Freedom of the Seas

Royal Caribbean offering bonus Crown & Anchor Society points on select Freedom of the Seas cruises

In:
07Sep2015

Guests booking Freedom of the Seas can earn an extra three points in Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, Crown and Anchor Society, when each guest spends a minimum of $450 per person on pre-cruise and onboard purchases.

If you can act fast and book a last-minute Freedom of the Seas cruise on one of the following sailings, you will qualify for the deal

  • September 13, 2015
  • September 20, 2015
  • September 27, 2015

This is a pilot program by Royal Caribbean to award additional Crown and Anchor Society points to those that spend a certain amount of money on their cruise.

The total qualifying spend must be greater than or equal to $450 times the number of adults in the stateroom. If this is met, each guest in the stateroom will receive three aditional points.

The following purchases qualify towards the $450 threshold:

  • Shore excursions
  • Food and beverage
  • Spa treatments
  • Retail purchases
  • Photo purchases
  • Art purchases
  • Other onboard activities.

The deal excludes these types of purchases

  • Onboard charges for casino
  • Air or hotel reservations
  • Dining booked through the call center
  • Items from the Gifts & Gear website
  • Promotional onboard credit
  • Gratuities

Gold status and higher Crown & Anchor members over the age of 18 will receive an additional three cruise points per sailing when each member in the stateroom makes $450 USD or more in purchases during the sailing and after all credit and refunds have been applied, if any.  Onboard credits do not count towards the $450.

All adults in the stateroom must meet the minimum amount independently. 

Amount of guest’s purchases will be calculated upon the end of the cruise.

Points will be added to eligible Crown and Anchor Society member’s account 60 days after cruise completion.

Royal Caribbean changes Freedom of the Seas departure time due to Tropical Storm Erika

In:
28Aug2015

Royal Caribbean announced the boarding time for Freedom of the Seas will be changed due to the predicted path for Tropical Storm Erika,

Royal Caribbean is asking all guests on Freedom of the Seas that are departing this Sunday to arrive to the ship between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The ship will now depart at 3:30 p.m.

Royal Caribbean has previously changed the boarding time for Independence of the Seas and altered Adventure of the Seas' itinerary due to Tropical Storm Erika.

Royal Caribbean also indicated they are monitoring Erika's path and changes could be coming to Enchantment of the Seas & Majesty of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean will announce any further changes, with the next update coming on August 29 at 5pm.

7 surprising facts about Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
25Aug2015

1. Freedom of the Seas' godmother is Katherine Louise Calder

You may be aware that cruise ships have godmothers, who serve in ceremonial roles at the ship's launch and Freedom of the Seas' godmother is a woman named Katherine Louise Calder of Portland, Oregon.

Ryal Caribbean looked beyond a celebrity and instead, launched a nationwide search for an extraordinary "everyday" person to serve as godmother to Freedom of the Seas.

Calder was selected to be the ship's godmother as part of a contest to find a true "godmother" in the world.  

For over 27 years, Calder was a foster mother to some 400 children over the years and was chosen by popular vote on The Today Show on NBC.

After being selected for the role, Calder flew up to New York City and broke a bottle of champagne across Freedom of the Seas' hull.

Calder also receives one free Royal Caribbean cruise per year for the rest of her life as part of winning the contest.

You can find a photo of Ms. Calder near Guest Services on deck 5.

2. Freedom of the Seas used to be largest ship in the world

When Freedom of the Seas launched in May 2006, she was the largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage.

Freedom of the Seas came in larger than the previous largest cruise ship in the world, Cunard's Queen Mary 2.

Freedom of the Seas enjoyed this distinction until Royal Caribbean built Oasis of the Seas in 2009.

To put that into scale for you, the Titanic was only 46,000 gross tons.

3. Ultra Voyager was the original name for the class

Every new Royal Caribbean class of cruise ships has a project name before the company eventually settles on the official class name.

The Freedom class was known as "the Ultra Voyager class" because it essentially was designed to be a larger copy of the Voyager class that proceeded it.  

