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ryano

My thoughts and pics from 4/22 - 4/29 Freedom cruise

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AKA "Tobaccogate" cruise :p I am going to post this as I go along so bear with me. It may take a few hours or so but I will try and have it wrapped up tonight!

 

A little background first. I am a 42 year old male disabled cruiser (paraplegic) and this past cruise was my fourth cruise with three of them being on RCI ships. I find that Royal Caribbean is absolutely WONDERFUL to their disabled cruisers and I really like the idea that they have a lift for one pool and one hot tub on ALL of their ships.

 

Pre cruise my mother and I drove down to Port Canaveral from North Ga and checked in to LaQuinta Inn Cocoa Beach on North Atlantic Drive. Its an older hotel but nicely re done, very clean and roomy. We have stayed here before and got an excellent deal for 89.00 for the night. We enjoyed a WONDERFUL meal at their Asian restaurant there on the grounds. We had signed up for the "Park and Cruise" special but I learned that Port Canaveral allows vehicles equipped with handicap driving aids to park for free so we drove to the Port around 10:45 Sunday morning.

 

Embarkation was the easiest YET! I swear within 15 minutes of rolling into the terminal, we were on board the ship at around 11 am! Very nice!

 

My first impression of the Freedom was just WOW! I had never been on a ship this size and I had never seen a Royal Promenade in person! Pictures do it NO justice! I LOVE this area of the ship!

 

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After gazing around for a bit, we headed directly to the Windjammer for lunch right after going to the MDR and asking to be put on MTD instead of 5:30 first seating. It was no problem at all! The Windjammer wasnt very crowded and we easily found a seat. Service was outstanding and quickly a staff member offered to help me fix my plate and carry it to my table. Another staff member came by and offered to get me a drink right after.

 

After lunch, I went and got the first drink of the cruise. I enjoyed a Lava Flow from the Pool Bar

 

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Shortly after that, we went to the cabin because they were available at 1 pm. I had a deck 8 accessible PR cabin #8315 which was very nice and had plenty of room

 

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continued

Edited by ryano

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Looks like the start of a great review. Keep in coming! :)

Edited by loubetti

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another pic of the cabin

 

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After dropping off our carry on luggage, we went back to the pool area and the band was setting up to play some music. They were very good.

 

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Great start. That room looks huge. Looking forward to more pics and review.

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On our roll call thread, we had scheduled a "pre meet and mingle" at the Schooner bar at 3 pm where I met quiet a few people I had been talking to for weeks. We had a great time until it was time to go to Muster drill.

 

Muster drill went through very smoothly and I was impressed with how attentive everyone was. It was the smoothest and quietest Muster drill I had ever attended. Everyone was really interested in listening.

 

At 4:30 sharp, we sailed away without hitch. I had some friends at Grills and was able to wave at them as we sailed away. The weather was beautiful but I was so excited I didnt get many pics lol. I stayed on deck 4 under the life boats until we got a good ways out of the channel.

 

After sailaway, I went to the cabin and changed for dinner. We showed up at 6 pm on deck 5 where MTD is and was seated within minutes. Our waiter and assistant waiter were wonderful and would wind up being our servers all week!

 

Over the course of the week, I found that the MDR food was just fine. There was some "not so nice" things said about Freedoms MDR food on here but either they have stepped it up or Im just easy to please :) I found on this trip that I REALLY enjoy duck and lamb shank! Two of my favorite meals of the whole trip! The prime rib was delicious too! Also on lobster night, the lobsters were of nice size and cooked perfectly! I enjoyed the Prime rib AND lobster that night :o A 'surf and turf" if you will. :)

 

We also enjoyed lunch in the MDR a couple sea days and had the wonderful Tutti salad bar. It was great!

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Later on that evening after dinner, I went to one of my favorite places on the ship. It happens to be deck 4 on Freedom. There is hardly ever anyone out there and its a really good place to go and enjoy the ocean! very nice and quiet out there!

 

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This was a Disney ship way off in the distance. Later on we got closer but I didnt have my camera on me.

 

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Finally you are getting down to business :D

 

Glad they finally closed the tobacco thread so we can finally get to your review. I have never been on Freedom class ships .. but LOVE the Promenades from 3 cruises on Voyager class ships.

