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April-in-NC

Freedom June 9: Fun with a Ring, Seasickness, Pulled Hamstring & Bruises

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Background:

 

This was my fifth cruise (third with RCI) and Andy’s first. We have wanted to take a trip together for a while, but I just started a new job in December and didn’t have vacation time built up and wasn’t sure when I would be given permission to take time off.

 

I am 32 and Andy is 35. We have been dating for a year and a half and this is our first trip together that didn’t involve visiting parents. Andy proposed on Friday afternoon before we left (squeeeeeee) so this vacation is extra special for us.

 

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This is the largest ship I have been on, I still can’t decide if I want to try Oasis/Allure. I cruise for the itinerary over the ship (but it is important too) and I can’t get excited about their itineraries yet. The amenities of the Freedom do make the bigger ships tempting. We didn’t have time to do everything we wanted.

 

I am a planner (I plan corporate meetings and events for a living) and Andy doesn’t plan two days in advance. His only request was that he could feel like he was living a Jimmy Buffet album, so that pretty much left everything wide open as long as he could find a drink and sand somewhere each day.

 

I chose the Western itinerary because my last two cruises where Southern and the stopped at St. Thomas and St. Martin. I loved both, but I wanted a change so I went with the Western route. At the time I wasn’t super excited about some of the port stops but I knew we would have a great time regardless.

 

We booked this cruise at the end of April, so my planning abilities was put to the test since this was a “last minute” cruise. Previously the shortest planning time I had was 7 months. I had everything booked and confirmed in less than a week! I had the advantage of being to two of these islands before and I had started looking for excursion back in January, so technically I guess it did take longer… lol

 

Our scheduled excursions are:

-Labadee: Parasailing

-Falmouth: Dunn’s River Falls and White River Tubing (Jamaica Cruise Excursions/Island Marketing, Ltd)

-Grand Cayman: Sting Ray City + 1 Additional Snorkel Stop (Captain Marvin)

-Cozumel: Cozumel Mini Submarine Adventure (Cozumel Cruise Excursions/Island Marketing, Ltd)

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Saturday, June 8th: Travel/Radisson at the Port

 

We were surprised that it was cheaper to fly into Melbourne (MLB) instead of Orlando, but we saved over $100 per ticket AND had more convenient flight times and associated layovers. We flew roundtrip on Delta. Flights were uneventful and quiet (all the kids fly with their parents into Orlando) and our luggage arrived.

 

I was able to take advantage of a corporate discount to get the one way car rental thru Avis. The daily rate was $45 (including taxes and fees but not including fuel). It only saved us about $15 over a shuttle, but since we were staying one night in Cape Canaveral the flexibility and independence made the inconvenience worth it. We didn’t use more than a gallon or so of fuel so I didn’t even bother to fill it up when we turned it in, the gauge still said full!

 

We stayed at the Radisson at the Port on Saturday night. We were able to take advantage of an industry rate and got a room for $70 per night (plus tax) for a king room.

 

The hotel was nice enough but not great. Check in was hectic with a lot of people in the lobby waiting for a shuttle somewhere (a lot of them had been drinking and were a bit rowdy). The gentleman at the front desk was friendly but rushed and the map he gave me to find our room was not easy to understand.

 

This hotel is made up of a series of outbuildings surrounding a wonderful pool area. The property needs some updating but it looked in great shape maintenance wise. The pool area is definitely the highlight of this property.

The room was nice, a Sleep Number king bed, and the standard hotel amenities. I did not notice a safe in the room but their website said they have safe deposit box in the lobby.

 

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After checking in we headed to Grills for dinner. It was raining which made Grills pretty crowded as people were trying to stay under cover, but the drinks were wonderful and the food was good.

 

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Sunday, June 9th: Embarkation

 

We left the hotel around 10:00 and headed towards Dunkin Donuts for breakfast (along with everyone else in the area… lol). We turned in the rental car and waited for the next shuttle to the cruise pier. We had to wait about 20 minutes since we had just missed the last one.

