cruises

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review

The Freedom of the Seas received a bundle of upgrades in 2011, including a 3D movie theater, and a nursery.

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Introduction

Unveiled in 2006, Freedom of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ships on the planet (in fact, it was the largest of all from the time of its debut until the arrival of the even larger Oasis of the Seas in 2009). The first of Royal Caribbean's three Freedom Class vessels, it's chock full of on-board activities, including an ice skating rink, rock climbing wall and the cruise industry's first FlowRider surfing simulator. It also recently was upgraded with several features that debuted on Oasis, including a 3-D movie screen, a Cupcake Cupboard cupcake store and new children’s programs (something parents likely will love is the new nursery for babies and tots up to 36 months—and the option of getting a nanny if they want to go for a romantic dinner).

As part of the recent overhaul, Freedom of the Seas also was infused with DreamWorks character theming (something first done in late 2010 on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas). The "DreamWorks Experience," as Royal Caribbean is calling it, includes the incorporation of Dreamworks characters such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda into on-board parades, themed meals, ice skating shows and the ships' new 3-D movie theaters.

Freedom of the Seas can accommodate 3,634 passengers at double occupancy (two people per room), but add in the hundreds of extra pull-down bunks and pull-out sofas in its many family-friendly cabin categories and the total occupancy of the ship during holiday periods can approach 4,400 passengers. With its range of on-board activities and the kid-luring DreamWorks Experience, it is a great ship for families.

Gene Sloan's Opinion on the Freedom of the Seas

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Like so many of Royal Caribbean’s newer vessels, Freedom of the Seas is a big, bold ship that will appeal to people who like a mega-resort experience. Though not quite as large as the line’s two newest vessels (the record-size Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas), it offers oodles of deck-top and interior activities that make it a particularly good choice for families with children who need to be kept busy (the ship’s first-ever-at-sea FlowRider surfing simulator is a bonafide teen-pleaser, as are its climbing wall, basketball court and miniature golf course). Families also will enjoy the DreamWorks characters and DreamWorks movie-themed shows on the ship (something found on only a handful of ships).

In addition to families, Freedom of the Seas also will appeal to couples young and old looking for a glitzy cruise experience, with lots to do and at a reasonable price point. Just be warned: Intimate, this ship isn’t. If it’s quietude and lack of crowds you seek, this isn’t the right ship for you.

Gene Sloan writes about cruising for USA TODAY, the nation’s top-selling newspaper, and oversees USA TODAY’s online cruise site, The Cruise Log. Sloan’s stories also are distributed by the Gannett News Service to more than 80 other U.S. newspapers with a combined circulation of more than five million, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, The Detroit Free Press, and The Arizona Republic.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Cabins
  3. Inside Stateroom
  4. Royal Suite
  5. Owner's Suite
  6. Grand Suite
  7. Junior Suite
  8. Superior Oceanview Stateroom
  9. Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
  10. Large Oceanview Stateroom
  11. Interior Stateroom
  12. Family Oceanview Stateroom
  13. Royal Family Suite
  14. Oceanview Stateroom
  15. Promenade Family Stateroom
  16. Promenade Stateroom
  17. Presidential Family Suite
  18. Family Interior Stateroom
  19. Cabin Amenities
  20. Dining
  21. Main Dining Room
  22. Chop's Steakhouse
  23. Portofino
  24. Windjammer
  25. Jade
  26. Johnny Rockets
  27. Sorrento's
  28. In-Room Dining
  29. Drinks
  30. Pools & Decks
  31. Pool Areas
  32. Sun Decks & Open Areas
  33. Deck Plans
  34. Recreation
  35. Lounges & Public Spaces
  36. Freedom Day Spa
  37. Fitness
  38. Retail
  39. Other Activities
  40. Nightlife & Shows
  41. Bear & Bull Pub
  42. Olive & Twist
  43. Pharaoh's Palace
  44. Schooner
  45. Boleros
  46. The Crypt
  47. Vintages
  48. On Air
  49. Champagne Bar
  50. Studio B
  51. Pool Bar
  52. Sky Bar
  53. Solarium Bar
  54. Casino
  55. Shows & Other Entertainment
  56. Service & Staff
  57. Staff & Ship Policies
  58. Health & Safety
  59. vs Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
  60. vs Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Magic
  61. vs Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Dawn
  62. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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