Choosing a cruise ship is almost as important as selecting a great cruise itinerary. There are lots of great cruise lines and lots of great ships. Cruising a great way to see many places on one trip, and you can’t beat the views from the middle of the ocean!
This post will take you on a tour of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas! This was my second time cruising with Royal Caribbean and my 5th cruise overall.
**Due to COVID-19, all Royal Caribbean sailings have been canceled through November 30, 2020. Select sailings in 2021 have also been canceled.
Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas Review
Cruising is a unique type of vacation. Maybe you want to lay on the beach all day or maybe you would like to explore a city. Perhaps you want to catch dinner and a show or try ice skating or rock climbing.
You can do ALL of those things, or none of them, on a cruise. Cruising lets you visit multiple locations without changing your hotel room and lets you be as involved or anti-social as you want. There really is something for everyone.
Freedom of the Seas is a large ship although it’s not among Royal Caribbean’s biggest. It offers everything you would expect on a cruise ship and more.
There are multiple bars and lounges, tons of restaurants, a promenade featuring shops and snacks, a theater, ice skating rink, rocking climbing wall, flow rider, pools, gym, and more!
It’s almost impossible to check out everything the ship has to offer on just one cruise. It can, indeed, be a bit overwhelming at first.
The Newly Amplified Freedom of the Seas Cruise Ship
Freedom of the Seas has been recently renovated. Some of the new features include:
- The Perfect Storm: A twisting, turning waterslide duo
- Updated pool area
- New deckside dining
- New bars
- Adventure Ocean Youth Club
- Teen Spaces
- Laser Tag
- Splashaway Bay kids water park
First Time Cruiser Tip: After you board your ship for the first time, take some time getting to know your way around and you will soon feel at home.
Freedom of the Seas Staterooms
We booked a balcony room and it was great! If you’re traveling with family, you can reserve rooms next door to each other that connect. There’s a sliding door between balconies that opens up so you can easily travel between rooms. Each large balcony has a table and 2 chairs.
The room was very spacious (for a cruise ship room) and had a king-sized bed plus a love seat. The bathroom, while small, had the largest shower I have ever seen for a non-suite cruise stateroom. Keep in mind the shower was still tiny, but it was the best I have ever had on a cruise!
First Time Cruiser Tip: Bring a hanging toiletry kit! There is very little counter space in a cruise ship bathroom. A hanging bag gives you easy access to your bathroom essentials without taking up space.
Some rooms on the ship have a drop-down bed to accommodate a third person. If you’re traveling with 1 small child, you can turn the loveseat around to create a fun little sleeping space. It worked great for our 3 1/2-year-old.
Dining on Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
I have mixed reviews on the food. I had everything from bad to “best ever” and everything in between. With that said, I thought the food overall was pretty good and the few “bad eggs” I had wouldn’t deter me from booking another cruise. There’s always food available so you won’t go hungry!
Dining locations included in your cruise fare:
- Windjammer buffet
- Cafe Promenade
- Sorrento’s Pizza
- Main dining room
- El Loco Fresh
Dining locations with additional charges:
- Chef’s Table (formal)
- Johnny Rockets
- Chop’s Grille
- In-room dining
- Izumi Hibachi and Sushi
- Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen
Alcoholic drinks and even some non-alcoholic drinks like soda come with an additional charge. You can purchase a beverage package ahead of time, but unless you plan on sitting on the ship pounding drinks every day, they usually aren’t worth the price.
Main Dining Rooms
There are 3 large main dining rooms that offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. I had some great food here but also some pretty average fare. Each evening they have a different menu to choose from as well as some standard items that are offered daily. If you haven’t read anything about cruising in 20 years, the days of sitting with a bunch of strangers are over (unless you are into that sort of thing).
We chose “My Time” dining where we could dine anytime during dinner hours (although reservations are recommended). Traditional seating is still available if you choose it, with early and late seating options. Breakfast and lunch are also served in the main dining rooms without reservations. Both breakfast and lunch included buffet items as well as an a la carte menu.
First Time Cruiser Tip: It can get windy on a cruise ship deck. Leave your big, floppy hats at home and instead opt for a cruise friendly hat like this one.