The Freedom class is roughly 15 percent larger than the Voyager class ships.

4. Ben & Jerry's Sweet

On the promenade there is a special stateroom that overlooks the promenade area, cabin 6305, which is unique because it is themed to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream shop that is below it. 

The stateroom is directly above the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop on the Royal Promenade. And because on the porch of Ben & Jerry's two life-size cow figurines, the passengers look through their window behind these cows.

If you happen to stay in this stateroom, you will get certain extra amenities such as complimentary Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as access to the concierge lounge.  

5. Clarissa Parish designed many murals aboard Freedom of the Seas

Anglo-Italian muralist Clarissa Parish designed many of the beautiful murals found around Freedom of the Seas.

If you walk around Freedom of the Seas, you will see her work without ever knowing one person was largely responsible for the art.

In fact, Parish also created a number of murals again for Royal Caribbean on the Oasis class cruise ships.

6. There used to be a rare bookseller shop

When Freedom of the Seas launched in 2006, guests could find on the Royal Promenade the Book Nook, a room filled with over 3,600 books.

Royal Caribbean designed the space to have the ambiance of a rare bookseller's shop.  There was cafe seating and invited guests to sit down with a book or magazine and enjoy a light snack.

Royal Caribbean had actually attempted to create a Book Nook earlier on Radiance of the Seas, but abandoned the idea because of the shop's remote location.

The idea did not last very long and in just a few short years, the Book Nook was regularly closed to guests and was eventually replaced by the Loyalty Ambassador's office.  Today, the Next Cruise office is situated there.

7. There used to be a barber shop

Like the Book Nook, there also used to be a barber shop on Freedom of the Seas known as "A Clean Shave".

The idea behind A Clean Shave was to offer men a spa experience that was more masculine than the salon upstairs in the spa.

Men could choose from a basic haircut, shoe shine or opt for a full facial shave.  Royal Caribbean designed the space to look like a classic barber shop.

A Clean Shave was replaced by the Cupcake Cupboard following a refurbishment in 2011.

Restaurant Review: Giovanni's Table on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
24Aug2015

Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas offers guests fresh made Italian food that has been getting a lot of attention lately, so we decided to try it out on our recent cruise.

Part of Royal Caribbean's update to Freedom of the Seas in early 2015 saw Giovanni's Table replace Portofino as the Italian specialty restaurant onboard.  The replacement of Portofino by Giovanni's Table has been a fleetwide initiative for a few years now and while we will miss Portofino, Giovanni's Table offers a different kind of experience that we have enjoyed on other ships.

It is always interesting to see how this Giovanni's Table compares to other Giovanni's Table restaurants in the fleet, as well as dearly departed Portofino.  Let us head in and try out this new restaurant!

Atmosphere

You will find Giovanni's Table up on deck 11 in the Windjammer area.  It is located to the left as you walk into the Windjammer, in the former location of Portofino.

As you step inside Giovanni's Table, you will find a lot of browns and greens, with a hint of orange.  This is a different color pallete from Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas, which had more of a blue tone to the location.

Just like Navigator of the Seas, the Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas has a great view of the ocean.  If you happen to dine here for lunch or early dinner, you should have a very nice view of the sea as you dine.

The restaurant is divided up between two rooms and it is a rather large space, relative to most specialty restaurants.  The first room as you enter is more rectangular shape, while the second area opens up a bit more into a box shaped room.  Both rooms have large floor to ceiling windows with views of the ocean.

Compared to Portofino, the look and feel of Giovanni's Table is a bit less formal.  Where Portofino had an upscale look to it, I think Giovanni's Table does not have quite that formal look to match, but it certainly feels like a specialty restaurant.

Eats

We ate at Giovanni's Table for lunch and the menu certainly offers a lot of choices. I think Giovanni's Table appeal is that there is a lot of good Italian food to choose from and most of it are foods you have probably heard of.

Giovanni's Table also tends to be among the least expensive Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, and I think that is welcome by most guests.

