At one point in history, the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship was the largest passenger cruise ship in the world. However, that was back in 2006, when the ship was completed and christened, and the ship was soon overtaken in size by Royal Caribbean sister ship Liberty of the Seas, just a year later, in 2007.
Despite this, the Freedom-class namesake cruise ship is still nothing small. It can hold 3,782 passengers and 1,300 crew members across its 15 passenger decks, and four additional crew decks below the water line.
Costing approximately $800 million to build, the ship weighs a gross tonnage of 154,407 GT — or at least, it did until 2015, when renovations upped that gross tonnage to 156,271 GT. The ship has a length of 1,111 feet and a height of 209 feet. While typical double occupancy is 3,782, maximum occupancy is 4,515 persons.
Freedom of the Seas Stats
While the Royal Caribbean cruise ship is well into its teenage years, it has undergone several dry docking periods. In 2011, it underwent its first dry dock; in 2015, it underwent a 24-day dry dock that was more expansive, adding new interior passenger cabins. Most recently, the ship underwent a $116 million dry dock in early 2020.
You’ve likely seen Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas popping up in news headlines recently, for the negligent homicide of a toddler during a Caribbean cruise. However, the ship has been able to escape some of the other negative cruising news that’s surrounded the industry due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Worth Reading: 14 Things to Do on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas
If you’re thinking of sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise sometime in late 2020 or early 2021, you may want to give Freedom of the Seas your consideration. And if you’ve already decided this is the ship for you, then you may want to go ahead and start planning your vacation itinerary. After all, there’s plenty to do and see aboard this ship — especially following the 2020 dry dock and refurbishments.
Here are our 16 favorite things to do on a Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise.
1. Take full advantage of the new outdoor spaces, like The Perfect Storm, Splashaway Bay and The Lime & Coconut
Part of Freedom of the Seas’ recent renovations include the addition and upgrading of a lot of the outdoor spaces. You’ll want to take full advantage of these new spaces, too, whether you’re a traveling family looking for some fun or a traveling couple looking for the ultimate in relaxation.
The Perfect Storm is a three-story-high collection of water slides that have already appeared on other Royal Caribbean ships in the past, to rave reviews. The Cyclone and Typhoon water slides are particularly adrenaline-pumping and some can’t-miss, on-board experiences for anyone who considers themself a thrill seeker.
For those with smaller kids who can’t quite stand all those thrills and chills yet, they can check out the new kids water park, Splashaway Bay.
Then the adults will love the new Caribbean resort-style bar and pool area called The Lime & Coconut, where you can find all your favorite alcoholic beverages, live music, lots of places to lounge in the shade or sun and more.
2. Try the ship’s four new eateries
If you’ve already cruised on Freedom of the Seas in the past, or maybe it’s been a while since you took a Royal Caribbean cruise at all, regardless of which ships you’ve experienced in the line’s fleet, then you may not have had a chance to check out these new additions to the brand’s culinary lineup. Four new eateries make dining even more of a pleasure when onboard the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship.
There’s Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen, for family-style, authentic and contemporary Italian eats, wine, limoncello, hand-tossed pizza, fresh-made pasta and all the rest.
Then there’s El Loco Fresh, a pool-side, Mexican eatery with a casual menu filled with classic favs like tacos and burritos. Unlike at other El Loco Fresh restaurants across the Royal Caribbean fleet, the El Loco Fresh aboard Freedom of the Seas serves a wide array of tequilas from the full-service bar.
Third, check out the new Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, for Asian-inspired eats in an upscale atmosphere.
And lastly, you can’t miss Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, where you can catch all your favorite sports teams playing on more than 100 televisions. If there’s not a game on that you’re dying to watch, you can always make your own fun at one of the arcade games. Dining and drinks includes frosty beers and bar snacks.
3. Send the kids off to enjoy their own revamped experiences
Kids of all ages will appreciate Royal Caribbean’s changes to its popular kids programming.
A totally new layout of the children’s spaces is sure to please. The Adventure Ocean space is now split into several zones, where child cruisers can pick their own ways to play. In the Play Place, they can climb to their hearts’ content. At the Arena, they can compete in a safe environment. At the Hangout, they’ll be able to do just that — chill and hang out with kids their own ages.
The toddler spaces, AO Juniors and AO Babies, also have new, revamped spaces, for ages three to five and six to 36 months, respectively.
Teens will also like their new area, Social033, which offers tons of media, movies, gaming and a private, outdoor deck for teens only.
4. Check in on the Royal Caribbean International mobile app
If you’ve yet to make use of the handy Royal Caribbean International mobile app during one of your cruises, you’re seriously missing out. This app is just the thing to make your trip that much more convenient — and now it’s available on Freedom of the Seas cruises, after a long wait.
