good & bad
Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: May 22, 2016
Ship: Freedom of the Seas
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 7220
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 1 year ago
First the good - Checking in and embarkation was fast and easy - thank you! The options at dinner were decent, tasty, and varied. Our personal wait staff was friendly and responsive - often bringing extra appetizers and entrees for the table to share. The other places to eat were adequate, but offered a lot of variety as well. Room service was also adequate with a small but varied menu. The stateroom with a balcony was spacious for two and reasonably kept the noise out from the rest of the ship. Our room steward was very friendly and didn't bother us at all when he knew we were in the cabin, but waited patiently until we were gone before going in to clean (without putting the 'do not disturb' sign out). He even had fresh ice in the room every morning and evening for our wine. The pizza place was a welcome addition that I have never seen on other cruises and offered an alternative to the crowded jabbing you got in the Windjammer and the more formal dining room. Also, the fact that we were allowed to bring our own wine aboard was a nice surprise, except that my bag got confiscated until I could prove it was wine.
Now the bad --
1. I am not new to cruising, but I thought the number of items that incurred extra fees was outrageous! I expect to have to pay for the spa, casino, bingo and alcohol - along with a few other minor extras. Based on the fact that I paid A LOT more for this cruise line, I did not expect to have to buy a bathrobe to wear; pay $30 for the galley tour; incur an extra surcharge for room service over the night; and I thought $60 for a soda card was a bit excessive (I didn't even consider an alcohol package). All the fitness center classes like spinning and yoga had a fee and the individual price of alcoholic beverages was outrageous ($11.75 for a piña colada, including gratuity for me serving myself at the bar).
2. From the first day until the last, several in our party constantly felt sluggish and needed a nap continuously. I know that the heat and hubbub from the cruise can make you tired, but we all live in Florida and NEVER nap! Not to mention that we didn't lay out in the sun or swim in the pools. A couple of us played sports, but most opted out. We felt like we had been given Benedryl the entire cruise and as soon as we were home, we were fine again. Am I the only one? Could there be something in the water or food?
3. We had several problems with our booking requests being honored, but we booked through BJ's travel and will bring several of our problems up to them as well. The three families (9 people total) were supposed to be "linked" in their system and seated at the same table, but we weren't. The wait staff took care of us right away and got us seated together. Some of the other issues were brought up to Guest Services and that is where my complaint lies - the line was always long with about a 45 minute wait every time we needed to talk to them. They attempted to send staff out to try to triage the line, but most of the time the staff member didn't speak English very well and didn't understand our issues (usually ending with "you need to talk to the people behind the desk" until the next triage staff member came out and we repeated the same conversation with someone else). I finally just shut them down and told them we needed to talk the people behind the desk. However, very few people behind the counter were willing to make a decision and stick to it which put us in a perpetual circle of shifting blame and responsibility.
4. The bed was HORRIBLE!!! It was like sleeping on a piece of plywood with a 1-inch cushion on top. The pillows were like sleeping on air. They had no substance to them for support and I ended up with a kink in my neck and a sore back and shoulders. Every morning that I woke was progressively worse.
5. As RC takes their ships and updates them, they may wish to consider adding at least one more outlet to the cabins. When the ships were built, few of us had as many electronic devices as we do now and with the ship offering internet (another fee), the people in my cabin often had to balance the charging of cameras, phones, and Kindles, with getting ready with the electric razor, blow dryers and curling irons.
6. I understand that the cruise industry has taken a beating over the recent outbreaks of sickness on their ships and they are trying to be proactive about it offering Purell everywhere. However, I should be able to refuse it when entering or exiting somewhere. I had just (emphasis here) exited the restroom after washing my hands and using a paper towel to open the door (the paper towel was still in my hand) and about to enter the Windjammer when I was stopped by the attendant with a bag of Purell and told that I HAD to have a squirt. She wouldn't take no for an answer and wouldn't accept my explanation - either I took the Purell or I didn't enter. Even those who were walking in rubbing Purell into their hands from the self-serve automatic dispensers were accosted by this woman. She took her job way too seriously and needs to take a breath.
7. Two in our party got sick the last day of the cruise and were quarantined. The sick ones were told that they must exit the ship at 6 am by Guest Services. The group was allowed to disembark together, but several in our party would have liked to enjoy a cup of coffee before meeting the Customs people (it would have made me nicer), and were told several different answers depending on the "person behind the counter"- so we were put in the carousel of shifting responsibility. We ended up disembarking at 6 amfrom the deck 1 infirmary. HOWEVER, RC has been in business for decades and I would think that they would have had a smoother routine worked out than they did. It was a mess. We were called out of the waiting room by stateroom, told to get our luggage and have it x-rayed; but the RC staff member didn't pause between staterooms, so the result was about 20 people throwing luggage onto the x-ray machine with no order; the ICE staff wanting us to stay with our luggage (I had 5 bags) and answer questions while other people blocked the way with their bodies and bags. There was no line, no order, and no coffee. And then they found the remainder of the wine (remember we brought it onboard and had to rescue it from the RC staff) in my bag which I had to open up and prove what it was in the middle of this mess! UGH!!