For our meal, I tried to go between favorites and new dishes. I will admit two friends of mine onboard raved about their Giovanni's Table experience, although they went heavier into the seafood choices than I did.  

Most dishes, especially the appetizers are on the small side, so be sure to order extra to share.  

We started off with two classics: insalata caprese per due and malanzane alla parmigiana.

The eggplant parmigiana came out in a small white bowl and I really enjoyed it.  It might have been cooked a bit too long, but I love eggplant parmigiana and when I got below the top layer of cheese, I really enjoyed it!

The caprese salad is an Italian classic as well, and to me it is the perfect appetizer because of its light nature.  Grab a piece of bread and put some of the mozzarella and tomato on top and it is perfetto!

On to entrees and we wanted to try something different, so I picked the 8 ounce grilled strip loin steak.  My wife opted for the chicken breast filled with ricotta and mushroom, wrapped in prosciutto.

I wanted to try the steak to get a sense of something a little different than I might otherwise order.  Our waiter also mentioned the steak as being a good choice, so I went with it.

Out came a very tender piece of beef that I enjoyed.  It was simple, but I liked the Barolo reduction and thought it was a good choice.  It was also on the small side, which I did not mind since I wanted to sample lots of food.

I also ordered the traditional meat lasagna because I have had it at other Giovanni's Tables and enjoyed it.

Sure enough, this lasagna was equally as good and as someone that enjoys a lot of sauce with his lasagna, this did not disappoint.

The chicken was incredibly moist and tasty and my wife really enjoyed the contrast between the chicken and the prosciutto.  She said this was something she would definitely order again.

Alas, no meal at Giovanni's Table is complete without a visit to the dessert cart.  Luckily, after all this food, the dessert cart comes to you.

We tried the canoli and chocolate cake, both of which were incredibly rich and even better than they look in these photos.

Overall

Giovanni's Table offers some tasty and satisfying Italian food that I think most guests will really enjoy. If you like Italian food, it is hard to go wrong with eating at Giovanni's Table. 

What Giovanni's Table lacks in "WOW factor", it makes up for in an enjoyable meal experience.  The view of the ocean combined with a wide selection of Italian dishes makes for a great spot for a meal away from the usual.

I really think Giovanni's Table is a great choice for lunch, perhaps even more so than dinner.  The reason is for lunch, the cost is only $15 and I think guests will find the menu offerings a nice change of pace compared to what is available for lunch elsewhere on the ship.

It is also not difficult to get a table at Giovanni's Table, especially given the large size of its restaurant.  Royal Caribbean encourages reservations, but if on a whim you decide to try Giovanni's Table, I think you will find there to be a table open for you.

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 1:30pm and open for dinner 5:30pm to 9:30pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas.

Hurricane Danny changes itinerary for Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
22Aug2015

Royal Caribbean announced today it will change the itinerary for Freedom of the Seas due to the projected path of Hurricane Danny.

Freedom of the Seas will not be able to call on St. Thomas and St. Maarten as originally scheduled. Instead, the ship will sail to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico, in an effort to try to find the calmest seas possible.

Yesterday, Royal Caribbean announced itinerary changes for Oasis of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas due to Hurricane Danny.

Royal Caribbean also noted there could be possible changes for Navigator of the Seas and Independence of the Seas depending on the storm's path.

In search of the most comfortable chairs on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
20Aug2015

Imagine you are onboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas and you are in dire need of somewhere to go to sit back and relax.  

Maybe it is to enjoy a drink or finish that book you brought with you. Regardless, you need to go somewhere that offers the most comfortable chairs to facilitate your relaxation. 

We literally walked all over Freedom of the Seas to find that perfect chair for you.  And to be honest, we were surprised by the answer we found!

Honorable mention: Loyalty ambassador lounge

Now that Royal Caribbean has moved the NextCruise operations down to the Royal Promenade on Freedom of the Seas, the Loyalty Ambassador lounge is far less busy than it used to be and those blue leather chairs are a good spot for a nice sit.