On the app, you can do a variety of things, including checking in for your cruise, arranging for expedited arrival, planning your family’s activities for the day, viewing your extra expenses you may have charged to your stateroom, making reservations for dinner and setting up shore excursions. You’ll even find that you can control your stateroom television from the app!
5. Try all of the complimentary dining options
When you have such high-quality, complimentary dining as what you’ll find aboard Freedom of the Seas, then you really ought to take advantage of it and try all of the complimentary dining options available to you.
The main dining rooms — Leonardo’s, Isaac’s and Galileo’s — all offer traditional, cruise line dining experiences, with sit-down, themed dining and upscale menus. You can usually find something on the menu to fit every diner in your party, even those who are a bit on the pickier side. All three serve food breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Of course, you can’t miss the buffet. Cruise ships are somewhat notorious for their extensive buffets, with high-quality fare. The buffet aboard Freedom of the Seas is called Windjammer, and you’ll find a large array of self-serve stations that offer just about everything you could want, from breakfast to classic American cuisine to international cuisines.
Sorrento’s is your on-board pizza parlor, while Cafe Promenade is just that — a cafe. (It’s also connected to a Starbucks, where you can purchase your favorite branded drinks for an additional fee.) Sprinkles serves up delicious soft serve and, lastly, you can get select room service items delivered to your room for free as well.
6. Make your reservations at some of the favorited for-a-fee restaurants
Beyond the cruise ship’s new for-a-fee restaurants listed above as absolute must-tries for your sailing, it’s also worth checking out some of the favorited for-a-fee restaurants that are tried-and-true classic options aboard just about any Royal Caribbean cruise.
Chops Grille is a nice spot to go for an upscale, steakhouse-style dinner. Sabor Modern Mexican is a more affordable, Mexican eatery. Johnny Rockets is an even more affordable version of the same branded restaurants you’ll find on land, serving up all your diner favorites. And lastly, you can get your favorite dessert items at a classic Ben & Jerry’s and at The Cupcake Cupboard, with its more than 30 cupcake varieties.
7. Catch a show
You can always find some sort of live entertainment on display somewhere while on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. There are three different dedicated theaters, which is a great place to start (although, truth be told, you don’t have to walk far to find live music in various corners of the ship, restaurants and public spaces).
The Arcadia Theater is your classic, big theater with more than a thousand seats and double decks, where you can find nightly, large-scale performances with singing, dancing, theater, comedy, acrobatics and everything in-between. The Star Lounge is the secondary theater, where you’ll find more small-scale entertainment, like game show-style bits. Then Studio B is another secondary theater, with ice shows and interactive performances and games (and you can also use the ice rink yourself on select days and at select times).
8. Get silly with the daily fun activities throughout the ship
A cruise ship is no place to be serious. Get in on all the fun activities for families, kids and adults alike, with daily activities hosted by the enthusiastic crew. From trivia to cannonball contests, bingo to scavenger hunts, you can find something fun at nearly any time of day, especially on sea days. You can even learn something new, thanks to seminars and lectures on topics ranging from art to cake decorating.
9. Test your luck in the casino
If you’re feeling a little lucky, you can always test that luck out in the casino. The ship’s casino is only open on sea days, but it’s a nice place to go to waste away a bit of time and maybe win a bit of cash while you’re at it. You’ll find all your favorite classic casino games, from slots to table games, craps to blackjack.
An in-casino bar keeps your whistle wet, and the casino is a smoking-allowed zone. Keep your eyes peeled for the themed casino nights, which can be pretty fun.
10. Get your drink on at one of the many Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas bars and lounges
Just like you don’t have to look long or far for fun and live music aboard Freedom of the Seas, you won’t have to look long or far for a drink, either. There are tons of places to get an alcoholic concoction of your favorite variety.
The On Air Bar offers sports and karaoke (including private karaoke booths, in case you don’t really want to belt out your favorite tunes to a rowdy crowd). Schooner Bar offers live music as well (but from the professionals). Bolero’s is a Latin lounge, with lots of dancing (just note that it can get pretty crowded at certain times). The Star Lounge is also filled with lots of fun, including live music and trivia.
R Bar was added during the ship’s 2015 dry dock and is centrally located and a good spot for people watching. Bull & Bear is a pub-style bar with lots of beer offered. Vintages is a wine bar. Plaza Bar is attached to the Windjammer buffet, for easy drinks during your buffet peel. Olive or Twist is a martini bar with lots of nice views.
There are three bars near the pool areas, including the Pool Bar (aptly named), Squeeze and Sky Bar (overlooking the pool).
