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Freedom Review w/Pics: 4/3-4/10/2011, some good, some bad, some meh.

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This review will be done in segments both because I'm at work and because I can only post pics in small groups, sorry, please be patient.:)

 

So myself, my husband, our 2 sons and my mom set out on a journey from Los Angeles which would take us to Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the weekend, followed by this cruise on the Freedom. We have been on many Voyager class ships many times, however this was our first time on the Freedom class.

 

CHECKING IN

When we arrived at the port around noon on Sunday, we saw that we were parked next to the new Disney ship. We booked 2 aft JSs so we had a great view of the port and the other ship.

 

Checking in took about 30 minutes total. We are Diamond members, so we went through priority check in. One small issue came up when my son's Harry Potter plastic sword was taken away at the pier. We were given a slip of paper to claim the sword once we got back, which we did. But I did think it was a bit silly to take away a plastic light up sword which couldn't hurt or damage a fly.

 

When we got through the security line, it was around 12:30, and the cabins weren't quite ready, so we took a seat in the Library, which was right next to our hallway leading to deck 7 Aft. At 1:00 on the dot, the doors opened and we went to look at our cabins.

 

Our cabins were what we expected. One point, there has been some speculation about chairs on the Aft balconies (or lack thereof). Never fear, our cabins both had 2 loungers, 2 chairs, and 2 tables.

 

After looking around, we set off for the WJ for some lunch. It wasn't terrribly crowded, we had our lunch then went back to the cabins to see if our bags had arrived. Not yet. Hung out for a bit, then went to the "emergency assembly" (no longer called Muster drill, and no life jackets required). It literally took less than 3 minutes, then we were back to the cabins, and our bags were just arrriving. Everything went perfectly, and soon we were on our way out of the port, with the Disney ship on our heels.

 

I always use a grading system for my reviews, and the Boarding segment of this cruise gets a strong A.

 

BOARDING:A

 

206365_10150168206293113_682718112_6769044_322030_n.jpg

 

This pic was taken from our balcony as we pulled out, with Disney close behind.

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If you get a minute, was this the Eastern or Western route? and, did you by any chance bring menus or compasses? Thanks in any case - glad to get a preview of our upcoming trip!:)

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Monday: At Sea

 

We spent the first day at sea, hanging out at the pool, resting, and my 6 year old did the cupcake making class, which costs $15. The pool was crowded, but not horrible. I will say that that night, it was super windy, and while montion has never been a problem for us at sea, we did feel a whole lot of rocking and banging around in our Afts. The next morning would bring us to Labadee.

 

215482_10150168209858113_682718112_6769089_3227739_n.jpg

 

My son (in the white t-shirt) and the other kids making cupcakes. It wasn't terribly impressive, but he had fun. It took like 20 minutes.

Edited by PhoenixDawgCruising

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My only goofup was that my Seapass was not there and had to be reprinted and then reprinted again on board because it didn't work for the concierge lounge. That had to be the fastest "emergency assembly" ever, too.

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Thank you for your review. I am waiting to book for freedom so it gives me something to stop me being impatient!

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If you get a minute, was this the Eastern or Western route? and, did you by any chance bring menus or compasses? Thanks in any case - glad to get a preview of our upcoming trip!:)

 

Western-Labadee, Falmouth, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, we had been to all ports in the past (except Falmouth, but I know Jamaica very well), some many times.

 

Sorry, I don't bring home the compasses.:)

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Keep the review coming. My brain STILL Hasn't kicked back into full function since I've been back. I've only downloaded my pictures last night. Still have to scan all the Cruise Compasses. Hoping to be able to get everything posted by the end of the weekend.

 

Erika

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Day 3, Labadee & The Cabana Caper....