For most of our cruise, this area was rarely busy and you can enjoy a nice view out to the Royal Promenade, while being surrounded by Royal Caribbean imagery.

The seats here are worn in, so it is easy to sink right in and get comfortable.  During the day, this is a nice spot to get away from everyone else.

Third place: Olive or Twist Lounge

If you want a view with your comfortable chair, then head all the way up to the Viking Crown for the chairs in the Olive or Twist Lounge.

Located up on Deck 14 in the aft of the ship, there are chairs and couches to choose from and they are all made from a very comfortable cloth material.

The best reason to get comfortable at the Olive or Twist Lounge is for the views of the top decks of Freedom of the Seas.  It can be the perfect spot to people watch.

During the day, it is usually quiet and not a lot of guests around but business picks up at night.

Second place: R-Bar

When Royal Caribbean added the R-Bar lounge to Freedom of the Seas, they did not just add the most popular new bar in the fleet but an array of comfortable chairs too!

Frankly, I love the eclectic style of the chairs, with some being low back loungers, couches and even chairs that look like something Dr. Evil would sit in.  

And then of course there is the "picture frame chair", which is always a hit.  Not only is it comfortable, but you can take fun photos!

Like Olive or Twist, this area is quiet in the day time but from dinner time onwards, it will be busy and packed.  Bring the books for daylight hours only.

First place: Vintages

If you want the most comfortable chairs on Freedom of the Seas, head over to the Royal Promenade and sit yourself down in Vintages wine bar.

All the chairs and couches come with a ton of extra padding and it just makes for the best sitting experience you can ask for.  Try for the couches in the back for optimal seating.

Strangely, Vintages is never busy, even at night.  Perhaps people think they only serve wine here keeps many guests away (they have beer and other beverage options too).

Restaurant Review: Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas

In:
18Aug2015

If you have read this blog at length, you may know that I am a really big fan of Sabor Modern Mexican specialty restaurant.  

Ever since Royal Caribbean first added it to Navigator of the Seas and I had my first taste of homemade guacamole and first sip of hand crafted margaritas, I was hooked.

Since then, to my pleasure, Royal Caribbean has added Sabor Modern Mexican to a number of cruise ships, including Freedom of the Seas as part of a refurbishment that occurred in early 2015.

While on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, I just had to eat at Sabor and enjoy it again. 

Will my love for Sabor Modern Mexican continue and can this restaurant continue to win me over with amazing food and drink?  Let's find out!

Atmosphere

Sabor Modern Mexican is located on deck 4 of Freedom of the Seas, in the spot where the night club once existed and across the hall from the Schooner Bar.

Much like Navigator of the Seas, Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas is nearly identical in look and layout.  You will find lots of browns, reds and oranges that accentuate a modern restaurant look and feel.

Sabor Modern Mexican definitely does not look like a typical Mexican restaurant found in the United States, with sombreros, art involving mules and mariachi band music playing.  Instead, Sabor Modern Mexican has the kind of vibe that you are in a hip new restaurant that opened in a city close to you and if not for the food, there is not a whole lot here that says Mexican simply by looking at it.

The restaurant is laid out in a sort of rectangle, with a set of tables in the center and tables and booths around the edges.  It is not a large space but it can comfortable fit a lot of guests inside.

Inside Sabor, you will find a lot of colorful flowers and woods.  There is also a larger table near the entrance for bigger groups.  Recently, Royal Caribbean has been adding one large table near the entrance that has the most interesting decor.  Perhaps that is an indication to bring more friends with you!

Eats

On Freedom of the Seas, we elected to eat at Sabor twice.  Frankly, I am surprised it was not more than that.  

Sabor is open for lunch on sea days and dinner on every evening.  There are slight menu differences, with the lunch menu offering a couple less options than dinner but otherwise the experience is indistinguishable.  For the purpose of this review, we will refer to both experiences interchangeably unless otherwise important to note.

