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Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas / Reviewed by Fiona Lang
Rating: 4 Stars
Traveled on: 05/16/2006
Reviewed on: 05/19/2006
Review: Freedom of the Seas

On June 4th, 2006 the largest (for the moment) cruise ship in the world will take her first group of passengers on her maiden voyage. At 160,000 gross registered tones, this ship is enormous, she plays host to 3608 passengers with a complement of 1389 crew members.

Some people within the travel industry were invited to visit Freedom of the Seas for a little sneak-peak prior to her entering regular service. I am pleased to inform you that John Lang, and Fiona Lang of The Cruise People, Ltd. were among those lucky travel industry types.

With so many passengers in this ship, I was concerned about how long it would take to get into the ship. Embarkation is never a fun process, but embarkation with 3607 of your closest friends, the mere thought of it filled me with anxiety. It wasnt nearly so hectic as I had feared it would be.

The ship is huge, however most of the time she didnt really feel that way. By creating a large number of smaller public rooms Royal Caribbean managed to give Freedom of the Seas a very intimate feel. It is easy to forget you are in the worlds largest cruise ship.

One thing to note though, since this ship features a four deck high atrium, known at the Royal Promenade, there is no stair tower in the middle of the ship. So, if you have a mid-ship cabin, you will need to walk for quite a while to get to the stairs, and elevators.

People frequently ask me about food in the different cruise lines, and for this ship I will preface my remarks by saying this ship hasnt even entered service yet, so there could be a learning curve going on in the galley. Some of my food was fantastic, really, could not be improved upon in any way. Unfortunately, some of my meals were disappointing. Over all however, Im not about to say skip the whole thing because of one under par serving of eggs benedict! Also, unlike in the more expensive ships the milk they served at breakfast in the dining room came to you in a carton. definitely not the end of the world, but a little thing that I noticed. Another little thing I noticed that did make a big difference was that when I requested a cheese platter for dessert (not offered on the menu), our waiter promised to try to bring me one, with a counter offer that if he couldnt do it would we like a fruit plate. When he returned, he was bearing a plate with four types of cheese, grapes, walnuts, and apricots.

There is an assortment of alternatives to the traditional ships dining room for you to explore should you desire. The Windjammer Cafe is the nicest lido restaurant I have ever seen with flowers on every table, and many crew members to attend to you. You pick up your food from the buffet in the usual style, and a crew member will collect your beverages for you. There is also a Ben and Jerrys Ice Cream Parlor (additional charge), Seattles Best Coffee (additional charge), Sorrentos Pizzaria (additional charge), and Johnny Rockets Diner (additional charge, not for the burgers, just for the beverages.), and Chops, Freedom of the Seas specialty restaurant (additional charge).

The big innovation in Freedom of the Seas is the Flow Rider surf simulator. This was a big hit! Royal Caribbean does not charge for the use of this. Im hoping to visit the ship again and take a shot at it. Freedom of the Seas also has a boxing ring on board, as well as the now almost obligatory rock climbing wall, mini-golf course, basket ball court, whirlpools suspended 112 feet above the ocean, and 12 feet out from the side of the ship, several pools, and H20 Zone a dedicated family water fun area with colourful water spouting sculptures, a small 3 foot deep pool with a comfortable current flowing so you can ride around in leisurely circles, and a family only swimming pool. There is also an adult only pool.

For those who would like some relaxation with their recreation there is a spa on board offering a variety of services including manicure, pedicure, and hot rock massage.

The fitness centre has a large selection of elliptical trainers, and treadmills, as well as stationary bikes, and weight machines. For and additional charge, your may join in for a yoga or pilates class, or take boxing lessons.

The crew was generally very thoughtful, enthusiastic, and helpful. I think it would be difficult to make any improvements with the service and the crew, only because they are so good!

My overall feeling about Freedom of the Seas is surprise. I was expecting her to be horribly crowded, that the crew would have to rush, and that service would then suffer. I was wrong. This ship is full of fun things to do, and little nooks to explore, places to shop, and great entertainers who involve the audience in their shows. The ice show is a must see. For our voyage there was an ABBA tribute group on board, so I even got to go to a concert.

At the end of a day that has you wondering: "Where did all the time go? You retire to a quiet, well appointed cabin, and climb into a deliciously comfortable bed with a duvet, and fall into a sleep that is so deep and restful, you will be ready to do it all again to-morrow.

I would recommend this ship to anyone looking for lots of things to do, Im even recommending this cruise to myself, as the people who tried the Flow Rider said... "I wanna go again!".

Fiona Lang

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