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Fabulous Freedom of the Seas Review with Pics - 7/8/12

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July 7, 2012 – Day 1 - Pre-Cruise –Hyatt Regency

 

We are a family of 4 with 2 children. Our son is a week shy of 13 and my daughter is 10.5. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary.

 

We left for Orlando from New York on a 1:00pm flight. We arrived at 4:00pm. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International. I chose this hotel primarily because we got a great rate and I liked having dinner options (we had no rental car). We had a runway view room and the hotel had a nice rooftop pool which the kids enjoyed. We ate dinner at Macaroni Grill in the airport. It was nice to arrive early enough so we could relax.

 

Next Up - Day 2 - Embarkation . . .

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Hi I happened to be vacationing in Florida and went to see Freedom leave that day I took a bunch of pictures when the ship left and a short video if your interested In them I'll post them to my photobucket account :)

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July 8, 2012 – Day 1 - Port Canaveral – Embarkation Day

 

Our car service pick up was originally scheduled for 10:00am. I called to confirm the day before and was told the pickup would be closer to 9:15am. The driver was on time and we were at the port around 10:10am. We entered the terminal and proceeded to check in. Security went smoothly as did check in. We were in the waiting area by 10:30am. There were probably around 50 other people there at that point. At 11:00am, the announcement was made we could board. We were all very excited. Entered Freedom on Deck 4 and started to explore. The ship was pretty empty at this point so we got some good pictures. Around 12:30pm, we went to Windjammer for lunch. It was good. The kids changed into their swimsuits and went in the pool and had a great time. They went in both the main pool and the H2O Zone. By 1:45pm, our cabin was ready. We were all excited to see our home away from home for the next 8 days. We had a JS on Deck 9 on the starboard side mid-ship. We found the cabin to be awesome. As others have said, the bathroom is quite large and the walk in closet was great. We used it all week as another changing area for our familyJ. We loved the large balcony and spent a lot of time out there. We met our cabin attendant, Gregory, who was great. He was from Trinidad and Tobago. He did an awesome job keeping our cabin neat and we received towel animals almost every night! We did not have our luggage at that point, but were able to drop off our carry ons. The kids both did the Flowrider and loved it. My son had done it before at a waterpark. The instructors were all great. We went back to our cabin around 4:00 and our luggage was there. We unpacked and found a place for everything. So much storage.

 

Headed out to Deck 12 for sail away. It was really cool. People seem to set up just to watch. The kids and I were waving at everyone. We felt like celebrities. We were on MTD and our reservation was for 6:00pm on this first night. We were told we could wear what we wanted as some did not have their luggage yet. I asked the difference between Casual and Smart Casual. Was told at casual you could wear jeans which I was surprised. We did not bring any jeans. Our waiter was Siddesh and assistant waiter was Newton. They were great. After dinner, we walked around the ship a little. We grab a late night snack from Café Promenade and got ready for the 11:15pm Move It Move It Parade. It was a lot of fun! After the parade, we headed to the cabin. It was a long day.

 

Link to pictures aboard the ship

 

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266825190088677.48031.100002835950077&type=1&l=a664098751

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July 9, 2012 – Day 2 – At Sea

 

We awoke to a beautiful day. Went to the Windjammer for breakfast around 9:00am. It was so big in there; we did not realize each station had different choices. Breakfast was crowded. We are both coffee drinkers and found the coffee to be pretty good. After breakfast, we changed into our swimsuits for the pool. We did Bingo at 11:00am. It was only one game for $500. We didn’t win.

 

After bingo, we hung by the pool some more then lunch at Windjammer. Not sure what we did next, but we had a busy afternoon and evening ahead. The kids did cupcake decorating at The Cupcake Cupboard at 3:30pm. We then took showers and went to the Freedom on Ice show at 5:30pm. The show was amazing. It was the first Formal night. After the ice show, we got ready for dinner which was at 7:30pm. We had formal pictures taken before dinner. We asked for Siddesh and Newton again and were seated in their section. Dinner was very good again. We all had the Filet of Beef. At 9:00pm, we went to see Marquee. We enjoyed the show, but the Arcadia Theatre was absolutely freezing! I was wearing my husband’s suit jacket on my legs. All the lower seats are right over air vents. After the show, we went to the Café Promenade to get coffee and some dessert. This became a regular occurrence for the rest of the trip. Another great day! Next up – Labadee.

