We boarded Freedom of the Sas on our first cruise. The ship was full as it was the Christmas sailing but the ship definitely didn't feel crowded at any time.
Embarkation was relatively quick and easy took just over 30 minutes to get onboard.
The ship was well maintained, cabins were cleaned regularly and staff were very friendly and welcoming. Quite a number of staff made a real effort to learn your name and the cruise director, Allan was always entertaining.
We opted for an interior stateroom and enjoyed turning the tv on first thing in the morning to watch the ships webcam (on the front of the ship) to enjoy the view of the port before we disembarked - just like looking through a window. The captain, Tor, was always very bubbly in his addresses each day always quoting "Bing Bong" which made me laugh.
The food all round no matter where you at was tremendous. I have never eaten and drank as much in my life.
The weather was kind to us and there was one night at sea when it was a bit rough but nothing major.
The ports we visited were great, and we booked some ship excursions in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
Labadee was lovely asthisisaprivate part of Haiti. It was obvious from the market place which is located in the area that the sellers we desperate to sell you something and although they're very nice they were really, really pushy.
Falmouth was interesting as we had been on Honeymoon in Jamaica so had done all of the tours then and loved them and the people. I found Falmouth to be my least favourite port. A lot of money has been spent improving the port and the initial area is nice to walk around. Once you pass the gates of the port though we found it an uneasy shopping experience and it didn't take us long to return to the ship. It is obvious that this is a very deprived area of Jamaica in comparison to Ocho Rios and we felt quite vulnerable which I have only ever felt in Delhi, India. If you decide you want to do something in Jamaica - Dunns River Falls and Dolphin Cove are fantastic and the majority of people in Jamaica are lovely, just not enamoured with Falmouth.
Grand Cayman was brilliant and we had no issue with boarding the tender. We went on the Turtle Farm and swim package booked through the ship- id give it a miss and go to see the Stingray's instead. Although it was ok.
Cozumel was another favourite of ours. We did the Island Highlights and Shopping and loved it! The people we met were fantastic and it was the best port for shopping. About 3 miles(turn left out of the port) away is the central shopping district and I would have loved even more time to shop in the area- the port area had lots of cheap gifts too.
The days art sea were good too as there was so much to do and we loved sitting in the cantilever jacuzzi looking out over the ocean.
Shopping on board wasn't bad and a few bargains were to be found but most of the items we more expensive than you would buy at home despite being duty free etc etc. They constantly plug Diamonds International which became a standing joke between my husband and I. Out of curiousty he had looked at a watch which was the "Cheapest price he would find" - I googled it and found it $500 saigh away, lol. Don't fall into this trap!
Dress code surprised me a little as they didn't really enforce this - on formal night we seen people in the dining room in shorts?
The drink prices are what you would expect c$6 for a beer and $9 for a cocktail. Water is always a question- you can get cups / glasses of water in numerous places on the ship but if you want a 1L bottle of Evian it's 4.50 from your minibar.
On the whole we had an amazing time and cannot wait to cruise with Royal Caribbean again.
On a seperate note - if anyone is thinking of booking with Virgin Holidays Cruises, don't bother. Their Rockstar service is RockBottom! We had a huge amount of mistakes despite having a correct itinerary - Ie they gave the hotel the wrong dates and the hotel cancelled our room as a no show! And we never got any of the RockStar perks. Book with Royal Caribbean directly!