 

Oh… I forgot… Near the Radisson there is a McDonald’s, a restaurant next door and a mini golf course all within a block. If you have a car there are several beach stores (towels, snorkel masks, etc.) and grocery stores within a mile or so of the hotel. The hotel is in a very convenient location…

 

We arrived at the port around noon to a pretty long line to get into the terminal building. It moved at a decent rate but I think they need a better people management system. The Gold check in line was pretty quick but I think we had a new agent because she was all over the place and didn’t remember to use her camera to take our sea pass pictures until I reminded her.

 

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We were on board around 12:35 and we headed to the Royal Promenade to wait for the rooms to open up. Most people seemed to head straight to the Windjammer because the Café was not overly crowded (still seats available).

We originally booked an OV on Deck Two to use my RCI Visa coupon. The sailing was fairly pricey at the time we booked so we had to pay a bit of money on top of the coupon (max value $2,500). We considered upgrading to a balcony, but at the time it was $600 total and I could not justify the additional expense.

 

I kept checking prices and I was very excited to find a few balcony guarantees open up a few weeks after we booked. We were assigned a cabin on Deck Six all the way forward and I was a bit disappointed to be that far forward (but I knew what I signed up for). The next day I called in to the 800 number and I was able to switch to a cabin right by the forward elevators.

 

I LOVED the location of this cabin. We were in 6246 right above Sorrento’s and right behind the elevator lobby. We did not notice any noise inside the cabin but we could hear the party music and parade music if we were in the hallway. We did not notice any noise or increased traffic being close to the elevator either.

 

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Note the full size sofa in this cabin, that is not a loveseat...

 

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The balcony was also bigger than I expected. It looked big enough for a lounger...

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Wine/Liquids and Security

 

We only brought on one bottle of wine, but we also had a 12 pack of bottled water and a 12 pack of bottled Diet Mt. Dew.

 

NO ONE even blinked. I didn't get asked to open my suitcase (it was all in my rolling carry on), I didn't get asked what I had, nothing...

 

Exploring Freedom

 

After we unpacked our carry on bags we decided to skip the madness of the Windjammer and have Sorrento's for lunch before we went exploring. The pizza was better than I remember on the Serenade and Monarch but still not great pizza (but we still ate it a few times during the week).

 

I won't get into a venue by venue photo tour... Other posters have done the same thing much better than I can so you can hunt for those if you need more information. lol

 

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As we stopped by the Sky Bar for a drink I did notice that the cooler bags are available. I saw a bartender with one on this sailing but I did not notice any passengers that bought one. That being said I didn't spend a great deal of time by the pool during the week so who knows...

 

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Any got a kick out of drinking in church... lol The Skylight Chapel is actually a lovely venue and perfect for a small wedding.

 

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Cigar Menu for those who have been wondering... Andy did a Scotch and Cigar tasting ($30 per person) one night when I was sick and really enjoyed it. The price also included a cupcake as a palate cleanser.

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Loving your review - we board the Freedom on Sunday. Thank you for the wine/liquid update - seems to be so many different experiences.

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Enjoying your review and photos. We were on the Freedom a few weeks before you were and LOVED it. We can't wait to go back in February for Valentines day...

 

By the way, Congratulations!

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Congratulations on your engagement!

Loved the report and loved the photos. We'll be going on FOTS in October - first time on FOTS.

Thanks for posting.

iuki

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Sunday, June 9th: Embarkation

 

I kept checking prices and I was very excited to find a few balcony guarantees open up a few weeks after we booked. We were assigned a cabin on Deck Six all the way forward and I was a bit disappointed to be that far forward (but I knew what I signed up for). The next day I called in to the 800 number and I was able to switch to a cabin right by the forward elevators.

 

I LOVED the location of this cabin. We were in 6246 right above Sorrento’s and right behind the elevator lobby. We did not notice any noise inside the cabin but we could hear the party music and parade music if we were in the hallway. We did not notice any noise or increased traffic being close to the elevator either.

 

The balcony was also bigger than I expected. It looked big enough for a lounger...

