Freedom of the
Royal Caribbean Gives
Passengers Even MORE Freedom to "Get Out There"
Zone "Water Park"
Four—The Freedom to Get Your Feet Wet
come as no surprise that Freedom of the Seas has an expansive—make
that vast—lido deck devoted to swimming, sunning,
and relaxation. According to Chairman & CEO Richard Fain, "
Freedom of the Seas' combined pool area is 43% larger than on Voyager-class ships."
H2O Zone is particularly attractive for children and their parents.
Full of bright and whimsical 'family' figures—including a puppy—it's a fun place for kids to
beat the heat beneath a waterfall, fountain sprays, and in the lazy-river feature.
Parents can either join in or watch the kids from adjacent shaded
hot tubs or a convenient deck chair.
to attract older passengers, the main pool is long enough for
swimming laps and has a designated sports area where events such as
water volleyball, water golf, and 'synchronized' swimming are
planned. A dance floor is situated between the pool areas for
late-night deck parties.
sheer relaxation, the jungle-themed Solarium pool is adults-only (only passengers
over 18, please). Adjacent are hammocks and two hot tubs
cantilevered twelve feet beyond the ship's sides.
Fit for Heads of State & Royalty
Approximately a third of
Royal Caribbean passengers travel together as families and the
percentage is growing as big ships with family-friendly features are
added to the fleet. Freedom of the Seas has many standard staterooms
that sleep three and four occupants, as well as sixteen larger
family staterooms and four family suites that have separate bedrooms
The ultimate family
accommodation is the Presidential Suite. At 1,215 square feet with
an 810 square foot balcony, it has four bedrooms, four bathrooms,
and a spacious living and dining room. While it sleeps fourteen
(including lower beds, upper berths, and a sofa-bed), a minimum of
eight passengers are required to book it.
The big question in
terms of size and number of occupants is, is it really big enough
for fourteen? If you are a close-knit family or one that has at
least six small children, then yes. It's really ideal for eight
adults. The aft-facing balcony is huge, even taking into
consideration the area consumed by the hot tub. One drawback is the
view... a metal overhang obstructs the view to the sea. You can
still see the ship's wake in the distance, but not by looking
straight down. A plus is that it would be difficult to fall far from
The Royal Suite
doesn't have that problematic obstructed view. Located at the ship's
side, it's a posh 1,406 square feet inside with a 377 square foot
balcony (including a hot tub). I loved the living and dining room
with wet bar and grand piano and the bedroom with sitting area and
walk-in closet. Even more, I loved the bathroom with its separate
water closet, stylish glass sinks, Jacuzzi-style tub, a small built-in
"sofa," and the piece de resistance—a
multi-jet shower large enough for two.
to Do Your Own Thing
Typical cruise passengers
fall into several categories. Some jump into activities and don't
want to miss a thing. Others don't even check the daily schedule,
preferring to relax and unwind. Still others combine the two
lifestyles. I fall into that third category and add a twist—I
enjoy meeting and chatting with fellow passengers to find out what
they are thinking. During lulls in activity, I did just that on
Freedom of the Seas. I discovered the overwhelming opinion of
frequent past passengers that I met is that they return to Royal
Caribbean ships year after year because of the service. Aside from
that, they also are satisfied because they know what to expect in
terms of activities and features.
from rock climbing and poolside sunning, in this age of American
Idol, performing is all the rage. Freedom of the Seas' new On Air Club
satisfies passengers' inner idol by providing a venue with an up to
the minute sound system, professional lighting, and even the
capability to record a spur of the moment music video. If listening
is your thing, the Schooner Bar is the ship's piano bar and a lively
late night spot. "Sidewalk" seating outside the bars on
the Royal Promenade is prime people watching territory.
Art of Freedom
It stands to reason that
the world's largest cruise ship contains the largest and most
diverse art collection at sea. Art is a matter of personal
preference and if you see something that doesn't appeal to you, just
keep walking and you're sure to come upon another piece that
captures your attention. I was captivated by a chromed bronze
bulldog statue on the Royal Promenade and, overhead, the figure of a
woman "diving" from the ceiling. Use your imagination and
the diver appears to be surrounded by the teeth of an enormous sea
creature, perhaps a whale. The illusion is furthered by
"ribs" that span the ceiling. That's what I saw, although
your vision might be more creative. Don't overlook wall niches,
murals, and other art pieces on the stairway landings.
Works & What Doesn't
Weak satellite signals
seemed to plague Internet connections on and off. My experience was
poor; however, at a different time on the same day, a colleague got
lightening fast connectivity with a WiFi capable laptop. Cellular
service at sea, using Cingular/Sprint and T-Mobile phones, was
reported as good. My Alltel cell phone didn't find a signal.
Is Biggest Too Big?
My personal opinion is no.
Royal Caribbean's experience with Voyager-class ships has proven
invaluable and the ease with which they handled the introduction of
Freedom of the Seas is apparent.
Longer and wider
naturally means more space and that's a good thing in several areas,
particularly in terms of width. Private balconies are deeper
and that translates into more personal space. And the Royal
Promenade is wider, which is a big comfort factor in an area that
has no view of the sea whatsoever. My overall feeling was of being
in a village square, as unlike a suburban mall as possible. Most
surprising was the intimate feel of the lounges. There are a lot of
them and only the popular Schooner Bar was crowded—word
circulated fast that it was the liveliest place to be due to the
late night adult sing-along with talented pianist Matt Yee. While the Royal Family Event cruise was not full to capacity, I
encountered only a few short lines.
of the Seas departs Miami every Sunday, sailing one week cruises to
the Western Caribbean.
bottom line is... get out there and bring the family! You
won't be disappointed.
Back to--> Freedom
of the Seas, Part 1
of the Seas, Part 2
of the Seas, Part 3
Caribbean Cruise Line Cruise Reviews
Caribbean Cruise Line Profile
© Linda Coffman