Activities Aboard Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
So. Many. Things. To. Do! If you have a severe case of FOMO, this could be anxiety-inducing!
Each evening you will receive a cruise planner with all of the next day’s activities listed. There are exactly 27,302 activities offered each day (I might be exaggerating a touch).
Fitness classes, trivia, bingo, wine tasting, movies, dancing, singles get-togethers, live music, theater shows, art auctions (my favorite), games…I personally find it all a tad exhausting, so I stick to what I know I like — the art auctions!
In addition to planned activities, you can choose to relax by the pool or sit in a deck chair and read. You can choose to do as little or as much as you want.
>>Not sure what to pack? Use this family beach vacation packing list printable for some guidance.
Pools on Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
This ship had 3 sections of pools – the main pool, the adult pool, and the kid’s pool. If you have never cruised before, keep in mind, pools on cruise ships get crowded. If you are looking to lay quietly by the pool all day every day, look elsewhere for your vacation.
The kid’s pool on this ship was excellent. It included a large splash area and shallow water that was perfect for non-swimmers. There were 2 hot tubs in the kid’s area that had warm, but not hot water, so they were suitable for little ones. There was also a small wading area for babies and toddlers who aren’t potty trained yet.
Swim diapers are not allowed in the main kid’s pool, and I did see them enforce this rule. The main pool was a typical cruise ship pool — loud and crowded. Not really my speed. The adults-only pool is quieter but can still get crowded.
Freedom of the Sea’s recent renovation added waterslides to the pool area — Typhoon and Cyclone. Minimum height is 48″ to ride the waterslides.
First Time Cruiser Tip: If you are looking for a relaxing pool day without the crowds, stay on the ship while it’s in port. Most of the passengers will get off the ship leaving the pools uncrowded!
Adventure Ocean Kids Club
Free babysitting. ‘Nuff said.
Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean is the onboard kids club designed for babies kids from 6 months to 12 years old. Adventure Ocean is included in your cruise fare except for babies (6-36 months) and the late-night session.
Older kids will enjoy the teen spaces designed for 13-17 year olds. The teen lounge includes things like games, movies, music, and an outdoor patio.
Ports of Call
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruises in the Caribbean and Europe. We were on an 8 night Eastern Caribbean cruise that ended up being a Western Caribbean cruise. A couple of the islands we were scheduled to go to were damaged by hurricanes so we had some schedule changes.
We ended up visiting Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Jamaica, and Haiti (the location of Royal Caribbean’s private beach). Our original itinerary was St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, and Haiti. Even though I had already been to 3 out of the 4 islands we went to, I still found new things to do.
At each port of call, Royal Caribbean offers multiple excursions that you can try (all have an extra fee). You are also welcome to get off of the ship on your own to explore.
You will save money by booking excursions directly through the provider and not through Royal Caribbean. However, it can be easier to book through the cruise line, and you don’t risk getting left behind if your tour runs long.
Either way, there’s always lots to do at the ports of call. On this cruise, we swam with stingrays in Grand Cayman, did some scuba diving in Cozumel, explored on our own in Jamaica, and enjoyed a beach day in Haiti.
First Time Cruiser Tip: Check to see if your cruise is going to a destination that has a sunscreen ban. If so, you will want to be sure to pack some reef-safe sunscreen, so you don’t have to purchase it at an overpriced gift shop.
A Vacation For The Whole Family
I love cruising with my family. It’s a great way to get a whole group together since there are activities for all ages. Even if everyone separates during the day, it’s nice to meet in the evening for a nice dinner and not have to worry about who is paying the bill.
I think one of the keys to a successful cruise is to choose your cruise line wisely. Each cruise line can offer different experiences.
I’ve cruised on Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian so far. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian are pretty comparable, and I would put Princess a slight notch above both of them. However, there are lots of other cruise lines to choose from including Carnival, National Geographic, Viking, MSC, Holland America, Celebrity, and Costa.
Have you gone on a family cruise vacation before? What has been your favorite ship or cruise line? Share your experience in the comments below. Happy Cruising!
SAVE THIS ON PINTEREST!