Hungry? Not on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas


The one thing you can never say about dining on Royal Caribbean‘s Freedom of the Seas is that it lacks options. Options abound on this floating city. From fine dining to casual fare, the Freedom of the Seas has it covered.

Prior to our trip in early November I was slightly worried about dining onboard for three reasons. First, I thought I’d get bored with the choices fairly quickly. Second, I’m trying to live a gluten-free life and I wasn’t sure how the Freedom of the Seas would manage that. Finally, I was fairly certain that the food would be less than stellar. Afterall, when you’re serving over 4000 guests how can you make every meal memorable?

dining options

Let’s work in reverse. How does Royal Caribbean make every meal memorable? By running a well-oiled machine. As a lover of food, I marveled every day at the task they had before them of feeding so many people but still turning out exceptional food. This doesn’t happen by accident. The best chefs from around the world are brought in to work on each Royal Caribbean ship. Under them an incredible team makes sure that all food is fresh, prepared to exact specifications and served promptly. So because I’m a food nerd, I seriously watched every video in this series. Watch this video if you’re completely amazed by how they do this too. Honestly, I’m a little ashamed my home kitchen doesn’t run better now.

Next up, my attempt to live gluten-free. I started on this quest in the early fall of 2013 and I was living about 90/10. That is, 90% of the time I was managing to go gluten-free. If you’ve ever tackled dietary restrictions you know that in the real world, it’s very, very hard to make changes. I really thought that going on board a ship was going to make this task even harder and so was preparing myself for a more 50/50 approach while I was away. I am happy to report that not only did I go 100% gluten-free while on board the Freedom of the Seas but that it was ridiculously easy to do so with an unbelievable amount of choices available for those living gluten-free. At dinner each evening I had my own attendant who would take my order for the next day making sure that it would be gluten-free. At breakfast I only need to ask for gluten-free bread and muffins and it was in my hot little hands. Anywhere I went I only needed to ask for gluten-free and I had choices right in front of me. Since I arrived home, I’ve totally fallen off the gluten-free wagon. I keep telling my husband I need to go back on the Freedom of the Seas again to get back into it. That’s a justifiable excuse, right?

Finally, choices. Cruise ships are a little like all-inclusive resorts in that you must dine at the restaurants presented to you. As someone who has visited many all-inclusive resorts I can tell you that often I am bored with the choices by the third day and that you sometimes can’t tell the difference between the food at the buffet and the food at the “fine-dining” restaurant. Plus I was traveling with my 10 year old daughter and I was a little concerned that she wouldn’t be impressed with the choices either. I was wrong on all counts.

dining on freedom

My daughter lit up when we first visited the Royal Promenade and ran into the Ben & Jerry’s. Beside it was the 1940’s style Cupcake Cupboard which oozed cute and put out some pretty mean cupcakes as well. In fact, later in the week, my daughter would take a Cupcake Decorating class here.

the cupcake shop

We found pizza at Sorrento’s and Chai Tea Lattes at Starbucks. Breakfast for us, was usually at the lovely Windjammer but was also offered in the main dining room. Of course we can’t forget the fun we had our Dreamworks Character Breakfast with Shrek, Fiona and Puss-In-Boots.

fionaAt lunch we’d let the wind blow us any way it wanted. Somedays we ate at the fun and rockin’ Johnny Rockets. Other days we chilled on the Royal Promenade. That is the beauty of dining on the Freedom of the Seas. There are so many choices you never have a chance to get bored.

portofinoOne evening we had an incredible meal at Portofino’s, a specialty restaurant offering Italian cuisine. And yes, they managed gluten-free options beautifully for me. Most nights though we dined at the incredible Leonardo’s (part of the three story main dining room Galileo’s) with our group. Although we could have tried other options in the evening, we quite enjoyed getting dressed for dinner and see what culinary delights the kitchen had in store for us. Plus, I may be a little old school, I loved seeing everyone dressed in their best for dinner.

In the end, I walked away totally impressed with the food onboard the Freedom of the Seas. And a little rounder. What?!

Disclosure: Royal Caribbean hosted us on this press trip as part of a media tour. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Candace Derickx

Candace Derickx writes about food, family and travel on her site Life in Pleasantville and has been a staff editor at ChildMode since 2011. Follow her on Twitter @candace_dx and join in the conversation on her Facebook page, Life in Pleasantville.

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