Launched in 2006, Freedom of the Seas was the world’s largest cruise ship at that time. Royal Caribbean were expanding their fleet like never before, creating bigger and bolder vessels to capture the imagination of cruise fans and attract a whole new audience. In fact, Royal Caribbean had even greater plans and in 2008 the largest cruise ship title was taken by the first of the Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, followed soon after by the Quantum-class ships.
Freedom of the Seas is still massive mind you. At 339 metres long, it’s just over 20 metres shorter than the Oasis-class vessels. The ship’s 15 passenger decks tower above almost all other cruise ships, and it is designed for deep ocean conditions. The liner-like bow handles heavy swells of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea during travels around the world, and it even has the appearance of a ship that’s ready and raring for adventure.
The limelight shining on the larger classes of vessels has allowed Freedom of the Seas to sail slightly under the radar, and the ship has benefited. Although cruise ship design is meticulous, the advent of mega-ships meant some ship features would need fine tuning at a later date. A 24-day dry dock stopover in 2015 facilitated Freedom of the Seas upgrades and alterations, and a decade of touring the world has ironed out any kinks while also empowering the crew to smoothly manage the vessel. Freedom looks and feels almost brand new, and sails to enviable destinations all year round.
Freedom of the Seas is a floating theme-park, resort hotel and entertainment complex all in one. The ship caters to all types of passengers and sails to fantastic destinations on both short and long journeys. Whether you are a go-getter on the move, a family having fun, or just want to take time out and be pampered, Freedom of the Seas has exactly what you need.
Freedom of the Seas cabins
The four main cabin types on Freedom; Inside, Oceanview, Balcony and Suite all have variations for individual cruising style. Almost half the cabins and suites have private balconies, with some overlooking the promenade. Freedom of the Seas is full of technological wizardry including ‘virtual balconies’ for inside passengers to experience the outside world. The virtual balconies show live streaming of ocean and port views through the cabin’s virtual window, and the result is surprisingly realistic.
- Interior: These affordable staterooms are comfortable and contemporary. Similar in design to a modern hotel room, interior cabins are fitted with all mod-cons including flat-screen TVs and a queen-size bed. Some interior cabins can be connected for larger groups resulting in a second living area and bathroom.
- Oceanview cabins: Generally slightly larger than interior cabins, oveanview rooms are ideal for passengers who don’t need a balcony but still want to watch the world float by. Oceanview cabins are available in various sub-categories featuring different sized windows and alternative room configurations. Connected cabins are available and many provide panoramic views.
- Balcony cabins: Royal Caribbean visits spectacular destinations so having your own balcony makes perfect sense. Even the smaller balconies are large enough for two people to sit in comfort, enjoy a coffee or drink, and take in the views. In a nod to the new breed of cruise passenger, single occupancy rooms with a balcony are available, along with other categories designed for accessibility, luxury and style.
- Suites: Freedom of the Seas suites are for people who need more space and a place to call home while at sea. Fully appointed for entertaining or relaxation, Suites feature additional living space and more beds, plus full bathrooms with a tub and are extremely popular with families and larger groups. There are almost a dozen suite categories on Freedom, some with wraparound balconies and enough room for serious entertaining.
Freedom of the Seas dining
Cruising is the best value holiday idea around. For the ticket price alone entire families can enjoy the vacation of their lives, including meals, a comfortable cabin and onboard entertainments and attractions. Large cruise ship eateries are the equal of their land-based counterparts and although a surcharge is required for some up-market restaurants the free meals also have the wow factor. On a one week cruise it would be easy to enjoy a different main course every night on Freedom of the Seas. Here are some of the complimentary dining options.
- Main Dining Room: The restaurant actually spans three decks: Leonardo’s is on deck 3, Issac’s on deck 4 and Galileo’s on deck 5. The restaurants offer traditional cruise dining with assigned seating or My Time Dining for a flexible dining approach. Reservations aren’t required but they are useful for avoiding the rush during peak times. The three restaurants are individually themed and personalised with colours and accents, although in essence they are the same restaurant. The three course dinner menus change daily with an abundance of cruise ship foodstuffs of a very high standard. The Main Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Windjammer Cafe: Cruise ships as big as Freedom can afford to provide varying restaurant environments for all types of passengers. Windjammer Cafe is cool, casual and very popular, designed like a food court buffet for hot and cold items. The cafe is great for families who don’t want to dress up just to eat, or prefer to grab a bite between activities around the ship. Windjammer also hosts Jade, an Asian food sensation serving Indonesian and Vietnamese cuisine.
- Cafe Promenade: Centrally located, Cafe Promenade is convenient for grabbing a coffee or pastry while planning your next move for the day. It’s also a comfortable place for people-watching.
- Sorrento’s Pizza: Sorrento’s is Italian pizza with a New York style. Open all day, this establishment is designed to entice passengers with the scent of fresh baked pizza, bread, grilled veggies and all things Mediterranean. You can even design your own pizza topping.
