Just returned from our two centre holiday which took in Orlando and a Western Caribbean cruise and would like to point out some of the good and bad points of travelling with an infant with this particular line.
Most of the shore excursions offered by the line exclude infants so you either have to do your own thing or choose from a limited choice offered by the line.
Kids clubs are only on offer to children aged three years and up and unlike when we cruised with our infant on Celebrity we weren't allowed to use the facilities in the ships play area, this was only available to those wishing to spend money on their babysitting service. The infant play area was in the soulless Fuel Lounge which had a few playmats on the floor with a few toys available.
Make sure to stock up on nappies as they aren't available on the ship and the prices in the ports are hiked beyond belief.
The Splash Zone section for infants is tiny and has one fountain. I More
respect the sanitary reasons for keeping infants separate but it does seem a touch on the stingy side seeming that kids are allowed in the Splash Zone and the pools next door. A few extra square feet and a couple more fountains would have been nice.
Infants are put on the early sitting which at home makes sense, but when you depart two of your ports of call at 7.00pm it means you either have to cut short your time ashore or sacrifice your meal in the main dining room and eat at Windjammers. Given the fact that we were put on a table with eight other guests, all couples, we decided to only eat in the dining room once so as not to disturb their meal.
Most of the ship's evening entertainment for families seemed to be on the late side so we missed most of it.
Bearing in mind that an infant pays the third person price they are excluded from, or unable to, participate in most of the attractions that the ship offers. Maybe the ship could offer some some coupons or gifts for the kids to offset against the experiences they can't have.
Even though we chose an interior stateroom we did have enough room, even with the packable crib provided on board.
The free Dreamworks character breakfast was brilliant and considering how much theme parks charge for these experiences it was a rather pleasant bonus.
The toys provided on board were all brand new that week, in full working order and were provided by Fisher Price. They do allow you to take toys back to your stateroom.
The parade was great for kids of all ages with the bonus of the Dreamworks characters again. The characters also made frequent appearances on the ship for photos and interactions with the kids.
In spite of the pros mentioned, the one thing above all else was the friendliness of all the crew shown towards our son. They made a real fuss of him and had him high fiving by the end of the week. Our stateroom attendant made him towel animals every night and always went out of his way to speak to him, even though he was always busy. Also Fredy in Windjammers, which we ate in most of the time, always came over to chat to us which our son loved.
The puppet show on the last sea day was really well done and seemed to go down well with kids of all ages.
Well that's the parent's perspective. For us as a couple we loved the ship, the crew and the itinerary. The food was average, the choice of activities is mind blowing and our Cruise Director was great fun and enthusiastic. Port Canaveral is great for checking in (apart from the rude and pushy baggage handlers) and utterly appalling for disembarkation. We will hopefully be back in the Caribbean again next year and would be more than happy to choose Freedom Of The Seas again.
On a side note I hope the atrocious individuals who decided to mar the first showing of the last night show by fighting and behaving like louts are never allowed to cruise with RCCL again. You were a disgrace. Less
Freedom of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean