but the relaxing romantic Caribbean cruise advertised and sold to us by a member of the Royal Caribbean sales staff. After receiving my letter, a team member in the executive office called me to explain how it’s really not their problem and implied I was lying since I did not report the events when they occurred. He did offer us a $100 voucher to use on board the next Royal Caribbean cruise. Would this be acceptable to you? We understand that sometimes getting locked out and knocked down is part of life. What truly matters is who is there to pick you back up. Unfortunately, we found Royal Caribbean is not one of those stand-up companies that can recognize and do the right thing. They would rather just stand there and look down on you counting their profits. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We flew into San Juan and spent the day prior to the cruise exploring Old San Juan on our own. Old San Juan is gorgeous and filled will all kinds of shopping, dining and historical buildings, and you could easily spend days there doing ... Read More
We flew into San Juan and spent the day prior to the cruise exploring Old San Juan on our own. Old San Juan is gorgeous and filled will all kinds of shopping, dining and historical buildings, and you could easily spend days there doing everything that OSJ has to offer. We stayed at the Hampton Inn near the airport, which was a little noisy due to runway noise from the neighboring airport, but did not disturb us at night due to decent soundproofing. Saturday morning, embarkation day, we took an Uber to the port, and he dropped us off in front of a massive crowd of people. We started to walk inside and were quickly turned around and told to go to a certain colored column to drop our luggage. Unfortunately, the columns are colored near the bottom, and nearly impossible to see through the crowd, thus turning it into a free for all of people trying to get to the right line, but unable to see where the line goes from the end of the line. Once the luggage was loaded into the carts, we set out for security and check-in. Security, as usual, was questionable at best, and provided little in the way of assurance of actual security, and more of a security theater setting. After security, we were directed to check-in, and were placed in a line for Crown and Anchor guests, which moved no faster than the normal check-in line, and check in was provided by a very soft spoken employee, who did not seem terribly interested in her job. Maybe it was the heat? Security and check in were extremely hot, but it's the tropics, so what can you do? We were then directed up an escalator to the ship, where we were advised that our stateroom was ready. We proceeded to our stateroom at the front of deck 9 (9504) where we were greeted with a typical stateroom, excluding the large porthole at the front. After some careful moving (pro tip: move the coffee table to the other side of the bed near the porthole for more room to move in the "living room" area) we began to unpack. My wife noticed that the hair dryer did not work, but there was a second one provided in the drawers below. These rooms do lack more than 2-3 outlets total, so don't plan on too many devices charging at once. The colors were, to quote my wife, "atrocious" and the stateroom was done up in a well worn green and peach motif, with yellow patterned curtains. The bed was comfortable, but pillows were lacking, and were very thin (we asked for extras) We spent most of the first day exploring the ship, and trying to get acquainted with the various areas on board. It was at this point we noticed that boarding had continued to fill an already crowded ship to absolute max capacity. When we went down for the muster drill, we filed into a crowded space at the front of the ship to hear the muster drill briefing, but had to listen to it once in English, then again in Spanish, followed by a number of chants, in Spanish, from the mainly Puerto Rican crowd. When we returned to our stateroom, we were greeted with a paper informing us that our tour for our first port was cancelled. We immediately went to the Shore Excursions desk and were informed that the tour was cancelled due to "lack of participation" from others. We were given an alternate tour with a discount. After a decent dinner with mediocre service in the main dining room, and a reservation for an alternate table the next night with the MyTime desk, we returned to our room to be told that our replacement tour was ALSO cancelled, due to "lack of participation"--we then returned to the Shore Excursions desk to rebook AGAIN, and when questioned on the "lack of participation" on a completely full ship, we were told that the Puerto Rican population did not like to purchase shore excursions, and that we should be prepared for more of the same in other ports. We booked a third excursion that they guaranteed would go out. Our first port, in the US Virgin Islands was docked at the former US Submarine base, and when we got off the ship, we were greeted with a group of friendly locals, one of whom was the taxi driver for the Champagne Cat Tour that we booked. We piled in with 12 other guests (The absolute bare minimum for the tour to go out) and took a long and winding hour ride to