We sailed on the second to last cruise before the drydock for the 2.0 upgrades so I am not sure how relavant this review will be to some. Still going to write it though. This was our first 8-night cruise. Seemed to go by just as fast as the 7-night. Also the first time we tried FTTF. It was nice to get on the ship early and get our bags in the stateroom but that was about all we used it for. We went to customer service once and there was only one person in the regular line so the FTTF counter didn't save us much time there. Still I would do it again.
Room - We booked a porthole room. It was the price on an interior but had a view. Plus you can shut the portholes completely if you want it to be pitch black (for taking a nap in the middle of the day). Loved the room. We were on deck 1 and did hear the motor when coming in and out of port but other than that no issues with the room.
Food - We had YTD. On our first night we got sat with an exceptional wait staff. They did their job well and got our food out to us quickly (we have had experiences were this has not been the case and read some reviews where this has not been the case) so we tried to stay with this wait staff the rest of the cruise. On two nights they were full so we ate in another section. Neither were as good. The menu was the exact same menu we had on the Pride last year. Would have liked to see a different menu. Food was okay. Some better than others. We ate in the MDR for dinner on all nights. We ate in the MDR for lunch once and breakfast once. Other meals were at the buffett. Buffett was also okay. The lines can be long at times (especially Mongolian Wok).
Entertainment - We went to a four shows. We don't care for the Broadway type productions so we only went to one of them. On our cruise they also had a juggler (thought he was good), ventriloquist (didn't see him though other passangers said it was good) and hypnotist (could have been better). They also had a game show night. DH was one of the contestants on one of the shows and won. He got a ship on a stick. Very exciting. There were also four comedians. Two the first half and two the second half. There were one or two nights were there was no comedy. We saw three of the four comedians and they were all pretty good.
Staff - Did not encounter any staff that stuck out as particulary unfriendly and rude. They all seemed to be doing their job and kept up positive attitude.
Camp Carnival - DS went on cruise with us. He is 6. He LOVED camp carnival. He did not want to leave. He would have spent the whole week there if we let him. I thought the camp staff were great.
Over all we had a great cruise. I know there are going to be a lot of changes for the Freedom coming up but we would definitely sail her again.
We love Grand Turk. This was our second time there. We booked a tour right off the ship with TRI Adventures. They were about half the price of the same excursion offered on the ship. Went snorkelling and to Gibbs Cay. We had a great time. The beach area right next to the peir is nice too.
We had never been to San Juan before. We booked a $10 tour of the island (the drivers are all at outside the port waiting to offer these tours). It was not that great. Took us to a few spots for photos and a small shop to buy souveniers. Then they dropped us off in town. We got a couple drinks and headed back to the ship. San Juan seems like a very nice port but I don't feel we really got to experience it.
This was our second time in St Maarten. St Maarten is one of my favorite ports. Last time we did Bernards. This time we decided to go to the beach on our own. We went to Orient Beach and had a great time. Make sure to walk down the beach some before getting a chair as they are cheaper the further you go.
We have been to St Thomas before. Last time we went to Sapphire Beach and took an island tour. This time we decided to try Magens Bay. We took a taxi. Taxi service could be better organized. They had people in our taxi going to four different places and it took us a while to get to the beach since we had to make another stop first. They should have put people in taxis based on where they were going and not the order they arrived. Magen's Bay was very beautiful but we will probably try another beach next time. It was very crowded.