 

Yaay!! We're sailing this Sunday on Freedom and did exactly the same thing. I initially booked an inside room and then watched the prices carefully, when I was balcony guarantees were the same price as what I paid, I called and got switched to a balcony guarantee. We've been assigned 6266, just down the hall from where you were, and I couldn't be more excited!!

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Thank you for the cigar menu!!! Great job!

 

You are welcome! I know on another thread a lot of people were asking for one... I will try to dig it up later and post the picture there as well.

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Monday, June 10th: At Sea

 

We got up around 8:30 and headed to the Windjammer for breakfast. It was insanely crowded and hard to find a seat. Food was okay, but the bacon that morning was barely cooked (I prefer my bacon on the crispy, but not burnt, side).

 

We then headed out to the main pool for about half an hour or so before moving down to the Solarium for the more comfortable lounge chairs and more peaceful atmosphere. The super prime chairs were pretty much claimed by that time but we still found good seats on the main level in both pool areas. I only saw minor evidence of chair hogs, most chairs were occupied or their occupants in the pool.

 

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A little before noon Andy went down to enter the Blackjack tournament (he was a few minutes late and missed it) and around 1:00 I headed to the Windjammer for lunch. Again, super busy and crowded…

 

All day the ship was rocking and rolling more than normal. Andy even asked me if the movement was normal and I told him it wasn’t too bad but worse than I remember it being before when I sailed out of PC to the Bahamas. It was a windy day and there were white caps on the waves and we were fighting the current.

 

We had reservations to the 4:30 ice show. It was pretty good (with a few cheesy segments) and I was impressed at the stunts they were able to do on such a small rink on a moving ship. It was one of the better shows I saw over the week, but I didn’t get to see that many. The guest act for this sailing was a "quick change" couple that was pretty neat. I couldn't figure out how she was doing it...

 

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We had late seating in Isaac’s dining room. The dining room is beautiful, probably the prettiest one I have been in. During dinner there was an “Alpha Alpha Alpha” call over the intercom, I never found out what that was all about. Is that a medical emergency code?

 

Monday was the first formal night...

 

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About halfway through dinner I started feeling bad so after dessert I went back to the cabin to lay down. I took some drammamine but by 10:30 I was revisiting my dinner selections. I was sick until about 3:00… Andy tracked down a green apple and crackers (the apple didn’t really work but the crackers did help some). I guess the full day of rocking and rolling in the waves finally caught up to my stomach.

 

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Our first towel animal of the week!

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First, congrats on your engagement!!!

 

Second, I'm so sorry that you ended up sick after dinner. Never a good way to spend any time, let alone vacation time.

 

We love FOS and sailed her twice last year, and are heading out on her again last week of August. Love reading reviews when I know exactly where everyone is at each point in the review.

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Congrat's on your engagement! It's a beautiful ring.

 

Great review so far - although I'm really sorry about the night you were sick, poor thing.

 

Keep it coming,

Mary

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Tuesday, June 11th: Labadee, Haiti (8:00-4:00)

 

I woke up feeling better but not quite back to normal yet. I ate a few crackers took some more Dramamine and choked down some toast for breakfast before we headed off the ship.

 

Andy told me that while I was sick he had gone down to the Art Auction and had “won” a Tweety Bird animation cell. *smacking forehead* I had forgotten to warn him about that… He liked the art and he was pretty proud of himself but I think he did have some buyer’s remorse after the fact.

 

We signed up for the 10:00 am parasailing tour. I have wanted to do this on all of my cruises, but I could never get anyone to go with me. Either it was out of their budget or they were scared of heights. Andy had done this before but was willing to go with me again. The tour price was $79 per person and we reserved this online the same day I booked the cruise.

 

I liked the 10:00 option, it would allow us to sleep in a little and still get the excursion “out of the way” so we wouldn’t have to watch the clock the rest of the day. I was surprised when I booked the amount of times still available when I booked online.

 

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We walked around for a little bit before heading over to the check in center. Once we got there we were told they had a mechanical malfunction and asked us to move to a later time. Since my stomach still wasn’t at 100% I was fine with that plan so they moved us to 12:20.

