Number of Cruises: 40
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Freedom of the seas
Sailing Date: May 19th. 2006
Itinerary: 2 Night to Nowhere from Boston
We flew into Boston a day early from Texas. We stayed at the Sheraton Boston at the Prudential center. This hotel was in a good location and it was easy to get around in taxis and buses. On sailing day, we took a taxi to the Black Falcon Pier. I believe it was around $20 or so.
I think the new slogan for Royal Caribbean should be “It’s way more than a week!” in addition to “It’s way more than a cruise!”
First impressions…….Seeing this ship up close is amazing. She is astounding. I love the way this ship curves in the structure with the balconies and the outside railings outside the dining rooms and the whirlpools that overhang! Email me if you would like to see some photos.
Once onboard, the dramatic Royal Promenade is the central gathering place. For anyone who has been on a Voyager class ship this area is similar but longer and wider and has more shops. The pizza place was really great and had at least 3 different kinds of pizza, antipasto salad, Caesar salad, fruit cups, deserts and a bar. It was a great hang out to eat and people watch. They have given Ben and Jerry’s their own spot on the Promenade too, with a few tables and the Seattle’s Best is just across the way and has lots of seating as well.
There are several shops in this area too. They were not all open on our cruise. We did enjoy the logo shop, and the new “Get out there” shop, the cosmetic and perfume shop and a separate jewelry store.
A note about the Royal Promenade, we found that this was a quicker way to get across the ship. Our cabin was in the forward of the ship and we found that if we walked across the Promenade and then took the forward elevators, that is was much quicker than walking down the long hallways to our cabin like we did when we first boarded the ship.
Our cabin was a D2 cabin 8532. It was really a great size cabin with a huge balcony. The new beds are really great. They were firm, yet had a comfortable pillow top. The ends of the beds are curved…. I am not sure why. The new bedding was nice, but I found that the new duvets were very heavy. We sailed from Boston where it was chilly and they still seamed heavy. My bed was next to the balcony doors and when the heavy duvet would brush against the drapes it would cause them to open and let light into the room. I think that when the beds are together then it is a little farther away from the door. I am just wondering if the heavy duvet will be way too much for the Caribbean?
The towels in the bathroom were super soft and white and fluffy….very nice, although the cabin steward said it is harder to make towel animals out of them since they are not very stiff….lol…..but he still managed some great ones for us! A lobster and an armadillo!
I was surprised that only one side of the bathroom mirror opened for storage and there was minimum storage below the sink. The shower doors were circular and there is still no place to shave your legs……except outside the shower. Why can’t the cruise lines ever give us ladies a shelf or bench in the shower in a standard stateroom? The closet space was plenty for 2 people. It also had several shelves. I was happy to see that the safe is the type where you set your own combo rather than slide a credit card and of course it is free. The room also had a small refrigerator. Our room had a full size couch that did not open up and a small table. There was a desk with 6 drawers and a few extra shelves and both sides of the mirror opened up. There is a hair dryer provided.
The balcony on our cabin was huge! It was very deep and had two chairs and a table. It could easily fit lay down chairs when you are sailing in better weather than I was.
We managed to try as many different venues as possible and open on our 2-day sailing. As I mentioned before the pizza on the Promenade was great. The Ben and Jerry’s as tasty as ever. Seattle’s Best as strong as ever. Johnny Rocket’s as hopping as ever! The malts, burgers, onion rings, etc… can’t be beat! The buffet area in the Windjammer was big and had many offerings for breakfast and lunch. I also enjoyed the Jade oriental area of the buffet. The soups were very good.
Now for the dining room, it is magnificent as far as the appearance and service. What I am disappointed in is that the menus on this ship are nothing new…. I sailed on Rhapsody and Splendour in the past year and saw the same menu. I think Royal Caribbean needs to think out the box and come up with a new “Freedom of Choice” menu or something for this new and exciting ship. It seems very uninventive to offer the same old menu. How about some of the new Organic salads or pastas instead of eggplant and duck?
We had a couple of Broadway type shows on our sailings and I popped in for a few minutes. It is hard to do it all on a 2 day cruise. We did make sure to go to the ice show since I remembered from sailing on Voyager class that it is excellent. This ship did not disappoint. Be sure not to miss the ice show, it was great and received a standing ovation. Many bars and clubs will also feature live entertainment.
Spa and health club:
This area is huge and very popular. They had many work out machines and of course the new boxing ring! We enjoyed sometime in the ladies locker room that has a rather large sauna and steam room available with no charge.
The new surfing Flowrider is pretty amazing to watch, which is what I am sure the majority of guests will do….LOL. Good thing the “Wipe Out” bar and shop is close by.
They are also offering a juice bar called “Squeeze” which had all sorts of protein powder drinks for sale. I tried the “Fat Burner” with raspberry flavoring and it was quite good! It sells for about $3.50.
Didn’t have much time for this. I was happy to see that it looked like they have at least 3 roulette tables and fancy new posts by them to tell you what numbers have hit and what the odds are for red and black etc….
Children’s area and arcade:
All of this area was awesome. Since we did not have any kids on our sailing, the areas were not in use. They are well divided by age and they offer a program in conjunction with Crayola that looked like a lot of fun. The teens have their own disco and an area called “The Living Room”. The arcade had many, many games and 3 full size air hockey tables that were lit up with neon. COOL! Johnny Rocket’s is right next to the teen area.
Feel free to email me at C2Cmarci@yahoo.com if you have any questions about this ship or if you need help to plan your cruise vacation.
Get Out There! Bon Voyage