Third time to W. Caribbean, second on FOTS: Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by Lovin_Life_78

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Third time to W. Caribbean, second on FOTS

Sail Date: November 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Port Canaveral (Orlando)
My DH and I have cruised three times total; all of which to the Western Caribbean. This was our second time on Freedom of the Seas. The first time was in January, 2010; therefore little had changed but still a great cruise overall. I would take this cruise even a third time. This time was a little different; my in-laws were along and this was their first cruise. Actually, their first vacation in MANY years. I enjoyed the element of experiencing it through a "first-time cruisers eyes."

Anyway, to the review. We all piled in the car and made the eleven hour drive from NC to FL on 11/13 and stayed at the Radisson Resort at the Port. I HIGHLY recommend this hotel. The beds are Sleep Number beds, the breakfast buffet is free and includes made-to-order waffles or omelets, parking is free for the duration of your cruise, as is the shuttle from the hotel to the port. The service is also top notch.

The following day, the hotel seated us on an earlier shuttle than our More appointment. Once we reached the terminal, we were on the ship within twenty minutes. Nearly every staffer we encountered had a smile on their face and a pleasant disposition. Once on the ship, we purchased our soda package, found our table in the dining room, and booked our shore excursions. All the while my in-laws were in absolute awe. By this time it was time for lunch so we headed to the Windjammer. Bad idea, it was packed and difficult to find a table. Many people were sitting on benches, eating on their lap. After, lunch we explored the pool deck and I delighted in the fact that it was WARM (Florida was experiencing their worst cold snap in twenty years back in January). We were able to get into our rooms around 2pm. Upon opening the door, all four of us made a beeline for the balcony. Prior to this cruise, I have only had interior cabins, this time we splurged on a balcony cabin. I was hooked immediately upon seeing the room. I doubt I will ever go back to interiors. We spent quite a bit of time here during the week, starting with sail away. Our cabin steward did a very good job keeping the room clean and supplying us with towels; however he was not the most outgoing of individuals.

The seas were quite rough that night and the following day. I had placed a sea-band on each wrist before boarding and taken a Bonine tablet before dinner and had no problems. My MIL; however became nauseous. After the first day, the rocking subsided for the most part so everyone fared much better.

The ship is exquisite. You cannot be bored unless you choose to be. There is so much to do, from ice skating, putt putt, rock climbing, surfing/boogie boarding, swimming, shopping, gambling, dancing, or just chilling out. It has a neat, organized and clean appearance. Staff are friendly and accommodating (for the most part).

We were slightly disappointed with the cruise director this trip, the CD in Jan was Alan Brooks and he set the bar exceptionally high. We missed him on this cruise. Graham Seymore is quite good and very amusing though.

Regarding Dining/Food: I always enjoy the MDR; however the in-laws found it a little fancy for their tastes. Our waiter and assistant waiter were more than perfect. Sophia was from Trinidad & Tobago. Kaneesha was from Jamaica. BOth ladies were truly superb!

Ports of call were great. We especially enjoyed Labadee and Cozumel. Grand Cayman and Jamaica were having less than stellar weather. We now refer to Jamaica as "interesting" and "an experience." After visiting this port twice, I am not sure I would visit it a third time.

The entertainment had not changed since January. We did see the ice show for the first time and it was quite good. The rink is small and the ship was rocking substantially at show time. A few skaters did fall, but all did well considering. The production shows are very good. The sets and costumes are impressive. "Drew Thomas Magic" blew mystified (again). We were sitting on the second row and could not figure out how he did any of the tricks/illusions. Definitely a must see I would say,

Debarkation was almost as seamless as embarkation; however was an hour behind schedule. By the time we arrived in NC that night, we were EXHAUSTED. But we have been back nearly two weeks and had our first snow/sleet event today and I am ready to go back to the caribbean. I wonder if they would let me off of work another week.......? Less

Published 12/05/10

Cabin review: D2 Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony

Larger than interior cabins, loved the balcony. Will definitely do again.

Read All Superior Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony (D2) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

THis made my third trip to Cozumel. We were in port along with five other ships but it really didn't feel all that crowded. We shopped for a short time, had a few beers and people watched. We had an excursion booked through the cruise line; however due to sea conditions the excursion was cancelled. RCI was more than happy to allow us to choose another excursion so we chose to do a repeat of our 2008 trip. We took the in-laws to Passion Island. We even ran into the tour guide we had in '08, Alejandro. He was great but was not our guide on this trip, but I did make it a point to say hello to him. It differed slightly than our '08 experience but very little. This time they delivered us to the island by catamaran instead of by bus. The seas were quite choppy but this made for the catamaran ride to be a lot of fun! Once we arrived on the island, we were able to chill out in the hammocks and lounges. They fed us lunch of chicken, beef, tortilla chips, pico de gallo, and fruit. An open bar was available at no extra charge. The water was a beautiful blue/green but we were advised to only wade, no swimming due to the rip currents. Our guide Leo was great! A very funny guy and he had everyone's name memorized by the end of the trip. No small feat considering there were over fifty of us on this tour.

I highly recommend this excursion for anyone who isn't sure what to do in Cozumel, especially if you want to simply relax, enjoy the beach, and have a good lunch.

Read 5492 Cozumel Reviews

The weather wasn't great but that is not the islands fault. Georgetown is very westernized so it felt like we weren't far from home. The prices in the shops are what we would see here as well so not a lot of bargains (at least not what I call a bargain). We did not have an excursion booked so we hailed a cab and were taken to a public area of 7 mile beach for about $5 a person. The beach included small shelters with picnic tables, a playground, a bar/restaurant, and water equipment for an additional charge. The water is the clearest I have seen. You can be shoulder deep and still see your feet. You can watch schools of small fish swim right by you. This is a great place to swim and/or just relax on the beach. I hope to make it back on a prettier day.

We then hailed a cab back to "town" and paid half of what we paid to get to the beach. Curious no doubt. We decided to have lunch at Margaritaville. It was quite crowded but a ton of fun. They had a live DJ spinning tunes and many folks were on stage dancing. The DJ led the crowd in various games, hilarity ensued. It turned out to be a really great day!

This was our 2nd trip to Ocho Rios. Our first trips excursion was to an all inclusive resort and was wonderful! THis time that excursion was not an option so we chose Dunns River Falls and 4x4 Safari. The day started out with a torrential downpour but it did stop raining and we had mostly cloudy skies. The safari was informative and an adventure to say the least. The driving styles in Jamaica are less then stellar (and a bit alarming to be honest). The tour guides themselves were great; very friendly, laid back, welcoming and quite funny. I found the coffee plantation interesting and the snack of fresh fruit very good but the falls are the highlight. Once you arrive at the falls, the safari part of the trip is pretty much over (thankfully). The falls are impressive. Due to the cloudy skies and being naturally cold natured, I chose not to climb the falls as did the DH, FIL, & MIL. We did watch as many of the tour group did climb. They admitted the water was quite cold.

Upon exiting the falls, you are led out through a market. THis market was worse then the Labadee market when it comes to being hounded. One individual taught my FIL a "special" handshake. At the end of the handshake he was holding a packet of marijuana. Obviously he politely returned it to the gentleman and said "no thanks."

Now that I have seen the focal point of Ocho Rios, I do not plan to return. If I do take another cruise that calls on this port, I will likely stay on the ship.

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