Fabulous Freedom of the Seas: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by disneyfan68

Freedom of the Seas 5
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Fabulous Freedom of the Seas

Sail Date: July 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We are a family of 4 with 2 children. My son was a week shy of 13 and my daughter is 10.5. We left for Orlando from New York on a 1:00pm flight. We arrived at 4:00pm. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International. I chose this hotel primarily because we got a great rate and I liked having dinner options (we had no rental car). We had a runway view room and the hotel had a nice rooftop pool which the kids enjoyed. We ate dinner at Macaroni Grill in the airport. It was nice to arrive early enough so we could relax.

Our car service pick up on Sunday was originally scheduled for 10:00am but arrived at 9:15am. We were at the port around 10:10am. We entered the terminal and proceeded to check in. Security went smoothly as did check in. We were in the waiting area by 10:30am. There were probably around 50 other people there at that point. At 11:00am, the announcement was made we could board. Entered Freedom on Deck 4 and started to explore. The ship was More pretty empty at this point so we got some good pictures. Ate lunch in Windjammer then headed to the pool. Cabin ready at 1:30pm. We had a JS on Deck 9 on the starboard side mid-ship. We found the cabin to be awesome. As others have said, the bathroom is quite large and the walk in closet was great. We loved the large balcony and spent a lot of time out there. Our Suite Attendant, Gregory, was great! Luggage was received at 4:00pm. The kids both did the Flowrider and loved it. The instructors were all great. The main dining room was great. We were on My Time Dining and had different times on different days. We requested the same table each night and the waiters were awesome. The Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's were also good choices for late afternoon or late night snacks or to grab a coffee. The ship did not seem crowded except on sea days and the crowds were mainly at the pool. Inside was not crowded.


Labadee Haiti - Beautiful weather but found the vendors pushy. Kids did the Arawak Aqua Park and the Dragon Coaster.

Falmouth Jamaica - Booked the Hilton Rose Resort & Spa through jamaicaforaday.com. It was an all-inclusive day pass for Hilton which included unlimited drinks and meals. The Hilton has a large pools with slides and a lazy river. Beach is small but nice. Great day for all.

Grand Cayman - Captain Bryan's Stingray City Sandbar and Snorkeling booked through Island Marketing. This tour included the amazing stingray sandbar and 2 snorkeling stops at the Barrier Reef and Coral Gardens. The water in Grand Cayman at the sandbar is too beautiful for words and swimming with the stingrays was an unforgettable experience.

Cozumel - Nachi Cocom Beach Break booked through Island Marketing. This was the most relaxing experience. Beautiful beach front, pool, hot tub and swim up bar. The service and food was excellent. The water clear and calm. Unlimited drinks and 4 course meal. Just an amazing, restful day.


The entertainment aboard Freedom was pretty good. We attended Freedom on Ice and loved the show. Very talented skaters. Also attended Marquee which is Freedom's take on Broadway. It was a good show as well. Also saw Now You See It which featured Drew Thomas from America's Got Talent. Cool show and was enjoyed by our entire family.

Pool Area

There are 3 pools areas - the Solarium for adults, the main pool which is 2 pools and several spas and the H2O Zone for kids which was a lot of fun for young and older children (even some adults). The Flowrider was another big hit for our group. The kids loved it. The instructors were very good and helpful. We signed up for private lessons for the kids and my husband and they all had a blast. The lesson was an hour and only 2 other kids were in the private lesson group so it allowed for a lot of personal time and worth the money. My husband and son did boggie boarding and stand up surfing. My daughter was not tall enough for surfing but loved the boggie boarding.


We were in Group 5 with a call time of 7:45am. We left the room by 7:00am and went to the promenade for breakfast. Headed to our meeting location, Arcadia Theater, by 7:30am. They started calling numbers. Our number was called at exactly 7:45am. Breezed through Customs and headed to the terminal for our luggage. Came out fast and we were outside by 7:55am -- only 10 minutes after our number was called. So smooth! We expected craziness but it was so easy. Our car service pickup was 8:30am for a 12:35pm flight. He picked us up by 8:15am and off to Orlando for our flight. One last goodbye to Freedom of the Seas -- our home for the past 8 days.

Final Thoughts

We absolutely loved this cruise. It was our best vacation yet and worth every penny we paid. We found the service from our room attendant and the main dining room to be impeccable. Our room attendant, Gregory, was amazing. He was such a pleasure and really made us feel comfortable in our home away from home. He was very attentive and helpful. The MTD service was amazing. By day 2 our assistant waiter knew my kids drinks and would automatically bring them. He knew their names. Little things like opening the sugar holder after pouring the coffee. I am sure they are trained this way but it was these touches that made the difference.

I wasn't that impressed with Adventure Ocean and the kids clubs. It may have just been my kids but they really weren't interested. My daughter is 10.5 and was almost too old/mature for her 9-11 age group. My son was a week shy of 13 and not as social as my daughter. They grouped as 12-17 most of the time and he just felt out of place. It was fine. They are old enough to enjoy the shows, the main dining and the ports. They never ordered off of the children's menu. Tried new things every night and just had a great time. Maybe next time when they are both older, but I was fine having them with us. We all had a great time.

The ship was amazing! Although big, we found our way well. It never felt overly crowded with the exception of the pool area on sea days. It was packed! The elevators were slow but we were on Deck 9 so only 2 flights to Deck 11 which worked out great.

