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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because it was to destinations we were interested in and because it was available on short notice. It was our first time on a Royal Caribbean cruise. And it will be our last. The first impression was that the ship has ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was to destinations we were interested in and because it was available on short notice. It was our first time on a Royal Caribbean cruise. And it will be our last. The first impression was that the ship has a bad odor and this continued throughout the cruise. It was also dirty in some places, in particular in the Windjammer. The food was mediocre over all although generally the breads and desserts were pretty good. Service was indifferent except for our cabin steward who was friendly and consistent. We did think that the shows were of high quality. We enjoyed most of them a lot! Stand outs were the comedian Rondell Sheridan, the magician couple, the aerialist couple, and the cruise singers, dancers and musicians. Rondell Sheridan was one of the funniest comedians we've ever seen without using foul language or telling risque jokes. Don't know when we've laughed so hard! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
The most frustrating part of this cruise revolved around our dining experiences. Other than a superb experience on Mother’s Day at “Giovanni’s Table”, almost every meal was a disappointment. The Windjammer was set ... Read More
The most frustrating part of this cruise revolved around our dining experiences. Other than a superb experience on Mother’s Day at “Giovanni’s Table”, almost every meal was a disappointment. The Windjammer was set up poorly and myself and the others with whom I travelled often gave up trying to get what we wanted to eat because of long lines and poor traffic management. We only usually ate breakfast there. Tables were not cleaned quickly, and often when they were “cleaned”, it amounted to taking a wet rag and sweeping whatever scraps of food were left on the dining tables by previous patrons onto the floor below the table. Gross. We chose “My Time” dining. Of the six nights we ate there, not once did we get hot food. It was always lukewarm. It appeared as if waitstaff had too many tables, something they seemed to have no control over. Our cruise set sail on Saturday night. Monday night I got food poisoning in the dining room. Since I did not eat or drink anything on the island destinations and I became quite ill within an hour of eating dinner Monday night, it had to be something I ate in the dining room. We did not seek medical attention because I would have been quarantined, and having had food poisoning previously, I was aware of the symptoms. My purchased drink package went to waste, as I pretty much survived on bottled water and ginger ale after that. Who expects to actually lose weight on a cruise? Most employees appeared unhappy, and multiple staff complained about working conditions. This cruise experience was so disparate from my experience on another RC ship this past September, it was hard to believe it was the same cruise line. Last September, we were made to feel special, and staff couldn’t have been kinder, more welcoming, helpful, or more enthusiastic. Staff on “Freedom” barely engaged (except for our room attendant and a few of the bartenders near the pool area who my husband had some conversations with). The ship was older and could benefit from the upgrading of several of the main areas. Entertainment on our previous RC cruise was stupendous! On this ship, the welcome show was really good, but went downhill after that. There wasn’t even a show available to see every night. I cannot imagine taking another RC cruise. I suggest you sail on by this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Freedom of the Seas, Southern Caribbean Departing From Puerto Rico 5/12/18 If you’re like me, you’re more interested in the negative than the positive. So here goes… MAXIMIZING PROFIT This was my 5th cruise in ... Read More
Freedom of the Seas, Southern Caribbean Departing From Puerto Rico 5/12/18 If you’re like me, you’re more interested in the negative than the positive. So here goes… MAXIMIZING PROFIT This was my 5th cruise in the last 10 years and my 4th on Royal Caribbean. The fact that cruises are advertised as being “inclusive” was a major attraction to cruising. Since I started cruising on Royal Caribbean on the Oasis years ago however, it seems as though maximizing profit is being taken to the extreme. I’m certain every option, every amenity, ANYTHING and everything that could possibly cost money is targeted for cost control. This is the sense I get. The best analogy I can give is this: It would be like if Disney started charging to get on individual rides - while still charging the same to let you into the Magic Kingdom. It seems the threshold is ever increasing on the things for which they charge. Picture Disney charging to get on the most popular rides like Space Mountain or Splash Mountain -- and the next time you go, including The Haunted Mansion. For example, they have moved premium food choices to the bottom of the dinner menu with an associated cost. From my understanding, this is something brand new, and passengers were mad about it. To make matters worse, the cost of the premium entree choices are full market price - with no discount whatsoever for the contribution you presumably made by choosing an “inclusive” cruise. On more than one night, I found myself not wanting anything