how crowded is the Freedom? Other ships?

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#1
3,286 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Planning a cruise with my family. My daughter and son in law went on a Carnival cruise (Carnival Legend) about a year ago. My son in law did not care for the cruise because he said it felt too crowded with too many lines.


Have been on RCCL before, on the Explorer and Navigator and there were times it did seem crowded, such as in the atrium area in the evenings particularly when all those sales tables were up and also when trying to get off the ship at a tender port.

Its been a while since I sailed RCCL, so am looking for some feedback on this.

I was thinking of the Freedom of the Seas for January.
#2
Fredericksburg, va. USA
80,534 Posts
Joined May 2001
The ships are well designed and intended for maximum passenger load. The buffet has "stations", so lines aren't too bad, most of the time. Seating in the buffet....different story, at peak times! Use the dining room for breakfast...much easier and nicer...shorts are fine!

There will be lines/crowds when a show lets out....that's inevitable. And, if you're trying to get the 1st tender or two, there will be lines, as well. However, if you can wait 30 mins. or so, lines will be almost non-existant. No rush! You're on vacation!

The ships have plenty of space for everyone to spread out! And, for the most part, folks do spread out!
#3
San Francisco
1,862 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
We were on FOS this January and the only time we ever felt crowded was in the Windjammer on the first day and right after the shows let out. Other than that it was fine.
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#4
Allentown, Pa.
1,419 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We've been on both Carnival and RCCL many times and both are similar re. crowds. If you sail when school is in session, it is not too bad except the main buffet In the summer, spring break, holidays, etc., both lines feel congested, at least to us.
#5
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2,928 Posts
Joined May 2003
I have to say that I have never felt crowded on any of the ships except for the first and last days. The only exception to this is the flowrider. I love surfing and as the years go by, the flowrider has become prohibitively crowded at times. Just IMHO. Otherwise, it's remarkable how spacious the ships are.
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Lori

can't remember farther back than '02

Majesty of the Seas 9/02
Grand Princess 12/02
Explorer of the Seas 6/03, 10/9/05
Mariner of the Seas 12/03
Freedom of the Seas 10/1/06, 9/30/07, 3/30/08, 10/12/08
Enchantment of the Seas (Mom's 1st Annual Solo Cruise) 11/16/06, (2nd annual Mom's solo cruise)12/15/07
Independence of the Seas Westbound TA 11/23/09
Celebrity Millenium 11/24/11 -Our first Thanksgiving at Sea (and our last)
Celebrity Eclipse Eastern Caribbean 12/17/11
Oasis of the Seas 12/22/12
Century Star - Yangtze River Cruise 6/24/13
Windsurf - Northern Europe 8/4/14 (sadly had to cancel)
Celebrity Constellation 12/31/14- what a miserable cruise

#6
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2,928 Posts
Joined May 2003
Oh, and you can always find little nooks to tuck away in and feel even more alone!
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Lori

can't remember farther back than '02

Majesty of the Seas 9/02
Grand Princess 12/02
Explorer of the Seas 6/03, 10/9/05
Mariner of the Seas 12/03
Freedom of the Seas 10/1/06, 9/30/07, 3/30/08, 10/12/08
Enchantment of the Seas (Mom's 1st Annual Solo Cruise) 11/16/06, (2nd annual Mom's solo cruise)12/15/07
Independence of the Seas Westbound TA 11/23/09
Celebrity Millenium 11/24/11 -Our first Thanksgiving at Sea (and our last)
Celebrity Eclipse Eastern Caribbean 12/17/11
Oasis of the Seas 12/22/12
Century Star - Yangtze River Cruise 6/24/13
Windsurf - Northern Europe 8/4/14 (sadly had to cancel)
Celebrity Constellation 12/31/14- what a miserable cruise

#7
South Carolina
31 Posts
Joined May 2007
As much as I love The Freedom, I think The Mariner felt a lot less crowded. The Freedom holds a lot more people with the same (or almost the same) common room sizes. We just came off The Freedom and there were no pool chairs near any of the pools - even on the upper deck. Often, there was no place to sit in the Windjammer for breakfast or lunch. The Freedom does offer the Flowrider and a bigger rock wall - both which are awesome. Nights are the best times to find quite spots...deck 4, poolside, helo pad. You just have to choose not to let the crowds get to you.
#8
State of Perpetual Flip Flops
5,573 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
He must think "three is a crowd". Legend was one of the LEAST crowded ships we have been on. It had a lot of public space. Was that his first cruise? If so, I guess anything will feel crowded if you are not used to being around so many people in relatively confined space. Hope he gets used to it for your sake
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APDMOM





