Port Canaveral was by far the best port we've been to. The port was pretty and clean. Everyone that worked there seemed cheerful, friendly, and polite. We arrived by taxi around 10:30 and checked right in. We were directed to the priority seating area and waited there a short while before being able to board. We were among the first 20 people to walk on the ship. Right after we boarded, we ate lunch in the Windjammer. The food was fresh and we had our choice of seats by the window. It was awesome!!
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin was just fine. We had a balcony room located about midship. Our room steward was wonderful. His name was Hansen Rivers. He came in and introduced himself on the first day. He was quiet and reserved at first. I think he was a little on guard trying to figure out if we were going to be nice or whether we would be the passengers from He##. After getting to know us, he loosened up and became more talkative. We had some nice conversations with him throughout the week. He said he's been working in the cruise industry for 15 years. He talked about how some passengers are so grumpy and no matter how hard you try to please them, you just can't. He took good care of us. Our room was always cleaned, he put ice in our bucket everyday, we had towel animals. One night I hurriedly went up to my room to get some cash from the safe to use in the casino. My safe went haywire and the code was blinking different numbers. I went out and told Hansen. He got on the phone and had someone up there immediately to reset the safe.
Most of the people working on the ship were very nice. We didn't really encounter any rude ones at all. Roger at the Boleros lounge was our favorite bartender. We enjoyed talking and joking with him all week. He makes great mango mojitos. We also enjoyed the band, "Sol Y Arena" at Boleros. We enjoyed the pool band, too. I love sea days...just lounging by the pool while floating in the middle of the ocean with a cold drink in hand.
Richard Spacey is a great cruise director. The guy is a natural born entertainer. He is good looking, funny, can dance and appears to love what he's doing. It never seems forced or over the top with him. Quest was very funny and entertaining with him in charge. We got to meet him and have our picture taken with him on the last night.
We ate at Chops one night and the food was very good. Our steaks were juicy and tender and cooked to perfection. Everything was good from the appetizer to the dessert. The waiters were pleasant, but not overly friendly. They were kind of busy that night, though. We enjoyed some pizza from Sorrentos late one night and we had the sandwiches from Cafe Promenade several times. They were good for an in between snack. We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets twice because we just couldn't do the WJ everyday.
The comedian, Eric Lyden was good and we especially loved all the celebrity voices he could do. The acrobats, Arthur & Letitia were very good as well. We also enjoyed the Abba tribute, the "Once Upon a Time" show, and the ice show.
We did My Time Dining and liked it. We never made reservations. We just walked up whenever we felt like it and were always seated immediately. And we even got a table by the window on at least 3 nights. I think Freedom does a really good job with this new concept.
The bad for me was that there were way too many kids on this cruise. I'm not a kid hater...I've raised 3 of my own. But the biggest problem was that there were a lot of unsupervised ones running around of all ages. Its like some people get on the ship, then wave good-bye to their kids and say,"Leave me alone, I'll see you in a week when we disembark". I think the worst age was the pre-teens who seem to think fun is being loud and obnoxious on the elevators. And of course, pushing all the buttons. This cruise made me never want to take another one during the summer when school is out.
Another bad thing on this cruise was the Meet & Mingle. We had about 75 sign up and there was probably less than 20 that actually showed up. No one from the cruise staff came in and talked to us. There was just one random guy standing in there doing nothing really. The raffle prize that they gave away was a small container filled with rubber bands and paper clips.... I kid you not. This was the first M & M I've ever been to and I'm pretty sure its the last.
The muster drill was horrific considering the fact that it was over 100 degrees that day. Having to stand there packed in like sardines with life jackets on for quite a long time was almost unbearable.
We were not all that pleased with the food quality and quantity in the MDR. There doesn't seem to be as many choices on the menu. The portions seem to have shrunk. I couldn't believe how thin the prime rib and NY strip was. My daughter ordered the strip medium and it came very well done... like a piece of leather.
And now for the final bad thing. The slot machines in the casino ate a lot of my money. On my past cruises, I've always won some money on the slots. On the Navigator I won $1000. So the casino in my opinion was NO FUN at all. They didn't even have my favorite machine that I usually play....The Pink Panther. However, I did like the fact that they had smoke free nights.
The ugly thing is that my daughter caught a 24 hr. stomach virus while on board. I don't know if it was norovirus or not. She was perfectly fine at dinner and then a couple of hours later suffering with terrible stomach cramps. It came on very suddenly. I don't think it was the food because we ate the same exact thing that night. I want go into the gory details, but it was a bad night and she was in bed all the next day recuperating. So we missed our day in St. Thomas. We had a tour scheduled with a private tour company and were really looking forward to it. But luckily, after a rough 24 hrs., she bounced back quickly and was able to enjoy the rest of the cruise.
THE OTHER PORTS:
Coco Cay was very nice. It was our first time there. We rented the floats and just relaxed on those for awhile. The water was very calm and there were no waves. A large sting ray swam right under me when I was on the float....kind of exciting.
ST. Martin: We did the Beach Fun Mobile Tour an excursion we booked through the ship. We drove these little 3 wheel cars. You drive with a throttle and they were fun to drive, but it was kind of scary due to the heavy traffic on the roads. The locals seemed annoyed with us and I thought some of them were going to run us over. We stopped at a nice beach for about an hour.
It was a nice cruise for the most part and I would love to sail on the Freedom again some day.