 

We headed over to Columbus Cove to hang out in the water. It was a beautiful cove and not TOO crowded, but there were a lot of people. Andy tried out my snorkel mask and saw a few things near the rocks but nothing too terribly interesting. He did manage to get a picture of a live Tulip shell (one of my favorite shells) but he didn’t know what it was.

 

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After spending a little bit of time in the water we decided to go grab lunch and explore the Artisan’s Village. I only ate a few bites of lunch before my stomach decided it wasn’t ready for food yet… Everything looked good and Andy really liked the ribs.

 

I was surprised by the variety and quality of the crafts available (we only did the building by the tram station, we didn’t walk up the hill). Yes there were the standard t shirts and shot glasses, but I bought a beautiful carved stone leaf (the stall also had stone fish, starfish and hearts). I can’t remember what kind of stone it is but I love it!!!!! I also found Christmas ornaments made out of scrap metal (I collect Christmas ornaments).

 

After making our purchases we headed back to meet up with our excursion group. When we checked in again and we were told it had been cancelled due to weather (high wind and rough seas). There was barely a breeze at the time and the seas looked pretty calm to me. I was disappointed, but since I still wasn’t feeling 100% I figured it was no big deal we could try to book something on another island or just do it on another trip.

 

As soon as we turned around to go back to the ship we looked out to sea and there was a boat with a pair of parasailers high up in the air, apparently without a care in the world. That made me a little angry and I felt like I had been lied to. If there was a mechanical issue (like I had been told earlier) then fine, but don’t blame it on the weather if there isn’t actually a weather concern. The mechanical issue is a safety issue and I am fine with that, but please, just be honest with me. /end rant.

 

After getting back on board we hung out in the hot tub for a little bit and had an ice cream cone and got ready for dinner. I was able to eat some of my dinner but it still wasn’t sitting well on my stomach and we skipped dessert.

Edited by April-in-NC

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Congratulations on your engagement! The ring is beautiful. By the way I love your nail polish color. :D

 

I sailed Freedom in 2009 and can't wait to sail her again next month.

 

Looking forward to reading more of your review.

Edited by Mel8730

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Thanks everyone for the well wishes and congratulations! I'm trying to balance work, cruise review, unpacking and the start of wedding planning (we want to get married this January or February) this week and it is exhausting... lol I haven't even fully unpacked yet...

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Wednesday, June 12th: Falmouth, Jamaica (10:00-7:00)

 

Once again I woke up feeling better, but not 100%. I managed Fruit Loops and a little watermelon for breakfast and felt pretty good.

 

The last time I was in Jamaica (my first cruise) I wanted to climb Dunn’s River Falls, but I also wanted to avoid the crowds so I decided on a different excursion. That turned out to be a big mistake, I should have stuck to with the tried and true.

 

This time I knew I wanted to find a private tour company that would take us to Dunn’s River and River Tubing. I decided on Jamaica Cruise Excursions (Island Marketing). This is the tour we took: http://jamaicacruiseexcursions.com/FalmouthTubingDunns.htm.

 

The price was $88 per person and we had to pay 20% as a deposit when we booked and the rest they asked be paid in cash the day of. It was a little expensive, but considering the drive time and two different activities I felt it was worth it. A similar ship excursion was $119 per adult (it did include lunch). So between the two of us it saved $62 on the tour, not including any food purchases.

 

Another feature we liked is that our guides would take pictures of us throughout the day (both at the Falls and on the River) and those picture CD’s would be available for $20. Before we went on the tour I felt it was a reasonable cost for a variety of pictures, especially if they included action shots that included both of us. The problem is that this service was not provided, but it just saved us a little money.

 

Freedom was the only ship scheduled to dock in Jamaica (including Ocho Rios and Montego Bay) on this day. I had very high hopes that due to the overall lack of passengers and the distance from port that the Falls would be much be less crowded than normally reported.

