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10 things you should know before cruising onboard Freedom of the Seas

29 Jul 2023

With a gross registered tonnage of 156,271 and maximum passenger capacity of 4,515, Freedom of the Seas is not a small ship by any means. In fact, when launched in 2006, she was the largest cruise ship in the world and the first to feature the FlowRider surf simulator!

Today, she is surpassed by Oasis and (in 2024) Icon Class ships. While you will not find all the bells and whistles on Freedom that you do onboard newer ships, there is still a lot to appreciate about this beloved vessel. 

Here are 10 things you should know before cruising onboard Freedom of the Seas.

RelatedWhat it's like to cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas in 2023

Utilize the Cruise Planner ahead of time to take advantage of pre-cruise discounts 


Once you have placed your deposit, you will gain access to Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site. This is your go-to place to see everything that is available onboard Freedom of the Seas. 

Here, you will have the option to book shore excursions, drink packages, specialty restaurants, internet packages and more.

You can also decide whether you want to book any for-a-fee activities, such as a FlowRider surf lesson, sushi making class, or All Access Ship Tour. 


By purchasing items and packages in advance, you can take advantage of Royal Caribbean's pre-cruise sales. While the actual discount varies, it is not uncommon to see drink packages marked down anywhere from 20% to 40%. 

If you want until you get on the ship, you will be stuck paying the onboard pricing for everything! 

She underwent a $116 million dollar renovation in 2019, meaning there is more to see and do onboard than before

Freedom of the Seas sailing away from Miami

Freedom of the Seas underwent an extreme bow to stern makeover in 2019. New features, such as the Perfect Storm water slide duo, updated Caribbean resort-style pool deck with The Lime & Coconut Bar, Giovanni's Italian Kitchen, and dedicated spaces for kids and teens, were added. 

Other restaurant additions include the complimentary poolside El Loco Fresh, as well as specialty Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. 


Younger children will love the Splashaway Bay aqua park, while teens will appreciate Social033, a teens-only hangout with private outdoor deck. 

Many public areas got a fresh too, including the adults-only Solarium and Boleros.

You will not find any Broadway-style shows on Freedom of the Seas


While Royal Caribbean is known for their entertainment, not all cruise ships have the advertised Broadway-style musicals or water shows with high drivers, aerialists, and dancers. 

From the ice skating show called to two Royal Caribbean original productions, headlining acts, and numerous game shows, there's no lack of entertainment options onboard Freedom of the Seas.

The first original production is called Marquee and showcases a collection of Broadway songs with sets that try to replicate the specific show. The second, Once Upon a Time, highlights different fairytales including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. 

Adults can (and should) relax in the cantilevered hot tubs


Freedom of the Seas was the first cruise ship to add cantilevered hot tubs onboard. Now, you can find them on other Freedom Class ships, as well as Oasis Class ships, too. 

In the Solarium, you will find two hot tubs that jet out over the side of the ship. One is located on the port side, while the other is across the ship on the starboard side. 

They are enclosed with glass panels, making it so that you are able to look out at the surroundings while relaxing in the whirlpool. 

Plan on bringing a portable charger or cruise line approved power strip


Like most older cruise ships, Freedom of the Seas' staterooms are not equipped with endless outlets. You will only find two American plugs in standard staterooms located near the desk, meaning that there are no charging options if you want to use your device in bed. 

There is a third European outlet if you have a converter handy. Even so, you may want to be able to charge multiple devices at once, whether that be phones, tablets, or smart watches.

If you have more than two people staying in one room, you will definitely want to ensure that you have a way for everyone to be able to at least charge their phones at the same time. 

RelatedI paid $1500 for an inside cabin on the Freedom of the Seas: take a look inside my tiny windowless room

There is a sun deck at the aft of the ship behind the FlowRider that offers great wake views 


I did not venture up to the FlowRider until the final afternoon of my 4-day cruise. To my surprise, I found there to be an empty sun deck at the back of the ship right behind the surf simulator! Sure, the noise from the sports deck was noticeable, but it was not much different than that found at the pool deck. 

If you are unable to find chairs near the pool or simply want to soak in better ocean views with fewer people around while still sitting in the sun, head to the aft of Deck 13. There, you will find a staircase leading down to this area! 

Take time to familiarize yourself with the deck plans ahead of time, especially for shorter sailings

Freedom of the Seas in 2023

On a similar note, you should always explore the ship as early as possible. You never know what hidden areas you will come across. 

Prior to boarding the ship, take some time to look over the deck plan. Do you know where your cabin is located in proximity to the Windjammer? What about the Royal Promenade and Adventure Ocean? 

When check-in opens, you might want to consider booking an earlier arrival time, as this will give you more time on embarkation day to wander around the ship before the sail away festivities begin. 

Related15 ways to speed up the embarkation process and board your cruise ship faster

Through July 2024, you do not have much variety in itineraries

Wonder and Freedom in CocoCay

From now until July 2024, Freedom of the Seas is mostly making 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay

In December, there is a single 5-night sailing to Mexico in CocoCay, while Royal Caribbean is also offering one 4-night cruise to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in April 2024. 

Starting next summer, she will begin making 6- to 8-night cruises to the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean. You will be able to visit anywhere from Castries, St. Lucia and Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis to Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica. 

If you are sailing soon, you should expect to find a brand-new port area in Nassau 


In May 2023, Nassau opened the first phase of their upgrade cruise port. This cost $300 million and meant not only the addition of new berths to accommodate more ships, but a new port area that no longer immediately exits into the hustle and bustle of Nassau. 

Instead, you can enjoy a leisurely walk through the plaza and browse the local stores, wait in line for a cab to Atlantis, Cable Beach, and Baha Mar at the decided taxi stand, or grab something to drink. There is even a gelato shop!

RelatedNassau, Bahamas opened the first phase of its cruise port revamp. Here's what's new and different

Onboard, you will find five complimentary dining options, ranging from the three-story Main Dining Room to El Loco Fresh for poolside tacos


Food is a major component of any cruise vacation. Some guests like to get their base fare worth and only dine at complimentary venues, while others prefer to splurge on specialty dining. Regardless of your preference, there are plenty of dining options to choose from.

In addition to room service, which is complimentary if you order continental breakfast during certain hours, you have the Main Dining Room, Sorrento's, Windjammer, Café Promenade, and El Loco Fresh.

None of these venues cost you anything extra, and you can eat as much from them as you'd like! 


Specialty restaurants include Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, Chops Grille, Giovanni's Italian Kitchen, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Chef's Table, and Johnny Rockets. 

I paid $1500 for an inside cabin on the Freedom of the Seas: take a look inside my tiny windowless room

18 Jul 2023

I sailed onboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas and booked the cheapest stateroom possible. 


Making her launch in 2006, Freedom of the Seas is the namesake ship of the Freedom Class ship. When she debuted, she became the largest cruise ship in the world, a title that Royal Caribbean ships have held ever since.  

In early 2020, she received $116 million in upgrades through Royal Caribbean's Royal Amplification program, during which she got the Perfect Storm water slide duo, upgraded resort-style Caribbean pool deck, Splashway Bay, and new dining venues, such as an enormous Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, and El Loco Fresh. 

