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So what have we learned so far?

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Awesome info flowing from maiden voyage!

 

Let's see...

-Ship is awesome

-Embarkation was a breeze, starts at 11am

-Tendering was not so awful and they use tickets

-Food and entertainment better than average

-Lines & crowds not bad since they are under capacity for a while as crew gets adjusted to new ship

-Flowrider is difficult but a blast

-No horse races

-New bedding is dreamy

-New tv's swivel and have jacks for video

-Cell reception is good

-WiFi is slow and expensive

-Don't miss Quest

 

I would love to see all the compasses and menus for the week!

 

What else have we learned or still want to know?

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Couple of questions here....

 

Was there a "Martini Madness" night? We attended one on the Mariner and had a great time!!!

 

How does the picture gallery work? I heard that there were changes and you can order from a computer station... details please.

 

Are the C&A gold coupons about the same as those given on other ships?

 

Someone just recently posted that the pools are fresh water... can someone give a final answer... pools? H20 zone? flow rider? fresh or salt water....

 

C&A wine tasting ... was this done? if so.. what day and what time?

 

Grand Gala Buffet.... was this really held in the Windjammer? If so, how did or didnt this effect the overall ambiance of the event?

 

thanks..... i am sure i will come up with more questions.

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All pools are fresh water

 

Disembarkation is a mess

 

WiFi is expensive and poor speed

 

Quest is now available for adults AND a Family version

 

Go early for the parades

 

What else?

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I was disappointed to hear the price on the barbershop. Is there a cheaper shave and a haircut? or just a shave?

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I was disappointed to hear the price on the barbershop. Is there a cheaper shave and a haircut? or just a shave?

 

 

My DW tried to convince me to get a shave. Instead I got scalped in the casino. :D

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All pools are fresh water

 

Disembarkation is a mess

 

WiFi is expensive and poor speed

 

Quest is now available for adults AND a Family version

 

Go early for the parades

 

What else?

 

Is the fresh water pool an urban legend or an actual fact-from someone who was on board please!! I leave on Sunday for FOS and am hoping with fingers and toes crossed for fresh water....is it true??:confused: :D

 

Also, family quest is cool-I am going with my 2 kids!!

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Couple of questions here....

 

Was there a "Martini Madness" night?

 

Every night is Martini Madness night. There is a bar called Olive or Twist, and that is what they do up there! And the glasses are really cool. People were collecting them in every color. :)

 

Someone just recently posted that the pools are fresh water... can someone give a final answer... pools? H20 zone? flow rider? fresh or salt water.....

 

All pools are freshwater.

 

 

Grand Gala Buffet.... was this really held in the Windjammer? .

 

Yes, really was in the Windjammer. I never go, so I couldn't talk about how it may have affected the grandeur of it.

 

Tracy

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Couple of questions here....

 

 

How does the picture gallery work? I heard that there were changes and you can order from a computer station... details please.

 

They are working on you being able to preview and order from your TV, but it's not quite there yet. They now have you swipe yourd card as the take your pictures.

 

Are the C&A gold coupons about the same as those given on other ships?

 

We had platinum, but they were the same.

 

C&A wine tasting ... was this done? if so.. what day and what time?

 

I don't remember the time, but it was the first "at sea" day. We missed it.

 

Grand Gala Buffet.... was this really held in the Windjammer? If so, how did or didnt this effect the overall ambiance of the event?

 

They had most of the interesting pieces just as you walked in and actually had members of the staff doing demos on how they make certain dishes. Having the rest kind of spread out, helped keep the crowd from bunching up all in one place. It worked out pretty well, but it's subjective.

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Every night is Martini Madness night. There is a bar called Olive or Twist, and that is what they do up there! And the glasses are really cool. People were collecting them in every color. :)

Tracy

 

Are they the normal swirl clear glass with colored swirl with the Royal Logo chunked on the side?

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

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Yes the TV's have multiple inputs BUT the input switch does not work on the TV itself or on the remote. When I mentioned it to the cabin steward, he said he would get back to me. A few days later I was informed that all the ship TV's have been disabled to select inputs. We wanted to hookup our video IPod and I hope he was wrong and it was just the 2 TV's in our cabins.

 

Good news to those with connecting cabins is that we requested to open the balcony partitions and it was done the first night.

 

WiFi was expensive and be careful even after selecting your minutes plan. DW thought when her minutes were all used that she wouldn't be allowed to continue but when we noticed a $280 charge on our seapass account we quickly went to guest services to plead for a discount. They were so nice and after a manager had a chance to look at it, by the next day we received a full credit. It sure exceeded our expectations.