 

Docked in Falmouth:

 

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Island Marketing farmed this excursion out to Peat Taylor Tours and we had Peat Junior (or PJ or Repeat) as our driver for the day. There was two other people on our tour (a mother daughter pair) so it was the five us in a sedan. PJ narrated a bit as we drove to Ocho Rios (about 45 minutes or so). We were on a highway that was well maintained and I didn’t see any of the potholes that was a problem on my first trip.

 

When we got to the Falls he turned off the car and gave us the scoop on how to do the falls and what to expect from the locals in the straw market. He warned us not to touch something as many locals assume that is a completed purchase and he warned us that when people ask for your name they will have it carved in something before you can finish and then you would feel pressured to buy the item. He told us if we weren’t interested in shopping to walk right through and just say “No thanks” and most people would let you go without a hassle. He was right, we had a lot of “Come in and look” but we didn’t feel unsafe or overly hassled.

 

Entrance to the Falls:

 

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There are lockers available at the park but we didn’t use them (I think the cost was $8 and you got $5 back when you turned in the key). We left everything locked in the car with PJ.

 

We were asked to pay our own entrance to the falls (then the amount was deducted from the balance owed) which was $20. We were given a wrist band and led into the park where PJ hooked us up with a guide.

 

Getting ready to climb:

 

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After a few minutes we all walked down the stairs to the base of the falls and started climbing. It was so much fun!!!!! The guides had many photo ops for us and used our own cameras to take pictures of us. Our climbing group was pretty friendly and we all took turns taking other pictures for each other.

Since we were the only ship in port it was less crowded than some of the pictures I had seen online but there were still a lot of people there.

 

I do wish I had been brave enough to say “no” to using a guide and just climbed on our own. It was easier than I expected and I found it easier to climb without holding a stranger’s hand (but he was very nice hand gave me a hand when I needed one). The guides made me feel a little rushed to keep going and so we didn’t get to “stop and smell the roses” as much as I would have liked. Overall Dunn’s River Falls was a very good experience and I would do it again.

 

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Natural Slide:

 

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Coming up after falling backwards into a pool of water (intentionally):

 

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You can definitely get a wedding planned that fast. I got engaged in February and we are planning a wedding for this November. And just about everything was already done. Picking an "off season" like Jan/Feb definitely helps with the ease of the planning and usually comes with discounts!

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After meeting PJ back at the top we set off through Ocho Rios to the White River for a short river tubing trip. This part of the tour was a little more awkward (but still relaxing). Our guide for this portion didn’t even introduce himself until the end which I thought was strange.

 

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We were dropped off at a small building right above the river where we could get drinks (including beer) to take with us. We were each given a tube and asked to carry it down the steps to the river bank. Our guide helped us into the tube (this time it was just the four of us from the car, no random people in other tours like at the falls) and pushed us off into the current.

 

There were several places of “rapids” and a faster current. I would say Class I rapids at a guess, they were big enough to make it fun but not scary at all. Most of the trip was a gentle float down the river for about a mile.

 

Typical "Rapids":

 

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About half way through we pulled off into a bend where there were some rope swings and a platform for jumping (none of us did). There was a small photo hut where you could buy photos and a small hut for beer and souvenirs (mostly carved wood pieces). They would deliver any purchases to the pick-up location to keep them dry. The pictures they took were horrible; all of our faces were shadowed so it wasn’t worth the $4 for the 4x6. This was the most awkward part of the whole day, just the four of us with a soft sell to buy something but we didn’t have any money with us other than cash for the tip.

 

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Overall this was a great tour. PJ was great about keeping us informed and entertained and he gave us some tips that helped me feel safer and more comfortable in the straw market at the falls. I would do these activities again if I go back to Jamaica.

 

After being dropped back off at the pier we did some shopping while a thunderstorm passed through. I bought two beautiful wood fish that appear to be hand carved (if they aren’t please don’t tell me… lol) and Andy bought some cigars and Jerk seasoning. There is a lovely store there where they let you sample the rum and the Jerk BBQ sauce so you know exactly what you are getting. It was very helpful and probably caused us to spend more than we normally would have.

