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FOS 9/14/14 Review with photos!


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I know a lot of reviews have already been posted for this particular sailing but I wanted to post one of my own! It's going to be a giant wall of text with a bunch of photos from each day included. I tend to be as descriptive as possible so read if you'd like, if not then just enjoy the pictures ;)


I have most everything typed and images in place it's just a matter of pasting everything here and adding captions to the pictures so I'll be posting a little bit at a time this evening.

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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route



Day 1 – 9-14-14.



We only live about 2 hours from Port Canaveral so we got to sleep in a bit and left about 8:30am. Traffic is excellent at this time on a Sunday morning so getting over there was a piece of cake and took less than 2 hours. Heads up if you’re driving on 528 as they had a speed trap setup on the way over and way back where it drops down to 50-55mph. They kind of changed up the process of things at Port Canaveral regarding parking/dropping off luggage and seemed to be still working the kinks out. Normally in the past you’d pull through the gate and grab a ticket, drop off your luggage, and then park your car and you were done. Now they have you dropping off luggage first then pulling up to an actual manned booth where you must pay the parking fee up front before you enter the parking area. It used to be that you would pay upon exiting after your cruise but I guess too many people were skipping out on paying. The baggage drop off area seemed to be understaffed and no one seemed real motivated to come help you. I offloaded both of our suitcases from the car and dragged them up to the curb at which point someone did take them. In the past they have run out and helped unload instantly – maybe they were still getting used to the new system? Who knows? After the luggage was dropped off we paid the $120 for parking and found a nice comfortable spot on the first level of the parking garage. No line and no wait entering the doors of the building (probably because there was a line of traffic still waiting to offload luggage – hah) they just asked to see our passports and Set Sail paper. We made it through security and checked in within about 15 minutes and were on the ship by 11:30. We walked around snapping some pictures and enjoying how empty the ship was for about an hour and then went to the WJ for some lunch. Was by no means empty there! After lunch we found a nice quiet place to relax and wait for the staterooms to open. This was our first time in a promenade room – 7287. I enjoyed the layout of the room more than an interior room and it was nice to see what was going on downstairs without leaving the room. We booked it under that ridiculous sale last year ($369/pp) which was great but I don’t think we’d pay the going rate for the room over a normal interior room. After checking the room, meeting our stateroom attendant, and getting our stuff unpacked it was about time for the muster drill so that’s always fun. After that we grabbed some drinks and headed to the front of the ship. There were more people on the helipad than I’ve ever seen, the ship was packed. We found a nook a little further back with a good view and no people. After the ship cleared Jetty Park we went off to the back and watched the Disney ship which was right behind us. It was time to get cleaned up, have some dinner, and see what was going on. We normally don’t eat in the MDR and just stick to the WJ, so we did just that. We did the Majority Rules game show, enjoyed some time in the casino, and then had a drink in the schooner bar before calling it a night.


So close.




We can finally see the ships in the distance!




Inside the cruise terminal in line waiting to get seapass card and board.




Not too busy, there were about 100 people in front of us.




View of the other ships in port that day.




Empty pool deck area, this didn't last long at all!



Yikes! Didn't realize you could only do 6 images per post.. This may take a little while!

Edited by thegima
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More empty pool deck..




View from the front of the ship heading out to sea.




Part of the terminal, unloading area, and parking garage in the back.




Empty put put area.




Empty sports court and rock wall area.




We watched this runaway cart hit the wall and that piece of luggage go flying off and hit the ground. Was glad it didn't go in the water!


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Day 1 WJ madness!




So much luggage in the WJ on day, I don't know how or why people carry that much stuff on with them!




Long narrow corridor of deck 7.




Promenade stateroom.




View from window (taken earlier while still in port)




Another view from window (taken later once we left)


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C&A Offerings




Leaving Port Canaveral




Good picture of the terminal and parking garage while leaving.




Wave to the folks at Fishlips!




New terminal that is under construction.




Jetty Park was not that crowded.


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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route


Day 2 – 9-15-14.