the other side of the island to meet our Catamaran. The tour was pleasant, and Captain Dave, along with Brandon and Esther, made our first half of the day a success, despite the numerous cancellations from the desk. We got back on the ship after noon, and spent most of the rest of the day between the very crowded pool deck and the common areas of the ship. Dinner was in the main dining room, and was highlighted by our new waiter Merlissa and her assistant waiter Kresimir. Both were excellent and very informative. We were informed that night of a tropical storm (Isaac) brewing to the east of us, headed westbound towards the area. Our second day was spent at sea en route to Curacao, and was fairly uneventful. There was live entertainment all day, but deck space again was at a minimum. The Windjammer was full on this day, and it remained difficult all week to get breakfast in any sort of orderly fashion. Lines went every which way, there was no cohesive direction, and none of the staff tasked to provide any sort of guidance other than the standard of handing out purell like it was going out of style. Tables were at a premium, and lines in the main dining room for breakfast spanned a great stretch of the ship. Third day in Curacao was punctuated by a trip through the island on a tour bus with a decent tour guide. The tour was informative, as was the trek through Hato Caves and the Curacao distillery. We punctuated this night with a Sunset Harbor Cruise, which we highly recommend. The guide was informative and the views were gorgeous. Fourth day in Aruba was where the plans began to unravel. The evening of the third day, we found out yet another of our tours (Off Road Land Rover Tour) was cancelled due to "operational concerns" and there was no other tour to take it's place. We were also informed that due to the incoming storms, our fourth port (St. Maarten) was cancelled and that we would instead spend the last two days at sea. Our other tour in Aruba was to Palm Beach, and was a nice ride, but could have spent more time at the beach. Worth doing on your own, rather than taking the RCCL tour for this one. We also stopped and had lunch at a local seafood restaurant to break up the monotony of the windjammer's lunch options--which were repetitive and limited. We went to dinner in the dining room, only to find out that our table had been given away, and we were instead seated contrary to our wishes in the middle of another section. I protested the table choice with the desk, only to be told that they would seat us where they had room, and that we were to go where they sat us. Luckily, our protests seemed to make it across to one of the section leaders, who smoothed things over and got us close to our normal section, with our normal waitress and assistant waiter. At this point, we were stressed out, frustrated and rather annoyed with the service onboard and the lackluster attitudes among some of the staff. The dining room manager came over and we spoke briefly about the issue, and he assured me that it would be handled from that point forward. Our waitress and assistant waiter were apologetic (even though it wasn't their doing!) and said they would work on it from their end as well. The fifth day was spent at sea, and was generally used by sitting on the pool deck, attempting to get service at crowded pool bars and finally retreating to our stateroom. The activities all week were centered on the latino crowd, and seemed to be more for the benefit of the locals on board than those who had traveled long distance to try to relax. We had a conversation with Gazetty, the guest services manager on this day, reference our complaints, and while she empathized with us, she admitted that there was not much she could do in reference to most of the issues, but did take down our concerns, and seemed to be receptive to our criticisms. The sixth day was spent similarly to the fifth, as we were still at sea on a packed boat, but winds and waves began to pick up, and we experienced heavy seas and infrequent squalls with driving rain. The staff, at this point, seemed exhausted and that they were more interested in getting off the ship than the passengers were, which did not say much for either side. Disembarkation was a complete and total disaster, as we had a shore excursion planned, and were told in no uncertain terms that we would be moved off the ship efficiently to get us to our shore excursion. Unfortunately, this was hampered by the flood of people separating the shore excursion group who were instructed to get off the ship immediately and the groups of Puerto Rican locals who were in a scramble to get off as fast as possible. This made for a confusing and difficult time getting off the ship, through customs and reunited with our luggage. The building is not well marked as to the next step, and there was much confusion as to the path to get out of the building. Eventually, we made it to our tour bus, and our tour guide Hector was a great guide. He shared his experiences, plus stops to Old San Juan and the Bacardi Rum Tour. He navigated the tight streets of San Juan with ease in his bus, and provided good commentary. The tour ended with a drop off at the airport and after going through customs we headed home. My