Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

Freedom of the Seas Reaches New Heights with the Royal Advantage

Lisa BauerCaptain Bill and I just completed our Anchored in Excellence (AIE) visit to Freedom of the Seas.  Freedom just came out of dry dock on Sunday, March 27th, so we wanted to see the result of how everything looked and was operating.   One of the other objectives on our AIE visit was to see what else we could be doing to support the ship with any key operational challenges they were facing.

We boarded the ship in Port Canaveral, there we found some definite challenges with the check in process and the security screening.  I was very concerned by the security processes and lack of customer service.   When something like this happens that is part of another division, we reach out the department head and raise the issue, then we get together to discuss the situation or challenge.   In this case, I immediately raised the issue to Gary Bald, our SVP of Safety, Security, Medical and Public Health, and we will be jointly reviewing our fleet wide security screening standards and expectations.   We have a Shoreside Executive Committee that is comprised of all the department heads that support the operation and it is great to be able to reach out and receive the support to address whatever issues we have cross functionally.

Once onboard, we did a full ship tour to see the new venues.  Our guests were already enjoying the new outdoor screens.  They were watching the NCAA Tournament and having a great time.  Because our guests have been enjoying the outdoor screens so much, we’ve decided to add them to Radiance and Splendour later in the year as well.

New outdoor screen above the pool

I was doing my full walk around and ran into two guests that were looking for the screening room.  I walked them over and showed them where it was, and they asked me how I knew where it was since it wasn’t on our signage or the new digital signage.  I laughed and said I should know where it is because I work here, and thanked them profusely for the feedback that we had indeed neglected to list the screening room in our signage and our new digital screens.   Guest feedback is always appreciated and it helps us become our best! 

While onboard, we also had the opportunity to try the new Chops Grille menu.  I heard lots of great commentary from the guests on the new menu additions, and I personally loved the new goat cheese soufflé and the red velvet cake.  I didn’t think it would have been possible to find a better dessert than the Mississippi Mud Pie in Chops, but somehow Chef Josef came up with the Red Velvet Cake and it is amazing.  I actually think he was inspired by the Cupcake Cupboard because the Red Velvet cupcakes continue to be the top seller, which is closely followed by the Turtle Cupcake.  By the way, the new Cupcake Cupboard on Freedom was greatly received by the guests and we sold out of cupcakes the first day!

Guests enjoying themselves at the Cupcake Cupboard

We met with the division heads, and updated everyone on our key areas of focus for 2011 and then they brought areas to light where we can provide more support.   An area that surfaced was our new pervasive Wi-Fi.  While the entire ship now has pervasive Wi-Fi, we are still limited by the number of users that can be on the system at one time.  When we encounter an issue like this, we bring it back to Miami and meet with our IT team to address and then solve the issue.  We get great support from Bill Martin and his team who have already begun working on a solution so the ship will be able to take full advantage of the enhanced Wi-Fi coverage.

On Freedom, we are adding a Britto Gallery like we have on Allure of the Seas. It is right on the Royal Promenade and I believe it will be very popular with our guests. 

Overall it was a great visit.  The crew is very proud of what they have accomplished in dry dock, and are also very excited about the new areas and programming.   Freedom was already an amazing ship, and with these new additions under the Royal Advantage program, she offers even more now than ever.

36 responses to:
“Freedom of the Seas Reaches New Heights with the Royal Advantage”

  1. helen -mama monarch

    Can’t wait for Easter and then I can see all the changes on board. Freedom was a beautiful ship even before all the upgrades. Really looking forward to (hopefully) watching the Royal wedding on the pool screen.

    • Adam

      Hope you have a wonderful cruise onboard Freedom of the Seas this Easter, Helen, and yes the Royal wedding will be broadcast onboard. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the enhancements when you return from your sailing.

  2. Janet

    We were onboard the March 27th Freedom cruise…yes, I agree there were definite issues with the check in process, glad to see that Royal is addressing this. Once onboard, however, the trip was fabulous!
    I agree with your assesment of the Red Velvet Cake in Chops – so enjoyable! We even asked in the main dining room if there was anyway to purchase the cake from Chops, sadly we learned that we couldn’t outside of obtaining another reservation in Chops later in our trip, which we didn’t have time for.
    My family just booked another cruise out of San Juan on the Adventure of the Seas next spring break. Can’t wait for another cruise :)

    • Adam

      Thanks for sharing your recent cruise experience with us, Janet. We look forward to seeing you and your family onboard Adventure of the Seas next spring.

  3. Nan Swanner

    My sister, two neices and I are going on the Freedom in September and we can not wait!! After reading about the improvemnets, I’m even more excited than I was when we booked this several months ago. :-) I love, love, love RCI and can’t wait to introduce my 3 fellow passengers to this cruise line!

    • Adam

      That’s great to hear, Nan. We hope you, your sister and your nieces enjoy all of the new enhancements onboard Freedom of the Seas. Thanks for commenting and sharing your enthusiasm with us.

