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bjones211

Just off Freedom of the Seas Western Caribbean Vacation

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My wife and I just got off FOS Western Caribbean cruise on Sunday and I wanted to share some constructive criticism with the board. We have cruised with RCI several times in the past with our latest cruise being about 4 years ago. This was our first time on the Freedom of the Seas and this class of ship.

 

While a beautiful ship, its definitely showing its age. The crew was always working on something or cleaning so they are trying to keep it up.

 

Gym - I was a little disappointed in the gym. It had a lot of equipment but several pieces were down for maintenance and the dumbbells needed replacing years ago. They had towels to use and water fountains but the drink machines (2) with bottled water were down for half the cruise.

 

Room - We had a Junior Suite with a great balcony and beautiful room but with a few small issues: the water would never get cool or cold only warm or scalding hot. The coffee pods (Starbucks) provided were too big for the coffee maker causing water and coffee to spill all over the table and not in your cup. Tried several methods to put them in to no avail.

 

Dining - The MDR food was good but our server was not very friendly or communicative. She messed up our orders or forgot something a few times. When I asked for a black napkin on formal night to not get lint all over my tuxedo pants she looked at me like I had two heads. After about 15 minutes they dug one up for me. On the second formal night they had it ready. Do they not train waiters on this anymore or do not enough people dress up anymore so they don't worry about it?

 

The Windjammer food was very good, better than past cruises and the staff more helpful to clear tables and help people. Still a madhouse in the morning trying to find a table.

 

Ports of Call - Grand Cayman was nice and so were Costa Maya and Cozumel. Only gripes were the people coming out of their stores to try and get you to come inside. My wife was really bothered by how aggressive they were. As far as Roatan, Honduras goes they can keep it... Very dirty, very poor and very sad place to stop. We did the Eco Tour which was cool but had a tour guide (Michael, AKA Batman) who was a little too much for many with his off-color jokes and non-stop talk about tipping.

 

VOOM Internet - This should be called "Molasses" Internet. We couldn't connect half the time and never on my wives laptop, only on our phones. Very slow and very unreliable connection that only worked if you stood by the cabin door. I've asked them for a refund but bet I'll never hear anything.

 

I put all this on the survey they send you but wanted to share with the board as well. RCI is still a good, but not great, cruise line.

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Glad to hear a new review. Did you do any specialty dining? We aren't big on the MDR and I'm hoping the specialty is good on Freedom. Thanks for the info.

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Interesting review.

 

Black napkin?

WOW:eek:

 

We have found the WJ busy later in the morning, but tried to go early.

 

Wait staff in the MDR is hit or miss.

 

Treated like royalty when we sailed Allure, treated like steerage when we sailed Oasis.

 

Sailed Freedom 2 x.

We actually enjoyed gym, our problem was too busy there, we had to use machines that were available or wait.

 

Welcome to the world of cruising

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RCI is still a good, but not great, cruise line.

I'm curious if you've had other recent poor experiences with RCI, or if you're judging the entire company based on a single experience?

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We didn't do any specialty dining, no. Felt that for what we paid the MDR should be sufficient!

 

As I said, we've sailed RCI several times in the past and it seems as though they are in cost-cutting mode now. Haven't experienced any other cruise lines but Carnival which is no comparison. May try Princess next as we've got friends who have sailed both and say that everything is a notch better on Princess.

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We were on this same cruise and other than the passengers only had a couple of issues. But this is the way of the world now, always in a hurry running over my DD never saying excuse me or I sorry, cutting line, it's all about me, me, me. Now with that being said I can agree with the water not getting cold we had the same problem. Another thing that we noticed that in our stateroom we could never get it really cool. We had a balcony on deck 10 so I just figured it was because of the location being so high. We kept balcony door closed and curtains pulled. Always closed it behind us when we went out.

Other than those two things the cruise was great, We felt like the food was good not great but we enjoyed it. We sail RC all the time and will sail it again.

