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rich

Age: 45

Occupation:finance

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Freedom of the seas

Sailing Date: 2016-01-17

Itinerary: wrf

Let me preface by saying that we go on cruises every year, the last 6 with our two small girls aged 4 and 6. First time with Royal Caribbean and the last.

First the good. The ship itself (the main areas ie promenade) is very nice and quasi clean. They have a rock climbing wall and simulated surfing. Some of the nightly shows were good to very good (6 to 7.5/10). That's about all the good things I can think of. The food in the main dining room was mediocre to poor (ditto for all the food on the ship). The first night I ordered encrusted Salmon, it was salty beyond belief.

The 2nd night the Chef had a feature which was supposed to be saffron cauliflower with some sort of fish. Dish came with a half of a roasted potato, the driest fish ever topped with salsa like spaghetti sauce (who puts tomato sauce on white fish?). When I inquired as to where my Saffron cauliflower was they apologized and said they had none so they substituted , without telling me (but this was the featured meal of the night I argued?). They brought me Salmon instead (dry) after one bite, we left and went upstairs to the buffet which had variety but lacklustre quality compared to EVERY cruise ship we had been on before (including the lowly Carnival which by the way had fabulous food). On a couple of nights they had sushi, however as with the consistency of low quality they substituted smoked (maple) salmon in the sushi rolls paired with the wrong type of soya sauce which made the rolls taste super salty and inedible. They hid the tuna rolls under the counter because "they would go too fast" and so you had to know to ask for them.

The majority of the food consisted of pork this or pork that, lots of rice dishes, the cheapest cuts of fish (Basa, Tilapia and unknown Chinese fish). If you saw shrimps they were the tiny canned ones which were very disappointing. In the main dining room I ordered scallops as an entree and they brought me 6 pea sized scallops in an escargot dish (unprofessional) drenched in butter (for taste). Everything was drenched in butter to enhance the low quality of the foods served. I was VERY disappointed that it felt they purposely lowered the food quality so that you would be forced to eat at their pay for, overpriced restaurants ($79USD PP). I have always promoted cruise lines because of the variety and quality of food but NOT Royal Caribbean. Got together with my cousins today and lo and behold they had the SAME experience on a different RCCL ship!. Terrible food (and they are cruise nuts going on Princess next for March break).

The other thing that left a sour taste in my mouth was the constant bombardment of sales pitches for just about everything they could sell you. I was really disgusted with that. They turned a beautiful ship into one big flea market. Drink packages started at $49pp per day + 18% gratuity. $8/day each for kids for Pop. The shopping hostess told us when we went to Cozumel that we should not buy anything from the shops in front of the store and that instead they had "preferred" shops which were authentic, guaranteed blah blah blah and we could get there for a inexpensive $8 by taxi 9the forum shops). So we took their advice and it turned out the forum shops was one huge diamond store and not a mall as we had envisioned, the salespeople awaited us in front of our taxi like vultures to accost us with free margaritas and a draw to come in their diamond store and shop for diamonds and jewellery. The other stores we visited (rum cakes, tequila, t-shirt etc.) same type of deal. We later found out that RCCT is compensated for all of the tourists that shop at their stores so they are making money in every way they can. For kids the kids camp was great but it's also great on every ship. The sour part was the cost of the arcade games which ripped us off for $20 (none of the games worked when we swiped our card) and the prices of the games were $2usd each play. These should have been FREE (If I did my math right they had 4,300 people on the ship @ an average of $1,000PP they have to pull in more than $500 million a year on one ship when you include all the kickbacks from store excursions, casino, on and offshore retail sales etc… yet they treat us like suckers and feel like vultures going after a prey (in this case it's how much money can we squeeze out of these suckers). Line ups for rock climbing were usually one hour so that didn't work out. If we tried to order water from any of the ship bars we got looks from the bartenders as they couldn't charge their 18% tips.

On our 2nd day they had the genius of an idea to varnish our railings on our private balcony, it never dried for the duration of the trip and so we could not touch or go near the rail which defeated our enjoyment of the balcony premium.

On every other cruise line, the crew dotes on children. Not so on RCCT. No special greetings in the dining room, we had to ask the room steward for kids lifejackets on day 3 (would not proactively bring) also reminded to do up room earlier than 9-10pm due to small children (this should be intuitive).

The getting off the ship at ports was strenuous but the poor experience was getting back on scanning us like we were all criminals, patting down old ladies and just plain mean demeanours (wasn't that picky or uncaring on other ships). The ads for packages for everything just drove me mad. Internet discounts, photo discounts 50% one day only (sign was up for 3 days) photo costs are exorbitant @ $22.99 for ONE photo but $495 if you want to buy them all. Other ships are around $12-$16 plus discounts. The bazaar like atmosphere selling Tshirts in the pool area for 50% off, then tables of purses, watches, jewellery all marked up by double then marked down by 50%.

We attended a scotch tasting event in the general store and even that turned out to be a sales pitch (after the tasting was had one hour to get a 10% discount). I found the same scotch (double black) JW etc.. on shore in a regular Publix in Florida cheaper than the "duty free" ships prices.

Pizza on the Norwegian and Carnival were fresh made, fresh dough, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella (you know great ingredients). On the freedom of the seas? Pre-made cardboard style grocery like crusts with sour tasting ketchup sauce and cheap ingredients (and they had a pizza store on the promenade same deal as dining room or buffet).

On our 2nd day they had the genius of an idea to varnish our railings on our private balcony, it never dried for the duration of the trip and so we could not touch or go near the rail which defeated our enjoyment of the balcony premium.

I thought I had paid for a 5 star ship paying premium for a balcony and expecting 1st class everything. Boy were we disappointed. RCCL is dead to me. Will never board another one again. If anyone is leaving positive reviews in my opinion it's because they are either paid bloggers by the cruise line or first time cruisers with nothing to compare against.

See above, if you could picture a $20 buffet at any town in any north american city, cut that in half and you would have Royal Caribbean food.

1388 Balcony

long waits for rock climbing (so a one time per trip activity). golf was golf, surf simulator broken half the time, ditto for many of the hot tubs.

Choose any other cruise line, I have been on most. This was supposed to be a 5.0 star ship, consider a 3.0 ship (food 1.5).

went tot eh usual ports, haiti, grand cayman, mexico, jamaica (very rough in jamaica don't go ashore alone.

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