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Please forgive my review, I write reports at work that have to be very matter of a fact. So years of that has drained my creativity, but I will try to make this not boring. My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we have always enjoyed the cruises. But we really wanted to try Royal Caribbean to get a feel for the experience. We went with two other couples and sailed from Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean from September 15th to September 22nd. We went to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we have always enjoyed the cruises. But we really wanted to try Royal Caribbean to get a feel for the experience. We went with two other couples and sailed from Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean from September 15th to September 22nd. Getting on the boat was easy. We arrived pretty early at around 11 and were on within twenty minutes. We checked our big bags but carried our little ones onboard. Rooms weren't ready until 1330. So we had to lug our smaller bags around. Not a big deal but something to keep in mind. Also we did bring a power strip as outlets tend to be very limited on ships. They called us down confiscated that from our big bag. I've never had that happen before and it was a little disappointing. We were in balcony 7646. Overall the stateroom was very nice. The bathroom was a bit smaller than we were used to but I feel like Royal Caribbean has more mirrors in the room itself so it despite the smaller bathroom, I felt like it was easier to get ready in the mornings and night. The TV only had a few channels that weren't Royal Caribbean, I think they had a bunch of Royal Caribbean channels, a couple ESPN channels, some news, BBC and a few others I've never seen before (variety type stuff). I would have liked a movie channel or something (they do have expensive pay per view). We aren't ones to spend a lot of time in our room, but we could never find something to watch we were getting ready, relaxing for a few hours or going to bed. Our stateroom attendant Liliana was just lovely. We aren't too needy so we didn't ask for much but still I feel like she went above and beyond for us. It was the first cruise for one couple we were with. After the first night we didn't get any towel animals. They asked Liliana about it and we were told that Royal Caribbean was discouraging the attendants from doing those every night as people would tend to "collect" them throughout the cruise and they would run out of towels. But Liliana made us a deal, she'd do them but we'd have to let her reuse the towels every day. For the next six nights she made us some awesome creative animals. It was a small detail, but made us happy. Overall I enjoyed the ship. The previous biggest ship we had been on was the Carnival Breeze and the Freedom of the Seas is quite a bit bigger, tonnage wise at least. I think it holds a similar amount of guests to the Breeze and overall felt less crowded. I spent a lot of the cruise comparing the two ships in my head. I think the Freedom of the Seas wins out. The Royal Caribbean ship has a lot more decorations, attention to detail, amenities ect. Plus the less crowding is a definite plus. One thing I will say, the Carnival ships I've been on seem to "flow" better as far as the interior goes. I can't really put my finger out it, the Carnival ships just seem easier to explore. Whereas the Freedom was more set up like a mega resort in Las Vegas or something. Everything is there and beautiful but it's more straight to the point and has it's own place. The ship and facilities were well maintained. Given that the Freedom is 13 years old now, there were a few spots where you could see rust or the carpet was getting worn but nothing major. I believe the ship is set to go in for a refurbishment so I'm sure they are going to do some updating. Pools on the Freedom were much bigger than I'm used to. Even on busy days, they would get crowded but we never had trouble finding somewhere to sit. One thing that bugged me is the adults only area isn't particularly well marked and since it is on the same deck open areas as the pool, a lot of families ended up there. Staff would ask kids to leave the pool, but they seemed to tolerate them if they were with adults in the seating area. That didn't really bother me, but I do like how Carnival ships secludes the adults only area. All the employees were great, we didn't have a bad experience with anyone. The bar staff was fun, activities people did their best to make sure everyone was having a good time and our waitstaff was just phenomenal. The food was… well the food was cruise ship food. We definitely had some good meals but after a week it all kind of starts tasting the same. We ate at the dining room two nights, did two nights of speciality restaurants and did the buffet/pizza the rest of the time. The stand out for us was Chops. It was a fantastic meal for the money. We also tried Giovanni's Italian restaurant. The food there was good. But they do dinner Italian style with long breaks between courses. So budget at least 2 hours. I'm sure they would bring things out faster if you asked. We didn't and by the end we were getting pretty bored and ready to leave. The dining room was about what I've experienced in the past. Maybe a step above Carnival in food quality. We got the drink package. I always consider it money well spent since we had at least a couple drinks everyday (and a lot of drinks a fews days :P) My wife is a fountain diet coke fanatic so she loved the coke free style machines shattered around the ship. They did a good job maintaining the machines, only a couple times did we run across machines that were out of service and later they would be back up and running. Shows were good. My wife and I missed the two comedies. The other couples went to one and said he was really funny. We did go to a hypnotist that was pretty entertaining. We also saw a Broadway type variety show. We weren't Broadway fans so we thought it was just OK. If you are a fan you'd probably get a lot more enjoyment than we did. The standout was the ice skating show, that was just amazing. Arrive early because that filled up fast. The ports weren't my cup of tea. I won't ding them for this because I knew what I was getting into. Personally I prefer large ports in big areas. My wife enjoyed the ports more than me. She loves the smaller islands so this was her dream cruise. Given that these ports were in smaller Caribbean nations there isn't a ton to do unless you leave the port on an excursion or take a taxi to do some sight seeing or something. Every port was similar, a handful of shops, maybe a restaurant or two. Some you could walk into town if you wanted. The best by far was Barbados which was absolutely beautiful with great people. We did not enjoy Antigua, everywhere we went we were hounded by taxi drivers and vendors. It's part of cruising to have people to try and sell you stuff but this was over the top. For example after probably turning down 30 tours in port, we ventured a little bit into town. One point immediately when we stepped out of a store just outside the port, two cab drivers approached us after telling them no, a vendor tried to sell us stuff, then immediately after another cab driver stopped, got out and tried to get us to do a tour. And these people would not accept a simple no thank you, they would follow and hound you with their sales pitch. I've never experienced anything quite like it. Maybe I was missing something culturally but it wasn't enjoyable for me. All and all it was quite enjoyable. We will go on Royal Caribbean again. But next up is Norwegian.

