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MrsKC08

They were right...I was WOW'D!!-Freedom of the Seas

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Cant wait to hear about your cruise

 

Thanks for joining the fun here on my review.

 

Me too, I loved Freedom back in 2008 and would love to see how she looks today. I've been on Allure twice, Majesty twice and soon to be Jewel twice. I would love to go back on Freedom again, I think the only thing stopping me was the Port Canaveral location, but I'm up for trying it.

 

Oh you must find the time to sail her again. I'm sure she has changed a little since you last sailed her. Canaveral works good for us cause it's an easy day drive! :)

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Subscribed. We leave on FOS in 5 days! Can. Not. Wait.

 

Oh wow! You will LOVE your cruise director. I personally think he is the BEST in the business, but that is all I am going to say now (Don't want to jump too far ahead in my review).

 

Want to try a Freedom class ship sometime too!

 

Allure and Majesty each once, and have Serenade this July!

 

Looking forward to this review!

 

Freedom is the first RCCL ship I have done, and I simply love this ship. I hope you get a chance to sail her.

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Oh! I SO want to do Freedom! But DH is a worship pastor and so two Sundays in a row are very hard for him to get away. (On his part! loves his job! :p) Our next cruise, Enchantment, we are taking our dear friends (the pastor, wife & kids) with us for their first cruise!

 

Can't wait to read your review!

 

I can completely understand that it would be hard for you to sail on Freedom with her Sunday to Sunday schedule and it looks like that is what it is going to be for the unforeseen future. Maybe there will come a time or way for you to get a chance to sail her, if not FOS, maybe her sister Indy or Liberty.

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Lynn -- we sat right next to you, on the balcony railing, in the MDR! We were the couple with the two 19-year-old girls. Saw you taking some food porn pictures, and am glad I'll be able to re-live my dining experiences, as well as the rest of the wonderful cruise, through your photos!

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I'm looking forward to the rest of the review. Freedom is very high on my list of ships for future cruises. :)

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I so understand how hard it is to undergo in vitro. We went through it twice, the first one we didn't get pregnant and then we did a frozen cycle and had my son. We are celebrating his 11th Birthday on Freedom of the Seas next week!! Just know that God hears our prayers.

We then went on to have two other children naturally. So keep your head up because God has a plan for your life. :) Best wishes!!

 

 

Can't wait to read your review!!

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I so understand how hard it is to undergo in vitro. We went through it twice, the first one we didn't get pregnant and then we did a frozen cycle and had my son. We are celebrating his 11th Birthday on Freedom of the Seas next week!! Just know that God hears our prayers.

We then went on to have two other children naturally. So keep your head up because God has a plan for your life. :) Best wishes!!

 

 

Can't wait to read your review!!

 

This post made me smile! :D

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Lynn -- we sat right next to you, on the balcony railing, in the MDR! We were the couple with the two 19-year-old girls. Saw you taking some food porn pictures, and am glad I'll be able to re-live my dining experiences, as well as the rest of the wonderful cruise, through your photos!

 

How funny. What a small world! I think that Ken spoke with your husband the last night outside the ladies bathroom after the Farewell show before dinner. I think he said that you guys were doing another cruise in January?!

 

Oh, we were so close! Your daughters were lovely and your husband cracked me up..."sourdough rolls" :) They were good!

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Planning and Preparing

One thing you should know about me is that I am a super planner, and not the "tell me where I need to be and I will be there" type, but the "list for my lists" type. You know the kind I mean...the ones who have to know everything there is about something and then make full blown agenda for my trip. I want to get the most of my vacation and not miss out on anything, if I can help it. So from the time we were moved from the Dream to the Freedom in January right up until the Friday before our cruise I researched and planned and then researched again anything and everything I could about Royal Caribbean and the Freedom. Just about every day during my lunch hour you could find me right here on CC. Some days I would be lucky enough to find a review of FOS and when I couldn't find a new review or even an old for that matter I would read and follow reviews of other RCCL ships.

