Built in 2006, Freedom was the largest cruise ship in the world at that time! It’s since lost that title to the Oasis Class Ships but is still a mega sized ship! I just completed a 3 night weekend cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
Freedom received its 116 Million dollar Amped up refurbishment in 2020. This ship is a mega sized ship at almost 160,000 gross tonnage. With over 3900 passengers it offers a lot of activities for either group bookings or families. I think this ship, while in some minor ways is showing her age in the non-refurbishment sections, is otherwise holding up to the test of time on almost everything else.
Freedom was the first ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet in May 2022 to be outfitted as a TEST SHIP for the Star Link Wi-Fi system. Star link is now being installed on all Royal ships fleet wide at this time. My honest experience with the Star Link Wi-Fi was mixed. I really didn’t notice a big difference between traditional large ship Wi-Fi and the Star Link Wi-Fi to be honest. It would work a bit quicker at times and then be spotty or not working at all at other times. But so far the new Star Link technology hasn’t effected prices for the Wi-Fi itself and perhaps because this mega ship was fully sold out and so many users on it, it may have been lacking some ability because of that.
Some observations since the refurbishment in 2020. Playmaker’s Sport Bar and Arcade found a new home on the Freedom of the Seas and is a fun place to watch sports on several flat screens throughout the bar area, shoot billiards, play ski Ball, foos ball or just enjoy some old school stand up arcade games like Ms Pac Man and Donkey Kong among others. They offer a great variety of beers there as well as traditional bar food. For some poolside fun, Royal gave Freedom a new tropical Caribbean style pool deck with bright colors and offers more seating as well as the children’s splash pad area which was very nice. This pool deck fills up fast daily especially on sea days so you’ll want to be up early for those poolside seats! You can’t have a new Caribbean style pool deck without adding El Loco Fresh poolside for your dining enjoyment and a small tequila bar as well. Freedom now also has the new Lime and Coconut Bar also poolside. Every fruity drink you love will be made there. Freedom now has a FlowRider on the back on the ship for all ages to enjoy and challenge those waves! Freedom also received 2 new racing water slides named Typhoon and Cyclone. They race 3 stories down with plenty of twists on your way down. Lastly for the refurbishment portion of this review Royal added Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen for an amazing dining experience for a small up charge. Of course Royal has its staple restaurants such as Izumi Sushi and Hibachi and Chops Grill there also.
I found the casino to also have not benefited from the recent refurbishment with still mostly older style slot machines and feeling very dated. On the plus side it does have the table games most people enjoy including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, 3 Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold Em. The main dining rooms on these Freedom Class ships are nothing short of Magnificent with 3 story high seating with beautiful woodwork and beautiful huge chandeliers welcoming you in.
Final Thought: This ship remains a mega sized ship for your group’s needs and could serve them well with a lot of open areas and fun options for all.
Witten by Kurt Budde. October 2022