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Loved the Ship!!!

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I just came off an overnight and I can't even begin to describe what a great ship this is! It was absolutely spectacular.

 

The cabins -- wow, the cabins are wonderful! The bedding is fabulous. You will not believe how comfortable these new beds are. I believe it's a 9-inch bedding topped by a 2-inch pillow top or something like that. All I can say is that it was the best night's sleep I've ever gotten on a cruise ship. The bathrooms are larger and brighter than I expected. Nice touches include the tile border and the fluffy oversized towels. Gone are the wallmount hairdryers that never seem to work. There is actually a decent hairdryer in the top drawer of the desk. The closets are well laid-out with extra wire shelving. Everything sparkles--I loved the cabin!

 

The entertainment -- it was absolutely amazing. The ice show blew me away. We had front row seats and I was just overwhelmed with the talent onboard! The production show was fabulous as well. This is one talented cast. I'm in my late 30s, my husband is in his mid 40s. We both agreed that the entertainment made us feel like we were squarely in the middle of RCI's target market. At the same time, my parents were onboard. They are in their early 60s. They had the same feeling -- they felt like the entertainment options were targeted towards them. There were just a few kids on board and I talked to two in the elevator. They also said they loved the shows. RCI does a great job of having options that multi-generational families can enjoy.

 

The dining rooms and food -- RCI does a great job here as well. Consider that the ship is currently doing back-to-back-to-back-to-back 1-night and 2-night cruises. It's constantly turn-around day for the staff. They still managed to be at the top of their game. Service in the dining room was fabulous. We had a wait team at breakfast that was one of the best I've experienced anywhere. The Windjammer Cafe is well laid-out. Choices are abundant although you'll recognize many favorites from other RCI cruises (like Honey Smothered Chicken). Jade had delicious food. Portofino and Chops were beautiful dining rooms although we did not have the opportunity to try them onboard this ship. The main three-level dining room is so beautiful. It was such a pleasure to eat there. Even though the dining room is huge, it never felt like you were dining with the masses -- it is laid out in a way that allows for an intimate conversation at dinner without feeling crowded or like one is on top of the next table.

 

Service -- to me, this is one of RCI's greatest strengths. Repeatedly we received exceptional service. From the guys at the rock wall who cheered you on and made you feel terrific about yourself, to the bar staff who was working like crazy but always had a smile, to the sweet young waitress in Johnny Rockets whose smile never left her face, to the cabin steward that put up with agents traipsing throughout the cabins that they just cleaned, to the wait staff who went above and beyond to deliver fabulous service to a group of people with prepaid tips (I felt compelled to tip more--the service was that good) to the Captain of the ship who graciously walked around and spoke with guests to the President of RCI who was visible and approachable -- RCI delivered a fabulous guest experience.

 

The Flowrider -- wow! I'd sail this ship just for the opportunity to try it although I'm sure I'd spend most of it wiping out!

 

The Cantilevered Hottubs -- if you have a balcony, lean out a little (carefully) and take a photo of these from the outside of the ship. It's a very cool perspective!

 

The H20 zone -- this was SO COOL! The design element was amazing. It was like Botero meets Crayola. You have to see this at different times of the day and night to really appreciate it.

 

Royal Promenade -- fabulous! This is one of my favorite areas on the ship. It's so open and spacious. There are some great spots here including a wonderful pub with terrific atmosphere.

 

Size -- does it matter? Yes and no. Yes, it matters in that there is now more space available to the designers and planners. No, in that it never felt overwhelmingly large. The ship is well laid out with plenty of diverse public areas. We never felt crowded. Everything seemed to be a reasonable distance away. I expected the ship to feel a lot larger than it did. I'm not typically a fan of "bigger is better" but in this case, it is. The ship is so filled with options that there is something onboard for everyone.

 

Negatives -- the ONLY negative was trying to get out of Bayonne in the middle of a massive traffic jam. This had nothing to do with the ship--there were multiple accidents and traffic was horrendous. The only reason that I mention it is that after spending an hour and 15 minutes traveling a distance that should've taken less than 5 minutes, we are kicking ourselves for not bringing maps and checking out alternatives. 95% of the traffic went right when exiting the pier. Going left would've been a major time saver and would've ended us up at the same place eventually. There were better options that following the crowd and I wish we had tried them.

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Thanks for your review, seems like you likes the ship. I too can't get enough information on Freedom.

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THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT WONDERFUL REVIEW. We are sailing her on 10/14/07 - wish it were tomorrow - but she will be well worth the wait.

 

Happy Cruising, Peggy, Norwood MA

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Thankyou for your review. I too can't read enought about her. I went into Boston this morning from NH to just see her and take pictures. I even took a picture of crew going into Beantown to tour!

 

Bon Voyage

Nanatravel

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What a great review!:) I've been surfing around the board, trying to get a feel for the ship prior to our 6/11 cruise. It's a special event for my hubby and I and our two teenage daughters. I've spent way more money than I had planned already ($8500 for two balcony cabins for the four of us, plus airfare from Tucson, plus excursions, etc., etc., etc.) After reading many of the reviews I was beginning to doubt my decision, seeing that so many people were saying that the ship is actually TOO big. For that much mula, we could have gone to many exotic destinations. After reading your review, I am convinced that my family is going to love it, and we will surely see the value when all is said and done. I'm down to counting days now, I sure do need this vacation!!!:) :)

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