Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by rjshovlin
- Sail Date: December 2018
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
Let us get a few things out of the way first. I am a 27-year-old who traveled with my 26-year-old girlfriend. This was our second ever cruise (we did one two years ago out of the same port, Puerto Rico, and had the times of our lives). We hardly ever go on vacations, let alone full week ones.. guess we don't follow that pesky millennial stereotype. By reading these reviews I think you can see that many skews towards an older demographic. Not saying that is a bad thing, but I would just like to give a different perspective.
I think if you read these reviews as a first-time cruiser, you would do anything other than want to go on a RC cruise. Now I get it, the majority of these people writing these reviews are experienced cruisers. 20, 30, 40+ cruises under their belts. Diamond Club members. I can go on and on. Do I think some of their comments have merit? The nickel and diming, somewhat. The food, possibly. The crowds...ok. You have to keep in mind these people are comparing it to a time when cruising was something completely different. Kind of like taking a plane. You got dressed up, you had a fancy mean...essentially coach was like first class. However, things change. Some for the better and some for the worse. And if this demographic thinks they are for the worse, then so be it, They are entitled to their opinion. But here is mine. While I am sure things have changed, I see nothing wrong, and I encourage everyone and anyone to go on a cruise. Because as someone who was DREADING going on his first cruise two years ago, I think back and realize how much of an idiot I was.
...with the said. the cruise.
Itinerary: Puerto Rico, Cruising, Curacao, Aruba, Cruising, St. Kitts, St.Thomas
We like going out of Puerto Rico due to a majority of things...better ports, warmer weather, and a smaller ship population. We also go in December because of the price, the idea that parents do not want to take their kids out of school for a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the weather, because why would we want to go on a cruise in the summer when its warm in Maryland where we are from?
Now I know there are some negative comments about going out of Puerto Rico. Some about the process of getting on the ship. Some about the port. And other about the locals and having to know Spanish to enjoy the ship. Well here we go...
1. Embarkation - Since this is the only port we have every gone out of I have nothing to really compare. Do I think there could be better processes, sure do. But you also have to remember where you going out of. You cannot compare it to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Second time obviously knowing what we were doing, by the time we got to the port, were through all the obstacles and on the promenade having a coffee in about 25 minutes. The key is to be patient (YOU ARE GOING ON VACATION, BE HAPPY!) and tip. Yes, tip. I know it is annoying. I know if you don't and getting smug look back from the guy handling your 60-pound luggage bag is a pain. But guess what, you paid a grand for this cruise, whats two bucks to help a guy out.
2. The port - Easy. We flew in the night before and stayed at an Embassy Suites by the airport (highly recommend). I use to go to PR in college for our swimming training trip and that is where we stayed. Took a 15 minute uber to the port no problem.
3. The locals - OOOOooooooOOOO. Guess what, the ship goes out of PR, there are going to people who live in PR on the cruise. Where there more on this cruise than the last? Yes. Do I think RC had a promotion that sold discounted rates if the ship was going to be empty? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with that...hell no. Where there some things that may annoy me? Yes. But that is going to happen at any port you go out of. Again, I am here to say that you are going on vacation. You are there to have fun. The ship is meant to hold X amount of people and to accommodate all people without feeling cramped. And yes, they do speak Spanish on the boat...but they go over everything in both English and Spanish...because, and this is just a hunch... when 60% of the ship speaks Spanish, it probably makes sense to make sure you explain to them in their native language the safety rules.
Beautiful. Our first cruise was on the adventure of the seas. Freedom was slightly bigger. We love everything about it from the promenade to the solarium and back to the sports court. Also, so clean. You would see people night and day. The ship makes you feel like royalty.
We originally had an interior room. Now we don't do this because we are cheap...but also aren't rich because if we were I would be booking one of those suites. However, we literally only use the room to sleep, change and shower. Quite literally here is a break down of our day(s) - again I know different strokes for different folks but I wanted to provide a different perspective here:
- Wake up 7:30
- Breakfast at 8
-Shore excursion 9-1
- Quick snack/lunch windjammer 1-2
- Pool/Solarium/Hottub/Sports court 2-6
-Back in the room to shower change 6-6:30
- Vintages wine bar 630-730
- Dinner 730-9
- Show/casino/karaoke/bar/nightclub/etc 9-1
BUT on this cruise we were able to upgrade to an ocean view balcony for an extra 200. And the best part, this balcony was on the backside (floor 6) of the ship. So we didn't have people staring in on us on the sides. Best room on the entire ship. Highly recommend. Our room steward was AMAZING - I think everyone has come to know this. These are the hardest working guys on the ship.