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July 10, 2012 – Day 3 – Labadee Haiti

 

We ordered coffee for the room the night before but our ticket was never taken. Called room service and they were at our room in 10 minutes. What service! We had a Flowrider lesson scheduled for this day at 10:45am. We ate breakfast in Windjammer and debarked the ship around 9:30am. We walked around and took some pictures. We got back on the ship and went to the Flowrider. The lesson was for my husband and kids. It was an hour lesson and there were only 2 other children in the group. Yes, my husband was the only adult J Both instructors were from Scotland and were amazing. My kids and husband had both done the Flowrider before and has a blast. My husband and son also got to try the stand up surfing which was fun. My daughter was not tall enough so they gave her extra boggie boarding. It was worth the money to have it pretty much to yourself. The lesson ended around 11:45am.

 

We debarked the ship again and headed to Columbus Cove for our 1:00pm time slot at the Arawak Aqua Park. It was hot! Real feel temp was 105 with a UV of 11! What turned us off a little were the pushy vendors as we made our way to Columbus Cove. We swam a little before our waterpark time. The water was nice but had a lot of sea grass. I found the water park toys to be really difficult to climb. My kids did ok. It basically became just swimming for me which was fine. After the water park, we made our way the Dragon Coaster. Again, we had passes for 4 but my daughter and I did not want to do it so my husband and son did it twice each. We completely missed the lunch and didn’t get back on ship until close to 3:00pm. We went to Sorrento’s for some pizza. Yum!

 

We had a 6:30pm MTD reservation. We couldn’t get our table with Siddesh but did get an awesome table by the windows. We then went to the 9:00pm Now You See It Show. We thought the show was very good and entertaining. After the show, the kids spent some time in the arcade while we went to the casino. I cashed in a $100 into 20s. I put $20 in a slot machine and hit “Bet Max”. The machines are so confusing I had no idea how much I was betting. On my very first spin, I won 4000 but didn’t know of what. Turns out it was a nickel machine but the 4000 was $200! I won another $100 later and walked away from the machine with $275. Not bad for slots J Went to our cabin around 11:00pm and spent some time on the balcony enjoying the sounds of the ocean. Next up – Jamaica.

 

 

Links to pics:

 

 

Flowrider -

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266840713420458.48045.100002835950077&type=3&l=afc3fccf31

 

Labadee - http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266829543421575.48036.100002835950077&type=3&l=524acd1e76

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July 11, 2012 – Day 4 – Falmouth, Jamaica

 

Coffee delivered and we enjoyed on the balcony as we did for all of our mornings. We had a day pass for Hilton Rose Resort & Spa which I booked through jamaicaforaday.com. This pass was all inclusive and included unlimited drinks and food so we decided to skip breakfast. We debarked and headed to the taxis/shuttles. It was a little confusing. We headed to the right at the fork when we should have gone left. No one seemed to know where our shuttle would be but were very helpful. I called the number on the confirmation and they answered. They said our pickup was by the 4 white tents. Those were very clear to see but we were in the wrong spot. Once we got there, the jamaicaforaday sign was very clear J Live & learn. There were a bunch of cruise people going on this excursion. Our driver, Courtney (a man), was really cool. He explained a lot about Jamaica on our way to the Hilton and was very entertaining. It was another beautiful and hot day.

 

Once we arrived at the Hilton, we paid our balance and headed to the pool. It is a beautiful resort. They have a huge pool with a lazy river and 2 slides with a swim up bar. We didn’t arrive until 11:00am so chairs and tubes were scarce. We got chairs by the beach and went swimming for a while. Then we headed to the pool. One slide required a tube which we didn’t have. The other didn’t. The kids enjoyed the non-tube slide. We eventually got 2 tubes and did the other slide and the lazy river. The drinks were really good and strong. The kids liked ordering their own drinks from the bar (virgin of course). We ate lunch at Fresh (the buffet). It was good, but Mangos by the pool seemed better (but there were no tables and we were hungry). After lunch, some woman needed a partner for the water balloon toss and asked my son. They ended up winning! Did a little more swimming. Our pickup back to the ship was 3:00pm island time (4:00pm ship time). Boarding was 6:30pm. We got the same driver back to the port which was great.

 

Arrived at the port around 5:00pm and did some shopping and then boarded. It was a great day in Jamaica and loved the Hilton. We had a dinner reservation but were tired so decided on Windjammer. It was our only complaint of the entire trip. Service was not great. Dishes piled up and no one took them. Guess we got used to the main dining. The sushi at Jade was good. No show for us tonight. Went to Deck 12 and tried to play a game of mini golf. It was so windy and the ball was blowing around but still fun. My son and husband played some basketball and then we headed back to cabin around 11:30pm. Another great day. Next up – Grand Cayman.