 

Then I came across this awesome review of Gambee's on the Allure of the Seas. Remember me mentioning that when I couldn't find a new review of FOS I would read other reviews? Well, this was one that I stumbled across and immediately subscribed. There is a reason why it is a 5 star review and if you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend that you do even if you aren't sailing on an Oasis class ship anytime soon. He will have you hooked from his first post. Anyway, I was drawn in and spent hours reading and following this one little review that just kept going and going. I said to myself, "this is the way to do a review and that's the kind of review I want to do."

Finding out that I was not the only person who makes calendars and has folders for his trip made me feel like I was more sane than many of my friends and family thought I was when it comes to my cruise planning and preparation. I have to admit something here... you see I borrowed his spreadsheet for the weekly calendar. I searched and searched for cruise compasses to get some sort of start on my schedule and made mine. So, about a month before our cruise I had created a schedule for our week.... do you think that we stuck to this schedule?-stay tuned to find out.

Flash forward to two weeks before embarkation:

A co-worker of mine was booked to cruise on the Carnival Liberty sailing out of Miami the week before our cruise. This was her first time doing a 7 night cruise and her first time to St. Thomas and Turks and Cacaos which are two places we have been, so she found her way to my office several times a day to ask me questions and just talk cruising. It made for great days in the work place, that's for sure! Some of her questions were:

1)-How many suitcases do you take for a 7 night cruise?

Answer- We usually have 4 pieces of luggage (2 standard suitcases, 1 smaller carry on size and 1 garment bag). Plus a carry on for our swim suits and medications and things we might need before the luggage shows at our cabin. We normally pack the two larger ones leaving room to pack any souvenirs we might purchase or DOD glasses to bring home. Of course this wasn't the case for this cruise. We actually had 5 pieces (an additional garment bag).

2)-How do you dress for your formal nights?

Answer- We take advantage of dressing up. Where else do we get to get dressed in evening gowns and tuxes? Besides, it is fun.

3)-How much cash should I take for shopping in port?

Answer- Really? This is a question that I just can't answer. I was actually kind of amazed that she asked me this.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Packing...

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me I get a thrill when packing for a cruise. I don't know if it is the anticipation of putting outfits together and thinking about the different happenings that might take place on the cruise and what the best attire would be for each occasion or what, but I just simply love this part of the preparation. Besides, it often gives me the excuse to go out and buy something new or in many cases...quite a few new things!

 

 

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All our clothes laid out to prepare for packing.

This particular cruise I ended up buying a couple new dresses, a new pair of heels for formal nights, a new pair of flip flops and even managed to get Ken a few shirts and white pants. My big purchase for this cruise came just THREE days before we left for Florida...my new Camera! :D

Yes, I had a digital camera, and a digital video camera but for months and months I had been wanting to take the leap and purchase a dslr camera but just couldn't get my head wrapped around spending that kind of money for a camera, especially since I am in no means I professional photographer. I'll be honest, I don't really know a whole lot about photography or exposure, aperture, and all those other technical terms. I just love the art of photography and always wanted to have the ability to take some really good photos and have more flexibility than what I had with my old point n shoot camera. In my quest to try and find a good camera that would be budget friendly as well as user friendly I had pretty much settled on getting a Nikon and there were a few times that I almost purchase the D3100 or D3200 camera kit, but then something kept holding me back. In the many days that I kept following Gambee's Allure review the one thing that kept coming out of my mouth was how incredible all his photos looked. I wanted photos of my cruise that looked like that (I know, I am really reaching here). When I went back to his review and read his post regarding his camera I started doing my research. It was just my luck that the week before my cruise I actually found this camera on a great deal on Amazon and just couldn't pass it up. BUT, I needed to make sure that I had it delivered before I left for our trip. I mean, the whole point was to be able to take these great photos while on our cruise, right? SO, after spending and additional $50 for over night delivery, I received my new Sony NEX-F3 camera on Thursday at work. In other words, I needed to give myself a crash course on how to work this camera to make the best of the photos I would be taking of our trip.

Ok guys...it's off to bed for me now. Getting back into the swing of things after a week off really gets to you quick. I will be back tomorrow with another installment.