We decided to sleep in relax today knowing there was a ton of stuff planned for the evening. After breakfast we went up to the pool deck and got some fresh air and sun for a few hours. We walked around the ship exploring to see if anything had changed from the last time but everything still looked the same. Before we knew it dinner time was upon us! I told you it was going to be a relaxing day. After dinner we got cleaned up and hit the schooner bar for a few drinks before the welcome aboard show. We got a preview of the comedian at the show and he actually looked funny so we decided to enjoy some more casino time before the comedy show which was at 11pm. After losing some money in the casino we grabbed some more drinks at the schooner bar and headed back to the theater for the comedy show. I can’t remember his name for the life of me, but he was pretty funny. Upon returning to our room we found that our stateroom attendant had left us a towel animal frog alongside our day 3 cruise compass!



Not many pictures from today but some!







Her drink (schooner bar)




My drink (theater)




Welcome aboard (blurry)




First comedian.




Our first towel animal of the cruise.


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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route


Day 3 – 9-16-14.


Today we are in Haiti! Last time we picked the beach under the zip line and didn’t really enjoy the water on that side. It looks like they’ve added open air beach cabanas of some sort on that side now, not sure as we didn’t even walk over there this time. This time we booked it straight to Columbus Cove and grabbed two loungers in the shade/sun. We were about 20 feet away from the bar, a short walk to the bathrooms, and a little further walk to the buffet area. Great spot! We spent most of the day on the beach and in the water at Columbus Cove. Later in the afternoon we walked around the market and went out to the Dragon’s Lookout – last time we were there this was closed for whatever reason. I asked the guy sitting under the umbrella out there if this had been closed in the past and he didn’t really want to talk so I left him alone. Back on the ship we got cleaned up, had some dinner, and headed back to our beloved schooner bar. We made friends with one of the waitresses/bartenders Barbara, she made really consistent drinks and was always smiling and had something funny to say. We showed up late to the battle of the sexes game show and just sat in the back – they had plenty of people participating. It’s always fun to watch. After that we called it a night.



Obligatory FOS in Haiti picture.




Welcome to Labadee!




View from lounger.








I plan on editing some of these and having them enlarged.




Nice shot of the beach/zip line.


Edited by thegima
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Will probably edit the people/sign out and have this enlarged as well!




Dragons Breath




Wish I was there now..




So nice.




So, So nice!




This was looking out to sea from the Dragons Breath area.


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Ship peaking over the hills from Dragons Breath area.




FOS packing up, about time to leave.




Tractor pulling a ton of food back to the ship.




Schooner bar later that evening enjoying the entertainment.




Battle Of The Sexes!


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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route


Day 4 – 9-17-14.


Today we were in Falmouth, Jamaica. We had every intention of booking an excursion and finally getting outside the port here but again it didn’t happen. Probably my fault, I wanted to wait until we got onboard to book something and we just forgot about it until the night before at which point we couldn’t decide what to do. We woke up and decided that we were going to try the Great House & Plantation tour with lunch if they had any availability, and the Martha Brae Bamboo Ride as a second option. We went down to the guest relations desk and attempted to book the tour excursion and were told that it was too late to book on the ship and we’d have to go into the port and find tour guide and check the availability. I thought this was a little odd but we quickly got off and attempted to find the guide. We walked around for about an hour asking a number of tour people and none of them had any idea what we were talking about. We got back on the ship and headed back to guest relations to see if there was someone else that was more helpful. We spoke to a manager or supervisor it looked like, he quickly was able to pull up the tour and informed us that there was only one slot left available. I’m not sure why the first person wasn’t able to do this but it would have saved us from that wild goose chase. Sadly at that point it was almost 11:30 and we didn’t have enough time to make it back out even if there was availability in the bamboo rafting excursion. Oh well. We got back off the ship and explored the port some more and snapped some photos. I was looking for a specific watch and had intended on buying it in Grand Cayman but figured I’d look while we were here anyway. After being told “you don’t want that one, you want this” a couple of times I decided I wasn’t spending any money there. I actually found it in the last store I was in but the sales guy was really obnoxious and kept trying to steer my fiancée away so he could deal with me while she was harassed by someone else about diamonds. Finally said forget it and just left. We went up to the top deck, sat in some loungers, and did some people watching for the remainder of the day. The Disney Fantasy was also in port that day so we watched people go down the water slide and got to hear the horn as they were leaving -“It’s a pirate’s life for me. The weather was turning bad and it started lightning and like crazy later in the afternoon followed by some rain. We went down to the pool deck and watch the ship leave out of the weather. The most exciting part of the day was our reservation at Portofino’s! We had never been there and I’ve read so many good things about it we decided to give it a shot. On top of that I had recently read that it may be getting removed during the dry dock at the end of the year. Needless to say, it was amazing. I got the T-bone and she got the skewer and it was probably the best food we’ve ever had. Our servers name was Kumar, he was very enthusiastic and explained things so that we understood what everything was. There weren’t too many people in there the night we went, only about 3-4 other couples that I could see. Overall it was a really great experience, the food and service was outstanding, and the atmosphere was perfect! We finished up dinner and went to the love and marriage game show which is always one of our favorite shows, this time was no different. Good fun. We returned to our stateroom and found what looked to be a seal towel animal on our couch with glasses on and remote in hands watching TV. After that we called it a night!


