Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas to get $116 million amplification in Spring 2020

In:
21Aug2019

Royal Caribbean announced today its major plans to enhance Freedom of the Seas with an extensive $116 million amplifcation. 

The cruise line will add the Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, a redesigned Adventure Ocean, a Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and a reimagined pool deck that will feature Splashaway Bay, El Loco Fresh and The Lime & Coconut.

Beginning March 8, 2020, the reimagined Freedom will sail year-round, 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico and will include stops in St. Lucia, Antigua and the ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Here's a full list of the changes coming to Freedom of the Seas:

Pool deck fun

  • The Perfect Storm waterslides: duo of racer waterslides, Cyclone and Typhoon.
  • Reimagined poolscape with a larger variety of seating and shade with casitas, daybeds and hammocks
    • Addition of Splashaway Bay aquapark for the youngest travelers.
    • Renewed, adults-only Solarium

  • The Lime & Coconut, Royal Caribbean’s new, poolside signature bar is a the three-level spot serves up live music, a lineup of cocktails and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the action.

Dining

  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is a fresh, new twist on a guest favorite. Pick from authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand tossed front and center, and baked in the new, in-house pizza oven. With a wide selection of wines and limoncellos on the reimagined menu, it’s “Sunday supper” Royal Caribbean style.
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the Asian-inspired restaurant with teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar, features a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, desserts and more.
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade features more than 80 TV screens, arcade games, and menu of classic bar bites with twist and ice-cold brews on tap.
  • El Loco Fresh will sit poolside and offer fresh grab-and-go Mexican fare, from tacos and burritos, to quesadillas, along with an array of salsas for an extra kick. For the first time, the venue will include a full-service bar with a selection of tequilas on offer.

Family & Activities

  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure – Clash for the Crystal City.
  • Floor-to-ceiling redesign of Freedom’s dedicated teens spaces and award-winning Adventure Ocean
    • Adventure Ocean will get a makeover that will touch every inch of the spaces specially designed for babies and kids. The imaginative layout encourages young vacationers to venture into a world of interactive experiences, from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science and tech activities at Workshop and friendly challenges at Arena. Kicking back is just as fun with gaming consoles and places to chill at Hangout. Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior
    • Teens will rejoice at their exclusive hangout, entirely transformed to feature the latest in movies, gaming and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck.

Freedom of the Seas will be the latest Royal Caribbean ship to join the Royal Amplified Fleet.  Royal Amplified is the cruise line's fleet moderinizaation effort that will encompass 10 ships in four years at a cost of more than $1 billion.

Royal Caribbean cancels first Freedom of the Seas sailing following scheduled drydock

In:
21Feb2019

Guests sailing on the February 23, 2020 sailing of Freedom of the Seas have received an email from Royal Caribbean informing them that their sailing has been canceled.

The email states, "Freedom of the Seas is undergoing an extended renovation which means, we must regrettably cancel our February 23rd, 2020 sailing. We know this news is disappointing and apologize for the impact to your vacation."

Guests who were booked on the February 23rd sailing have the option to rebook to another 2020 sailing on Freedom of the Seas or Vision of the Seas, as well as any other Royal Caribbean sailing or to simply receive a refund.

The cancellation of what was supposed to be the first sailing of Freedom of the Seas following the ship's scheduled Royal Amplication mirrors the recent decision to cancel the first sailing of Navigator of the Seas following her drydock work that resulted from delays at the shipyard where the work was being done.

Royal Caribbean has not announced the exact changes coming to Freedom of the Seas as part of her dry dock, but the ship has no scheduled sailings between January 19 and now March 1, 2020. Royal Amplified will cover 10 ships over four years, that focuses on upgrades to three main areas: Pool Deck & Attractions, Bars & Nightlife, and Dining Mission.

Royal Caribbean to relocate Freedom of the Seas to San Juan for 2018-2019 season

In:
30Mar2017

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas will call San Juan, Puerto Rico its new home in 2018-2019.

The cruise line's 2018-2019 Caribbean deployment has a number of 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises that will sail round trip from San Juan.

View Freedom of the Seas' entire deployment here

Freedom of the Seas will depart her current home of Port Everglades, Florida on May 5, 2018 and reposition to San Juan at the end of that sailing.  From then, through March 2019, Freedom of the Seas will homeport from San Juan.

