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maxs mom

B2B On the Freedom ~ August 18th & 25th: My Diary

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Greetings Cruise Critic Family!!

For those of you that do not know us......we are Jane and John from North Carolina. We are Diamond Plus Crown and Anchor members. We are 60 somethings and this cruise was to celebrate my retirement. I retired in June after teaching for 40 years. We stayed home all summer until we found these two weeks on the Freedom for a great price. It was a perfect time to do a back to back.......the first week was when teachers went back to school, and the second week was when the students returned. Yay!!!

We used about 4 cameras and my iPhone on this trip and were trying out a brand new camera. I was pleased with the new camera. But somehow or another during the course of the trip.....the lens got a couple of spots on it and I didn't realize it, so I apologize for that. It's always something with my cameras!!

We left home on August 16th and drove to Brunswick, Georgia.......then drove the rest of the way on the 17th. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on Cocoa Beach and were quite pleased with this hotel. It is an older HI, but quite nice. It had a great pool area and there was a short walk to the absolutely gorgeous beach. They provided a decent breakfast as long as you didn't want bacon and eggs!

Here is the pool and the beach at the Hampton Inn:

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That night we went to Grills for dinner. I called ahead for call ahead seating since they don't take reservations on the day that you're eating. That worked out well. We didn't have to wait too long. We snapped this picture while we were waitingFreedomoftheSeasAugust2013039_zps5ae979e5.jpgI had the coconut shrimp and it was delicious!

Sunday ~ August 18th ~ Embarkation

We made reservations at Park and Cruise on line for parking our car for the two weeks. They are on Merritt island and very close to the port. We got to P&C about 10:30, got our car parked, luggage on the shuttle, and to the ship by 11:00 AM. We never had to touch or lift our luggage, which is a good thing, because since we didn't fly.....we brought everything...including the kitchen sink.

Only one problem. John left his sunglasses in the car.....so he had to ride the shuttle back to get those. I waited for him at the drop off point for about 30 minutes so he could retrieve those. It was here that I got the first good look at our ride:

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After he got back, we were in the security line in no time. Security wasn't bad at all.....no searches this time. We went up the escalator and straight to the desk for check-in......no waiting. The Welcome Aboard picture was made....and we were on the ship!!

Yay!! Love the Freedom Class ships, although our very favorite ships are the Radiance Class.

We went to the Champagne Bar to hang out until our cabin was ready at 1:00. I went up to make reservations at Chops, Portofino, and My Time Dining. We didn't have to wait in the CB for too long.

Ready for a great two weeks of fun and relaxation on the Freedom of the Seas!

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Edited by max'smom

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WOW FACTOR!!

Very nice start.

Freedom has a special place in our cruise history.

Congrats on retirement!

How lucky you are on doing the B2B.

Cannot wait to read more.

Very very nice start

Thank You

Sea Ya

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Soon we went to our cabin on deck 6......an E-1, mid ship....small, but OK....just forward of the hump. We will have to change cabins at the end of the week.....one problem for booking late. The cabin number was 6316, Starboard.

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This was our balcony:

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After dumping our stuff, we went to the Windjammer for lunch.....not my favorite....but on this ship....not much choice. We can usually find something good, though. I usually stick with a salad with a slice of whatever the carving of the day is. You can't go wrong with that. I grabbed a coconut ranger cookie, then we noticed people walking around with ice cream cones! Yay!! The ice cream machine was opened today. We made a bee-line to Sprinkles on the pool deck to get our cone......a favorite and a must every day!!

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Back at the cabin, we began the unpacking process. As soon as we had the carry-ons done, the big suitcases arrived at the door. Perfect.

Muster was at 4:00. It was hot and our station was outside, but things moved along fairly speedy.

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Edited by max'smom

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It doesnt get much better than this :)

 

One of my favorite CC reviewers about my most favorite ship so far!

 

Looking forward to more! Wonderful pics :)

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Yay! A new max'smom review! Was just wondering the other day when a new one would pop up. Congrats on your retirement! Can't wait to see which beaches you hit.

Edited by Canadian Tyler

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After muster, I went up to the Sky Bar to get my traditional sail away mojito!! I looked all around for other CC members, but never saw anyone. I took a few pictures of the sail away party. It was really nice with the DreamWorks characters.

 

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Thanks for the nice comments already. I hope I can speed up. As usual.....I am having a few issues with Photobucket, but I hope to iron that out!

Tyler.....stay tuned. One of the best beaches ever on the Eastern leg! I don't know if I want to tell anybody about it because it might get crowded!!

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For some reason, we were not sailing away! So I went back to the cabin. John said he thought he heard an ambulance. I saw some people getting off around 5 o'clock, then they hurried to cast off and we were on our way. Found out later that there was a medical emergency.

