We flew into Orlando and rented a car (Avis) and drove to the port on Saturday. We checked the ships in port—it was so beautiful and exciting and then checked into our hotel. Radisson at the Port—great place to spend the evening—plus they have a restaurant for breakfast right there and will transport you to the port in the morning. We had dinner at Milliken's restaurant (recommended by the desk staff at the Radisson)—a prelude of great meals to come.
The hotel, Avis, and the shuttle are all organized chaos on departure morning. We had a 10:30 time for our shuttle—but must be ready by 10:15. We returned the rental and waited outside the lobby for our names to be called for the shuttle. At 10:45—we get on our shuttle and are delivered to the port around 11:00 am. This is Love bug week and these pesky insects are all over us, our luggage, and the ship. It took only about 30 minutes to get our Sea Pass and onto the ship. Our first stop was the Promenade (deck More
5) to get an idea of the layout of the ship—then off to the Wind Jammer (deck 11) for lunch. We were fortunate to get a seat by the port so we could see our fellow passengers getting on. Around 1:00 we heard a message that the rooms could be accessed now—so we went and found our suites to drop off what carry on we had with us to make it easier to explore the ship—surprise—our luggage was there—we unpacked quickly. At 4:00 we had the mandatory drill. It is windy and Lovebuggy on deck—but our ship is magnificent and we can look at the Disney and Carnival ships also in port. We stay on deck until we are in the Atlantic and then scurry off to dinner. We chose the 6:00 pm seating at a table for four. Our table is by a port hole and it is wonderful for spotting land and other vessels. Our waiter, Asep and assistant waiter, Maria were the best. They treated us like royalty. Royal Caribbean knows how to give service! Dinner was great. After dinner we headed to the Arcadia Theater to catch the welcome show @ 7:30. Great show. We did a little exploration on the ship afterwards, but we were tired and headed back to our suite for the night.
The ship is larger than the last RCI ship we were on—the Mariner—and it was sold out. Lots of people—lots of walking—but you never felt overcrowded. We loved the Promenade—like being at a small shopping mall with stores and eateries. My husband commented about it being like being in a resort—not on a ship. The dining room is beautiful, the service and food cannot be beat.
We had a Junior Suite and it was very spacious. Real bathroom with a tub, a huge walk-in closet, and a large balcony. We chose the 10th floor—only one flight up to the Wind Jammer. Our room steward, Abella, went out of her way to take great care of us during the entire cruise.
The crew was the friendliest bunch of people we ever met--we spoke to such a variety of people from different countries. The cruise director, Graham Seymour was too funny--be sure to catch his morning TV program. Also catch the shopping show with Tana and Rad—Tana will help you find whatever you are looking for and loves seeing what you bought.
The food was great. In the dining room, there were so many choices for dinner some evenings it was hard to pick. We generally had breakfast in the Wind Jammer—but one morning we ordered room service and another morning we ate in the dining room (just happened to catch the chocolate breakfast--mmmm). For lunch we would also go to the Wind Jammer or if we were in port—we would stop at Sorrento's for pizza or Cafe Promenade for sandwiches when we returned to the ship. We never did make it to Johnny Rockets on this trip.
The shows on board were fun. The best was the magic show "Now You See It" with Drew Thomas. If this is on your cruise—DO NOT MISS IT! The ice show was really good, too.
We had four ports on this trip. First was Labadee, Haiti. It was beautiful. It is easy to walk around and there are trams that go to all around (catch one with only 1 car on it to go to the craft section and the cove). We took a tour of the place in a tram to decide what to do and ended up staying at the Columbus Cove Beach. Calm, clear water and plenty of chaise lounges. Lunch close by and was an eclectic barbeque. We went to the main market and purchased some Haitian dolls and carved bowls.
Our second port was Jamaica. We booked a private tour from Marva Shaw of knowjamaicatours.com . She had one of her guides, Grace, meet us at the port and escort us around Jamaica. We made several stops and Dunn's River Falls. Great company to do business with.
Next port was Grand Caymans. Beautiful. Great shopping. Can't wait to return there.
Final port was Cozumel, Mexico. When shopping--be sure to shop at the cruise recommended stores to keep from being ripped off. Bring back real vanilla or silver for souvenirs.
We took advantage of the special luggage deal to send our luggage directly from the ship to the Orlando airport. We never had to take it our bags through customs or tote them around all day. Well worth the $20.00 per bag.
The weather on this cruise was wonderful and the seas calm. No one got seasick and a great time was had by all. We cannot wait for our next Royal Caribbean Cruise! Less
Freedom of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean