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Freedom of the Seas

5
4.3
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Price: $$     Size: L     Refurbished: 4 yrs ago    

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"...to the special special servers everynight in the dining room !" in 83 reviews.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Suite

Experience:
7+ cruises

2 star
2 star
empty star
empty star
empty star

Seriously Disappointing Cruise This Time!!!!

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Freedom of the Seas | Sail Date: May 11, 2014

As former travel agents, we have sailed on every cruise line, and on most of the ships.  Freedom of the Seas has been our favorite Go-To ship, for many years.  The port is less than an hour away, and for the price, it was a fun ship, offering a variety of amenities, appealing to all ages.  It has almost everything the larger Allure and Oasis ships offer, but, in a smaller more intimate atmosphere.  The May 11th cruise was our 4th on Freedom, in the past 2.5 years.  And, sadly, it will be our last.  It may even be our last on RCCL as well.

We cruised on Freedom 7 months ago.  Whether it is RCCL in general, or just the Freedom, over the past year and a half we have noticed a substantial decline in overall standards and appearances on this ship; but, particularly on Freedom, compared to 6 months ago.  New RCCL cruisers will not know there has a been change.  However, as Crown and Anchor Gold members we have seen the difference and we are extremely disappointed.

The biggest disappointment was learning the dining room no longer requires a minimum dress code. For some cruisers, this is no big deal.  We, however appreciate minimum standards when dining in the main dining room. Although a sign is clearly posted on all 3 decks stating requirements; dining room attire is not even remotely adhered to.  We saw subtle changes on our last Freedom cruise, but, this time, less than 1/4 of the passengers wore even Sunday-best on regular nights, and formal attire was almost non-existent on the 2 formal nights,  In fact, proper dress codes for the dining room was NOT enforced at any meal.  Routine attire consisted of camisoles, shorts, even short shorts, with heels for the women; and flowered shirts, flip flops, cargo pants and/or shorts were the norm for the guys every night, including on formal nights.  This type of apparel should be unacceptable in the dining room, and would not be tolerated on ships such as Cunard!  Bathing suits were allowed in the dining room during breakfast and lunch.  We asked staff about the change in dress codes, and by their response, it is obvious, RCCL doesn't remotely expect compliance. The meals in the main dining room were also below standard, and the choices were very disappointing.  The cordon bleau and steak were the worst meals we've ever had, on any cruise line.  The shrimp cocktail was rubbery, not crisp and tasty.  The duck was tough.  By the 4th night, we decided to just dine in the Windjammer.  The food was better at the buffet, there were more choices and the service was just as good.

Stateroom standards have also declined.  Mints are no longer placed on the bed; and paper and pens are not included in the staterooms, any longer.  Towel animals made an appearance ONLY twice, all cruise.  The sheets weren't changed once.  We ran out of toilet tissue and coffee, and had to snag items off the cart. The toiletries and soap were never replenished or replaced, even though we used all of them the first night.  For a 2nd time, we had a Jr Suite.  Our glass railing on the balcony was filthy when we boarded and was never cleaned.  For the entire cruise we were unable to even see clear enough to look out.  The wood railing was faded, stained, with splinters sticking out.  Balcony furniture was broken and torn, with paint actually chipping off and falling on the floor – which was NOT removed until I picked it up on Day 4.  The balcony floor was torn, with sections loose and sticking up, making it easy to catch your foot.  We avoided the entire one side of the balcony, as it was dangerous and hazardous to walk on.

The entertainment in the theater and for the Ice arena has been the same for many years.  They are beautifully performed and exceptional ... when offered.  If you don’t know you need to make a reservation to see the Ice Show, you lose out and miss it.  And, as an FYI to RCCL ....MOST passengers DO NOT pay to go on a cruise to watch movies in the theater - 3-D, or otherwise - in lieu of live entertainment.  Passengers also want more than bingo and trivia for activities.  The 'paperless' coupon books and account information was not available at all, until the last day of the cruise.  We had to continually go stand in line to get a print out from the service desk.  This happened the last time we cruised on Freedom, 6 months ago.  Likewise, lines at the service desk were inexcusably long the entire cruise.  We waited at least 45 minutes every time b/c less than half the terminals were manned. The TV channel choices have also been reduced. Freedom has eliminated FOX News and 2 movie channels.  Instead, they have added more RCCL channels  - in Spanish and English - to advertise their products.  Staff at the service desk told us RCCL only wants a contract with CNN and it is a waste of time to complain about anything to RCCL. Based on what we saw this past cruise, I can believe it.