Elizabeth in front of Freedom of the Seas

During a recent 4-night cruise to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, I paid a little over $1,500, including port fees and gratuities, for a guaranteed inside stateroom, meaning that I was not immediately assigned my exact cabin.  

If you're wondering why so much for an inside room, there's two reasons.

First, this was a holiday sailing over the very popular July 4th holiday. Cruises over a holiday will always cost more due to higher demand.

Second, I booked this cruise just a month before the sailing.  I booked it on June 2, 2023 for an embarkation date of July 3, 2023. Booking a last-minute sailing doesn't necessarily mean a deal.

Earlier this year, I sailed onboard Liberty of the Seas and was disappointed in the overall shape that my interior cabin was in-- it definitely needed some tending to! 

I was interested to see how my experience onboard an older Freedom Class vessel would be and was pleased to find that this cabin was in much better condition. 


As soon as I walked in, I noticed that the layout was extremely similar to that on Liberty, with the small loveseat pushed against the right wall. 

My cabin measured close to 150 square feet, which is the average size of most interior cabins across their fleet. 


Since I was sailing alone, I decided to keep the two beds pushed together. If you are traveling with friends and family, you might want to separate them into two twin-sized beds to help maximize the limited floor space.  


Beside the bed there were two nightstands. Even though the stateroom's phone was sitting on top of one, there was enough space for my glasses and a glass of water at night. 

Above each nightstand was a lamp attached to the wall and reading light. 


The desk area felt spacious with more than enough storage, especially considering that there were hidden shelves behind the mirrors on the left and right. 

One thing I have learned to be prepared for on older ships is the lack of available outlets, so that did not come as a surprise to me on Freedom of the Seas. 

There were no outlets or USB plugs beside of the bed. There were two American outlets, as well as one European plug, located at the desk. 


The cabin also came equipped with a mini-fridge. There was a single adjustable shelf inside that could be moved according to your preferences, and while I only used it once, it kept my beverage cool. 


Immediately after entering the cabin, you will find a closet on the right. Inside, there were plenty of shelves and hangers. Even if I was sailing with another guest, I do not think we would have struggled unpacking, especially since this was only a 4-night cruise. 

The safe was also located inside of the closet. On a recent cruise onboard Navigator of the Seas, it was in a shelf above the television. 


The bathroom inside of my stateroom was as I expected: a small, standard cruise ship bathroom. There were a few signs of wear and tear, especially along the top border of the mirror; however, it was minor. 

Compared to newer ships, such as Symphony of the Seas, the sink is located in the middle of the vanity, rather than to one side. This means that there is available storage space on both sides of the sink. Plus, the vanity tends to be wider, too. 


There was more storage underneath the sink, and this is where I kept my cosmetics bag and hair straightener. On the back of the door were two hooks to hang items like towels and wet swimsuits. 

One thing that pleasantly surprised me was the water pressure, both in the shower and the sink! It was so strong that I had to be careful turning the sink on. 


In terms of location, my cabin (#8677) was situated at the aft of the ship on Deck 8. While I enjoyed being able to walk three decks to reach either the pool deck or Royal Promenade, I wish it had been more centrally located. 


Overall, I was happy with my stateroom onboard Freedom of the Seas.It was cozy and a comfortable place to return to each evening. I had a fantastic stateroom attendant, which always makes the experience better, too.  

What it's like to cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas in 2023

07 Jul 2023

If you have an upcoming cruise onboard Freedom of the Seas or are just curious as to what you can expect on this ship, we have a first-hand look at what's happening onboard.

Freedom of the Seas in 2023

Freedom of the Seas is a Freedom Class ship that was initially launched in 2006. In early 2020, she underwent Royal Caribbean's Royal Amplification program and received $116 million in upgrades. This means that if you sailed onboard prior to the pandemic, you would have had a different experience, as the ship received new venues, as well as updated some of their old ones. 

This was not my first sailing on Freedom of the Seas. My first-ever Royal Caribbean cruise was a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise back in 2011, so I was eager to see how the ship compared to my childhood memories. 

Here is a look into what it is like to sail on Freedom of the Seas in 2023. 

The boarding process


On embarkation day, I arrived just a few minutes shy of my check-in time of 12:30pm. I left my hotel, which was located near the Miami International Airport (MIA), at 11:30am and, after a quick stop at Target to pick up sunscreen, was at the terminal by 12:20pm. 

RelatedThe costly cruising mistake newbies make planning their first cruise

There was minimal traffic driving into the port, and I was able to quickly locate a porter and drop off my luggage. 

There was no line to enter the terminal, either. In fact, they were instructing people with check-in times as late as 1:30pm to go ahead and go inside. 


As soon as you enter the building, you ascend up an escalator and are greeter by port agents who instruct you to an available check-in agent who will scan your Set Sail pass, verify your travel documentation (i.e., passport or birth certificate/photo I.D.), and update your security image, if not done beforehand. 

Afterwards, you go through security and head up another set of escalators to get your embarkation picture taken and officially board the ship. 

To date, I think this was one of the quickest check-ins that I have ever had. Usually, I select the earliest possible time and am often seated before being able to board. Since I had a later time, I was worried that I would be faced with long lines. Within fifteen minutes of arriving at the terminal, I was onboard and exploring the ship.


Rather than go to the Windjammer for lunch, I opted to head up to the pool deck and grab something to eat from El Loco Fresh. There was a short line, but it as nothing like the nearby Windjammer. Plus, the timing worked out great because as soon as I finished lunch, staterooms were ready to be accessed.  

When sail away rolled around, I was able to easily find a spot on Deck 12, despite showing up a few minutes into the party. I had a great view of both the passing scenery and lively atmosphere on the deck below, which was pretty crowded. 



The only other times I have cruised out of Miami have been onboard Symphony of the Seas. Both times were hectic due to the amount of people trying to leave the terminal (and port) at once. 

When I got my luggage tags, I was assigned group 37. On disembarkation morning, however, my app said that I was group 35. Rather than waiting until 9:15am, I was able to get off the ship around 8:40am. Within twenty minutes, I was outside waiting for a Lyft. 

Since there was less traffic that I anticipated, I only had to wait ten minutes for my ride to make its way to the pick-up spot. Overall, it was a smooth and quick disembarkation! 



My home for my 4-night cruise was an interior stateroom located in the aft on the ship on Deck 8.

A few weeks ago, I stayed in another interior stateroom onboard Navigator of the Seas and am truly a fan of Deck 8 on Voyager and Freedom Class ships. It is only three decks below the pool deck and Windjammer and three above the Royal Promenade, meaning that I found myself using the stairs more often than the elevators!

RelatedWhat it's like to cruise on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas in 2023


While the cabin was dated (as expected), it was comfortable and had everything that I needed, from a mini-fridge to keep my bottled water cool, safe in the closet, and plenty of hangers for my clothes.

If I was traveling with another person, the lack of outlets would have frustrated me, as there were only two located on the desk. 


I was pleasantly surprised by the water pressure in the bathroom, both in the shower and the sink! It was probably the best that I have experience on a cruise yet. I did not have any issues with water temperature, either. 



Since everyone has different tastes and preferences, cruise ship dining is a subjective topic. My favorite meal may be someone else's least favorite! 

