Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by vintagemaps: Overall very fun but not without disappointments
Overall Member Rating
Overall very fun but not without disappointments
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Our experience on the cruise ship was not as enjoyable as the time spent off it. There were lots of good things about the ship but also some VERY disappointing things.
1. Our stateroom was nice and the stateroom attendant (Reginald) was amazing. Very nice, hard worker and informative.
2. The dining options were good. We didn't go into any you had to pay extra money for except Johnny Rockets, which was all right. The people were friendly and the food was okay.
3. The entertainment in the Arcadia Theatre was great. We saw all the shows they had (welcome night, two shows with the singers and dancers, a magic show with Drew Thomas, The Platters, and the goodbye show). The theatre was nice and there were constantly servers going around. We also saw the ice show in Studio B which was a great show!
4. The other activities on board were interesting but most of the time we sat around and relaxed outside on deck.
5. The sports court More looked fun and we played mini golf and watched some people try out the Flow Rider (no one we saw stood all the way up).
6. The drinks on board were tasty however the drinking machines where you can re-load your cup (if you bought a drink package) didn't have many options other than pop and lemonade.
1. On our very first day we were supposed to have a shuttle bus take us and our luggage from the Orlando airport to the cruise ship (courtesy of RC). We had booked this option a long time in advance. When we arrived the RC staff could not find our names on the list and it took us awhile to be allowed to take the shuttle. (We later had to go to guest services on the ship to sort the matter out and low and behold our names should have been on that list).
2. We dined in the Windjammer Cafe a lot of the time and unfortunately there was quite a bit of food that looked really delicious but tasted very bland.
3. A few times staff gave us contradicting information regarding where to exit the ship depending on if you were going on a tour etc.
4. The departure video was not up to date. It said for non-US residents to get different immigration forms so we lined up at guest services only to be told that this was no longer a necessity. They make a big deal about watching the video and it's not even up to date.
5. On our last day we had to be off the ship really early and since we had a very late flight, we decided to take the option of touring the Kennedy Space Center. RC would take us and our luggage on a shuttle bus to the space center and then to the airport. Everyone taking the tour got a #1 to put on their luggage the night before and had to sit their luggage outside their stateroom between 7p.m.-11 p.m. to be picked up. We did just that and when we went to collect out luggage in the #1 baggage claim area on the day of departure...one of our suitcases was nowhere to be found. We and some of the terminal staff spent 30 min trying to locate the suitcase. Eventually a nice man who worked there found it outside on a baggage cart (that would not get unloaded for another 45 min!!! huge mistake made by someone in charge of collecting luggage on the ship). Thankfully this man took my suitcase off the cart and brought it to me. We then had to line up and go through customs. We then finally headed to the shuttle bus area to find out the tour bus had left without us.... the $100 each tour. NOT ONCE did the RC staff member in charge of taking us from the ship to the shuttle bus come to find us and see what was holding us up. She said the bus had waited 15 min for us and spoke as though it was OUR fault. I understand the bus cannot wait forever but she SHOULD have come to find out why we were not on the bus. She also should have arranged for us to meet up with the tour but instead we took another shuttle to the airport and sat there for 12 hours waiting for our flight. VERY disappointed with this staff member..unfortunately I do not have HER name but the other time we encountered her on the ship she was just as horrible and rude. Also very disappointed with whoever took our luggage from outside our room to unload. How can two suitcases left side by side both with a #1 be separated!!?? Anyone in the future doing this tour option.....good luck. At least we are going to get the $200 refunded.
RC made some big mistakes that we were not happy about and made for a frustrating experience but it was always fun off the boat in the different ports. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We did the Chukka River Tubing Safari. The water was smooth and the few rapids we went over were tiny but fun. The guide was also friendly and talkative while we floated along the river. The length of this excursion was just right.
The dolphin swim was fun but went by fast. It was worth the money and the instructors were nice.
The sting ray excursion was amazing! We got pictures taken with a sting ray (we got to hold it, etc) and took lots of videos of them swimming around us. The guides who took us to see the sting rays were all nice and the boat ride to and from the sandbar was enjoyable.
The port was very nice and just the right size to explore. We did the Historic Walking Tour and the Snorkeling Safari. Our walking tour guide did a great job telling us about the history of the island, present day life, etc.
Our snorkeling excursion was a blast! The coral was lovely and our snorkeling guide was very friendly and funny.
Tulum Mayan Ruins
We took Tulum Mayan Ruins Express excursion which was fantastic. We boarded a ferry that took us from Cozumel over to Playa del Carmen Mexico. The ferry ride on the way there was bad....it was really rocking back and forth and lots of people got sick. We sat on the lower level of the ferry which was enclosed by windows (which were not open) so it was hot, stuffy and smelled. After we got to Playa del Carmen we took a coach bus to the Tulum ruins site.
Our guide was great and his name was Jesus. On the bus he shared a large amount of interesting information about Mexico and what we were going to be seeing on the tour. We were then provided with headsets to wear once we got off the bus. The head sets were light and good quality. The purpose of wearing them was so we could hear him talking no matter how far or close we were to him while we walked around the site in a group. During the tour he also told us an abundance of interesting information regarding the Mayans and the ruins that we were looking at. We then got free time to look at the ruins and to shop at some local artisan booths back by the bus pick up spot. There is not enough time to do all of both so you need to do one or the other. Our guide did a great job making sure everyone was informed about where to meet after the tour, etc and provided such clear instructions throughout the tour which helped make it very enjoyable.
On the way back we got a boxed lunch on the bus courtesy of the cruise ship. Once we got back onto the ferry we made sure this time to sit on the top level where there were no windows. It was a million times better even though the boat was still rocking back and forth.
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Average but that was expected.