The view from our cabin:

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And we're off:

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We had beautiful weather for this sail away. We passed by Fishlips.....where the webcam is......

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Then Grills....where we had dinner last night:

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Lots of people were waving goodbye:

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We had some escorts:

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And then we saw an old friend......The Grandeur......there for a port stop. She was looking good!!! All cleaned up from the fire. Great to see her!

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Here we go!!!

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WOW FACTOR!!

Very nice start.

Freedom has a special place in our cruise history.

Congrats on retirement!

How lucky you are on doing the B2B.

Cannot wait to read more.

Very very nice start

Thank You

Sea Ya

 

Same from me! (Another Jane). Freedom does not as yet hold a special place in our cruise history. But, believe me I'm working on him! I mean it! Yeah it!! ;)

Edited by evelyn51

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Jane,

 

great start on your review. I can hardly wait for the review for the sailing on the Aug. 25th cruise since Phyllis and I were with you and John.

 

We had a blast.

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Got ready for the evening and went up to Deck 10 to the Concierge Lounge at around 6:30.

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The CL closes at 8:00 on this ship, so we had to go a little earlier than we normally would. There were a lot of things that were different on this ship than any other and it got to be a little annoying. Nothing major, and it didn't ruin our cruise, but still some things that were disappointing. I'll mention those as we go along.

Christopher was the bartender in the CL this week and he was one of the best ever!!

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As soon as we walked in....we met Willie, The Concierge. We had Willie back in 2005 on the Radiance in Alaska. He is also a special friend to one of our cruise buddies and she let him know that we were coming. Willie immediately grabbed my camera and set up a time delay picture so we could send it to our friend.

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Our drinks of choice!

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The ambiance in this Concierge Lounge is very nice. Low lighting, pillows in the chairs and couches.....all very cozy.

We went to Chops this evening and took advantage of our two for one coupon... the coupons are on your sea pass card now, and for the most part...I like that. You just tell them what coupon you are using and they swipe the card and it's all done. No more lugging around those booklets and filling the coupons out. It works well.

We had a wonderful dinner. I had the Chops salad, a petit filet, and.....of course......Mud Pie. I've said it before and I'll say it again......this is the reason I cruise!!

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When our waitress took our sea pass card, she offered to take our other sea pass card over to Portofino and charge our dinner there tonight so we could get two for one there, too......even though we weren't eating there until Thursday night. We didn't ask her to do that......she told us that she would do that. Great! That was nice of her.

We were pooped, so we went back to our cabin after dinner and in bed by 10:00!! We are such party animals!!

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Jane,

 

great start on your review. I can hardly wait for the review for the sailing on the Aug. 25th cruise since Phyllis and I were with you and John.

 

We had a blast.

 

Al......you were quick to find this!!! Yes.....I have some good pictures form the next leg!! I'll get there as soon as I can! Love you guys!

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Thanks for posting this! My DD and I were on this cruise -- and in the CL with you. It's so fun to relive our last cruise through your pictures :):)

 

Willie is the best!

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Jane, nice review!!! Waiting for more!!! I think that yours are the best reviews!!! Thanks for the special pics!!!

Leaving for Mass in the morning!! Can't wait to get there!!!

I'll be reading your review in the car, while 'our driver' will drive!!! :)

Do you know if Willie's going home this week?

Have a great Friday!

Franca

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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Thank you so much for doing another picture review......they are awesome :). I hope you enjoy your retirement too! I am looking forward in seeing which beaches you went to on the Eastern route as we will be going soon on the Freedom in October......so excited!

Edited by fish6

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Thanks everyone!! For some reason, I could not get on to CC last night. I'll try to get a little more done this morning.

Gerry.....I'm impressed! You're all the way up to 3 posts now! And yes.....it was a great two weeks. So glad to have met and hung out with you and Sandy. We'll definitely do it again!

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Monday ~ August 19th ~ Sea Day

Gotta love those sea days!!

Woke up early and went up to the Concierge Lounge for coffee, some quiet time, and journal writing. Met some lovely people here in the mornings. The morning people are mostly different from the evening people. I enjoy meeting and chatting with lots of folks.

This is the CL in the morning and the wonderful coffee machine. You can get all kinds of great coffee here, but I always get plain decaf coffee. It's all mighty good!

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Soon we were off to the Main Dining Room for breakfast. No Windjammer any more for this girl!! Don't like fighting people for a piece of toast. Now here is where we ran into our next disappointment with this ship. There is no D/D+/P area in the MDR for breakfast. Next to the Concierge Lounge.....this is my favorite perk of being loyal to Royal. Something else for the comment card. I guess there are just so many D/D+/P folks that sail on this ship that they can't do it. I just hate to have to explain all our quirks to a different waiter every morning. Oh well.......we ended up having breakfast this morning with two other couples and they were very nice. Breakfast was excellent.