Freedom of the Seas will replace Adventure of the Seas, which will be moving to Cape Liberty, New Jersey. 

Thanks to Erik Clauson aka Cruiseboy for discovering the deployment plans.

Photo tour of Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
11Mar2017

There are many staterooms to choose from on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, and today we have a look at category PF Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom. This photo tour will take you through the cabin to provide an idea of what to expect if you were to book this stateroom.

On Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Blog readers Jeanne and Alan Fulton shared these photos from their recent cruise. This is from room 1804, which is all the way forward on deck 12.

The Family Panoramic Ocean View Stateroom Description: Family Panoramic Oceanview staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows. These rooms measure 406 square feet in size.

They have two twin beds that convert to a Royal King-sized bed, extra closet space.

Each Family Panoramic Ocean View stateroom has a vanity and sitting area.


 

There is a curtained area with two bunk beds, and a guest half bathroom.

The Category PF staterooms have a private bathroom with shower.

Freedom of the Seas secret: Ordering Sabor guacamole from the bar

In:
13Oct2016

Sabor Modern Mexican has quickly become one of Royal Caribbean's most popular specialty restaurants with cruise fans because of the terrific food quality available. On Voyager and Freedom class cruise ships, Sabor is priced with a cover charge and to dine there requires paying the full cover charge.  If you are interested in just grabbing a bowl of Sabor's famous hand-made guacamole, there is another way to enjoy it without paying the cover charge.

While on Freedom of the Seas, we spotted at the Schooner Bar a sign that allows guests to order Sabor's guacamole, salsa and chips.  It is a fairly simple process and comes with the benefit of not having to pay the cover charge. The only caveat is guests may only order from Sabor when the restaurant is open (sorry, no midnight guacamole orders).

Just let a waiter from the Schooner Bar know that you would like to order from Sabor and they will get one of the waiters from Sabor to take your order.  The waiter will ask how many people should the order be made for.  Pricing will be based on how many guests you want to have enough guacamole, chips and salsa to accomodate. 

When we tried this out, we also had the choice of ordering from the restaurant's drink menu.

A few short minutes later, our food and drink was brought over for us to enjoy.

When we tried it out on Freedom of the Seas, the cost for the food (excluding the alcoholic beverages) was $10.00.  

Thee Royal Caribbean ships will delay departure times because of Hurricane Matthew

In:
07Oct2016

The effects of Hurricane Matthew are still being felt with three more Royal Caribbean ships that will have a delayed departure.

To give guests more time to arrive to the ship with transportation issues for Freedom of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

New departure times are:

  • Oasis of the Seas sailing from Port Everglades on Saturday, October 8, will now depart at 7:00 p.m.
  • Allure of the Seas sailing from Port Everglades on Sunday, October 9, will now depart at 7:00 p.m.
  • Freedom of the Seas sailing from Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 9 will now depart at 9:00 p.m.

If there are any questions, please contact Royal Caribbean at 866-562-7625.

Royal Caribbean changes Freedom of the Seas itinerary due to Hurricane Mathew

In:
02Oct2016

Royal Caribbean has made a change to Freedom of the Seas' cruise that leaves today to avoid the path of Hurricane Matthew.

Royal Caribbean announced it will replace a scheduled stop in its private island of CocoCay in The Bahamas with a stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico instead.

In addition to Freedom of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas have had their itineraries changed this week.

Hurricane Matthew is a Category 4 storm that is heading north through the Caribbean. As of 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), the storm was centered about 340 miles (545 kilometers) south-southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was traveling north-northwest at 5 mph (7 kph).

Review: Izumi Express sushi on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
16Sep2016

Earlier this summer, Royal Caribbean began rolling out or takeout sushi options across its fleet for guests that want to enjoy Izumi-quality sushi on Royal Caribbean ships that do not offer an Izumi restaurant.  Freedom of the Seas is one such ship that lacks Izumi, and we took it upon ourselves to try the Izumi Express sushi for "research" purposes.

Guests will find Izumi Express options at Sorrentos during select hours (check your Cruise Compass for exact times), but it is typically available every day from 11:30am - 1:30pm and again at 6:00pm - 8:00pm.

Menu

The selection of sushi may vary, but on our sailing we had eight rolls to choose from that were prepackaged and ready to be enjoyed.

On our cruise, the more popular rolls tended to go quickly, so be sure to order early.

