Booked a cruise for the Western Caribbean on the Freedom of the Seas, 7 nights, leaving out of Port Canaveral on September 5th, 2010. This cruise was going to be a family cruise with my husband's brother and sisters and their spouses. We are all in our 50's and 60's from upstate New York. Two couples flew to Orlando and two couples drove down. Arrived at the Port on the 5th at 12:30 pm and embarkation was pretty uneventful, went pretty smoothly. Got on the ship and looked around for a while - what a beautiful ship! Our room was a nice size and very nice - balcony was nice to have. This was my fourth cruise and first time I had a balcony room. Well worth the extra money! We met in the Windjammer Cafe to reconnect and have lunch. A wide array of choices for lunch - the food was pretty good!
The next day (Monday) was an at sea day. Took it easy, browsed the ship, went to the Promenade - very nice and relaxing. Didn't need my wristbands or meds for sea sickness as you felt absolutely no motion on this ship. Honestly, it was like walking around a big city - no movement whatsoever and I was extremely happy about that!
I have to give a big shout out to our waiter and assistant waiter at the 6:00 pm seating, table 106. A big THANK YOU to ANTONIO and MAURICE for our wonderful dining experience every night of this cruise. These two gentlemen, Antonio from the Phillipines and Maurice who is from Jamaica, were the BEST!! They were pleasant, funny, engaging, worked very hard at our table of 8 and gave us the best time and experience on our cruise. We didn't want this cruise to end especially because of these two hard working, wonderful guys. If you read this Antonio and Maurice, thank you for such a great experience!!!!
We stayed in a balcony cabin #8638. Nice size, comfortable bed, large balcony, wonderful view, next to the elevator but never heard a thing, quiet, plenty of room - wonderful!!!
We had a tour set up with Courtney Taylor who was to meet us at the Port. We got off the ship and asked for Courtney who was there waiting for us. Our tour included myself, my husband, his sister and her husband. We headed for Dunn River Falls for our first stop. My husband and myself were going to do this as my brother and sister-in-law thought it was too taxing for them as she has bad knees and trouble walking. They waited in the village for us as we went off to the Falls with a very nice young man named Carlington Gibson who works with Courtney. Carlington was very nice and took great care of us - definitely ask for him if you book a tour with Courtney. Going up the Falls was more difficult than I thought it would be but a great adventure. There were probably 50-60 people in our group who formed a line holding hands and we climbed up the Falls with rushing water coming down. One gentlemen at the Falls was making a video of everyone that you could buy for $40 dollars at the end of your climb (which we did). It was a lot of fun and I would do that one again. Make sure you bring your water shoes or sneakers, bathing suit and your "Ya Mons" with you. This climb is not for the non-adventurous types or anyone with bad knees or anything that would prohibit you from climbing as it can be pretty difficult at times, but a lot of fun!!
Next Courtney and Carlington took us to see Fern Gulley which was very interesting and pretty. Interesting seeing the people who live in Jamaica and their culture. After our ride we went to Bob Marley's restaurant for lunch which was very nice. My husband and brother-in-law liked the Red Stripe beer that they had.
I would highly recommend Courtney and Carlington for a tour in Jamaica. The cost was $25 per person for the day. Wonderful guys and tour guides.
We overslept at this Port and didn't get on the island until 2:00 pm. We had no tour set up so just walked along the shops, tried some coconut water and meat from a vendor near the port and got back on the ship. We were in Grand Cayman a total of 1 1/2 hours. Didn't mind though - it was very hot and all we wanted to do was get back on the ship and hit the pools.
In Cozumel we had nothing booked also so we went into the village at the Port and bought tickets to the resort Playa Mia. It cost $9 per couple to take a small minivan taxi to the resort and $30 per person entrance to the resort and its facilities for the day. This included floating mats, water bicycle, small sailboats and open bar for the day. We got there and found six lounge chairs and umbrellas together, ordered drinks from people who came around and took your drink orders and went into the water. Wear your water shoes or flip flops as the bottom is full of small rocks and pebbles. Water was nice and sun was hot so wear your sunscreen. We floated around on mats most of the time. Beach was crowded and drinks were watered down at this resort. Next time I would book an excursion.