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When Freedom of the Seas launched in 2006, it debuted as the world’s biggest cruise ship, carrying 4,500 passengers and is the ship that introduced the first in the industry FlowRider surf simulator, now a Royal Caribbean trademark. With its amenities, Freedom of the Seas tend to attract a lot of families, but still appeals to active couples. Most days are casual, except during formal nights when guests are encouraged to don suits and cocktails dresses. Royal Caribbean passengers are charged gratuities at $13.50 per person, per day ($16.50 for suite guests) and can be prepaid or added on a daily basis to the passenger’s account. Guests can add or remove gratuities by visiting the guest services desk.

Accommodation

Cabins on Freedom are categorised into four main types – inside, ocean-view, balcony and suite. About 47 per cent of the 1,894 staterooms have private balconies, some have Promenade views. Most cabins are equipped with keypad-operated safes, hair dryers, Wi-Fi internet access, mini-fridges and flat-screen televisions with interactive programming. They also include twin beds that convert to a queen-size. As for the Suites, the general configuration includes a king-size bed, a living room with an additional queen-size sofa bed, baby grand piano, refrigerator/wet bar, dining table, entertainment centre and large bathroom. Suite passengers are also the only ones who can access the concierge club.

Food

The main dining room is a three-level hall: Leonardo, Isaac and Galileo – all connected by a grand staircase. Each tier is uniquely decorated. Similar to all Royal Caribbean cruises, the dining hall offers two seatings – My Time Dining or pre-set meal times at 6pm or 8.30pm. Breakfast and lunch are served in the dining rooms with open seating. Other free dining options include the Windjammer Marketplace, Freedom of the Sea’s buffet restaurant. Jade, a part of Windjammer, serves Asian dishes featuring Vietnamese and Indonesian cuisines. Cafe Promenade is a 24-hour pastry and cafe located in the shopping district, Royal Promenade. At a fee, guests can try Giovanni’s Table, a classic Italian family feast-style restaurant. They can also indulge in Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille, or have a savor the Mexican dishes from Sabor Modern Mexican. Room service is available 24/7. Late-night/early-morning orders (between midnight and 5am) incur a $3.95 surcharge.

Activities

Vitality Spa is the home of 17 treatment rooms servicing guests with various treatments from wraps, facials, massages, to teeth whitening and acupuncture, even medispa treatments. Connected to the spa by a glass staircase is the ShipShape Fitness Center. It has a good range of Life Fitness machines and free weights. Fitness classes like yoga and Pilates are available at $12 a class, while stretching and aerobics are free of charge. The fitness centre also has men’s and women’s locker rooms with a steam room and a sauna. Outdoor recreation is the heart of Freedom of the Seas. The two main pools on board – one for swimming and one for water sports, are situated in the middle of three hot tubs. Lounge chairs are scattered around the pool deck. The oceanview adults-only Solarium pool features two cantilevered whirlpools, also offering an incredible almost 360 degree ocean view. The Country Club houses a basketball court, mini-golf, a 61 metre high rock-climbing wall, and golf simulator.

Families

Freedom of the Seas is a family favorite for its excellent entertainment facilities. Kids are enrolled in an Adventure Ocean Program with activities appropriate to their age group. During sea days, the program is available from 9am to noon, 2-5pm and 7-10pm. Parents with kids in Adventure Ocean receive cell phones, which they can use to check on their kids or communicate with the youth staff. A group babysitting program, called the Late-night Party Zone, is available from 10pm to 2am. It comes with a fee of US$7 per hour, per child. In-cabin babysitting is available for kids aged one year and older (subject to availability). Parents must reserve the service 24 hours prior and it costs $19 per hour for up to three children within the same family. As for the teenages, Fuel, a teen-only club hosts parties. They can also hang out in the Living Room, also a teen-only lounge; or chill on the Back Deck, a private outdoor area for teens.

Verdict

– Cruise Passenger 

– Cruise Critic 

– Berlitz

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