The Entertainment & Activities
The shows compared to Adventure were outstanding. And this is not to say Adventure was bad. It just speaks to how great Freedom's entertainers were. Comedians, 2 Broadway acts, a Cirque du Soleil act, a variety show (stealing from their website because it explains it better...The Great DuBois' is a fast-paced, all ages, variety show showcasing incredible feats of juggling, hula hoops, unicycle, aerial, circus stunts, contortion, magic, and audience interaction all wrapped in a blanket of comedy. ), and acapella group and of course all the standard ship shows.
Activities, well the flow rider, rock wall, mini-golf, free gambling lessons were all great. We did a free message seminar. Participated in a mini golf and dodgeball tournament. Honestly, even on Freedom, there is never enough time of the day.
Food and Beverage
....dom dom dom....It's great. Again I am sure it could have been better years ago. But by reading other reviews you would think they are serving you cereal and toast all day. Is the windjammer crowded in the morning, yes? It is. But can you find a seat? Yes, yes you can. Do you maybe have to wait an extra 30 seconds for a piece of bacon...unfortunately you do. But I think we can all live. Never had an issue with the food being cold or sparse. The crew kills themselves to make sure the stations are are same no matter the time. We ate in the MDR every night for dinner and it is wonderful. Our server was great. The food was fantastic. And we are by no means simpletons. Maybe it was because both me and my girlfriend have worked in the food industry. Maybe it is because we understand how many people are getting served and feed in X amount of time. But trust me, you will survive and you will leave with a full tummy. We ate at Sabor for lunch on our first sea day. We did the guacamole and margarita class. SO WORTH IT. If you are unsure of eating in a specialty restaurant, then do this class. For ~30ish dollars you get lunch (anything you want - and it's unlimited - on the menu. Appetizers, in addition to the guac, tacos, quesadillas, sides (beans, street corn etc, and a dessert platter). Oh did I mention unlimited margaritas...which will make you want nothing else the entire cruise. In addition, we had the pizza and normal affair on the promenade. Sure the pizza line was long...but after an excruciating five-minute wait, you had unlimited pizza at your fingertips. We did the drink package, which is 100% worth it. Coffee was great. Water was cold. And the bar drinks were well made. Nothing watered down. Always great service. And had some of the best wine of my life on the trip.
We did all our excursions through the ship. I think this is one area where having become more familiar with ports, we will probably venture out on own in the future. Don't get me wrong, we didn't have bad experiences, we just want to have better flexibility with time as well as maybe pay a little less. We always get off at the port and try to experience a new country. We really do not do anything extravagant. We just like to go to the beach so those are the excursion we tend to choose.
Curacao - Went to blue bay beach. Beautiful. I would say take a cab and avoid the excursions. Location is safe and well worth venturing too.
Aruba - Probably our least favorite port, which was a surprise. Maybe because we had such high expectations? While the north shore is completely un-inhabited to keep the natural beauty, we felt it was still commercialized with the various tour groups. We went to Palm Beach and Eagle Beach and these were just very crowded due to the hotels.
St. Kitts - Funny. This was the port we were least excited to visit because, on our last cruise, this was our least favorite island (and the only one we were revisiting). So we decided to do a catamaran to Nevis. Completely worth it. Took a catamaran right from the port over to Nevis and had unlimited beverage, our own beach, and a great lunch. The highlight of the trip.
St. Thomas - This was my girlfriends favorite part of the trip. We took a catamaran to buck island to snorkel in two spots.
Not even a question. 10/10. Everyone from our room attendant. bartenders, servers, etc. Were all fantastic. I never fill out survey's but whenever RC sends me it after the cruise I do it immediately because these people work their tails off and definitely make the cruise experience what it is.
- They seemed in some areas of the ship to be confused with some reservations we had. I think it has to do with us changing room two days before and not everything in the system updated. But we survived. All we had to do was explain the situation and everything got resolved.
- They do try to upsell the dining and drink packages. More so than what I remember on the Adventure. Is it annoying...meh? All you have to do is politely say no thank you and move on with your day. Trust me, you will survive someone asking you to save money on drinks and offering you an opportunity to eat at a fabulous restaurant.
So there it is. That's all I got. Hopefully, I provided a different perspective on RC cruises. We have always had a fabulous time. Maybe we, 20-something's who are not on their honeymoon and just on for vacation, are the minority. But everyone we came across seemed to be having a great time. And we for sure did. Can't wait for our next cruise on Oasis of the Seas in Dec. 2019!
- Read more Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Reviews
- Read Cruise Critic's Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Review
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BeachA+. Blue Bay Beach was wonderful. Highly recommend.View All 98 Beach Reviews
Walking Tour of Old San Juangreat for the last day if you have a later flight to allow you to have your bags taken to the airport and allowing you to explore the townView All 136 Walking Tour of Old San Juan Reviews
Catamaran TourFavorite part of the trip being able to go to NevisView All 102 Catamaran Tour Reviews
SnorkelingBuck Island was awesome. Saw turtles and sting rays.View All 304 Snorkeling Reviews