October 2016 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
Our cruise and the ship were wonderful. The weather was bad most of the week, and the crew had said the prior week was even worse. But those are the chances you take cruising in the fall. We still had lots of fun, just not as much sun as I would have liked.
The only thing I'm going to knock about RCL and the Freedom OTS is the main dining menu. We were on a different RCL cruise in Sept and the menus were identical. The maitre d' confirmed that RCL has only one menu for all ships. The only variation is for cruise length. So all 7 day cruises are the same menu in the same daily order and all 10 day cruises will have the 7 day menu with the same 3 daily menus added. I understand their reasoning; they are planning meals for 10s of thousands of people and have to line up suppliers months in advance. But I wish their menus offered a bit more variation.
Unlike some other lines, fish is often not a daily option and for me, that is very disappointing. If you love beef, there is always at least a couple of choices available but they aren't anything unusual that you can't get at most local steakhouses. My preferences for cruise dining tend to be a bit more adventurous. If there is something I've never had, I take the opportunity to try it. But RCL has reduced their choices so there isn't anything I haven't had repeatedly. I realize I'm not the norm in this area, so others may be very happy to find dishes that are familiar favorites and prepared well. The only dish I had that was less than my expectations was a fried seafood plate. The breading was a bit soggy, probably because it had not been served soon enough out of the fryers.
For breakfasts and lunches, RCL has also slimmed down the main dining menus and it seems to me they are trying to discourage people eating in the dining room. For breakfasts, they basically only change one menu item each day. Our party of four all prefer dining room service over crowded buffets so we rarely went to the Windjammer.
The entertainment was mostly good though I opted out of one nights Broadway review. Others in my party attended and enjoyed it. We thought the worst night of entertainment was the magician, but most of the audience gave him a standing ovation, so he was well received by most.
Overall, the cruise was an excellent value. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. They do have a small portion of aft deck 12 outdoor recreation areas under construction but there was no inconvenience for the guests.