Freedom of the Seas September 2012: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by sonsan1

Freedom of the Seas 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Freedom of the Seas September 2012

Sail Date: September 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
Positives: Freedom of the Seas,launched 2006,refurbished 2011 is the cleanest, freshest ship we've ever sailed. The physical boat is spotless, well appointed & shows no signs of wear although up to 3,000 guests plus 1500 crew sail every single week. There are so many neat features you need to refer to a brochure to grasp the enormity of the experience. All the stuff in the brochure is really there and there is simply more to do than one can do in a week. Our outside cabin with balcony was plenty big enough, spotless & extremely comfortable. We booked deck 6 as close to mid-ships as possible. Food is aft and entertainment is forward. The cabin was quiet and the balcony; well I have ruined myself and will be paying extra for a balcony for the rest of my cruising days. The food was always "good" & a lot of the time "excellent". Breakfast Buffet up in the Windjammer Cafe is excellent. Service is exceptional all through the ship. It seems that the crew speaks & understands English better More than in the past. Theaters are comfortable & its easy to find a good seat. Shows are the best I've seen in 18 cruises. Ice skating show, Broadway, Magician, Stand up Comedian, all great. Shore excursions are shore excursions. Some are great,some are o.k. We do feel better using RCCL concessionaires rather than venturing out on our own & taking a chance. Haiti, Jamaica and Cozumel all have piers now. 5 tender boats at Grand Cayman made transfer quick and comfortable. Disembarkation was slick and fast. No complaints. All in all, I give it an 8.5.
Negatives: Check in was pitiful. Stood in line in the Sun for 20 minutes @ 90 degrees to run carry-on thru 4 machines for 2,500 folks. Everybody had to show I.D. 4 separate times in a slow moving line to check in.Took 45 minutes; not good. Checked in on Carnival (same port) 2 years ago in 10 minutes. Please take out a home equity loan before you board. You are going to need it. Extras like drinks are expensive. Specialty restaurants extra cost. (We did not use.) Shore excursions expensive. Also booking shore excursions can be confusing. The description on the handout,the description on the interactive TV, the description on the actual tickets and the description at the gathering place on shore didn't exactly match and some of the shore excursions are very similar to each other.
Additional Notes:
Don't let the large size and high passenger count discourage you. We almost never felt crowded and there is plenty of space to spread out and/or find a quiet spot to relax. Oh, and a final little comment that shows how great this monster boat is. The designers put in removable window panels on the pool deck so there is a wonderful ocean breeze blowing across you in your deck chair around the pools. On older ships you would roast. The best compliment I can pay is: We will be sailing the same ship again, maybe on an Eastern itinerary. Less

Published 09/13/12

Cabin review: E16590 Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

Nice size, plenty big enough. Extremely Comfortable. More room in the closet than 2 adults needed. Room safe with electronic lock. Balcony has ruined me. I will be paying extra for balcony from now on. There were 2 chairs and a table to relax and watch the sea go by. Cabin was fresh and spotless. Space under bed for all suitcases. Memory foam on mattress. Slept like a baby. Couch, dressing table w/chair, plenty of mirrors, flat screen interactive TV swivels. A/C worked well. Sliding glass door to the balcony had a good seal when closed. Deck 6 midships. Food was aft, entertainment forward. Good location on ship. QUIET! Nice decor. Bathroom adequate. We are big RVers so it was almost roomy to us. Shower was a little small for me but I'm at 245 lbs. (temporarily of course).

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Port and Shore Excursions


Fury Sailing Catamaran. Sail was for show. Zoomed along with twin diesels. Very nice ride, beautiful water, great Mexican crew, free beer (lite) and Margaritas (weak). Stopped at a reef just off shore and snorkeled. It was really nice. Good equipment. Vessel had a wide set of stairs that lowered into the water so you just walked down the stairs, eased into the water and started snorkeling. After about 30 minutes got everybody back on board and went to private beach. Now that was great. Had free toys, floats, chairs on the beach, hammocks under coconut trees and great smelling $11 hamburgers. On the way back did line dancing with the crew to 70' disco music. What a hoot. I recommend this one.Cozumel has really grown up for tourists. Book the "Fury Catamaran Snorkeling and Tiki Beach". It was excellent!

Jamaica would be O.K. but the aggressive soliciting by the locals actually ruined our experience. We probably will pass on Jamaica from now on unless we stay on board or at a resort where we don't interact with everybody who has their hand out. Dunns River Falls is dangerous. We saw at least 20 people slip, fall, and bust their rear ends. Saw about 3 or 4 sets of crutches back on board for the rest of the week. Be Careful! They also route your exit right through the market where you have to say "No Thank You" about a thousand times. Jeez! In route to the excursions we got a taste of the poverty that a lot of the locals have to live with. There is a shore excursion called the Bobsled ride that we enjoyed. You ride up a ski lift type chair to the top of a mountain & then do a gravity powered roller coaster ride through the jungle to the bottom where it climbs back up to the top. That was fun. At the top there is also a cafe that overlooks Ocho Rios and the bay (beautiful view) and serves fantastic Jerk chicken or pork wraps and cold Red Stripe. Yum!
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Dolphin Encounter

Much fun. Dolphin pushed me on a boogie board, took me for a ride hanging on to it's flippers, played ball with me, kissed me on my cheek, let me kiss her/him/it. It took placed in a big salt water pool that was clean. The whole facility was nice. Encounter was a nice length and I enjoyed it. Thought it was worth the money. Nice lunch counter with Conch Fritters and cold beer. Downside was the little bus that was provided for transportation. You are crammed onto it and it's overloaded to the point it's uncomfortable. Don't be last on the bus or you will have to sit on a little jump seat that folds down in the aisle.

Stingray Swim

We went to Stingray City and interacted with wild/tame stingrays at a shallow section of the ocean away from land. It's pretty remarkable that these creatures are so friendly and tolerant. Of course, I would be too if I had free meals everyday :) Nice ride out, plenty of time to enjoy one of those nature "religious" experiences. It was our bucket list and I'm really glad we did it. The water was crystal clear. It's kind of a "must do" thing. Do it!

RCCL's private peninsula in Haiti is drop dead gorgeous! Beautiful beaches, water and GREAT free lunch buffets. Lot's of stuff to do. Dragon's Breath Zip Line is a hoot. The property is so big that RCCL has a trolley system to move you around. I could build a little grass shack there and live out my days sitting under a coconut tree with an umbrella drink in my hand.
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