 

So first, let me start by saying that although we were in 2 JSs, I had emailed Rahul the Concierge weeks ago to arrrange getting a cabana on Labadee. Prices are $150 for a regular cabana, $200 for waterfront. Also let me tell you that technically, only GSs and above are supposed to be able to get them. But, like most things in life, if you put your mind to something, you can usually get it.:D

 

So Rahul had emailed me telling me it shouldn't be a problem, and to call him when we got on the ship to assign my cabana. I did so around 5pm on Sunday, and was told to come to his lounge on Monday morning to get the paperwork. I did so, and we were given a back row standard cabana with a confirmation. We were happy, all was well with the world.:D

 

Well, at around 8pm Monday night, the phone rings, and it's Rahul, giving me some kooky story about how "something came up" and we could no longer have the cabana. Sorry buddy, we paid for it, we have the confirmation, it's my cabana. He wasn't happy about it, but he agreed that I was right. Clearly somebody in one of the proper suites wanted a cabana last minute, and he tried to give them mine. No dice, I don't operate that way. I know some might say that he did me a favor so I should have given the cabana back, hell no. If he wasn't supposed to offer it to me, than he should have said NO. Once I paid and I had the confirmation, it was a done deal.

 

So we arrived at Labadee, took the little water taxi to the beach, then made our way to the cabana, which was FABULOUS! I haven't been to Labadee since 2003, it's way better now. There used to be nothing there.

 

The cabana held 6, and included a sofa, 2 lounge chairs, a cooler with water, a ceiling fan, and a hot guy named Franklin to bring us stuff. It also included the BBQ lunch right there in the beach club, so we didn't have to walk to get food or drinks.

 

The best part of the cabana, private access to the "limo". It's really a golf cart, but they will drive you anywhere you wanna go. We took a drive to the market, which I will cover next.

 

206689_10150168214613113_682718112_6769127_1270681_n.jpg

 

Our cabana. That's my mom and my husband in there.:D

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The view from the cabana looking out towards the water.

217075_10150168216928113_682718112_6769140_4591646_n.jpg

 

 

Now, back to the review. So we took "the limo" to the market. I didn't take pics, but you need to understand the set up of the market, because it's important to this next bit.

 

The market is divided into 2 parts, one part inside a nice, shady building, the other part is set off to the side, and the stalls are all outside. I bring this up because the behavior of the 2 types of vendors was very different. You should also know that I lived in Jamaica, so 'pushy' vendors don't really bother me.

 

However:

 

The vendors on the inside of the building were very nice, low key, and not at all pushy. In the inside market we bought a pair of sunglasses, a few magnets for my collection, and some beaded bracelets. All good, everything was nice. I think we spent like 30 bucks in all.

 

Then we went to the outside stalls. Totally different experience. This one man practically grabbed my son over to look at his wooded swords, which were sharp and not at all safe for a little kid. So when I told my son he coulnd't have it, the vendor started taunting my son and telling him to beg for it. Well my husband, who's kinda big, shut that whole conversation down quick. The point here, if you want a drama-free shopping experience, I'd stick to the inside market. The vibe was not pleasant outside, and we quickly went back to our "limo" (Franklin's term for the golf cart, not mine).:)

 

We went back to the cabana and had lunch. The BBQ lunch consisted of of burgeres, hot dogs, and some small steaks, along with fruit and some salads. They also had a full bar with some really good fruit punch ( I don't drink).

 

We spent a lovely day on the beach, then headed back to the ship in the limo. However, the limo can only drive you to the security area, we had to take the long walk back to the boat.

 

As an amusing aside, those wooden swords that the man tried to sell us, were being taken away by Security to be checked for bugs. Many of them wound up in the trash.:D:p

 

Labadee's Grade:

 

Rahul's performance: C

Cabana/Beach Club: A++

BBQ food: B

Market: Inside A, outside F

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Keep posting...I will be on the FOS soon...loving this:D

 

A, I see from their review that Rahul has taken over for Wilfredo as the Conceirge so I emailed him about Labadee :D I will let you know when I hear back from him.

 

E

Edited by Raptor2010

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Thanks fo rthe review! We sail May 1 and have a corner aft cabin 1400! We also do the same itenerary, so thanks for the info!

 

Love the pics! :D

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The view from the cabana looking out towards the water.

217075_10150168216928113_682718112_6769140_4591646_n.jpg

 

 

Now, back to the review. So we took "the limo" to the market. I didn't take pics, but you need to understand the set up of the market, because it's important to this next bit.

