We live in Orlando and loved how quickly we were able to travel to Port Canaveral. We used a new off site parking, Park N Cruise facility. Great deal if you go online to reserve before arrival! The shuttle to the port was staffed by friendly drivers which help to keep our excitement up.
Embarkation was super fast. They now have an express check in line for Gold members of CAS. This was a very nice and unexpected benefit as I thought RCI only provided this to Platinum and above. We were on board in 15 minutes, Fantastic!
We were able to go right to our cabin upon boarding. We loved Cabin 6656 on FOS. the cabin was great and we appreciated the location more and more as the cruise progressed. it was just the right distance from the elevators/stairs, it was far enough away to avoid noise of guest traffic but, close enough for easy access. Being one floor up from the Royal Promenade was very convenient for the same reasons. The rest of the cabin was as expected. very nice and clean. in the bathroom, I really like the curved shower door instead of a curtain. the door solves the problem of flooding that seems to occur on showers with a curtain
This cabin is directly above the main dining room and overlooked the promenade walkway that bumps out over the water. We loved being able to people watch from our balcony. The balcony is fairly large and could have accommodated a lounger which would have been nice.
Of course after dropping off our bags in our cabin, we went to Windjammer for a bite to eat. I really liked the "marketplace" design. It breaks the traffic up amongst the serving stations. While dining we had a great view of the Disney Dream docked next to FOS. It was at this first meal that our catch phrase was literally delivered to us on a platter. "Very Nice". There was one roving cocktail server who, regardless of what he had on his tray, would spiel "drink? drink? Very Nice". Of course it's all said with a charming Jamaican accent. Very nice.
The rest of the ship is big and grand. It does tend to be a very inward focused ship. As a result it can start to feel like your just in a nice hotel and not cruising the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean. So, get a cocktail but, take it outside and walk the pool or promenade deck. Our favorite hangouts were Vines and the Viking Crown Lounge (Olive or Twist). We enjoyed Vines for its relaxed cozy vibe and the great service from Shawn. The Viking Crown Lounge provides glorious views of the sea and at night the H2O Zone transforms into a colorful sculpture garden.
Royal Caribbean does a great job creating impressive and entertaining production shows. The Marquee show is not to be missed. the singers were truly the best I've heard on a cruise ship. we were told that the cast was brand new as of our sailing. the casts fresh enthusiasm was evident and greatly added to our enjoyment of all the stage shows.
The ice show, Freedom-Ice.com, really surprised me. It was truly entertaining and had a cast of talented skaters who are no doubt challenged by performing their stunts on such a small ice rink. We had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with some of the skaters in the Crown Lounge. Meeting people who are so passionate about their craft is always inspiring.
Labadee, Haiti, Port 1 Rating 5
We loved this private retreat that Royal Caribbean has created. We zip lined on the longest zip line over water. It was really exciting but, I don't have a desire to do it again, not for $85! It took longer than expected. For some reason you're taken to a "test run" zip line which is a short run over land. maybe this is to weed out anyone who might be scared of the process. We were very much looking forward to the Dragon's Tail Coaster however, due to a power problem the motor to drag you up the hill was not functioning. The cost was quickly refunded to our account. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach of Columbus Cove. Floating in the warm clear water also provided us a stunning view of the Freedom of the Seas docked at the pier.