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Looking forward to the rest of your review! Nice work so far!

 

My fingers are crossed for you as well--I know the heartbreak of miscarriage all too well and I hope your next cruise includes one (or more) little ones. :)

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Last work day pre cruise:

Going to work this day was probably completely useless. I know that I was not really productive at work, but who can blame me? I will be on a ship for a full week and that is really all I can think about. Things running through my head like, “Did I pack everything that I wanted to pack including all the documents?” Getting my lists checked off what a big thing today. I had to prep the dogs for the time we were gone. Our wonderful neighbors graciously offered to watch our fur babies so that we didn’t have to board them. This was a huge weight off of my shoulders. Dixie is perfectly fine with boarding, matter of fact in some ways I think that she enjoys it. I guess it is kind of like a summer camp for her where she can go and socialize with other four legged crotch sniffers! J Savannah on the other hand is our little mini diva. She has never been boarded simply because we are so afraid that it would break her little heart. She can barely stand staying at the groomers for a couple hours that I know if we left her in some kennel overnight, let alone an entire week she would probably just go into her shell like a turtle and be depressed. I then of course would worry and not fully enjoy my trip. Anyhow, they were going to be able to stay in their own home and have people that they knew care for them while were away. YAY! After going through all our “to-do’s” we probably fell into bed around midnight, but really…how could I sleep?

 

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Saturday morning (ONE MORE DAY):

We woke up very early this morning and left our house just before 6am. We decided that we would make a quick breakfast stop at a Burger King or something along the way, we just didn’t want to waste any time getting to our destination. Our entire conversation that morning went a little something like this…

Ken- “I wonder what we will be doing this time tomorrow.”

Me- “Well, you will probably still be sleeping and I will be out trying to get some glimpse of the ship from our hotel room window.”

Ken- “Not hardly, I will be awake long before you and I will get the first glimpse of the ship!”

Me- “Now you know that I don’t sleep the night before embarkation! I will be ready bright and early.”

 

 

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I can’t remember what exit we got off to get the Burger King, but in all our discussions about what we were going to do when we got on board and things we wanted to make sure not to miss (remember my schedule I made) we completely passed it and had to turn around. We actually probably should have taken this as a sign because the food we got was not very good and the service was horrible.

 

I guess it was about the South Carolina/Georgia line where we hit the rain and it stayed with us until Daytona Beach, FL. Let me tell you that it made for a long drive and normal conditions would have probably been a depressing drive but all we could think about was what we were heading for and that just kept us smiling and even though we had all that rain we made pretty good time getting to the hotel around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

 

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This particular cruise we decided to do a hotel package that included the parking for the week so that we could get well rested after our drive. Out of all the area hotels that provide this option, we chose the Radisson at the Port. Normally we drive down to FL and stay at my dads who lives Umatilla, FL and then he drives us to the port on embarkation day. If we are sailing from Fort Lauderdale, we simply drive down the morning of from his house. Our plan was to have my dad meet us at the hotel and the three of us would go over to Fishlips to have a late lunch and watch the Disney and Carnival ships go out.

 

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Our first glimpse at ships in Port Canaveral (on the way to hotel)

 

Radisson at the Port:

I really had no idea that this hotel was as big as it is, but when I say it was HUGE I can assure you that I am not exaggerating. It is only 2 stories but it spans quite a large area. Our check in was seamless or so it seemed (more to come on this later) and our room was very nice. The bed was so comfortable, matter of fact it was probably the most comfortable bed I have slept in at a hotel. I’m assuming that all of their rooms have the sleep number beds, at least our room did.

 

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(Ken and his phone, what is he going to do without it for a full week?)

 

 

Ugg, this 6 picture limit is going to drive me nuts!