  4. Ian

    My wife and I are travelling all the way from Melbourne, Australia in August to cruise on this girl. Looking forward to it very much.

    • Adam

      We can’t wait to have you onboard, Ian. We know that Freedom of the Seas will make your long journey well worth it. See you in August!

  5. Joe rutherford

    After sailing on the Oasis and Allure we thought we would return to the Freedom for a liitle change. After always staying in Oceanview balconies we have booked our first suite on the Freedom for 12/4/11. Can’t wait to see the upgrades.

    • Adam

      We are confident that the new enhancements onboard Freedom of the Seas will WOW the two of you, Joe. We’re looking forward to seeing you in December.

  6. Ted Lederer

    The excellence with which Royal Caribbean is run at every level is inspiring. It is a model that can be followed by any organization, whether for profit or not, who wants to be the best in their field! Thank you for continuing to raise the bar and stretch yourselves for us, the customer. I nominate you as the best organization in the world!

    • Adam

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Ted. It really means so much to us to see our work, which we take such pride in, spoken so highly of. We truly appreciate the honor of your nomination. Thank you!

  7. Marie Scott

    Leaving on April 24th to see the beautiful Freedom of the Seas. I was on her last April and she was a grand ship then. Can’t wait to see the new changes.

    • Adam

      We just know that the new enhancements will WOW you, Marie. When you get back, we’d love to hear which enhancements you enjoyed the most. See you in April!

  8. Ian Glenday

    I was surprized to see that Port Canaveral had concerns for you. We sail from there frequently (the latest in December 2010 and April 2011). The process from dropping off our bags to going through security screening was flawless. We always arrive early to avoid the rush as my wife is handicapped but requires no special assistance. Since we are D+ C & A members we get processed immediately upon arriving upstairs. Everyone we have dealt with is extemely courtious and most helpful. We are going on Freedom next month and are looking forward to seeing the changes! Thanks for all you do to make things better for us!

    • Adam

      We are thrilled to hear that you have such great experiences at Port Canaveral, Ian. The great courtesy and attention to our guests is all part of the Royal Advantage. Thank you for the kind words and we can’t wait to have you onboard with us next month. We are sure that you’ll fall in love with her enhancements.

  9. aNNETTE BEERS

    My husband and I had our Honeymoon on The Freedom of the Seas back in 2009. We are going again in October of this year. Can’t wait to see the updates that they have made. We absolutely LOVE Royal Caribbean and will NOT go on any other cruise lines. We are so EXCITED!!!!

    • Adam

      We are happy to hear that you are loyal to Royal, Annette. We are sure that you and your husband will love the new enhancements. We can’t wait to see the two of you onboard with us this October.

  10. William

    The wife & I just stepped off the Freedom this morning, and the new upgrades are truly ideal! We’d read about the changed in advance, but something we weren’t expecting to see was the Britto store! We’ve been Britto fans since our first cruise on the Mariner, so we took advantage of the new store and brought some of the colorful artwork home with us. The Cupcake Cupboard is also a big hit. It’s pretty amazing how spot-on the bubble gum flavored cupcakes are (they taste better than they sound – give ‘em a shot)! The new digital signage is also excellent and a great help, even to an experienced cruiser and “Royal Loyal.” Being able to pull up the cruise compass and the dining room menus from nearly any corner of the ship is a big help. We also saw them used to display pertinent information during debarkation. I could continue raving for pages, but I’ll spare everyone my excited ranting. Great job on the upgrades, RCI. Thanks for continuing to deliver the “WOW!”

    • Adam

      Thanks for the amazing review, William! We are so happy that you and your wife loved the new enhancements. It just goes to show that you can read about something and know all of the details, but you really have to see and experience the “WOW!”

  11. david

    Your candor and transparency in posts such as this reaffirm my belief that RCCL is the best. I can’t wait to be back on Freedom and see the changes! Thanks!

    • Adam

      Thank you so much for your endearing words, David. We just know that you will love her enhancements. We look forward to seeing you onboard again to experience them first-hand soon.

  12. Jackson

    We are incredibly excited for our 15th RC cruise! The 5/22 sailing on the Freedom. We were on her during her inaugural season and have also been on Liberty twice.

    I am looking forward to seeing the upgrades, as these were my favorite ships the way they were before! I’m hoping the food has improved since our last cruise in 2010 but it seems like there has been a steady decline fleetwide in recent years. I hope to see Freedom back in Port Canaveral for the 2012 season. We’ve branched out before and always come right back to Royal Caribbean. We feel like we’re back at home when we walk across the gangway.

    Thanks for all the wonderful memories Royal Caribbean! We look forward to many more cruises with you.

