Pros: The food and its presentation; cleanliness of cabins; decor Cons: Spa; lack of readily available water and ice; shops
Reviewer Recommended: Yes
Freedom of the Seas- Flawed but Still Worthwhile.
Having just returned from our second cruise on Royal Caribbean line, we have changed our opinion of the line and would definitely consider it in the future. Having been on more than twenty cruises, we found the embarkation and disembarkation to be extremely smooth even with 4,000+ passengers.
Praise Royal Caribbean for eliminating one of the the worst activities on the ocean: the art auction. This lackluster activity takes up too much room on other ships and Freedom of the Seas takes advantage of the extra room. The spaces on Freedom of the Seas are well used and the variety of activities is certainly to be applauded.
The food and its presentation lives up to the beauty of the dining room. It is too bad that the ship's dress policy for dinner is ignored by many passengers and the staff does not seem to even realize there is a dress code. It is difficult to understand passengers who cannot get out of shorts for a few hours of fine dining. Speaking of fine dining, the Chops Grill is one of the very best restaurants (on land or sea) at which we have dined.
Our room was well appointed and we found our cabin steward to possess great attention to details. The adult-only pool is a great addition but the chairs are taken by 8:00 a.m. and people camp out on them for the entire day. Additionally, the loud music from the adjacent pool is really a distraction - it is so loud that it is difficult to read or relax even with headphones. The lack of readily available water and ice can easily lead to dehydration on hot days by the pool. For some reason, Royal Caribbean decided to have wait staff hand out water in glasses with limited ice cubes in the Windjammer. When the Windjammer closes for brief periods, however, passengers are out of luck.
Another significant disappointment is the spa. Having booked a pedicure, I was shocked by the cheap pedicure chairs stuck in a busy section of the spa without any attempt at ambiance. It would have been nice to not have to stare out of a window that was covered by stacked deck chairs.
Despite its flaws, the Freedom of the Seas is a remarkably comfortable and relaxing ship. Bring a water bottle, get your toes done at home and you will have a wonderful cruise!