The Meet and Mingle was scheduled this morning at 10:15 in the Olive or Twist Lounge on Deck 14. There was a very good turn out. I am always amazed at the number of people that show up that never posted!! That's not the point of this thing, but whatever.......

Katie, the Activities Manager, was there to run the show and she was delightful. She had us all introduce ourselves and she was looking for the most unusual screen name and she would give that person a bottle of wine. Actually I think there were two bottles. I think MaiTaiQueen won one of them, but I forgot who won the other one. Then she raffled off some other prizes. Some were crappy and others were not bad.

This is Katie. She had the best personality and really made me laugh.

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Other shots from the M&M:

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We stayed a little after the M&M and "mingled" a little more with a few people. We were chatting with Steve and Kay and they were telling us about the unusual JS that they had. They invited us to see it. It was actually a family JS and in the place of the walk in closet, there was a small room with bunk beds! They had about three or four other closets throughout the suite.....so much storage!! It was a really nice suite.

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They were lucky to have this suite for two weeks!

We relaxed and read in our cabin until lunch time. I just love this quiet atmosphere and the view out our balcony on sea days. You will not find me at that loud pool trying to read. Although the people watching there is amazing!

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We went to the Windjammer today for lunch........with about 10,000 other people!! Oh my!! Just too many people.....no place to sit.....ugh!! We figured out later that they had Chops open for D+/P folks to take their food to eat. That was much better, but we didn't know that today. Anyway....had my usual lunch. When I went for dessert, there was such a long line, no plates. I finally found a bowl somewhere and got a small bit of flan to taste. I've never been a fan of WJ desserts. I couldn't believe the people in front of me were piling massive amounts of desserts on dinner plates! The girl in front of me and I were disgusted. Sorry! We ended up sticking with Sprinkles for dessert the rest of the time.

Lots of reading time this afternoon. There were actually three ice shows today, but none of them were at convenient times for me. I never got to an ice show in the whole two weeks. I generally like those, too.

We hit the CL at around 6:30 tonight where we met our new cruise buddies, Gerry and Sandy.

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We were later joined by Brian and Barbara.......

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Both fun couples. That is one reason we love going to the CL. We meet the best people in there......well traveled......love cruising......fun to hang out with.

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Thanks for posting this! My DD and I were on this cruise -- and in the CL with you. It's so fun to relive our last cruise through your pictures :):)

 

Willie is the best!

 

I also split my time between the CL and DL. I like the DL view the best if it is not too crowded. Bertie did a great job in the DL. I cruised B2B with Willie in January. I will miss his music in November, but Rahul will take his place this Sunday for a few months, and I have cruised 6 other times with Rahul. This will be my 11th cruise coming up on the Freedom. Have not booked yet, as I will do that about two to three weeks before the cruise. I wish I had made contact with everyone. H

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Thanks everyone!! For some reason' date=' I could not get on to CC last night. I'll try to get a little more done this morning.[/size']

 

Gerry.....I'm impressed! You're all the way up to 3 posts now! And yes.....it was a great two weeks. So glad to have met and hung out with you and Sandy. We'll definitely do it again!

 

It was great to see you at the M&M and the picture you took of us and the girls was great. My camera did not take that good a picture. Sorry we did not get to set together in the CL. Sometimes I went there by myself, because Joyce was getting the girls ready before she came to the lounge. I did have a good conversation with the lady that had the dog. She was very nice, and still recovering from the effects from her car crash. I think the dog was allowed because of that condition. She also came into the DL, but did not bring the dog there. She did have a joke about the dog being Pinnacle (actually was given a pinnacle card on the dogs collar). She said while they were D+ the dog got "dog year" credits so he got to the level quicker.

 

I hope we will get to cruise together again in the future. Maybe we could go to Chops together. H

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We are sailing on Freedom next week,,,Sept 15,2013,,,yes, we have been on FOS before, looking forward to chnges you mentioned,,,WOW, no more coupon books.

You never mentioned Diamond Lounge, only Concierge Lounge. (we are diamond plus) and so far, we prefer DL, because it is airy, with lots of windows...

Once again, we will be meeting in person on Indy 12-7-13...

In ref to Chops, we love RED VELVET CAKE,,,however, I will try MudPie, on your recommendation. I remain,,,aka The Godmother Tobyhilda

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Just a note - there IS a Diamond breakfast area on Freedom. It is a side dining room just off the MDR. We had to ask for it when we were onboard since there was no mention of it and no sign. We ate there 3 or 4 times and each time there was only one other table of people in there.

