We drove from Virginia the day before embarkment. We stayed in Orlando as that is our routine. Not too much to say about that as the main part is the cruise. We stayed at the Sheraton Vistana and had a wonderful night before the cruise.
On this cruise, it was myself, DH and our two teen boys. We drove to the port bright and early Sunday morning. We left Orlando around 730 am and arrived at the port around 10:30. We had FTTF, as such, as soon as we pulled into the port, they removed our luggage and put FTTF tags on them. The boys and I waited for DH to park the car. Once he was done, the 4 of us entered the building. I went into the regular entrance and we were quickly moved over to the priority entrance due to FTTF. After we checked in, we sat for no more than 5 minutes when they called for the wedding guests, then platinum/diamond cruisers. Next was FTTF. We were onboard and in our cabin no later than 11. We dropped our carryons in our cabins-we had a balcony, our boys an inside across the hall, and headed to the buffet. All 6 suitcases were delivered within the hour and I had both cabins unpacked by muster. Embarkation a breeze.
We ended up booking an adjoining cabin. We had thought about upgrading the boys to it, but we didn't and that was a mistake. The people next to us were so loud, I could hear all of their conversations just like they were in the same room with us. It was not their fault, just there is nothing to conceal the noise. Other than that, I loved the cabin. Nice, clean, large-IMHO.
Club O2 for our 16 yr old didn't seem to have much going on. They had activities planned yes, but each time we would walk by, the kids would be out of the club hanging out. Circle C for our 14 yr old, we called Circle Crack, he wanted to be in Circle C constanstly. He had a great time in there. Next cruise he will be 15 and is sad this was his last time there.
About the food, I haven't ever been a fan of "cruise food". Never. The only thing I like is the cesar salad with no anchovies and the WCM Cake. Anything else, I tolerated. For the life of me, I have never been able to figure out why people gain weight? I just haven't been a fan-and not just CCL-with any other cruise line I have been on.
There were always lots of activities to do. My family won 7 24kt plastic ships on a stick and two medals. We had a family thank us in the elevator on the last night for missing a trivia question so the dad could win. Just good times.
In Key West, we rented an electric car at Sunshine Scooters and toured the island on our own. We got to see and do everything we wanted. I got my pic of our fam at the most southern part of the US and there was no line. I am glad we went when we did, I am sure the line gets longer.
In Grand Cayman we did the stingray sandbar and coral garden snorkel. It was amazing! The water in Grand Cayman is unbelievable. Our 14 yr old thanked us for that excursion, he had a blast. This port was a tender and we had FTTF and we could get to the front of the line, but we went to the tender later and there was no wait. The tender back was not bad at all.
We were skeptical about Ochos Rios. We ended up doing the 18th Century Plantation and beach day. The plantation tour was really good. Our tour guide Donovan was very funny and made the tour. There was a tropical low over Jamaica, so when it came time to go to the beach it was storming. I put my feet in the water and called it a day. All of my pics in Jamaica are all cloudy and the pics didn't turn out.
Our room steward was Arnel, he was very good. We asked for ice in both cabins at all times and we had same.
Disembarkation. They began self dismebark at 6:10 am. It was going quickly, then it got to deck 6 and stopped. Due to FTTF, we were told to go to the Chic dining room at 7:30, so we went down there. Waited, waited and waited with the platinum cruisers. About 8:45, the phone rang and it was the wrong #, however, a lady answered and she told whomever was on the phone they had some pretty unhappy cruisers in the Chic. About 5 min later, assisant CD Steve came and got us to leave. He had made an announcement about 10 minutes before saying the terminal was jammed and we had to wait, but there was a medical emergency and we had to wait for that to clear. Oh, there also was another medical emergency at embarkation. We had to pull back into port. I hope all parties affected are ok.
We had a great time. We booked our next cruise onboard for 2014.
We saw two out of the 3 shows-Big Easy and the Jump Jive and Whale?? Big Easy was decent but the other one was not at all good. If our oldest wasn't with us and loving the show, I would have left. We didn't see the Beatles show, our sons went and said it was the best show. They had a good time.
CD Brad, so funny and nice. He is right up there with Butch. All of the entertainment staff was so funny, def the BEST of any ship we have been on. Brad, Steve, Laura, Dustin and the Mexican Cheater Victor. They all added to the experience. I would def cruise the Freedom again! And I will get FTTF for all of our cruises!