thoughts on this cruise lead my wife and I to hold on our plans to schedule another cruise, as Royal Caribbean has obviously lowered standards of quality. The highlights were definitely sparse, and the Freedom is in desperate need of a refit and update. The staff is generally young, and lacks experience and polish that we expect on RCCL ships. Though the ship is well maintained, technology seems outdated, with terrible speeds on the onboard internet, and various systems that required repair or replacement, including the public address system in the rooms, Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, various monitors throughout the ship, the lack of outlets near the bed in our cabin, the elevator system and the heating and cooling system. Our room failed to stay cold throughout the day, even with the thermostat on the lowest setting, and air circulation seemed to be non-existent throughout much of the ship. The doors from the pool deck to the interior stairwells seemed to work intermittently, and maintenance staff was frequently seen in the hallways and common areas attempting to repair issues. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I picked this cruise because I was going on vacation to Puerto Rico and thought it may be a good idea to catch a cruise from this port. Nothing but wrong. Very bad food, restaurants were closed right after boarding time from ports of ... Read More
I picked this cruise because I was going on vacation to Puerto Rico and thought it may be a good idea to catch a cruise from this port. Nothing but wrong. Very bad food, restaurants were closed right after boarding time from ports of destinations. Food is greasy and you end eating tons of pizza because there is nothing else after boarding the ship again after a long day in an island. Lines were the MUST to get anything you wanted (get in a restaurant, have pizza, take a photo session). Definitely do not recommend it at all. I travel with my family, young people and elders. Shows were average. The ship is big and has a great alley simulating a street. This is what a liked the most of it. They have inside cabins with windows to the inside "street" where all the cafes and stores are located. Feel like atmosphere needs improvement also. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I live in Puerto Rico, when my wife saw the offer for the 3 night cruise we decided to give it a try. We are Diamond class and the line for Diamond class and beyond were eliminated. The experience in the Windjammer was a nightmare, we were ... Read More
I live in Puerto Rico, when my wife saw the offer for the 3 night cruise we decided to give it a try. We are Diamond class and the line for Diamond class and beyond were eliminated. The experience in the Windjammer was a nightmare, we were always able to find a table but it was very hard to get a plate of food due to the lines and the few stations available. I was on the Harmony of the Seas last December and booked the Symphony on board during that trip, the Freedom of the Seas was kind of a spur of the moment and I ended up regretting it. The cabin was same as always but the bathroom was not as clean as it should be. I was also unable to use the pool because it was always full of people yelling and screaming nonsense which I believe should not have been allowed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The itinerary was great. Villa was amazing. We ordered room service for breakfast and ate in the large lanai. Room service could not get our orders right during our trip. The first day we tried the kids club, we were told our 4 year old ... Read More
The itinerary was great. Villa was amazing. We ordered room service for breakfast and ate in the large lanai. Room service could not get our orders right during our trip. The first day we tried the kids club, we were told our 4 year old would have to adhere to the rules. Sliding on your bottom down the slide and staying at the table (he lost a game and got frustrated and went to a corner to take breaths) that is not allowed. Got a massages and the therapist rushed through the treatment she talked for most of it about all the products that would be “helpful” for me to purchase. Not once did she stop to check in on the pressure. Food quality in the main dining and windjammer was poor. The only quality foods are the specialty restaurants. Our room attendant Samason and Junior the concierge were the MVPs they provided excellent service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Boat rundown. Our stateroom musty, holes in curtains. Toilet always smelled, 1st sheets on our bed had a stain on them. Staff didn't seem happy overall, from our stateroom attendant to the staff around the boat. Not as friendly as ... Read More