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Just a note - there IS a Diamond breakfast area on Freedom. It is a side dining room just off the MDR. We had to ask for it when we were onboard since there was no mention of it and no sign. We ate there 3 or 4 times and each time there was only one other table of people in there.
Once we found this we had breakfast there every day, love it. I had forgotten about it, so glad you reminded me as we are sailing 10/27.;)

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Congratulations on your retirement Jane! I'd love to be able to retire someday, but probably won't. :rolleyes::p

 

Thanks for doing this report! Really looking forward to the next installment!

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Thanks so much for doing this review. I'll be doing the same B2B trip on the Freedom this December, also doing the Hampton Inn for a few days pre-cruise. Glad you enjoyed it.

 

Congrats on the retirement!

Edited by dreamer976

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OK....back again for a little while!

 

Harry.....Glad we got to meet you briefly. Would love to have dinner in Chops with you some time. Hope we can cruise together again!

Tobyhilda......we love the Red Velvet Cake, too! But that Mud Pie is just special!! Looking forward to meeting you in December!

wolfganghowell......That breakfast area was NOT available on these two sailings. Yeah....that side area is where it has been on every other ship. There were just too many D/D+/P folks on these sailings. The first week we were on there were 11 Pinnacles and the second week there were 13 Pinnacles. And a whole bunch of D and D+.

The DL is certainly nice and we enjoyed going in there during the day from time to time. I just like the coziness of the CL. The DL was just too crowded in the evenings. This week the CL was fairly empty. The next week, it was really busy every night. Both Willie and Berty are fantastic.

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Thanks so much for doing this review. I'll be doing the same B2B trip on the Freedom this December, also doing the Hampton Inn for a few days pre-cruise. Glad you enjoyed it.

 

Congrats on the retirement!

 

Glad you will be able to stay at the HI for a couple of days. That will give you enough time to enjoy that beautiful beach and relax. (Also eat some great seafood!)

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Glad I found this thread today. I'm looking forward to read it as I don't have a cruise to look forward to for several months. And I love these Freedom class ships!:)

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Thanks for the review, forgot to say that! :) Bummer on the breakfast area - seems like if there were so many onboard they should have not only opened it up but expanded the area. Weird decision there.

 

I hope you will do an Independence review since we will be on her after you. Would love any info on the CL and the concierge onboard as well as the entertainment in the various lounges.

 

Congrats on your retirement. I'm starting to reach the age where instead of "dreading" retirement, I am looking forward to it! :D :D

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So this was the first formal night.

Enjoying ourselves in the CL:

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Around 8:30 we head down to Deck 5 for My Time Dining. The traditional late seating on this ship is at 8:00.....again.....something different. We never had to wait to be seated on either week. This week we were seated in one of two places, so we got to bond somewhat with our waitstaff and they were great in both areas. Tonight we were seated all the way at the end of the dining room on the little balcony that was all the way aft. Really cool place to sit. There were two tables for two there and one table for fourteen. Our waiters were excellent in the fact that they didn't get all bogged down with that table for 14 and forget about us. They always made sure that we were served first. Great job!

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I had the delicious filet of beef tonight and the strawberry cheesecake....also excellent.

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The only dessert John likes is sugar free chocolate ice cream. They had that tonight! Yay! On some ships they gladly bring it to him every night and on others they act like we have just asked for the Failsafe Launch Codes!! He was able to get it most nights on this sailing, but hardly ever on the next sailing. That's partly our fault......we should have sought out the Headwaiter and arranged that with him......but we never saw a Headwaiter this cruise!

After dinner we wandered through the casino and tried out a few slot machines. I thought I had found a neat little 25 cent Wheel of Fortune machine, but the max spin was 15 credits so I lost $20 fairly quickly. John found a machine that hit some kind of Wild Thing and he was able to win a little money before we retired for the evening.

Another thing different on this ship.....or maybe with this new smoking policy.....they are doing this on all ships now. There is smoking all the time in the casino....whereas Formal nights used to be non-smoking there. It made it very hard for us to stay in the casino for any length of time. But that might be a good thing!

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A couple of questions, please. If D+ and P were eating breakfast and lunch in Chops, then I assume suite pax were in Portofino? That is a suite perk we really enjoy. Also, what were the CL and DL cocktail hours, please? I have read on other threads that on some of the cruises it was 4:30-8PM. I much prefer the usual 5-8:30 PM.

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Glad I found this thread today. I'm looking forward to read it as I don't have a cruise to look forward to for several months. And I love these Freedom class ships!:)

 

Hey There! Nice to see you! Always enjoy chatting with you here and there.

wolfganghowell.....I so agree with you on them opening up an expanded area. It just didn't make any sense to me. Love the Independence and she was all gussied up right after we sailed on her last....so I'm looking forward to getting back on board. Raj Bugwathe is one of the Concierges and he will be on when we are there in December. We've sailed with him a few times and he is great!!

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