My family sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas Western Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral June 21-28. The itinerary included stops in Labadee, Haiti; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. 3 1/2 days after visiting Cozumel (which was our favorite stop, by the way), my teenaged son developed flu-like symptoms. He was afraid it was the swine flu. I dismissed his fears, telling him he was just tired from the trip and had heard too much on the news over the last several months. After a day and a half of steadily increasing temps (to 103 degrees) and worsening symptoms, I took him to the doctor. I mentioned the trip, and the nurse asked if I wanted him tested for the flu. I said yes…just to quiet his fears. Well, he turned out to really have the H1N1 virus. The whole family was started on Tamiflu. My son is better, but I myself have had some flu symptoms too over the last several days. I emailed RCI, and have still not heard a thing. Over the past couple of days I have looked all over the internet (message boards, etc.) for any mention of sickness from our particular sailing. The Carnival Conquest was also at Cozumel the day we were. I cannot believe we were the only ones who got sick. I at least feel that the cruiseline should mention it. We are having no complications from this, but someone who has infants/children or elderly individuals planning to cruise soon should take precautions.
I bought Royal Caribbean's $25 port and shopping guide. Don't do it! I thought it was a rip-off. The freebies it gets you are junk, and it appears to just be a gimmick to get you to go into some of the stores. I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt to make up for the money I spent on the book. All I really got were some tiny gemstones that I can't really do anything with.
After saying all that I've said...We absolutely loved our cruise! The ship is incredible, the staff was great, and we enjoyed all of the stops. Cozumel was our favorite, although that's most likely where we were infected with the swine flu virus. We intend to cruise with Royal Caribbean again. It's not their fault we got sick. I only wish that someone had at least contacted us about the situation.
Our first port was Labadee, Haiti, RCI's private island. The beach was beautiful, and my teenaged boys loved the water activities available (trampoline, slides, inflatable icebergs, etc.). We didn't have to book any of this until we arrived on the island. Several of us went to the little shopping area...bad move. The vendors hassled us to buy things and even put necklaces, bracelets, etc. on us! We felt we had to either buy the jewelry or give it back. The pushiness unnerved me, so I went back to the beach! Luckily we brought our own small cooler of water and soft drinks to the island. Bottled water was very expensive!