Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by RacerBC1
- Sail Date: October 2016
- Destination: Western Caribbean
Since the room was large enough, we invited a very good friend of my daughter's to travel along with us. When my travel agent added the extra passenger, RCL accidentally hit the wrong button and cancelled my entire cruise and all the excursions that we pre-booked for the entire week. When I went to re-book the excursions most the the prices had increased. I contacted RCL directly and since this was their fault, they did make up the difference in the price increases and a few extra dollars worth of on-board credit.
This was my second time leaving on a cruise out of Port Canaveral. I forgot about the 45 minute drive from MCO to the port and booked three round-trip transfers from a company called "Orlando Cruise Transfers". Word of advice, DO NOT USE THEM.. not only were they almost two hours late picking us up from MCO, they told us to wait at one location only to have their driver park in a different location where we had to walk a fairly long distance to jump into a van pulling a u-haul trailer. Their website showed one of those large air-conditioned buses however. The return from Port Canaveral to MCO was OK, but driver was still not on time.
Now the cruise... Freedom of the Seas is a nice ship but definitely showing some wear and tear even though it's been refurbished. As mentioned we had a Junior Suite room #9272. The couch was opened up for the third passenger. The beds were split into two singles. Bathroom had some rust around where the tile floor meets the wall. The walk in closet was huge and made a nice changing room as well. Balcony was very large however the glass was very dirty and looked like they hadn't cleaned it in weeks. Our room steward was fantastic. Also booking a suite afforded us special privileges such as expedited embark and debark, preferred seating in the Arcadia lounge.
Elevators have got to be the slowest I've ever experienced. Most of the lounges, bars are very well maintained. Deck area is nice however in some areas the flooring is very slippery when they are wet. The casino does have a smoking and non-smoking area which is nice however the smoking area does have a strong odor of smoke.
We had "my-time" dining along with purchasing the 3 night "Specialty Dining" package as well. Chops steak-house was OK but nothing to write home about. Giovanni's Table again, was OK, nothing to write home about. Our favorite was Sabor Mexican which is some of the best non-traditional Mexican food we ever tasted. Highly recommended! Food In the main dining area was just OK. The service in all restaurants was exceptional and accommodating. One thing that this ship has a problem with is keeping track of your stored wine. They kept losing our wine from lock-up.
The biggest issue I had with sailing on this ship was all the selling going on. The Promenade Deck (5) is basically a wall to wall shopping mall with overpriced items. Believe me, they are not giving away anything on this ship with the exception of the liquor which, are some of the best prices I have seen. There are photographers everywhere wanting to take your picture. The prices of 8x10's are almost $23.00 a pop and they charge the same for 5x7's.. ??? that didn't make sense to me.
Now for the fun part (sarcastic) and why I titled this review, "Will NEVER cruise during hurricane season again". It literally poured the entire week.. Hardly any sunshine. The wind was so bad on the first day at sea that people's hats were blowing off their heads, towels blowing around the deck. I ended up with an earache from trying to lay out and catch some sun on the first day out. EVERY excursion that we pre-booked for each port was canceled due to the weather. The only saving grace was in Jamaica where we decided to do the river tuning and zip-line excursion at Chukka Beach Break. Even doing these in the rain was a lot of fun and the guides there are hilarious.. I highly recommend this excursion. You will have a blast! In Grand Cayman, we settled in at Margaritaville and spent the day there even thought there was a torrential downpour and high winds t for a period of almost 2 hours. The roads were completely flooded. In fact if you did not take the tender over early enough you got stuck on the ship as they closed the tender service over to the island because of rough seas. Cozumel started off great with a glimmer of hope only to have the clouds roll in about 2 hours after we docked and once again RAIN! The ship's captain had a sense of humor by playing "I'm singing in the rain" over the ship's intercom system one morning. I wasn't amused.
The on-board shows were good, the ice-show was fantastic. If you sail on this ship, do yourself a favor and do not miss this show...
Dress code... without a doubt.. NOT ENFORCED anywhere. We were dressed every night and amazed us how many passengers didn't even make the attempt. Many were wearing tee-shirts, shorts and sandals in the main dining areas and specialty restaurants.
The Windjammer.. Typical buffet food, breakfast was sub-par, lunch was slightly better.
Don't know if I would ever sail RCL again. Been spoiled by Celebrity, Holland America I guess. Don't care for the constant up-selling and will never sail again in October/November for sure.
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