Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by theramblers: Great Experience
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We are from Niskayuna (Schenectady), NY and drove our motorhome to Florida for the winter. We are in our late 70's & early 80's. This was our 2nd cruise this winter. It's a 2 hour drive to Port Canaveral. We used our new "Sun Pass" and the GPS took us the wrong way -- straight through the center of Orlando. On the bright side, there was no traffic on a Sunday morning. We parked at Park & Cruise, again, and it worked well.
We arrived at the cruise terminal around 10:30am and the line was short. We sat in the terminal and waited..and waited for an hour. The place was packed and everyone was wondering what was wrong. The excuse was that the ID cameras were broken. We finally boarded and then had a delicious lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. I needed to use the ladies room -- "sorry -- out of order -- go up one flight, please." 2pm -- time to go to our cabin. Whoa! The 6 elevators at our end of the ship were out of order. And we weren't about to walk up 5 flights with our More carry-ons. 30 minutes later they were repaired. That was the end of any problem on this ship.
The Weather -- we had wonderful weather on this trip. On the 2nd day the sea was as calm as glass -- very unusual.
Our balcony stateroom was adequate for the 2 of us. The bathroom was a little small, but the balcony was large with 2 chairs and a little table. The closet was large with plenty of hangers, a small safe and several shelves for storage. The desk/dresser had 6 drawers and a hairdryer. In all, plenty of storage and the suitcases fit under the bed. Our room stewardess GEORGIANA -- was the absolute BEST! She gave us suburb personalized service with her ever present smile. Kudos to her!
The Windjammer Cafe -- was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was amazed at the variety of delicious food and on-board baked bread. So many great choices! There were never any lines as the layout accommodated everyone. You could always find a comfortable seat with an ocean view. Best of all -- the wait staff came around asking if you needed anything -- chatting with you -- and making it a very personal experience. 5*****
The Dining Room -- we opted for the 5:30pm dining time. A little early, but it worked out well. We were on the main floor. The decor is elegant and rich -with red plush velvet covered chairs and white linens. The main staircase is right out of "Hello Dolly". Our waiter Raymond Santos is a 5 star waiter from the Philippines and an expert in napkin folding design. His food recommendations were always right on target. His table-side manner included de-shelling my lobster tails and the broiled shrimp. Thank you Raymond. Our assistant waiter was Rajat from India. He brought the fresh rolls and bread and everything in between -- and always the coffee for a happy ending. His great smile and good humor made every meal a happy one. We rate the food excellent!
The Ship -- I was so impressed with the elegance of the ships interior. The layout is easy to get around; the artwork is amazing; the Royal Promenade is the heart and shopping area of the ship; the pools are wonderfully laid out with something for everyone; you never feel crowded even among so many people. Speaking of people -- this Easter Week cruise had over 1,400 children (under 18 years) aboard. As far as we could tell, they were all well behaved and a joy to be with. We especially liked to see the young teens all dressed up in the latest fashion -- Oh to be young again
Since this was Holy week there was Catholic Mass every day and a Jewish Seder was held for Passover.
The Shows -- We were very impressed with the high quality of the shows. The Freedom -- Ice show had Olympic skaters that put on a fabulous program. I truly enjoyed the "Marquee" show that highlighted scenes and music from famous Broadway productions. "Once Upon a Time" was not my kind of music -- except for the "Little Red Riding Hood" segment. The 42Five singers from Tampa were great -- very innovative and enjoyable. The "Now You See It" magic show was great.
Labadee, Haiti -- private beach owned by Royal Caribbean. The free buffet, the shops, bathrooms, beach chairs & cabanas were very nice -- I thought I was in Disney.
Falmouth, Jamaica -- Just the 2 of us took a 4 hour private tour with Lambert Miller (MillerHighLifeTours) in his 8 passenger, air-conditioned van. Jamaicas mountains catch the breezes and keeps it cool. We saw many lovely homes and several unfinished ones. Brilliant flowers everywhere. We saw Kingston harbor from the Dewar's great house estate and watched the bamboo rafts floating on the Martha Brae River. Lambert stopped at a coconut stand where they hacked off a piece of the shell and we drank the coconut water with a straw. The vendor then split the coconut in half and we scooped out the soft, white meat with the small shell piece. A natural & refreshing snack.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman -- the weather was hot and humid. The tender into port was a nice boat ride on such a hot morning. EZ on & off. There were only upscale jewelry shops at the port. We aren't beach people, so we headed back to the ship before noon.
Cozumel, Mexico -- another really hot & humid day so we decided to stay in the air conditioning aboard ship. The Norwegian Pearl was docked at the same pier and they gave us a rousing sendoff as we pulled out at dinner time.
Disembarkation -- was well organized and speedy. We were off by 8am, waited about 10 minutes for the Park & Cruise van and were on our way by Less
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