 

Link to pics

 

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266832610087935.48040.100002835950077&type=3&l=4a72bc062d

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July 12, 2012 – Day 5 – Grand Cayman

 

We arrived in Grand Cayman earlier than planned. Our excursion for the day was Stingray City and Snorkeling aboard the Buccaneer. We booked this excursion through Island Marketing. The meet time was 9:40am (island time). We debarked the ship at 8:45am (island time) and tendering went very smoothly. We checked in with Captain Bryan’s and then did some shopping. It didn’t take as long as we thought. As we got closer to our time, people were missing so we had to wait for them. We headed to the busses by 10:00am. It was a 15 minute drive to the boat. We all boarded. I would say there were around 40 people on the tour. On our way to Stingray City, we could not get over the beauty of the water. Grand Cayman is gorgeous. When we arrived at Stingray City, the water was crystal clear blue with a white sand bottom. It was like a giant pool. The water was up to my waist. There were maybe 4 other boats there. You could see the stingrays immediately. So cool. We were told how to handle them before exiting the catamaran. There were swimming around us and my daughter was getting a little freaked. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous too. They are amazing creatures. Each of us got to hold and kiss a stingray and get our picture taken. What an awesome experience. Next we went to the Barrier Reef for snorkeling. It was fun but not many fish. Next we went to Coral Gardens. There were schools of fish there. It was a lot of fun. Neither of my children had ever snorkeled before and they both had fun. We then sailed back to the marina. We got back to the port around 1:45pm (island time). Weather said 50% rain but not one drop. Boarding was 3:15pm ship time. Carnival Conquest was in port with us. The lines for FOS was a little crazy and it was hot, but it moved quickly.

 

We were back on the ship by 3:45pm ship time. We had an 8:15pm MTD reservation but were hungry so headed to Sorrento’s again J Did some swimming and then back to the room by 6:00pm to get ready for dinner. Tonight was formal night again and we dressed. Took some more formal pictures with just my husband and I. We were back to our table with Siddesh and Newton. Yay! We all got the Fisherman’s Plate except my daughter. It was very good. Don’t recall the dessert but they were all amazing!

 

After dinner we walked around a bit. The kids went to the arcade and I tried my luck at the casino again. Started with $100 in 20s again. Lost $60 in the slots before my husband even got back from the arcade. Went over to the “Let It Ride” table. I love that game in Atlantic City. Got $40 in chips. It was a $5 dollar table. On my first hand, I got a flush and won $175. Cool. Couldn’t win another hand after that though. Still walked away with some money though. After the casino and arcade we headed to Café Promenade for another snack then bed. Next up – Cozumel.

 

Link to pics

 

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266834856754377.48041.100002835950077&type=3&l=7479c89c48

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July 13, 2012 – Day 6 – Cozumel

 

We arrived in Cozumel by 10:00am. We had a quick breakfast at Café Promenade and debarked by 11:00am (10:30am island time). Our excursion for the day was Nachi Cocom Beach Break booked through Island Marketing. We grabbed a cab and arrived at Nachi by 11:00am. The taxi driver was flying! As others have said, the driveway is not appealing, but once inside, it is beautiful. We took our family picture with sombreros. It came out nice so of course I bought it J We paid our balance and were brought to our private palapa with 4 chairs. It was near the pool which worked so we could watch the kids. The water and beach was absolutely amazing! It was a picture perfect day. Our waiter was Joseph and were helped by Jesus. We had our first of many drinks right away. My husband speaks pretty good Spanish and enjoyed conversing with them. The pool was very nice and clean. The hot tub (which we didn’t go it) was very hot so they must have fixed it. Again my kids loved the swim up bar and ordering their own drinks. We paid $2.00 for each of them to use the trampoline and they had fun on that. Another picture taken which we purchased. The food was very good too. For appetizers, we got the guacamole and chips, cheese sticks and French fries. All were very good. For lunch we got the tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and my daughter got a hamburger. We were all to full for dessert but my daughter got the cheesecake (even though she couldn’t finish her lunch). We had an awesome day at Nachi and would not hesitate to go back again.

