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karajeboo

Freedom from the Mouse! Our first non-Disney cruise, and we LOVED it!

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Let me begin by saying that my husband pointed out, the night before our cruise sailed, "OMG, this is my first non-Disney family trip in SIX YEARS!" He was almost in tears he was so happy.....

 

But we were also nervous. See, we know Disney. We know Disney service. And we know they kick butt, in the parks, and on their ships.

 

So would our first non-Disney cruise, this time on RCCL Freedom of the Seas, be able to live up to Disney standards?

 

Read on, young grasshopper, and let me give you a taste of FREEDOM!!!!

 

We are a family of 3 from South Carolina. We discovered cruising just 2 years ago when I booked a 7 night cruise on the Disney Magic after my husband said, "Can we please take a vacation NOT to Disney World?" So I said, "Sure! How bout a Disney cruise!!!!

 

He obliged, and we fell in love. But were we in love with cruising? Or Disney cruising? So we took another DCL cruise the next year, and then decided to find out for sure.

 

So we googled. We youtubed. We safari'd. We were basically vacation voyeurs. We wanted to check out all the cruise lines, all the ships and find one that we thought would come close to Disney so that we could experience cruising from another standpoint.

 

So we picked Freedom.

 

Why? Well, just look at the pics! It looks beautiful! It seems close to Disney in reviews. There is a lot to do. But is it too big? Will the service be as good? Will our 12 year old daughter meet other kids?

 

So, first things first. We had to pick a date. Well, why not make it our 3rd spring break in a row! And while we're at it, maybe I'll invite my inlaws..... :eek:

 

Yeah, you read that right. But it was before the doctor medicated me..... if ya know what I mean...... lol

 

And they agreed!!!! See, my father in law has given my mother in law several cruises over the years for Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary gifts. Yet they've never been on a single cruise. Ever. So I figured this might be a way to actually then them out there!

 

We booked this cruise in October, 2011, so we had loooooooong 17 month wait.

 

And then before you know it, it's here. The car is packed. And we're ready to roll.......

 

Meet Ally, my mini-me, only 11 when we left the house, but she turned 12 the day we boarded the Freedom!!!

 

DSC_0002_zps31ee122a.jpg

 

We really took the long way getting to the port this time. We have about an 8 hour drive, and with Disney leaving on Saturday, we usually head out about 4pm on Friday, get in about midnight, then we're dead on our feet the whole first day on the ship. But since Freedom leaves on Sunday, we decided to take our time. So we'd only drive 4 hours the first night, and stay in Savannah, GA so we'd only have about 4 leisurely hours on Saturday.

 

Now my inlaws left earlier in the day on Friday and decided to drive a bit further. But what should have been a 5 hour trip for them took almost 8 hours due to Spring Break and Easter traffic!!!! So our plan to leave at 5pm worked perfectly! Because our 4 hour trip took..... 4 hours!

 

No alarm needed the next morning as we got back on the road. Everyone woke up early because we were now officially on vacation!!!!

 

Traffic was heavy but we still made great time, and somehow passed my inlaws at their exit and about 1pm we saw THIS!

 

DSC_0003_zps11e01033.jpg

 

This was our second time staying her and it's just perfect. Waking up the next morning to see your ship out the window, nice hot breakfast, shuttle service, clean rooms and nice pool. Our room was not ready just yet, so we hung outside and waited for Nana and PapPap to show up. They were only about 20 minutes behind us......

 

Look who's here!

 

DSC_0004_zpsae4f9e1b.jpg

 

I think Nana may have been the most excited out of all of us. I think their last vacation (not counting visiting family out of state) was in 2006. So they were ready to get away from it all!

 

Who knew they would find a way to EXTEND our vacation by a few days....

 

da da daaaaaaaa..... that's foreshadowing. Remember it.

 

We were all starving so decided to head over to Fishlips at the port to see the ships.

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What a wonderful way to begin vacation, enjoying lunch outside, with the ships in the background, knowing that we have no responsibilities for the next week. Well, unless you count, what drink should I have? as a responsibility......

 

DSC_0007_zps2bcd422f.jpg

 

DSC_0009_zpsfa2196c6.jpg

 

DSC_0005_zpsb6015206.jpg

 

Even more fun than watching the ships sail? Knowing we have friends on the Disney Fantasy and setting up a meeting spot so we could see THEM and they could see US as they sailed by! How fun!!!

 

Everyone was really relaxed this day. Not a cloud in the sky, temps in the 70's. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

 

Until I got that horrific text. There was a possible drowning on the Fantasy before the ship even left port. Not many details except it was a young boy and he was unresponsible when pulled from the pool.

 

We left to go check into our rooms and then headed back to Rusty's to have drinks and watch the sailaways. But as we waited and waited for the ships to leave, we realized that all ships were going to be delayed. I don't know if this was out of respect or if it was a port authority decision.