Boat rundown. Our stateroom musty, holes in curtains. Toilet always smelled, 1st sheets on our bed had a stain on them. Staff didn't seem happy overall, from our stateroom attendant to the staff around the boat. Not as friendly as other ships. Not the greetings we usually would get, Ice skating free time hardly available, main draw for booking the cruise for our kids. I think there were under 10 hours of free skate time. Food was good. Extra charges for burgers (not included like on Carnival) No pizza by pool have to walk to 5th deck. The shows were good. The kids had fun at the kids club, but the workers not excited to see the kids when we showed up...seemed like they were punching the clock. The splash pad was nice for the kids as well as the adult only pool and whirlpool. It to us seemed like RCL didn't care about the boat condition or training staff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I felt as though the crews main job was to try and empty the pockets of the people on board. With little regard to anyone's level of satisfaction. Our complaints when upon deaf ears. The state rooms are in terrible condition, broken ... Read More
I felt as though the crews main job was to try and empty the pockets of the people on board. With little regard to anyone's level of satisfaction. Our complaints when upon deaf ears. The state rooms are in terrible condition, broken fridge, safe, bathroom mirror. I have stayed in Super 8s that are in much better condition!!!! Very few staff around in visible areas to assist with simple thinks like directions or instructions. I really cannot say how terrible our stateroom looked. I have stayed in nicer $39 dollar a night rooms!!! Very old, tired looking boat!!! I have taken a Royal Caribbean cruise in the past on the Allure ship in the boat was beautiful. Was incredible and I did not feel as I ever was trying to empty my pockets every time I turn the corner. On the Freedom of the Seas I felt as though there was a meter on my toilet is being charged every time it was flushed!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
It was my first time on a cruise. A birthday gift. I enjoyed many of the activities, but the treatment wasn't what I expected. The food was amazing and the cleaning lady was nice, but the overall experience was frustrating. Many of ... Read More
It was my first time on a cruise. A birthday gift. I enjoyed many of the activities, but the treatment wasn't what I expected. The food was amazing and the cleaning lady was nice, but the overall experience was frustrating. Many of the employees spoke only English. I can understand it, my mother can't. I had much trouble understanding the accents and I had to traduce for her. Why a crew where most speak only English when most of the passengers speak Spanish? Also, there was an activity where you had to take signatures, and a staff woman was really rude to us. And I missed the broadcast of a very fun activity, and when I called if it could be played, or be given a few minutes of footage, they refused, ruining the last days for me. If I go on a cruise again, it won't be this one. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I planned a family cruise way in advance hoping to get the best price. Through the year the price decreased and I had to call every time and have the price adjusted. One of the rooms I booked never got its $75.00 on board credit and when I ... Read More
I planned a family cruise way in advance hoping to get the best price. Through the year the price decreased and I had to call every time and have the price adjusted. One of the rooms I booked never got its $75.00 on board credit and when I talked to the front desk while on the ship there was no convincing them that there should have been a credit like the other 6 rooms had. We were still very excited to celebrate and all be together on the Freedom of the sea. However the boat truly showed its age. Things around the ship were worn the carpets fadebthe public toilets kept over flowing and smelled. Our room was WORN! the carpet needed a deep clean the curtains had little rips in the lining. The coach was stained and frayed. The BED was like sleeping on a table with little padding. The pillows were flat. Everyone in my party complained of the same things so it wasn't just my room. We traveled with and 18 month old. and asked for a pack and play for her to sleep in. It was dirty with holes in the netting ( little ones could get very hurt if the put their fingers in the holes). It had no mattress just a comforted wrapped in a sheet. ( Also extremely dangerous for a child). We paid $1000 for this baby and she got absolutely nothing for $1000. She sleep with her parents, she eat very little of the ship food and wasn't able to be in the splash pad or pools. The was one designated triangle pool area for her to sit in but there was little water and it as hot from the sun beating on it. So I don't see how the charge of $1000 for her to be on the boat was worth it. The splash pad was a danger to everyone because the deck around it was slippery. There must have been twenty or more people and kids a day slipping and falling including myself. I banged my knee up pretty badly. I've been to many slash pads and all of them have a rubber coated flooring around the out side of the area to eliminate slipping. I don't see why that can't be don't for passengers safety. There wasn't even a carpet or anything to soak up the water, just a stupid sign that says slippery when wet. That didn't help even when you were being careful. I also made sure when I booked the cruise that it was noted that I had food allergies. I told the waited as well. It wasn't until day three that they finally got it right. The dinner crew was very nice and hard working, but the morning staff were horribly grumpy and rude. The prices of drinks on the ship was ridiculous. Even the packages were way out of line. If the prices weren't so high we might have bough more. And the new rule that if one person in the room buys a package everyone else in the room need to have one is absurd! So overall I think Royal Caribbean should be ashamed ! I or any of my party will never choose Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our cruise was on Freedom of the Seas, left from Puerto Rico to St. Marten, St Kitts, St. John, St. Lucia, Barbados. We were in a suite. Our problems started prior to even leaving. We are over 60 years old traveling with no children ... Read More
