Helpful for full time wheelchair users: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by Laurabelle530

Freedom of the Seas 5
Member Since 2014

Overall Member Rating

Helpful for full time wheelchair users

Sail Date: March 2014
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
March 23-30th, I cruised with a group of 50 plus wheelchair and mobility issue friends. It was the by far the most enjoyable vacation I have ever experienced. The staff from the disembarking were so helpful to make sure we got through the lines. To adjusting the cameras so our picture could be taken for the sea pass cards. Once we boarded the ship. Not many of the public areas were open until later in the afternoon when all passengers had boarded. We all headed up to the Wind Jammer Cafe, the on-board Buffet. The place was packed and was very hard to find a table. Staff was very helpful in moving chairs and tables around that we could join our friends. Staff was always right there to help with carrying plates and cups. To helping dish out food on plates. No staff member over stepped their boundaries and forced their help. But was always very gracious to help when called upon. The only thing I feel would be a negative with the buffet is that they are not at wheelchair height. More Everything was high to reach but with the helpful staff did not really become a problem. At night we dined in the Large Dining Room on board. Which was a wonderful experience. The food was out of this world. I have never eaten so well in my life. Staff again was wonderful and helpful. Gave great recommendations of foods we should try on the menu each night. And I must say no recommendation was a bad one. I had even tried food I never would have if it wasn't for being on vacation. The wait staff even remembered your particular drink orders and would have it waiting for you at your table. Every night I had a nice glass of house red wine waiting for me. One Night after a long day of Sight seeing in St. Thomas a few of us had decided against getting dressed for dinner and decided to dine at the Johnny Rockets on-board. Johnny Rockets is extremely small and it very hard to navigate in a wheelchair but is doable and the staff will help. There are no tables to wheel a wheelchair right up too. There are booths and you have either be able to pull up to the end of the booth or transfer into the booth. I have no problem transferring into the booth. I will say I wasn't overly all impressed with the food there but for a quick bit of a burger and a milkshake its not that bad. Also on the Promenade there was a pizza place that was not any additional charge for a quick bite to eat. It wasn't the greatest pizza but was good for a quick late night snack. Also a fun activity that a few of the girls and I did was cupcake decorating at the Cupcake Cupboard. We made our cupcakes into Burgers and Fries. Personally I don't think mind resembled that but it was still a fun activity to do with some friends. The little store is small and will hold a max of 8 wheelchairs if so desired. The do have cupcakes available for purchase in different varieties. There is also a Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's on-board again for additional charge. To be honest after getting dessert in the dining room I didn't need anything else. And the dessert their were out of this world. I highly recommend the Chocolate Sensation Most nights after dinner we would find ourselves on the Promenade hanging out at the Irish Pub enjoying a beverage and catching up with friends. Late night there was always something fun going on whether it was the Crypt Disco or Karaoke or even some nightly shows in the theater. Crypt Disco was an interesting experience for wheelchair users you must enter on the 4th floor by the casino. The night I danced the night away was called Silent Disco you were given head phones to listen to music and dance. Everyone was listening to different music on their head phones so it was fun to watch everyone dance and it be completely silent and not know what they were dancing too. Karaoke was also a fun activity. Many of our group got up and showed our singing talents. Whether it was off key or not. There is a ramp to enter the stage for the Karaoke entertainment. The theater was very spacious and has access in back for wheelchair users. My favorite show was the Once Upon a Time which was a take on the Fairy tales with a modern twist. Some of the small bars on board held quiz shows. They would fill up quick and was very hard to get around but again was a lot of fun. Especially the 80's rock band quiz night and country music quiz night. I am not a big fan of the Casino but I did try my luck at slots one night. The Casino is extremely small and very hard to maneuver wheelchair through the tables and slots. The stools are attached to the slots and it is hard to get a wheelchair up to the the machines. Tables are high which also makes accessing in a wheelchair difficult. Days on board I enjoyed mostly sitting by the pool with a good book. The pool deck is very busy with activity during the day. Loud music and games going all day long. I will say this if you don't get their early it is very difficult to find a lounge chair near the pool. Deck 12 though again can be difficult to find a lounge chair. Is much quieter than the pool area. The wait staff is constantly walking around the pool and the upper deck 12 to take your drink order. So you don't need to move during the day. I also indulged one day at sea and had a massage in the spa. What a wonderful experience. The staff will consult with you about your problem areas and areas you may want to avoid. After your treatment they will also consult with you about follow up treatments you can do at home. I want to touch on one last thing about the ship in general the elevators get extremely packed very fast. If you can use the stairs use them. There were times I was waiting for 3 or 4 trips before I could get an elevator. And having a group of 50 of us was making it even more difficult. There also interactive maps located on every deck to help you navigate your way around which made it nice to find your way. Less

Published 05/17/14

Cabin review: 9557

I had interior wheelchair accessible stateroom on the 9th deck. Very spacious room easy to maneuver two wheelchairs around the room. There is also a nice couch for sitting in the room as well. There was also a nice vanity with mirror to roll under to be able to access the table area. The only complaint I would have is there was not enough room around the beds to get around. The bathroom was huge. And had a nice roll in shower accommodation. The toilet was with easy access to transfer from your wheelchair and the sink was nice to be able to roll under to gain access. The shower area had a little bench that was difficult to transfer too and was not very large. It could hold a toddler at best. However if you ask your stateroom attendant they will gladly get you a shower chair. The stateroom was not far the elevator which made it easier to get to and from the stateroom. But I always seemed to get on the wrong set of elevators going back to my room/ Leaving was fine. Getting back. I was all over the place.

Port and Shore Excursions

Butterfly Farm

Butterfly Farm is off the beat path. It was interesting having to get the wheelchairs off in the middle of the road with cars roaring by but the staff with the tour and at the Butterfly Farm were very friendly and helpful stopping traffic. The farm itself was beautiful to see all the different types of butterflies. Again however getting around the Butterfly Farm was rather dirty. It is not paved but is a dirt sand road. The staff was very friendly and answered all our question and helped us pick the perfect souvenir if we were unable to reach something.

City Tour

Again we had a motor coach that transported us all and we need to transfer to a regular bus seat. But the bus was equipped with a lift. And again a truck to our wheelchair to each individual spot and was ready for us when we arrived. St. Martin was probably my favorite destination. Lots of history and culture. Definitely not commercialized like St. Thomas. Which I prefer to be engulfed in the culture when I am on vacation to a tropical Caribbean island. St. Martin downtown area is not wheelchair friendly cobblestone streets and no curb cuts and no traffic lights so made crossing extremely difficult. I recommend if traveling downtown. Take someone with you who walks and can kind stop traffic.

Coral World Tour

Coral World doesn't have much Ocean Life and needs some major updating.

Island Tour

They took us all around in a large motor coach for a historical and educational tour of the island.Because there was many of us. We had to transfer to a bus seat but the vehicle was equipped with a lift. Than there was a a pick up truck that piled in our wheelchairs and had them ready for us at the next stop. Coral world was rather small and does not have nice easy smooth paths to move a wheelchair around. Some areas were up and down large inclines. Personally in my opinion once you seen one ocean life you've seen them all. I would probably not do this excursion again. It definitely needs to some updating.

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