Great cruise on Freedom!: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by TTD

Freedom of the Seas 5
Member Since 2008
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Overall Member Rating

Great cruise on Freedom!

Sail Date: March 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
Our family included myself, my husband, 6 yr old and 7 yr old boys.

We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach the night before the cruise and we didn't enjoy it at all. It was very loud all night and we were happy to leave as soon as we woke up the next morning. We ate breakfast on Miami Beach and had a wonderful time exploring South Beach for a couple of hours before heading to the cruise terminal. My husband dropped us off at the terminal and went to return the rental car. It took him about 30 minutes to get back. There were minimal lines for check in and most people were walking in the ship in a matter of minutes. Our gal seemed new and took quite awhile to get us checked in, but I think we were the exception.

We boarded the ship around 1 p.m. and looked around before heading to the Windjammer for lunch. The food was decent and everyone in my family was able to find something they liked. We found a table by the window and enjoyed our lunch before More heading to our stateroom. We had a balcony room on deck 8 and we loved it. I was concerned about how small the room would be but it is set up so well that it wasn't a problem at all. We really enjoyed our stateroom and our balcony. We left the pullout couch as a bed the entire cruise and had no trouble moving around it. We used the gym twice and enjoyed it. Good equipment and fabulous view from the treadmills! We ran on the track twice and really liked this. Can there be a better view than the Caribbean sea all around you while you run? I've seen postings where people say that chairs were on the track and they couldn't use it, but that never happened to us, even when we wanted to walk in the middle of the day. We never felt crowded on the ship even though it was spring break and very full (except for the tender lines). We did have trouble finding chairs by the pool. Most of the chairs had people's stuff on them, but I never saw the people. That was disappointing but it certainly wasn't going to ruin our mood! The kids LOVED the H2O zone and the pool. It would get crowded but we never felt like there wasn't enough space to play. The kids loved the kids club. They never went for more than a few hours here and there, but it was just enough to give us all the separate time that we needed. The food on the ship was fine. I was pretty sick of it by the end of the week, but I think that's because it's just not the food I'm used to. But no complaints. We did end up eating in the Windjammer most of the time because the kids liked it so much and the main dining room took us almost 2 hours the first night. The food was very good but we wanted to do other things with our time. We were on the sailing that had the big norovirus outbreak but that's life. RCCL was scrubbing everything day and night to try to keep norovirus under control. Not sure there's much they can do. There is so much to do on this ship and we didn't have time to do most of it. But I think that's part of its charm - you can do as much or as little as you want to do. We enjoyed the sports deck and the pool area the most.

The service was good. Our stateroom attendant was excellent.

We enjoyed all of the ports. The days went too fast and we felt like we had to leave the ports before we were ready! Tendering would have to be my biggest complaint about the whole cruise, but still not that bad.

Labadee was absolutely gorgeous. The kids wanted to go to Luc's Splash, so we checked them in at 9:30 am as part of the kids club and picked them up at 11:30 for lunch. My husband and I then grabbed ourselves a Labadoozie (yummy rum drink) and went through a little of the market. We each brought $30 thinking there would not much we'd want to buy in Haiti. That turned out to be true, but I really wish we would have brought more. Not that the bargains were great or the items terrific, but these people live in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and you can tell they are working very hard. They were all very nice to us and my husband and I felt that if we go back, we want to spend more to help these people out. And you get a t shirt or some shells to take home as a nice souvenir. The beach was awesome. We went to a little cove under the zip line that was protected by a stone jetty. The jetty kept the waves out and the kids could swim around and play. We all really enjoyed this. Dragon's Breath Point is gorgeous. Well worth this short hike. We did the water park at 3 p.m. and there were only 2 other people there! Great time to go. We enjoyed the BBQ lunch. The food wasn't amazing but we still enjoyed it.

We didn't go to any shows or participate in the entertainment. We had planned to, but just never got around to it.

Disembarkation was a mess. Our assigned time was 6:30, so we got up early, got down to the royal promenade 15 minutes early as requested and waited. And waited... It wasn't the ship's fault. We heard that the custom's officials didn't get there on time. All of the later disembark groups were showing up even though the first ones hadn't gotten off yet and it was really crowded. When we did line up, the line was wound around several floors of stairs and across the Promenade. Coincidentally we had been sitting on the side that got us in line sooner which helped, but I felt bad for the people in the back. We were off the ship around 8 and then waited probably 45 minutes for our luggage. Again, I suspect it was because of the late start with immigration. People were really irritated but there's nothing you can do but wait. When our bags finally got there, a wonderful porter put them on a cart and we breezed through security. He took us to the spot where the Alamo shuttle comes and we waited for about 45 minutes. We double checked that we were in the correct spot and waited some more. One porter told us there were 5 ships in that day and Freedom is the last pickup spot. He said that the shuttle buses often fill up before they get to Freedom. My husband pointed out that all the people in line here would then be in line and Alamo and we'd have to wait again. Didn't sound very good after 3 hours of waiting already that morning. We decided to bite the bullet and get a taxi. It was $30 but well worth it. When we got to Alamo there was a very big line but no one at the self check in. We did this and had our paper work in 5 minutes. The big line had gotten even bigger and there were people crowded everywhere. My husband grabbed our car and we were off to Orlando!