Our cruise was on Freedom of the Seas, left from Puerto Rico to St. Marten, St Kitts, St. John, St. Lucia, Barbados. We were in a suite. Our problems started prior to even leaving. We are over 60 years old traveling with no children Booking our cruise, we had to change our original trip. Willing to pay the 200.00 I called and said put the 200.00 additional charge on a different credit card and pay the remainder of the trip on this other credit card. I received a receipt paid in full then prior to deadline to pay off your cruise I received an email saying if I didn't pay the balance I would not be on this cruise. no explanation, nothing! I pulled up my credit card statement and saw where the money had been taken out of both statements got my receipt where I received the paid in full and I called told them there is a mistake and they never did tell me what the problem was. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. Told them I had receipts and the supervisor just said you owe the money pay or don't go. so we (my husband and I ) sat down and calculated on what happen and the employee that put the 200. on one card it paid on our balance then when he processed the remainder on the other card it had a balance minus the 200. in which now showed we still owed 200.00. Okay, I see that but they could of explained the error instead of being so rude. We paid the money but was never explained to us what happen other than you pay or don't go. Departure: We took uber to the Terminal with all the luggage in tow I showed my sea pass to an employee and told to stand in this line, a very long line when people were driving up to the front of the line and putting their luggage before us. We had plenty of time to just stand there and watch to the point of being somewhat irritated, then when we finally got to the end (very unorganized) I was even holding up money next in line and had some person push by us and they took his luggage then I finally said can someone please take my luggage, only one person can accept this so when the next person cut in line in front of me I had to say something in which made me look like an unruly person. I didn't care at this point. But I did put my money back up no tip for this. going into the building went fast as we were in the suite line and there was no one there. Our first meal was lunch waiting for them to get the luggage on board was in the Windjammer, after finally finding a place to eat (which is normal during day 1) we had people (2 separate people) coming up to our table trying to sell us another place to eat on the cruise for a special price. (and it happened again later on in the week) In which we did not want solicitors to bother us on our vacation.. this is what we get away from. The food was excellent and the service the Windjammer was good. Now for our first dining room experience, we waited in line forever. WE HAD RESERVATIONS and a TABLE NUMBER. They did not (or maybe they thought they did), so finally after waiting and evaluating what was going on, the only podium open, we just went past the line and walked in and there was several other couples walking around looking for their table number just like us. We finally caught a waiter and they helped us find our table. There was only one excursion that we wanted to do and that one had to be through the cruise line. Scuba diving where else could you get to dive all these islands in a week and not have to fly within 24 hrs. When I went to the excursion desk they explained to me I had to go to the dive shop and book it on the 11th floor. I just said I want to book the excursion I don't need lessons. then another lady walked up and said, " just like this lady told you, you have to go to the 11th floor to the dive shop". She didn't say, we are not qualified to take that type of excursion, or nothing other than go to the Dive Shop. Okay now here I go to the 11th floor find the long line at the dive shop, only one person working and listening to them give preliminary information on learning to dive, or discovery courses on diving I finally get my turn and book the dive. Now as far as the service from the person at the dive shop he was fantastic spent as much time with me as he did others but he was the only one working and their was a long line behind me when I got done. Service for my room was superior, and service (waiter) for our dining room was great. I carry a portable cd player that I plug into my TV I take alot of pictures on my camera that I like to view my film from the tv, our television was very small but it