 

BTW - if we ever cruise together .. I will buy you your first Lava Flow and we can forget our differences over Tobaccogate :D

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BTW - if we ever cruise together .. I will buy you your first Lava Flow and we can forget our differences over Tobaccogate :D

 

Ha! I will certainly take you up on that offer! :D

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After enjoying the peace and quiet of deck 4 I went exploring a little to find my way around better and take in the sights of this wonderful ship.

 

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And I continue to be amazed by the Royal Promenade.

 

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The next day, we arrived early at Coco Cay but while laying in bed that morning, I heard Captain Tor Olsen come on the loudspeaker in the room telling us it was too rough to tender and we would be missing our stop. I kinda expected this might happen BUT there were lots of people hassling Guest Services because we missed the stop :( and they were wanting credit and such because of it :rolleyes: Our safety be darned i guess :rolleyes:

 

I didnt mind at all really. I like sea days and i was still able to enjoy a Coco Loco by the pool that day! Yummy! I even got in the pool via the lift and it was great! The staff were so helpful in helping me get in the pool!

 

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it was a beautiful day at sea!

 

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Edited by ryano

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It was the first formal night that evening and there was a big party in the Royal Promenade where Captain Olsen came out and some of his staff. Everyone was dressed really nice and the photographers were very busy!

 

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The following day was another sea day. If memory serves me correctly, it was a little cloudy that day and maybe even rained a little? The seas were pretty calm though and it was hard to tell you were on a ship.

 

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We arrived in St Thomas the next morning. After enjoying a breakfast that morning in the Windjammer, we finally got off the ship. Nothing planned for this day other than some sightseeing around the port area and some shopping.

 

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Great start. That room looks huge. Looking forward to more pics and review.
The pictures are of a handicapped accesable cabin. The regular promenade cabins are no where near that large.Just so you know in case you were thinking of getting one;)

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That afternoon we got back on the ship a couple hours before sailaway and enjoyed a nice lunch at Johnny Rockets. This was my first experience ever and I really enjoyed it! I thought the food was really good! A little greasy but good nonetheless! By the time I had a double cheeseburger :o onion rings and apple pie ala mode, I quickly learned that dinner that night would likely be spoiled :o

 

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I then went back to deck 4 to look for "runners" :D I am simply AMAZED at the people that cut it so close :eek: There were bunches of folks that came really close to missing the ship! The bride and her groom barely made by 10 minutes or so! What a way to ruin a wedding if they missed the ship!

 

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Disney left well before we did that day.

 

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A few sail away pics from St Thomas.

 

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Carnival Glory pulled out shortly after we did.

 

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I could be wrong but Im pretty sure later that night was the pool party. They had various food items set out and everyone had a great time. Captain Olsen came out and jammed on his guitar with the band for about 45 minutes! he is REALLY good too!

 

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Next day we arrived early in St Maarten. This was my first time there I REALLY enjoyed this place! Again, nothing major planned so more walking around the port area, a little shopping and then settling in at a little bar to enjoy rumrunners and a fine cigar. The port area here was REALLY nice! Very clean and well kept! I did not experience the high pressure sales pitches and such in these shops that I have in Cozumel and the Bahamas. It was great!

 

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I love the water at all of these islands! So clear and wonderful!

 

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A few more from St Maarten. Again, i really enjoyed the port area here. It is by far the nices of anywhere I have been.

 

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Edited by ryano

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Saying bye to St Maarten that afternoon. i would like to return here and explore the place a little more one day.

 

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The next two days were at sea. I relaxed a whole lot, caught a 3D Movie, Kung Fu Panda 3 :D and done a lot of people watching and taking in the experience of this great ship.

 

I seen a few "characters" along the way. You actually had to go looking for them though it seemed like to me! They were in no way "in your face" or bothersome at all! Im a kid at heart sometimes and wanted my pic taken with a few of them. I missed Shrek and Fiona though.

 

This was taken on the second formal night. I had already taken the tie off and gotten relaxed a little.

 

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and these were taken various days at sea

 

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Some point along this trip, I went to the Freedom Ice.com ice show and it was amazing! They had special guests that were outstanding as well!