Sushi

Historically, Freedom of the Seas has always offered sushi in the Jade section of the Windjammer, but in my opinion, the sushi was substandard because it was poorly made and lacked variety or sizable pieces of fish.  Of course, the sushi in the Windjammer was complimentary, but I tended to avoid it because of the poor quality.

Windjammer Sushi from a past Freedom of the Seas cruise

Of course, we are here for the sushi and the Izumi Express options on Freedom of the Seas has a variety of maki rolls that are pretty typical among sushi restaurants.  Before even tasting any of it, the quality of these rolls looked superior to what was offered in the Windjammer.

You can pick which roll appeals to you, and each package comes with eight rolls.

You are probably wondering, "how good does it taste?" and I can safely say it is much better to what the Windjammer ever had.  In fact, the Windjammer offered sushi on the last night of the cruise and that confirmed my thoughts.

Prepackaged sushi will never compare to freshly-made sushi, but, I really enjoyed the Izumi Express option because it offers a much better option than no sushi at all.

 

I found it to be a really good value and tasted great too.  It was certainly as good as any prepackaged sushi I have had on land, and as a self-described sushi fiend, I loved having this option every evening.

Are you a Sushi lover? Let us know if Izumi Express will be on your must-eat list!

Restaurant Review: Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas

In:
15Sep2016

Many of us know that Sabor Modern Mexican on Royal Caribbean cruise ships is one of the best-dept dining secrets in all of cruising.  But these days, it is become less of a secret, and more of an established must-eat!

Frankly, if your list of specialty restaurant reservations does not include Sabor, then you are missing out.

Having had an opportunity to cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, we could not resist dining at Sabor Modern Mexican on a few different occasions.

Atmosphere

One goal Royal Caribbean had with Sabor was to create a restaurant experience that was not just another typical American-Mexican restaurant. When you walk into Sabor, there is very little that would remind you of a typical Mexican restaurant.

The decor of Sabor features lots of blues, reds and yellows and the restaurant evokes a very bright mood with its festive, yet not over-the-top, design.

Seating in Sabor is functional and comfortable.  Much of the seating are tables that have booth and chair options, with a few smaller tables that have just chairs.  

Unlike Chops Grille or Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas, Sabor has no windows and is also considerably smaller in size. A view is always nice, but with the kind of food offered in Sabor, you will not want to look anywhere but what is on your plate.

The focal point of Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas are the colorful dahlia flowers that line the ceiling and wall of the restaurant.  It is quite pretty and a lovely backdrop.

Eats

After a busy day on Freedom of the Seas swimming, exploring and playing, lunch or dinner at Sabor is sure to please.

The Sabor menu on Freedom of the Seas retains many of the same options that are on other Royal Caribbean ships that offer a Sabor Modern Mexican restaurant, but there are some appetizers and entrees that are different on Freedom of the Seas.  Moreover, the drink menu of available cocktails has also been simplified, although the famous margaritas remain.  Nonetheless, there is a wide variety of Mexican classics, such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas.  There are also more sophisticated choices as well.  

If you party is large enough (more than 4 guests usually), the server will offer to bring all the appetizers out and serve them family-style.  Most of them can be enjoyed in this manner, with the exception of the soup.

Every table is served with table side guacamole and frankly, no Sabor meal is complete without the guacamole.  

In short, the Sabor guacamole is amazing and will more than likely become the best guacamole you have ever eaten.  Even if you have had guacamole for years or swore it off, you must try the guacamole at Sabor Modern Mexican.

In addition, chips and fresh pico de gallo salsa are served.  As much as I wax poetically about Sabor's guacamole, I have an unspoken love with Sabor's salsa.  Salsa is not so much a garnishment as it is a topping when I eat chips, and the salsa here has this salsa fiend's seal of approval.

The chicken-stuffed Jalapeños are the most popular options and when you read the description you will know why.  Chicken wrapped in bacon on a stick with Mexican garnishments.  Sold!

The queso fundido is also a winner, and not your typical cup of melted cheese.  This gooey and super-tasty appetizer is a great choice for even the pickiest of eaters.

While dining at Sabor, one must also indulge in the margaritas available exclusively at Sabor.  

There are five margaritas on the menu (plus a few other cocktails, including sangria) and they are like children. You do not have a favorite, but you might like one more than the other at any given time.  I highly recommend getting at least one margarita during the meal to compliment the food.

