Freedom Cruise with 8 yr old: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by JayinAZ

Freedom of the Seas 4
Member Since 2006
393 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Freedom Cruise with 8 yr old

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
This review is from the perspective of a mid 30's couple with 8yr old daughter. This was our 10th cruise (RCCL, Carnival, Princess and a Disney). 

We booked this cruise about 6 months early using the compete website and got a good deal.  About a month before the cruise I noticed Arizona rates and contacted the travel agency and they called RCCL and we got $1000 credited back to us plus we kept the on board credit bonus. We were very happy!

There were 3 of us on the trip, me, wife and 8 yr old daughter.  We flew out of Phoenix on 5/23 and the airport was crazy (Memorial day weekend), but we arrived early so no problems.  We arrived in Orlando to find a HUGE line for all the rental car companies.  We got Budget and although there we spots for about 15 employees, only 4 windows were open.  Rumor on the line was it was a 2 hour wait.  I noticed a sign that said fastpass customers can go right to the parking garage and get their More car.  I had used that about 5 years ago so I gave it a shot and was still in the computer so we got the car in about 10 minutes.  Whew!!!!   We were in no mood to wait 2 hours.  Lucky us!!!!!

We stayed at the 4 points hotel in Cocoa Beach. Although somewhat expensive ($150/night), it was very nice and big.  I would definitely stay again.  We got a 2 queen bed suite with sofa couch.  We had a view of the surf shop below and shark tank. We ate at the restaurant in the hotel and it too was good.  There is a Walgreens across the street for soda or anything else you might need for the trip.  Like most reviews, the pool is small and kind of in the garage.  It was not crowded at all and worked fine for us. Beach was a block away.

Embarkation was relatively smooth.  We returned the rental at Budget in Cocoa beach and got the shuttle to the port.  There was a fairly long line to drop us off.  We arrived about 12:30pm.  After about 30 mins we were dropped off and waiting in the check in line which was very short. We moved to the next room and then onto the ship.  Once we got dropped off it was about 30 minutes to board. Not bad at all. 

The kids program was great. My daughter loved it and always had something to bring back everytime she went. Everyone there was very friendly and they had a lot of activities to keep the kids busy. The food was good in the dining room (Galileo's) as was the service. I find no real difference between any of the cruise lines food that we've been on. We had my time dining which went off perfectly, never a wait. Wait staff were attentive and food was good and hot. No issues at all. 

Our stateroom hostess was Suzette and she too was very friendly and did a great job. 
I did think the video games were way too expensive. What happend to the $.25 games? Guess I'm just getting older. 
Most of the bartenders were nice, but some seemed indifferent. 
Debarkation was very impressive. Our tag color was called right on time and we got off the ship, thru customs and got our bags in no time. They did this very well.  
The magician had the same show as when we were ont eh Freedom of the Seas a year ago and we were hoping for something new. 

I have lots of pictures if anyone wants to see anything.
And after the cruise we got a rental from Avis and went to the Kennedy space center. Way cheaper than the ship excursion and we were on our own time.
1st stop was Labadee, Haiti but it's not on the list below. We had to tender but the new dock is coming along. Labadee was nice but I thought the beach toys were expensive. We bought them on the beach and it was $15/person for only 1 hour. You got to use the icebergs, floating slides, trampolines and a few other things.  The big slide on the beach was extra and I think the floating beach mat was extra too.  The locals like to pull a beach chair up for you on the beach for a tip. I really don't know why they don't just leave the chairs there, other than they are looking to make a buck. They weren't nearly as pushy as Dunn's River Falls (more on that later).  Food was typical BBQ and it was good and clean. I like a relaxing day on the beach. The market was OK, but the deals were better in Cozumel. Dragon's breath was kind of lame but we wer there so we had to check it out. Less

Published 06/03/09

Cabin review: D19676 Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

Read All Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony (D1) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Cozumel was great. We took a taxi to paradise Beach ($13 each way). All the beach toys including palm tree climb, beach mats, bungee trampoline, snorkel gear, icebergs, slides, etc... were $10/ person all day.  Much better than Labadee.  Snorkeling was fair by the little pier but it was pretty cool.  Drinks and food were pricey but the beach and chairs were free so they gotta make money somoewhere.  They even had 2 laptop computers free to use internet which was a nice touch. There was no pressure to eat or drink (although we did both). Paradise Beach was a lot of fun and relaxing. You could do nothing or all the party stuff if you wanted. They had hair braiding, massages, jet skis, parasailing, banana boats etc... right there, but it was great- no one bugged you about it. You just walk up and ask them.  A definite must!

