This was my 8th cruise, 3rd with RCCL and first on Freedom of the Seas. One word sums it up ...GREAT!!!
We traveled with another couple on the Freedom of the Seas on December 16th - 22nd, 2012. Here are just a few of the highlights, way too many to list them all:
Day One - Flew to Orlando, FL and hired a Lincoln Town-car to meet us at baggage. The company was CBC and they were prompt and very friendly. Plus we learned a lot about the area by having a personal guide. This was much better than the alternative, using the cruise line shuttle. Once we got to the port we were in our room in less than 30 minutes. This was partly due because we were gold members and was allowed to skip most the line.
We had a balcony room #7634 which was plenty big for the two of us and all our luggage fit under the bed and out of the way. Our room steward was Laura and she couldn't have been better. The showers are pretty small and I took a shower most nights with the shower doors open just so I didn't feel too closed in.
The TV had plenty of channels so that you could watch some TV while getting ready in the am. Graham Seymour was the cruise director and was so funny, he had me laughing the entire trip. He is only on this ship for two more weeks :-( then he will be transferring to another ship. His morning shows on the TV were worth getting up early for!
Had dinner in the "My time" dinning room on deck 5. This was the first time having paid the tips up front and eating when we wanted to. The only draw back is that you don't get to see the waiters dance and put on a show the few times a week that they do, they only dance in the regular dinning room on the deck below. The good thing is that you still have the same wait staff the entire week, which for us was Kirk and Kevin. They were wonderful and the food was always delicious! I have no complaints about any of the food on board. The food in the windjammer was also very good.
Day Two - CoCo Cay - Hate the tenders but loved the island. Do yourself a favor and book one of the cabanaettes or tiki huts on the other side of the island. Barefoot Beach is very secluded and away from the crowds. The price is only $50.00 and you receive 2 lounge chairs and a small table, 2 large water bottles, a fruit plate and 2 floating mats. Plus a very sweet lady there to make sure you are comfortable the entire time. A shuttle takes you to lunch and back around noon. Our best day was in Coco Cay. Great weather and a lot of fun!
Day Three - at Sea - Relaxed most of the day and watched the ice show. Don't miss that one, it was fantastic!! Again the weather was great!
Day Four - St. Thomas - Went to Emerald Beach. Very nice, great weather, beautiful colored water and plentiful rum drinks!!!! Nice Day.
Day Five - St. Maartin - Went to Orient Beach. Saw some nudity so beware if you don't like that or have small kids. Overall the beach was beautiful and the island is much nicer than St. Thomas in my opinion.
Day Six and Seven - at Sea - More relaxing, eating, shopping on board, watching the shows, gambling at the casino and drinking the drink of the day. We broke even at the casino overall. Sometimes the smoke was too much for me to stay long. There is no smoking in the casino on formal nights so that was nice.
Even though we were busy the whole time there were a few things I didn't get to do like eat any of the sushi that was offered nightly in the Jade restaurant. Also, no Ben and Jerry's although Johnny Rocket's malts were a hit! No rock climbing, cup cakes, BINGO, or wave riding. Oh well, next time!!
On Sunday morning we got off the ship around 8:30 am and hired the same company (CBC) to drive the four of us back to the airport in a stretch limo. Nice end to a perfect week.
The end of our trip was bitter sweet. One more day till Christmas eve and so much to do at home, but I will be looking at cruise deals and will start looking for my next great vacation on RCCL!!!