- Sprinkles: Soft-serve ice cream is a cruise essential for most people, and Sprinkles offers several yummy flavours perfect for cooling off during a long day of having fun.
- Park Cafe: Another venue worth visiting. Fill up on a sandwich, design your own salad from a wide range of ingredients or enjoy a hot and fresh panini.
- Solarium Bistro: Solarium Bistro caters to healthy people who want to fill up and not fill-out. Light and tasty choices for breakfast and lunch include soups, salads, fruit and delicious pastries.
- Boardwalk Dog House: American and European style hot dogs are cruise favourites and the Boardwalk Dog House even sells sausages, bratwursts and custom sandwiches.
- Boardwalk Donuts: Another American institution, the donut, is the answer to any sweet cravings while onboard Freedom of the Seas. A range of styles including jelly, frosted or crème are available.
- Cafe Latte-tudes: Coffee and pastries go together any day of the week, and Cafe
Latte-tudes provides a nice selection of tempting treats along with specialty coffees and drinks.
- Vitality Cafe: Another venue where health-conscious eating is encouraged. Tasty yoghurt, smoothies and wraps are just some of the temptations here.
- Room Service: There are times when leaving the cabin seems like an over-endeavor, so it’s just a matter of a simple phone call to order a room service delivery of tasty treats and snacks.
Freedom of the Seas also provides for-fee culinary experiences. The standard of cruise dining is very high, and although complimentary eating is satisfying, so is value for money. It’s worth keeping a little aside to sample the international tastes on Freedom. Italian, Asian, Mexican and American cuisines are overseen by renowned chefs, while top brand coffee, wine, snacks and even Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream is available.
Freedom of the Seas activities
Most cruises explore during the warmer months when the weather is perfect for sun-worshiping and swimming. The largest pools on Freedom are a magnet for outdoor fun-lovers. One pool is suitable for swimming and soaking while the other is used for volleyball and other sports. Movies under the stars are shown on the giant screen at night, and the nearby H2O Zone hosts a kids-only pool, a waterfall, fountains and geysers. Another pool area, the Solarium, is an adults-only sanctuary featuring cantilevered whirlpools and incredible views of the ocean below. Everybody deserves a little escape time on Freedom.
If it’s action you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right cruise ship. The FlowRider, for starters, is a genuine challenge even for experienced surfers and mastering the never ending wave is definitely photo-worthy. Testing strength and stamina on the Rock Wall is another challenge worth boasting about and a great way to dry off after a splash in the pool. The sports court opens during set times for those with a competitive streak, and mini-golf provides a genuine opportunity to get a hole-in-one. In between activities it’s time to relax, and the majestic Freedom of the Seas has plenty of room for lots of sun-loungers. Freedom of the Seas even has an ice-skating rink, a Royal Caribbean at-sea first, and basketball is another American pastime that’s enjoyed by young and old on Freedom.
Entertainment and shopping
The action continues once inside Freedom of the Seas. The main theatre showcases Broadway-style entertainments that are the equal of anything on dry land, and the ice-skating shows are a family favourite. High rollers head to the huge Casino Royale to try their luck on 19 gaming tables and more than 300 slot machines.
There are 22 bars, lounges and clubs without cover-charge on Freedom of the Seas. Exploring everything would require a long cruise, although passengers soon find their favourite hangouts for meeting people and making new friends. Whether you want to taste a genuine English beer, dance Latin-style at Boleros or just chill out after an adventurous day exploring exotic destinations, Freedom is the name of the game.
Shopping for brand name jewellery or perfume is as easy as taking a stroll down the Royal Promenade, while culture buffs are treated to amazing works such as those of Romero Britto, a pop art pioneer.
Kids and Families
Cruise companies had to make dramatic changes to the way their ship’s operate with the arrival of family cruising. Children can’t be ignored or abandoned, so the only alternative was to design a cruise style just for them. Freedom of the Seas caters to all ages, from tots to teens, with areas of the ship dedicated to fun and friendship.
The DreamWorks Experience is a hit, where kids get to meet their favourite characters, while teens get cool and grown-up in their own disco and lounge area. The 3D Movie theatre is enjoyed by everyone. Babies and toddlers are overseen by experienced and professional staff in a safe and secure setting, allowing parents or guardians to slip away for some private fun. Freedom of the Seas is huge, but the various attractions and entertainments work in harmony to provide the best possible cruise experience for everyone.
Freedom of the Seas Stats
|3,782 (double occupancy)
4,515 (maximum occupancy)
|19 total decks, 15 passenger decks
|21.6 knots (40.0 km/h; 24.9 mph)
|1,111.46 ft (338.774 m)
|126.64 ft (38.60 m)
|29.61 ft (9.026 m)
|6 × Wärtsilä 12V46 (6 × 12,600 kW)