I was quarantined to my cabin the day the ship docked at Falmouth. I sat all day on our balcony and watched the comings and goings on Freedom, and Disney's ship, The Fantasy. Disney's maintenance crew spent the entire day cleaning, scrubbing and painting their ship's exterior. Freedom did nothing to the exterior of their ship!  Nothing!!!  And they should have. Paint is chipping off, all over the ship.  Freedom's anchor is rusty enough that it looks like it will fall off.  The exterior is dirty and needs serious painting along the water line.  It is actually embarrassing to stand in front of the ship for pictures.  The paint on the pool deck and along the walkway areas is peeling and rusty.  Carpeting along the walls is fraying in many areas of the ship.  Windows and mirrors are dirty.  Elevators are dirty most of the time.  The schooner bar has furniture that is worn, torn and faded.  On Sea Days, Freedom offers merchandise that is either high end, or cheap, junk; with the Promenade kiosks pathetically boring!

In the past 2.5 years, we have witnessed a slow, but, noticeable decline in Freedom’s appearance and services.  Complaints were plentiful, and have increased substantially among Crown and Anchor members. The lack of decorum, combined with waning standards, left many feeling as if we were cruising on Carnival or NCL, but, at RCCL's higher prices.

My husband and I are veteran cruisers.  We cruise 2 or 3 times a year.  We do not expect a high end cruise like on Cunard, when we pay RCCL prices.  Likewise, we do not expect a bare bones cruise, when we have paid for an RCCL Jr Suite, either.  We cruise because we enjoy the experience.  We appreciate the formality at dinner; the elegance of being served at meals; attending shows in the theater every night; sitting on our private balcony and enjoying a glass of wine.  We look forward to, and relish the overall ambiance of being on a ship at sea.  Unfortunately, we did NOT experience these things on Freedom, this past cruise.  Compared to previous cruises on Freedom, we experienced few of the things we really look forward to.  RCCL appears to be targeting a new type of cruiser.  A more budget minded clientele, one less interested in traditional cruise standards.  This is not what we are looking for in a cruise.  As compensation for the quarantine, RCCL gave me a $200 credit toward another cruise.  More than likely, I will never use it.  For the price we paid for this cruise, we could easily have cruised on Celebrity or Holland America.  For not much more, we could have cruised on Disney. The next time we will.  The cost will be worth it.

Cruise Photos

Stateroom decorations congratulating our 45th wedding anniversary.

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
7+ cruises

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Great cruise

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Freedom of the Seas | Sail Date: Jul 27, 2014

We have sailed many times with R.C and rarely do we not have good things to say about them.  This cruise was no exception.  Service was always outstanding.  Food at dinner was great. Food at lunch and breakfast better than average.  Entertainment was good, but not outstanding.  Cruise director did a very nice job.  Really enjoyed the skating show and the activities on deck.  The Promenade was outstanding with many shops and things to do.  They have a very nice parade for the little ones also.  We never get tired of going to St. Thomas or St. Maartin. I recommend this cruise and cruise line.

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Traveled As:
Family w/older children

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
2-3 cruises

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Freedom of the Seas 7 night cruise: Hispanola, Jamaice, Grand Caymen, and Cozumel

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Freedom of the Seas | Sail Date: Jul 06, 2014

This was an EXCELLENT cruise. I've never been on a vacation where I, the mom, didn't have to lift a finger.  It was such a relaxing trip for the mom!  No cooking, no cleaning, lots of relaxing, eating, sunning and napping with no responsibilities.  Our 16 year old son and 18 year old daughter really enjoyed it as well.  They had lots of things on the ship to do for the teens, they enjoyed the shows, the wonderful family meals at dinner, snorkeling together, etc.  We paid $4000 for an inside cabin on the 7th floor that included 2 rooms.  Be sure to plan on spending about $175/day per person to be able to maximize your shore excursions and you'll have a lot of fun.  Our favorite excursion was on a specific day was on ly $45/ person and we swam with the stingrays and was brought to a great place to snorkel.  We book that through a company direcly and not through the crusie line.  I hold back from giving a 5 star for 2 reasons:  in my personal opinion, I didn't like the competition of having my kids pulled iwth the desire to hang out with other kids their age as opposed to spending time with us a fmaily.  A cruise isn't the ideal vacation if you want to get away as a family and spend a lot of time togehter.  The other reason is many of the shows were quite prevocative.  The women were dressed in slutty attire that were very immodest and many of the dance moves were quite sensual.  It's disappointing to have "family entertainment" contribute to the moral decay that our world strongly faces.  They even had worlds most Sexiest Man/Woman contests in the middle of the day at the family pool where competitors were immodestly dressed deomonstrating sexual moves.  In all, we had a good time but know what to expect with the entertainment.

