Before I begin, I'll give you some background. I am Michele (36) and I travelled with my children: DD 9 (turned 10 on the cruise), DD 6, and DS 14 months. My parents (50s), sister (24), brother (23) and niece (14) were on the cruise as well. My hubby was supposed to go, but couldn't due to work demands. I have cruised on the Mariner of the Seas, but this was my children's first cruise. My parents, siblings and niece have at least one cruise under their belts with previous cruises on Disney, Carnival and Navigator of the Seas (first week in January 2009).
Our pre-cruise stay was at the Radisson at the Port. I have mixed feelings about this hotel. It was a good value; however, it shows some signs of wear and tear. On a negative note, I retuned to my room after dinner and saw signs of brown, chunky liquid backed-up in my sink. EWWW! I called the front desk and they sent someone right away; however, the maintenance man did not clean it (he just wiped it out with a rag and said it was from the Draino that he used in the room next door). Honestly, I don't care what it was, don't want to know, and I avoided that sink like the plague. Thankfully, the room had two sinks - one in the bathroom (tub/shower, toilet, sink) and one in the dressing area (this was the nasty one). On a more positive note, the grounds were nice, the staff was helpful, and, overall, the place was clean. We had Sleep Number beds - my first experience with them.
A perk for those driving - this hotel offers a free place to park your car while on your cruise, and includes a free shutle to and from the port. Parking at the port costs $105 for the week (7 day cruise) while the hotel costs $107/night (our rate) making either the hotel or parking free. If you want to use their shuttle service, reserve your shuttle time at the time of booking to get the best available time. We did not use the shuttle because we wanted the convenience of parking at the port.
Here are a few pictures to help break up my wordiness...
Hotel pool, but it was too cold to swim! (Welcome to 60 degree weather!)
We ate at Grills for dinner. You can watch the ships go by if you get there early enough. The food was decent, certainly edible (I had a blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich), at reasonable prices. Be prepared to wait if you go on a Saturday evening. They do have live entertainment to help pass the time.
Live entertainment at Grills.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel and prepared Freedom's arrival!
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