After being seated, your server will welcome you with menus and offer you chips and salsa as well as the option of having a bowl of guacamole made in front of you.  

The guacamole is made via a portable cart that has all the ingredients.  Guests can tell the waiter how spicy (or un-spicy) the guacamole should be and if there are any ingredients you want less or more of.  

It is quite interesting to watch the guacamole be made and in just minutes, your guac will be ready for you to eat.  In my opinion, this is the best guacamole I have ever eaten and I could easily come to eat the guacamole and chips alone.  I was very happy to find the guacamole on Freedom of the Seas lived up to the expectations I had from Navigator of the Seas!

For beverages, guests may order from a variety of drinks.  All beverages beyond water have an extra charge to them unless you happen to have a qualifying beverage package.

We opted first to try the handcrafted margaritas. Just like the guacamole, a different cart is brought to your table to have the drinks made for you.

 There are only two margaritas (sweet and spice margarita and Sabor Grand margarita) that are brought to your table to be made in front of you, while the rest are made at the bar.  

Being that we enjoy a show, we opted for the handcrafted margaritas (when in Rome, err... Mexico City, right?).

Watching the margaritas being made was enjoyable and tasting them was even better.  The drinks are large and have some fantastic flavor that certainly masks the alcohol inside.  

Sweet & Spice Margarita and the Sabor Grand Margarita

Simply perfect margarita & Jalapeno-Cucumber Margarita

The Sweet and Spice margarita is quite interesting because it tastes sweet as you drink it, but after you swallow, you get a spicy kick to it.  Very interesting!

I also wanted to try one of the tequila flights available, after a friend recommended it.  There are two tequila flights to choose from: the vertical tequila flight and the horizontal tequila flight.

Do not ask me what the difference is but the horizontal flight is slightly more expensive and comes highly recommended by our waiter.  I went with the horizontal flight!

The flight offers three tequilas to try: Don Julio Reposado, Sauza Hornitos Reposado, Corazón Reposado.  

I am no tequila expert, but I can say that each was very smooth and certainly puts you in the right mood to enjoy a meal!

Moving onto the food (assuming you have not filled up on chips and guac yet), the menu has a mix of appetizers and entrees but they are intermixed.  Our waiter (hi Juan) knew which to bring out when but feel free to order whatever sounds good.

At lunch, we started out with the queso fundido and sopa de tortilla.  

Both appetizers were great and I think my wife and I enjoyed both a lot.  

It is worth noting that many of the dishes are on the small side, so it is a good idea to order more than you might ordinarily order at a restaurant.

Our entrees were the tres quesos quesadillas and the chicken and roasted corn empanada.

The quesadilla features melted Monterey Jack, queso fresco and Chihuahua cheeses.  If cheese is your thing, this is your meal.  My wife recommends dipping the quesadilla into the queso for maximum cheese levels!

The empanadas had good flavor to them but I found them to be a little dry.  I compensated by dipping the empanadas in the salsa and guacamole and it tasted a lot better.

For my dinner appetizer, I tried the Tuna Crudo, 3 crispy corn tortillas, fresh tuna, salsa mexicana, guacamole.  

My friends, this was one of the best things I ate over the course of the entire cruise and when I come back next time, I may just order a few servings of this. It was really outstanding!

Keeping with my change of pace, I also ordered a different entree at dinner and went with the pan-seared red snapper.

Had I not filled up on guacamole, chips, tuna crudo, guacamole, margaritas and guacamole, I might have enjoyed this a bit more but the red snapper was very, very good.  It tasted wonderful and was cooked to perfection.

There are also side orders to be had and in both lunch and dinner, our waiter simply brought us all of them.  

Yucca barrel fries, Mexican rice, calabacitas and Mexican beans are available to try.  They all looked good and I sampled some of it but I was so full by this point that I did not eat much.

If by some miracle you have room in your stomach left, the desserts are really phenomenal.

Just like the accompaniments, the desserts are served family style on a large plate and are described as "Mexican inspired mini-desserts".