    • Adam

      Congratulations, Jackson, on your 15th Royal Caribbean cruise! You’ll have to tell us how you like her enhancements when you come back from your May 22nd sailing. For all of Freedom of the Seas cruise dates you can check here. We can’t wait to have you back onboard, with many more memories to be made. We hope that we continue to have you with us for years to come.

  13. helen - mama monarch

    Was surprised (when re-reading Lisa’s blog) about the issue with check-in and security at Port Canaveral. I have sailed from that port nearly 60 times and have never had less than a positive experience. Starting with the paperwork check at main door, the bag and body scan before heading up to checkin, right through to final check of your SeaPass before heading to ship. I have encountered nothing but smiles and courtesy at every level, even when having to open bags because something didn’t look right, to showing extra ID to prove I was entitled to a certain type fare class. Port Canaveral is one of the nicest, easiest ports to get to and to use. The staff there are the first contact many of the passengers have had with RCL and to my mind they are a credit to you.

    • Adam

      It makes us so glad to hear that you have such great experiences at Port Canaveral, Helen. We are proud to hear that all of our employees are helping to create such a positive experience for our guests at the ports. Nothing makes us happier than to hear that our entire staff continually delivers the WOW starting from when you first board the ship and throughout the entire cruise. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

  14. Lauri Peters

    Sad to say our family group of 10 just left Freedom of the Seas yesterday from a sail date of 4/17. So many things impressed us …the outdoor movies on the big screen, the entertainment. We were most impressed with the staff of Royal Caribbean. Each person we encountered was so hospitable. Michael and Daniel in the Dining Room and David in Housekeeping were each so personable. They made us feel “at home”. Each went above and beyond. It’s obvious that Royal Caribbean must treat their employees well for them to be happy and such great representatives for you. I’m home today wishing I rebooked another cruise before leaving the ship! Thank you RC.

    • Adam

      We’re sad to see you all go so soon, Laurie, but we hope you can all come back onboard with us again. It’s great to hear that our crew, along with our ship, delivered on the WOW experience for all of you. It’s all part of the Royal Advantage that we instill throughout our entire fleet. Thank you so much for cruising with us and sharing your vacation story. We hope it’s one of many more to come.

  15. Brad Hattenfels

    I am cruising with my family on the Radiance in October on her first Australian adventure and was reading with interest your comments on the outdoor screens. Is the Radiance as part of its upgrade now going to have an outdoor screen as the Freedom has. I cant wait for our cruise as I have convinced 20 of our friends to come and discover why we think Royal is the best.

    • Adam

      You’re in luck, Brad, the Radiance of the Seas will be receiving an outdoor movie screen as part of her enhancements. You can find a full rundown of her enhancements here. We can’t wait to have you and your friends onboard this October, and we are sure your friends will be WOWed. We’ll see you all this fall.

  16. Kay mcmillan

    Lisa: We were on the Freedom last May 2 and again this May 8th. We noticed a hugh difference in the time it took us to board this year. Everything went so much quicker last week. So if you had anything to do with that, thanks. We had a great cruise as always. The new cruise director is great and we loved his new Britiania night. He is truly insane-and that is a good thing. Kay McMillan

    • Adam

      We’re happy to hear that everything moved along quickly for you this year, Kay. We’re always looking for ways to optimize our guests’ experience, and we’re happy to see it’s paying off. Also, it pleases us to hear you had such a great time onboard Freedom of the Seas with Graham Seymour and that you enjoyed the new Britiania night. We hope you continue to return to Freedom of the Seas year after year, and we’ll be sure to continue delivering the WOW onboard.

  17. Tom Hinkebein

    Adam:

    My immediate family, 6 brothers and sisters, parents, cousins, etc. (45 of us) can not wait to start our family reunion cruise on Freedom of the Seas begining this weekend Juy 10th. My parents (mid eighties) are taking their entire family and we can only say lookout RC, here come the Hinkebeins.

    Tom Hinkebein

    • Adam

      Thanks Tom. We can’t wait to have you all onboard this weekend and we hope you are all ready to experience the Royal Advantage onboard Freedom of the Seas first-hand. Happy sailings!

  18. William Metcalf

    We recently strayed from RCCL for the first time in June and boy was it a mistake! All of my wife’s friends said our kids are missing out if we don’t take them on a Disney Cruise. My 3 year old already has 28 days at sea with RCCL! We love you guys! Nonetheless, we “had” to take him on a Disney cruise (along with my brand new 8 month old future pinnacle member). We were very disappointed to spend twice as much for less than half the cruise!! They should stick to what they are good at and leave cruising to Royal Caribbean! My son was bored and kept asking about Puss in Boots and Shrek. RCCL is hands down the BEST choice for families. Please share my experiences to help educate others!

    I’m excited to say that we are setting sail next Sunday on the Freedom to erase the vacation that was a mistake. Even at 3 years old, my son missed RCCL!

    • Royal Caribbean International

      Hi William, we’re so glad to have you back! We look forward to having you and your future Pinnacle members onboard the Freedom next Sunday.

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