After all the hurricanes blowing through the week(s) before, we were blessed to have smooth sailing for our cruise which departed Sunday Sept 14th. It was great cruise. There were 29 of us. Tracey & Erich's Wedding Group.
My nephew Erich asked his girlfriend to marry him while onboard the FOS in 2006 during dinner at Chops. I am a cruise consultant and when they told me they decided to return and get MARRIED on the FOS I was thrilled for them and excited to be part of the wedding planning. Ken Rush was the cruise Director back then and was back for this cruise too which added to excitement.
We went down the day before and stayed at the Marriott Key Biscayne, The Escape Package which included welcome cocktails, breakfast and transfer to the ship. Bedding was AWESOME!!!! We had group reservations at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for 7PM. That was fun. You sign up for the transfer with the Bellmen for what time you want to go in the morning to the pier. We did the 11:15 AM. Perfect timing. We had a short wait before they allowed boarding. Staterooms would be ready at 1:00. We headed up to the Cafe Promenade on Deck 5. No crowd, nice sandwiches and plenty of seating. The Mom's made babysitter arrangements at Guest Services. Very relaxed atmosphere..not rushed. At 1:00 we dropped our things off in the stateroom and started to enjoy the ship. Next stop the Flow Rider. First you have to sign a waiver once and then just get in line to surf. The Pumpkin Parade (Life Boat Drill) was at 4:30 PM. Our group had 2nd seating at 8:30 in Leonard's Deck 3.Casual, OK for shorts in dining room This Night Only. One Welcome Aboard Show at 7:45. Comedian Eric Lyden was a riot! Party around the world parade at 11:15 PM.
Monday was a day at sea. Formal Night. After dinner the Gals went to see Marquee and the Guys took Erich Out drinking and carrying on. We all hooked up again at funny!!!!
Tuesday-Labadee. Tender over from Deck 1. We went over about 10:30AM. A nice beach day. We had reservations for Chops at 5:30 later they had 70 s Dancing in the street on Deck 5, fun music.They dance at both ends so stay put, you won't miss anything.(This is a good time to look at photos.) 9:00 Dangerous Comedy show and 10:15 Quest game show. Always so outrageous! Tip: "Teams" are divided from the floor Up, so don't sit in one row.
Wednesday-Jamaica. We stayed onboard and kept eye on the grandchildren while their parents went zip lining! Then around 2:30 we walked over to the shopping Village and Margaritaville. What a god time. Bring your bathing suit and a towel, They have a beach, a pool, bar, food and entertainment...a scavenger hunt, DJ and dancing. Very good service. Had dinner reservation for the whole wedding party at Portofino's for 6:30. The veal was delicious! Finished by 8:45 and we all met up at the Schooner Bar for drinks. Piano player was very good and played everything requested. For us, Boston songs and wedding songs. Schooner Bar is a good meeting spot before any theater show, it right next to it. Love & Marriage show was hilarious!
Thursday-Grand Cayman... Wedding Day!!!! Wedding is at 2:00 Ship Time so everyone headed over to the island early. We got our passports stamped again and just strolled around as we've been many times before. Headed back to the ship about 12:30 to get ready. Wedding attire was to be Classy Beachwear. :-) About 1:45 we all gathered up in the Chapel on Deck 15. The music started and the Maid of Honor entered, then the flower girl entered dropping silk flower petals and then came the Bride, She looked beautiful. I started to get all teary eyed, as they had planned this day for so long.. it was really happening. The ocean was calm and The Minister was able to board the ship, no problem. The Groom was nervous, the family was there to witness their union... on a ship! Their dream was coming true. :-) The Minister's words and their vows blended beautifully. The signing of the Marriage Certificate was a ceremony too. Interesting again were the Minister's words to the Best Man and Maid of Honor... "If He or She comes to you because they have a disagreement, lock the door and say Go Home." The photographer took LOADS of pictures in the chapel then everyone moved down one deck to the Cloud Nine for more photos... of "The Toast", cake and strawberries. Simple and elegant. They're married! Woo Hoo! My hubby went to their stateroom and decorated their door "Just married". A very unique wedding indeed. The first time cruisers will never forget their first cruise and will have a fine story to tell. If it was not for Tracey & Erich's love they would not have experienced cruising ... and now their hooked! We had tickets for Freedom Ice Show tonight at 7PM. This evening,was formal night again. I don't know what the Bride & Groom were doing, ah hem... but after dinner we went to see Once Upon A Time, a fabulous show.
Friday - Cozumel. We purchased a shore excursion to Playa Mia Beach through the ship. $29 per adult included an umbrella and chairs for two, unlimited beer and drinks and all non motorized water sports. It was a great day! The kids snorkeled, we paddle boated. The bathrooms were extremely CLEAN! They had a pool, a petting zoo, snack bar. They came around with lizards and parrots and took pictures. It was $5.00 if you use your camera or $20 with a frame if you purchase their photo. The water was clean and warm, the sand was smooth and white and the service was excellent. I would recommend this. It was more money if you purchased tickets at the gate so in this case, RCCL's shore excursion is a better value. You have to take a cab on your own, about $25 per cab, not per person. The kids and grandchildren stayed on the beach and we took a cab to Carlos N Charlie's as we wanted to meet up with Erich & Tracey and the gang there...as some went to swim with the dolphins. This is always a fun and crazy place to go. We all climbed into a Van/Cab and headed back to the ship as we had to be back on board by 4:15. The last stop before the ship was.... Senor Frogs. Oh boy..... Can you say Party??? It was another fun day together with the family, what a wedding cruise! Tonight was Drew Thomas Magic, Now You See. We did not go as it stared at 7:15. We had dinner at 8:30 and just floundered around a bit. We were going to go to Twenty, a Miami style poolside night club but it didn't start til 11:30. We were tired and went to bed. It's been a busy week!
Saturday- At Sea. Slept in, had breakfast and headed top deck. We expected we'd have to stake out chairs..... no problem. Plenty of chairs! No problem all week. I shopped around and did Bingo $31.00. I didn't win. They had Octoberfest in the Promenade, Germany sausages,sauerkraut and music. Hubby stayed up in the sun all afternoon. I stopped by our cabin and pulled out the bags to start packing. :-( At 5:00 PM I (our travel agency) hosted a Farewell Cocktail Party in the Cloud Nine to thank everyone. It gave Tracey & Erich an opportunity to thank everyone for coming on the cruise and sharing their special day with them too. Then we headed down to the Farewell Show.
Sunday was a breeze too. Pretty organized getting off the ship. It was a great cruise. Our second time on the Freedom of the Seas. The first time cruisers love cruising and I know this will be just the first of many more to come. Again we were blessed with fantastic weather and smooth seas. I had a great On board Group Coordinator, Keisha Brown. It was my pleasure to work with her to insure the group's needs were met.