October 2015 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
This was our 55th cruise with RC, we have always sailed with them because of their attention to details and great service. Additionally this was our 3rd trip on the Freedom.
-The Shows were the best we have ever seen....from the dancers and singers to the ices show they were all well produced and preformed.
-The ship was spotless clean and a pleasant environment.
-This is the first trip that we have seen the captain and other officers on a regular basis. Their presence was noticed by everyone.
-The room was very comfortable and for the first time in several trips the ice-box in the room actually worked.
-Lunch in the dinning room was a wonderful experience. The salads were fantastic.
-The food at dinner was very nicely presented and flavorful.
-The internet speed has greatly improved.
-Leaving the ship to visit ports and returning was fast and easy.
-Departing the ship on the last day with the fastest ever experienced.
-Our waiters at dinner were very nice but the slowest and unorganized that we have experienced in many years. We consistently had to ask for drink refills. The famous RC attention to detail was no where to be found. (Example: one evening two of us at the table were presented the menu from the night before.) Our dinner sitting was at 5:30 with a show at 7:00, we had to remind the waiters each night that we had a show to attend and must leave the dinning room by 6:45. Two different nights we had to leave without desert in order to make it to the show.
-The menu selection was not as good as we had seen back in June on the Allure...there were many repeats each night.
-I had steak two different nights and in both occasions the meat was tough and tasteless.
-I always look forward to the prime rib dinner....on this ship I didn't eat half of it because it had no flavor at all and what parts I did eat was tough. The waiter offered to get another but we knew that there was no time for that based on their speed of service.
-I know the marketing theory behind what RC is doing for Gold card members but they are creating a segregation / class separation on the ship. We noticed this on other ships but this one was really bad. There was special seating for the shows, several lounges, and special meal sections for these people. It reminded me of the movie Titanic where the lower class were put in one section and the rich another.
-I was spoken to very harshly by two different ladies working the Starbuck counter.
-One evening I asked for two tubes of hand cream for my wife. I was told, "I'll do my best to get it but hand cream is only offered for Suite and Gold card members." Wow he sure made us feel special. It's unfortunate that RC has adopted a policy of segregation.
-RC has greatly reduced the number of ports visited. When we first started sailing we always made 4 to 5 ports...but each trip the stops get less and less. On this trip we were supposed to visit 3 places but the day we arrived at the island they announced that the water was too rough. That was NOT true. I could have skied on the ocean that day, there was no wind, no waves crashing on the shore, and no storm clouds.....there was no reason as all not to stop at the island. So we spent another day wandering around the ship. One of the reasons we travel is to see new places and people....it would seem that we may need to find another source of travel since RC doesn't want to allow us different stops.
-On the return trip we just floated out in the ocean because the ship got back too early. For the time we spent just floating RC could have allow us longer stays in the two ports we visited and added two more stops.
Over all we had a nice trip. But over the past three years the quality and service on the RC ships has slowly diminished. I can only hope that they will see the writing on the wall and steer their way back to the top. RC is a great company if I didn't think so I'd not keep sailing with them. They just need to adjust their focus and center on service and quality.