With a decade of service under her belt, Freedom of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s most popular “middle age” ships. Accommodating 4,500 passengers, Freedom is smaller than the line’s newest mega-ships such as Harmony or Oasis. But, thanks to recent dry-dock refurbishments, she’s got many of the most sought-after amenities including a ton of new specialty dining venues, upgraded cabins, a 3D movie theater, an outdoor movie screen, additional kids facilities, and updated nightclub options. Sailing seven-night voyages in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, Freedom of the Seas draws a wide range of clientele from young couples and retirees to families and multigenerational groups.
Plenty of folks never bother stepping foot in one of Freedom’s specialty restaurants because the main dining rooms, Windjammer Marketplace buffet, and other complimentary dining establishments fit the bill just fine. But, if you’re a foodie or you want to try something new, the ship has several excellent specialty restaurants, including Sabor for Mexican cuisine, the Italian-infused Giovanni’s Table, and Chops Grille steakhouse.
Things To Do
This was the first Royal Caribbean ship to boast the FlowRider surf simulator and it’s still a wildly popular pastime aboard Freedom of the Seas. You can also go rock-climbing, try the golf simulator or Freedom Fairways mini-golf, take a jog around the on-deck track, splash around in one of the many pools and whirlpools onboard (including the kid-friendly H2O Zone or the adults-only Solarium), hit the Vitality at Sea spa, or watch a movie on a jumbo screen on the sun deck. Kids love the new 3D movie theater showing first-run movies, and characters from Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda that make mealtime visits and do regular parades on the Royal Promenade. At night, there’s no lack of nightclubs to visit and entertainment ranging from magicians to comics to musicians is available throughout the ship.
When Freedom of the Seas went in for its revitalization, more than the public spaces were upgraded. All of the staterooms now feature flat-panel TVs, and there’s ship-wide Wi-Fi, for a fee, of course.
Where to sleep? Freedom of the Seas has 28 stateroom categories, from the basic inside stateroom all the way up to the Royal Suite, measuring a massive 1,358 square feet.
Try an inside Promenade Stateroom, located amidships on Decks 6, 7 and 8. It’s not your typical inside accommodation. The stateroom has a nifty large bay window overlooking the Royal Promenade, the Main Street of the ship, giving you a bird’s-eye view of street parades, shops and cafés below. But do remember to close the shades because if you can see out, others can see in!
The Presidential Family Suite holds up to 14 guests, making it great for family reunions. All suites come with access to a private lounge that’s also available for the two highest tiers of repeat passengers, Diamond Plus and Platinum. A free Continental breakfast is served each morning; cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, in the evening.
Ocean-view staterooms are the minority on this ship, but balcony staterooms abound.
What’s Onboard for the Kids?
Royal Caribbean offers group babysitting for infants 6 to 18 months at $8 per hour. Private in-room sitting is available at $19 per hour for tots a year and older. Diapers, wipes and organic baby food can even be pre-ordered for stateroom delivery upon your arrival.
The kids’ program, Adventure Ocean, has six age groups: Royal Babies and Tots (6–36 months); Aquanauts (3–5); Explorers (6–8); Voyagers (9–11); and teens in two groups, 12 to 14 and 15 to 17.
The new movie theater shows first-run 3-D movies, and characters from Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda make mealtime visits and do regular parades on the Royal Promenade. They’re everywhere! In the adorable Pirate Parade, little kids march and sing through the main dining room at dinner.
The only downside of a ship like this is that so many things—from premium coffee to cupcakes—costs extra. You can rack up a serious onboard bill if you take advantage of all the extras the ship has to offer.