Our 4-night taster cruise out of Miami was a great way to introduce new people to cruise travel. The ship is decked out with a lot of Royal Caribbean's signature features. The Royal Promenade was a great place to meet up and grab a cup of coffee or slice of pizza. The FlowRider at the back of the ship was entertaining to watch. The bars and clubs were never so crowded that it was difficult to get what you wanted. The outdoor water features for kids and the young at heart were robust, the Solarium area was on the more serene side. For a ship built in '06, Freedom really feels fairly new in a lot of the public areas given the somewhat recent renovation. There was a little something for everyone, and while I traveled with a group of adults, I really couldn't wait to get back on a ship like this with my two children. There is so much to do, this ship felt like an all-inclusive resort times 10 for families.
The entertainment was great, I enjoyed the Love and Marriage game, the silent disco (a first for me) was surprisingly fun. Dancing at Olive and Twist was enhanced with great DJs. The vibes at sail away were THE quintessential cruise experience -- an upbeat, celebratory atmosphere with tropical, steel drum music. Overall the feel of the cruise was fun and exciting with plenty to do.
This was my first sailing with Royal Caribbean, and my first sailing in several years, and I found the food to really be just kind of average and bland. I was underwhelmed by all of the specialty restaurants (Giovanni's Italian and Chops, although the steak here was pretty good, the rest of it was just ok, and Johnny Rockets.) Room service wasn't very appealing though all that I asked for was delivered, and the buffet had a wide variety of food, but again, just not to my taste. I was, however, encouraged by the many places available to refill the stainless steel water bottle I brought onboard so I didn't have to pay extra for water. In a nutshell, if you're a foodie, you might find Royal to be a bit lackluster in the cuisine department.
Deck 6 Aft Balcony - The cabin was nice enough, and my cabin steward was great. I asked for ice morning and night the first day and she brought it every day after without my needing to ask. She was also gracious with my requests for more towel animals! However the cabin itself, while kept very clean, was pretty dated. But both the room and the balcony had very adequate space and were actually quite roomy. With only two outlets, I did find that a night light adapter with more outlets on it definitely came in handy. Television was very up to date and worked very well throughout the journey. The bed was comfortable, pillows firm and sheets nice and crisp. Plus, I loved coming in to a tidied up room twice daily -- it's such a nice aspect of cruising!
Embarkation at Port Miami was very efficient, never a long line. It seemed there were plenty of staff to do intake and everything ran very smoothly.