Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by crzr4lf
Overall Member Rating
Freedom of the Seas - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
We booked our airplane flight through the cruise line. They booked us on American Airlines out of LAX to leave at 7:00am PST and arrive in Miami International at 2:46pm EST. American no longer gives you any type of food (not even pretzels), although they will sell you a sandwich for $5 or a muffin for $2. When we arrived at the airport, we had to wait for approximately 30 minutes for a bus to arrive. We did not end up getting on the ship until 4:45pm. At that time they were already announcing the muster drill and all dining areas were closed down. This was very upsetting as as we had not eaten anything for about 8 hours.
Once the muster drill was over, we were told that the Windjammer cafe would not be open until 6:00pm, but we could get room service. We went directly to our room and ordered room service from the TV at 5:15pm. We were promptly called to confirm our order and told it would take 40 minutes to deliver. This would still be More before the Windjammer opened so we agreed. After about an hour, I called room service and was told the food was already on its way. At 1 hour 10 minutes, I called again and was told they had just left. I questioned them about lying to me earlier and they apologized. At 1 hour 20 minutes, I called guest relations to complain. The gentleman first told me I should just go to the Windjammer. I became angry and explained everything that had happened and if I had known it would be 1 1/2 hours, I would have waited the 45 minutes and went to Windjammer. He called room service and a few minutes later I was contacted by the supervisor "Donna". She apologized and assured me this would be taken care of. While I was on the phone, the food finally arrived after 1 hour 30 minutes. The food was quite good, but this was not getting the cruise off on the right foot. Also, since we got there so late, we were unable to make a reservation for Chops as they were completely booked up.
Our cabin was great, we had a junior suite and it was huge! The bathtub in the bathroom was great as well (no falling out of the shower). Our cabin steward, Hanson, was simply the best. All of the staff were very pleasant and constantly greeting us.
The food in the dining room was just okay. We have been told that all of the ships have the same menus and recipes. I find that many of the entrees are quite bland. The only ship of Royal Caribbean that I have thoroughly enjoyed the food was Radiance when we sailed to Hawaii in 10/2001. The service in the dining room was outstanding. We had 2nd seating, table 106 - Isaac's. Lloyd D'Souza was one of the best servers we have had. He was always on top of everything, including the assistant waiter.
We chose not to do excursions in Cozumel since we had been there before. We walked to town, which is 2-3 miles, but we needed the exercise. We did some shopping and took a taxi back. In Grand Cayman we thought we would just get off the ship and take a tour of the island. What a mistake that was. First of all, the island tours they give are a joke. They stop in front of the Governor's mansion to look at the front (you do not get out and tour anything). They take you to hell, along with 30 other taxis and busses. The same with the Rum factory, it is so crowded inside, you can barely move. They take you to the turtle farm, but the entrance fee is not included, that is another $7 to enter. There were a total of 8 ships in port that day, most of them were mega-ships. We tried to do some shopping afterwards, but you can barely walk on the sidewalks and the shops are all way too crowded. We decided to go back to the ship, and were relieved to find that our line to board the tenders was the shortest, but we were soon to find out getting back onto the ship quickly was not going to happen. We ended up having a tender driver that could not hook onto the ship. We made a dozen passes at the ship before he was able to hook the line (about 40 minutes later). There was nothing from the crew as we boarded the ship, no apologies, nothing.
We went on the Dunn's River Falls trip. The ride was very long, and if you are a big person, do not expect comfort in the little seats. It was quite a miserable ride. The falls were awesome, but beware the pushy tour guides. You have 2 tour guides, and they are quite aggressive about getting tipped at the end.
I would not recommend the walking tour in Labadee. It is basically a sob story about how poor the country is. Besides, if you do the waverunners, they basically give you the same information. The waverunners were the best part of the cruise. It is a little expensive, but well worth it. Just beware the kayakers that come up trying to sell you things, they are quite aggressive.
The spa is overpriced compared to the other RCI ships that I have been on. Also, when you do go for a treatment, you get a hard sell for product, so beware. Johnny Rockets is also way overpriced. We had a coupon to waive the service fee, so we went as we looked forward to getting a malt. First of all the pictures show a malt with the glass and the silver mixing tin. You only get a small fountain glass full of malt and that costs you $3.69. Most restaurants charge that for malts, but give you the silver mixing tin with it. Also, even though the coupon waives the service fee, part of that is for the tip, so you don't really save that much money.
All the prior reviews were right, the ice skating show is great and not to be missed. Also, I thought the other shows were all quite good. The singers were very good.
The ship was pretty much spotless, the one complaint was there seemed to be a section of the ship that smelled like sewage. If you walked on Deck 4, there was a distinct (awful) odor at a certain part on deck. Our cabin was almost directly midship and when we came out of the aft stairwell, there was the same smell in the hallway there (just not as strong). There was actually a couple at our table that had to be moved out of their room after 4 days, because there was a strong sewage smell coming from the sink in the bathroom and they were told they would have to replace the pipes? (on a brand new ship?)
The debarkation was fine. Overall, we had a pretty good time. I just would suggest to anyone booking airfare throughout he cruise line and flying out of the LA area to go out of Ontario as usually they will fly you in the day before and put you up in a hotel room. You do not want to get in and rush to the ship at such a late hour as you will miss all the embarkation festivities. We have already booked for the Legend on 6/16/07, but we have booked the flight ourselves to avoid this problem Less