 

The market is divided into 2 parts, one part inside a nice, shady building, the other part is set off to the side, and the stalls are all outside. I bring this up because the behavior of the 2 types of vendors was very different. You should also know that I lived in Jamaica, so 'pushy' vendors don't really bother me.

 

However:

 

The vendors on the inside of the building were very nice, low key, and not at all pushy. In the inside market we bought a pair of sunglasses, a few magnets for my collection, and some beaded bracelets. All good, everything was nice. I think we spent like 30 bucks in all.

 

Then we went to the outside stalls. Totally different experience. This one man practically grabbed my son over to look at his wooded swords, which were sharp and not at all safe for a little kid. So when I told my son he coulnd't have it, the vendor started taunting my son and telling him to beg for it. Well my husband, who's kinda big, shut that whole conversation down quick. The point here, if you want a drama-free shopping experience, I'd stick to the inside market. The vibe was not pleasant outside, and we quickly went back to our "limo" (Franklin's term for the golf cart, not mine).:)

 

We went back to the cabana and had lunch. The BBQ lunch consisted of of burgeres, hot dogs, and some small steaks, along with fruit and some salads. They also had a full bar with some really good fruit punch ( I don't drink).

 

We spent a lovely day on the beach, then headed back to the ship in the limo. However, the limo can only drive you to the security area, we had to take the long walk back to the boat.

 

As an amusing aside, those wooden swords that the man tried to sell us, were being taken away by Security to be checked for bugs. Many of them wound up in the trash.:D:p

 

Labadee's Grade:

 

Rahul's performance: C

Cabana/Beach Club: A++

BBQ food: B

Market: Inside A, outside F

 

I think your grading of Rahul is unfair. He did what he should have done for a suite guest - attempt to get them a cabana when they decided they wanted one. But when you told him no, you do not say that he was ugly to you or threatened you or anything. He let you keep the cabana. Right? I think a point off (or a B) for bothering you with a call would be a more than sufficient penalty. :p

Edited by Tranquil Waters

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Then we went to the outside stalls. Totally different experience. This one man practically grabbed my son over to look at his wooded swords, which were sharp and not at all safe for a little kid. So when I told my son he coulnd't have it, the vendor started taunting my son and telling him to beg for it. Well my husband, who's kinda big, shut that whole conversation down quick. The point here, if you want a drama-free shopping experience, I'd stick to the inside market. The vibe was not pleasant outside, and we quickly went back to our "limo" (Franklin's term for the golf cart, not mine).

 

Thank you for the head's up about the outside vendors :p

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Thank you for the head's up about the outside vendors :p

 

Sure thing. They have so much stuff for sale inside, there's really no need to go outside, unless you are looking for something specific that they don't have inside the building.:)

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this is great! I am looking forward to your upcoming installments.

I am disappointed about reports I've been hearing about the vendors in the Caribbean. I can't even stand the mall kiosk folks, so I'll probably have to skip the markets altogether. A shame really, 'cause normally I love to shop!

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This is me by the way. Probably the only time you will see me, since I take all the pictures, I am rarely in one. I am standing overlooking the beautiful, fabulous Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Waterpark (our 2nd time here), where we spent the day when in port at Falmouth.

 

We got day passes which included all you can eat and drink (the best jerk chicken and patties I've had in a long time), plus use of the waterpark and facilities. I highly reccommend it for those who can't figure out what to do in Falmouth.

 

The passes were $75 for adults and $60 for kids, plus we got another cabana for $30. Totally worth it, the bast day of the cruise for us. It's about a 20 minute cab ride form the pier. More Falmouth in a sec, need to go grab some lunch.

 

208172_10150169103468113_682718112_6778320_1367431_n.jpg

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The view from the cabana looking out towards the water.

217075_10150168216928113_682718112_6769140_4591646_n.jpg

 

 

Now, back to the review. So we took "the limo" to the market. I didn't take pics, but you need to understand the set up of the market, because it's important to this next bit.