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Have to agree with the rudeness of people on the ship ,and the me,me,me addittude. Not just on the ship either ,the excursions were just as bad with people trying to be first . That's just stupid we are all going the same place,but what I did see most were the foreigners on the ship were the most rude. This was my first cruise in 20 years ,I can't believe how they let the dress code at the main dining room drop , i.e. Kids and adults in t-shirt and shorts flip flop during casual nights but the formal night with people in jeans and t-shirt really take the cake. But on the bright side my wife and I won the love and marriage game show.

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When I asked for a black napkin on formal night to not get lint all over my tuxedo pants she looked at me like I had two heads. After about 15 minutes they dug one up for me. On the second formal night they had it ready. Do they not train waiters on this anymore or do not enough people dress up anymore so they don't worry about it?

 

I think it's as you surmised. There aren't enough people dressing up any more to really warrant a concern over napkins.

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This was our fifteenth cruise with Royal Caribbean and second time on Freedom. In fact both our Crown & Anchor Society Milestone "crystal blocks" are from Freedom of the Seas.

 

We had a Junior Suite on deck 9 and also experienced the same problem with the water temperature in the sink. It really never got cold but we never said anything about it to your stateroom attendant.

 

We received excellent service from staff. Our stateroom attendant, Lizabeth, and our dining room staff, Rosebird and Elmond, were outstanding. They all went out of their way to make sure that anything and everything was the best it could be.

 

I tend to drink a lot of water, a few soda and enjoy sparkling water daily so I purchased a Royal Replenishment drink package. I was very disappointed to find that half of the drink machines were Out of Order the entire cruise and often found that the ones that were working did not have some soda's available on a regular basis. Not once the entire cruise was I able to get a Diet Dr. Pepper from the machines that even showed it on their drink selection menu. Thankfully in the afternoons and evenings it was easier to go to a bar and get a soda or a bottle of sparkling water than to go to the soda machine. In the mornings it was a totally different case.

 

Food in the main dining room and the Windjammer was 'average.' We have noticed that since switching to fixed menu's for the main dining room the selections have decreased and the flavor is not where it was as few as five years ago. I am of the personal opinion that Royal Caribbean has let the main dining room and Windjammer suffer as more and more emphasis is placed on the speciality restaurants. While it is certainly easier to add those special touches to menu's prepared for 20 - 50 guest than it is for 2000 guest, if RCI was able to do it in the past, why can't they continue to do it?

 

Tendering in Grand Cayman was a nightmare for some. The ship crew and tenders did an excellent job getting over 3000 passengers ashort in about two hours. Those that went down early and stood in line before the advertised time for tender tickets got lucky. Although tickets were suppose to be passed out starting at 1100 by 1030 there was such a long line of people waiting that they started passing them out early. We were fortunate in that we had experienced this before so got in line very early and managed to grab an early tender number.

 

In Grand Cayman we took a tour with Shirley of Cayman Routes. She is an excellent tour guide. There was another couple scheduled to go on the tour with us but after waiting 45 minutes past the time we were scheduled to meet and not receiving any word from them about being delayed, we decided to start on our tour. The tour itself was excellent and coming from generations of Cayman residents, Shirley was really able to put some personal touches to the tour that we really appreciated. (This was our third time to Grand Cayman and first shore excursion). This tour included lunch at a local restaurant which was excellent. All of the excellent reviews that Shirley has received are well deserved.

 

In Roatan we did a private tour with Victor Bodden tours. This tour is a dedicated driver that takes you where you would like to go and provided a great view of some of the island highlights. Our driver was well versed in the culture of the island and provided a lot of local insight to the way of life, both past and present, for the island.

 

Costa Maya and Cozumel were repeats for us so we decided to do things on our own so not much to talk about except for the fifth consecutive time in Cozumel we had lunch at Pancho's Backyard. We both really like the food and drinks there and the live music adds a nice touch.

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After discussing with my wife we are thinking that the reason the staff's attitude isn't as good as it once was is a result of the fixed gratuity policy. Where before the staff was going out of their way to talk to you and get to know you and provide good service in hopes of a good tip now they know they'll get something and I imagine most people don't tip on top of the 18% unless it's for exceptional service which is mostly not given.

 

Battchief1, our Junior Suite on Deck 9 was like an icebox (my wife likes it cold) so it sounds like an A/C problem with your room.

