I just got back from a 7 night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of The Seas (western caribbean) and cant say enough good things about the trip. I traveled with my two children, 14yo daughter and 11yo son. Both had the times of their lives, making new friends, doing group activities with the teen club every night until 1am curfew. Yes...I know 1am is late for kids...but hey its a vacation and I needed dad time too. Im a single dad and traveled alone but met many friendly people from Australia, Canada, and all over the US.
Embarkation was rather smooth and took about an hour. Not bad. Luggage took a little longer than expected to arrive at the room, but taking a set of clothes for the pool/casino/lounges makes it very easy to get started exploring and diving into the fun.
Food was amazing in the main dining as well as the buffet style Windjammer. I recommend using My Time dining for flexibility. Show up when you want around your schedule or hunger. Book the shows early and arrive 30 minutes before start time for upfront seats. Never a problem getting a seat...but the closer the better so early is good. Drinks available so waiting was not boring.
I recommend the zipline in Haiti...it was expensive but worth every penny and not much else to do there except sunbathe and drink..which is fine...but 8 hours on your first island and you are asking for sunburn.
Jamaica was scary. Dunns River Falls was awesome...but dont drive there alone. GO with the ship group or book solo. I had private driver (Marva Shaw) who told us the history of the area and never felt unsafe until we left the Falls. Not fun walking the gamut of outdoor shops. Not so friendly people that looked very angry. Keep walking and pretend you dont speak english and you will be fine.
Stingray City in Cayman - must do. Kids and I loved it. Book through private group. We took Captain Bryan's catamaran. No frills, but nice boat, nice ride and rather easy process.
Rented a car in Cozumel. Avoaided the touristy groups. They are available right at port but book prior to avoid the rental hounds. Avis is onsite there. San Gervasio ruins were cool and a nice drive. Took about an hour to walk the ruins...so wear sneakers and bring water. Very cool.
Lastly- we went to Chakkanaab beach. Pricey to get in and to swim with the dolphins but kids said it was the best part of the whole trip so it was worth the $109 per kid. Snorkeling there was cool too and there is a pool and bar so all was good.
Casino was great. Never felt like the decks were stacked or the wheel was rigged. Won some good money on last night so it was a sweet ending.
I rate this cruise a 10 out of 10 and will be back next year. Hope this helps...enjoy.