First Cruise - We're Hooked!: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by murfturf

Freedom of the Seas 5
Member Since 2009
598 Forum Posts

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First Cruise - We're Hooked!

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
We arrived at the port around 11:30 am, after hearing from that waiting until the Royal Caribbean suggested time of 1:30 would be TOO late! I am glad that we arrived earlier! Check-in was smooth, lines of no more than 20 people in front of us. The people were friendly and directions were easy to follow. We boarded the ship around 12:15 or so and ended up eating at the Windjammer around 1:00. It was very crowded, and that stayed that way all week in the Windjammer. It was my least favorite place to eat on the ship, but sometimes it was just the most convenient.

The Muster drill was long and annoying to stand in these little groups in lines. However, we realize it was needed and were happy to not have to wear the life-jackets!

We loved our room! It was a Junior Suite on the "hump." Our Stateroom attendant was great! The room had a bathtub, a large closet, generous sized balcony. It was mostly soundproof. The one thing that we couldn't figure out was More how to hear the announcements in our room, I think the speaker was broken - so I had to pop my head out the front door to hear the announcements. Other than that, we loved our room and balcony. We watched sail-away from several ports from our balcony rather than from on the top deck.

We didn't feel crowded on this ship with the exception of trying to get the first tender, and sometimes on the elevators. A few times on the Promenade it was also crowded. But overall, we were always able to find a place to relax, sit and enjoy ourselves. Finding a seat in Windjammer was the hardest!

We didn't participate in all the activities, but the ones we did were great! I loved the 70's Dance Party, Love and Marriage Game Show, TV Trivia in the Schooner Bar, and other fun random events. The cruise director is fantastic! He is hilarious and quite the entertainer!

Ok - on to food! Windjammer was mostly ok. On our first night we were pretty tired, so we ate a later dinner in the Jade section. We had a Thai Coconut Curry soup that was one of the best things we ate onboard! Most of our meals in Windjammer were ok, they filled you up but weren't the best thing ever. Breakfast was our favorite meal to eat there. The Dining room we had very good food for dinner and one breakfast. I think we were only disappointed in one or two things (onion soup, cheesecake.) I loved Cafe Promenade and Sorrento's. Both had great service and food. Our favorite meal on the ship was our one night at Chop's. Best food and service by far! We thought the $25 was definitely worth it. We only ordered room service once, it was the Express breakfast. Soggy bacon, fruit that tasted like an old refrigerator.

We went to most of the bars. Our favorite was the Sky Bar on deck 12, Schooner's on deck 4 and Bolero's on deck 4. We also enjoyed being in the Connoisseur Club. The host in there was excellent, and it had a very nice atmosphere. It was very well ventilated for being a cigar club. Our least favorite bar was in the Casino. Drinks seemed weak there.

Overall service was also great. I had only one encounter with a person in Guest Relations that I deemed as rude. My card had been deactivated, and he chastised me for keeping it next to other magnetic items. I mentioned I hadn't, and he pointed at my camera. I didn't realize it would do that and he told me not to keep it next to it anymore. I didn't really have another place to put it, but I felt he was condescending. We also tried to sign up for an exploration, but the one we wanted was sold out. We asked for suggestions, and the person seemed to have no clue about what was available. All other personnel we encountered were fantastic. Jen, the shopping consultant on board was fantastic! She went out of her way to get me a bag that I was interested in and to find me to inform me where it was located. All the activity staff were friendly and accommodating. Food service, retail, photographers, and the rest of the staff were very helpful and polite.

The ship itself was beautiful! We did get lost a few times, but we loved the large variety of places to go and things to do. The decor was gorgeous. It was a very smooth sailing, except for the leg home when we went through some storms. But overall, the motion was a lot less than I expected. We had a great and relaxing vacation on the Freedom of the Seas and hope to return again someday!

*There isn't a Labadee Haiti on the Port Reviews - so I'll add it here. Rating - 3. We got off on one of the first tenders. It was a long, and hot wait on Deck 2. However, when we got off we were able to get one of the cabanas that will later be for concierge guests only, so we were happy! The water is beautiful and it is relaxing. However, that is all there really to do on Labadee. There isn't much shopping and the only food/drink is all Royal Caribbean. The lunch was so-so and the line to eat was very long. We had to wait for drinks when we got there because the bars weren't set up yet. We headed back to the ship around 12:30 pm because there really wasn't much to else to do! Less

Published 10/23/09

Cabin review: JS9634 Junior Suite

The room was great! We had a very large closet. This room is on the "hump" and had a great view. We heard very little from our neighbors, only a little from the one which we shared a door with. There weren't any rooms across the hall from us either. We could hear people walking down the hall a little bit, especially on the day we disembarked, we could hear them dragging their bags. There is a great sitting area in this room. The bathroom has a tub, and it was a perfect size.

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Port and Shore Excursions

I enjoyed what we did in this port, going to the excursions in Tulum. Even though the day was very long and hot. I knew that the ferry and bus ride were going to take a large portion of the day. Once at the ruins though, it was so hot I couldn't stay in the sun to listen to the guide. I was still very happy we went to the ruins, and enjoyed seeing them. However, the excursion we signed up for detailed that we would have time for shopping and then we had to take our own taxi back to the port. We had very little time for shopping. I would have preferred taking the ferry that went directly back to the port instead. The island and the Playa del Carmen area were beautiful and I would have loved to explore more. The port itself was very easy to get on and off the ship and there was ample shopping and food right by the ship.

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We found a tour right off the ship to take us snorkeling and to stingray city. That was an amazing experience. I only wish we had taken and earlier tender so we had more time on the island. Once we were done with the tour, we had very little time in George Town. We had some time before our tour, and after. I would have also liked to had time to spend at one of the beaches, but it was a short day on the island. This was my favorite island, and I would go back here in a heartbeat.

I was told by some people to not even bother getting off the ship. But since the ship is docked here, and getting off was very easy - we decided to go for it. We were just going to shop, and then maybe find a taxi to the falls. We had many people trying to get us to take a taxi to the various places. My husband finally stopped and listened to one, so we grabbed a taxi up on the hill to view some falls and the harbor. I wouldn't suggest this for anyone who was alone, or women traveling together. We ended up at someone's private residence, but the views were spectacular. The driver tried to then talk us into an extended tour, for more money, but we declined. We shopped and then walked back to the ship. There really wasn't much to see and we were hassled by vendors, taxi drivers, panhandlers and more. I appreciate the experience, but next time I think I would pick an excursion to do instead of just walking around the shopping areas.

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Member Since 2009
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