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Traveled As:
Family w/young children

Room Type:
Balcony

Experience:
1 cruise (first)

4 star
4 star
4 star
4 star
empty star

Overall a great cruise and fun time!!!

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Freedom of the Seas | Sail Date: Jul 20, 2014

Where to begin?  Overall we had a great time!  A few minor glitches here and there which kept this from being a 5 star review, but we were able to adapt and overcome.

I will start with the positive:

The accomodations were actually bigger than we though they would be.  We stayed in a Cabin 9318, a D1 balcony at the center of the ship.  Our stateroom attendant was excellent and the room was immaculate!  The ship itself is beautiful and well maintained and the facilities are outstanding!  The staff is very attentive and friendly!  The various activities throughout the ship are numerous and fun!  Our kids really enjoyed the H2O zone and pools.  The arcade is big, but could use a little upkeep and maintenance on some of the games.  We had a blast on our shore excursions!  Two snorkeling trips and a dolphin swim!  Wave Jet tour on Labadee was outstanding!  

Now for the negatives:

The cruise line advertises themselves as "autism friendly".  This is true to a point.  What they do not tell you is that you have to arrange special accomodations through Autism on the Seas, a separate organization.  The Adventure Ocean program is okay at best.  You shove your kids into little rooms in large groups with a 25:1 ratio.  When we expressed our concerns about our autistic son we were told we had to speak to a manager who was not there.  This is not indicative to me of a trained "autism friendly" staff.  We were told the manager would call us, but it never happened...we had to go find her the next day.  When we we spoke to her we thought it would be great.  What they did was stick our son in front of a video game for more than 2 hours. I can do that in the stateroom.  Needless to say that was the first and only visit to the Adventure Ocean program.  

Our other big gripe is their attention to special diet needs.  We called over a month in advance to inform the cruise line of our son's autism and his and my wife's special diet needs (gfcf and tree nut allergy).  Maybe we were spoiled by the service at Disney, but that was a waste of time.  We had dinner seatings at 8 every night, but it took 2 days for them to fully get it right.  Even then the first few days their food came out way late after everyone else was done eating.  It is not like we changed anything day to day.  Our waiter and assistant waiter were awesome and the food was otherwise excellent!!!  The headwaiter was another matter.  He seemed almost put out and condescending when we expressed our concerns and complained about the wait.  Then he began avoiding our table so he would not have to deal with us.

You would think if our reservation was flagged with these things they could have been prepared...

 

As I said overall we had a great time!  Some minor customer service issues to be resolved, but otherwise excellent!

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Traveled As:
Couple

Room Type:
Inside

Experience:
7+ cruises

5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star
5 star

Fantastic Cruise Lines

small verified icon Verified Review | Ship: Freedom of the Seas | Sail Date: May 04, 2014

When comparing cruise lines....I would say that Royal C leads the pack. We have been on many different lines and can honestly claim that the service was exceptional, food very good and the shows/entertainment was terrific. The Cruise Director, Casey P ( I believe that is his name) was a complete Hoot!! What a personality!! He was right out there with the crowd even when not directing!! Would go back on the Freedom just to enjoy his personality again.

The cruise was truly enjoyable with one small exception......The My Time Dining is really not......It's more like their time dining. One has to make a  reservation  and when trying to make a certain time was told there were no tables. Apparently they can't seem to run My Time Dining like a restaurant. First come first served. Have Never had to make reservations on any other cruise line and have Never had a problem getting seated.

Over all we would definately plan another cruise with Royal Caribbean.

Truly enjoyed ourselves!!

 

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More about Freedom of the Seas


Cabins

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Deck Plans

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Dining

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Entertainment

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Popular Tips for Freedom of the Seas


If you let your waiter know it is a special occasion , they will remember. They will remember if you order a certain type of roll or a special appetizer more than once, then they will inquire if you want that the next time or they will all ready have that particular roll for you.

Great idea to book a room in the forward of the ship since the food places are located in the aft, causing you to walk off all the food!

Try to book a top deck if you are not a smoker I was on 8, wish I had been higher for more breeze.



Roll Calls


Freedom of the Seas
31
Members on Cruise

7 Night Western Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Sep 14, 2014
Ship Name: Freedom of the Seas
mason4918
+ 30 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »

Freedom of the Seas
30
Members on Cruise

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Oct 05, 2014
Ship Name: Freedom of the Seas
30 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »

Freedom of the Seas
28
Members on Cruise

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail Date: Sep 07, 2014
Ship Name: Freedom of the Seas
28 Ship Mate app members

View Roll Call »



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