 

Formal nights were Monday and Thursday. Other nights were casual. Lobster was on Friday night.

 

Yes there were tender tickets but we just headed for the earliest tenders each morning and no one checked. tenders had plenty of seats left when they departed from ship.

 

Both NBA and NHL playoff games were available on cabin TV's.

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In retrospect, from my 6/4 sailing:

  • Freedom is just a larger version of the Eagle/Voyager Class ship with a few new features.
  • Boarding was a dream. Ten minutes at the desk and right on the ship at 11 am.
  • The upgraded bedding and linens were FANTASTIC and we were told that they will be added to all RCI ships by 2008.
  • The flat screen TV was a nice addition, however the interactive features were not all available or working properly. The interactive room service menu was the same menu as on any other class of ship I have sailed, but was delivered timely.
  • The “wake-up call” system was down for part of the cruise.
  • The Flow Rider is simply awesome. Considering the number of passengers, the lines were short and there was hardly any wait at all. Women should wear a t-shirt when riding and men should tighten their drawstrings, as there were many “moons” in broad daylight.
  • The Sky Bridge over the pool deck was a really great place for picture taking and also cut down on the congestion of people moving between decks 11 and 12. It also allowed you to get from one side of the ship to the other quickly without having to back track or to go all the way around.
  • The new main pool design, with a center stage area, was much better for group activities (e.g. the Sexy Leg contest and the belly-flop competition)
  • The Solarium was designed slightly different than on the Voyager Class. It has a bridge over the top of the pool with a swim-up bar underneath. The highlight of this area is the cantilevered whirlpools, which were just fantastic.
  • The Deck Patrol was right on in the Solarium, keeping the under-aged passengers out of the pools and whirlpools.
  • The H2O Zone is a great addition to the pool deck for everyone and gave another pool option for parents with younger children.
  • The new Rock Wall design enables more climbers at one time and is better situated on the sports deck.
  • The mini-golf is smaller, but just as fun.
  • The Boxing Ring is just ridiculous. Who really uses this? Who wants to fight on their vacation by choice? This might be great if this was put in Studio B and we had some real contenders with a new venue.
  • The On-Air Club is a new lounge strictly devoted to Karaoke. I thought this would have been a bigger hit, but not many people showed up to sing or to watch. Considering that this activity usually draws big crowds on other ships, it was disappointing. I attribute this to the fact that many passengers were D or D+ and this may not be their “cup of tea”.
  • The Casino is larger and so were the bets.
  • Sorrento’s had a good selection of pizza available and I considered it better than on other ships. The staff was great at this location.
  • Johnny Rocket’s was the same as always.
  • The ship had some additional shops - a book-nook, active-wear store and a barber.
  • The fitness center was large with nice equipment available. This area should accommodate most on board with ease.
  • The dinner menus were less than desirable. This was a great disappointment. Perhaps Windjammer would be a better option on some nights. Maybe RCI is trying to increase attendance at Chops or Portofino for $20 extra per person.
  • My head waiter was a no-show. We and our table-mates named him “Casper”. This was an RCI cruise first for us.
  • My husband and I are not drinkers. We purchased the soda package on our first day. As with every other RCI cruise, we find that when we order a soda at any of the lounges or shows, our request is received with a less than desirable attitude and we usually have to wait while they serve other guests alcoholic beverages. Is this because there is no opportunity for the waiter to receive an additional tip? You tell me. After shelling out almost $100 to be able to use this feature – I expect fast and courteous service. We purchase this so we don’t have to keep signing for each drink we have. It is annoying. We were actually served soda at Café Promenade in a 4 oz. Dixie cup packed with ice, so we received 2 sips. Nice. (We refuse to carry around those dirty cups they give you when you purchase the package). Considering that soda is actually very cheap, RCI should change the policy or change the attitude of the wait staff.
  • Considering the growth of companies such as Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee, you would think that you could get a “normal” size cup of coffee on board at Café Promenade. It seems that they have a policy that you can help yourself to a cup as long as it is one of the small ones (to which the sleeves that prevent your from burning your hands does not fit the small cup – forcing you to take two small cups inside one another). The large cups are reserved for customers purchasing one of their specialty drinks. My husband actually had to get a manager out to argue this point, to which the manager did relinquish one large cup to him, with the understanding that he NEVER ask for one again! My husband even pointed out that he was able to obtain the large cups in the Windjammer from 6 am – 9 am during the “grab-n-go” breakfast time. He was told that is because they are separate departments. What does one of these paper cups cost? I’ll tell you – pennies and one PO’d cruiser.
  • Disembarking was great. Some passengers chose to express disembark the ship, by carrying their luggage off the ship themselves. I chose to do the old fashioned color coded manner and met my luggage on the dock. When I got off the ship at 7:30 am (the earliest I have ever disembarked), the lines for the express
  • were backed up.