on the “standard” entree menu - choosing to order entrees I didn’t like or eating triple appetizers. Using my past experience as a gauge, I’m guessing more and more things on the ship will be excluded (from being included) in the future - which means if you are not paying attention and you order ice cream from the wrong place (Ben & Jerry's) or a hamburger (at Johnny Rockets), you will be surprised when you are asked to pay. On the topic of ice cream and cost control... there is only one ice cream machine on the pool deck, and the line is often very long. The cynic in me is convinced this was a deliberate cost control decision to “meter” the amount of ice cream being dispensed. I know I personally didn’t want to stand in that line - so it worked on me as far as I was concerned. Also in their quest to find every penny where they can, the $77 soda package (per person) is obscene and absurd. And although I can afford it, I refused to pay for soda out of principle. Same on bottled water. I’m guessing this all started with alcohol, and the threshold for which they for something has expanded ever since. Personally, I’m starting to be resentful. While you’re at it, remember to check your bill for a “towel charge” as well as the “gratuities” which will likely be hundreds of dollars (again shifting the costs, in this case labor, to the passengers). I get it. Operating such a huge ship with so many employees is expensive. But it is getting to the point where I am feeling slighted and want to consider other “inclusive” options that are really more “inclusive” (such as a resort). THE BEDS Without soliciting opinions from others, many people mentioned their beds were way too firm. Some passengers were outright mad about it. In my case, I could not sleep through the night without waking up because it was that uncomfortable. LEAVING FROM PUERTO RICO FYI, if you leave from Puerto Rico, there will be a large spanish population on the ship. Relative to the Oasis from Ft. Lauderdale, you will find much more spanish music around the ship. For example, you will find DJs speaking Spanish along with Spanish music on the pool deck, lounges, karaoke bar, dance club and various bars. If you’re looking for a band to play top 40 (essentially a wedding band) like you did at Dazzles on the Oasis class ships, you may be out of luck. If you like spanish music, DJs, and clubs, you will enjoy this cruise. THE SHIP Yes, it is showing its age. You will see it mainly in the carpets and your stateroom paneling and bathrooms. But I understand the Freedom of the Seas is scheduled for dry dock upgrades in 2020. GUEST SERVICES/CHARGES And finally, while we spent an hour in line to settle (pay) some charges the night before disembarking, we were still stopped at the exit and told to proceed to guest services the next morning. This idiotic process brings the entire line to a halt (there’s only 2 to get off the ship). We learned that it is possible for a charge to be added overnight, so we waiting in the long line to pay certain expenses the night before disembarking may not guarantee you will be let off the boat. To make matters worse, they can add charges right up to the moment you present your Sea Pass at the security station & banks may not instantaneously issue a credit card approval (perhaps because the charge is not being made in the continental US?). This means THEY WILL HOLD YOU AGAINST YOUR WILL until it does (even for a small charge). Fortunately for us, we had a later flight, but could have missed our flight if we hadn’t. So we again “zeroed out” our balance and RAN to get off the ship for fear another late charge would keep us from disembarking. Running away from the ship as fast as we could for fear of being held against our will was not exactly the last memory I wanted to have of our southern Caribbean cruise. It would help if they weren’t allowed to add charges right up to the second you reach the security station. With all this said, I am done with cruising. At least with Royal Caribbean. There’s a whole world out there that doesn’t involve a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We went with a cruise group we’ve been with and had a great time on other cruise lines, and decided to give the Caribbean a try. Some details that might be helpful for others: The good: * initial boarding process is nice and ... Read More
We went with a cruise group we’ve been with and had a great time on other cruise lines, and decided to give the Caribbean a try. Some details that might be helpful for others: The good: * initial boarding process is nice and quick... and last day disembarkation is likewise * spacious Jr. Suite. (But see below for “The Bad”) * friendly staff * clean ship * folks on the Standard American Diet (SAD) will have lots of options * the ice show was impressive, given what they had to work with The bad: * electrical outlets - non-existent anywhere near the bed... if you have a CPAP or other bedside electronics you wish to plug in, you need to ask the room steward for a long extension cord and run it to the only pair of outlets in the room (at the desk).. you are not allowed to bring your own extension cord * no “perks” with Jr. Suite - on a past cruse (with Holland America), we splurged on a Jr. Suite and got more room, nice balcony, and “perks” like $50 for unlimited laundry for the week, fresh fruit delivered daily to the cabin, discounts on the spa, and more... the only thing you get for a Jr. Suite on Freedom of the Seas is more space (meaning you need a longer extension cord to trip over in the middle of the