The main dining room is spread out over three decks and offers fixed and flexible seating.
The main dining area is spread out over three separate levels. Each level has differently colored chairs: Leonardo (deck three) has red chairs, Isaac (deck four) has blue, and Galileo (deck five) has green chairs. The upper two levels have a railing surrounding an atrium, with a two-deck-high crystal chandelier. Over the whole area are small tables for two, as well as a mix of larger round and square tables that can accommodate up to eight people.
Royal Caribbean offers different menu themes from night to night in the main dining room, from Italian to Mexican. Each day, the chef puts together one signature menu, but there are also vegetarian options and a three course “Vitality Menu” with less than 800 calories. Only desserts remain the same throughout the week.
Breakfast is always served on deck four in Leonardo, and it features a small buffet as well as a la carte service. Most items on the menu are also available at the buffet, although scrambled eggs and bacon from a buffet is not the best of ideas. The buffet also has fresh cereals, like muesli, a selection of granola, nuts, and dried fruits.
The breakfast menu includes juices, pastries, cold and hot cereals, and, of course, many different egg options. On the menu is the so called “Daily Ultimates,” a changing special breakfast of such things as huevos rancheros or chocolate waffles or pancakes. For $2.50 you can also get freshly squeezed orange juice. Overall the breakfast is pretty basic, with a few international choices.
Lunch in the main dining room is only served on sea days. Most lunch dishes are light and include a grilled catch of the day, different salads, sandwiches, burgers, and a pasta special. Two especially-good dishes included the catfish (which unfortunately came with a boring sauce and side of mashed potatoes), and an excellent open steak sandwich. The steak sandwich, cooked to your liking, was served with a sunny-side-up egg—simple, but delicious.
In addition to the salads on the menu, Freedom of the Seas also offers a salad bar where you can choose from different lettuces, several condiments, and a variety of dressings. The chefs mix all the components together for you, so you get your favorite salad without having to compromise on anything.
A daily changing dinner menu offers not only diversity, but also some very good dishes. The “vitality menu” offers healthy options with a low calorie count, and the chef’s signature menu includes dishes representative of the daily themes. A filet mignon from Chops Grille for $15 is also available. All dishes have wine pairing recommendations and the wine list changes daily.
Prior to ordering, your waiter will bring you a basket of different breads, like an onion bread and a spicy bun with poppy seeds, from which you can choose as much as you want. Starters include escargot bourguignon, a crab and rice-noodle salad, beef carpaccio with baby potatoes and arugula salad, and a number of soups. The escargots tasted strange, however, and the carpaccio featured dried and pressed meat, which we did not expect to see. The potato salad was decent, but tasted like it came from a grocery store. If you like to try new dishes, you should definitely try the crab and rice-noodle salad. It had a spicy tinge to it, but it wasn’t overly-strong, and the noodles were soft and delicious.
Meat, fish, and pasta are offered every day in different variations. Most fish dishes were good, but boring, and always came with asparagus on the side. On surf day, the menu offers a surf and turf, with a filet mignon and—wait for it—three tiny shrimps. The shrimps weren’t even king prawns or anything substantial, but really three little shrimps to represent the whole “surf” part of the meal. The lamb shank was a lot better. Pink in the center, it was so tender it fell of the bone without so much as cutting into it. We do recommend most of the meat dishes, as the chefs on Freedom of the Seas seem to be real grill-masters when it comes to meat.
Some desserts stay the same during the whole week of the cruise, but there are a few dessert options that change daily: coconut crème brûlée, banana cream pie, chocolate souffle, and a raspberry panna cotta. All the desserts were quite good, but some were simply better than others. The raspberry panna cotta, for example, was fruity and light while still being sweet and enjoyable. The same goes for the banana cream pie, a pie made of chocolate custard with slices of banana in the pie crust. However, the best dessert was the chocolate souffle with chocolate sauce, which was to die for.
The wine list changes every day according to the menu, and wine pairing recommendations are found on the menu as well. Most wines were available by the bottle only, but there were some wines sold by the glass. The wines come from all over the globe, and prices start at a relatively steep $29 a bottle and $6 a glass (not including gratuity).
Just out of dry dock following a $155 million renovation, we joined the inaugural cruise of the former Carnival Destiny. The “new” ship, Carnival Sunshine, was not ready for the spotlight. Read More...
Considering an upscale cruise journey? Use our handy guide to distinguish the leading luxe cruise lines from one another. Read More...