The Avocado and Jalapeño-Cucumber martinis are at the top of my list, but you cannot go wrong with any of them.  

Avocado margarita

Jalapeño-Cucumber margarita

The staff might also be able to create a Mezcal margarita, which is not listed on the menu but has a very distinct taste (reminds me of Rome burning).

The Sweet and Spice Margarita has a very unique taste to it, but is a great choice if you enjoy a non-traditional and somewhat spicy cocktail.

In terms of entrees, there are a lot to choose from and it is no easy decision.

The tacos are popular and I absolutely love the Tuna Crudo tacos, which are essentially ahi tuna tacos.  Amazing flavor and great fish!

Yes, I did order double tuna tacos.

I wanted to try something else new and ordered the Pato Gordo slow-cooked duck burrito.  I know what you are thinking, and I was thinking the same thing.  Duck is not exactly a typical burrito meat and moreover, duck is not usually my favorite meat.  But I gave it a try and I was so happy I did!

The Pato Gordo had incredible flavor and was much smaller than I was expecting.  While the Tuna Crudo tacos may be my absolute favorite entree on the menu, these burritos are really, really good too.

If you prefer a simpler entree, the quesadillas are all really good choices. They are large, oozing with freshly melted cheese and will hit the spot.

The Chicken and Roasted Corn Empandas are also very filling, and I enjoy topping them with the salsa and/or guacamole from earlier in the meal.

Every table will also receive an assortment of side dishes to enjoy with your meal.  Try them all, because they each will work well with whatever you order.

Arguably the most difficult aspect of dining at Sabor is leaving room for dessert.  Bring your stretchy pants because it is totally worth it!

Dessert is served to all guests on a tray and feel free to ask for more.  Royal Caribbean describes them as "Caja de Dulces", which means "box of sweets" and it is an indulgent selection of Mexican-inspired mini desserts.

All the desserts are rich, delicious and will leave you questioning why you ever ate anything earlier in the meal (Oh yea, it was because that food was awesome too).  

My top picks are the chocolate crepe filled with cayenne chocolate & marscapone sauce, chocolate & banana empanadas, cafe con leche.  I would not fault you for loving any of the others, because they are all outstanding.

Overall

Sabor Modern Mexican's great reputation remains unchanged.  While it may be hidden on deck 4 in what used to be a night club, savvy Royal Caribbean guests know this is where you go on your Royal Caribbean cruise for some of the best food onboard.

If it sounds like just about everything I sampled was excellent, then it is because that is exactly what happened.  There is a wonderful fix of Mexican favorites and contemporary classics to satisfy all guests.  There is as much flavor as there are options to choose from on the menu.

If you were to run into another Royal Caribbean fan and start talking about the amazing food onboard, most of the time a restaurant like Chops Grille gets mentioned, but Sabor is quickly on its way to becoming the best restaurant on a Royal Caribbean ship because of the tantalizing dishes available and incredible flavor each item has.  The word "sabor" means "flavor" in Spanish and few restaurants offer as much flavor as Sabor Modern Mexican.

Sabor Modern Mexican is open for lunch on sea days between noon - 1:30 p.m. and dinner every night between 5:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. for dinner. We reviewed Sabor Modern Mexican aboard Freedom of the Seas.

Cost: The price for Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas for lunch is $19 per guest and dinner is $29 per guest.

Royal Caribbean cancels two cruise ship stops in St. Thomas due to expected storm

In:
22Aug2016

Royal Caribbean has canceled to scheduled stops in St. Thomas due to an approaching tropical storm.

Concerns over a tropical disturbance in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, Invest 99-L, which may develop into a tropical depression or storm in the days ahead, forced Royal Caribbean to make the change, according to Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe.

St. Thomas Source is reporting Oasis of the Seas was scheduled to visit Crown Bay on August 23 and the Freedom of the Seas was scheduled for August 24.

According to guests onboard, Oasis of the Seas will skip both St. Thomas and St. Kitts, and instead visit San Juan on August 23 from 1:30pm to 11:30pm, then have a sea day, and then visit Labadee from 8am to 4:30pm.

Freedom of the Seas will skip both St. Thomas and St. Martin and instead be at sea on August 23, then stop at Costa Maya, Mexico on August 24, Cozumel, Mexico on August 25, and then spend the remaining days at sea before returning back to Port Canaveral on August 28.

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