I think you have hit a nail on the head. We had avoided the larger ships (Voyager Class) BECAUSE of the number of passengers + crew on board. Those ships have total of about 4800 people (3600 passengers + 1200 crew).
BUT.....We sailed on the Mariner because of time and itenerary. The cruise, ship, service, was really great, EXCEPT for the crowds everywhere. We always enjoy the Windjammer for lunch and snacks - love to sit and watch the ocean while eating. But, on the Mariner, it was a place to avoid. Constantly full, crowded, food trays empty, lines.....
So I can imagine what the Freedom would be like. After all, it's only 20,000 Gross Tons bigger, but it has 2000 more people on board.
My advice would be to go back to the Radiance Class ships. Except for the Mariner, our last 5 cruises were on these ships. And the service has always been EXCELLENT.
Also have read nothing but RAVE Reviews about the smaller ships (Majesty, Enchantment, etc.) about how FANTASTIC the service is on all these ships.
Hope This Helps.
Darrell & Donna
Love RCI - Diamond Members