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Just returned from the Freedom!

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I just got off of the Freedom from the 2 night TA event from Cape Liberty. I must say I'm glad I went because now that I've experienced the ship I can form an opinion based on experience and not assumption. Here are a few of my thoughts about the Freedom:

 

IMO, it's just too big. I felt like I was walking for days. It's pretty much just a bigger Voyager class ship with a surf machine and the H20 water park. H20 was a big hit with the kids and they looked like they were having a ball. However, I wonder if this will be very crowded with a full ship. Nothing else special about it, IMO. There were long waits for the elevators, which again had me wondering how much worse it would be with a full ship. I didn't care for the Solarium at all on this ship. While the Radiance class Solariums are the best, this one was more underwhelming than even the Voyager class. On the Voyager, while the Solarium wasn't enclosed, it still had a tropical, tranquil feeling to it. The huge hot tubs were very nice. The Solarium on the Freedom is not enclosed at all. It's pretty much just another extension of the main pool. No sliding doors to go through to get to it, it didn't seem secluded at all. The hot tubs that are suspended on the side are no big deal at all. People stayed in them for a long time, so when we tried to use them yesterday they were always full. When we finally got in, it didn't really give any special feeling of being suspended over the sea. I prefer the ones on the Voyager. Also, it was very noisy. They had a game akin to tv's The Amazing Race going on. It's called The Ultimate Race, and one of the stops is the Solarium whirlpools, so you had teams of people, running and yelling through the area. Kids were running through also. The pool area had no spouting fountains and no tropical theme. Just some fake looking palm trees. Most of the loungers were in the sun, with a few in the shade. It just felt like the main pool without the band music. Who knows, since there wasn't any playing, you very well may be able to hear it in this area. I was very disappointed with the Solarium as it's normally one of my favorite places on RCCL ships. Everything else is set up just like the Voyager class. One notable experience was a performance by Jon Secada. It was a surprise and I enjoyed the show very much. We were left a signed CD in our cabin. The ice show was great. The Karaoke venue is going to be too small. I'm a big fan of Karaoke and on RCCL ships it's normally held in one of the larger lounges, like Pharoah's Palace on the Voyager. Lots of seating. While on the Freedom, the room is technically advanced with updated equipment and flat screen monitors around the room so the audience can read the lyrics along with the singer, but the room is right outside of Studio B, the ice rink, and from my experience, won't hold a lot of people at all. Way too small. We enjoyed the food in the Windjammer and the dining room, however our ass't waiter for dinner last night was terrible. I don't know if it's because the gratuties were "included", but he made us feel as if we were putting him out. The rest of the crew was great, though, particularly the casino dealers.

 

I think that's it. If I can think of anything else I'll let you know. If you have any questions, ask away!

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Thanks for telling us all about your cruise! Looking forward to checking out the Freedom for myself on May 29th.

 

A couple of questions. What was open--and what was not? Stores? Johnny Rockets? Did you receive a Cruise Compass each day, even though it was a travel agent cruise?

 

Also, when did you find out about your cabin assignment? Did most get a mix of outside, inside and balconys? Also, what time did you arrive at the pier on embarkation day?

 

Thanks for the heads up!

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Thanks for the review. I was on the EOS last year and I can't imagine being on a bigger ship. Since many younger adults may take advantage of the surfing, I think it will be a big draw for families. That feature is certainly not a big draw for me. My family is all grown and have families of their own and I am sure that they would enjoy it. We are cruising to Alaska on the Radiance next month and I am looking forward to trying that class of ship.:)

Donna

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Thanks for telling us all about your cruise! Looking forward to checking out the Freedom for myself on May 29th.

 

A couple of questions. What was open--and what was not? Stores? Johnny Rockets? Did you receive a Cruise Compass each day, even though it was a travel agent cruise?

 

Also, when did you find out about your cabin assignment? Did most get a mix of outside, inside and balconys? Also, what time did you arrive at the pier on embarkation day?

 

Thanks for the heads up!

 

No problem! I know that everyone may not agree with my perspective, but I know I like to hear all opinions of people's experiences, even if it differs fromt he majority.

 

Everything was open, JRs, Ben & Jerry's, all the stores. Everything was complimentary as well, which was awesome! Even had clothing sent out to be pressed, free of charge! Our sailing didn't start boarding until 6pm, but it took a LONG time to board. I think the logistics of Cape Liberty are definitely not meant for a ship as large as the Freedom. We were assigned our cabin at check in and we were assigned a standard balcony cabin, #6334, which is the first one at the beginning of the hump. I did see other categories occupied as well like the Promenade cabins and standard insides as well.