Not many pictures today.


The port.




Dark clouds rolling in.








Appetizer @ Portofino




T-Bone - god that thing was good!






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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route


Day 5 – 9-18-14.



Grand Cayman today! The original plan was to find the watch I was looking for, visit Rum Stop and purchase some alcohol, and then take a cab to 7mile beach and walk around. The WJ was packed that morning and it took a bit longer to eat breakfast and get off the ship. The line for the tender was quite long and it took a good 45 minutes to actually get over and out of the port area. We took a right outside the port and walked the sidewalk down the main road there until we came to the little snorkeling place / restaurant (Paradise) I think it was called. We snapped some photos and looked at the snorkeling options for next time. They have lockers and snorkel gear right on the spot there although I heard a bunch of people complaining about cheap / leaky gear. We made our way across the street to the little local market they have setup and browsed the goods. It’s mostly the same stuff you’d find in any shop but finished differently and maybe a cheaper price. We stopped a couple of the watch/jewelry stores along the road and didn’t have any luck – the lady even called the other locations and no one seemed to have this watch. It’s not even special edition watch or anything, just a specific color/band Citizen watch! We stopped in Cariloha and looked at their products and I’ll be honest, their bamboo sheets look amazing. My fiancées parents bought some a couple years ago and always mention how great they are although $200 bucks seems a little steep but I’ll probably cave and order them online pretty soon. We ended up looking at Philip Stein watches for her, the shop was nice and clean and the woman that was helping us was really friendly. She still wasn’t sold on them and wanted to read up a little more before making a purchase. We made our way to the last (and smallest) Kirk Freeport store near the port and there was literally 2 customers walking around and probably 20 employees standing there just waiting to help. They were real friendly and greeted us and told us to let them know if we needed any help. A lady from the other side of the store walked over and asked if we needed any help as we made our way past the Rolex watches. I may have disappointed her when I mentioned that I was looking for a Citizen watch but she knew the exact watch I was talking about and told me they had one. Sure enough they did, exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even have to ask, she took 35% off the price and it actually came out cheaper than the one in Jamaica so I was happy that I found what I was looking for. By this time it was about 1pm and we decided not to make the trip over to 7mile beach because we didn’t think that would allow us enough time to really do much there. Looking back, I wish we had just hopped in a cab and went so we knew what was out there for next time. We ended up walking back down the road and looking in some of the souvenir shops, the Guy Harvey store (which was pretty cool), and some of the other little random stores. It was getting closer to the last tender back to the ship and we wanted to avoid the mass exodus and lines that form so we just headed back over to the ship a little early. We were both starving by that time and the WJ was pretty empty so it worked out good. We found a nice seat near the glass and watched Grand Cayman get smaller and smaller as we sailed away. Back on the ship we planned our evening which included the Friendly Feud game show, and then the Quest game show. It was our first time attending the Friendly Feud show and we found it to be quite fun. The couple sitting next to us had one of their numbers called and the guy said “no way, I’m not going up there”. His wife or whoever grabbed the ticket and ran up there in his place and then a round or 2 later the ticket he now had (hers) was called and he ended up having to go up there anyway. Good fun. We always end up getting garbage seats for the Quest show and can never see what’s going so we made it a point to get there early and get good seats and we did. Never a dull moment during that show, although you can tell a lot of the people know what to expect when some groups already have shoelaces in their hands before they say it. That is a tad bit annoying but it honestly didn’t take away from the show. I do wish RC would either add more questions into the mix or allow them to change it up a bit because people are starting to bring fake teeth just to win. It was late, we were exhausted so that was all for the day.



The tender ride over.




Such a nice looking ship.




Guy Harvey store.




View from Paradise.




Grand Cayman lizards. Bigger than most in FL.




Anyone catch the irony here?