As for RCI’s treatment of a Maiden Voyage (for its first group of paying customers)…

  • There was no special send off in Miami.
  • There were no commemorative gifts available in the shops.
  • There was nothing different about the Maiden Voyage from any other cruise.
  • Entertainment was disappointing. I was told that there would be C to D list entertainers on board for this cruise by a Future Cruise Consultant on a previous cruise. I booked the Freedom 18 months ago. The only “hoopla’ on this cruise was in Jamaica, where they literally rolled out the red carpet. The Port of Jamaica had a marching band upon arrival along with various vendors greeting you with drinks and goodies. The Port even scheduled a private dockside concert with Shaggy just for the passengers – in celebration of the Freedom’s first arrival. I was impressed. Great job Port of Jamaica!
  • The C&A gift was a cooler bag noted for the first season of sailing on the Freedom. However, in their printing of the word inaugural they misspelled it! It reads “Inagural”. You would think in all the time preparing for this, RCI would have caught this stupid error – bad form! The good news for those of you who received it (and if RCI catches it and changes it for future sailings), it may be worth more when you decide to dump it on Ebay.
  • By day 4, Ken Rush – Cruise Director, began to use the term “Maiden Voyage” over and over again in what seemed to be a response to passenger disappointment of the in what should have been a more memorable cruise. At the same time, RCI issued certificates acknowledging you as one of the first passengers to sail on the Maiden Voyage of the Freedom of the Seas set in a portfolio along with a picture of the ship in Southampton. One was given to each cabin. My question is why were they not issued to each passenger? It is not like they didn’t have the list! Due to this fact, I believe this was an afterthought and a quick remedy to a potential PR problem for RCI.

I hope you find this information helpful and I wish the best to all future passengers on the Freedom of the Seas.:)

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Are they the normal swirl clear glass with colored swirl with the Royal Logo chunked on the side?

 

Nope. They looked like regular martini glasses, but the stem was curved, and came out from the side of the martini "cone". Really funky and cool!

Tracy

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RCI issued certificates acknowledging you as one of the first passengers to sail on the Maiden Voyage of the Freedom of the Seas set in a portfolio along with a picture of the ship in Southampton. One was given to each cabin. My question is why were they not issued to each passenger? It is not like they didn’t have the list!

 

My friend and I were travelling together, and it was strange that they knew to separate the beds, yet didn't think we might need an extra gift? Anyway, we requested a second, and they accomodated us....so I thought.

 

When I opened it upon my return home, it was simply the portfolio with the picture of the ship....no certificate. The one special notice of the actual maiden voyage, and I don't have one.

 

Oh well, guess I have the good memories. Being "faked out" though, does leave a bitter taste in one's mouth. :(

 

Tracy

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Whats happening for breadkfast and lunch. How is the WJ handling the massive crowds. Is the dining room reopen for lunch on port days?

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Whats happening for breadkfast and lunch. How is the WJ handling the massive crowds. Is the dining room reopen for lunch on port days?

 

There haven't been any massive crowds, as FOS is currently sailing at Voyager class levels. Space is very tight at peak breakfast and lunch times, and I don;t really see how they are going to accommodate larger sailings.

 

The dining room was open for lunch from 12-2 in GC, Mo Bay & Labadee.

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Oh yes, there is a charge. They offer fruit smoothies for $4.50, and other shakes with supplements like: Energizer, Power shake, Muscle Builder, Fat Burner etc. These range from $4.75-5.50 each.

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In retrospect, from my 6/4 sailing:

 

"The Boxing Ring is just ridiculous. Who really uses this? Who wants to fight on their vacation by choice? This might be great if this was put in Studio B and we had some real contenders with a new venue."

While I certainly appreciate your effort and your review, your above statement is borderline moronic. Many people like myself "use" boxing as an outlet for physical fitness. Royal Carribean did not install the ring in to entertain potential guests by hosting fights, they are offering it to illustrate that they understand many guests are fitness oriented. Assuming you enjoy a good workout, before you knock it you should try it.

BC2

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While I certainly appreciate your effort and your review, your above statement is borderline moronic. Many people like myself "use" boxing as an outlet for physical fitness. Royal Carribean did not install the ring in to entertain potential guests by hosting fights, they are offering it to illustrate that they understand many guests are fitness oriented. Assuming you enjoy a good workout, before you knock it you should try it.