On this particular sailing, I skipped the Main Dining Room for dinner. Instead, I ate at the Windjammer, Sorrento's, Playmaker's, and Izumi Hibachi, my favorite of which was Izumi. 

Out of the complimentary dining venues that I ate at, my favorite were El Loco Fresh and Sorrento's. They make for great quick-service bites; however, you can also make a full meal at either place depending on what you get.

A few slices for dinner while on a cruise may not be appealing to some, but it was exactly what I wanted after exploring Nassau and having a late lunch in port. 


Bar food is a favorite of mine, so a stop at Playmaker's is a must on any ship that has it. This was my first time trying the wings, and I was a little disappointed. While they satisfied my need for something spicy, the chicken wings themselves were not the best quality. They were actually some of the smallest wings I have ever seen! 

Teppanyaki is one of my favorite dining experiences, whether on a ship or not. While onboard Freedom of the Seas, I ate at Izumi Hibachi for the first time. In the past, I have stuck exclusively to the sushi. 


The chef was a lot of fun, and I was able to substitute sea scallops for beef tenderloin, meaning that I got to enjoy both lobster and steak! I thought that this meal was worth the splurge and would do it again, especially since I used my onboard credit for the majority of the cost and only paid $13.00 out of pocket. 


Freedom of the Seas does not have a Broadway-style production like some other Royal Caribbean ships do. That being said, they had offerings each night to satisfy those looking to catch a show.

The first night, I saw the ice skating show, Perhaps it was because it was the very first show of the cruise, but, unfortunately, the skaters took quite a few falls. 

My favorite part of the show was the soloist who skated during Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl." She was extremely talented and flawlessly landed each trick. 


The first production show that was offered in the Royal Theater was Marquee, which showcased a collection of Broadway songs. As expected, the quality was not that of their other Broadway-style shows, but it was an entertaining forty-five minutes. 

The following night was the only headlining act of the cruise: Mike Marino, a comedian who has performed on "The Tonight Show," "The Martin Short Show," "Comics Unleashed," and "The Boomed Show." While I have seen better comedians on ships, there were some jokes that had the crowd crying from laughing, including his impression of what announcements would be like if he was a cruise ship captain. 


The show on the last evening was Once Upon a Time. Personally, I preferred this production over Marquee. It highlighted different fairytales, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. 

Numerous different game shows were offered, too, including "Name that Tune," "60 Seconds or Less," "Majority Rules," "The Crazy Quest," "Friendly Feud," and "If You Know It, Dance It."

Onboard activities 


There was no shortage of things to do onboard Freedom of the Seas, from organized events to onboard activities. You will find a FlowRider surf simulator, Perfect Storm water slides, mini-golf, rock climbing, sports court, ice skating, and more.

The colorful resort-style pool deck cannot be found on many older ships, so Freedom stands out in this way. It definitely gives the ship a more tropical and "new" feel. 


When it came to organized activities, there were offerings ranging from trivia and sudoku to sporting competitions, bingo, laser tag, archery, and karaoke. Checking the daily planner is crucial to ensure that you do not miss out on anything that sounds intriguing to you, as the only announcements pertaining to activities were in the evenings to tell guests about the shows. 

My cruise had a single sea day, so I planned to get up early to find a comfortable seat in the Solarium. I was surprised when 11:00am rolled around and there were still open seats, albeit not a ton

Onboard internet 


With download speeds of 26.2mbps upload speeds of 5.92mbps, the internet was not as fast as what I had experienced on Navigator of the Seas a few weeks prior; however, it was sufficient to send and receive texts, browse social media, and more. 

Ports of call

Nassau, Bahamas


My 4-night cruise went to Nassau, Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay, with the first stop being in Nassau. I was most excited for this port, as the first phase of their $300 million port revamp opened just a few months ago. In the past, Nassau has been one of my least favorite destinations, so I wondered if this would change my perception. 

Now, the port is able to accommodate up to six cruise ships per day, including tree Oasis or Icon Class ships, meaning that the port can see up to 30,000 cruise passengers per day. Prior to the revamp, Nassau could accommodate 20,000 guests. 


After a short walk from the cruise berths, you enter a peaceful port area filled with local vendors selling anything from t-shirts to straw hats, alcohol beverages, jewelry, and more. You no longer have to exit the cruise port to do your souvenir shopping. 

Moreover, I appreciated the taxi stand inside of the port. If you want to take a cab to Atlantis, Cable Beach, or Baha Mar, all you have to do is walk up and get in the correct line.  

RelatedNassau, Bahamas opened the first phase of its cruise port revamp. Here's what's new and different

When, and if, you are ready to leave the terminal, you will exit right across the street from Pirate Republic Brewing Company, which has some incredible mozzarella sticks, and The Bahamas Shirt Company. When you are ready to return to your ship, you will enter the terminal from the same area. 


Between the new port area and the upcoming Royal Beach Club in 2025, I can see Nassau becoming a more desirable port of call. 

Perfect Day at CocoCay


This was my fourth visit to CocoCay; however, it was the first time that there was only one ship in port. This gave the island experience a completely different feel. No matter when you strolled up to the beach, you could find a seat on the third or fourth row. 

Plus, there were plenty of tables at the Chill Grill for lunch. In the past, there have been times where I have struggled to find an open seat!  

If you would like to do something a little bit more active than lounge on the complimentary beach chairs, consider booking the Thrill Water Park. Here, you can ride the tallest water slide in North America: Daredevil's Peak.


There are numerous other water slides, as well as a fun wave pool, to keep everyone in your party entertained all day. You are also able to exit and re-enter the park with the tap of your SeaPass card, so you can explore the island in between rides. 

Those who want a more exclusive experience should look into booking a day pass to the Coco Beach Club. This section of the island has plush seating, a sit-down restaurant featuring more upscale dishes, and even its own pool. 

There are countless ways to enjoy your day at CocoCay; just make sure you research your options ahead of time!

Royal Caribbean cancels Freedom of the Seas sailings for drydock work

28 Jun 2023

Royal Caribbean informed guests on select sailings in November and December 2024 that their cruises have been cancelled in order for the ship to undergo work.

Freedom of the Seas aerial at CocoCay

Guests and travel agents received notifications of cancellations of select Freedom of the Seas cruises, which includes the popular Christmas sailings.

"We’re continuously working to improve our ships and the many amenities they have to offer. We’re taking Freedom of the Seas into dry dock for routine maintenance and exciting improvements."

It's not unheard of for a cruise to be cancelled because of dry dock work, but the fact it includes one of the most popular times of the year is eye-opening.

Freedom of the Seas sailing away from Miami

Christmas and New Years week is among the most popular times for a cruise, and it also commands the highest prices.

Cruise ships undergo work every five years (or less), and Freedom of the Seas finished her last dry dock in 2020 when Freedom of the Seas wrapped up a $116 million Royal Amplification.

