We began our vacation by driving from NC to FL on Saturday, January 9th. The east coast was experiencing a deep freeze and FL was included. We were unable to enjoy our short stay at the Radisson resort at the port due to the cold and wind. The hotel does provide a special cruise deal that includes breakfast, shuttle to the port and back, and parking while on your cruise. We will definitely use them again.
We boarded the ship around noon even though the cruise documents stated boarding would occur at 1:30pm. The entire boarding process was quick and painless. We discovered that power strips are no longer allowed on board but we managed without it. Once the cabins opened up, we went and unloaded some of our items and our heavy coats. The cabin was very neat and clean. The bathroom held a major improvement over other ships I have sailed on; there is a shower door instead of curtain. MAJOR KUDOS RCI!
We discovered that January may not be the best time to cruise the western Caribbean. The water was rough and the weather was cloudy the majority of the trip. The motion sickness meds were in high demand on Sunday and Monday. It did improve substantially Tuesday thru Friday. Friday evening the winds picked up substantially, upwards of 60mph.
On Tuesday, Jan. 12th, we docked in Labadee, Haiti. Around 10:30am the Captain came across the loud speaker explaining that we would not be staying. Due to the torrential rain that was coming down and it was expected most of the day. Little did we know what a blessing missing a port of call would turn out to be.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica, George Town, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico were wonderful. The weather broke mid-week and was beautiful the remainder of the time.
The ship was massive, provided many attractions and entertainment opportunities. There was never a dull moment on board unless you chose for it to be. The entertainment on board could not be beat in my opinion. The staff and crew were very entertaining and most helpful. Allan Brooks, the Cruise Director is one of a kind. He is a must see by himself really. The food was excellent and always in ample supply. However, RCI no loner offers the midnight buffet or chocolates on pillows. Instead there was the "Freedom Fest" where you could peruse the Royal Promenade and sample the numerous fares while admiring the ice sculptures.
Overall, I was VERY pleased and plan to book this same itinerary again, but at a different time of year next time. I highly recommend The Radisson Cape Canaveral, Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas, and the itinerary .