Freedom of the Seas

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.

Royal Caribbean art: Fighter jets on Freedom of the Seas

In:
09Aug2016

Located in the Forward Centrum deck 10 of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, is a mixed media art display that features fighter jets that you might notice when taking a ride in one of the elevators.

This is not just a display of F-18 and F-16 planes, but actually the work of Italian artist Antonio Riello, entitled "Komba Tiepolo 30, 31 and 32".

If you look closely, you can see that Riello has taken fighter planes and decorated them with mythological fragments from Giambattista Tiepolo frescoes found in Italian churches and palaces.  The artist likes to explore the common territory and the curiosities of our collective imagination.  By turning what we desire or fear into a mix of the banal and the sublime, he creates the unexpected and the unpredictable.

Riello gathers his inspirations from the great amount of historical and artistic heritage found all over Italy - Roman ruins, medieval walls, Baroque churches and more.  He likes to mix these elements of the past with contemporary Italian life.

In this piece, Riello uses the Tiepolo frescoes to mask war instruments, which turns them into delightful and irresistibly bizarre paintings.

“Komba Tiepolo 30” The paintings are inspired by G.B. Tiepolo’s frescos in Wurzburg Residence. The aircraft is a copy of an F18 (Hornet).

“Kompa Tiepolo 31” Paintings are inspired by G.B. Tiepolo’s in Wurzburg Residence and Venice’s Ca Rezzonico. The aircraft is a copy of an F16.

“Kompa Tiepolo 32” Paintings are inspired by G.B. Tiepolo’s frescos in villas of the countryside in Venice. The aircraft is a copy of an F16.

The pieces are made of fiberglass, resin, metal wood and acrylic. 

Photo tour of Royal Caribbean Larger Panoramic Ocean View stateroom on Freedom of the Seas

In:
30Jan2016

Royal Caribbean's Panoramic Ocean View Staterooms are relatively new to the fleet, but already many guests are reporting back just how impressive a space they are.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Hunt Lewis shared with us his photos from his Category P1 stateroom on Freedom of the Seas.

Large Panoramic Oceanview staterooms feature floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows and these category P1 rooms feature even more space than usual.

This photo tour was of stateroom 1864 on deck 12 of Freedom of the Seas.

The larger panoramic ocean view staterooms feature 283 square feet of space and can accomodate up to 3 guests.

They have two twin beds that convert to a Royal King-sized bed.

Each stateroom also has its own flat-screen television, thermostat controlled air-conditioning, internet access, direct-dial telephone, radio, mini bar, individual safe, and 24 hour room service.

Secret Royal Caribbean staterooms: Freedom of the Seas stateroom 6305

In:
28Jan2016

Across Royal Caribbean's fleet of cruise ships, there are some interesting and unique staterooms that are slightly different than the rest of the staterooms in the same category.

Today, we are looking at a very different Promenade stateroom on Freedom of the Seas that has a very unique look to it, the Ben & Jerry "Sweet".

Stateroom 6305 on Freedom of the Seas (and also sister ships Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas) is  the only inside stateroom on a Royal Caribbean ship to be considered a suite.

It is listed on deck plans as a normal cabin and not specifically mentioned in the catalog this "Ben & Jerry's" cabin is but one of the most unusual cruise ship cabins of all.

The stateroom sits directly above the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop on the Royal Promenade and so, the room has a view of the two cows that are prominently displayed by the shop.  Thus, the view out the window is blocked.

Royal Caribbean decided to embrace the Ben & Jerry's motif by transforming this room into  the "Ben & Jerry Sweet". 

Throughout the entire room, there are cow sheets, pillows, pictures and other cow-related decorations.

The best part about this room are the perks you get for reserving it, which include

  • Daily complimentary Ben & Jerry's ice cream for each guest
  • Access to the Concierge Lounge
  • Reservations for the ice show

By far the free ice cream and concierge lounge access are the best part about this stateroom.  Concierge access is usually limited to guests staying in a suite.