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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route


Day 6 – 9-19-14.


Today was Cozumel and I was looking forward to this day the entire cruise. We had a fantastic time in 2012 at Nachi Cocom so we tried to book it again and sadly it was full the day we were there. We decided to give Mr Sanchos a try as we’ve heard mixed reviews about crowds and it not being as quiet as Nachi we wanted to see for ourselves. We made the reservation online and put down a small deposit with the remaining amount due upon arrival. Our cab driver walked us up and escorted us through the area where the vendors are right to little desk where you get the arm band. Gave them the print out and money and we in! We were given a quick tour around the facility, shown where the bars/buffet/restrooms were and then assigned to a waiter, Juan. He asked if we would prefer loungers or the sit up table, we took the loungers right on the beach. No less than 5 minutes in we both had drinks. We realized after getting some chips & salsa the loungers were no ideal for eating so we grabbed a table directly behind the loungers. This worked great because we used the loungers and the table! When we arrived the place was empty but as the day went on it filled up a bit. I wouldn’t say it was really crowded but there was a good bunch of people there. We got approached a couple times by the excursion folks who wanted to take us parasailing, snorkeling, give massages, and all that good stuff. We declined everything and they were very polite and told us to enjoy our day! I have to say, the excursion guys at Nachi were a bit pushy but these folks just went about their business. We had the little mariachi band come up and setup right next to us and ask if we wanted music, fiancée said yes! They asked if we wanted “happy” or “romantic”, she said happy and they were off! They played for a good 3-5 minutes right at our table, it was nice. I slipped the guy a $5 and he thanked us and moved on. Some other people were complaining that they were expecting tips after playing. I don’t know, $5 bucks to tip some guys for playing music at your table is a small price to pay considering you’re on a vacation that cost thousands of dollars but who am I to judge. Some of the other folks walking around were showing off parrots you could take photos with an the iguana with a diaper on. They never approached us but it was neat to watch people’s reactions when he put the iguana in their hands. The food was great, there was a buffet with pre-made quesadillas, tortillas, chips, salsa, beans, rice, and a few other things. You had the option to walk up and get your own plate or order it right off the menu from your server. Some of the items listed on the menu were made fresh and not available at the buffet, the coconut shrimp for example was only available off the menu. The drinks were weak to mild in strength but they tasted good. I tried their long island iced tea and the flavor was a little bit off but pretty close, the strength was really weak though. Fiancée ended up enjoying the “Mango Madness” while I really enjoyed the “Banana Mama”. I saw the servers actively telling people from the pay as you go side they weren’t allowed on the AI side. It was actually nice because there were available chairs on the AI side while the pay as you go side looked a little bit crowded. The beach was good enough. It was slightly rocky the first 5-10’ into the water but past that was nice and sandy. I snorkeled a little bit and saw a few fish but nothing too great. I wasn’t expecting much from the snorkeling so no disappointment there, if your primary goal is snorkeling then look elsewhere. The service was fantastic, it was a good atmosphere, the beach was nice, no shortage of food and drinks, and just an overall good experience. I will agree with a lot of reviews I’ve read that Nachi is a bit quieter and laid back but Mr Sanchos is not bad by any stretch. Upon leaving we bid farewell to Juan and I slipped him a $20 which was appreciated. I thanked him for the great service and told him we’d probably see him again in 2 years and he told me not to wait that long! As you leave the vendors try and sell you their products much like when you’re walking through port only not nearly as many. Most of them were starting to clean up and couldn’t be bothered to get your attention which worked out nice. There is a small cigar shop at the end but I have no idea what they have inside. There was a line of taxis outside waiting when we were ready to go, no trouble getting a taxi at all. We made it back to the port in no time and looked around for a little while trying to stretch out the time we had as much as possible. Honestly we didn’t want to leave! We didn’t purchase anything from port and made our way back to the ship through the security checkpoint before walking out onto the pier. They seem to have gotten really strict on fruit. Last time we did the western they advised us no fruit was to leave the ship, nor come back. Now if you’re carrying a bag they make you open it and ask you if you have fruit inside both going and coming which really slowed traffic down on the way out but rules are rules. Back on the ship we quickly made our way to the flowrider for some boogie boarding and thought it would be a great place to watch the ship leave. This is where we saw the folks getting escorted off down the pier with their luggage. After looking at the photos it appears there were 6 people. No idea what happened but it couldn’t have been good! We enjoyed a light dinner in the WJ and walked around the ship for a bit before the 70’s dance party started on the promenade. Oh that’s right, we have a stateroom with a giant piece of glass overlooking the promenade! Far too many people crammed in one area for my liking so sitting up in the window watching was perfect for me. We were both pretty exhausted from being out in the sun all day and decided to call it a night after the party stopped downstairs.



