Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas Ship Review

Freedom of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

The 160,000-ton, 3,634-guest Freedom of the Seas and her two sister ships are essentially beefed-up versions of Royal Caribbean’s earlier Voyager-class vessels, offering everything those ships are famous for, plus several additional entertainment, sports, and shopping features.

Like the Voyager ships, they’re busy and bustling, with a huge number of activities, great entertainment, and a really urban feel—like you’re stepping out of your stateroom into a real city.

The Royal Promenade On Freedom Of The Seas

Freedom’s main drag is the Royal Promenade, a four-story horizontal atrium that stretches 445 feet down the ship’s center and is designed to resemble famous American entertainment streets like New Orleans’s Bourbon Street or Memphis’s Beale Street. Along its length, there’s an elegant champagne bar; a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream shop; a 24-hour cafe; a pizzeria; six different shops; a comfortable English-style pub with seating inside or on the promenade itself; the cute little Cupcake Cupboard, serving fresh cupcakes at a la carte prices; and a Napa-style wine bar that offers wine-appreciation classes, tastings, and a chance to try dozens of vintages. Toward the bow, Pharaoh’s Palace offers live music, dancing, and entertainment.

Most guests end up spending a lot of time in or passing through the Royal promenade, either passing through when heading from one part of the vessel to another; hanging out to socialize; popping down briefly to grab a snack or coffee; catching an evening performance by one of the ship’s bands; or coming for the parades created in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation, in which stilt walkers and acrobats mix it up with Dreamworks characters like Shrek, the Madagascar penguins, and Po the Kung Fu Panda. You can even sleep in the Promenade if you want to, sort of: Up above, 174 cabins face the scene, their windows giving you views of the “street life” below. Curtains and soundproofing help shut out the light and noise at bedtime.

Staterooms on Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas
One of the Category PR Promenade Staterooms aboard Freedom of the Seas. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Staterooms in general are comfortable and well-designed, though bathrooms are a little on the small side. Each cabin offers a sitting area, a vanity, TV, and minibar, and about 46% of the rooms aboard offer private verandas. Suites range from the 297-square-foot Junior Suite up to the 1,358-square-foot Royal Suite, with its separate bedroom and living room, baby grand piano, whirlpool bath, and a balcony that’s bigger than an entire Junior Suite.

Public Rooms & Activities On Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas
An expansive fitness centre is part of the many amenities aboard Freedom of the Seas. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Royal’s older Voyager-class ships were already pretty amazing in terms of their sports and pool-deck facilities, but Freedom and her sister ships go several steps further. Up on Deck 13, there’s the same rock-climbing wall, basketball court, and miniature-golf course as on the Voyager ships, but there’s also a FlowRider surfing simulator, where powerful jets spray 30,000 gallons of water per minute up an inclined, wedge-shaped surface, allowing you to surf in place—or at least try to. Bleachers stand at the ride’s flank, letting family members and gawkers cheer you on. There’s also a free-standing “surf shack” bar to provide liquid courage or solace.

Just below, on Decks 11 and 12, the ship’s spa and fitness complex is one of the biggest and best at sea, with a well-equipped oceanview gym, a huge aerobics studio, individual treatment rooms, and a 20-by-20-foot boxing ring where guests can train like fighters, using heavy bags, speed bags, and jump ropes. Outside, on Deck 12, the jogging track has stretch and fitness tips located at intervals along its length.

Deck 11 offers a number of different fun-in-the-sun experiences. Toward the stern, nearly half the outdoor pool deck is taken up by the H2O Zone Water Park, where kids can soak each other with water jets, buckets, and sprays hidden among the cartoon statues. There are also two wading pools (one for toddlers) and two adult-friendly hot tubs. Farther forward, the enormous, multi-tiered main pool deck has two semicircular pools bisected by a walkway and platform, several whirlpool tubs, and scores of deck chairs. A giant, 18½-foot video screen overlooks the pool area, showing movies and entertainment programs throughout each cruise.

For a more peaceful atmosphere, the adults-only Solarium offers a second swimming pool, hammocks, and two large hot tubs that extend 12 feet over the edge of the ship to port and starboard, about 112 feet above the sea.

Down on Deck 3,the Studio B ice-skating rink offers open skating for guests throughout each cruise, plus excellent ice shows featuring professional skaters from all over the world.

Other notable spaces on board include while the beautiful, three-story Arcadia Theatre; a two-level disco called The Crypt; the huge Casino Royale; the Boleros Latin-themed lounge and nightclub; the elegant Viking Crown Lounge; and the cool Olive or Twist jazz club and martini lounge.

For kids, the large Adventure Ocean center on Deck 12 offers activities for different age groups, while characters from Dreamworks films make appearances at special breakfasts, photo ops, and other kids’ activities. Next door to the kids’ center, there’s a sizeable arcade, the Fuel teen disco, and a teen chill-out space called the Living Room. There’s also a nursery for babies and tots 6 through 36 months, offering playgroups and activities developed in partnerships with Fisher Price and Crayola.

Dining on Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas
The stunning three-story dining room aboard Freedom of the Seas. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Spanning three decks, the gorgeous main dining room is the centerpiece of the ship’s culinary experience. Designed with classic European grandeur, it’s centered on a large open rotunda with a huge crystal chandelier, a formal stairway, and a balcony from which a pianist or piano trio plays mood music.

Dining alternatives include the cozy, Italian Portofino restaurant; the Chops Grille steakhouse; the Windjammer buffet and Asian-themed Jade buffet; and Johnny Rockets, a Fifties-style diner out on Deck 12 near the kids’ and teens’ centers, serving a classic menu of burgers, fries, and shakes.

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To read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
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2 Comments

  • Just completed a cruise aboard the Freedom of the Seas and I’ve gotta say… this ship is AWESOME. While it may not be as big or as feature-packed as the Oasis, I still found that there was plenty on board to see and to do. The food was excellent (as always of RCCL) the crew was VERY hospitable, the bars were always flowing, the pools were spotless, the rooms (booked an interior stateroom, albeit somewhat small) were very comfortable, the casino was always lively, the shows were very entertaining – of course this list could go on and on and on. Th bottom line is, I had serious fun on this cruise ship and I’m almost positive you will have the same experience. The Post-Cruise Depression hit hard after this cruise, and i’m sure it’ll be a little while for me to overcome it. If you get the chance to book the Freedom of the Seas, don’t miss out on the opportunity!

    Reply
  • I HIGHLY suggest choosing a different ship/cruiseline. My friend and I went on Freedom of the Seas — our stateroom was covered in bedbugs and we got bites all over our bodies. After bringing it to the attention of the cruise staff, we were disregarded and disrespected. Turns out, many other people on our hall also dealt with bed bug bites. This entire cruise was extremely disappointing and obviously uncomfortable. From the bugs the bites, to the lack of respect, to the pitiful communication amongst crew members. My friend and I were humiliated, painfully uncomfortable and had to go to ridiculous lengths to receive respect and empathy. This was the last way we wanted to spend our hard earned vacation days and money after going out of our way to book with Royal Caribbean. Our trip was a waste of time and good money. On top of the pain and discomfort of the bugs we missed meals,missed excursions and were generally miserable because of the way we were treated aboard the ship. We promptly contacted Royal Caribbean after our cruise and they had the nerve to send us 2- $100 off your next cruise vouchers. Pathetic!

    Reply

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