April 2018 was our second time on Freedom of the Seas, the first time was a bit over two years ago. I’m going to review her as if it were the first time. Some facts about Freedom of the Seas are that she’s 185 feet wide and 1,112 Feet long. She has 1,891 total staterooms, holds 4,515 guests and 1,360 international crew. Her maiden voyage was on May 11, 2006 and her Godmother is Katherine Louise Calder. She was built in Finland and is registered in the Bahamas. She has 15 decks (14 guest decks) and 14 passenger elevators. She has a Flowrider surf simulator, a rock climbing wall, a nine hole miniature golf course, and an ice skating rink. There is a sports court with basketball hoops, three pools, 6 whirlpools, and outdoor movie screen, a video arcade, a library, a computer room, a spa and gym, and a medical center. For kids and teens it has a nursery, Adventure Ocean, the Living Room, and the Fuel Teen Disco. There are 1,014 Oceanview staterooms, 757 Interior staterooms and 168 Promenade View staterooms, plus suites. All in all, an impressive ship with more than enough to do to keep anyone busy…or you can just relax and enjoy.
We embarked out at the terminal in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale). This was our first time there and I was not really impressed with Port Everglades, at least with terminal 29. I haven’t been in the rest of the terminals. Port Canaveral and the Port of Miami are much better organized ports. I really did not get Port Everglades, it is a top Cruise Port but definitely not high tech. I’d compare her to the Charleston Terminal. First you go into the terminal and are directed to a line. And instead of having an electronic board to show where the next person should go, you have a man holding up a paddle. It really didn’t take all that long to check in though. We were not however given a boarding number like you would normally get at a terminal. After that there is a very small waiting area. We were told that it would take 15 – 20 minutes to start boarding, but all of the seats were filled. So we stood there for at least that long before they started boarding the priority passengers. But instead of using a loudspeaker or the TV’s that were scattered through the terminal to tell everyone who was boarding, there was a poor lady trying to yell and be heard above the noise of the crowd. I don’t know, maybe they had a computer glitch or something else going on. Eventually all of the priority passengers left, and then it was the Crown and Anchor Gold card members. But…. Instead of letting those who had been standing there board, we were supposed to wait for all of those sitting down. But those people couldn’t figure out how to get out of the area and around all of the people standing. We didn’t wait, we figured that we could be on the ship by the time they get things organized. And we were. After we left the bottom floor of the terminal to board, we got up the escalator and saw tons of seating and also drinks on the second floor of the terminal, which there were not on the first floor. I do not understand why we were not allowed to wait up there. Anyway, after that we boarded the ship on the muster deck (deck 4), and walked into Freedom of the Seas.
We had been on Oasis of the Seas in December, so this time Freedom didn’t have quite as much wow factor as last time, but she still is a beautiful ship. In my opinion, from our two times on her, she’s the smoothest sailing ship I’ve ever sailed on. I didn’t even need Dramamine during the cruise. Our first stop on day one was the Windjammer Buffet to find a seat and grab some lunch. Most of the days when we ate at the Windjammer we went off to the left and found a little area without as many tables or traffic by the windows. It’s right behind the drink station area. Oh, and the host at the entrance will insist that you use Purel before you enter. We didn’t hear of any sickness on the ship, so it must work. You’ll find Purel everywhere. Here are my views of the ship:
We had a Deluxe Balcony Cabin on deck 9, cabin 9240. The Deluxe Balcony Cabin is the smaller balcony cabin on Freedom, but it’s still plenty big. It’s comparable to a Carnival Balcony cabin in size, but the balcony is about twice as big as Carnival’s balconies. There is plenty of room to store your luggage and items. The luggage should be unpacked, and then put under the bed to get it out of the way. The AC worked well. The vanity mirror has shelves on each side with mirrored doors for your makeup and small items. The vanity also has a light and a chair. There are two plugs near it. There is a small flat screen TV that swivels. Our bed was right by the balcony door, so you could relax on your bed and watch the ocean. The balcony has a divider on each side with frosted glass. You can see shadows on the other side, but not the people. The front of the balcony under the railing is clear glass so you can see through to the ocean. The beds can be made into two twin beds if you want, and are very comfortable. The pillows are also comfortable. My husband needed a wedge put under his side of the bed so that his acid reflux wouldn’t act up, and they did have one. Just ask your steward. There was a sofa in the room, but it did not convert to a convertible bed. There was also a coffee table, but it was kind of in the way. We pushed it close to the sofa to stop from tripping over it. There is a small empty refrigerator that you can store drinks in. We brought an eight pack of Gatorade that we put in it, and also a carton of milk from breakfast. The bathroom is small but usable. There is a toilet, a sink with a large mirror, and a shower with a shower door. The shower is small. I love the shower door though because the water doesn’t end up all over the floor of the bathroom. There is citrusy shampoo, but not liquid body wash. There is a bar of soap. The mirror has little shelves with a mirrored door on one side for your toiletries. We did like our cabin. Our Steward was Alan and this was his first time out. He did a great job, and made towel animals every night. I like that Royal Caribbean is still making up the rooms morning and evening. No robe in the room. The room was quiet.
Grand Cayman is a picturesque city. We didn't do much, just checked out the stores around town and the port. Prices were better towards the back of the streets.
Costa Maya has a nice port area with a pool and a dolphin viewing area. Lots of shops.
I'm not real fond of heavy traffic, but we had to drive to Fort Lauderdale. I had to get off of I-95 in Boca Raton because the drivers were crazy. Route 1 is much safer. Fort Lauderdale seemed nice, but we didn't see a lot of it. We drove to IKEA and the mall, but there were just too many people so we left.