My wife still dreams about the churros and chocolate banana empanadas.  

Overall

I have to say eating at Sabor Modern Mexican on Freedom of the Seas lived up to and exceeded my expectations.

I love the mix of freshly made food combined with plenty of choices.  I feel like there is a good mix of traditional Mexican favorites (tacos, quesadillas, etc) and some new choices. 

The guacamole, chips and salsa are supreme and I really considered a few times paying the cover charge again simply to dine on them along with perhaps a few drinks.

If you are going to try a margarita, go for the ones made at your table and my friend was definitely right about ordering the tequila flights.  Both will set the right tone for the meal (and likely well into your evening).

Looking at the cost, lunch comes in at $15 and dinner at $25.  I really feel both prices are well worth it and there is not much of a difference between the two to say one is better than the other.  If you want to save some money, go for lunch.

Sabor Modern Mexican still lives up to the lofty heights I have in my mind and it is without a doubt a restaurant I would recommend trying and then going back again (and again) for on your next cruise on Freedom of the Seas.

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.

Top 10 Freedom of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
03Aug2015

One of Royal Caribbean's most popular cruise ships is Freedom of the Seas and we have searched all over this ship for the best hidden secrets that you might miss on this impressive ship.

10. Best spot for sailaway

If you want the best spot on Freedom of the Seas to watch as she pulls out of port, then it has to be the helicopter pad at the front of the ship.

Located on the bow, guests can walk to the helicopter pad and enjoy the unobstructed views that you can only get from the helicopter pad.  The perspective from this spot is hard to beat and many guests do not know it is possible to go here.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 4 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

9. Hidden door to the helipad

Speaking of the helipad, if you want to avoid the stairs that lead up to the front of the ship, there is a secret door that will get you right there.

Walk all the way forward on Deck 5 and enter the Star Lounge.  In the daytime, it is usually empty.  Enter the lounge and take an immediate right, just past the DJ booth.

There's a set of unmarkes doors that you can simply open up an you will be let out right next to the helipad.  

This is especially helpful if you have a stroller or are in a wheelchair and stairs are a problem.

8. Second best spot for sailaway

A good alternative spot for sailaway that is less windy than the helipad (and has no stairs) are the little observation areas on deck 11 near the Solarium.

Go up to deck 11 and walk all the way forward.  Once in the Solarium, adjacent to the doors that lead to the elevator lobby are glass doors you must open manually.  

Inside is a small "room", with windows that look outwards and even some chairs to sit in.  This can be a great, uncrowded spot to enjoy sailaway.

7. Enjoy the view from Olive or Twist

It is really hard to beat the views of Freedom of the Seas' upper decks from the Olive or Twist Lounge.

Located on deck 14 at the aft of the ship the Olive or Twist lounge offers guests sweeping views of the upper decks and the ocean.  

To get to Olive or Twist, you must use the aft elevators and go up to deck 14.

6. Get a taste of it all at FreedomFest

An event unique to Freedom of the Seas is something called FreedomFest, where the Royal Promenade offers guests a little of everything unique on Freedom of the Seas.

There will be food and drink stations available, as well as towel and napkin folding demonstrations, watermelon carving, photos with the ship's officers, and more.

It is basically like a "best of" from the week's events held in one spot. 

FreedomFest is held on the Royal Promenade and is usually done on one of the last sea days of your cruise.  Check the Cruise Compass for more information.

5. Sun yourself on the St. Tropez deck

If you want to get that perfect tan or just enjoy being outside without all the noise of the pool deck (or the crowds), head up the St. Tropez deck.

Walk up to deck 12 and then walk all the way forward.  You will see a large open area with some deck chairs that you can use to enjoy a mostly uncrowded sun bathing spot.

What is special about the St. Tropez deck is there tends to be not many guests here at all, leaving it rather tranquil.  

4. Best parade spot

The DreamWorks parade on Freedom of the Seas is a terrific opportunity to see and meet the popular stars from hit DreamWorks films.

