We planned our 6th cruise with RCCL months in advance with our travel agent. We decided to book the "cruise only" and plan the airfare ourselves to get a non stop flight from cleveland to miami. We also passed on the transfers, taking a $30.00 taxi one way from the miami airport to the port for 4 adults and lots of luggage. Avoided the large crowds of bussed people and luggage. It worked beautifully!
We arrived about 11:30a.m. Check in was easy and they let us board the largest cruise ship in the world early. We went to the windjammer and checked out the enormous ship. Breathtaking. We sailed out at 5pm. Muster drill was long but found that more folks were paying attention than on previous cruises.
Our first day was at sea. Deck chairs at the pool were never a problem even though there were over 3,000 guests on board. You never felt as though the ship was crowded at anytime. The ship is absolutely amazing! Of course, everything is new and well maintained.
Throughout the week all the dining services were great. Didn't have a bad meal anywhere. Ate in the dining room for lunch the days we were at sea, ate in the dining room for supper every night. Our waiter John and Assistant, Nelson were awesome. Ate at Johnny Rockets which was very fun. The midnight buffet was in the windjammer and smaller than on other ships we have been on.
Our 1st port of call was Cozumel. We had planned an excursion with the ship to Passion Island. After a bus ride and ferry trip we arrived at the most beautiful island. We stayed 5 hours on hammocks and beach chairs. Lunch was included and if you love relaxing in the sun, this is for you. They did have some organized games for whoever wanted to join in. Everyone had fun, the food was good, guacamole was tasty too. No locals trying to sell anything to you at all!! There were tents with locals and their wares if you liked to shop. We would visit Passion Island again.
Grand Cayman was next. We wanted to book the Jeep tour of the island immediately when we boarded only to be told it was full. Book on line if there is an excursion you really want. We just decided to go into town in the morning. Super crowded due to 7 other ships in port that day. Last time we were in GR. Cayman there were only 2 ships in port. Guess it depends on the day and season. We had extra time in the afternoon so we took a local taxi tour to Seven mile beach (nice) , Hell(nothing but a tourist trap, nothing to see here) and we voted to just pass by the turtle farm since that was an extra admission and time was getting short. Our taxi driver talked on her cell phone the entire drive and totally ignored us. At the beginning of the tour she told us before we left, she had to use the bathroom. Twenty minutes later my husband went out of the taxi only to find the driver trying to get more people into her small taxi. We threatened to leave and she finally came back with 3 other people. We definitely will book online for any future excursions that we really want to do.
Montego Bay Jamaica....we've never been here before. We had an excursion booked thru the ship. It was an all inclusive Breezes beach day. Our trip was to be from 10a.m to 3pm. It included all the food and beverages you wanted. Pool and/or the beach. Organized beach games etc. We got off to a rocky start. For some reason our busses never came. At about 10:20 we all started asking why we were still waiting while other tours were leaving. RCCL has representatives on land which was our lifesaver. After some confusion the RCCL rep said that our busses were coming and if we decided to go late they would credit our excursion by 50%. If you decided not to go at all they would credit your account 100%. Everyone made their decision and about 1/4 of the folks went back to the ship. We decided to stick it out. The busses came and took us to the Breezes resort. People there very friendly, food was good, drinks a plenty and beach was gorgeous. The resort itself was older but kept up very well. All in all a nice afternoon. Once again, no locals here to try and sell you anything. The friends we were traveling with had "the best excursion" that they ever had in Jamaica. They went on the bamboo rafting trip excursion that they booked on the ship. They had a great guide and they couldn't say enough about it.
Labadee, Haiti is the private destination of RCCL. Labadee was our last port of call. It was fabulous!! I can not say enough about it. The ship anchored and we were tendered in and for the first time (with no other ships around) you can absorb the size and beauty of this massive ship. As our tender pulled away from the freedom.....it is just amazing. Their private destination is just absolutely paradise like you'd ever imagine it. Locals help you find a beach and chairs. Seemed like many different beaches and at least 3 large pavilions for lunch brought to you by RCCL. We placed ourselves at Dragons breathe beach. We got settled in and we were wondering about these 5 heavy wire lines extending from the hilltop on one side of the beach and extending across the water and down to the other side of the beach. Well, we didn't have to wait long to see why it was there. It's a new excursion for RCCL on labadee. It's a Zip line. 5 people at a time on separate harnesses fly across the water(high above the water) from the hilltop and down to the beach. They were testing it that day. Five people at a time would sail across the horizon, howling and screaming. It looks like wild fun for the daring! They said it would be opening in a few weeks. Can't wait to see the promotions for that excursion.
Last day was at sea. We loved that about this itinerary. The first day we found our way around the ship and the last day we just relaxed!! Very windy day but enjoyed the sunshine and scenery of the waters before us.
On the first formal night we were invited to join the captain for supper. Captain Eric Tengleson was very pleasant, informative and experienced. The captain invited us to the bridge on our last day at sea. It was unbelievable. There are 4-6 officers on the bridge at any given time. The equipment....is quite impressive. You are in good hands to say the least.
Our cabin was on the 8th floor. We had a balcony. Our room was the normal size for a cruise ship. We enjoyed room service for breakfast on the balcony several days. Our room steward was nice and knew us by name.
Don't miss the ice show if you have never seen it. Worth to see. Comedian was good as were the dancers. Do go to the 70's evening at the promenade. Very fun, music great! The flowrider at the back of the ship is really amazing. You can sit and watch people try to boogie board or surf. Lots of people lined up to try. It's really something to see and the people/kids had a blast. Ladies...wear a t-shirt over your bathing suite or you'll be putting on a show, as we saw many bathing suits fly around. Expect to get banged around a bit too. Force of the surf is quite forceful. Adult pool is lovely and quite, cushioned lounge chairs too.
All in all we enjoyed our week on the Freedom of the Seas,tremendously. Yes, it's the largest cruise ship in the world right now but you never feel like there are crowds of people on board. Service is excellent,people friendly and helpful. Hope this review helps you and your family make a decision to cruise on the "Freedom" real soon. Bon Voyage!!!