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Home > Member Reviews > liljoe78's Port Reviews of Labadee, Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel

liljoe78's Port Reviews of Labadee, Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Freedom of the Seas cruise in February 2013
Member Name: liljoe78
Cruise Date: February 2013
Embarkation: Port Canaveral
Destination: Western Caribbean
Member Review: liljoe78's Freedom of the Seas Review
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
As this was our first port on the cruise, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that Labadee was Royal's private area of Haiti. I decided not to book any excursions as I wanted just a beach day. Let me tell you, Labadee is the perfect beach day.

The ship provided a buffet style lunch in 3 different pavilions. While it was hamburgers and hot dogs, along with other items, it was still very good. It was nice to sit outside, eat, and enjoy some of the sounds of Haiti being performed. I did get suckered into buying a CD, but I didn't mind.

There was a souvenir shop that was a no hassle experience. You can browse around, and buy all sorts of neat knick-knacks made in Haiti. I definitely did not mind this, and bought a couple of items.

The biggest con which is why I did not rate this port a 5, is the "artisan market." Seeing this is Royal's private area, I'm expecting everyone working in it is being payed and taken care of. I expected the artisan market to be a collection of stalls selling local wares, but did not anticipate being harassed. I didn't get 3 feet into the market before I was being harassed to buy something and felt trapped by the people. They wouldn't let me walk and just look. This turned me off immediately and I turned around and walked back to the ship.

All-in-all, a great port and I enjoyed it.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
During the 1st day at sea, they had a shopping information session on the ship. All they were pushing is you must buy buy buy. And it had to be diamonds or jewelry... that was the only thing you wanted to buy... and you had to buy it in Jamaica.

I found that quite odd, since they had jewelry on board in their duty free shops. Once we got to the port, it started to make a little more sense. I'm thinking that Royal built the port at Falmouth, and so they have worked with the merchants that are set up in the port. This was somewhat of a turn-off to me. But it was easy to ignore.

I thought the port was very well taken care of and was very nice. It was very secure as well. It was fenced in, and security was checking all busses coming into and out of the area. The gates stayed closed and were opened for each bus.

I actually booked an excursion through (a 3rd party away from Royal). This granted us access to an all-inclusive resort for the day. I thought this was a great value. We went to Jewel at Runaway bay. It was a very nice resort. The food was fantastic (loved the honey mustard chicken). I didn't drink (shame on me) so I didn't take advantage of the all-i-can-drink booze. Only having to deal with the resort's guest for beach space was nice (as opposed to dealing with an entire cruise ship). We were back at port in plenty of time before the ship left so that we wouldn't be left. I thought this was a great excursion and if I had to do it again, I would book it.

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Grand Cayman
Stingray Swim Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
For Grand Cayman, we had to be tendered to shore. I definitely wasn't a big fan of this. I did the Stingray City excursion which was a lot of fun. The only downside is that there are so many groups that do this excursion (from other ships and 3rd parties), that it's kind of a free-for-all on the sandbar. Definitely a lot of people, but it was still nice and fun. It was a trip seeing these huge stingrays swimming and actually bumping into you.

Outside of that, we didn't do much in the port. When we were done with the excursion, we popped into a shop to buy a magnet and get back to the ship.

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Jeep Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Cozumel was my favorite port. Our excursion was a Jeep & Snorkel tour booked through the cruise line. Nathan was our guide, and I thought he was outstanding. He didn't put up with a bunch of craziness from some of the passengers on the tour with us, which I thought was funny.

The company that did the excursion definitely had everything timed out very well. It was fun driving the jeeps around the island, stopping to see a couple of different beaches and areas. I did not participate in the snorkel portion. The area where they were snorkeling was actually close to the port so there were a lot of other boats and people around. I felt that there wouldn't be a lot to see due to the amount of activity. My sister who did do the snorkel confirmed my thought.

The port area was large. I felt very safe within the port, and there were a lot of shopping options. I didn't feel hounded by people trying to get me to buy stuff which was nice.

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