 

I just thought of a couple more things. The Crypt dance club was excellent. It is 2 levels and the theming was very cool. There's some seating on the top floor and the dance floor and add'l seating on the lower level. There were several non smoking tables down there and it really didn't seem to be much smoke. My DH who really, really hates smoke didn't complain at all. We had a great time dancing the night away last night, however I had to pull the DJ's chain. We went in right after the ice show, 11 pm, which was the posted opening time for the evening's dancing. When we got in, he was playing terrible music. Some sort of 60 sounding, surfing music or something. I asked him was that what he was planning on playing for the rest of the evening and he stated that because the crowd hadn't arrived yet and many were in the 2nd show for Jon Secada, that he was just playing some "lounging music". I pointed out to him that there wasn't a huge crowd yet, but there were some patrons in there that deserved an opportunity to dance and since the posted opening time had past it was time to crank it up. He basically told me he didn't want to "waste" the good music until it had started to pick up. I thought that was real nice for him to say that he'd be "wasting" the good dance music on us. He did start to place some better dance must, albeit from the 70's, but he made his way through the decades until he finally made it to this century. It did coincide with the crowd getting larger, however. Ultimately we had a great time in there dancing and I think most people will enjoy this location.

 

Also, the cabins were great. The standard balcony is indeed larger and very enjoyable. The beds in the cabin were very nice, very comfortable as were the linens. The bath towels were awesome, thick and fluffy. There was a flat screen tv as well. We toured most of the other cabin categories and the suites were gorgeous! I think everyone will be very comfortable in the Freedom's staterooms.

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Thanks for that! Did they give you any "trinkets" in the cabins--such as Freedom memorabilia?

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I didn't care for the Solarium at all on this ship. While the Radiance class Solariums are the best, this one was more underwhelming than even the Voyager class. On the Voyager, while the Solarium wasn't enclosed, it still had a tropical, tranquil feeling to it. The huge hot tubs were very nice. The Solarium on the Freedom is not enclosed at all. It's pretty much just another extension of the main pool. No sliding doors to go through to get to it, it didn't seem secluded at all.

 

Not technically a Freedom question, but... what is the Solarium on Voyager like? Our first and only cruise has been on the refurbished Enchantment, and I absolutely LOVED the Solarium's peace and quiet, and retractable roof. We'll be going on the Voyager in September 2007 in the Mediterranean...

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Hey, welcome back! It's very good to read your review, I guess the Freedom is geared towards families and it will be interesting to read reviews as the ship starts sailing at full capacity.

 

Did you get a chance to see the layout of the family promenade cabins? :)

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Enyaw, the only thing I received was the signed Jon Secada CD, but I didn't attend any of the meetings, so I don't know if anything else was given.

 

JD, the Voyager's solarium was very nice, however it does not have a retractable rood and is open aired all the time. However, in nice weather, it's a very nice location, even nicer than Enchantment's Solarium.

 

Syndyj, thanks, we came back to pouring rain this morning. I got SOAKED on the way to my car. This ship will definitely attract families. I'm also very interested in the reviews of full sailings. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see the family promenade cabins. While touring the cabins open for viewing, several categories were not open when I got there. That, being one of them. The JS and Owner's suite being the others. Sorry. :(

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Thanks for you review. I was wondering about the Solarium and if it was covered. It didn't look like it was when they showed it on TV and on the RCCL website. Darn. I too like the Solarium on the other ships. Its a good place to go on rainy days.

 

Hope you enjoy your Sun Princess Cruise coming up. It's a nice ship although the balconies are extremely tiny. They don't have a covered pool area either but the best spot for the hot-tubs in the forward of the ship. Not many people go there.

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We were assigned our cabin at check in and we were assigned a standard balcony cabin, #6334, which is the first one at the beginning of the hump.

 

I thought #6332 was the first on the hump. If not, I am going to be really miffed! :(

Tracy

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Thanks for your review!

 

We are going on the TA cruise May 31st...they told me embarkation would start at 12:00pm, what time were you suppose to be on board? We are flying from Seattle and arrive a 7:00am, I hope I do not have to wait that long to board.

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Tracy,

You're right, from the deck plan it does look like 6332 is the first one on the hump. I guess I just thought my cabin was because when I looked over the balcony it just appeared that we were the first one to "hump" out. Yours probably is the first on the hump. ;)

 

Laura, we left from Cape Liberty which is a whole different story from Miami, where you'll be leaving from. CL involves boarding all the guests on shuttle buses and taking them to the ship. I'm sure you won't have any problems.

 

Thanks for the info on the Sun Princess, Maureen. I'm really looking forward to our first Alaska cruise.

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I'm going in August with my four teen boys. Wondering if your cell phone worked on this ship? I thought they were supposed to, it sure would make it easier to keep up with my boys while on board.

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Thanks for a great review. I was wondering if you were provided with a complimentary bath robe? This is a standard on Carnival. Did you see any benefits of being in a hump cabin, except the location? Was the balcony a little bit bigger than other balconies, excluding aft and suites? All your comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Okay, I have to ask...what is a *hump* cabin? We are in 6288 in Feb...