night) * bait-and-switch tactics... we were sold a 3-sitting dining package on the 1st day where the person selling it to us made the reservations for Sabor on 1st formal night and Giovanni’s on the 2nd formal night (we didn’t want to do the main dining room dress-up thing).. the night before the 2nd formal night, we got a call to our stateroom from Giovanni’s wondering where we were... our receipt has right on it that the reservation was for the next day, but they just silently switched our reservation without telling us because “it is our policy to not allow dining packages to book Giovanni’s on the 2nd formal night because of a dinner theater thing”.. we were willing to pay the difference between the effective discounted dining rate and the full price for the special dinner theater thing, but were refused.. instead, they told us we’d have to cancel the whole dining package, then pay full price for each dining booking (one of which we’d already had and probably wouldn’t have taken if we’d been given full disclosure up front). * upsells / extra fees - be diligent about the things that cost extra.. they’re all over * alcohol is king — if you don’t drink, be prepared to be constantly the odd balls out on any tours or things that might have a possibility of involving alcohol.. alcohol is king on this cruise and the shore excursions, and drunk people are correspondingly everywhere * vegans / vegetarians - mostly salads and mixed veggies from Windjammer... and main dining room generally has one option for you... so every vegetarian at the table will likely be eating the exact same thing each time... also, port trips are mostly about the meats / barbecue, etc... so be prepared to get creative or just live with the same dishes others get but without the chunk o’ meat on it. * LGBTQ - be prepared to feel like an intruder in a straight person’s paradise.. on some of the islands, public displays of affection are technically illegal.. you will be around drunken straight people with their boobs other bits practically falling out drunkenly flirting with each other and the locals / guides / staff... but, of course, that wouldn’t turn a head.. while you need to be on the guard to see if you potentially offend someone somewhere by being affectionate with your partner / significant other / wife / husband... some islands and areas are more “accepting” than others, but why even bother for your vacation.. we wouldn’t have other than that we love the group we came with, so we didn’t think twice. Our mistake. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
It was our anniversary and we are trying cruise lines other than Carnival. We were fortunate to get upgraded to a Club Class mini-suite. We had booked an accessible balcony but when we were offered an upgrade we jumped on it since I ... Read More
It was our anniversary and we are trying cruise lines other than Carnival. We were fortunate to get upgraded to a Club Class mini-suite. We had booked an accessible balcony but when we were offered an upgrade we jumped on it since I could fold my wifes wheelchair and carry it in the room. Darn we got spoiled in the Club Class dining room. Our servers were first rate especially Marvin, Greys Kelly and Sergio. The ABC islands were interesting for caribbean islands since they are very arid and have cooling tradewinds. It never got above 82 and the breezes made them very comfortable. We only picked two excursions, both were trolley trains on Curacao and Bonaire. They were average since the seats were tiny and faced each other. They did offer a view of each islands capital. The TV line up featured Msnbc, Fox, Cnbc and BBC world news along with espn international and the deuce. Their on demand movies were first rate and very current. They showed the latest on the big screen up top (the movies under the stars became a favorite activity) and then they would add them the next day to the offerings in the cabins. Movies shown included (this was May of 2018) Star Wars, the last jedi, The Black Panther, The Greatest Showman, Justice League etc. The offerings in the cabin included many oscar nominated films such as I Tonya, Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Three Billboards, etc. TV offerings were from the Discovery Channel and many current series. I know most folks don't watch a lot to tv on a cruise but not everybody is a party animal so I mentioned them. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
7 day Southern Caribbean. Ship feels old and outdated. Elevators are very slow and cannot accommodate the many summer passengers. Casino is too small and cannot accommodate all gamblers. Although, they had a craps table. They get a ... Read More
7 day Southern Caribbean. Ship feels old and outdated. Elevators are very slow and cannot accommodate the many summer passengers. Casino is too small and cannot accommodate all gamblers. Although, they had a craps table. They get a star for that one. It is a reoccurring theme with this ship. Food was standard for a average cruise ship. No wonderful meals like I had on Holland. The ports were the draw of why i came on the ship. No need to go to Curacao or Aruba. 3 days in Bonaire for me please. the movies on the ship were good and cabin tv system was good with lots of choices and recent movies and tv series. The cabin could be made Ice cold so very good AC system. Gym and sauna was good. The ship is just average. Things on it really bothered me. If you like to walk the deck like i do after a meal, you have to walk up stairs on the forward and aft part. you can't walk around it on the same level. also they close it off bc of wind at times. if you enjoy wasting about 15-20 minutes of your day waiting on elevators. This ship is for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