Mr Sancho's




The vendor area as you enter.




As soon as we got there.




Another shot, the other direction. Real empty!




Great looking water!



Mariachi band


Edited by thegima
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Freedom Of The Seas 9-14 -> 9-21 – Western Route


Day 7 – 9-20-14.


Another day at sea! We slept in a bit and made our way to the WJ for breakfast. I’ve seen the WJ packed but it was unreal this morning, people everywhere! We quickly ate and got out of there. They were doing the t-shirt sale outside the WJ by the pools so we picked up a few shirts, $2/20 is a pretty decent price for any shirt! They had a lot of activities going on in the promenade like the fruit carving, towel making, desert showing, and other things we probably missed. I made a quick stop in the general store and made one last alcohol purchase. I have to say, the ship prices on alcohol are pretty good and normally within a few bucks of the cheapest I’ve seen on the islands. We made it a point to take some pictures in the Crypt as I read they may be removing it during the drydock. It’s such a neat place. We played some ping pong for a bit and only managed to destroy one ball. We actually played for like half an hour, it started as first to 12, then best of 3, 5.. etc. We really enjoy the little area on the front of the ship above the spa that’s partially shaded – it’s like our go to spot when we want to relax. We set up there and just laid for a few hours with some drinks of course. We hung out up there until the sun started to set then we walked around the ship and enjoyed the view. We actually made it to the very rear of the ship on deck 4 and got stuck back there because it started pouring. You have to go around the “hump” of the dining room and believe it or not there are no passenger entrances to inside the ship beyond the hump. We waited for the rain to let up a bit and ran like idiots around the hump trying not to get soaked. I’m sure anyone near the window in the dining room got a good laugh. We had one last meal in the WJ and stayed up there for what felt like forever. We attended the 9pm farewell show which was pretty good, and then grabbed some drinks and went back for the comedy show. This is the first time I remember them having 2 comedy shows on the same cruise (both different people too). The second guy (Carl Banks) mentioned he just joined the ship in Cozumel so I’m not sure if they switched comedians mid cruise or what. Needless to say he was pretty funny and we got some good laughs. We normally spend one evening up in the Viking crown lounge just enjoying the atmosphere but hadn’t so far so we decided to go up and sit for a few minutes. There was no music or anything special going on and were only few people up there. Oddly enough we sat on the far left side by the elevators and the cloud nine door and a gentleman went into the cloud nine room and started playing the piano. He played for 30 minutes or more and we sat there on the other side of the glass and enjoyed every minute of it! It was getting late and we were doing express departure in the morning so we finally called it quits and went back to the room. I shoehorned the boxes of alcohol into my luggage and we got ready to walk off in the morning. That was it, vacation was over! Now normally when we do the express departure there are 100 or so people lounging around waiting but not this cruise! In the elevator on the way down a couple was going up and the man mentioned that he had never seen so many people getting off this early. There were probably 500+ people down there with their luggage waiting to go. We normally just go down to boleros and hang out there but there was literally nowhere to stand and the line was wrapping around the stairs. One of the officers walked by and mentioned that there was no one back in the schooner bar meeting area so we bolted through the casino and walked right out onto the deck while they set up. Within 20 minutes we were through customs and throwing the suitcases in the car. Less than 2 hours later we arrived home and the vacation was officially over!



Towel Animals




Fruit Carver (just missed him carve these..)




His finished product.




One of the Crypt entrances




Empty Crypt




Cracked glass stairs in the Crypt


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Couple photos of the lines and setup during the express departure.








Overall we had a great vacation and already have another cruise booked next year. I mentioned in a few other posts that I was underwhelmed by Casey Pelter. He did an okay job hosting activities, gave a few laughs, and was just overall OKAY. I’m not saying he was bad by any means but he looked tired. The one WOW experience I personally had was at Portofino, I really wish we had done it a second night!


Please forgive any misspellings and poor grammar, I’ve been trying to relive this trip in my head and put it on paper over the last few days!


Ok that's all I've got :D

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