Hi Everyone! I am back with a brand new cruise review! I just disembarked Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and I’m excited to share my review with you! Have you ever sailed on the Freedom of the Seas? If so, let me know what your favorite part was!
I recently sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. This voyage, which originated in San Juan, Puerto Rico visited 5 ports of call in the Southern Caribbean: Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. John, Antigua, Castries. St. Lucia and Bridgetown Barbados. Since we visited quite a few ports, this review will be strictly about the ship. Be sure to check back for a separate review outlining all of the ports of call.
My family and I arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico the day before our sailing. We stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino, which is located at the Convention Center. When you take a cruise that originates in Puerto Rico, the ship docks in a separate port called the Panamerican Pier, which is across the water from the Old San Juan Piers. The Sheraton Hotel is a 5 minute taxi ride to the Panamerican Pier and about a 10 minute taxi ride to Old San Juan. The night before the cruise we dined at Barrachina, the place where the Pina Colada was invented, on Calle Fortaleza in Old San Juan and really enjoyed it.
As many of you know who read my blog posts, you know that I’ve been on about 20 cruises. I must say, embarkation in San Juan was probably one of the easiest I’ve ever experienced. When you get dropped off, you will see signs that show different deck numbers. You have to bring your luggage to the designated deck area and you can then go inside. Once you pass through security, you go to the desk where you check in, receive your SeaPass card and confirm your credit card for your account. We were dropped off at the pier at 11:15am, checked in, took our welcome aboard picture and were walking onto the ship at 11:30am, which gives you an idea of how quick the process actually is.
During our cruise we dined at the Windjammer Cafe as well as Galileo’s. We also visited the Cafe Promenade, Ben and Jerry’s and Sorrento’s Pizzeria.
For both breakfast and lunch we dined at the Windjammer Cafe, the buffet on the Freedom of the Seas. Here you had multiple options for breakfast including eggs, bacon, french toast and waffles. For lunch, there were your steady options as well as the ones that changed daily. For example, I saw roasted chicken there quite a few times.
During our cruise, we had the 6:00pm dining time in Galileo’s Dining Room on Deck 5. We were lucky enough to have Danisha and Pavlo as our waiter and assistant waiter. They were very attentive and always ready to get something if we needed it. In addition to dinner, Pavlo, our assistant waiter, was also at the Windjammer Cafe in the morning. He took care of us there as well, whether it was getting us fresh squeezed juice or cappuccinos. This duo made our dining experience great. There were a variety of options at dinner. I am a little bit of a picky eater so I ordered a lot of the options plain but one of the best meals I had on the ship was the second formal night…… Beef Tenderloin and a Lobster Tail. **I did take photos of the menu each night, so if you are interested in seeing those, let me know in the comments below!**
We also visited the Cafe Promenade, where there were delicious iced and specialty coffees as well as chocolate chip cookies (the only place I could find chocolate chip cookies on the ship). Ben and Jerry’s was located in the Royal Promenade and required an up charge. It was kind of cool to have Ben and Jerry’s on a cruise and it tasted delicious. Last but not least, we tried out Sorrento’s. As I’ve said before, I am a New Yorker so cruise ship pizza usually doesn’t impress me. It was fine and did the job when I was hungry.
Another spot that I did not dine at but visited briefly was Johnny Rockets. While it does require an up charge, the atmosphere is that of a classic diner. It definitely looked really cool.
Prior to sailing, I purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package and I would definitely recommend it. Included in the package was bottled water, specialty coffee, soda and mixed drinks. I really do recommend purchasing this package. You don’t realize how much you would actually be spending on all of the above, but it definitely pays. The drinks were delicious as was the coffee bar which used illy coffee and other spots around the ship that used Lavazza. Pro Tip: We met someone that told us about Miami Vice drinks and Frozen Mojitos. For the sake of research we tried both and they were delicious!
I purchased the Surf and Stream Internet Package for 3 devices during my cruise. Like other ships, the Freedom of the Seas utilizes VOOM as their program. The price was very reasonable. While the internet was faster on the Anthem of the Seas, you could still access what you needed while using this package. I would recommend it for staying in touch with family or just for checking social media.
Also, prior to the cruise, I purchased the all digital photo package. I basically paid a set price to receive all pictures I was in during the cruise digitally. I did purchase before we left, which saved me around $50-$100 off of the advertised price on board. You basically collect your photos, make sure they are all on your account and then 4-7 days post cruise you receive an email with a link to your photos. I definitely recommend purchasing the photo package and recommend doing it before the cruise to get the better price.
Entertainment & Shows:
Shows & Clubs
As always, Royal Caribbean excels in the entertainment department. Their theater, called the Arcadia Theater, is one of the main places to see these shows.