 

We got a cab back to the port and did some more shopping. Back on board and to the pool for a while. Our dinner reservation was 8:15pm again. Back to cabin around 6:00pm to get ready and relax a little. Headed down a little early to look at the photos and put some pictures aside. We had purchased the Family Package so we got (4) 8x10 but of course ended up purchasing 9 total. We have no family pictures so it was nice to have them taken as family. Got a table with Siddesh and Newton again by the window. So nice. Another great dinner although I can’t remember what I got. We never had a bad meal in the main dining room J Walked around after dinner on the promenade and outside on the deck. Back to cabin by 11:00pm. Tomorrow we get to sleep in a little. Next up – Last day – At Sea.

 

Link to pics

 

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266837960087400.48042.100002835950077&type=3&l=afb3d27bbf

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July 14, 2012 – At Sea

 

Didn’t do much this day. Got up, had breakfast and headed to the pool. Played bingo in the morning. Didn’t win. Back to pool and then had lunch at Johnny Rockets. We sat outside. It was so windy we almost couldn’t eat. I know we played bingo again at 4:00pm. It was 4 games with the last prize a free cruise. We didn’t win but it was still fun. We were so full from Johnny Rockets we weren’t really hungry for dinner. Our reservation was for 7:00pm. Had our last dinner in our regular section. Again, great food and amazing service. Can say enough good things about the main dining room. We loved everything about it. During dinner, we passed Miami. I couldn’t believe it considering it was only 7:30pm or so and we weren’t expected back in port until 4:00am. After dinner walked the promenade and bought some stuff from the sales. Then the moment we were dreading – packing. We went back to the room around 9:30pm and started packing. We had all our luggage out by 11:00pm as requested. We sat on the balcony for one last night and enjoyed the sea breeze and the sounds. So calm and peaceful.

 

July 15, 2012 – Debarkation

 

We were in Group 5 with a call time of 7:45am. We left the room by 7:00am and went to the promenade for breakfast. Headed to our meeting location, Arcadia Theater, by 7:30am. They started calling numbers. Our number was called at exactly 7:45am. Breezed through Customs and headed to the terminal for our luggage. Came out fast and we were outside by 7:55am – only 10 minutes after our number was called. So smooth! We expected craziness but it was so easy. Our car service pickup was 8:30am for a 12:35pm flight. He picked us up by 8:15am and off to Orlando for our flight. One last goodbye to Freedom of the Seas – our home for the past 8 days.

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We absolutely loved this cruise. It was our best vacation yet and worth every penny we paid. We found the service from our room attendant and the main dining room to be impeccable. Our room attendant, Gregory, was amazing. He was such a pleasure and really made us feel comfortable in our home away from home. He was very attentive and helpful. The MTD service was amazing. By day 2 our assistant waiter knew my kids drinks and would automatically bring them. He knew their names. Little things like opening the sugar holder after pouring the coffee. I am sure they are trained this way but it was these touches that made the difference.

 

I wasn’t that impressed with Adventure Ocean and the kids clubs. It may have just been my kids but they really weren’t interested. My daughter is 10.5 and was almost too old/mature for her 9-11 age group. My son was a week shy of 13 and not as social as my daughter. They grouped as 12-17 most of the time and he just felt out of place. It was fine. They are old enough to enjoy the shows, the main dining and the ports. They never ordered off of the children’s menu. Tried new things every night and just had a great time. Maybe next time when they are both older, but I was fine having them with us. We all had a great time.

 

The ship was amazing! Although big, we found our way well. It never felt overly crowded with the exception of the pool area on sea days. It was packed! The elevators were slow but we were on Deck 9 so only 2 flights to Deck 11 which worked out great.

 

I know there is a lot of discussion about dress in the main dining room. I didn’t think I would care but after seeing some of the dress, I have to agree. We dressed formal on formal nights. My husband in a suit, me and my daughter in a dress and my son in dress pants, tie and shirt. Casual nights were dockers, polo shirts and dock shoes. By the end of the week, I allowed my son to wear dress shorts and a polo shirt which I felt was fine. We could not believe what some were wearing in the main dining room. Shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, baseball hats – even on formal night! OK that’s all I’m going to say about that J

 

Fabulous trip and we are booked again for April 2014. We loved Royal Caribbean and will sail with them again.

Thanks for reading.

Karyn

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Hi I happened to be vacationing in Florida and went to see Freedom leave that day I took a bunch of pictures when the ship left and a short video if your interested In them I'll post them to my photobucket account :)

 

I would love that! Thanks!

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Great review thank you for all the details. We sail on FOS in December and will be our first RCCL cruise in many years, we've been sailing Disney the past several years :D The ship sounds wonderful and the service perfect!

 

Welcome home and thanks again for all the info in your review.