If you want a good spot to enjoy the parade and ensure your kids have a good chance to be close to the characters, try in front of the Bull and Bear pub.

The pub has tables outside the pub that you can sit at in the time leading up to the parade and since other families do not consider a pub the first spot to bring kids to for a parade, it can remain overlooked.

Once the parade is about to begin, stand up from your seats and you will be up front for all the action.  In addition, the pub is located right in the middle of the parade route.

3. Find the coolest mixed drinks here

These days, Royal Caribbean offers its guests a lot of opportunities to buy alcoholic beverages but the best place to find the most interesting mixed drinks has to be up on the pool deck on the port side.

This one spot near the main pool consistently serves up more than just mixed drinks.  You will find the neatest souvenir mugs as well as interesting choices for drinks that we could never find anywhere else onboard.

On one day, they were making mixed drinks that you could drink out of a hollowed out pineapple, and other days had different light up or color changing mugs.

Look for a stand on deck 11 at the main pool, close to the Solarium.  The choices available change daily, so be sure to ask about what is coming up and when.

2. Ride the FlowRider on embarkation day

Guests cannot seem to get enough of the FlowRider surf simulator on Freedom of the Seas.  It is really fun to try and learn to surf without having to wait for that perfect wave but there always seems to be a line.

To beat the lines, go to the FlowRider on embarkation day.  Bring your swimsuit in your carryon luggage (or wear it to the ship) and then head to the FlowRider in the afternoon.  

Most other guests onboard will not have their swim suits or even be aware the FlowRider is open.  It is the perfect time to get multiple rides in without little or no wait!

1. Book the Ben & Jerry's Suite

Photo by David Fiske

If you want a stateroom with some real character, try the "Ben & Jerry's Sweet" Promenade stateroom.

Stateroom 6305 may not appear different on the deck plans, but it one of the most unusual staterooms available anywhere.

Located directly above the Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop on the Royal Promenade, the sweet has a view of the Royal Promenade blocked by the two cows that make up the ice cream shop's recognizable facade.

Inside the stateroom, you will find a cow motif, with cow-sheets, pillows, cow, cow's picture on the wall and much more.

Booking this stateroom also gets you coupons for free Ben & Jerry's ice cream as well as access to the Concierge Lounge (for passengers over 18 years), which are otherwise only available to passengers reserved for those who booked a suite.

Did we miss any Freedom of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

Fire reported on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas cruise ship

In:
22Jul2015

A fire broke out earlier this morning on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas and was subsequently contained and extinguished.

The Jamaica Gleaner posted a photo of Freedom of the Seas near Falmouth, Jamaica with black smoke coming from the ship.

11:07am UPDATE:Royal Caribbean has issued a statement that the fire occurred in a mechanical space and has been contained and extinguished. All systems are functioning.

11:30am UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has issued a statement regarding the fire on Freedom of the Seas:

On July 22, 2015, Freedom of the Seas experience a fire in a mechanical space as the ship was pulling into Falmouth, Jamaica. The ship's fire suppression system was immediately activated, which contained and extinguished the fire. In an abundance of caution, the Captain mustered all guests at their assembly stations. The ship is currently alongside in Falmouth and all systems are functioning.

Freedom of the Seas is currently on a seven-night sailing that departed Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday, July 19, and includes port calls to Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Mexico.

11:42am UPDATE: Royal Caribbean reports Freedom of the Seas is docked in Falmouth, Jamaica as scheduled and all systems functioning.

11:52am UPDATE: Royal Caribbean reports all guests have been accounted for and no injuries reported.

12:10pm UPDATE: Royal Caribbean reports all crew members have been accounted for, with just one crew member treated for a first-degree burn.

12:29pm UPDATE: The Jamaica Gleaner has a video of smoke coming from Freedom of the Seas.

3:05pm UPDATE: Royal Caribbean announced Freedom of the Seas will continue with her regularly scheduled itinerary for the current sailing.

July 23 update: New photos of the fire damage to the stack

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