Guests that were booked on that sailing have three choices:

Oasis of the Seas in Cozumel

Re-book one of the following 2024 or 2025 itineraries departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

Freedom of the Seas:

  • October 20th, 2024 | 7-Night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day | sailing to:
    • Perfect Day at CocoCay | Labadee, Haiti| Falmouth, Jamaica | and George Town, Grand Cayman
  • October 27th, 2024 | 7-Night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day | sailing to:
    • Perfect Day at CocoCay | San Juan, Puerto Rico| and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
  • February 16th, 2025 | 7-Night Eastern Caribbean | sailing to:
    • Nassau, Bahamas | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas | and St. Johns, Antigua

Oasis of the Seas:

  • November 16th & December 14th in 2024 or January 11th in 2025 | 8-Night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day | sailing to:
    • Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis | Philipsburg, St. Maarten | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas | and Perfect Day at CocoCay
  • November 30th & December 28th in 2024 or January 25th in 2025 | 8-Night Southern Caribbean & Perfect Day |sailing to:
    • Oranjestad, Aruba | Willemstad, Curacao | and Perfect Day at CocoCay

Your original stateroom category price will either be protected at your original cruise fare rate or reduced to the current cruise fare rate (whichever is lower). This excludes taxes, fees, gratuities, and other non-cruise fare items.

And, you’ll also be reimbursed for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees incurred (such as a flight, train ticket, or rental car).

Royal Caribbean will cover up to $200 USD per guest for Domestic changes, or up to $400 USD per guest for International changes.

Re-book any other Royal Caribbean International sailing

Royal Caribbean will waive any non-refundable deposit change fees.

You’ll be responsible for any difference in pricing for your cruise fare, taxes, fees, gratuities, and other non-cruise fare items.

And, you’ll also be reimbursed for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees incurred (such as a flight, train ticket, or rental car).

Royal Caribbean will cover up to $200 USD per guest for Domestic changes, or up to $400 USD per guest for International changes.


Cancel and refund

A full refund of any paid portion of your cruise fare (including non-refundable deposits) and any pre-paid amenities to the original form of payment, within 14 business days.

What work is planned for Freedom of the Seas?

Side of Freedom of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has not announced the scope of work expected to be completed for Freedom of the Seas when she goes in for dry dock.

When cruise ships get routine maintenance done, it usually entails the ship being taken from the water so that it can be repainted and critical systems taken offline so they can be properly maintained.

Royal Caribbean rarely divulges the work being done on a ship that is getting refurbished, unless it's a major upgrade.

Does Elon Musk's Starlink internet make this the best cruise ship to work remotely right now?

14 Jul 2022

When you think of working remotely, a cruise ship may not be the first setting that pops into your head. However, with the latest technology updates on certain ships, maybe it should be.

Freedom of the Seas sailing away from Miami

The FCC recently approved the use of Space X’s Starlink service on cruise ships. A few weeks ago, we cruised on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas to put Starlink to the test.

In our review, we noticed that the Wi-Fi speeds were better than any other at-sea internet we’ve used before, making it the best option we’ve used to stay connected while cruising.

It's not clear if Royal Caribbean will continue to offer Starlink, or if/when it will be added to other ships. For as long as they do offer it however, it opens the door for remote workers to efficiently work from a cruise ship.

Freedom of the Seas offers 3 and 4 night cruises to the Bahamas, leaving from Miami, and offers plenty of space for those needing to get some work done. These shorter weekend cruises are the perfect way to try out a cruise for the first time, or a new ship. It also provides a great opportunity to try working remotely from a new location.

For our sailing, our option to purchase internet was the same as the Voom packages, offering Surf & Stream, and Surf packages.

We recommend purchasing the Surf & Stream internet package if you’ll be using any video conferencing while working. If you only need to check your email or use a chat system, like Slack or Google Chat, the Surf option should work well. 

When looking for somewhere quiet to take meetings or focus, the best place we found to work was the Library / Card Room. This smaller room often goes unnoticed by other cruisers, meaning you’ll often find yourself a quiet room with few other people.

Some of our other favorite spots to work from were the Star Lounge, Viking Crown Lounge, and the outside seating areas on Decks 4 & 12. While most of these spaces don’t have activities during the day, we recommend checking the cruise planner prior to settling in to be sure you won’t have any surprise disruptions while you work. 

With the addition of Starlink, most of the ship had strong connectivity, and was much more reliable than we had ever experienced before.

Our interior stateroom did have some buffering when logging onto a video call (primarily due to our cabin being further from a wifi hub), but we were able to load, stream and surf without issue. 

One of the biggest frustrations on other ships we've experiences is trying to use the internet while sailing between ports of call. With the other at-sea internet offerings, it would take minutes for a single web page to load, and we didn't even consider trying to stream any videos.

Starlink gave us the ability to bypass these struggles, and ensure that we were connected regardless of where the ship was located.

With the ability of being able to work and connect seamlessly during the day, enjoy all of the activities in the evening, and wake up somewhere new every morning, Freedom of the Seas may just be the best place to work remotely now. 

I tried Elon Musk's Starlink internet on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

28 Jun 2022

I went on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas to put the SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet to the test. 

Starlink towers on Freedom of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Wi-Fi speeds have been hit or miss, depending on the ship. Even ships with the higher speeds (typically new ships), it was still slower than our internet at home.

For those of us that don't completely disconnect on cruises, it is often frustrating to get websites and videos to load, and even connect with friends and family at home. I considered it a cost of cruising, as being on a ship in the middle of the sea doesn't give you many options.

That is, until now.  

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean Group filed with the Federal Communications Commission, disclosing a partnership with SpaceX Services, Inc. While certain airline carriers, including Hawaiian Airlines, have worked out deals to offer Starlink to their passengers, Royal Caribbean is the first cruise liner to file the request. At the time of filing, Starlink was not approved for use on moving vehicles, and the filing called on the FCC to speed up the process.

Around the same time of the filing, passengers started noticing that the Freedom of the Seas was outfitted with Starlink satellite dishes, and quietly testing the service for those onboard.

Hoping that Starlink would still be actively testing, I booked a weekend cruise on Freedom to try it for myself. 

My goal was to test the Wi-Fi speeds on board, while sailing and at Perfect Day at CocoCay. There was no indication that Starlink would still be offered by the time I got onboard, as it can be pulled down at any time during its testing. It also isn't clear if or when other ships will get this service. 

For this sailing, we purchased both the Voom Surf and Voom Surf & Stream internet packages to test. Royal Caribbean’s Voom service is boasted as the fastest internet at sea, being 6x faster than other internet at sea.

On embarkation day, we headed to the Royal Promenade on deck 5 to start the testing process. Using two laptops, my husband John tested the Surf & Stream while I tested the Surf speed.

Once we started the speed test, it showed that we were connected to SpaceX Starlink, meaning that the Starlink trial onboard Freedom was still active.

It was instantly clear that this internet service was above and beyond what Voom typically offered.

The Surf package showed a download speed of 9.01 Mbps and upload speed of 20.34 Mbps. The Surf & Stream gave a download speed of 77.03 Mbps and upload speed of 15.72 Mbps.

On both devices, we tried watching YouTube videos and Netflix shows to see how they would work. Both packages allowed us to instantly start watching the videos, with no lag or buffering time. 

Shortly after these tests, John moved to the Star Lounge to take a Zoom call using the Surf & Stream service. The zoom call connected easily, and there was no buffering or freezing for his video and audio.