CCL Fantasy (April 2004); RCI Enchantment of the Seas (October 2005); RCI Majesty of the Seas (July 2006); NCL Dawn (April 2009); Costa Atlantica (April 2010);
X Infinity (July 2010) Review
CCL Dream (March 2011) Review
CCL Legend (June 2011) Review;Pictures of Legend
NCL Dawn (A Caribbean Christmas 2011) Review; Pictures
CCL Liberty (June 2012) Review
CCL Fascination (July 2012) Review
CCL Freedom (March 2013)
RCI Freedom of the Seas (June 2013) PR rooms
RCI Independence of the Seas (March 2014)Review
CCL Liberty (June 2014) Review
RCI Freedom of the Seas (Dec 2014) Review
RCI Oasis of the Seas (June 2015) Compass, Tips and Oasis Pictures
RCI Freedom of the Seas (November 2015)Review
RCI Navigator of the Seas (March 2016) Review&Compass
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#9
San Antonio
1,007 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
The FOS in August felt crowded to me, but in the summer, there we tons of kids. They ride the elevators and push all the buttons, etc. The pool is crowded too. At times, you will wait in line for pool towels. The WJ was crowded on the 1st day.

January might be totally different.
#10
Minnesota
368 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
We were on the Freedom in January and didn't find it crowded at all.
Because this was our first cruise on this class of ship I was worried about the amount of people, but I didn't find it any worse than any of the other ships.
The worst was the "jewelry" raffle, you could hardly get through the crowds waiting for the drawing.
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#11
3,286 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by APDMOM
He must think "three is a crowd". Legend was one of the LEAST crowded ships we have been on. It had a lot of public space. Was that his first cruise? If so, I guess anything will feel crowded if you are not used to being around so many people in relatively confined space. Hope he gets used to it for your sake
Yes the Legend cruise was his first cruise. It could be that cruising may not be for him, but my daughter loves cruising...the Legend was her third cruise.

I was trying to plan a cruise that he would enjoy so he would be more open to cruising in the future.

He loves live music so I was trying to find a ship that has musical variety, not a crowded feel and with activities to do, along with some good ports to stop at.

Thanks for everyone's feedback.
#12
Manchester, UK
9,708 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Sailed both Freedom and Liberty twice and about to sail on Liberty again. As others have said, day 1 can be busy in the WJ, if you need to tender at a port, it can be busy initially.

Lines for the theatre, sometimes, not always.

The elevators can be 'slow' at main dining times, but they always turn up, eventually!

Never had a problem with sunbeds, unless you want to be right next to the pool. Both ships have areas away from the pools which are great to get away from the crowds if needs be.

IMHO, the Freedom class ships are well designed to encourage passenger flow and disperse crowds. We've felt more crowded on Voyager class ships, especially Adventure.
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#13
Southwest Ohio
463 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
When we were on FOS in December, the only place that seemed way too crowded to me was the Royal Promenade in the evenings when the sale tables were out, and any time there is a parade or special show scheduled. It felt very claustrophobic to me so I just avoided those times.
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#14
Columbus, OH USA
25,725 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by cb at sea
The ships are well designed and intended for maximum passenger load. The buffet has "stations", so lines aren't too bad, most of the time. Seating in the buffet....different story, at peak times! Use the dining room for breakfast...much easier and nicer...shorts are fine!

There will be lines/crowds when a show lets out....that's inevitable. And, if you're trying to get the 1st tender or two, there will be lines, as well. However, if you can wait 30 mins. or so, lines will be almost non-existant. No rush! You're on vacation!

The ships have plenty of space for everyone to spread out! And, for the most part, folks do spread out!