 

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We got back on board and got cleaned up and wandered around the ship a little. We played some shuffleboard (I won) and saw a beautiful rainbow spread from the water into the port area. I’ve only seen a few full rainbows before and I hated that I didn’t have a camera with me to document it.

 

Dinner that night was just okay, once the ship started moving again I started feeling bad again so I left after the appetizers and told Andy to stay and enjoy. Our waitress sent back my dinner and a balloon dog with Andy to help me feel better. That was very nice of her.

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Have you ever been sea sick before on a cruise? Were the seas pretty rough?

 

Two years ago on my Serenade cruise I got sick twice on the smaller excursion boats, but not on the ship itself until this cruise.

 

The first sea day was pretty rough, we were going against the current and it was very windy (there were white caps everywhere on the waves) but I didn't get sick until later that night.

 

I did buy some sea bands on the ship (about $11 I think) that did help as long as I kept them on.

 

I think my sickness lingered more in my head than my actual body. I just didn't trust my stomach after I got sick on Monday night. After Grand Cayman I felt fine the rest of the week (other than right after our Cozumel excursion) and didn't wear the sea bands.

 

I think the next time I cruise I will try to get a prescription for the patch as a precaution. At times I felt worse about being sick and "ruining" our vacation than actually feeling sick if that makes any sense.

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Thursday, June 13th: George Town, Grand Cayman (8:00-4:00)

 

I woke up this morning feeling normal so we had a quick breakfast in the Windjammer (I stuck with Fruit Loops again this morning) before heading down to get in the tender line. They cleared the ship a few minutes before 8:00 and I think we were on a tender by 8:15. The Compass said the first tender would leave at 8:30 so they were running ahead of schedule.

 

The first time I was in Grand Cayman (my first cruise) I was interested in doing Sting Ray City, but my sister and friend were both scared so we didn’t go. This was on my must-do list for this trip.

 

I selected Captain Marvin because of good reviews and he offered an industry discount that no one else appeared to give. In order to maximize beach time (I knew we wouldn’t get any beach time in Jamaica) we decided on the two snorkel tour, the stingray sandbar and Coral Gardens.

 

Here is a link: https://www.captainmarvins.com/two-stop-stingray-snorkel-tours. This price is $38 per person. Similar ship tour was $75 per person (total savings of $74, not including the discount).

 

Again, Freedom was the only ship scheduled to be in port today, so our main concern was doing an early excursion to avoid the ship tours.

 

Captain Marvin’s was very easy to find. Walk down the pier outside the gates and it is on the corner to the left (at least where the Freedom tenders docked, worst case scenario is you walk two blocks to the left if they use the other dock). We checked in early so I had time to do some shopping at the store next door. I bought a Christmas ornament, a beautiful picture frame made of sea glass and seashells and a stone sting ray before the bus was ready to leave.

 

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They loaded us up on the bus and drove us to the marina where we boarded the “Oh Boy” for the morning. I didn’t count how many were on our tour but it was a full boat (but not overcrowded at all). It was a nice calm boat ride to the snorkel stop, it probably took about 20 minutes or so. They handed out flippers and masks and we hopped in the water. There was a large variety of fish (more than I expected) and some nice coral. I felt like we had plenty of time to see and explore over the reef.

 

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We got back onboard and did a quick hop over to Stingray City. There were a lot of boats at the sand bar and I was worried that it would be too crowded to enjoy but I was wrong. Plenty of sting rays to go around and once everyone got their first look our group spread out just a little bit as we took turns holding the sting rays.

 

The rays were bigger than I expected and a lot heavier than I thought they would be. Their skin felt like a dolphin, soft, smooth and yet firm.

I wish we could have spent more time there, but we had enough time for everyone to get time with the animals and hang out in the water.

 

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After we got back to the dock they had several buses heading in different directions including one that dropped us off at 7 Mile Beach. We didn’t specify where to go so they dropped us off at Royal Palms Beach which had a $2 per person entrance fee. We had lunch (we split a hamburger and fries, water and 2 rum punches was $46 US dollars) and spent some time in the water before grabbing a taxi back to the pier. We did not use their chairs since we would only be there an hour or so.