 

Ajrobey, I'm still talking about the answer you gave to the whoopee question! You guys must have been really desperate! :eek:

 

DaKahuna, we ate at Pancho's Backyard as well and were happy with the food but it was just too dang hot to eat outside. Did the 12-metre sailing excursion and had a blast. Best excursion we've ever done. I agree with your statement that RCI used to be able to make a cruise really special in the past and it's just not the same... Tendering for us was easy as the excursion we booked met in the theater and we all tendered as a group, this was a great idea on RCI's part.

 

Even with all the little nits, it was still a fun cruise and we had a wonderful time. We won a free Cruise DVD from the drawing for the onboard shops and a $500 art auction credit after buying ~$4000 worth of art.

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Have to agree with the rudeness of people on the ship ,and the me,me,me addittude. Not just on the ship either ,the excursions were just as bad with people trying to be first . That's just stupid we are all going the same place,but what I did see most were the foreigners on the ship were the most rude. This was my first cruise in 20 years ,I can't believe how they let the dress code at the main dining room drop , i.e. Kids and adults in t-shirt and shorts flip flop during casual nights but the formal night with people in jeans and t-shirt really take the cake. But on the bright side my wife and I won the love and marriage game show.

 

Congrats on the game show we were there it was great and ya'll done a great job!! It was hilarious!!

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I was on this cruise also. I went diving in all the ports. The water was warm even down 115 feet.

The water pressure was awesome in the shower, but it was warm to scalding, and I take hot showers after diving. There wasn't any cold water.

My cabin 1684 was ice cold. The AC was so cold I had to turn the dial to less cold. This is the first time on any ship during the summer.

 

The curtains had pin holes in them so light came through, and didn't cover the entire sliding door.

This is the one thing I miss about an interior room, dark makes for 8-9 hours sleeping.

 

My cabin steward was new and one of the best I've had in many cruises.

 

We didn't get lunch with an officer, but breakfast with a special menu.

There were to be 14 of us, 12 showed.

I guess I had to make a choice of a tour or meal with an officer, as

I checked off meal and tour of studio B and never received any information about the tour. This is the only tour I haven't done yet.

 

The hotel director was a hoot.

 

I ate in the WJ 1 to 2 times a day and no one came to remove my plates when I had pushed them aside, nor did anyone come by and ask if I needed a refill on my drink.

 

This is the first time the thought of reducing my dining room tips to half

crossed my mind in all my cruises

(D+).

The food was fine except for the first sea day. The eggs and potatoes were actually cold, not even room temperature.

 

The plates and cups on the pool deck would sit there for up to an hour.

Bartenders and 1and2 striped officers would walk right past the dirty dishes.

 

When I was on the Independence last June, everyone including officers never walked by a table with dirty dishes. They Always picked up what they could carry.

 

Rahul and Bertie circulated the room every night I was in one or the other lounges.

 

I had s fabulous time.

 

The $3 black jack table on sea days was fun.

.

I am sad that next summer out of Florida, the only options for the Western Caribbean are the Oasis class ships.

 

Not interested. I've been on both the Allure and Oasis. I'm glad I sailed on them, but they are not for me.

 

For the first time I will be looking for someone to join me on another cruise line. :-(

 

I usually sail solo because of Royal's gracious 150% benefit.

 

Happy cruising!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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My wife and I just got off FOS Western Caribbean cruise on Sunday and I wanted to share some constructive criticism with the board. We have cruised with RCI several times in the past with our latest cruise being about 4 years ago. This was our first time on the Freedom of the Seas and this class of ship.

 

While a beautiful ship, its definitely showing its age. The crew was always working on something or cleaning so they are trying to keep it up.

 

Gym - I was a little disappointed in the gym. It had a lot of equipment but several pieces were down for maintenance and the dumbbells needed replacing years ago. They had towels to use and water fountains but the drink machines (2) with bottled water were down for half the cruise.

 

Room - We had a Junior Suite with a great balcony and beautiful room but with a few small issues: the water would never get cool or cold only warm or scalding hot. The coffee pods (Starbucks) provided were too big for the coffee maker causing water and coffee to spill all over the table and not in your cup. Tried several methods to put them in to no avail.