First time on Royal Caribbean

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by mem47

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Please forgive my review, I write reports at work that have to be very matter of a fact. So years of that has drained my creativity, but I will try to make this not boring.

My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we have always enjoyed the cruises. But we really wanted to try Royal Caribbean to get a feel for the experience. We went with two other couples and sailed from Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean from September 15th to September 22nd. We went to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados.

My wife and I have sailed on Carnival several times and we have always enjoyed the cruises. But we really wanted to try Royal Caribbean to get a feel for the experience. We went with two other couples and sailed from Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean from September 15th to September 22nd.

Getting on the boat was easy. We arrived pretty early at around 11 and were on within twenty minutes. We checked our big bags but carried our little ones onboard. Rooms weren't ready until 1330. So we had to lug our smaller bags around. Not a big deal but something to keep in mind. Also we did bring a power strip as outlets tend to be very limited on ships. They called us down confiscated that from our big bag. I've never had that happen before and it was a little disappointing.

We were in balcony 7646. Overall the stateroom was very nice. The bathroom was a bit smaller than we were used to but I feel like Royal Caribbean has more mirrors in the room itself so it despite the smaller bathroom, I felt like it was easier to get ready in the mornings and night. The TV only had a few channels that weren't Royal Caribbean, I think they had a bunch of Royal Caribbean channels, a couple ESPN channels, some news, BBC and a few others I've never seen before (variety type stuff). I would have liked a movie channel or something (they do have expensive pay per view). We aren't ones to spend a lot of time in our room, but we could never find something to watch we were getting ready, relaxing for a few hours or going to bed.

Our stateroom attendant Liliana was just lovely. We aren't too needy so we didn't ask for much but still I feel like she went above and beyond for us. It was the first cruise for one couple we were with. After the first night we didn't get any towel animals. They asked Liliana about it and we were told that Royal Caribbean was discouraging the attendants from doing those every night as people would tend to "collect" them throughout the cruise and they would run out of towels. But Liliana made us a deal, she'd do them but we'd have to let her reuse the towels every day. For the next six nights she made us some awesome creative animals. It was a small detail, but made us happy.