 

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Back at the pier the line for the tenders was long (I think we got there around 2:00, maybe 2:30) but moved fairly quickly. I let Andy hold our spot in line and I browsed in a few shops but didn’t find anything I had to have. We did get some really good gelato while we waited in line. I think a small was $7 each. We finally got on board about 3:15.

 

Tonight was the second formal night. Andy and I looked like lobsters because we forgot to reapply sunscreen. Fun. We went to watch the sunset on outside decks while we waited for dinner. Sunset was later than I was expecting and I was getting irritated because we were going to throw the dinner service off schedule by being late. He kept saying “just one more minute” and I was mentally tapping my toes.

 

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Finally, just as the tip of the sun went below the water, there it was. The green flash! I saw it!!!! WOOHOO!!! Andy didn’t see it which was too bad since he was the one who wanted to stay and watch the sunset anyway. lol

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Tonight was also Quest. I was tired, but I knew this activity would be right up Andy’s alley. He is much more outgoing than I am and I knew he would end up participating in one way or another. He ended up being one of our team captains. Lol

 

Without getting into too much detail that may ruin the game for others. Andy managed to pull his hamstring in the last challenge. He had no shirt on, my strapless bra on his head and he tried to do the worm (which pulled his hamstring somehow). I laughed so hard!! Well, not at him getting hurt, but the antics leading up to the injury.

 

Today is the first day my stomach has felt normal all day since I got since on Monday. I did wear my sea bands on the boat, but the water was pretty smooth. I took them off to shower in the afternoon and forgot to put them back on. I didn't wear them the rest of the cruise. Woohoo!!

 

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Edited by April-in-NC

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Thanks for the review - we're heading out this Sunday and your pictures are getting me so excited for our trip!!!

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Friday, June 14th: Cozumel, Mexico (10:00-7:00)

 

Cozumel was the hardest port for me to figure out. The original plan was to swim with the dolphins (I loved doing this at Blue Lagoon in Nassau) but I just couldn’t get excited about it. I believe the main issue was we can’t bring our own camera in the water (we could at Blue Lagoon) and pictures are insanely expensive at over $100 for a package. I finally narrowed it down to the Mini Sub and a few 4x4 tours that included snorkeling and made Andy decide. lol Andy decided that the mini subs looked like something the Jetson’s would have, so that made the decision for us.

 

We booked the Cozumel Mini Submarine Adventure with Cozumel Cruise Excursions (Island Marketing) and it does not look like this was offered through RCI at all, so it is hard to determine a cost savings. The helmet dive is the closest I could find and it was $99 per person. We paid $74 and get to use the resort facilities (but not the pool) for the whole day when we are finished. We saved $50 and probably got a better tour than what is offered by the ship. Here is a link to the tour we took: http://cozumelcruiseexcursions.com/cozumelHelmetDiving.htm.

 

The tour did not include transportation so we paid $10 (including tip) to get us to the Hotel Cozumel. It took us a second to find the check in place, but once we were there everything was a breeze. The agent explained how everything worked and showed us where we would start the tour and showed us around. Lockers are available, but we left our stuff at the hut with the other dive team members.

 

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Because we showed up early they went ahead and put us on an earlier excursion which opened up more time for us to do other things. I was a little nervous about being completely underwater, this would be the deepest I’ve ever been.

 

They lift the scooter into the water and we climbed down a ladder and swam “under” the helmet and popped our head up into the air chamber. There is a scuba diver there with you and will help guide your head in so you don’t get hurt. Once you are inside you pull your body forward until it is sitting on the seat. The diver will ask you if you are okay with a hand sign. If you are good to go you flash the “ok” sign. If you are not good you give the “thumbs up” sign and that means you need to go back to the surface.

 

All of these pictures are from my camera, I haven't uploaded the "professional" pictures to Photobucket yet.

 

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