Travelling: Our little family of 3; Mom, Dad and Daughter age 10. We were travelling with friends, two other couples from across the country.
As the title indicates, some of us participated in the Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday Jan 9th. It was extremely cold in Orlando at this time, and we were hoping for some warm Caribbean weather to thaw us out. We had stayed at WDW, and used FL Tours for transportation to Port Canaveral. Upon arrival at the pier, we had to wait a short time before boarding.
One of the couples had been on Freedom before, for the rest of us it was the first time. Some of us were worried about the size of the ship-no worries, it was truly a beautiful ship and well laid out. We never felt crowded the entire week.
After getting soda packages, we headed to Windjammer for lunch. We would eat here for breakfast every morning except for debarkation day. We found the area all the way in the back the best and somehow managed to sit at the same table every day. Food was good to excellent each time. I am not hard to please though.
All of us had balcony cabins, us on deck 10 the other two on deck 9. Cabins were great-love the flat panel TV. Our stateroom attendant, Gregory, was AWESOME!!! Sooo friendly and helpful, we just loved him.
We had main seating dining, Leonardo's table 365. Waiter was Vladimir from Ukraine, assistant was Song from China. Head waiter was Erika from Hungary. Service in the dining room was excellent and attentive. Food was good, not too many new dishes but still most of my favorites.
We ate as a group at Portofino-Maria, the lovely Maria from the Phillipines was our waiter. Wonderful meal and service, well worth the $20 charge. Everyone left overstuffed and happy.
As couples we ate at Chops. Hubby and I skipped appetizers in favor of being able to eat our main course and dessert. I had the petit filet, he had the strip steak, both delightful. Our server was Tiffone, another gem. Carlos the manager is also wonderful. Again, worth the $25 charge.
One night some of us ate at Johnny Rockets. We enjoyed it as well, and even saw a crew member we had met on Explorer two years ago!
The weather played an impact on our trip-cool, rainy and EXTREMELY WINDY!!! But we made the best of it. Pool decks never were crowded, we always found seats where we wanted them.
Ports of call were: Labadee, Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel Mexico.
We did not stay in Labadee due to heavy rains and mudslides. Eight hours later, Haiti would be devastated by the earthquake.
Ocho Rios-we (our little family)had not booked anything, but our travel mates had booked the Dunns River Falls and tubing with Marva Shaw. We went along to see if she had room for us. She did and we had an absolute blast! Definately recommend.
Georgetown-We took a taxi to Sea Grape beach, it was a nice sunny day. We hung out for a while then headed back to town. Ate lunch at the Hard Rock ($$$$$) did a little bit of shopping.
Cozumel-this is where I do all my shopping. Got lots of great stuff at great prices. We then headed to Paradise Beach. Unfortunately, the weather turned and it got really, really windy. We headed back so that we had time to watch the drunks stumble back to the ship (always entertaining).
Daughter did Adventure Ocean-this is one area RCI excels at. She has always had a great time and they did not disappoint. We did allow her self check in/check out. She made a ton of friends and hated to leave at night.
Shows/entertainment-Ice show was fabulous, even with the falls due to the movement of the ship. Magician was excellent, production shows were good. We missed love and marriage, but caught it on TV. Quest, well what can I say except go and have a great time. It was a blast.
Cruise Director Allan Brooks was PHENOMENAL!!! We were spoiled on our first cruise by Richard Spacey, but Allan could certainly be #2. Warm, engaging and funny, especially with the physical humor.
We enjoyed people watching on the Royal Promenade and spent our fair share on latte's at the Cafe Promenade. Love the availability of snacks at all hours of the day.
Casino was very kind to me one night, not so much the next time, but we left up for the week.
We did not use room service at all. We did get the internet package, used our netbook right in the cabin with no problems. We did the "bag of laundry" for $25, worth it for what I shoved in there!! Our friend did the Flowrider quite a bit, and loved every minute of it. We went to the gym on the Labadee day, pretty crowded but a very nice facility. No one used the spa. The ladies participated in Walk for Wishes, to benefit Make A Wish. They had quite a turnout, nice to see folks helping others. A donation bin was set up on the Royal Promenade for Haitian earthquake relief. You could put it on your SeaPass or give cash.
All in all, it was a wonderful cruise with good friends. Looking forward to doing it again!!