First off, may I begin by noting that we have sailed many of RCCL's ships over the years, both domestically and internationally. That said, I cannot ignore the gradual decline in both service and quality of food over the years. The Dining Room experience used to be something we always looked forward to. We could always find a dish every night that was outstanding. The room was usually full of other cruisers enjoying their meal. Just recently off the Navigator of the Seas Oct. 4-11, W. Caribbean. Let me preface this review, as food always is subjective, so I won't spend too much time on this, however, I must note the absence of diners from the Sapphire dining room each night, which changes the ambiance dramatically. All the empty tables should send a message to RCCL that we choose not to experiment with the "hit or miss" quality of the food served. We chose to dine at Giovanni's which was quite good, however, we chose the Filet entree and was served one pasta dish as a side. Not a good sampling of the Italian dishes available. The service was wonderful!!
Kudos to the windjammer. We found the food to be quite tasty, as we chose to eat breakfast and lunches there practically every day. Now I, for one, do not like buffet food, but at least I could find something each day that was good!! The service was wonderful and entertaining!! Cafe Promenade serves much better coffee than the windjammer, however, breakfast choices are few/usually pastries/bread/etc., and limited choices for sandwiches at lunchtime. Small, quiet atmosphere and I have no complaints here!!
This was our first sailing as "diamond", which I found the "diamond lounge" to be the best perk, as we could frequent each evening from 4:30 - 7:30 pm, for snacks/drinks. Nadja (concierge) was wonderful and had a ready supply of tickets for the "Ice Dancing Show". We also could enjoy free cocktails throughout the ship between 4:30 - 7:30 in addition to the convenience of the lounge. We chose to tip the bartenders a little extra, which they appreciated and we were given excellent service. However, we did find that most of the bars were understaffed, so the wait time for a cocktail was longer than expected.
We chose to pay $30/pp for the "galley tour", which proved very disappointing, we saw two helpers chopping veggies, but other than that, we saw hot ovens/stoves/dishwashing equip. etc. (total waste of time). The buffet served after the tour was supposed to be a sampling from all the specialty restaurants, however, based on the food served, I would not be enthusiastic about paying the upcharge. It was a ripoff!!! and a very poor representation of the upscale restaurants. Many of the others in our group agreed!!
While onboard we chose to book a family cruise for Christmas of 2016 on the Liberty, as we are also booked for Christmas 2015. They were offering a $500 OBC which applied to our current cruise. First time we've even done this, and did not find the "Next Cruise" people to be very enthusiastic, or helpful, the first go around got totally screwed up, and we had to start all over with a new person, who proved to be not much better. However, we wanted to take advantage of the OBC of $500 for our current trip, so we tolerated the lack of C/S.
Of course our Room Attendant, Karen (Cabin 6592) was magnificent.
The balconies are badly in need of refurbishment, as peeling paint and rust are quite apparent.
All and all, we enjoyed the cruise, as the ship is lovely, despite the noted disappointments.
However, we miss the level of service that we had come to expect from RCCL. We chose to book our family cruise for 11 on Liberty of the Seas for 12/15 as our grandchildren remember the cruises we took them on over the years and remember all the wonderful times we all had together on the Freedom of the Seas. Since it has been a few years since the grands have been on a cruise, we look forward to a great time together regardless!!
Cabin was roomy with plenty of drawers and closet space. Balcony was noticeably in need of paint and rust removal.