Saturday July 4, Seattle to Orlando
Flight: Seattle to Orlando departed at 8:45 am (Seattle time) and arrived 5:30 pm(Orlando time).
Everything was smooth until a one hour wait at the Avis counter waiting for a Pontiac Vibe. It was a snug fit. They did discount us $25 for our time.
We made it to our friend’s house in Kissimmee, FL around 7:30 pm.
They took us to Disney World to watch the fireworks. Very cool!
Our friends have a Disney themed house from wall to wall. They gave us the tour and let us pick our room for the night.
Sunday July 5, Boarding, Casual Dinner
In the morning our friends treated us to Mickey waffles and then we were off to Port Canaveral.
It was about an hour drive(Toll road $0.75 to 1.50) to the pier. We dropped the wives and luggage off first and then dropped off the car(5 minutes away). Avis had a shuttle that brought us back to the pier. It is easier to get on the shuttle without luggage in tow.
We filled out a health questionnaire and checked in around noon. The total process took less than 15 minutes. Our rooms would not be available until after 1:00 so we went to the windjammer for lunch. We had our swimsuits on already so after lunch we headed for the pool bar. After a drink we checked out the Flowrider(Don’t miss this). You have to fill out a waiver form and get a bracelet to use the ride. If you want to use the ride do it as soon as possible. There were no lines and you got to use the entire ride. As the lines grew they divided the ride in half and wait times increased significantly. We did the boogie boarding but they also had stand up surfing times. If you don’t want to wait in lines you can rent the ride for $300/hr for private group lessons.
A little before 4:00 we went back to our rooms to get ready for the emergency drill. Everyone put their lifejackets on and made their way to deck 4.
When it was time for the sail away party a huge thunder and lightning storm hit. It put a damper on things at the time but it was the last time we saw rain during the trip. We went back to our rooms, unpacked and got ready for dinner. We had the late seating 8:30. We really liked the late seating. Our head waiter(Dennis), waiter(Camilo) and asst waiter (Ali) were all very good. The food was good but the overall experience was excellent.
We missed the Welcome Aboard show but the entertainment around the ship was top notch.
Monday July 6, At Sea, Formal Dinner
Another day at the pool and Flowrider. We met a great server(Joseph from Jamaica) “Sooo Nice!, Sippin' Time!”. We wandered the boat. Café Promenade and Sorrento’s offered great lunch/snack choices. We ate there every afternoon at some point.
We met another good bartender (Owen) at the Olive Or Twist bar. We visited him nightly for pre or post dinner drinks.
After the formal dinner we went to the late night comedy(Don Friesen) and tried our luck at the casino.
Tuesday July 7, Labadee, Haiti, Casual Dinner
Labadee is a private RCCL beach. We ended up at the beach facing the Dragons Breath zipline. It was average. You need water shoes or sandals because the sand is very rocky. We ate lunch at the BBQ provided. Again, average. The Haitian market was very high pressured and not a comfortable experience. We were glad this was the first stop because we knew it was only going to get better.
We went to the pre-dinner show starring El Gaucho. Outstanding!! After dinner we went to the 70’s dance party on the Promenade hosted by the Cruise Director Richard Spacey and his staff. The cruise director’s staff on the Freedom of the Seas had a lot of energy and were very entertaining.
Wednesday July 8, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Casual Dinner
We booked a pay as you go excursion to Dunn River Falls and river tubing through Phil Lafayette. Phil was an awesome guide($20/pp and well worth it). He took us through the city to hike Dunn River Falls($15/pp). After the falls he took us away from the city for a river tubing excursion($20/pp). Finally he took us for a short drive through the Fern Gully. We were very thankful to be with Phil and his daughter. He was very entertaining and made us feel safe even though the surrounding community was a little scary at times. Phil dropped us at the shops in front of the pier where we ate at Margaritaville prior to boarding the ship.
After dinner we attended the Love and Marriage game show. Very Funny!! This is the third time we have seen it and it is just as good every time.
Thursday July 9, George Town, Grand Cayman, Formal Dinner
In my opinion this port offered the best excursion of the cruise. We booked a waverunner/stingray city/snorkeling tour($150/pair) through Ebanks Watersports. After departing the ship we were able to do some shopping on our way to the meeting point. They picked us up promptly at 10:30(their time, 11:30 ship time) outside the Hard Rock. After short ride to a marina, we boarded the waverunners and we were off. We were free to go as fast or slow as we wanted and riding in the ocean allowed you to get some good air off the waves. After about a 25 minute ride we arrived at stingray city. Several boats with over 50 people apiece were there. The sandbar was in about 4ft of water and you could see many stingrays making their way along the bottom. Our guide lifted one to the surface so each person could hold it for photos and good luck kisses. After about 25 minutes, we moved to a nearby reef for snorkeling. Our guide pointed out a small hole in the reef. If you swam down about 8 feet an eel would pop its head out for a photo. After the snorkeling, it was time to head back to the marina. Another 25 minutes on the waverunner. We have done waverunners at different beaches in the past but this excursion was the best. The only bad part of the day was the long hot wait for the tender to back to the ship.
After a lobster and steak dinner, we attended the Battle of the Sexes game show. After the show we grabbed a couple more drinks and played a late night game of putt-putt golf with another couple we met on board.
Friday July 10, Cozumel, Mexico, Casual Dinner
We booked the Playa Mia Beach Break through RCCL. This excursion is on your own. You catch a cab to the beach ($15). We got beach chairs, floating mats, and an open bar. The beach was beautiful. There was beach staff that put on beach games throughout the day and gave away t-shirts to the winners. We did order food from one of the beach bars but the food was very bland. The other couple with us pick up the cab ride going back, we did a little shopping, and then it was back on the ship.
After dinner tonight we went to the Quest game show. The enthusiasm and lack of modesty in our group helped lead us to victory. Another can’t miss activity. An 80’s Dance Party followed the Quest and the cruise directors staff again did a nice job of entertaining.
Saturday July 11, At Sea, Casual Dinner
After breakfast we headed for the pool because we knew it would be crowded. We hung out at the pool until the Belly-Flop contest. It never gets old watching guys leap belly first into the water for the enjoyment of the crowd. We packed and got ready for our final dinner.
Prior to dinner we met with Crown and Anchor Loyalty Ambassador and booked another cruise for next July. We only had to put down $100 per person and we received $100 ship credit for that cruise.
We had drinks at the Bull and Bear Pub and watched the Circus Parade on the Promenade.
After the parade we went to the Farewell Show. They showed part of the Cruise in Review DVD, Cruise Director Richard Spacey entertained us with his dance moves, Comedian Steve Caouette was very funny, and many of the cruise staff came together to sing farewell at the end.
We put our bags out and went to our final dinner.
Sunday July 12, Departure
We ate breakfast in the Windjammer at 6:30 and reported to the Promenade at 7:15 as directed. After a short wait we walked down to deck 4 to use our Sea Pass one last time to leave the ship. We showed our customs declaration and picked up our bags. The whole process took less than 20 minutes. We walked out to get on the rental car shuttle. There are no marked areas so the shuttles take the first available spot. We waited in the middle of the area and then moved quickly to the open spot when we saw our shuttle. 15 minutes later we were on the road to the airport and our vacation was over.