Later that afternoon, he moved to our stateroom to take another Zoom call, but realized that the service in our interior stateroom (7121) was taking longer to connect, and buffering his video. He ended up moving back down to deck 5 to finish the call.

Being in an interior stateroom, between plenty of metal walls, we weren’t surprised that the quality wasn’t as clear as it is in the open areas that have minimal Wi-Fi signal interference.

After he wrapped up his calls, the ship began to sail away, while we waited to see how the service held up once we were farther from port.

That evening, about 3 hours after we set sail, we tried the tests again, from inside our stateroom. This time Surf gave us a download speed of 2.85 Mbps and upload speeds of 3.74 and Surf & Stream gave us a download speed of 19.9 Mbps and upload speed of 5.42 Mbps.

While the Surf & Stream speeds were higher, we found that we were both able to stream shows on either package, with just a slight loading time for the Surf package.

The next morning we docked in Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal’s private island in the Bahamas. We were excited to test the speeds while on the island, which includes wifi access if you purchased a package on the ship.

To our surprise, the service remained strong even on the south side of the island, with Surf showing download speeds of 19.93 Mbps and upload speeds of 8.19 Mbps, while Surf & Stream showed download speeds of 52.50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10.10 Mbps.

Later that day while sailing between CocoCay and Nassau, we tried using Facetime on each package to see how the video and audio quality would be. We were happy to see that both were crystal clear on each end.

On other cruises while using Royal’s Voom service, the video would cut in and out, become blurry, and the audio would lag, making it a frustrating experience for everyone involved.

On the last day of our cruise, we decided to take our test up a notch and live stream on the Royal Caribbean Blog TikTok account for both the International Belly Flop competition and the Battle of the Sexes game show. Both events were able to stream without interruptions or buffering. 

Overall, Starlink has blown my cruising Wi-Fi expectations out of the water.

While we did notice that the service slowed in our interior room, we were still able to stream shows and use the internet much faster than the typical Voom packages we’ve experienced in the past.

We were particularly impressed with the Surf package, which to our surprise allowed us to stream almost as well as the Surf & Stream package. That may or may not remain a feature if Starlink gets approved for general use on cruise ships.

While many people continue to work remotely, if adopted permanently Starlink will be a great solution for working from a cruise, or just stay connected while out at sea. 

The only downside to the Starlink service on Royal Caribbean that we found will be having to adjust our Wi-Fi expectations when sailing on other ships without Starlink.

Freedom of the Seas Guide & Review

31 May 2022

If you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend cruise getaway, look no further than Freedom of the Seas, which was recently amplified to add the latest and greatest of Royal Caribbean’s activities and amenities onboard. Sailing 3 and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas, Freedom of the Seas makes for a perfect mini-vacation.

Freedom of the Seas name

If you’re considering booking a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, be sure to read this planning and overview guide so you are fully prepared for your upcoming cruise vacation.

Freedom of the Seas Overview

Freedom of the Seas in front of Rocks

Freedom of the Seas is the first ship in Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Class. Freedom Class cruise ships were once the largest cruise ships in the world, and despite no longer having that title, they are still considered big vessels with no shortage of things to do onboard.

Freedom of the Seas was completed in 2006, but was amplified in early 2020 through Royal Caribbean’s Royal Amplified program. Her amplification added many new features to the ship including water slides and a revamped pool deck.

Read more: Freedom of the Seas completes $116 million Royal Amplification

Measuring 156,271 in gross tonnage, 1,111 feet long, and 185 feet wide, Freedom of the Seas is no small ship. She has a capacity of nearly 4000 guests at double capacity, 14 guest-accessible decks, and 1,963 staterooms.

The ship has a promenade-style layout, with thoroughfares on decks 4 and 5 that run through the ship, complete with dining, entertainment, bars, lounges, guest-service areas, and retail stores. These decks, along with the outdoor space on the pool deck, tend to be the main hubs of activity onboard.

Freedom of the Seas Pool deck

The pool deck on Freedom of the Seas offers a classic Caribbean cruise experience. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and reggae music bring a party vibe to every sailing.

There are two main pools on the pool deck and several jacuzzis open to guests of all ages (excluding children in diapers). Outside of the main pools is a full-sized Splashaway Bay aqua park for kids, which features slides, dump buckets, water sprayers, a baby splash pad, and a shallow pool.

The adults-only Solarium is also located on the Freedom of the Seas pool deck. The Solarium is open to guests aged 16 and older. Unlike on some other ships, the Freedom of the Seas Solarium is not enclosed, so the pool is in direct sunlight. There are plenty of seating areas and jacuzzis located within the shade, however, and the pool chairs in the Solarium are padded, making for an extra comfy place to relax.

Freedom of the Seas’ pool deck was upgraded to a Caribbean resort-style design during her amplification in 2020. Colorful decor dots the deck, including in-pool lounge chairs that are perfect for the warmest of days.

Part of the Caribbean pool deck design was the addition of The Lime & Coconut bar, where guests can enjoy a variety of signature cocktails including the Watermelon Rita and Rum Runner. The Lime & Coconut spans 3 decks on the ship, creating a fun party atmosphere onboard.

Casitas are also available on the pool deck of Freedom of the Seas. These are private, covered daybeds available for reservation at an extra cost. Outside of casitas, the pool deck has a variety of seating, from pool chairs to comfy loungers. Suite guests can also enjoy a private seating area on Deck 12.

If you’re hungry while on the pool deck, be sure to try El Loco Fresh, Royal Caribbean’s grab-and-go Mexican restaurant located adjacent to Splashaway Bay. Unlimited, complimentary soft serve ice cream is available as well.

Freedom of the Seas dining

Freedom of the Seas may no longer be the biggest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, but she has plenty of restaurants and lounges to enjoy. Whether you choose to eat exclusively at complimentary dining venues or splurge on specialty dining, you won’t go hungry during a Freedom of the Seas cruise.

Complimentary dining venues on Freedom of the Seas:

  • Main Dining Room, the main restaurant on any Royal Caribbean ship, offering a classic sit-down dining experience in a 3-story venue
  • Windjammer Marketplace, a buffet open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a variety of both American and international cuisines
  • El Loco Fresh, a grab-and-go Mexican-style restaurant with burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and tacos
  • Cafe Promenade, a small cafe offering specialty coffees and teas along with small grab-and-go items like muffins and sandwiches
  • Sorrento’s, offering unlimited pizza all day and night

Specialty dining venues on Freedom of the Seas:

  • Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, an Italian restaurant with pizzas and fresh pasta
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the best spot for Japanese cuisine onboard
  • Playmakers, a sports bar serving up classic American bar food like wings and nachos
  • Johnny Rockets, a 1950s style American restaurant with milkshakes, burgers, and fries
  • Chef’s Table, an intimate group dining experience where each course is paired with wine
  • Ben & Jerry’s, serving scoops of ice cream, sundaes, and milkshakes

Deciding whether to eat at complimentary or specialty dining venues ultimately depends on your preferences and budget. Many passengers opt to only eat at complimentary venues, having most meals at either El Loco Fresh, the Windjammer, or Main Dining Room. Both venues will offer a wide range of cuisines and rotating menus, so it’s unlikely you’ll get bored with the complimentary options on Freedom of the Seas.

