Flying from Ireland to cruise the Caribbean, we decided that it was worth doing a b2b, back to back, same ship, two different itinenaries. We were delighted to find that the lay-out of the Freedom, mirrored the Navigator, which we cruised on last year. After a flight of over 12 hours, and an overnight in Orlando, we were taken by coach to Port Canaveral and the Freedom. Embarkation was pain-less and quick, with no queues, and we were full of admiration for Royal Caribbean when we saw all the elderly people employed by them. We found our cabins quickly and deposited our items there and made our way for a bite to eat in the Windjammer. Throughout our time on board, the Windjammer never failed to impress. wonderful selection of food and drink and waiters always willing to find a table for us. The only thing which I found disquieting was the constant pressure to buy orange juice or drinks. But then RCI seemed intent on squeezing the last $ out of us!!
The food in the Dining room every evening was varied and satisfying, and we were served each night with extra-cooked veg. as the veg were always 'al dente'...under-cooked!!We avoided the pool area as much as possible, it was always noisy and boisterous, and we were particularily disappointed in 'Dancing Under the Stars' night, as it was just a noisy boisterous pool party! As for the shore excursions, they were 'much ado about nothing'. Labadee was nice, a beach, warm water and BBQ, but knowing what lay behind the wire fencing, it was obscene. All that food wasted, and ferried back to the ship, when it could have been left for the starving people behind the wire. We booked shore excursions in Jamaica and Grand Caymen, but they had nothing memorable. In Cozumel we did the famous 'Bar Hop'. Dont bother, it was one big NO_NO.
On the second week our ports of call were Coco Cay, a mirror of Labadee, but without the wire and what lay behind, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. The latter two were of interest and very beautiful and quite memorable. The best part of the second week was the sailing from St. Maarten to Port Canaveral, which provided us with 84 hours at sea. Wonderful.
Overall, it was a wonderful two weeks. The ship was pristine clean, and we couldn't find anything to complain about. The staff from the Captain down were welcoming and friendly and helpful. We will certainly sail again with RCL but it will be in Europe, no more marathon flights for us.