Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by Shep10: Great Family Vacation
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Great Family Vacation
Sailed March 10 to 17, 2013. Prior to sailing stayed at the Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach. Nice room. Decent complimentary breakfast. Shuttle runs at 10, 11 and 12. Cost is $10/per person round trip. Big coach bus by Travel Lynx. This was an easy way to get to the port.
Check in with RC was easy - we were at the port around 11:30 am and on the boat in about 30 minutes.
Room was not ready till 1 pm we were told this when we boarded - no issues or concerns. Folks can get on the boat as early as 11 am. Gave us time to do a walk about the boat. Our stateroom was on the 3rd level - ocean view. Not very big. King size bed. Two bunk beds dropped down from ceiling for our kids. The room is pretty tight not too much storage. The room was clean and everything in working order. My only critical comment is the carpet looks a bit tired and could potentially need a great steam cleaning or replacing. Bathroom worked well - lots of hot water and pressure. Our attendant More Arnaldo P. was excellent.
The boat is big and in great shape. All staff were friendly from beginning to end.
Ate in the Windjammer buffet style dining area - great selection - food was always good there.
We picked My Time Dining and it worked well - we ended up eating most nights at 8 pm at the same table - our wait staff were excellent. The food was very good.
We never dined at Chops, Portofinos or Vintages. The food in Main Dining room was always good - no need to pay. We did dine one night at Johnny Rockets - it was ok - the burgers were really no different than what could be had in Windjammers.
Our little guy did kids club a couple times - no concerns there.
Lots to do on the boat. Did Flowrider lots of fun. Kids splash area is great. My only critical comment is about the pools - they could stand to be heated - for those days when it is not super hot out - it might keep folks in the pools if they were heated. We went skating - the rink is small and the ice is slow, we just used the skates the boat had. In all honesty, I would not bother bringing your own skates from home to skate on the boat.
Beverages - you can buy essentially all you can drink alcohol for $55/person/day, the only catch is that all folks in the stateroom over the age of 21 must buy the package - so it gets pretty expensive that way.
We purchased one pop package - it seemed to work well.
Ports - Coco Cay - we just went to Barefoot Beach - rented a clam shell for $50 - gave us two loungers, 2 float mats. It was pretty quiet there. There was a bar there for drinks. We really didn't do anything there but relax and go for a swim. To get to the island you need to take a tender - so give yourself extra time to allow for the wait going over and coming back. We were happy with this port it served our purpose - water and relaxing.
St. Thomas - we did the Tortola Dolphin Adventure. This was a long day - an hour boat ride to British Virgin Island - customs - 5 minute bus ride - swim with the dolphins for about 30 minutes - 5 minute bus ride - one hour boat ride back to customs - get off boat go to customs - back on boat - over to pier and back on to Freedom. The actual dolphin experience was fun, but too short given all the travel time. It is very expensive and they do not provide lunch. Would I do it again - likely not. Our daughter is into dolphins so that was the big push behind our selection here.
St. Maarten - we took that water taxi $7 round trip. Shopped for a few hours. Then hit the beach right there at the port essentially. $25 - two loungers, umbrella, water floats and 10 beers. Great time had by all. Lots of little beach places to grab a bite to eat at.
We did a few shows - Ice show pretty good. Illusionist was very good. Farewell show well done. Took a few of the night time events in Pharohs lounge they were good fun.
The boat is big, it was full to capacity but we never ever really felt like there were too many people, but that is us, some might find it very busy. We always found chairs by the pool. We were always able to get into the hot tubs. We never really had to wait too long for anything.
We would absolutely cruise with Royal again.
Getting off the boat - if you are in a hurry you can get off between 6 and 7 am with their express checkout. We were in no hurry had breakfast in Dining room and was off the boat at 9:30 am. We were second last off. Getting our bags was a bit of organized chaos but went relatively quickly. Customs was a breezed.
Grabbed Travel Lynx back to Hampton.
So we were quite happy with our Royal Caribbean Cruise. Less
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Cabin review: Freedom of the Seas Ocean View Stateroom Deck 9 3312
Low headroom with bunk beds down. Not too much open space. Not too much drawer space. Great ocean view.