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Age: 55

Occupation:Food Manager

Number of Cruises: 12

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Freedom of the seas

Sailing Date: 2012-10-10

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

We had wanted to go on this ship since it first came out 6 years ago. We were taking a carnival ship out of NY and the Freedom was docked next to us. We had been on the Mariner which also had an open concept mid deck which we really liked. Living in Virgina, we like to sail out of ports that are within driving distance.

We drove about 8 hours on Saturday and stayed just north of the Florida border in Kingsland. Ga. Much cheaper motels than at the port and no sense killing ourselves driving the full 11 hours in one day. We had opted to try an off site parking service since the port parking had gone up to $120 for the week. Although I was a bit nervous doing this, it was half the cost and we had great reviews from this cruise site for Cruise Parking of Port Canaveral. The place was just off the main road. We had made reservations on line so they were ready for us.

We got on the shuttle at 10:30 am and were on the ship by 11:15 - Wow! Fastest ever. The ship was as beautiful as we had imagined. Almost the entire 5th deck is like a street with ceilings 5 decks high and lined with shops, bars and restaurants. The opening gala celebration was amazing like a big parade with Shrek characters everywhere.

We had a little issue with our dining table location and the speed of service was lacking but the Windjammer had a nice variety and good quality. We opted to eat in Chops one night - definitely worth the extra money - too much food! The ship had tons to do and was well maintained. We'd been to the usual ports many times and are past doing most of the excursions but still had to get off the ship and get haggled by the Cozumel crowd.

Didn't care much for the locals constant pressure to buy in Labadee. RC has really put some $ in that place as it was way bigger and offered more to do than when we were there a few years ago - one good thing - no more tenders. We did the self embark thing and the shuttle to the parking was waiting for us. We were back in the car and heading home by 8:15am. All in all we had a great time and would do this ship again in a heartbeat. I never write a review but get so tired of reading so many negative reviews in which the entire cruise sucked because somebody didn't like their steak. Happy sailing!

Not as good as we've had on past cruises with RC. We had second seating and were still eating after 9:30. Chops was good as was the Windjammer

Small - opted for an inside cabin to save $ - it had been forever since doing that and I'll find the $ next time to at least get a window

Very good - great cruise director

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