Great Ship, Great Time: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by methater
Overall Member Rating
Great Ship, Great Time
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Day 1 The shuttle left the hotel at 1115 and we were on the ship, sitting by the pool at 1200. Port Carnavel and Royal Caribbean have the most efficient check in process of the 4 cruises I've been on. We laid out by the pool for about 2 hours while my 7 year old played at the H2O zone (a water park for kids). I guess this is good place to discuss the ship. The H2O zone is a great place as it keeps the kids busy and the adults without kids can either hang out at the other outdoor pool or in the adults only area. The Promanade is wonderful, reminded me of a small Italian More town with shops on either side of the road. I sat and had a drink everyday while my wife and son took a nap. Another thing that I noticed was despite the fact that there were over 4000 guest onboard it never seems crowded. There are tons of things to do and I guess that keeps everyone busy and seperated. We had dinner in the main dining room and the food portions were bigger than I remember on Carnival and Norweigian. I would say food quality in the MDR was simular to the others. I found all the staff onboard to be super, especially the dining room staff. Saw the welcome aboard show / comedian and it was very good. Overall I would rate RC entertainment above the other lines I mentioned.
Day 2 At sea Not much to talk about here. Same as first day.
Day 3 Labadee Visited the private island and enjoyed it. They have an area for venders who are somewhat pushy, but nothing compared to what I expected after reading previous reviews on cruise critic. Took the shuttle to the farest beach and hung out, had the burgers, dogs and chicken lunch provided by RC. It was good, but nothing special. There's a kids playground which my son didn't see so we just stayed at the beach. The zipline looked liked a blast, but a little overpriced. Had dinner at Chops and was very disappointed. The steakhouse on Carnival last year was much better. Steak ordered Med/Rare was Med/well and not seasoned at all. Saw the Ice Show and it was wonderful. Tickets are given away at 9am on the sea day and despite what I had read, it was easy to get tickets.
Day 4 Jamacia We chose to go with a private company for Dunns River Falls and Ocho Rios highlights tour and saved about $90 for our group of four. We used Yardie Tours and booked prior to leaving home. Our guide Shaw was very good and I recommend him. Whether you use the ship tour or private tour, they drop you at the Falls and you can either try them on your own or get a guide. The guides work for tips and I paid $30 which was probably too much as all he really did was point us in right direction and take pictures. The guide selection process was a little confusing at first, but I think adults could easily make it without a guide. We got there way before the ship crowd and made the climb in about 20-30 minutes. Shaw took us for a authentic Jamician lunch and it was OK. The jerk chicken was great, but the pork and sausage was dry. You can select your food so my advice would the chicken and beans & rice. They also drop you off in town for a little shopping at an Americanized shopping district close to the pier.
Day 5 Grand Cayman We did the ships Stingray City and Snorkel tour. It was just OK. We've decided that in the future we'll do all private tours. From the pier it's about a 15 minute bus ride to the boats that take you on a 35 minute boat ride to the Stingray sand bar. Seeing holding and rubbing against the stingrays was a very cool experience, but not something you really need to do twice. After our boat ride back (while they try and sell you pictures for $20 a piece) you catch the bus back to the pier. My advice is to take pictures while your family holds the the rays, because the ones the tour operaters take are expensive as I said. They didn't send enough buses to pick up people going back to the pier, so several of us had to wait while they called a bus. While Grand Cayman is beautiful, it's expensive and probably my least favorite visit. Remember things are priced in Jamacian dollars at restaurants.
Day6 Cozumel We didn't do much in Cozumel, just some shopping and lunch before returning to the ship and relaxing. We had lunch at Casa Denis, which happens to be my favorite and as always the food was delicious. We had dinner at Portofino and it was outstanding. Much better than Chops.
Day7 At sea Spent most of the day relaxing and wishing it wasn't the last day. We had a great time and I recommend Freedom of the Seas for anyone looking for a great cruise. Only tried the Flowrider once and it was great. Farewell show was fantastic, except for the comedian at the end. Not very funny.
Day8 disembark. Great disembark procedures, best anywhere. Less