Overall, we had an incredible time on Freedom. Sure there were a few frustrations and things that didn't go quite right, but that happens with any vacation and I felt like it never got in the way of having a good time. Less

Published 04/26/09
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Port and Shore Excursions

Cozumel - We went to Chankanaab Park for the day and we LOVED it!!! The kids played in the playground and the kids lagoon for a little while and I went to rent snorkel equipment. The dive instructor at the rental shop offered to take us out snorkeling for no fee and if we liked it, we could tip him what we thought it was worth. At first I thought this was a little strange, but other people around us said he does it all the time when he doesn't have scuba lessons booked. The guy's name is Mario and he was wonderful!! He helped us all with our gear and then brought us into the water. As soon as you put your face in, you see gorgeous fish everywhere! More than I saw in Hawaii. Mario brought an orange flotation device for the kids to hold on to and this was immensely helpful. He spent about 45 minutes with us, showing us around and helping us with the kids. It was an awesome experience. My husband got out and tipped him when the time was over (well worth the $) and then we all snorkeled for awhile longer. The kids were getting hungry so we went in search of a restaurant when they spotted the swim up bar in the pool. What kid can pass that up?!! So into the pool we went and swam over to the bar stools to order our lunch. The food was really good and we all had an awesome time swimming around. Next up was our dolphin encounter. This was really amazing as well. The kids still can't stop talking about it. Even though this was our longest port day, the time flew by and we had to rush back to the pier. It was very easy to get a taxi and we got to the pier just in time.

Read 5470 Cozumel Reviews

Grand Cayman - we were most excited about this port but it turned out to be our least favorite day. We had booked the stingray city tour with Moby Dicks and it was scheduled to leave from the shore at 9 a.m. and we were supposed to be there 15 minutes early. Since this was a tendered port and the shortest port day of the week, I figured we better get up early and on our way. I got everyone up at 6:30 am, ready by 7 am, breakfast at the Windjammer was crowded so we weren't out of there until 8 a.m., then went to the tender on deck 1 and waited... and waited some more... then it turned out we were one of the first ones on that tender, so we had to wait until the whole tender was full before it would leave. I'm guessing we waited on the tender for at least 20 minutes. By the time we got to Moby Dick's check in area, it was just after 9 a.m. Just in time... or so I thought. They had decided to push the time back one hour to wait for another cruise ship to come in, so all of our rushing was a waste. I understand that this is good for their business but I wish they would have sent us an email letting us know so I could have let the kids sleep in or at least not rushed them around. We walked around to look at the stores but nothing was open yet. The actual excursion was good. The snorkeling was a bust because the wind was blowing and the waves were coming up over our heads - not fun for little kids. I hardly saw any fish at all. Stingray City was just as it looks in the pictures. It was really neat. When it was over, we went to seven mile beach for an hour and it was absolutely gorgeous and the water was so warm. The kids had a great time playing the small waves and rolling around in the sand. I cleaned them off and it was easy to grab a taxi back to the pier. We got on the tender and were on our way pretty quickly. When we got to the ship, we weren't able to get off for about 15 minutes for some reason (just a lot of people I guess).

Ocho Rios - we were least excited about this port but it turned out to be a wonderful day. We booked the ship's excursion to Mystic Mountain since it included transportation and only cost about $2 more than buying tickets directly from Mystic Mountain and then having to buy your own cab. It was well organized and we were in a van and on our way right when we got off the ship. Mystic Mountain is absolutely gorgeous. The view from the chair lift is really neat. Since our 6 yr old is still small, they put on an extra strap to make sure he was safe. My family skis so we're used to chair lifts and didn't have any height issues. Once we got to the top we enjoyed talking to the local vendors and picked up a couple of souvenirs. Then we went to the pool and the kids went down the water slide over and over...and over... for about 2 hours. Normally I would be very bored, but the view was absolutely amazing and I really enjoyed relaxing by the pool and taking it all in. We were the only ones in the pool most of the time. Then we had lunch at their top floor restaurant. It cost $80 for the four of us (with drinks which added to the cost) but it was very good food and an amazing view. The service was terrific as well. Then onto the bobsled. This was absolutely a BLAST! In fact, we ended up going twice it was so much fun. The scenery down the mountain is incredible. We looked around the store for a little longer, went to the lookout tower, and then it was time to take the chair lift back down. Most reviews I've read said to allow a couple of hours here, but we ended up staying for 5. It was a very nice relaxing day and quite fun for the kids. We had planned to go to Margaritaville after Mystic Mountain, but we just didn't make it.

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Member Since 2008
5 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
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