If you’re looking to enhance your dining experience while onboard, though, consider trying out specialty dining. Specialty restaurants are more specialized in one type of cuisine and tend to provide the highest-quality menu items on the ship.

Read more: How to know if you should buy a Royal Caribbean dining package

If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, specialty dining venues can be a great choice. Restaurants like Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, Izumi, and Chops Grille offer a more private, exclusive dining experience than complimentary venues.

Freedom of the Seas bars & lounges

A Royal Caribbean cruise is synonymous with sipping a tropical cocktail on the pool deck, and there’s no shortage of places to grab a drink onboard Freedom of the Seas.

The following bars and lounges can be found onboard:

  • Schooner Bar
  • Boleros
  • Solarium Bar
  • The Lime & Coconut
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • Casino bar
  • Star Lounge
  • Bull & Bear Pub
  • Vintages
  • R Bar
  • The Plaza Bar (Windjammer)
  • Viking Crown Lounge
  • Diamond Club
  • Suite Lounge

Each lounge has its own atmosphere, with venues like Vintages offering a relaxed atmosphere perfect for enjoying a glass of wine. Venues like Boleros are more lively, offering live music and dancing in the evening.

The Viking Crown Lounge offers some of the best views on Freedom of the Seas, with a 180 degree view of the pool deck and ocean. If you’re looking for a place to relax and get away from the crowds during the day or night, this can be a great spot.

Things to do on Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas offers a wonderful cruising experience for all ages and interest levels due to the wide range of activities available onboard. While there have always been plenty of activities to keep guests busy, the 2020 amplification added several more of Royal Caribbean’s signature activities to enhance the cruise experience.

The Perfect Storm water slides can be found on the sports deck of Freedom of the Seas, which are a set of two racing water slides: the Cyclone and Typhoon. The slides twist and turn (even jetting off the side of the ship) and they are a popular activity for kids and adults alike.

The FlowRider, rock climbing wall, and basketball court are also found on the sports deck, and mini golf is located at the forward section of the pool deck. Inside the ship guests can enjoy ice skating and Battle for Planet Z Laser Tag. All of these signature activities are complimentary for passengers.

If surfing simulators and water slides aren’t your cup of tea, there’s a wide range of other activities onboard as well. Fitness classes, dance classes, table tennis, scrapbooking, karaoke, outdoor movies, trivia, and the casino are sure to make for a fun day at sea.

Adventure Ocean

If you’re traveling with children on Freedom of the Seas, you’ll likely want to enroll them in Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean’s childcare program for ages 6 months to 17 years.

Freedom of the Seas follows Royal Caribbean’s updated Adventure Ocean programming, which is focused on giving kids more freedom and flexibility in choosing activities that they are interested in doing. Craft stations, dodgeball, video games, books, science experiments, and more are available to kids throughout the day.

Adventure Ocean is broken into four age groups, with each group having their own programming and rooms suitable to the age range:

  • AO Babies (6-36 months)
  • AO Juniors (3-5 years old)
  • AO Kids (6-12 years old)
  • Teens (13-17 years old)

In addition to an indoor hangout spot, teens also have access to Social 033, a private outdoor space with lounge chairs and a selfie station. Parents may also opt to bring their children to Play Place, an indoor playground, but as this space is unsupervised parents must be with their children at all times.

Adventure Ocean is mostly complimentary, with the exception of AO Babies and childcare after 10PM. An arcade is also located in Adventure Ocean and open to guests of all ages, although it comes at an extra cost.


There are two main entertainment venues on Freedom of the Seas: the Royal Theater and the Studio B ice skating rink.

While Freedom of the Seas may not have a Broadway show like the other Freedom Class ships, she still offers plenty to enjoy in the Royal Theater. Once Upon A Time, a Royal Caribbean Original Production, brings the rarely told stories of fairy tales to the stage through music and dance. The other signature show, Marquee, brings Broadway spectacles on stage, from shows like La Cage Aux Folles to choreography by Bob Fosse.

In Studio B, guests can enjoy, an ice skating show which features disco music and showcases the importance of freedom throughout time. Projection mapping and set design transforms the rink into a scene from the 1970s as Royal Caribbean’s professional ice cast dance, jump, and twist their way around the ice.

Outside of signature production shows, a variety of other entertainment can be found on Freedom of the Seas, including live music, karaoke, and game shows.

Wellness & Relaxation

Freedom of the Seas may be packed with activities, entertainment, and excitement, but she offers plenty of ways to get away from the hustle and bustle.

Like all Royal Caribbean cruise ships, Freedom of the Seas has the Vitality Spa & Fitness Center, where you can enjoy a variety of spa treatments and fitness facilities. The fitness center offers cardio and strength equipment at no extra charge, although fitness classes like yoga and spinning are available for an extra cost.

Massages, facials, and salon treatments are available to book on Freedom of the Seas, which you can purchase before your cruise or once onboard. Port days often have better discounts available than sea days, so be sure to ask about any onboard specials in the spa.

If you’ve sailed on other Freedom or Voyager Class ships, you may be accustomed to having access to steam rooms and saunas in the fitness center’s locker rooms. Following her amplification, Freedom of the Seas no longer has steam or sauna facilities available, although there are still lockers and bathrooms in the fitness center.

If you’re looking for a quiet space to relax onboard, whether to read a book, watch the ocean, or take a walk, head to the outdoor Promenade deck on deck 4. Unlike on newer Royal Caribbean ships where much of the Promenade deck view is blocked by lifeboats, the Promenade deck on Freedom of the Seas offers unparalleled, expansive views of the ocean.

This can be an excellent spot to take a morning walk or watch the sunset. You can also access the helicopter pad from the Promenade deck, which is one of the best places onboard to watch sailaway or relax with an ocean view.

Freedom of the Seas also has a Library/Card room where you can truly escape to some peace and quiet by reading a book or playing cards and board games.

Freedom of the Seas staterooms

When it comes to picking a cruise ship cabin, there’s a lot to consider. All cabins on Freedom of the Seas include basic amenities like a bed, shower, vanity, television, telephone, chair or couch, closet, nightstands, and cooler. Staterooms can differ widely, however, in size and layout.

Because Freedom of the Seas tends to only sail short cruises, it’s unlikely you’ll be spending much time in your stateroom. Between visiting ports and trying out all the fun activities onboard, your cabin might end up being a place you visit only when you need to sleep or shower.

Nonetheless, it’s important to know which stateroom categories are available on Freedom of the Seas to ensure you book the cabin that fits your budget and preferences best.


Interior cabins are the most basic of staterooms, offering no window, balcony, or natural light. While basic, they offer an excellent value while still providing a comfy place to rest your head at night. Interior cabins can be a nice choice for those who want to plan a budget cruise, would rather save money on a stateroom to splurge on extras like a drink or dining package, or who don’t plan on spending much time in their cabin.


Oceanview cabins are a step up from an interior cabin as they come with a small porthole that looks out to the ocean. Oceanview cabins on Freedom of the Seas can be found in a variety of locations, from those on the side of the ship to cabins overlooking the helicopter pad.

