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Age: 47


Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Freedom of the seas

Sailing Date: 2012-03-25

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

I've sailed on numerous Royal Caribbean cruises and have earned the Diamond Member status in the Crown and Anchor Society. My experience on this particular cruise is a mixed bag. On the negative side, when arriving at the port terminal, we noticed a very strong sewer stench. This also carried over every morning when we would turn on the water faucet in our cabin. A very strong sewer odor coming from the supposedly fresh water! This was also the third Royal Caribbean cruise in a row where we were unable to depart the ship at Coco Cay due to what they considered rough seas preventing tendering from the ship to the island. The waves were only two feet! I recommend RC build a pier, like Disney Cruise Lines has at their private island. I paid for this port of call and instead received an extra day at sea. I was accompanied by my spouse and two children. The Adventure Ocean and Nursery were excellent. The Portofino Restaurant was excellent. The cabin attendent was excellent.

We utilized the Leonardo dining room on the first night only. I upgraded to lobster from their Portofino Restaurant for a slight charge. My wife had the pork from the standard menu. The pork was awful. It was so tough that she could not cut it. We did not bother to return to the Leonardo. We dined at Portofino for four nights and at the Jade and Windjammer for two nights. We noticed a sharp decline in the quality and selection of food at the Jade over previous Royal Caribbean cruises. The sushi was awful. There used to be a selection of ten different oriental menu items plus a soup of the day. On this cruise, the selection was reduced to three. The miso soup contained no dashi or tofu. It was basically flavored water. I will say that the quality of food and service at the Portofino was excellent. A friendly wait staff that deserves special notice. We utilized room service for breakfast every morning. Portions have been significantly reduced over the ones received on previous RC cruises.

Our stateroom was clean and the bed was configured to queen size. The couch was made into a full bed each night for our five year old son to sleep on. We were given a pack and play for our toddler. The stateroom attendant was excellent. We had an issue with the foursome in the next cabin (7372) who frequently smoked marijuana and cigarettes on their balcony, rendering our balcony useless. Although this was reported, nothing was done about it. As mentioned earlier, there was a strong sewer odor emanating from the fresh water faucets each morning. This odor diminished as the days wore on.

Other than Adventure Ocean and the Nursery, we did not utilize onboard activities for the family. I did utilize the casino several nights and left with positive winnings. I've heard that the best time to gamble is immediately after the ship leaves port and reaches international waters. The odds are supposed to be better on slots in order to generate word of mouth enthusiasm among the passengers. The cruise lines then lower the odds on subsequent days. This must be true because my largest win was within an hour of leaving the port and their were no substantial jackpot wins on subsequent visits.

We do not utilize cruise sponsored excursions. We did enjoy activities offered in St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

We will not be returning to Royal Caribbean. The negatives just far outweighed the positives. I won this cruise in a drawing and paid an additional charge for the children to accompany us. Future cruises will be with Disney.

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