 

My friend on the Fantasy texted that it appeared they were going to hold their sail away party inside, while they continued the investigation up on the pool deck. We ended up leaving before they sailed, all with a heavy heart I"m sure.

 

Now before I go on, I will tell you that I have followed this story ever since, and it's so sad. But I do believe that this little guy will make a miraculous recovery. I just believe it. But he was life flighted to Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in Orlando and it helped to know this the next morning, when Jeff got some info from the front desk. Even though they were not even on my ship, it was just so sad to have this hanging over us all on what should have been such a happy time for that young family.

 

We soon headed back to the hotel so Ally could meet up with some friends she had been emailing for a couple months, after meeting on our CC thread!

 

Next.... Sailaway Dreamworks style!

 

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I love your review so far. My family situation is quite similar. My wife and I have cruised many times before, but finally took our two daughters on their first cruise a year and half ago on the Disney Magic. The whole family loved it. We board the Freedom for our 2nd family cruise on May 19th. Before that cruise on the Magic, our previous family vacations had been to Disney World twice. Thanks for the post and I look forward to reading the rest.

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I know how you feel! We are Disney fanatics and spend a LOT of time on the DIS boards.

 

But, we do venture off to sail with other cruise lines. It is sometimes a relief and at the same time very exciting to try something new. It is good not to know what to expect at every turn - the way we do on DCL.

 

Still love them, though!;)

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I can't get enough of these Freedom reviews....your weather looked lovely. Very sad about the lil guy on the Disney ship...I pray he is okay.

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Looking forward to the rest of your review.

 

Thank you!

 

I love your review so far. My family situation is quite similar. My wife and I have cruised many times before, but finally took our two daughters on their first cruise a year and half ago on the Disney Magic. The whole family loved it. We board the Freedom for our 2nd family cruise on May 19th. Before that cruise on the Magic, our previous family vacations had been to Disney World twice. Thanks for the post and I look forward to reading the rest.

 

We are SOLD on RCCL, at least on Freedom. Usually I have to fight Jeff to rebook while on board, but this time he kept asking, "when is your appointment?" :D

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keep it coming' date='I am really enjoying your review so far :D[/quote']

 

Careful what you wish for! lol

 

Subscribing! Love your reviews :D

 

Thank you! I like to have fun with them! :p

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I know how you feel! We are Disney fanatics and spend a LOT of time on the DIS boards.

 

But, we do venture off to sail with other cruise lines. It is sometimes a relief and at the same time very exciting to try something new. It is good not to know what to expect at every turn - the way we do on DCL.

 

Still love them, though!;)

 

I love Disney too, but I really think they have outpriced themselves. Especially after discovering "the dark side" as some of my DIS board friends refer to other cruise lines! lol

 

I can't get enough of these Freedom reviews....your weather looked lovely. Very sad about the lil guy on the Disney ship...I pray he is okay.

 

I'm keeping tabs on him and follow his facebook page that his parents set up. So many people were attacking the parents, but ya know what? Right or wrong, there's a little person who will never be the same. He suffered a lot of damage. And those parents will always have to live with that. But for some reason, I think he will be that little miracle.

 

And our weather WAS lovely! Most of the trip.... da da daaaaaa.... more foreshadowing!

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Definitely subscribing to this one! I'm leaving in 13 days on Freedom of the Seas!!! Love it so far!

 

Is this your first time on FOS?

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Let me begin by saying that my husband pointed out, the night before our cruise sailed, "OMG, this is my first non-Disney family trip in SIX YEARS!" He was almost in tears he was so happy.....

 

But we were also nervous. See, we know Disney. We know Disney service. And we know they kick butt, in the parks, and on their ships.

 

 

 

This was us 4 years ago!!! :D

 

RCCL is wonderful (we just booked the Allure for summer 2014 - was afraid our cabins would sell out before our RCCL July 2014 cruise). We gave Carnival a try last summer mainly for the ports and missed RCCL so so much! Keep up the great review. :)

 

I love Disney too, but I really think they have outpriced themselves. Especially after discovering "the dark side" as some of my DIS board friends refer to other cruise lines! lol

 

 

Totally agree with you!!!

Edited by funfamilyof6

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It is possible to Over-Disney. I've been going to WDW at least once a year for 24 years but when I cruise I don't want to see any mice. Congratulations on branching out.

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We are sailing in two weeks, so you can bet I am subscribing!

 

We too are praying for the young boy who was sent to Arnold Palmer Hospital. Praying that he makes a quick and full recovery!

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We need more!! So far it sounds like you had a great time before the cruise. What happened on the cruise?? We sail Freedom in a month or so.

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We also have sailed Disney. Once on Wonder and once on Magic. Have Fantasy booked for this Fall but after sailing NOS last spring break we are seriously considering canceling Fantasy and booking the Freedom for this fall. The price is just so much better. Can't wait to hear more of your review.

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It is possible to Over-Disney. I've been going to WDW at least once a year for 24 years but when I cruise I don't want to see any mice. Congratulations on branching out.