Interior Promenade

The Promenade on Freedom of the Seas is always a hub of activity throughout the cruise. Dotted along the Promenade are interior promenade staterooms. Unlike a regular interior stateroom that offers no window, promenade view rooms have a window looking down into the Royal Promenade.


Balcony staterooms are the quintessential cabin for a cruise vacation, offering a private, outdoor space to enjoy ocean views. Balcony rooms may cost more than interior and oceanview cabins, but still tend to come at an affordable price.


If you’re looking to treat yourself during your Freedom of the Seas cruise, consider booking a suite. A variety of suites are available, from Owner’s Suites to 1 or 2-bedroom Grand Suites.

A new suite stateroom added to Freedom of the Seas during the recent amplification was the Panoramic Suite. These are suites with wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows of the ocean. While they do not have a balcony, they offer plenty of sunlight and views to enjoy.

Aside from a bigger stateroom, suites come with nice perks, including concierge service, Suite Lounge access, upgraded toiletries, and priority embarkation.

Have you cruised on Freedom of the Seas? What were your favorite activities, dining venues, and entertainment options onboard? Let us know!

I'm back from a short cruise: Why a Freedom of the Seas cruise is great

10 May 2022

Just a few days ago I disembarked from a short, 3-night Bahamas cruise on Freedom of the Seas. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I boarded, but I quickly found out that a short cruise has a totally different atmosphere than a longer cruise, bringing a party vibe and jam-packed schedule of fun to the cruise experience… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

This was my first "weekend cruise" and, while short, it provided an excellent weekend getaway on one of Royal Caribbean's most recently updated cruise ships. Freedom of the Seas sails from Miami, Florida biweekly to offer 3 and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas.

While some people may prefer a 7-night cruise or longer, I found plenty of benefits to booking a shorter cruise and ultimately had an amazing weekend onboard. Let’s take a look at why sailing to the Bahamas on Freedom of the Seas is a great option for a cruise vacation.

Fun port days

While for many cruise passengers the ship is considered the destination, I still prefer a port-intensive cruise itinerary. Being able to explore new cultures and countries is my favorite aspect of cruising.

Some 7-night cruises may only include 3 port days with 3 days at sea. Nearly every short cruise on Freedom of the Seas, however, has 2 port days, so you have the opportunity to explore multiple ports in a shorter time frame.

My 3-night cruise visited Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay. In Nassau I was able to visit Pearl Island and spend the day swimming in crystal clear water, kayaking, and enjoying fruity cocktails under the sun. Coupled with a short walk around downtown Nassau and visit to a historic fort, there was no shortage of activities to discover during my day in port.

Plus, a huge benefit of sailing on Freedom of the Seas is that nearly every itinerary includes a stop at Royal Caribbean’s private destination of Perfect Day at CocoCay. Whether you decide to go down the waterslides at Thrill Waterpark, treat yourself to a day at the Coco Beach Club, or simply sunbathe in a beach chair, you're guaranteed to have an excellent beach day.

Additionally, as CocoCay is a private destination, all Royal Caribbean drink packages work on the island, giving passengers more bang for their buck while on shore.

If you’re concerned about having too busy of an itinerary, consider booking the 4-night Freedom of the Seas cruise. While it runs mid-week (Monday to Friday) instead of on the weekend, the itinerary will include one sea day which you can use to further explore the ship and relax onboard.

Lively atmosphere

Shorter cruises tend to have a higher-energy atmosphere when compared to longer cruises, and can often be considered a "party cruise".

On a Freedom of the Seas cruise, especially a 3-night cruise from Friday to Monday, expect a party atmosphere onboard. In fact, it was the liveliest cruise I've had to date and I really enjoyed it! The pool deck was always busy with people dancing, drinking, and sunbathing. Onboard activities like karaoke were more crowded than I've ever seen before, with guests cheering on the participants and belting out their favorite tunes.

The passenger demographics were quite different from what I've experienced on other sailings. In general, the demographics skewed younger. Bachelor parties, wedding guests, and friend groups seemed to be more common than retirees and long-time cruisers.

Whereas cruising on brand new ships like Odyssey of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas seemed to attract those who were loyal Royal Caribbean cruise fans, most guests on Freedom of the Seas seemed to be onboard just to have fun with less consideration of the specific ship or cruise line.

If you're looking for a little peace and quiet, though, you'll still be able to find that onboard. During my cruise I found that the ship was relatively empty in the morning due to late-night partying during the evening!

What does Freedom of the Seas offer?

Freedom of the Seas is a Freedom Class cruise ship which first debuted in 2006, but was recently amplified in early 2020 through the Royal Amplified program.

The ship's amplification added a variety of Royal Caribbean's latest and greatest features onboard. If you cruised on Freedom of the Seas prior to 2020 and are considering cruising on the ship again, you'll be impressed with the following new additions:

  • Perfect Storm water slides
  • Caribbean resort-style pool deck
  • The Lime & Coconut bar
  • Giovanni's Italian Kitchen
  • Updated Adventure Ocean programming
  • Splashaway Bay kids aqua park
  • El Loco Fresh
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade

These new additions makes Freedom of the Seas a fantastic ship choice for anyone, with activities catering to guests of all ages and cruising styles.

Freedom of the Seas also has Royal Caribbean's updated Adventure Ocean programming, offering free childcare for children aged 3-17 onboard. For those with kids aged 6-36 months, nursery care is available at an extra cost.

The updated Adventure Ocean programming has a more relaxed atmosphere than the original children's programming, allowing kids to freely choose activities that are of interest to them. From arts & crafts to science labs, video games, reading, and dodgeball, kids are sure to have a great experience in Adventure Ocean.

Lower cost

If you’re looking for a short weekend getaway, a cruise on Freedom of the Seas can offer a wonderful value. Whereas when booking a hotel on land you must pay extra for food, activities, and transportation, this is all included in your cruise fare on Freedom of the Seas.

Current pricing for a 3-night cruise for 2 adults on Freedom of the Seas runs as low as $652 for an interior room and $896 for a balcony room. Even those looking at the 4-night cruise will encounter fair prices, with interior and balcony rooms for 2 adults as low as $728 and $972 respectively. 

Additionally, those interested in booking a drink package will only have to pay for 3 or 4 days as opposed to a full week, making the drink package more affordable with less risk of getting tired of drinking as the days go on.

As far as shore excursions, one of the days will stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay, where it is easy to enjoy an entire day on the island without paying for anything extra.

Short cruise or long cruise?

Choosing between a short or long cruise will come down to your schedule limitations, budget, and preference.

A clear benefit of a shorter cruise is that less PTO time is required to cruise, meaning it can fit into nearly anyone’s work schedule. Parents will not have to worry about their children missing an entire week of school, either, if booking the 3-night cruise over the weekend.

Shorter cruises also offer just the right length of time for everything to be “new” onboard the ship. You won’t find yourself repeating activities or lounging around in the same spaces many times, as every day brings a chance to try a new restaurant and experience onboard.

A major benefit of taking a longer cruise, though, is that your plane and hotel cost remain the same regardless of cruise length. Spending $300 on airfare to your departure port and $250 on a hotel the night before your cruise can quickly make a short cruise much more expensive per day. If these costs are “spread out” over a 7-night cruise, however, the cost per day is not nearly as high.