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My dad met us a little after 3 and we were on our way to Fishlips. You really can’t go wrong with Fishlips or Rusty’s as they are both very good and have a beautiful view of the inlet where you can sit and watch the ships. It’s funny, after spending about 30 years living in central Florida and going to Jetty Park frequently growing up, I had never been to either of these places until I started cruising a few years back. Kind of sad to think that I missed out on both of these little local treasures. Anyway…because of the incoming rain storm, we decided to sit upstairs on the deck where it was covered in case the little shower popped up and it was a good thing we did because we weren’t there long before it came in…

 

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And then just like that…it was gone and the skies were beautiful for the cruisers going out Saturday afternoon!

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We had a nice lunch. The crab legs were sooo good! Then we watched both the Disney Fantasy and Carnival Dream sail off into the sunset and talked about how we were going to be doing that same thing in 24 hours!

 

After they left we did one of my favorite things…PEOPLE WATCH! Since the Kentucky Derby was playing there at Fishlips there were a ton of ladies in their different hats. Oh, and ran into a couple from Cruise Critic.

 

Back at the hotel we parked ourselves at the Tiki Bar and met a nice couple also from Cruise Critic, Don and Karen from New York. They were so friendly and we really enjoyed visiting with them, but before we knew it it was time to retire for the night. We said our farewells to dad and our “see you on the ship” to Don and Karen and went back to our room.

 

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Thank you so much :) I am trying to talk DH into doing the Western itinerary again, especially through RCCL because of Labadee, but he is just not wanting to do Mexico at all! Eastern has been our favorite port for so very long.

 

 

 

Wasn't she a beautiful ship? I'm sure that the feeling is mutual for most who sail on her.

 

Can't blame him, we are also sick of Cozumel . Been there to many times, so now we do a room service breakfast on the balcony and watch everyone scramble off the ship, then leisurely make our way to the hot tub and solarium before heading off the ship for an adult beverage at Señor Frogs, do a little shopping then right back onboard to an almost empty ship. It seems the vendors are way to pushy so we do our own thing .

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My dad met us a little after 3 and we were on our way to Fishlips. You really can’t go wrong with Fishlips or Rusty’s as they are both very good and have a beautiful view of the inlet where you can sit and watch the ships. It’s funny, after spending about 30 years living in central Florida and going to Jetty Park frequently growing up, I had never been to either of these places until I started cruising a few years back. Kind of sad to think that I missed out on both of these little local treasures. Anyway…because of the incoming rain storm, we decided to sit upstairs on the deck where it was covered in case the little shower popped up and it was a good thing we did because we weren’t there long before it came in…

 

8743046898_40453739b9_c.jpg

 

And then just like that…it was gone and the skies were beautiful for the cruisers going out Saturday afternoon!

 

8743046702_4c3e816008_c.jpg

 

 

We had a nice lunch. The crab legs were sooo good! Then we watched both the Disney Fantasy and Carnival Dream sail off into the sunset and talked about how we were going to be doing that same thing in 24 hours!

 

After they left we did one of my favorite things…PEOPLE WATCH! Since the Kentucky Derby was playing there at Fishlips there were a ton of ladies in their different hats. Oh, and ran into a couple from Cruise Critic.

 

Back at the hotel we parked ourselves at the Tiki Bar and met a nice couple also from Cruise Critic, Don and Karen from New York. They were so friendly and we really enjoyed visiting with them, but before we knew it it was time to retire for the night. We said our farewells to dad and our “see you on the ship” to Don and Karen and went back to our room.

 

8743052344_eae4517962_c.jpg

Hey Lynn,

Great review! Can't wait to see the rest of it.

 

It was so nice meeting you guys as well. We enjoyed our time talking with you at the Radisson and meeting your dad.

 

This turned out to be one of our best cruises yet, although the most rainy by far. Absolutely LOVED Richard Spacey...he was a blast.

 

Happy sailing...

Karen

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So many fantastic, glowing photo reviews lately....and this looks to be another one. Can't wait to read the rest! :)

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Nice Review and Nice Pictures! I will be on Freedom in October.