Concierge access allows guests to enjoy

  • Use of the Concierge Club on deck 10
  • Continental breakfast served in the lounge from 8am to 10am
  • Hors d'oeuvres, petit fours and complimentary bar setup served in the lounge every evening before and after dinner from 4:30pm to 8:00pm
  • Daily menus displayed and pre-ordering for your dinner wine.
  • Reservations for any specialty restaurant, sports activities, shore excursions, salon and spa appointments.
  • Personalized port and shopping advice
  • Business services such as scan, copies, etc
  • Reservations for shows onboard

Would you want to book this stateroom? Tell us in the comments!

Construction walls pop up on Royal Promenade of Freedom of the Seas

In:
02Dec2015

We have gotten reports of construction taking place on the Royal Promenade of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas this week.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader James Carruthers sent us these photos of the construction walls that are up near Cafe Promenade.

No word yet on what the construction is there for, but it will be interesting to see what is there once those construction walls come down.

Spotted: Giant cupcake for sale on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
15Nov2015

It is probably safe to assume most people really enjoy a good cupcake, but how about a giant cupcake?

On Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Blog reader Rich Freudenberg spotted this giant cupcake for those that enjoy cupcakes but wish they could be a meal.

If you are wondering just how giant this cupcake is, here is a normal sized cupcake compared to the giant variety.

That is a big cupcake!

Guests can purchase this giant cupcake in the Cupcake Cupboard on Freedom of the Seas and comes in your choice of colors, and even has a cherry on top.

You can have these giant cupcakes for a variety of occasions. 

At $25, this cupcake costs as much as a meal, but it might make sense as a cake replacement idea (and certainly more interesting).

What do you think of the giant cupcake?  Please let us know with a comment!

Royal Caribbean adding Voom high speed internet to Freedom of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas

In:
12Nov2015

Royal Caribbean kicked off its newest sales promotion this week with the BOGO GETTER deal, and in the fine print, it alludes to which other Royal Caribbean ships will be getting high speed internet.

The deal offers free Voom internet package for one device for Anthem, Harmony, Allure, Oasis, Freedom, and Enchantment of the Seas on select cruises in 2016.

Royal Caribbean had promised Voom will be available on all Caribbean based ships by mid-2016, but it has been unclear which ships would receive the upgrade.

Given the deal for free Voom internet is only good for cruises that depart between May 1 - Sep 30, 2016, it is possible that Voom internet may not be available onboard either Freedom of the Seas or Enchantment of the Seas until those dates.

Voom internet is currently available on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.  Majesty of the Seas will be offering guests free Voom internet, following a scheduled 2016 refurbishment.

Voom internet is Royal Caribbean's exclusive high speed internet that allows guests to stream music and movies, upload pictures, video chat with family and friends using FaceTime or Skype, check their email, lookup their stock prices, surf the web and stay connected with work via VPN.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescues Cubans on raft at sea

In:
18Oct2015

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas rescued seven Cubans from a small raft at sea on Saturday.

Royal Caribbean Blog reader Keith Hect was on Freedom of the Seas and reported that the ship picked up the Cubans during their cruise.

Photo by Ron Lodowski

Local10 also confirmed the report and shared video of the rescue.

Videos by Desiree Stovall

Another guest onboard Freedom of the Seas reported that the group of Cubans had been out to sea for 10 days with nothing but "small amounts of water and crackers."

The United States Coast Goard coordinated the rescue with the Royal Caribbean ship.

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

In:
17Oct2015

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas has a lot of different staterooms to choose from and today, we will look at the Grand Suite with Balcony (GS) stateroom to give you an idea of what to expect if you book this category.

This photo tour comes to us from Royal Caribbean Blog reader Ron Lodowski, who recently sailed on Freedom of the Seas.

Ron took photos of his Grand Suite, which was in stateroom 1598 on Oasis of the Seas during an October 2015 sailing.

The Grand Suite measures 401 square feet and has a balcony that is 107 square feet.

Grand Suite staterooms on Freedom of the Seas include two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, private balcony, sitting area (some with sofa bed) and private bathroom. 

Also includes minibar, TV, stereo, DVD player, larger private bathroom with bathtub and double sink, vanity area, hair-dryer, phone, vanity table with an extendable working surface for laptop computers and 110/220 electrical outlets. Sleeps up to four people and can accommodate a rollaway bed and/or Play Yard.

 

All photos by Ron Lodowski

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