In addition, a longer cruise has more time to travel to destinations further away from Florida. Whereas Freedom of the Seas tends to only visit Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, which are relatively close to Miami, a 7-night cruise may visit destinations like Mexico, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico.

Which do I prefer? Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend I spent on Freedom of the Seas and found that a 3-night cruise is a nice length for a mini-vacation. If I had to book a Freedom of the Seas cruise again, I would probably choose the 4-night sailing so I would have more time to spend onboard the ship, but the 3-night cruise will fit most passengers' schedules better as it is on the weekend.

While I tend to prefer the more exotic destinations that can be visited on a longer cruise, the atmosphere and energy around the ship on my Freedom of the Seas cruise was one of the best I’ve experienced on a cruise yet and it led to a wonderful weekend getaway.

How Royal Caribbean reimagined its signature Italian restaurant

23 Aug 2021

Italian cuisine is among the most popular kind of cuisines on land or sea, and Royal Caribbean has relaunched one of its most popular specialty restaurants with an all-new menu that features fresh new choices.

Two of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships now offer Giovanni's Italian Kitchen, which is a refresh of Royal Caribbean's Italian specialty restaurant.

Just like how Royal Caribbean looks to evolve and enhance its cruise ships with new things to do, the Food and Beverage team saw an opportunity to improve on Giovanni's Table.

Royal Caribbean Vice President Food & Beverage, Linken D'Souza, said his team looked at how to amplify this particular restaurant, "it was about bringing something fresh, new, but also something that's traditional to our guests."

"We decided to make them younger and fresher and a little bit more contemporary."

"Giovanni's Italian Kitchen came out of that, and it was this opportunity to to introduce some new things, but also keep the favorites that's guests had."

The first thing the team did was not only look at the existing Giovanni's Table menu, but they actually went back to the Italian restaurant concept that has since been retired from the fleet, Portofinos, to identify what did guests like and not like about each of these experiences.

One missing piece they saw was hand-tossed fresh pizza, and immediately they looked at how to bring that option to cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean worked with Renato Viola, who is one of Italy’s best Master Pizza Chefs in the world. 

Before the shutdown, crew members went to Chef Viola's restaurant to spend a week learning how to stretch and perfectly treat the dough, as well as make the recipe.

Royal Caribbean started out with 42 different pizza recipes just to figure out the right dough to use, and then worked on picking out the perfect San Marzano sauce.  The sauce has no added sugar, and relies on a simple recipe of San Marzano tomatoes, water and herbs.

Mr. D'Souza says they are using the highest quality cheese you can get for pizza, and then added hand selected meats and greens to top it all off.

"My inspiration of that quality of pizza was I want to have a pizza that rivals what you would get in Naples."

Mr. D'Souza went as far to say he believes it is the best pizza at sea right now, "We said let's go out and figure out how to make the best and without bragging, I do believe it is the best pizza at sea."

On top of that, Royal Caribbean installed an electric oven that can heat up to 900 degrees, which is essentially the highest temperatures permissible on a ship.

The result? Chef Viola told Mr. D'Souza the pizza is as good as a pizza in his restaurant. Mr. D'Souza thinks that while it's not quite at that level, it is excellent and very good.

The first Giovanni's Italian Kitchen launched on Freedom of the Seas just before the cruise industry shutdown due to the global health crisis, but that ship is sailing again.  In addition, Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar is onboard Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas.

Giovanni's on Odyssey is an extension of the new restaurant concept, with Giovanni's taking over what used to be the Vintages bar area on other Quantum Class ships and offering a smaller bar menu there, such as fried lasagna bites. These small plates are meant to go really well with a glass of wine.

Mr. D'Souza said they focused a lot on the main menu at the restaurant, "we spend a lot of time really developing American Italian favorites and then going a little bit nontraditional."

Top 3 Giovanni's Italian Kitchen must-try's

Holy Cheesus seven cheese pizza

What should you not-miss when you dine at Giovanni's Italian Kitchen?

I asked Mr. D'Souza for his list of the top three recommendations for anyone trying out the restaurant.

  1. Holy Cheesus seven cheese pizza
  2. Steak Muffuletta
  3. Chocolate raviolis

Calamari & Polenta appetizer

Mr. D'Souza added if someone considers themselves an adventurous eater to try the Calamari & Polenta appetizer and the Truffle & Eggs pizza, which offers a traditional fried egg recipe commonly found in Europe.

"In Europe, you see fried egg on pizza quite often. There's actually restaurants in every pizza they said we'll do a fried egg on it."

Photo tour of new Junior Suite on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

10 Jul 2021

Junior Suites are a popular room category for the blend of extra space and not over-the-top pricing it affords guests, and on Freedom of the Seas, they added a few new rooms during her refurbishment.

I am a big fan of any new stateroom added during a refurbishment, because these new staterooms are new construction, and they generally get more storage space and a fresher look than rooms that have been part of the ship since the vessel launched.

During Royal Caribbean's recent upgrades as part of the Royal Amplification, new staterooms have been added to ships in places that did not have cabins.  Sure, it adds a little more revenue for the cruise line, but it also offers new cabin choices for guests.

On my Freedom of the Seas cruise in 2021, I booked one of the new staterooms on deck 11, to the left of the Vitality Spa in the forward area of the ship. The nice thing about this location is it is directly adjacent to the Solarium, which makes it very convenient to get to your room from the pool deck.

I stayed in stateroom 1152, which is a Category J3 Junior Suite which can accommodate up to 4 guests.

Despite the name "suite" in the room category, a Junior Suite is more like an extra large balcony than a true suite, but it does offer a lot more living space than you will get in a standard balcony room.

The stateroom measures 299 square feet of living space.

Walking into the room, you can quickly get a sense of the space and notice the fresh look the room has since it is new construction.

The first thing I noticed is just how much storage space there is in this cabin.

Like all Junior Suite rooms, there is a large closet where you can store clothes, hang up garments, and probably stash anything bulky.  

In addition to the closet, there is another full-size closet in the middle of the room, with drawers, dressers, and enough storage space for probably two weeks onboard.

I've noticed with Royal Caribbean's newer cruise ships much more storage space, and that trend has carried forward with its new construction cabins as well.

Another welcome trend is many more outlets, including USB outlets.  The desk area has both.

The bed is a Royal King, which could be converted into two twin beds if need be, along with a large sofa. 

According to Royal Caribbean the sofa can convert into a double bed, although I did not try it out.

Pro tip, there is a USB charger on the side of the phone next to the bed.

The bathroom looks similar to a balcony bathroom, although it has a full tub instead of a stand up shower.

Being a Junior Suite, your balcony is also extra large and it has a nice enclosed space to enjoy.  I prefer this set up because it means there is shade on the balcony during certain times of the day.

The balcony is indeed quite large, with enough space for two lounge chairs, a table, and two chairs. It measures 65 square feet.

You might notice the window washing equipment that was blocking part of the window.  This is a trade off of these new rooms being in a new location.  The washer unit is not always there, but it seemed to be stationed there when not in use.

Personally, I did not mind it since the balcony is wide enough to have most of it unobstructed, although I do not spend that much time on my balcony (especially on a short 3-night sailing).

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