I know there is a lot of discussion about dress in the main dining room. I didn't think I would care but after seeing some of the dress, I have to agree. We dressed formal on formal nights. My husband in a suit, me and my daughter in a dress and my son in dress pants, tie and shirt. Casual nights were dockers, polo shirts and dock shoes. By the end of the week, I allowed my son to wear dress shorts and a polo shirt which I felt was fine. We could not believe what some were wearing in the main dining room. Shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, baseball hats -- even on formal night! OK that's all I'm going to say about that.

Fabulous trip and we are booked again for April 2014. We loved Royal Caribbean and will sail with them again. Less

Published 07/18/12

Cabin review: JS9272 Junior Suite

We stayed in a Junior Suite on Deck 9 (starboard side). It was an amazing cabin with tons of space for our family of 4. The main bed was the size of a king and the sofa for the kids was also large. It did not have a sleeper sofa mattress. It was a sofa that opened like a futon with a thick mattress pad on top. Both beds were so comfortable. I slept better than at home in my own bed. The cabin was spacious with a large balcony and small walk-in closet. We were able to unpack all of our clothes and everything had someplace to go. The bathroom was also larger than expected with a tub. The shower was great and had excellent water pressure. All in all it was a great cabin and we would definitely book it again.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Beach Break

We arrived in Cozumel by 10:00am. We had a quick breakfast at Cafe Promenade and debarked by 11:00am (10:30am island time). Our excursion for the day was Nachi Cocom Beach Break booked through Island Marketing. We grabbed a cab and arrived at Nachi by 11:00am. As others have said, the driveway is not appealing, but once inside, it is beautiful. We took our family picture with sombreros. It came out nice so of course I bought it. We paid our balance and were brought to our private palapa with 4 chairs. It was near the pool which worked so we could watch the kids. The water and beach was absolutely amazing! It was a picture perfect day. Our waiter was Joseph and were helped by Jesus. We had our first of many drinks right away. The pool was very nice and clean. The hot tub (which we didn't go it) was very hot so they must have fixed it. Again my kids loved the swim up bar and ordering their own drinks. We paid $2.00 for each of them to use the trampoline and they had fun on that. Another picture taken which we purchased. The food was very good too. For appetizers, we got the guacamole and chips, cheese sticks and French fries. All were very good. For lunch we got the tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and my daughter got a hamburger. We were all to full for dessert but my daughter got the cheesecake (even though she couldn't finish her lunch). We had an awesome day at Nachi and would not hesitate to go back again.

We had a day pass for Hilton Rose Resort & Spa which I booked through jamaicaforaday.com. This pass was all inclusive and included unlimited drinks and food so we decided to skip breakfast. We debarked and headed to the taxis/shuttles. It was a little confusing. We headed to the right at the fork when we should have gone left. No one seemed to know where our shuttle would be but were very helpful. I called the number on the confirmation and they answered. They said our pickup was by the 4 white tents. Those were very clear to see but we were in the wrong spot. Once we got there, the jamaicaforaday sign was very clear. Once we arrived at the Hilton, we paid our balance and headed to the pool. It is a beautiful resort. They have a huge pool with a lazy river and 2 slides with a swim up bar. We didn't arrive until 11:00am so chairs and tubes were scarce. We got chairs by the beach and went swimming for a while. Then we headed to the pool. One slide required a tube which we didn't have. The other didn't. The kids enjoyed the non-tube slide. We eventually got 2 tubes and did the other slide and the lazy river. The drinks were really good and strong. The kids liked ordering their own drinks from the bar (virgin of course). We ate lunch at Fresh (the buffet). It was good, but Mangos by the pool seemed better (but there were no tables and we were hungry). It was a great day and we would go to the Hilton again.
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Stingray Swim

We arrived in Grand Cayman earlier than planned. Our excursion for the day was Captain Bryan's Stingray City Sandbar and Snorkeling aboard the Buccaneer. We booked this excursion through Island Marketing. The meet time was 9:40am (island time). We debarked the ship at 8:45am (island time) and tendering went very smoothly. We checked in with Captain Bryan's and then did some shopping. It didn't take as long as we thought. As we got closer to our time, people were missing so we had to wait for them. We headed to the busses by 10:00am. It was a 15 minute drive to the boat. We all boarded. I would say there were around 40 people on the tour. On our way to Stingray City, we could not get over the beauty of the water. Grand Cayman is gorgeous. When we arrived at Stingray City, the water was crystal clear blue with a white sand bottom. It was like a giant pool. The water was up to my waist. There were maybe 4 other boats there. You could see the stingrays immediately. So cool. We were told how to handle them before exiting the catamaran. There were swimming around us and my daughter was getting a little freaked. I'll admit, I was a little nervous too. They are amazing creatures. Each of us got to hold and kiss a stingray and get our picture taken. What an awesome experience. Next we went to the Barrier Reef for snorkeling. It was fun but not many fish. Next we went to Coral Gardens. There were schools of fish there. It was a lot of fun. Neither of my children had ever snorkeled before and they both had fun. We then sailed back to the marina. A great excursion and a once in a lifetime experience.

We got off the ship at 11:00am. We walked around and took some pictures. We headed for Columbus Cove and had a 1:00pm time slot for Arawak Aqua Park and the Dragon Coaster. It was hot! Real feel temp was 105 with a UV of 11! What turned us off a little were the pushy vendors as we made our way to Columbus Cove. We swam a little before our waterpark time. The water was nice but had a lot of sea grass. I found the water park toys to be really difficult to climb. My kids did ok. It basically became just swimming for me which was fine. After the water park, we made our way the Dragon Coaster. Again, we had passes for 4 but my daughter and I did not want to do it so my husband and son did it twice each. We completely missed the lunch and didn't get back on ship until close to 3:00pm. Nice island but not much to do. Very beautiful though.
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