 

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I know this hasnt really been a "review" but actually just reliving of the trip so I will give my thoughts here and post a few more various pics and wrap this up shortly.

 

I really enjoyed everything about this trip. The service overall was outstanding from my stateroom attendant to the waiter and assistant waiter in the MDR. This was my first time doing MTD and I love the flexibility of it! I dont really see myself going back to traditional dining.

 

The food I thought was good and some even excellent!

 

I CANNOT say enough about Freedom of the Seas! I am still amazed with this ship and its so much different than what I was use to in the past.

 

The entertainment was great as well. I enjoyed it all. The comedian was great, the shows were good, John Joseph and Johnny B were hilarious and the ice show was OUTSTANDING!

 

I also enjoyed as usual Love and Marriage, Quest and Graham Seymours stand up act! He is GREAT and very funny and talented!

 

All of my cruises have been wonderful but this one was the best YET and I hope one day soon to sail on a Freedom class ship again. They truly are wonderful and if they are this great I cant even imagine Oasis or Allure! One day I hope to sail on them too! But prices will have to come down a little :o

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I just love how upbeat you are! You´ve psyched me up even more for my cruise in October. Thanks for putting an even bigger smile on my face!

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Over the course of the week, I found that the MDR food was just fine. There was some "not so nice" things said about Freedoms MDR food on here but either they have stepped it up or Im just easy to please :) I found on this trip that I REALLY enjoy duck and lamb shank! Two of my favorite meals of the whole trip! The prime rib was delicious too! Also on lobster night, the lobsters were of nice size and cooked perfectly! I enjoyed the Prime rib AND lobster that night :o A 'surf and turf" if you will. quote]

 

Ryan, you have mentioned my faves as well, along with the sugar free coconut cake and all the cream soups! Can't miss those! Thanks for a terrific review...I'm getting so excited. It's been 5 years since we were on Freedom class with Liberty...woohoo.:D

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BTW - if we ever cruise together .. I will buy you your first Lava Flow and we can forget our differences over Tobaccogate :D

 

And if we ever cruise I will buy you both a mojito from Bolero's, my faves.:D;)

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The next day, we arrived early at Coco Cay but while laying in bed that morning, I heard Captain Tor Olsen come on the loudspeaker in the room telling us it was too rough to tender

 

This made me sad for you. Of all the ports in the Caribbean, Coco Cay is an absolute fave. If you've never been before, you MUST book another to there real soon.

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I know this hasnt really been a "review" but actually just reliving of the trip so I will give my thoughts here and post a few more various pics and wrap this up shortly.

 

I really enjoyed everything about this trip. The service overall was outstanding from my stateroom attendant to the waiter and assistant waiter in the MDR. This was my first time doing MTD and I love the flexibility of it! I dont really see myself going back to traditional dining.

 

The food I thought was good and some even excellent!

 

I CANNOT say enough about Freedom of the Seas! I am still amazed with this ship and its so much different than what I was use to in the past.

 

The entertainment was great as well. I enjoyed it all. The comedian was great, the shows were good, John Joseph and Johnny B were hilarious and the ice show was OUTSTANDING!

 

I also enjoyed as usual Love and Marriage, Quest and Graham Seymours stand up act! He is GREAT and very funny and talented!

 

All of my cruises have been wonderful but this one was the best YET and I hope one day soon to sail on a Freedom class ship again. They truly are wonderful and if they are this great I cant even imagine Oasis or Allure! One day I hope to sail on them too! But prices will have to come down a little :o

I think you did a GREAT review!:D

 

As you know, I took this same route in Feb. ( I was the one bombbarding everyone with the cruise Compasses.) You brought back some memories. I am glad you had a great time. Freedom OTS is my favorite ship. St. Maarten/ St. Martin is my favorite place in the world.:D

 

Your pictures were great! I wish I could have been there, but I have to work to pay for other cruises!

 

I hope to sail with you one day!:p

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Freedom is my favorite ship as well. I have been on Oasis but still love Freedom more. I am so glad you enjoyed your cruise. I was on the Freedom in Oct. of last year when we ran into a terrible storm. However, after the storm was over, the rest of the cruise was GREAT! Thanks for bringing back such good memories.

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