Mixed feelings about this cruise

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 13

Overall rating:

4.1 out of 5
Freedom of the Seas

8 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip)

Sail date: October 20, 2018

Ship: Freedom of the Seas

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 1290

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

This cruise was ultimately not even remotely close to the cruise we searched, researched and finally paid our hard earned money for. The biggest reason we chose this cruise was because of the ports, which originally included Bonaire. We also were selective with our excursion choices, which were also changed or cancelled last minute. I understand the "shpiel" they have to give about " our first concern is your safety", but this was NOT the cruise we paid for at all. We still made the best of it, but when we asked Royal Caribbean to at least do something to make it up to us, they were completely unwilling and unapologetic. We are now considering using a different cruise line for our next cruise. I would also like to add that this ship is long overdue for an overhaul. It's pretty beat up. The carpeting is in bad shape. There is rust everywhere. It just looks old. Our stateroom attendant, Arthur, was a dream. He did a wonderful job of keeping our room clean AND he kept that ice bucket full, just like we asked him to.

Embarkation

4 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The main dining room was nice, if not old and used looking. I was very disappointed to have been served instant potatoes with one of my meals. The quality of the food had definitely gone downhill.

Cafe Promenade

5 out of 5

We loved this little gem. The food was probably the best on the ship. Since I had the beverage package, I got an iced cafe mocha for free. They had lovely pastries and sandwiches. Good place for people watching, as well.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
It's quite impossible to be bored on this ship.

Day Spa and Fitness Center

5 out of 5

We had a couples Swedish massage on one of our sea days, and it was a wonderful massage. The one caveat I found was that they are really pushy with the upselling. So beware.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
We went to see "Marquee", which was a collection of songs from Broadway done by the Freedom of the Seas singers and dancers, accompanied by the Freedom of the Seas orchestra. It was phenomenal. I mean, it was just so enjoyable and professional!

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
Our main dining room servers were Mark and Leo, and they were very attentive and sweet. We shared a table with three other couples, and we all enjoyed each other's company very much!

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
This ship needs an update, no doubt about it. We also ended up taking the stairs more often than not, because the elevators were pretty well useless.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
We had a junior suite, and that walk-in closet was a lifesaver. We had LOTS of room! And we had lots of clothes and gear.

Ship tip

Even given the experience we had, I would still recommend a cruise to anyone considering one.

Ports of call

San Juan, Puerto Rico

5 out of 5

Basseterre, St. Kitts

3 out of 5
This was not part of our original itinerary. We booked this cruise BECAUSE it was going to Bonaire. They cancelled that port very last minute, and took us to St. Kitts instead. St. Kitts was like tourism on steroids. The pushiness of the tour guides and the bus/taxi drivers was ridiculous. We didn't stay in port for an hour.

Willemstad, Curacao

5 out of 5
Curacao was probably our favorite ports on this cruise. We had booked an excursion to go snorkelling at a quiet inlet. We saw lots of different fish, and it was a really nice beach. Ou r bus driver, Bob (without the Marley) took us to the inlet and back to our cruise ship on his Irie bus. We dropped off all of our heavy gear in our stateroom and went back out because we wanted to see the Queen Emma pontoon swinging bridge. We got there just in time to see it swing out and back in again. Amazing! We met a taxi driver who not only offered to drive us to the Curacao factory, but to also give us a tour for $40.00 total. It was worth it. He even drove us right back to the ship.

Oranjestad, Aruba

4 out of 5
We arrived at Aruba at 7 a.m. We had ordered room service for breakfast so we would have time to get our snorkel gear together. We took a bus to DePalm private island, where they had giant water slides and a splash pool for little ones. They had a restaurant, showers, and lunch was included. We went snorkelling, but the water was just a little too rough for me, so I didn't last 10 minutes. My husband loved it, but he's also a certified scuba diver, so he loves the water. They had a Salsa dance class that I participated in. I had so much fun. We also got a good bit of sun. All in all, I would recommend this excursion. Really nice, clean place.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

4 out of 5
Our excursion here was the Snuba adventure, a Royal Caribbean excursion. At first, we all snorkelled, and then they had groups at a time doing the snuba part of it, which I didn't do, as I am not a big fan of deep water. My husband and the other 4 guys had a great time. After this excursion, we took a water taxi ($14.00 total, both ways) to Penha beach, where we were promptly ripped off by a woman named Sandra, who told us we could rent two beach chairs, an umbrella, 5 drinks and a foot rub for $25.00. AFTER she gave me a quick foot rub, she said " okay now you pay me $25.00". I wasn't fast thinking enough, because I reached for my cash and paid her. So, that cost us $50.00. We did find a Hard Rock Cafe there, though, and since we are pinheads, we were happy to have more pins to buy. We stayed there until it was time to go back to the ship. So, maybe next time, we need to find something else to do in St. Maarten.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
We had booked the Kontiki boat excursion for this port, and we got notified the night before that our excursion had been cancelled. Apparently, there wasn't enough participation. We were so excited about this one, too. Needless to say, we were really disappointed, as this was not the first, second or even third thing that Royal Caribbean changed or cancelled on us. Anyway, we caught a water taxi to Honeymoon beach, and there we took a bus up and over a hill to the beach. Beautiful beach! There was a restaurant and port-a-potty's. The water was the clearest we had seen all cruise. We didn't need to snorkel to see all kinds of fish. Squid, sea turtles, sea urchins, and all kinds of tropical fish were all over the place. We had a perfect spot under a tent, which was good because it rained most of the morning. But once the sun came out, I got a lot of sun. I would love to explore this island much further. Someday, we will.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
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