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Great review thank you for all the details. We sail on FOS in December and will be our first RCCL cruise in many years, we've been sailing Disney the past several years :D The ship sounds wonderful and the service perfect!

 

Welcome home and thanks again for all the info in your review.

 

Thanks! Just curious - did you try the picture links? did they work for you?

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Thanks! Just curious - did you try the picture links? did they work for you?

 

Yep I looked at every link and they worked perfectly :D

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Great review, thanks for sharing! Loved your pictures! FOS is our favorite ship! This year we went on both the Eastern and Western Itinerary, and the Western was our favorite!

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What an awesome and thorough report. Thank you! We love the Freedom and can't wait to sail her again in December. We'll be doing the Eastern itinerary this time, but good to know you enjoyed the Hilton resort option in Falmouth.

 

Can I ask what car service you used and what the cost was? I'm debating a few options since we're staying in Orlando a few days prior to our cruise too.

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What an awesome and thorough report. Thank you! We love the Freedom and can't wait to sail her again in December. We'll be doing the Eastern itinerary this time, but good to know you enjoyed the Hilton resort option in Falmouth.

 

Can I ask what car service you used and what the cost was? I'm debating a few options since we're staying in Orlando a few days prior to our cruise too.

 

We used Quicksilver Tours. They are popular on the Disney sites. The cost was $210 round trip. Gratuities was automatically added. Total was $252. We paid the whole amount on the arrival and the driver confirmed our departure. The service was very good.

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You were right! Fabulous!

 

Thanks for the great review. Never tire reading about a great cruise. Beautiful family, too!

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Excellent review and great pics...we'll be on her for Thanksgiving (Eastern Itin) with the family. Can't wait.

Was tasting the enchiladas at Nachi which I have had:D. BTW, if you go again, don't miss the cerviche mixto and the BBQ Ribs are some of the best I've ever had, beleive it or not! MMMMMM

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Thanks for the links! I LOVED the pictures... we are going in Sept and had an offer to upgrade from a Balcony E2 Room to a Jr. Suite. We are still trying to figure out if it is work the extra money or not but your room looked really nice, especially for a family vacation!

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Awesome review. We've done many of the same excursions as you. Your pictures were great and it looks like you had a wonderful time. Can't wait now for our Aug 26th sailing! Happy future cruising.

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Thanks for the review. We are on adventure next week and it has got us right in the mood. I agree with all of your sentiments re dressing for dinner.

 

They should have a naughty section for diners dressed inappropriately for the formal nights. Baseball caps........I ask ya!

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Please tell more. how can i arrange this excursion for myself the next time i am in that port? thanks in advance!

 

We booked through jamaicaforaday.com. We also purchased their transportation. It was a little pricey - $90 per adult with transfer. Was $320 for our family of 4. Was all inclusive which included unlimited food and drinks and some water sports. Very nice resort. When booking, you pay a deposit of $20 per pass plus transfer of $15 if purchased. Balance is paid on arrival in either cash or credit. We had a great there. They also arrange for your transfer time back. There were quite a few people from our ship on this excursion.

 

Karyn

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Awesome review. We've done many of the same excursions as you. Your pictures were great and it looks like you had a wonderful time. Can't wait now for our Aug 26th sailing! Happy future cruising.

 

Your 4th time on Freedom. I'm so jealous. She is beautiful. Have a great trip!

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Excellent review and great pics...we'll be on her for Thanksgiving (Eastern Itin) with the family. Can't wait.

Was tasting the enchiladas at Nachi which I have had:D. BTW, if you go again, don't miss the cerviche mixto and the BBQ Ribs are some of the best I've ever had, beleive it or not! MMMMMM

 

Thanks for the tip! Will have to try them next time :)

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Thanks for the links! I LOVED the pictures... we are going in Sept and had an offer to upgrade from a Balcony E2 Room to a Jr. Suite. We are still trying to figure out if it is work the extra money or not but your room looked really nice, especially for a family vacation!

 

Go for the junior suite. The extra space is awesome!

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Awesome review. We've done many of the same excursions as you. Your pictures were great and it looks like you had a wonderful time. Can't wait now for our Aug 26th sailing! Happy future cruising.

 

We're waiting just like you...on the August 26th sailing, having sailed her on the Western in April of this year.

 

Great review. I see you did the flowrider. My son (14.5) is a flowrider junkie and made friends with the staff, and my younger son (10) was a rock wall champ, and all of the sports staff knew his name by day 2. Do you remember any of the staff up there...Sergio, Gaga, Andrew, etc.?

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