I am right down the road from you in Matthews! :cool:

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I'm mainly here for the pictures to refresh my memory as it will be 2015 at the earliest we return to Allure. . :D Though I am curious of one small thing. When I was on Freedom it was her 100th cruise and she looked great. The only bad thing was the miniature golf course. The equipment was in tatters and the green was coming up all over the place. We ended up having one ball go under the carpet and down into the superstructure of the ship! I assume they have repaired that.

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Your doggies are so sweet!

 

I would have never guessed from her picture that Dixie is an outgoing socialite! :D

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Enjoying your review so far. We sail in September with same ship and same itinerary. Looking forward to the rest of your review. I am already so excited I can't stand it, but I am sure your account of your cruise will only increase my anticipation.

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Great job so far, I love a review with lots of details and lots of pictures!! I'm considering the Freedom for our next cruise so I'm really looking forward to your review, it's my research. :D

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FINALLY!

 

The day that we had been waiting for and eagerly anticipating for months had finally arrived. Once up and showered we made our way over to the restaurant in the hotel lobby to have a nice hot breakfast. As hotel meals go, this really wasn't bad at all. We had eggs made to order (from the omelet station), bacon and sausage and there of course were other offerings as well. We were already in cruise mode so our mind really wasn't on food, but we wanted to have something in our tummies because we knew that we had a big exciting day ahead of us. After breakfast we went back to the room, gathered our things and made our way to the lobby to check out. Ken had to go move the car from the hotel parking lot to the cruise parking area over by the adjacent convention center.

 

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From Hotel to Boat:

 

I have to say that we were incredibly impressed with the hotel and their shuttle service. Poor Ken was so afraid that even though we had reservations for the 10:30 shuttle that we might not get on that shuttle and it would be later but actually we were on that first shuttle and were leaving the hotel by 10:15! They procedure is to call everyone by name and lead you out to the shuttle bus where you give your luggage to the nice men who load up the trailers which are hooked to your bus and then you take a seat on the shuttle. I give a huge applause to these guys, I mean they really had this down to a science.

 

Before you knew it, we were turning in toward the terminals and we could see our ship!

 

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Although we were there relatively early, there was a ton of people already in lines and working their way through the security to get upstairs to check in. Now, I don't have any photos of the terminal and that is basically for two reasons. 1) I was in charge of keeping all our documents together and dealing with a carry on and 2) I was too excited about getting on that ship! I guess in a way I was also afraid of dropping my new camera and that would not have been a good thing. Besides, seeing the inside of a cruise terminal is kind of boring when there are so many more interesting things to photograph...am I right? :p

 

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Now, I know that many of you cruise with your passports and honestly I know that we should to. I can't tell you how many times we have told ourselves that we will get a passport before our cruise and then something always happens and we wait to late to get it done. Soo, we are those people that travel with our birth certificates. We have never had a problem with this and frankly has always been very smooth...except this one time! The following is what happened...

 

Rep: "Good morning MrsKC) Do you have your marriage license."



Me: "Actually, I do."

Rep: "Thank you, but I see you went from (maiden name) to (previous last name) to MrsKC?"

Me: "Yes, that's right. I was married before."

Rep: "Um, do you have your divorce decree?"

Me: "Seriously?"

Rep: "Well, if you don't have it it's ok, but if you do I need to see it."

Me: "Luckily I do have it, but I have NEVER been asked that before on any of my previous cruises."

 

Thankfully all our documents (birth certificates, marriage license and my divorce decree from years ago) are all in the same place and I carried them with me this time. It just absolutely amazed me that they even asked for that. SO...I'm sharing this bit of information for any others who travel with their BC's instead of a passport or passport card. Honestly, after this incident the passport is at the top of our list before next year's cruise.

 

Anyway...once it was all said and done and we were checked in and received our SeaPass cards it wasn't long before we were in front of the backdrop for our Embarkation photo and walking the gangway.

 

I checked our watch and it was 11:15am on the nose when we walked onto the ship!

 

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And guess where Ken's first stop was...

 

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Sorry that I haven't updated my review/trip report. I have been sick all weekend with some kind of bug so I have been flat on my couch. I promise to get to it this afternoon when I get back home!

 

Thanks for following my wonderful cruise!

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