Worst Royal Caribbean Cruise I have ever been on out of five

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 5

Overall rating:

3.3 out of 5
Verified Review
Freedom of the Seas

6 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 28, 2018

Ship: Freedom of the Seas

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8398

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Worst of five Royal Caribbean cruises I have ever been on. Aside from the cruise director, wait staff, and state room attendants, the rest of the crew really did not seem to care and made a lot of small mistakes throughout the cruise. The skipped one port and did nothing to compensate so book with caution. Mexican ports seem to have no problem ripping off American tourists so I really have no desire to go back any time soon.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
The automated boarding that other ports like Cape Liberty is better. Overall, not bad. We arrived late to avoid the lines.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
The Main Dining Room had some issues. Number one, there was one, extremely long line almost every night. Other vessels had a separate line for people without My Time Dining Reservations. Also, the hostess staff or equipment had issues. The couple that often sat next to us who was Diamond Plus had issues with being sent to tables with people sitting at them twice. My girlfriend and I specifically requested a table to sit next to them and were told it was full, only to find it was empty. The food in the Main Dining Room was less than impressive compared to other vessels. My girlfriend, like many women is a picky eater. So whenever she did not like her options, she would always choose the chicken course that is offered daily. She usually orders that at least three times per cruise. The chicken served in the main dining room was consistently dry and nowhere near as good as it has been on every other RCI cruise we have taken. The Wind Jammer selection was not that great compared to other cruises. It also seemed very crowded at all times.

Sorrentos Pizza

1 out of 5

The employees that I felt absolutely horrible for worked in the pizza bar at night. On this cruise, that is the only place to get food late at night. To make matters worse, that person also had to ring-up and serve alcohol. There was a complete lack of foresight by whoever managed that portion of the boat. When shows let out, you would expect extra staff and an abundance of pizza ready. No, instead one person had to ring-up drinks, serve food, keep calling out to the second hardest working person on the boat working that galley making pizzas as the lines continued to build. It was not until the last day that someone in a suit, I'm guessing the manager finally helped out. Also, the coffee bar and pizza place did not have signs explaining to passengers where to order and where to wait. It was constant chaos. That often led to small arguments among passengers over who was in front of who in line.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
About average compared to other RCI ships. Nothing really stood out as special. The pool-side movies are nice.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
The shows were good. However, arranging to have the headliner comedian start at 11:45pm the night before arriving in port at 7am shows a complete lack of scheduling ability. As much as I would have liked to see that show, having to wake up at 6 to eat before my excursion made it all but impossible to enjoy a good night's sleep before an early morning and see the show.

Children's Programs

No kids.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Abe Hughes the Cruise Director was awesome. He was funny, sarcastic, and just made for an awesome week. We constantly saw him all over the ship. State room attendant and waiters were great, although, they are working for tips. The rest of the crew was a complete disappointment. The Guest Services line was always long and looked like the line for a ride at Disney Land. The Excursion staff waited until we were on the boat to inform us that the dive excursion in Cozumel was canceled due to operational needs. That was due to the dive boat sinking in an unfortunate and mysterious accident three weeks before the cruise. Little details have surfaced as to the cause. Regardless, Royal Caribbean had three weeks to notify passengers that excursion was cancelled or try to arrange a dive excursion with a different company. Instead, they waited until day one of the cruise making it impossible to do adequate research on other dive shops. After all, the US State Department has travel advisories against certain areas in Mexico therefor I feel adequate research is necessary before planning on a non Royal Caribbean excursion. We received our Crown & Anchor party invitation on Day Four. The problem was the event was on Day Two. There were errors in the Compass for events that occurred the day prior. Just a lot of little mistakes that seemed to be an on-going trend. Aside from the people directly working for tips (waiters, servers, and state room attendants) and the awesome cruise director, nobody else really cared. I never once saw the Captain, not even on the Royal Caribbean tv channel. The only time I recall hearing him was the announcement that Cayman was cancelled.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Not much late night food. Really not that much to do compared to some of the other ships.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Not as modern as some of the other ships. But, overall not bad. My only complaint is the glass dividers between balconies was a bit noisy on windy days.

Ship tip

Choose carefully when booking. Royal Caribbean feels it's okay to charge you for three ports, potentially skip one for weather, and think that a sea day is just as good as a day in Cayman. I also feel more consumer scrutiny needs to be put on RCI for safety on cruise ship booked excursions. Nobody was hurt when the dive boat for an excursion sank. But, several people were killed and more injured when one of the buses for an excursion crashed. I previously complained to RCI about an excursion bus in Jamaica that I felt was in an unsafe condition. They need to do more to ensure consumer confidence in their excursions because I will not likely book another RCI cruise until these issues are addressed.

Ports of call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida Did not visit port

All we did was board here. Not much to review beyond embarking and disembarking.

George Town, Grand Cayman

1 out of 5
Due to high winds and waves they were unable to tender. We had to skip this port completely. Royal Caribbean gave a $1 refund per person for port fees. That is in no way acceptable! We could have booked a two destination cruise for significantly less money. Cayman was the whole reason we booked this cruise.

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

3 out of 5
The port was cute. They basically sold the same trinkets and touristy items as Cozumel but for 1/3 more money. If you're going to both ports, save your money and shop in Cozumel. The Royal Caribbean diving excursion with

Cozumel, Mexico

3 out of 5
Good port. Decent shopping. Be careful where you shop. I purchased a silver necklace that turned my neck green. The $65 bottle of tequila the sales guy recommended retails for $30. They sold the same trinkets that Costa Maya sold for about 1/3 less.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
No complaints. The online Customs app made this a breeze.
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