The Carnival cruise to the southern Caribbean was an amazing experience for our first cruise. The itinerary and ports were full of unique experiences and beautiful beaches! We got on the ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is great in and ... Read More
The Carnival cruise to the southern Caribbean was an amazing experience for our first cruise. The itinerary and ports were full of unique experiences and beautiful beaches! We got on the ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is great in and of itself and I would recommend staying a few days before or after your cruise. The cruise stopped in St. Thomas where we had a relaxing day at the beach, we then had a free day at sea, next was a stop in Barbados were we went on a snorkeling tour and fed sea turtles and saw stingray, then we visited St. Lucia, St.Kitts was next and personally our favorite, we rented a scooter and drove the whole island making stops along the way, and lastly was St. Maarten before we headed back to San Juan. The boat exceeded our expectations. The food was great and there were many options (I am a vegetarian, but my boyfriend is not). The staff was also so friendly and helpful! I would highly recommend this cruise and this itinerary to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Good time - almost great - on Freedom of the Seas. We sailed a repositioning cruise from Port Everglades to San Juan. Truly only 2 negative items to pass along. At embarkation we had a grumpy older man smart off because we didn't have a ... Read More
Good time - almost great - on Freedom of the Seas. We sailed a repositioning cruise from Port Everglades to San Juan. Truly only 2 negative items to pass along. At embarkation we had a grumpy older man smart off because we didn't have a pen to fill out our medical form "You came on a cruise without something to write with?" - I didn't see that in our boarding packet - sorry... Second was the disembarkation excursion in which we paid for the "San Juan on your own with airport shuttle" that RC offers. The instructions were to be in the Arcadia Theater at 7:15 sharp - we were there with hundreds of others taking our excursion along with a guided San Juan tour and a rum tour - both offering the airport transportation. There was only 1 poor lady from RC working this gathering, having to determine who goes where, identified by sticker and also explain to those that didn't know what to do because there were no disembark instructions. Here RC failed miserably... Others committed that this was typical for all the excursions... To the so so stuff. The food selection was OK in the Windjammer, Main dining room was very good and we went against our rules and did a "pay to eat" place... it was only Johnny Rockets for $10 pp - eat all you want - but I have to say it was great - we did that twice. I would have loved a sub sandwich type option and missed Carnival's Blue Iguana for a fresh health choice. I think there could have been more in the trivia and game area from the cruise director staff - there were a few but not very diverse. We enjoy the name the tune type games and we didn't care for the limited offerings. The good - and there was a lot of good. I love the lay of the ship - the Royal Promedade or "Main Street" as I called it is a great concept and seamed crowded only a couple times. To me this was the easiest of ships to get around especially if you pick up the clues for navigation... 8th floor, turn left at the donkey or right at the cow (using the pieces of art to identify the direction to our room). Other good things were: the coffee shop on Main Street with pastries for a early breakfast or snack later on. Flow Rider was entertaining to watch but beware of the sun with the wind back there you'll surely get burnt. There seemed to be plenty of chairs on the sun decks. The great - with the exception of the aforementioned grumpy guy in the check in - every single experience with everyone on board was positive and many standouts for their service and willingness to help. The shows were great, we went to all the offerings EXCEPT the Celine Dion Tribute - uh no... no way.... But those folks are really talented, I really didn't get into the "Marque" musical, but I'm not a Broadway fan and many of the acts didn't mean much to me however - the performers did a great job. The room - 8584 - possibly the best basic balcony on the ship - port side, we have to see what is going on - 3 floors up to the Windjammer - 3 floors down to the Main Street - apparently in the middle of the hall from one end to the other and most of all, there is a green rug section at our door so you never missed the door walking by. Great service too from our steward, room guy. Now I read a lot of reviews about the ship being "tired" and "worn" and I will admit that -yes you see signs of its age but, that didn't bother me and those folks did a awesome job of keeping things spotless clean. What Freedom lacks in luster is made up for by the great service from all its staff. Ports: Nassau - well it was Nassau, I found Blue Hole Snorkeling and was able to tag along with a group of 8. We only went to 1 spot, i guess because of the weather, but was hoping from more. St Martin - I found Caribbean Paddling online and purchased a trip with them that included transportation from port to their location in Cul-De-Sac (a 30 minute drive), rental of