My cousin and I decided to take a cruise this summer to celebrate Graduation. We both had never been on a cruise before, and had no idea what to expect. We both had an amazing time, and we want to book another cruise soon. Going into the cruise, we had a few questions we asked ourselves. Is the ship safe for two young women? Will i get sea sick? How will I know where to go? Let me tell you, the answers to those questions were all positive.
The Ship was soooo safe. Everyone is there trying to have a good time and a relaxing vacation, so leaving our beach bag on our chair while we dipped in the pool was no problem. There was one time where we weren't sure about leaving our bag unattended, so the staff at the towel stand stored our bag for us for a while. That brings me to the staff; the staff on this cruise ship are beyond amazing. Not once did I run into an employee who didn't say Hello or didn't have a smile on their face. When ordering drinks by the pool they were singing songs and cracking jokes! The house keepers were always singing and always told us good morning. Being home sick was hard because everyone on the ship felt like family! It was bitter sweet to leave them at the end of the cruise.
To my second question! Will I get sea sick? Now I am not a good flyer, planes make me sick and so do small boats, so I was very worried about cruising. I took a Dramamine everyday keep in mind. The only time I really felt the boat moving was in our room. We had an interior cabin on the front of the ship. Sometimes I leaned against the wall in the shower just to keep my balance. When I laid down for sleep i didn't notice it as much, it was mostly when I was standing. Open Areas are the best to be in (the pool deck, Arcadia Theater, Studio B, Promenade) because you can't feel the boat move as much. Anytime I felt slightly sea sick I would go to one of those places and feel better.
I was also worried about knowing where to go in a ship that was so big. On every floor by the stairs there are touch screen TVs where you can look up every location on the ship, and you can map it and it will show and tell you exactly where to go. We used the screens lots!
Other fun things that we endured on our trip:
Activities: There is so much to do on the ship, that we were always busy. We made time for relaxing but if you want to do things, or your nervous that you won't have enough to do on the days when you're just cruising, I can promise you will find something fun to do.
Service: Like I said everything was easy and amazing! All the employees work hard to make sure you have the best vacation.
Port and Shore Excursions: Highly recommend the Turtle Snorkel at St. Thomas! It was amazing! If you are bad with sea sickness I recommend taking something before you get on the boat. The fish come right up to you and the turtles were so calm and cool to view. The water is only 20 feet but it feels super shallow because the water is so clear. Make sure to bring an underwater camera!
Be prepared to walk when you reach St. Thomas, the port was very long and took a good 10 minutes if not more to walk back to the ship. Give yourself enough time to get back to the ship.
Cabin: The whole week it was like living in a camper. We stayed in an interior room on the 8th floor. Our couch was the only place to store our suitcases, so we never got to sit on it! The bathrooms don't have plug ins, so be prepared to use the desk as a vanity.The rooms were not bad considering you are only in there to change and sleep. They were very clean too.
Dining: Eat at the restaurant every night if you have the opportunity, and make sure you make a reservation. You can eat as much as you want sense the meals are included. We never ordered more then just our one appetizer, entree, and dessert but the couple next to us always ordered WAY more. There is no up charge or anything! If you don't like something they are very good about giving you something you will like. One girl next to us didn't like her meal so they brought her french fries. If you have young kids and aren't sure about dining at the restaurant, I wouldn't worry about it. Also our Waiter was named Albert and he was AMAZING and WONDERFUL!!!!! We got him every night and we are so lucky we did! He always went out of his way to make sure we were enjoying our meal.
Entertainment: Every single show on the ship was worth seeing. From the Adult Comedy to the Musical Theater and Ice Shows. Luckily they have two times so if you are eating or busy doing something else you can still attend a show. The Sexiest Man Competition and Belly Flop Competition are on the Pool Deck and they were so funny!!! After watching the Sexiest Man Competition we made time in our schedule to go to the Belly Flop one. I wouldn't have wanted to miss those, because they were some of the funniest moments on the ship. They also have awesome dance parties on the ship, which is a great place to meet other cruisers. If you are an adult make sure you make time to go to The Quest on the ship. IT WAS HILARIOUS!!!! It's a game show atmosphere and everyone participates! Some of the best memories on the ship were made there. It's in Studio B so make sure you get there pretty early so you can get a good seat, because it does fill up fast.
Anyway, our vacation was wonderful! We would choose Royal Caribbean again because of the family like atmosphere, the cleanliness, the wonderful staff, the activities, and the amazing excursions. Freedom of the Seas is a huge ship, but we would cruise on it again in a heart beat. We actually want to plan a family vacation now that we did one. I recommend this cruise to anyone who wants a relaxing, yet memory making vacation. There is no way I could cruise through another Cruise Line after this experience.
At CocoCay we went on the nature walk which they showed us lizards, talked about the history of the Bahamas and the islands, learned a lot about the trees on the island and how they make medicine out of the leaves from the trees. It was a quick tour, but we learned and saw a lot.
We also rented Floating Beach Mats, and thank god we did. In the water we saw a 4 foot stingray. If we weren't on our floating beach mats I probably would have cried. Not a big fan of what is living in the ocean, and honestly we would have never known it was there but we heard kids yelling that they saw it.
We also went Jet Skiing which was an experience I am glad i endured. I was very nervous because i never have drove a jet ski before, but they were very helpful and I felt very comfortable after a while. You do have to go fast to stay with the group. My average speed was 41 mph and I was in the back of the pack. Make sure you stay in the wake of the person in front of you so you don't go over huge waves. The guide will also do some crazy turns so make sure you are prepared for a fun ride. I would do it again!
I have never snorkeled before and I had no idea what to expect. They boat you out to a cove where the water is very very clear and it's only 20 feet. You have the choice whether to walk in or jump off the boat. They teach you how to put on your mask and use the snorkel. There were kids 4 years old that were snorkeling up to 80 years old. I recommend it for families that want to snorkel but aren't sure if they will like it. I ended up loving it and i'm 18 years old! I know I wouldn't have loved it as much if we didn't have such a helpful crew. They were so caring, and really wanted our experience to be a great one. They showed us where the turtles, fish, and other sea creatures were. They were super helpful, and they made me feel comfortable. We saw a lot of turtles and fish, and they were so willing to come up to us humans. It's a great experience, and I would do it again.