Overall I enjoyed the ship. The previous biggest ship we had been on was the Carnival Breeze and the Freedom of the Seas is quite a bit bigger, tonnage wise at least. I think it holds a similar amount of guests to the Breeze and overall felt less crowded. I spent a lot of the cruise comparing the two ships in my head. I think the Freedom of the Seas wins out. The Royal Caribbean ship has a lot more decorations, attention to detail, amenities ect. Plus the less crowding is a definite plus.

One thing I will say, the Carnival ships I've been on seem to "flow" better as far as the interior goes. I can't really put my finger out it, the Carnival ships just seem easier to explore. Whereas the Freedom was more set up like a mega resort in Las Vegas or something. Everything is there and beautiful but it's more straight to the point and has it's own place.

The ship and facilities were well maintained. Given that the Freedom is 13 years old now, there were a few spots where you could see rust or the carpet was getting worn but nothing major. I believe the ship is set to go in for a refurbishment so I'm sure they are going to do some updating.

Pools on the Freedom were much bigger than I'm used to. Even on busy days, they would get crowded but we never had trouble finding somewhere to sit. One thing that bugged me is the adults only area isn't particularly well marked and since it is on the same deck open areas as the pool, a lot of families ended up there. Staff would ask kids to leave the pool, but they seemed to tolerate them if they were with adults in the seating area. That didn't really bother me, but I do like how Carnival ships secludes the adults only area.

All the employees were great, we didn't have a bad experience with anyone. The bar staff was fun, activities people did their best to make sure everyone was having a good time and our waitstaff was just phenomenal.

The food was… well the food was cruise ship food. We definitely had some good meals but after a week it all kind of starts tasting the same. We ate at the dining room two nights, did two nights of speciality restaurants and did the buffet/pizza the rest of the time. The stand out for us was Chops. It was a fantastic meal for the money. We also tried Giovanni's Italian restaurant. The food there was good. But they do dinner Italian style with long breaks between courses. So budget at least 2 hours. I'm sure they would bring things out faster if you asked. We didn't and by the end we were getting pretty bored and ready to leave.

The dining room was about what I've experienced in the past. Maybe a step above Carnival in food quality.

We got the drink package. I always consider it money well spent since we had at least a couple drinks everyday (and a lot of drinks a fews days :P) My wife is a fountain diet coke fanatic so she loved the coke free style machines shattered around the ship. They did a good job maintaining the machines, only a couple times did we run across machines that were out of service and later they would be back up and running.

Shows were good. My wife and I missed the two comedies. The other couples went to one and said he was really funny. We did go to a hypnotist that was pretty entertaining. We also saw a Broadway type variety show. We weren't Broadway fans so we thought it was just OK. If you are a fan you'd probably get a lot more enjoyment than we did. The standout was the ice skating show, that was just amazing. Arrive early because that filled up fast.

The ports weren't my cup of tea. I won't ding them for this because I knew what I was getting into. Personally I prefer large ports in big areas. My wife enjoyed the ports more than me. She loves the smaller islands so this was her dream cruise. Given that these ports were in smaller Caribbean nations there isn't a ton to do unless you leave the port on an excursion or take a taxi to do some sight seeing or something. Every port was similar, a handful of shops, maybe a restaurant or two. Some you could walk into town if you wanted. The best by far was Barbados which was absolutely beautiful with great people.

We did not enjoy Antigua, everywhere we went we were hounded by taxi drivers and vendors. It's part of cruising to have people to try and sell you stuff but this was over the top. For example after probably turning down 30 tours in port, we ventured a little bit into town. One point immediately when we stepped out of a store just outside the port, two cab drivers approached us after telling them no, a vendor tried to sell us stuff, then immediately after another cab driver stopped, got out and tried to get us to do a tour. And these people would not accept a simple no thank you, they would follow and hound you with their sales pitch. I've never experienced anything quite like it. Maybe I was missing something culturally but it wasn't enjoyable for me.

All and all it was quite enjoyable. We will go on Royal Caribbean again. But next up is Norwegian.
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