 

The market is divided into 2 parts, one part inside a nice, shady building, the other part is set off to the side, and the stalls are all outside. I bring this up because the behavior of the 2 types of vendors was very different. You should also know that I lived in Jamaica, so 'pushy' vendors don't really bother me.

 

However:

 

The vendors on the inside of the building were very nice, low key, and not at all pushy. In the inside market we bought a pair of sunglasses, a few magnets for my collection, and some beaded bracelets. All good, everything was nice. I think we spent like 30 bucks in all.

 

Then we went to the outside stalls. Totally different experience. This one man practically grabbed my son over to look at his wooded swords, which were sharp and not at all safe for a little kid. So when I told my son he coulnd't have it, the vendor started taunting my son and telling him to beg for it. Well my husband, who's kinda big, shut that whole conversation down quick. The point here, if you want a drama-free shopping experience, I'd stick to the inside market. The vibe was not pleasant outside, and we quickly went back to our "limo" (Franklin's term for the golf cart, not mine).:)

 

We went back to the cabana and had lunch. The BBQ lunch consisted of of burgeres, hot dogs, and some small steaks, along with fruit and some salads. They also had a full bar with some really good fruit punch ( I don't drink).

 

We spent a lovely day on the beach, then headed back to the ship in the limo. However, the limo can only drive you to the security area, we had to take the long walk back to the boat.

 

As an amusing aside, those wooden swords that the man tried to sell us, were being taken away by Security to be checked for bugs. Many of them wound up in the trash.:D:p

 

Labadee's Grade:

 

Rahul's performance: C

Cabana/Beach Club: A++

BBQ food: B

Market: Inside A, outside F

Did you see any salad bowls in the market? I had bought one in Port au Prince many years ago and my daughter wants one.

Thanks.

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Did you see any salad bowls in the market? I had bought one in Port au Prince many years ago and my daughter wants one.

Thanks.

 

I did see one vendor that had wooden bowls and decorations. He was in the very center of the inside market. I bought a wooded fish from him.:)

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Falmouth: The big controversey:

 

So much is being said about Falmouth. It's not done, there's nothing to do there, ships should be going to other ports. Well, it's true, it isn't done, far from it. It will be years before it's done. But Mo Bay and Ochi are so close by, it isn't really a problem. We went to Rose Hall, it was a 20 minute cab ride. No big deal.

 

As for some of the things I've heard, drugs, crime, hookers, I saw none of those things. I saw police, fences, and buses to take us elsewhere. They also gave out free cute little RCCL backpacks that said Falmouth on them. For the rest of the cruise, you could identify your fellow passengers in port because they all had the same backpacks. I will post a pic of one pf the backpacks next.

 

But we had a wonderful day at Rose Hall, the waterslides are great, and anyone with kids will have a great time there.

 

Falmouth:

 

Port: C (unfinished, but lots of potential. Also run quite well, but a C because there's nothing there)

 

Hilton Rose Hall: A+++++

 

A side note, lots of people on excursions got back really late, we were sitting on our balcony watching the buses arrive way past when we were supposed to be gone. That's why some folks stick to ship run excursions, the boat waits for you. I prefer to do my own thing and just be on time.:)

 

216798_10150168224463113_682718112_6769236_1376261_n.jpg

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Thanks fo rthe review! We sail May 1 and have a corner aft cabin 1400! We also do the same itenerary, so thanks for the info!

 

Love the pics! :D

 

 

I am in that same cabin in August!!! :D If you can take photos and post them that would be great! Thanks!!

 

Thanks for the review, I'm loving it!!

Edited by jjtt

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206876_10150169118723113_682718112_6778531_8074633_n.jpg

 

Best food we had on the whole cruise was at Rose Hall. I love Jamaican food!! I will get to the food issues at the end of the photo tour, but let me say this, if you are looking to take a cruise with outstanding, or even interesting food, Freedom might not be for you. Just a tease, more to come....:p

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I am in that same cabin in August!!! :D If you can take photos and post them that would be great! Thanks!!

 

 

I absolutely will take pics and complete a full review with pics! Hopefully as good as this one!

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Thanks Gator! Enjoy your cruise!

 

Love those pics PhoenixDawgCruising!