11. Soak in the sun or splash in the waves
Speaking of the pool, we’ve already mentioned the great, refurbished pool areas that debuted on Freedom of the Seas just this year, but don’t miss also taking a dip in the hot tubs in the main pool area on Deck 11, as well as the adults-only pool in the Solarium.
Both of these spots feature plenty of places to sunbathe, with lots of deck chairs. The Solarium also offers two whirlpools, but these are unique in that they hang off the side of the ship, for views of the ocean and views of the waves beneath your feet thanks to glass bottoms.
12. Try your hand at a bit of surfing
If you’ve never been surfing before and you’ve always wanted to give it a try, you may want to try the FlowRider activity aboard Freedom of the Seas (fun fact: though the FlowRider feature is now standard on most Royal Caribbean cruise ships, when it debuted on Freedom of the Seas, it was the first “surf park” at sea).
The FlowRider feature basically gives you a compact space in which to surf or boogie board along a manmade wave. The activity is a favorite with kids and adults alike, and even if you don’t give it a try, you’ll want to grab one of the seats near it to watch the hilarious successes and failures of those who do.
13. Get active and break a sweat
If you want to get active with some fun activities, but you’d rather stay dry and not don your swimsuit, there are still plenty of ways to do so out in the sun on one of Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas’ sports and fun decks. The Rock Wall, on Deck 13, for example, is a fun area to climb up over the deck and catch the views.
The Sports Court, also on Deck 14, is a fun spot to throw around a ball with the kids. A mini golf course is also on Deck 13, as is a place to play ping-pong. A shuffleboard area is set up on Deck 5.
14. Find a little quiet time
Let’s face it. Sometimes, especially if you’re on a family cruise, you just need a little quiet time to yourself. If you can’t find it at the adults-only Solarium or in your stateroom, you may want to pay a visit to the ship’s library. The Wilhelmsen Library is situated on Deck 7 and gives you great views of the ship’s Promenade through large windows. It offers a decent selection of books, places to read and games and more. You can rent books and games and enjoy them throughout the duration of your stay.
You can also visit the online internet cafe for some web surfing and email checking without paying for the onboard internet package (which can be a bit pricey).
There’s also an art gallery on Deck 3, where you can view what dealers Park West have put out on display. You may even be able to snag one of the pieces as a fun purchase, if you’re lucky.
Other shopping options are available on the Promenade, including a Michael Kors store, boutiques selling luxury items such as perfume, makeup, jewelry, swimsuits and spirits. You can also find convenient-style stores for any items you may have accidentally left behind when packing, as well as souvenirs. For more shopping while in port, the ship has a dedicated port shopping kiosk that can answer any questions you might have and point you in the right direction.
15. Take a trip to the spa
The on-board Vitality Spa offers a great spot for you to further relax and maybe indulge in a treatment or two during the duration of your cruise. The spa makes use of name-brand spa products and offers a full menu of treatments, including massages, wraps, facials and even pedi-spa treatments like acupuncture and age-defying facials. Other salon services include teeth whitening, manicures, pedicures, hair cuts and hair styling.
16. Challenge your fellow cruisers to a game of laser tag
Lastly, don’t miss a newer feature for Royal Caribbean, indoor laser tag that’s actually included in the cost of your stateroom. The laser tag arena gives guests a chance to immerse themselves in a fantastical world of snow and ice, where you battle against an opposing team in a glow-in-the-dark setting.
Freedom of the Seas FAQ:
The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship has a length of 1,111 feet and a height of 209 feet.
The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship is the namesake for the cruise line’s Freedom-class. Other Freedom-class ships include Liberty of the Seas, debuting in 2007 and Independence of the Seas, debuting in 2008.
Liberty of the Seas was originally named Endeavor of the Seas before construction began. At the time of their launches, both Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas were the largest passenger ships in the world.
There are three swimming pools on Freedom of the Seas, including two in the main pool deck area, and one in the adults-only Solarium.
There are an additional seven jacuzzis/whirlpools, with the two jacuzzis in the adults-only Solarium being cantilevered. Freedom of the Seas also offers a children’s water park and several new water slides.
Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas can hold 3,782 passengers and 1,300 crew members across its 15 passenger decks and four additional crew decks below the water line.
Costing approximately $800 million to build, the ship weighs a gross tonnage of 154,407 GT — or at least, it did until 2015, when renovations upped that gross tonnage to 156,271 GT. The cruise ship has a length of 1,111 feet and a height of 209 feet. While typical double occupancy is 3,782, maximum occupancy is 4,515 persons.
Photo Credit: Philip Armitage / Shutterstock.com