Freedom of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s latest ship to undergo the Royal Amplification process receiving a $116 million facelift and several new features. Freedom of the Seas is now sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico offering 7-night cruises to beautiful ports in the Southern Caribbean, and we have just returned from the first cruise on this ship since its amplification. If you are looking to plan the perfect getaway on Royal Caribbean, our 9 Things We Loved About the Newly Amplified Freedom of the Seas will show you why you need to book this ship for your next cruise. We know everyone will be craving a cruise once this travel ban is lifted!
9 Things We Loved About the Amplified Freedom of the Seas (and One We Didn’t)
Caribbean Pool Deck
Perhaps our favorite renovation on Royal Caribbean’s newly amplified ships in the Caribbean pool deck. This new resort pool makes you feel like you have already arrived in the tropical Caribbean islands. With island theming, pops of color, and a variety of seating options, this pool deck is a welcomed update to the typical cruise ship pool. This new pool area adds more deck space, a new splash pad for kids, daybeds, and shaded casitas. With a pool deck of this caliber, you may never want to leave. This was certainly our favorite spot to spend our sea days. The area does get crowded though, so be sure to secure your spot early.
The Lime & Coconut Bar
If you are going to update the pool deck, then you need to upgrade the typical pool bar, right? The new Lime and Coconut Bar (which debuted on Navigator of the Seas) might easily become the new standard for cruise ship outdoor lounges. It’s easy to get on island time at this three story bar and lounge that serves up signature Caribbean cocktails morning, noon, and night. The first two decks of this bar offer your favorite vacation-mode libations, including the signature Lime & Coconut cocktail, with a bird’s eye view of the pool and stylish seating. The third deck offers a rooftop sun space or moonlit lounge spot. It’s always 5 o’clock at the Lime and Coconut.
Related Post: Guide to Royal Caribbean Drink Packages
The Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm waterslides have recently become a Royal Caribbean fan favorite. The newly amplified Freedom of the Seas received Typhoon and Cyclone during its makeover. These twin racer slides will have you twisting and turning down 3 stories for plenty of wet and wild thrills. The slides even come complete with special lighting and effects for ultimate sea day fun. The Perfect Storm waterslides are great for the whole family! The minimum height requirement is 48 inches, and the maximum weight restriction is 300 lbs.
Clash for the Crystal City
Debuting on the recently amplified Oasis of the Seas and now Freedom of the Seas is a new glow in the dark laser tag experience. The Clash for Crystal City is a complimentary activity that occurs in Studio B on select days of the cruise. Gear up with your laser blaster and get ready for a family friendly competition as you go head to head on a frozen Earth to battle for resources. Which of the last remaining clans will come out victoriously- the Yetis or Snowshifters? If you want to participate in this fun activity, just be sure to pack some closed-toe shoes. We thought the theming of this course was better than the previous Battle for Planet Z.
Loyal to Royal fans will also find the cruiser favorite, Flowrider surf simulator, on the sports deck of Freedom of the Seas. While this is not a new activity, it does provide a bit of nostalgia. Freedom of the Seas was the first ship to ever debut this iconic attraction! So, you will definitely want to grab a board and perfect your hang ten. Even if you do not know how to surf, you can try out some “boogie boarding”. Private lessons are available for a fee, or you can just brave it on your own. What’s the worst that can happen? Even if you aren’t up for the challenge yourself, the Flowrider makes for a great spectator sport as well. For the record, while DB did perfect his skill when we sailed on this ship 10 years ago, he passed this time around.
Related Post: What’s Included on a Royal Caribbean Cruise
New Specialty Dining
Freedom of the Seas is the first amplified ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet to debut the completely re-imagined Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen. This restaurant is a new take on a guest favorite. This rustic venue serves up all the Italian classics. The menu features made-to-order pizzas prepared in an open kitchen concept and baked in the new pizza oven. Cruisers can also enjoy classic pasta dishes, delicious desserts, and complimentary limoncello. We loved this restaurant so much that we dined here twice. Of course, Freedom of the Seas is also home to other Royal Caribbean favorites like Chops Grille, Izumi Sushi and Hibachi, and Chef’s Table.
New Casual Eats
We are happy to report that the newly amplified Freedom of the Seas is also now home to two of our favorite casual eats at sea. The poolside El Loco Fresh is your go-to spot for a quick service lunch. Similar to Navigator of the Seas, the venue features tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, along with a custom salsa bar. However, El Loco Fresh on Freedom of the Seas also features a full-service tequila bar with a small signature menu. No fiesta is complete without tequila!
Playmaker’s Sports Bar and Arcade has also made its way to Freedom of the Seas. We really like the new location on deck 4 and the open feel of the venue. Offering a selection of beers, the signature Playmakers burger, buffalo wings, a few new menu items, tabletop games, and plenty of televisions, this venue is the perfect place to hang out with some friends and cheer on your home team.
Royal Caribbean is known for having some of the best entertainment at sea. While the amplified Freedom of the Seas did not receive any Broadway production shows during its refurbishment, there is still plenty of nighttime fun onboard the ship. In the main theater, you will find production shows featuring the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers including Marquee and Once Upon a Time. While we always enjoy Once Upon a Time, we did feel that Marquee was a little dated. There is a signature ice show in Studio B, live music throughout the ship in all your favorite venues, and karaoke. There are also some adult game shows that never disappoint like the Love and Marriage and Crazy Quest and the always good fun Royal Promenade parties.
Ports of Call
One reason we booked this sailing on the newly amplified Freedom of the Seas was because of its ports of call. Our sailing visited the ABC islands, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, in addition to St. Thomas. We have only visited these Southern Caribbean ports once back in 2015 and were happy to get back here. We also love the departure point of San Juan, Puerto Rico, where we spent two nights prior to our cruise. Freedom of the Seas will be sailing from San Juan on various Southern Caribbean itineraries through early 2022 (following the hopefully short-lived cruise suspension). It will also visit other popular ports including St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, and Antigua. Additionally, Freedom of the Seas will sail from Cape Liberty, NJ in the Summer and Fall of 2021 visiting Bermuda and Canada/New England.
One Thing We Didn’t Love About the Newly Amplified Freedom of the Seas
While Freedom of the Seas did receive an extensive renovation, the staterooms on the ship remained relatively untouched. The cabins did provide enough space and the usual comforts, but you could tell they had not been updated. The rooms featured the older green color palette, and there were definite signs of wear. The bathroom towels were often tattered and stained, and our furniture definitely looked like it should have been replaced years ago. The cabins did not receive any updates as far as technology either. There were no additional power outlets or USBs added, and the key entry system still required you to insert a card. It’s too bad that Royal Caribbean missed the opportunity to update the cabins on this ship as we really like the modern and sleek design of the staterooms on newer vessels.
Do you have plans to cruise on Royal Caribbean’s most recently renovated vessel? What are some of the things you loved about the newly amplified Freedom of the Seas? Drop us an anchor below with your thoughts on all the new additions to this ship.