This year's Annual Family Cruise was a big hit. For us, the children and grandchildren - it's a great opportunity for quality time together. With two of driving and the others arriving on two different flights, staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites Miami-Airport South-Blue Lagoon was a good choice. Take in works for dinner and a free breakfast is included. Van service to the port at $10 per person is very convenient.
Embarkation was smoother than we had expected and after a quick Windjammer lunch, we were enjoying the ship. Having sailed on Mariner and Explorer for previous family events, the big issue was figuring out the differences and new locations on Freedom. Smart move was to have FlowRider working on embarkation day. Our gang was there in a flash.
Of course Freedom is monstrous in size - too large for us. But size provides what we wanted which is enough to keep everyone interested and busy.
Cruise plus and minus.
Plus - Ship is clean and receives good care. - Quality of staff is excellent. All work very hard to make the cruise a positive experience. - Food in Chops is superior and well worth the extra cost.
Minus - Entertainers were very weak - two no name, no joke comedians and the Nelson Brothers. Made movie re-runs on TV a very positive alternative. - The Ice Show needs serious work - lacks creativity and skating talent.
Ports of Call. Labadee, Grand Cayman and Cozumel were all fine.
Jamaica is disgusting and needs to be dropped from the schedule. It's dangerous and generally unattractive.