Freedom of the Seas: the Ultimate Vacation: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by turboman56us

Freedom of the Seas 5
Member Since 2009

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Freedom of the Seas: the Ultimate Vacation

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My Brother, Mother, and I just returned this past Sunday (5/17) from a great week aboard the Freedom of the Seas.  It was our 5th cruise on RCCL - which means we are now Platinum members of RCCL's Crown & Anchor program.  We cruised on this ship about 20 months ago, so we knew the ship's layout well, and we expected nothing less than a relaxing week away from the stress of life.  It was our 3rd cruise to the Western Caribbean, and we were hoping that by going in May we would avoid past problems with Hurricane season and half of our ports being destroyed before we got there.  We booked our shore excursions through RCCL's website about 4 weeks before the trip.  It was very convenient and easy - and highly recommended considering that 4200 other passengers might want to do the same excursions!!  We've been on cruises in the past where shore excursions have sold out by the time we got on board, so now we book everything ahead to avoid More disappointment.  About a week before our cruise, RCCL emailed me to inform us that our last port (Cozumel) had been canceled because of the Swine Flu and was being replaced with an extra day at sea.  We were slightly disappointed, but we have to been to Cozumel twice before, so we were ok with it. 

One thing that made us book a 2nd cruise on the Freedom was that RCCL just repositioned this ship from Miami to Port Canaveral a week before, so we didn't have to go to Miami to get the ship.  We live 45 minutes north of Pt. Canaveral, so it was an easy drive to the terminal.  Dropping the luggage/passengers off was a bit congested, but it moved quickly once we got inside the terminal.

Upon boarding the ship, we soon discovered that the cruise director (the person in charge of the ship's entertainment) was still Richard Spacey......the best in the business.  He was the cruise director our first time on Freedom, and we were hoping to have a repeat of him again.....which we got.  The entertainment on RCCL ships FAR beats any other cruise ship's entertainment.  There is simply no comparison.  We have sailed on Carnival once and Princess once, and the shows were so raunchy and suggestive, we walked out of the theater the 2nd night and never went back.  Freedom's shows are nothing less than fantastic, energetic, and awesome.  The Freedom dancers and orchestra are some of the most incredible entertainers you'll ever find.  Of course Richard kept us constantly entertained with his nightly jokes and dancing all over the stage.  His version of "A Day in the Life of a Cruise Director" was especially entertaining.

As always, the staff on board was accommodating, friendly, and helpful during our cruise.  We ended up dining with 2 other couples in Leonardo's dining room.  They were talkative and friendly, and they made for wonderful table mates the entire cruise.  Our waiter (Ibrahim) and assistant waitress (Veronica) were wonderful, and we were treated with high class in the dining room each evening.  The food was always tasty and was more than we could eat each night.  Of course one of the biggest drawing features of the Freedom class ships is the flowrider (surfing simulator).  The staff is pleasant, encouraging (to those who are intimidated to try boogie boarding for the first time), and helpful.

Our cabin was a superior balcony stateroom (6630) in the middle of the ship.  Our cabin boy (Anton) was ok.....not the best we've had.....but he sufficed.  There was one day when he didn't supply us with replacement pool towels, and we had to wait until 9:00 AM the next morning for them.  Anther issue we had was that the people in the cabin next door to us constantly smoked out on their balcony, and we were always breathing in a waft of cigarette smoke whenever we tried to sit on our balcony.

We had 3 days at sea, and there were plenty of activities on the ship to keep us thoroughly entertained.  Of course the pool deck is a popular place to is the flowrider.

One nice thing that everyone seemed to take advantage of was the 24 hour Cafe Promenade Deli and Sorrento's Pizza.  It sure beat the Windjammer's pizza upstairs, and the little dessert cups of chocolate mousse and Teramizu were always delightful.

There were several changes that we noticed from the last time we cruised.....which we inquired about.  They have discontinued the pillow candies at night on ALL of their ships.  Too many of them were going to waste, so they stopped them.  Also there are no more midnight buffets at the pool or in the dining room.  We always went to them and enjoyed the professional and fabulous displays of food.  They said that 25% of the guests came to the late night buffets, and there was too much food going to waste, so they cut them out.  I guess like everyone and everything else, RCCL has to economize as well.

There is one thing we did on this cruise for the first time ever:  we booked a future cruise on Oasis of the Seas!!  That ship is going to be so fantastic, and we're already looking forward to it.  Our on-board consultant, Lewis, was very helpful in booking the cruise and answering any questions we had.

All in all we had a fantastic cruise, and it was sad to see it all end.  We got to meet Richard Spacey and speak to him in person on the last night.  Getting off the ship was a breeze, and we had no problems walking through customs.  This cruise again surpassed our expectations.  RCCL is the ONLY way to go. Less

Published 05/21/09

Cabin review: E16630 Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

Our cabin was a bit small for 3 people, but we knew what to expect getting on the ship.  It was quiet in the hallways, and we had a nice oceanview balcony.

Read All Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony (E1) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Grand Cayman was really fantastic......unlike the last time we were there in 2005 and 9 ships were in port, and the port authorities lost total control of 18,000 people on the pier.  We did the Butterfly Farm/Turtle Farm excursion.....which was quite educational.  The Butterfly Farm was ok.  We love the one in Key West....but this one was small and there weren't too many butterflies around.  The Turtle Farm was fantastic.  Our guide was informative and took us on a tour of the hatchery/farm where we saw turtles up to 600 pounds.  We got to hold a small turtle as well as feed them, and it was a great experience.  Our bus guide was friendly and full of information about the area.  We even got to see the 7-Mile Beach....breathtaking!!!!!  Such gorgeous blue water and white sand.  We did some shopping downtown and ate lunch at Hard Rock Cafe.

Ocho Rios was our next port to stop in, and again.....we already knew what we were in for regarding as the Jamaican people swarming us to buy their goods.  I went on the Ocho Rios Highlights tour with 2 shopping stops and a stop at Dunns River Falls.  My Mother and Brother went on the Dunns River Falls Extravaganza tour which included a boat ride to Dunns River Falls and another area to go snorkeling.  It was neat, because I bumped into them at the bottom of Dunns River Falls, and since I wasn't climbing myself, I videotaped my Brother the entire way up the falls.  It is cool how they have a stairway with lookout landings that you can get photos of people climbing up the falls.  There are even entrances you can walk out in the falls if you want to get a photo standing under the falls.  Anyway, the falls was wonderful, but to get out of that attraction requires nerves of steel as you have walk through 25 huts of Jamaicans selling their wares.  They are again pulling you in every direction.  I had to ignore most of them just to get out of the complex.  They will toss beaded necklaces around your neck and tell you to give them a donation.  When you tell them how much you will offer, they get personally insulted and they tell you that "you're my friend......don't shame me, man........"  It's such a different in the states when you want to ask a question in Walmart, there is no one to be found.  Go to Jamaica, and you are swarmed with vendors who won't let you look at half of what they have before the next one pulls you another direction.  The 2 shopping areas I went to on my tour were like mini strip malls......very nice......and the people weren't as pushy.  The Taj Mahal Mall is nice with lots of different stores.  Anyway, it was nice to get back on the ship and away from all the pushiness.

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