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I too questioned the lack of elevators, bad planning on Royal's part. Glad I am on deck 9, least hope I end up there or on 10. Thanks for your thoughts.

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

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It's hard to say if the balcony on that particular cabin was larger than any other in the category since it's a brand new class of ship and I didn't see any others. From the deck plans it doesn't appear to be. It it slightly bigger than standard balcony cabin on Voyager class, however.

 

No bathrobe in the cabin this time. I believe they're normally available on normal sailings for balcony cabins and Platinum & higher C&A members.

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I loved the solarium on the Jewel....nice quiet place to get away from the action. We used it several times. It felt like an extension to the spa - very exotic with nature sounds.....

Don't get me wrong I love the music and the pool games...but sometimes you just want to read and relax....

That is a disappointment.

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There were long waits for the elevators, which again had me wondering how much worse it would be with a full ship.

 

Don't take this the wrong way, as this isn't directed at you personally... just a general remark.

 

I never quite understood this comment. I don't think I've ever used the elevator on a cruise ship. Nearly every cruise ship I've been on has had long waits for elevators, for one. However, I mostly prefer to walk as much as possible. With the amount of food you're throwing back on these cruises, it's good to get up and expend a little energy.

 

I think we've gotten fairly lazy as a society... it would be nice to see more people walking.

 

NOTE: I understand there are many individuals who are physically handicapped and cannot walk up stairs... I, in no way, include them in the group of people I think should do some more walking, rather than riding up in elevators.

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I never quite understood this comment. I don't think I've ever used the elevator on a cruise ship. Nearly every cruise ship I've been on has had long waits for elevators, for one. However, I mostly prefer to walk as much as possible. With the amount of food you're throwing back on these cruises, it's good to get up and expend a little energy.

 

 

In reality, many people do rely on elevators so I think this comment as to the long wait is important. There are seniors that cruise and others who choose not to use the stairs. I know when I am wearing high heels in the evenings, I will sometimes look for an elevator when I have to climb more than a few sets of stairs.

 

Also, some of us continue a vigorous workout schedule on vacation and do not view cruises as opportunities to overeat.:rolleyes:

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I have read several negative posts from my fellow TAs who were onboard a TA cruise in the last week or so.

 

I have to say that this type post really bothers me and is somewhat unprofessional in the context of what we have just experienced. As TAs, we were there as invited guests. RCI really rolled out the red carpet and was extremely generous with the onboard experience. Not only were they generous financially with us as far as the complementary offerings, they were generous with their time. What other company has their CEO and President out and about meeting and greeting throughout the voyage? What other company invites agents to a theater and allows us to fire away questions at the President, no holds barred, no questions pre-screened? What other company not only invites us onboard but hires extra special entertainment? To post negative opinions about a ship on which you got a very small taste of the overall experience and were an invited guest seems ungrateful. I would think if you didn't like it, this might not be the time nor the place to express those opinions. There will be plenty of time for constructive criticism, if needed, once RCI has this ship up and running in her regular itinerary. We experienced a brand new ship and were there as guests. I think it's important to keep that perspective.

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Thanks for telling us all about your cruise! Looking forward to checking out the Freedom for myself on May 29th.

 

A couple of questions. What was open--and what was not? Stores? Johnny Rockets? Did you receive a Cruise Compass each day, even though it was a travel agent cruise?

 

Also, when did you find out about your cabin assignment? Did most get a mix of outside, inside and balconys? Also, what time did you arrive at the pier on embarkation day?

 

Thanks for the heads up!

 

We received a Compass every day just like you would on a normal cruise. Stores were open once we left the port; however, the store selling alcohol and tobacco was not. They explained why but I didn't pay too much attention, something about federal regulations.

 

We arrived at 12 noon and found that many had already boarded around 11 or 11:30. There was hardly a wait at all. We got our cabin assignment at the pier. Most people that I spoke to were in balcony cabins, whether they were agents with big agencies or small-time agencies. I did see a few people in Promenade staterooms as well. To be honest, I spent a total of about 5 hours or so in my cabin so a closet would've been fine with me, lol.

 

Johnny Rockets was open. Portofino and Chops were not open as they were reserved for a private function.

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Don't take this the wrong way, as this isn't directed at you personally... just a general remark.

 

I never quite understood this comment. I don't think I've ever used the elevator on a cruise ship. Nearly every cruise ship I've been on has had long waits for elevators, for one. However, I mostly prefer to walk as much as possible. With the amount of food you're throwing back on these cruises, it's good to get up and expend a little energy.

 

I think we've gotten fairly lazy as a society... it would be nice to see more people walking.

 

NOTE: I understand there are many individuals who are physically handicapped and cannot walk up stairs... I, in no way, include them in the group of people I think should do some more walking, rather than riding up in elevators.

 

What's strange to me is that I expected a long wait at the elevators but never encountered one. I do think a mid-ship set of elevators would've been nice but I guess that's not really practical with the Royal Promenade.

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