 

Dining - The MDR food was good but our server was not very friendly or communicative. She messed up our orders or forgot something a few times. When I asked for a black napkin on formal night to not get lint all over my tuxedo pants she looked at me like I had two heads. After about 15 minutes they dug one up for me. On the second formal night they had it ready. Do they not train waiters on this anymore or do not enough people dress up anymore so they don't worry about it?

 

The Windjammer food was very good, better than past cruises and the staff more helpful to clear tables and help people. Still a madhouse in the morning trying to find a table.

 

Ports of Call - Grand Cayman was nice and so were Costa Maya and Cozumel. Only gripes were the people coming out of their stores to try and get you to come inside. My wife was really bothered by how aggressive they were. As far as Roatan, Honduras goes they can keep it... Very dirty, very poor and very sad place to stop. We did the Eco Tour which was cool but had a tour guide (Michael, AKA Batman) who was a little too much for many with his off-color jokes and non-stop talk about tipping.

 

VOOM Internet - This should be called "Molasses" Internet. We couldn't connect half the time and never on my wives laptop, only on our phones. Very slow and very unreliable connection that only worked if you stood by the cabin door. I've asked them for a refund but bet I'll never hear anything.

 

I put all this on the survey they send you but wanted to share with the board as well. RCI is still a good, but not great, cruise line.

 

Crews are always working on something as part of regular maintenance and standard cleaning, regardless of the age of a ship -- so that I would expect to see.

 

In your comments about the gym, you mention 'drink machines' which were down (I suppose you mean not working) but were these IN the gym or around the rest of the ship? Sorry to hear that some of the dumbbells should have been replaced and that some of the machines were not working and needed maintenance.

 

Maintenance can adjust the water temperature in a particular cabin -- we have had to have that done once or twice on past cruises and it has nothing to do with the class of cabin. We also had a problem with the coffee pods in the past....but a conversation with the room steward remedied that. It seems that there are two different coffee pots and they have to be careful as to WHICH pods they put in the rooms. Once I brought it to the room stewards attention, she made sure we had the right pods for the coffee pot we had.

 

I am sure it is not often that someone asks for a black napkin on formal nights, as you did. Wait staff is usually the newest employees on a ship....many times the wait staff finds out other things they would like to do on ship after a few sailings (if they take more than one contract at all) -- that doesn't excuse what they were unfamiliar with. I don't believe they prepare them for the request you made in the training (just my opinion) and yes less and less cruisers do really formal wear. Some wait staff are wonderful and others are not....it probably is the most hit or miss. I have never had a wait staff that made my sailing so bad that I would never consider doing it again. Most issues with wait staff can be overcome with a little conversation -- at least that has been our experience.

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Have to agree with the rudeness of people on the ship ,and the me,me,me addittude. Not just on the ship either ,the excursions were just as bad with people trying to be first . That's just stupid we are all going the same place,but what I did see most were the foreigners on the ship were the most rude. This was my first cruise in 20 years ,I can't believe how they let the dress code at the main dining room drop , i.e. Kids and adults in t-shirt and shorts flip flop during casual nights but the formal night with people in jeans and t-shirt really take the cake. But on the bright side my wife and I won the love and marriage game show.

 

We can say we are part of the same club you are in -- we also won the Love and Marriage game show a few sailings ago, when we were on Her Majesty. It was quite fun to play.

 

Rudeness has increased in society whether on a ship or on land in the past 20 years, and I am sure you have noticed that as well. Therefore on a cruise ship it shouldn't be a surprise at all. I also wish the dress code would be more enforced or DON'T have one.....but this as well is a sign of the changes in society. What someone wears has no impact of my experience as long as it is clean. I surely don't want to be having dinner with someone who still had sand in their feet and sunscreen smell on their skin, as an example.

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I was also on the same cruise last week. Overall, it was a near identical experience to when I was on the freedom five years ago.

 

Some agreements and disagreements with earlier comments:

 

I agree that the water in the state rooms was always either warm or scalding. I also agree that the air conditioning was extremely cold, but then I like to leave the balcony door open often so that's OK.

 

The service for the main dining room as well as the cabin steward were excellent as usual. I also thought the food in the main dining room was very good. There were a couple of so-so dishes, but that's the way it always has been.