In addition to the 2 main stage productions, Freedom of the Seas also had an ice show. The two stage productions were Marquee and Once Upon a Time. Both were amazing and the singing was excellent. The ice show was called Freedom-Ice. com and was amazing! The fact that the cast can put on an ice skating show on a moving cruise ship was just so insane. I give them huge props! The ice show ran a few days during the cruise so if you missed one showing, you could visit another. The line can get pretty insane at Studio B for the ice show, extending all the way past the lounge and bar into the atrium on deck 3, so I would recommend getting there early and bringing a fan, because it honestly gets so hot.
In addition to those 3 shows, we also saw an acapella group MO5AIC and a magician. All of the entertainment on board was great and kept us interested.
In addition to these shows, the Freedom of the Seas also hosted some fun themed events. There was the Red experience, which was a high performance nightclub at Studio B. There was also a Caribbean night, which they asked guests to rock their best Caribbean themed outfits. Plus, there was also a silent disco one night in the Olive and Twist lounge as well as a 70’s party in the Royal Promenade. One of the funniest events was the Crazy Quest Game Show. An adults only game show where the audience is split into teams and they compete against each other by finding some crazy items (and doing some crazy things). This is a classic Royal Caribbean event and guests love it! In the main dining room one night, there was a group dance on the stairs which was awesome! It looked like a huge flash mob of people dancing.
Bars & Lounges:
Something not lacking on Freedom of the Seas are the bars and lounges. Every corner you turn you will find a bar or lounge there. One bar that I visited once during the cruise was the Bull and Bear, located on the Royal Promenade.You could always hear live music coming from in here and guests singing along. Plus, the drinks at Bull and Bear were delicious! Keep in mind, this bar doesn’t make frozen drinks but they make something called a Painkiller, which is the unfrozen version of a Pina Colada. We had quite a few takers for this in my group and they thought it was delicious.
On Board Activities:
The Freedom of the Seas is home to the famous Flow Rider, a surfing simulator, and Rock Climbing Wall that RCCL guests have come to love and expect on their ships. Both of these activities are free to cruisers and are located on deck 13.
The Freedom of the Seas is home to the Royal Promenade, which is like a little street and is the main area in the ship. In addition to some coffee, ice cream and bars located here, there are also stores. You can shop in the logo shop, visit the fine jewelry stores, shop for fashion jewelry and accessories and even shop for a Michael Kors bag at the store located on the ship. In addition to these shops, the Royal Promenade also has pop up tables at night selling different items depending on the sale.
Freedom of the Seas is home to a multitude of pool options. There is the Solarium, which is an adults only area, featuring a pool plus 2 whirlpools. Then there is the main pool, which also has some whirlpools and the H2O zone, which is basically like a small water park. The Solarium was a great spot to sit by the pool or even in the pool with your favorite drink in hand.
This year, our cabin was a Junior Suite, located on deck 9. The room was huge and a great size to live comfortably for a week. The sofa became a full size pull out bed and there was another chair in the room as well. The bathroom featured a bathtub and shower combination and was tiled in nice, neutral colors.
The closet was also pretty great. It was a full walk-in closet with shelves and hangers. It fit 2 suitcases laying down nicely. The balcony was extra wide and features 2 lounge chairs as well as two chairs and a table. Besides the amazing room, it was made even better by our room steward, Randy. I have been on 20 cruises, and Randy was the best room steward we ever had. If you are sailing on Freedom of the Seas and Randy is your room steward, you will be one lucky person. He was the best! Aside from the fact that our room was kept immaculate, Randy was always there with a smile on his face and laughing, which just made the experience that much better. I’ve been on cruises where I didn’t see the room steward the whole cruise and that definitely wasn’t the case this time. We would see Randy at least 2-3 a day, maybe more.
Everyone always hopes to see one thing at night when they open their cabin door, a towel animal of course! Check out some of these cool towel animals found in our cabin.
The crew on board the Freedom of the Seas was wonderful! No matter where you turned there was a crew member ready to help. During our voyage, our Cruise Director was Katie. She was great! Katie was always around, and always high energy!
Royal Caribbean’s 50th Birthday:
Also while on board, we celebrated Royal Caribbean’s 50th Birthday! That is a pretty special birthday. On our second formal night, the party started. There was music being played and we even received a special birthday cake to celebrate! Over the past 50 years, Royal Caribbean has been making vacations special for their guests. Here’s to another 150 years!
After sailing on board the Freedom of the Seas, I believe she is a beautiful ship with a great crew! Overall, the Freedom of the Seas had good food, excellent entertainment, a fantastic staff and amazing ports of call! I had a wonderful time sailing on her!
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