 

BC2

 

 

I also appreciate your opinion, as I am entitled to mine, but I would certainly not use "moronic" as a response. I enjoy boxing as both a sport and a recreational workout. I simply don't think that enough people who cruise on a RCI ship would benefit from this addition in place of the spa pool. Additionally, my comment was more of a joke and I don't think that a full boxing venue would be a family friendly entertainment option.:eek:

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yeah, I'm going to miss the big whirlpool. I don't think the boxing ring will make up for it for me.

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Couple of questions here....

 

Was there a "Martini Madness" night? We attended one on the Mariner and had a great time!!!

 

How does the picture gallery work? I heard that there were changes and you can order from a computer station... details please.

 

Are the C&A gold coupons about the same as those given on other ships?

 

Someone just recently posted that the pools are fresh water... can someone give a final answer... pools? H20 zone? flow rider? fresh or salt water....

 

C&A wine tasting ... was this done? if so.. what day and what time?

 

Grand Gala Buffet.... was this really held in the Windjammer? If so, how did or didnt this effect the overall ambiance of the event?

 

thanks..... i am sure i will come up with more questions.

 

A couple of answers here.. I did not see a Martini Madness on Freedom.. I looked for it in the compass as we also attended this when we sailed on Mariner... it was at this event that I got to sample quite a few martinis and to have a chance to make them as well... for the $9.99 charge

 

Also they now put a bar code to scan for pricing on your photos that the ships photographer takes... take note where it is located as a friend had the bar code on her husbands sleeve in the picture.. she questioned them about it and they reprinted the photo without the bar code.. all the coding on my photos were in a bottom corner so not a concern.. they apparently will be doing this fleet wide so the photo shop attendant told her.

 

I felt the Gala Buffet in the Windjammer was not as eye pleasing as when they hold it in the Dining room with everyone coming down the staircase and the speakers telling some things about how everything is done... they did not have a viewing first you simply went along the buffet line like you would in the Windjammer for lunch or such.. Not as much as a WOW factor... I simply walked along and once again sampled nothing... it all looked good though.

 

Emmy

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Yes the TV's have multiple inputs BUT the input switch does not work on the TV itself or on the remote. When I mentioned it to the cabin steward, he said he would get back to me. A few days later I was informed that all the ship TV's have been disabled to select inputs. We wanted to hookup our video IPod and I hope he was wrong and it was just the 2 TV's in our cabins.

 

Good news to those with connecting cabins is that we requested to open the balcony partitions and it was done the first night.

 

WiFi was expensive and be careful even after selecting your minutes plan. DW thought when her minutes were all used that she wouldn't be allowed to continue but when we noticed a $280 charge on our seapass account we quickly went to guest services to plead for a discount. They were so nice and after a manager had a chance to look at it, by the next day we received a full credit. It sure exceeded our expectations.

 

Formal nights were Monday and Thursday. Other nights were casual. Lobster was on Friday night.

 

Yes there were tender tickets but we just headed for the earliest tenders each morning and no one checked. tenders had plenty of seats left when they departed from ship.

 

Both NBA and NHL playoff games were available on cabin TV's.

 

Did you have to have "connecting" cabins, or could they be next to each other?

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I felt the Gala Buffet in the Windjammer was not as eye pleasing as when they hold it in the Dining room with everyone coming down the staircase and the speakers telling some things about how everything is done... they did not have a viewing first you simply went along the buffet line like you would in the Windjammer for lunch or such.. Not as much as a WOW factor... I simply walked along and once again sampled nothing... it all looked good though.

 

Emmy

 

Curious, is the food behind the glass like normally it would be in the Windjammer or open tables like it would be in the dining room?

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

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Curious, is the food behind the glass like normally it would be in the Windjammer or open tables like it would be in the dining room?

 

BonVoyage

Dawna

 

Dawna.. It is displayed for your eating the same way the food is when you go into the Windjammer for lunch.. I was not impressed with this... it misses the grand presentation that you have with the classical music playing as everyone enters from the top level of the dining room... my opinion... I like the old way although even our waitress Nicoletta did not know how it would be the evening at dinner before they had it.

 

The only benefit is you don't have two lineups..one for viewing and one for tasting and sampling... does not make for as many good photo ops for those who like that.

 

Emmy

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Did you have to have "connecting" cabins, or could they be next to each other?

 

Ours were just next to each other. It really was lovely having a double-wide balcony. :)

 

Tracy

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