Downtown Cozumel shopping was OK. It was $20 taxi from Paradise Beach ($7 more from the pier to downtown).  The taxi drivers didn't drive crazy either.  There was a lot of room to haggle so be prepared. The best deal we saw was 7 t-shirts for $20. Who knows how long they'll last, but at that price, it seemed like a good deal. We liked Cozumel the best on this trip.

Read 5469 Cozumel Reviews

We did a ships excursion to stingray city/ turtle farm/ and hell.  We were the last tour to leave the ship.  Our driver was a complete maniac and an idiot!  His driving was so bad. Everyone was commenting on how bad he was. I saw 1 person give him a tip in the end he was so bad. He tried to pass another bus and ended up not making it and it was really close. Another time he wasn't paying attention and had to swerve into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid hitting the bus in front of us. Thank goodness there was no oncoming traffic. Then he decided to drive thru parking lots and gas stations to avoid traffic lights. What a moron!  Scary and unsafe!  He gave pretty much no info on the island. There was pretty much just silence.  I'm sure he won't be working there much longer. We felt rushed throughout the tour which was not what we bargained for.  The turtle farm and stingrays were a lot of fun though.

We got a non-ship excursion to Dunn's River Falls thru Island Marketing/Denton Pendergast.  It included Dunns River Falls/tubing/Fern Gulley and fruit punch. We didn't go to Fern Gulley or get the fruit punch and the drink was much needed! It was a long time from getting off the ship till we could eat/drink. We waited about 30 minutes for the tour van to arrive.  When you're excited and everyone else is leaving, 30 minutes seems like forever.  Once at the falls we got a guide and hiked up.  It was great and my 8 yr old had no problem. We even bought the video at the end. HINT- you can bargain at everything. We paid $30 for the $40 DVD. Maybe you could get it even cheaper. The video was pretty good.

I am now officially on the "I hate the vendors at the end of Dunns River Falls" group. Very pushy and deceiving. Any hint of interest and they latch on to you. Then they have to follow you around their store like you're going to steal their t-shirts or something. One guy was leading us to his shop and another took me by the arm then the 1st guy actually took a swing at him. It was very uncomfortable.  Next time (if there is one) we will walk right back to the parking lot and ignore everyone. You have to walk thru the market so no getting around it. Ugh!!!!!!  It really turned us off on Jamaica. I'm glad we at least read a lot about it so we were somewhat prepared. Once out of the market, we again had to wait for our van for another 25 mins and be pestered by people trying to sell us junk. I was getting more frustrated with this tour.

I was so thirsty and looking forward to our fruit punch but there was none when the van arrived.  There was no way I was going to walk back into the market for a drink though!  There was no fern gulley either and the other people wanted to do more sighseeing so my group of 3 were along for the ride. 

The river tuning was a lot of fun. The river moved quickly and the bridge to jump off halfway through was fun. This trip took about 45 mins.  I see why the cruise lines don't offer the tubing excursion- the place is very "ghetto". It's really small and the streets to get there (like ost of Jamaica we saw) were very narrow and in terrible condition. The actual tube ride was very fun. I recommend it.

We were dropped off at the market by Margaritaville and had a nice, but very expensive lunch. At least they had soda and other drinks there (although they were pretty slow too).

There's a lot of private tour companies out there so I would try someone other than island Marketing/Denton Pendergast next time.

Compare Prices on Freedom of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruises

Read more Freedom of the Seas cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Freedom of the Seas Review >>

Compare Prices on Freedom of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruises

Member Since 2006
393 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?
Skip X

See Freedom of the Seas deals up to 82% off:

September Deals
Freedom of the Seas 80% Loved It

7 Night Western Mediterranean Cruise
See all Freedom of the Seas Deals >>