Good post that I'll add to. As for the elevators, if you don't use the first set you come to, your in good shape, or in some cases, just walk around the corner to the set in the rear, many people don't do that. Or if you are trying to get from the front of the ship to the rear on a different deck after a show, walk the length of the ship then use the elevator, many people head right for the elevator. Be careful what time you schedule an excursion on a tender port, although the last time I was on Freedom in Labadee that was a tender port and we were able to get in the first tenders because we had a 8am waverunner excursion booked. Freedom is a great ship, enjoy.
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#15
4,412 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Timing is everything when you are looking for a less-crowded feel. We were on the FOS in July. Peak season, school was out and there the flowrider was busy, the times when the tables were out in the Promenade or the parade was just breaking up were busy and crowded. Luckily, crowds don't bother us. When those shows or events end, the elevators are VERY busy..otherwise, you'll be standing alone waiting on an elevator. We loved the ship, even during peak season. There were always places you could go to avoid the crowd and they manage the port days and getting on and off the ship in one of the most efficient ways we've seen. When a show or event ends on a ship, obviously you'll have a large group in the same area pouring out but we really didn't find half a dozen times when we noticed a crowd. Out of 7 days and nights, that's really not that noticeable...at least to us.
#16
Ellenton,FL
3,634 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We were on the Freedom last Sept. and again in Dec. and never felt crowded.Jan is not a big month for kids.Skip the windjammer for lunch after embarkation and go to the promenade deck for sandwiches or good pizza.Fun place to people watch pick up a light lunch and drinks.
#17
North Ga
8,448 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by BillOh
. As for the elevators, if you don't use the first set you come to, your in good shape, or in some cases, just walk around the corner to the set in the rear, many people don't do that. .
You read all about my elevator concerns on Freedom before my trip! I will add to what you said by saying if the port side elevators are crowded, I found that you can go across to the starboard elevators and not have anyone there hardly! Vice versa too! People DO truly just go to the first elevator they come to!

I did not experience "crowds" on Freedom really. The Royal Promenade was a little crowded on Formal night for a while and also when Graham done his Rock Britannia rock and roll show but that was about it.

I always sat up on deck 4 in the theatre. I would usually leave a minute or so early from the show or head right outside to deck 4 and stroll down the outside deck to the aft elevators if I needed to go to my cabin or anywhere else.

It was NOWHERE near as bad as I had thought it would be.

I watched the parade from my Promenade cabin.
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#18
4,819 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by luvsmike
As much as I love The Freedom, I think The Mariner felt a lot less crowded. The Freedom holds a lot more people with the same (or almost the same) common room sizes. We just came off The Freedom and there were no pool chairs near any of the pools - even on the upper deck. Often, there was no place to sit in the Windjammer for breakfast or lunch. The Freedom does offer the Flowrider and a bigger rock wall - both which are awesome. Nights are the best times to find quite spots...deck 4, poolside, helo pad. You just have to choose not to let the crowds get to you.
I'm glad you said it first! I found the smaller Serenade to be far LESS crowded than the larger Freedom for exactly the reasons "luvsmike" noted. Being a child of the disco era, one of my favorite events on RCL is the 70s Party. On Freedom I found myself constantly being shoved and bumped into - to the point where I finally just gave up and left. It was crowded on Voyager class - but not to the point of irritation. And there are no more elevators on Freedom than Voyager - you'll wait ENDLESSLY to catch one.

While I like the perks of the larger ships (ice rink, etc.), I don't think you'll find me on a ship larger than Voyager class going forward. I find them overwhelmingly large/crowded.

If RCL intends to pursue the mega-ship direction for all their future ships, I may end up making the switch to Celebrity. My son felt the same way. Not everyone considers larger to be better.
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#19
Dallas, Texas
4,502 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Compare ship tonnage with passenger capacity. RCI usually (maybe always) has a better ratio than Carnival.

Most crowded for me is:
  • Embarkation (boarding and lunch buffet)
  • Disembarkation the final morning (breakfast usually has long longs -- and don't even think about going to Guest Relations if you don't have to)
  • Tendered ports, especially first tenders in the morning and last tenders in the afternoon/evening.
  • When the theater lets out -- but the Voyager class ships (and others I think) do have that big staircase that goes to deck 4, as well as the two side staircases.
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#20
North Ga
8,448 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by printingchick
And there are no more elevators on Freedom than Voyager - you'll wait ENDLESSLY to catch one.

.
We sailed at capacity on Freedom and I just did not find this to be true at all Im not saying you didnt experience it but I worried for months about the elevator issues because Im in a wheelchair.

My worries were totally unfounded.

I was no more crowded on Freedom than I was Monarch or Radiance. Maybe even a little less in some cases.

We didnt have a 70s party on Freedom. There was a 80s party but it was in studio B on the ice rink.
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