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The passes were $75 for adults and $60 for kids, plus we got another cabana for $30. Totally worth it, the bast day of the cruise for us. It's about a 20 minute cab ride form the pier. More Falmouth in a sec, need to go grab some lunch.

 

 

Where / How did you buy the day passes? thru Rose Hall website or somewhere else? we were about to buy them for $95 or so.

Also, did you just take any specific taxi or a designated ride to the hotel? I'm a bit 'concerned' about Falmouth and the reviews. Being two young women, my partner and I are very-very careful. We were thinking of staying onboard while docked in Falmouth, but you might have changed our minds!:D

Thank you for the review I'm enjoying it.

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The passes were $75 for adults and $60 for kids, plus we got another cabana for $30. Totally worth it, the bast day of the cruise for us. It's about a 20 minute cab ride form the pier. More Falmouth in a sec, need to go grab some lunch.

 

 

Where / How did you buy the day passes? thru Rose Hall website or somewhere else? we were about to buy them for $95 or so.

 

Also, did you just take any specific taxi or a designated ride to the hotel? I'm a bit 'concerned' about Falmouth and the reviews. Being two young women, my partner and I are very-very careful. We were thinking of staying onboard while docked in Falmouth, but you might have changed our minds!:D

 

Thank you for the review I'm enjoying it.

 

Please don't worry, you will be safe. There are police everywhere. As for Rose Hall, jump in any taxi at the pier, you get the taxis inside the fenced area, so you are safe. You can get a private taxi (for more money), or a group shuttle for less. We hired a private van, our driver Solomon charged us $40 each way, and he was very prompt when he picked us up at 3:00pm. You don't need to plan any of this in advance.:)

 

Get a taxi, go to Hilton Rose Hall Resort. When you get there, the concierge desk is next to the door. Say you want day passes, pay your money, they give you wristbands and towel cards, then you are free to go. There is one issue, they keep one person's driver's licence to assure you don't steal the towels or water toys. When you return the towel cards, they give you back the licence (it's in a safe while they have it).

 

You will have a fabulous time.:D

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Please don't worry, you will be safe. There are police everywhere. As for Rose Hall, jump in any taxi at the pier, you get the taxis inside the fenced area, so you are safe. You can get a private taxi (for more money), or a group shuttle for less. We hired a private van, our driver Solomon charged us $40 each way, and he was very prompt when he picked us up at 3:00pm. You don't need to plan any of this in advance.:)

 

Get a taxi, go to Hilton Rose Hall Resort. When you get there, the concierge desk is next to the door. Say you want day passes, pay your money, they give you wristbands and towel cards, then you are free to go. There is one issue, they keep one person's driver's licence to assure you don't steal the towels or water toys. When you return the towel cards, they give you back the licence (it's in a safe while they have it).

 

You will have a fabulous time.:D

 

Thank you! now I feel better!!!

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My mom and the kids. As you can see, not a lot going on at the Falmouth pier. But there's tons to do very close by.

 

207725_10150168226683113_682718112_6769259_1660050_n.jpg

 

 

Hi I am enjoying your review:) Your kids are super cute! How old is your older son? Did he have a good time? Did he feel like there was a lot for him to do? I am trying to talk my 16y/o into going with us on FOS in Nov.

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Grand Cayman...again:

 

I love Grand Cayman, but I seem to have been there 3 times in the last 4 years, so there really isn't much to see, it's a small island. I've done the submarine, the butterfly farm (apparently no longer there, sad) Hell, and the turtles, and the Rays, so we just dropped in for a bit of shopping then went back to the ship. I have some great pics from Hell last year, if you want to see them just let me know. Also, I have over 500 pics from this cruise, if you are on Facebook I can add you so you can see them, just lemme know.:)

 

Anyway, so we shopped then hopped back on the ship. I will attach a few pics.

 

Grand Cayman:

 

Shopping: A

 

Tendering: B, we waited a bit to get back, they were having an issue with the tenders.

 

216020_10150169016138113_682718112_6777435_7195349_n.jpg

 

The shopping area just outside the pier.

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