My wife, Ginny , and I enjoyed our fifth cruise on the Freedom of the Seas. The ship is very well maintained so it looks pretty much like it did during its introductory year. That’s an excellent testament to the cruise line management and staff! A new menu, being introduced on the Freedom, deserves a special note for this cruise! It was very good.
Embarkation: We live about 40 minutes from Port Canaveral so getting to the port is easy. Parking at the port is very convenient but a little pricey at $120 for the week. The multistory parking garage is across the street from terminal 10 which means a 5 minutes or less walk to the terminal. There are three entrances, one for platinum level and above members and two for all other passengers. Entries are covered which is nice. We arrived about 11:15 am and were on the ship and in the Windjammer café in 20 minutes. There was some construction outside the terminal which caused some confusion.
We were in our cabin at 1:00 pm, and our bags arrived later before the safety drill.
Dining: We use "My Time" dining when we travel by ourselves. The dining room opens at 5:30 pm which works for us early birds. The menu was a special attraction on this cruise because it was new. Apparently it is being debuted on the Freedom. The choices were different from those we experienced previously and those we tried were excellent. The previous menu items were also excellent, by the way.
The main courses we tried included seafood spaghetti, horseradish crushed filet of salmon, pan fried filet of barramundi, filet of beef tenderloin, shrimp gyoza, pan seared filet of sole, tiger shrimp, grilled t-bone steak, lobster (larger than previous) & shrimp, Thai chicken breast, cod filet, chicken cordon bleu, and roasted turkey. There were a dozen or so selections for every main course that included meat, fish and pasta.
Desserts seemed to be especially nice and included frozen strawberry soufflé, cherries jubilee, pies, cakes and ice cream. Soups included the chilled fruit soups which are among our favorites. Watermelon pudding was new and tasty!
The Windjammer food for breakfast was excellent as always. They present a large selection of eggs, bread, meat, fruit and pastries. Lunch had a selection just as good. We always enjoy the Brasserie 30 lunch on cruising/sea days which is served in the dining room. Selecting your own ingredients for a large salad is a treat.
Ports: We did the Eastern Caribbean which includes Coco Cay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. St Thomas and St. Maarten both have shopping at the pier as well as downtown. We sail to the Caribbean principally for the ship experience, having been to the ports before and tried several of the excursions.
Staff and Crew: Excellent! Everyone was very accommodative, pleasant and seemed to be enjoying themselves even though many of them, including the room stewards, waiters and waitresses work very long hours every day seven days of the week.
Disembarkation: Getting off the Freedom was as easy as getting on. We signed up to get off at 7:30 am, received our green 3 bag tags, and put our bags in the hallway Saturday evening. We went to our waiting room (the dining room) and our number three was called about 7:30 am. We were in our car at 7:50 am and home before 8:30 am. That is pretty normal for disembarkation from a Royal Caribbean ship.