did have the hdmi, or video audio in/outputs, but after calling the electrician several times they finally said your tv is not hooked up for you to use your hdmi or any other device. Ok, this was a first for me on other cruises I was able to hook up (not Royal Caribbean) We try not to spend alot of time watching tv but at night we do like to relax in bed with some entertainment. The only stations we could find that was not selling us something on board, were 2 spanish stations, 2 cartoon stations, 1 movie station if you like retro movies from the 50's or Laverne and Shirley. So all the stations that I could watch were controlled by RC. All the other stations were selling me something. (except the one day I watched cartoons) St. Marten was great we did our own thing took a taxi to Maho Beach where the airport is that you can be on the beach and they fly right over you to land and had a blast that day. St. Kitts our excursion day to scuba dive. Coming off the ship was exactly as planned and told to do. There was a short hop over to the dive shop to sign waivers then onto the boat. It had approximately 12 -14 divers 1 dive master leading the dive 1 at the rear. We got onto the boat..rode out hmmm 4 minutes and we were there on the site. were that close to shore, that close to our ship and visibility was maybe 20 ft. For a beginner diver this may of been the dive for you but we were very disappointed and left us believing that all of St Kitts had very bad diving. In getting on the boat I put my fins on my arms when I go up the ladder and the one divemaster told me to take them off and hand them to him, I told him I always put them on my arms and he again said no you hand them to me so i just took them off my arms and gave them to him as to not cause a scene. What was the big deal? St. John (Antigua) no diving this day but when we went to get off the ship as I wanted to shop it was early as they were just opening up some of the places and we had to filter through blocks (and I mean blocks) of people wanting to solicit excursions, taxis, shopping places, this went on and was so bad I went back onto the ship and did not get back off. It felt like we had been battered by solicitors. St. Lucia we organized diving with a private company, picked up at the pier by boat and was taken out on the other side of the island and got to dive several famous locations where it was beautiful fed lunch and saw some amazing landscape. Visibility was 100 plus. (not a cattle boat) Barbados we organized diving with another private company and was picked up at the gate taken to the dive shop got to see some sites enroute then to the boat where we had two of the most amazing diving 4 different ship wrecks and several sea horses that are hard to find at most locations. Visibility was 100 plus (not a cattle boat) The fun on the ship was trying to surf, knee boarding and climbing the wall. The employee working these events were awesome and very patient. Departure: The last thing that I can think of right off the top of my head that will forever leave a lasting impression.....the departure. Our departure time was 8:15 AM in the promenade, didn't say where we were to go on the 5th floor but we were there at our time allotted. By the time we got there at 8:10 there was already a crowd of people (in place to sit) people were sitting on the floor up against the closed stores. Now after standing there after 20 minutes we started thinking we were in wrong place but met by others which had 8:00 am then 8:30, then 8:45. there is nothing but crowds and crowds of people which added to the no where to sit on the floor, by the way we were group # 10...9:00 o clock rolls around by then my husband is trying to find SOMEONE who can tell us what is going on. could not find anyone.. 9:15 and what is happening is by then there is such a crowd of people I am wishing I had never came down or really by then ever came abroad.. 9:20 there is announcement. yes hooray and announcement. they said...we are calling group 1 group 2 group 3 group 4 group 5 group 6 group 7 group 8 group 9 group 10 to the exit . Now we are departing through a crowd, with a crowd, around a crowd and it was grid lock. I could hear a small child coughing (like she had asthma) and no one could get her out no one could even get to her if they had to take her out on a gurney. Yes we finally made it out of the ship but when we got to stand in line they had one line no one in it and it said for Suite and Gold Sea Card Holders. Well, we were in a Suite but told no you cannot go in that line by a RC personnel. The week definitely had its ups and downs but now you can understand why when someone asks me if I would go Royal Caribbean I will absolutely not. And will not recommend them. It was as if they were always trying to separate us from our money, hustling and control what we see and do. I realize that things go wrong but I also know that people are very understanding IF and ONLY IF they are given an explanation WHY something is the way it is. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Freedom of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 4.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find a Freedom of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click