 

Very true. I live 30 minutes from Disney and have lived in central Florida for 30 years. When I was little we had annual passes and would go sometimes twice a month to one of the parks. And now I know someone who works there so we are able to get in free and pop in for special events or just to see a new ride. But having been so much it does lose its excitement. Now we don't even bother going unless something special is going on.

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Let me begin by saying that my husband pointed out, the night before our cruise sailed, "OMG, this is my first non-Disney family trip in SIX YEARS!" He was almost in tears he was so happy.....

 

But we were also nervous. See, we know Disney. We know Disney service. And we know they kick butt, in the parks, and on their ships.

 

So would our first non-Disney cruise, this time on RCCL Freedom of the Seas, be able to live up to Disney standards?

 

Read on, young grasshopper, and let me give you a taste of FREEDOM!!!!

 

We are a family of 3 from South Carolina. We discovered cruising just 2 years ago when I booked a 7 night cruise on the Disney Magic after my husband said, "Can we please take a vacation NOT to Disney World?" So I said, "Sure! How bout a Disney cruise!!!!

 

He obliged, and we fell in love. But were we in love with cruising? Or Disney cruising? So we took another DCL cruise the next year, and then decided to find out for sure.

 

So we googled. We youtubed. We safari'd. We were basically vacation voyeurs. We wanted to check out all the cruise lines, all the ships and find one that we thought would come close to Disney so that we could experience cruising from another standpoint.

 

So we picked Freedom.

 

Why? Well, just look at the pics! It looks beautiful! It seems close to Disney in reviews. There is a lot to do. But is it too big? Will the service be as good? Will our 12 year old daughter meet other kids?

 

So, first things first. We had to pick a date. Well, why not make it our 3rd spring break in a row! And while we're at it, maybe I'll invite my inlaws..... :eek:

 

Yeah, you read that right. But it was before the doctor medicated me..... if ya know what I mean...... lol

 

And they agreed!!!! See, my father in law has given my mother in law several cruises over the years for Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary gifts. Yet they've never been on a single cruise. Ever. So I figured this might be a way to actually then them out there!

 

We booked this cruise in October, 2011, so we had loooooooong 17 month wait.

 

And then before you know it, it's here. The car is packed. And we're ready to roll.......

 

Meet Ally, my mini-me, only 11 when we left the house, but she turned 12 the day we boarded the Freedom!!!

 

DSC_0002_zps31ee122a.jpg

 

We really took the long way getting to the port this time. We have about an 8 hour drive, and with Disney leaving on Saturday, we usually head out about 4pm on Friday, get in about midnight, then we're dead on our feet the whole first day on the ship. But since Freedom leaves on Sunday, we decided to take our time. So we'd only drive 4 hours the first night, and stay in Savannah, GA so we'd only have about 4 leisurely hours on Saturday.

 

Now my inlaws left earlier in the day on Friday and decided to drive a bit further. But what should have been a 5 hour trip for them took almost 8 hours due to Spring Break and Easter traffic!!!! So our plan to leave at 5pm worked perfectly! Because our 4 hour trip took..... 4 hours!

 

No alarm needed the next morning as we got back on the road. Everyone woke up early because we were now officially on vacation!!!!

 

Traffic was heavy but we still made great time, and somehow passed my inlaws at their exit and about 1pm we saw THIS!

 

DSC_0003_zps11e01033.jpg

 

This was our second time staying her and it's just perfect. Waking up the next morning to see your ship out the window, nice hot breakfast, shuttle service, clean rooms and nice pool. Our room was not ready just yet, so we hung outside and waited for Nana and PapPap to show up. They were only about 20 minutes behind us......

 

Look who's here!

 

DSC_0004_zpsae4f9e1b.jpg

 

I think Nana may have been the most excited out of all of us. I think their last vacation (not counting visiting family out of state) was in 2006. So they were ready to get away from it all!

 

Who knew they would find a way to EXTEND our vacation by a few days....

 

da da daaaaaaaa..... that's foreshadowing. Remember it.

 

We were all starving so decided to head over to Fishlips at the port to see the ships.

 

That's funny because after 4times with Disney Cruise and I always want cruise with Freedom of the Seas and we booked it for my special birthday, that was two years ago and we did same as you, we stayed same hotel also we went along to Fishlip to watch the cruise sailed too...

 

When we were on FOS, and I thought no not for me because it was huge ship then my husband took me for walk around and end of our last day, we enjoyed it and we love promenade and we asked our kids which one best Disney or RC. They said they love both....

 

We find foods was better than Disney but I think Magic is hand down as it is my favourite ship...

 

Scottishwee35

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Anxious to hear more.....we sailed the Disney Fantasy last year and I've been nervous about our Freedom Cruise this year...mainly because of our 10 year old comparing everything to Disney.

 

I know one thing, my husband was looking forward to not having to go to all of the character meet n greets Disney has on their ships, until I told him this ship has Dreamworks characters! :D

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