 

As far as the itinerary, I thought that all of the stops were fine, but had a bit of an issue with the time allotted for Grand Cayman and Roatan. Tendering is too chaotic and time-consuming when you arrive near noon because everyone wants to get off at the same time. Also, in my opinion one half-day on any island is not sufficient to do any excursions comfortably.

 

Overall a very enjoyable trip, and for the guest earlier that won the love and marriage show, I hope nobody was waiting outside of that Porta John. :eek:

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The drink machines were in the gym area itself and had a sign on them that they were "down for maintenance".

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I was on this cruise as well and I find it comical the little things people will find they allow to hamper their cruising experience. This was my third cruise on the Freedom and it was just as good as the other 2. Were there a few things here and there that could have been better, yes, but I would much rather be on the boat than sitting in my office today. Our dining staff was amazing and in my opinion everyone on the ship provided great service! I never had to wait for anything and if I needed something all I had to do was ask and it was taken care of. Was it a little bothersome that the drink machines seemed to be down a lot, yes, but was it that big of a deal that I had to walk 5 extra feet to a bar to get a soft drink, no! The crew on these ships work 7 days a week for 7-10 months at a time and continue to have smiles on their faces and do everything they can do to provide us with the best experience they can. I would like to see some of the people that complain on these boards work non-stop for 7-10 months and see how they interact with people.

 

Overall this was a great trip and the countdown is on to the one next where I will finally become Diamond :). Let me know if anyone has any questions as I would be happy to answer. We ate Giovanni's and Chops and I believe I have all of the cruise compasses just as a side note.

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These issues were brought up as areas for improvement and not a major slam against RCI. They should always be looking for ways to improve and/or be as good as they used to be. That's why they have feedback surveys and why we have a Cruise Critic forum. Some think that any negative against RCI is evil and instead should be looking at it as a way that their favorite cruise line can get even better. I know the crew works very hard and get tired of being "up" all the time but it seems to me that the more you get to know your customers and engage in conversation, the more enjoyable your job would be.

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These issues were brought up as areas for improvement and not a major slam against RCI. They should always be looking for ways to improve and/or be as good as they used to be. That's why they have feedback surveys and why we have a Cruise Critic forum. Some think that any negative against RCI is evil and instead should be looking at it as a way that their favorite cruise line can get even better. I know the crew works very hard and get tired of being "up" all the time but it seems to me that the more you get to know your customers and engage in conversation, the more enjoyable your job would be.

 

 

Agree!!!!!!

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I agree also the staff was excellent. Just the some of the other cruisers I had issue with . As far as the soda machines ,maybe rci should have a dedicated two or three person crew that does nothing take care of them. As far as walking to the bar for a soda you don't get the flavor selections at the bar as from the machine, but still not a turn off by any means. Will be trying the grandeur of the seas in January 2017 . So I'll see if I like a smaller ship compare to bigger ship.

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We were also on this cruise. I thought it was very good, overall.

 

Agree about the water temp. Kinda weird to brush your teeth with warm water but it was just not that big a deal. We always had ice in our bucket so cold water was available if we needed it.

 

I understand that this is a very popular new itinerary for Freedom. IMO there are too many ports for the allotted time. I would recommend (and did, in my review) that they cut out one of the stops and make the others more leisurely. The stop in Cozumel was entirely useless. Arriving at 0700 and leaving at 4:00 made it a waste of time, IMO.

 

As for service on the ship, I thought it was as good as it ever is. I love the MDR and only ate at 1 Specialty (Sabor) and it was outstanding, as always.

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The drink machines were in the gym area itself and had a sign on them that they were "down for maintenance".

 

That would be a strange place to have the machines for actual use.....so maybe they were there simply because they were not functioning and they had the space to use to keep them there rather than try to move them to other areas of the ship.

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I loved having all these ports to dive in.

I never ate in the dining room as it was too much time to devote to eating when I could go to the windjammer, and be in and out in 30 mins or less.

I liked the late arrivals to 2 of the stops so I could sleep in.

I had to wake up at 5:45 in Cozumel so I could be one of the first off. That part wasn't fun.

I prefer this over Labadee or Jamaica.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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