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Overall Rating
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions

Age: 54


Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Freedom of the seas

Sailing Date: 2009-09-19

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

We were traveling with 6 other friends. Everything about the cruise was above average. and we had a wonderful time. Freedom of the Seas is a beautiful ship. Our group had so much fun we book the same ship for next year except for the Western Caribbean. There were a couple of negatives about the ship: too many smokers and not enough smoke free areas. The casino was really heavy with smoke. Parents also need to have better control over their children and not let them run wild. I would not want to travel on this ship during spring break or summer when kids our out of school.

The food in the main dining area was above average and very well presented. Our table was just our group which made it fun. Our waiter Joel and assistant waiter Chris were very attentive and the service was great. The two best food experiences were Chops ($25) and Portofino ($20) which is an additional charge per person but well worth it. The rack of lamb Chops was some of the best I have ever had. I had the grilled mixed seafood and Portofino. This was good, but my husband's fillet steak looked much better and will be my choice next time. I also had the best Tiramisu in Portofino - make sure to order this. The view from this dining room was exceptional. We did dine both times as a group. Next time I will have dinner alone with my husband at Portofinos as the view was beautiful and romantic. For breakfast we ordered room service several mornings. Everything was good, hot and on time. Just make sure you put your card out the night before. We had breakfast in Windjammers one morning and the main dining room the next. The eggs Benedict are excellent. We also had breakfast in the main dining room on departure morning as recommended from or waitress in Portafinos. She said Windjammers tends to be crazy the last morning and the dining room quicker and more relaxing. This was a great suggestion and I will remember it for future cruises.

Our stateroom (7394) was spacious and nice. The bed was very comfortable (most comfortable of any ship we have been on. There was also a queen sofa bed with a coffee table. The balcony had two chairs and a small side table in between. A larger table either inside or on the balcony would have been nice to eat breakfast from room service. Otherwise it is a balancing act. We only saw our stateroom attendant a few times in the hall. Our room was made up nicely twice a day. Past experience is the stateroom attendants are usually falling all over you. I did have to ask for extra towels the first day as only two bath towels were in the bathroom. The towels are not changed each day unless you left them in the shower on the floor. It would have been nice to have the attendant ask us if there was anything we needed or he could do for us. Also we did not spend as much time on the balcony as I would have liked. The person in the room next to us was very loud on the balcony; complete with smokers hack and talking about his laxatives he took the night before (great for breakfast). But, this is just the luck of the draw and not the cruise line's fault.

This was a trip to relax for us. On sea days we hung out at the pool a lot. The fitness center was fantastic and the equipment first class. There is nothing like 45 minutes on the tread mill looking at the deep blue sea. I had a manicure at the spa which was better than average. I did book a 75 minute hot stone massage but decided to cancel. It was expensive $195 for knowing nothing about the massage therapist. Again, you are not repeat business and it would be the luck of the draw. Other ladies in my group used the services. They rated the facial as average, and the massage as relaxing but fluff - nothing bad but just average. I can book three massages at home for the price of one on the cruise and know what to expect. This is just a personal choice.

I did spend time in the casino - fun but not a winner. The dealers at the black jack table were great for all experience levels. The ice show was fantastic - make sure to get your free tickets for this. The magic show was good. My friends and I enjoyed the music in the Pub. The jewelry store on the ship was okay but better deals are found on shore.

My husband did the golf on the ship and enjoyed this. There seems to be a little bit of everything for everyone but you are nickel and dimed for everything. The booking price is a great deal but the additional charges add up by the end of the trip - this is not a complaint but just something passengers should be aware of.

We really did not do any excursions -- except a deep sea fishing trip in St. Maarten. We have been to St. Thomas in the past and St. Maarten. Coco Cay is a nice beach experience. I always bring a cheap blow up raft to use plus we always bring our own fins and snorkel and rent the float vest. We also wore walking shoes over so we could hike around the island. I always bring a water bottle to fill up from the water cooler as $4 a pop for water is expensive.

In St. Maarten we booked a deep sea fishing trip from the ship. This was a joke. The boat had 6 guests from the ship. Each guest got two 20 minute time to sit in the fishing chair. One guy caught a fish in the first 15 minutes. After that, no one ever touched a pole again. The ship was in sight all the time. The captain and mate did not care or try to get the guys on fish - after all they were not repeat business. This excursion was $225 per person. Our husbands filled out a complaint form at guest relations. It took a day for an answer and the ship issue a full refund for the excursion. We did not expect this. My husband just wanted to let them know for future guests. The refund was a pleasant surprise and says a lot about RCI customer service! On St. Maarten the ladies in our group took a cab to Marigot on the French side while the guys were fishing. The ride was beautiful. We walked around the town around the marina and had a great lunch at a local "'Lolo" (sidewalk cafe). We ate at Rosemary's and had a local fare. I tried the goat which was wonderful. This place is a real treat. The cab ride was $7 per person from the dock and took about 20 minutes. You can also walk to the fort from here. I did Orient Beach and the fort on a previous trip. This is fun if you have not been before.

Would we go again on Freedom of the Seas? Yes and we booked on the ship for next year.

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