a 2 person kayak (they have paddle boards too which we wanted to do but the wind was not in our favor) and a fancy french bag lunch. Once there we paddled out to Pinel Island and enjoyed the beach there. This was the highlight of our trip and would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a little adventure. Of note at Pinel Island are 2 "beach clubs" where you rent chairs and umbrellas. Both also have grills that serve lunch including grilled lobster - although expensive I wished we had gotten that but it was best that we had already eaten. The island is also there to explore with a hidden beach on the back side I and told. St Thomas - once again on our own we struck out for St John - the mistake we made was not finding a taxi going straight to Red Hook - seemed like we got a tour of the island including a couple stops for our driver to chat with friends while he dropped others off at different beaches. Our trip to Red Hook took an hour and a half... Anyway we got on one of the nicer ferrys to Cruise Bay which took less than 15 minutes and from there hiked the National Forest Trail to Honeymoon Beach stopping a few times. This took us 40 minutes. Once there... OMG that place was beautiful. there is a shop there that sells a few tourist type items, drinks, snacks and rents paddle boards, kayaks and snorkel gear. There was also a little place to buy food, it was pricey but what do you expect as they have to cart everything in and it's not like they do volume business there. I heard folks say the food was great. I truly don't think there were more than 20 people there at one time on this picturesque beach. Good snorkeling there also. Also available there was a shuttle back to Cruise Bay for $5 pp which was on a large dingy type boat, super nice guy runs every 30 minutes and drops/picks up right beside the Ferry pier. Once back to Red Hook we enjoyed a 30 minute drive back to the port with out the island tour... I think I covered disembarkation early... Other random things to pass along... I always take my eno hammock - there was plenty of space on the balcony and great places to attach it. I like to take binoculars. There is a volume knob to the bottom right of the "make up" mirror in the main part of the cabin that usually play nice music. The "Dark Chocolate Cookie with Ice Cream" dessert in the MDR is incredible. Arrive early for the Ice Show - it was great. Hope you enjoyed... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
It was my 1st time on a cruise it was a couple family vacation we had the best time ever all the employees are very friendly very caring a hard working crew excellent the entertainment is great places to go dance places to go see ... Read More
It was my 1st time on a cruise it was a couple family vacation we had the best time ever all the employees are very friendly very caring a hard working crew excellent the entertainment is great places to go dance places to go see a show or if you just want to take pictures or just relax i recommend this cruise to everyone you won't regret it. Very clean very neat Great breakfast great lunch Great dinner Great servers We went To beautiful places Beautiful beaches I would definitely go again I have no complaints at all I enjoyed every bit of it So did my brother-in-law my sister-in-law and my husband I would recommend this cruise to everyone couple singles families Trust me you won't regret it and marcello I won't forget about you you are very very funny Very professional Excellent director Keep up the good work And this is my review of our carnival Fascination cruise Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise for the price and also to experience something different from my previous cruise with a different liner, I also enjoyed that cruise experience. The embarkation went smooth, however the express debarkation was anything ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the price and also to experience something different from my previous cruise with a different liner, I also enjoyed that cruise experience. The embarkation went smooth, however the express debarkation was anything but, we still exited the ship in a timely manner. Our room attendant, Henry, cleaned our room twice daily and also made lovely towel animals. If we needed something, he was "johnny on the spot". There were a myriad of daily activities to enjoy on the ship each day, whether a cruising day or port day. The food choices were great for breakfast and lunch and of decent quality. Dinner in the main dining room was excellent everyday with a variety of appetizers, with the main course you could choose from prime rib, sirloin salmon, lobster, fish of the day, lamb chops, and much more and desserts such as creme brûlée, cheesecake, baked Alaska and so on along with excellent staff also. Most nights we enjoyed karaoke, however, there was so much more to do. I loved the Nassau experience, many shops to choose from and a local bar called Shenanigans where we enjoyed free WIFi good music, food and fun. In St. Maarten, I enjoyed the affordable water taxi $7.00 round trip all day, the local drum band that consisted of local children playing up and down Front Street. St. Thomas was good as well, we went on a two hour tour up a mountain and enjoyed incredible views and we also got a glimpse into how the locals live. I credit America, our tour guide, on her driving on those narrow roads up and down the mountain and returning us safely to port. Overall, I loved this experience and would do it again! Read Less

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