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Freedom of the Seas - 7 night Western - May 10-17, 2015 - review

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First post here! This was our 9th cruise (8 w/ Royal Caribbean & 1 w/ Disney), all of our previous 8 cruises were 3/4 night to Bahamas, this was our 1st 7 night. I just recently learned of CC, and thought it had a lot of great info, just passin it along :)

 

I'm not gonna go into great detail, but with all the controversy w/ RC I thought I'd share my experience. First let me say we had a great time, and are looking fwd to our next! This cruise was to celebrate our 20 yr anniversary, we chose the western over the eastern because of the additional port, we would still like to do the eastern tour. Our last cruise was 5 yrs ago, definitely some changes.

 

We debated about the drink packages, we both drink, one more than the other... but ultimately we choose to purchase the premium package for both of us. Really it was an easy choice, knowing most cocktails/frozen drinks were going to be $14 w/ the gratuity, you only need 4 drinks per day to break even. most days we doubled that, not to mention all the bottled water. Never used the soft drink cups.

 

Day 1 - Embarkation - the new terminal is very nice, we arrived around noon, and were on the ship within 20 minutes, so far so good! Being our 1st time on Freedom we explored the ship, and had a few drinks. Freedom is a very nice ship, we had a balcony & were very happy with it, besides a loud neighbor a few times.

 

In the past we almost always ate at windjammer. We don't really like to socialize w/ strangers at the MDR but we decided to give it another shot, and with My Time dining I was told you are seated at a table for 2 unless requested otherwise. Well it may be a table for 2 but it might as well be a table for 6 since the tables are so close together. The service was great, the food was just ok, nothing to praise but better than Windjammer. We did meet a very nice couple from the UK that we talked with quite alot, so that was good. Went to the welcome aboard show, it was ok, we're not really into musicals, the comedian was just ok too.

 

Day 2 - Cruise day - basically a laid back day, spent some time in the casino, watched the ice show (it was ok, a little cheesy at times), browsed the stores, and of course drank. If I remember correctly, the weather was not the greatest or we would have up on the deck in the sun. Played bingo & won the final game which would have been great, if I didn't have to split w/ 2 others :( still the payout paid for our games & then some :)

 

I'm not a fan of paying for dinner on a cruise, but since today was our anniversary, we decided to do something special & went to Sabor for dinner, well worth the $50. I had the Red Snapper, amazing, by far the best meal I had the whole cruise. They were not busy at all, just 1 or 2 other tables w/ ppl.

 

Day 3 - labadee - Very nice Island oasis but I still like CocoCay better. There was alot of Haiti locals there trying to help you get settled into a spot at the beach, of course for a tip, and also a "beach monitor" to "watch your things", I gave them both $5. We just hung out at the beach w/ our drinks & floating mats, we would have done the zip line but not for $100 each for 49 secs. We wet through the village to look for souvenirs, what a hassle, the locals constantly hounded us to buy, we only looked at a handful of shops, bought a few things, then got the hell outa there, lol. Went to the show that night for the magician, meh, it was just ok.

 

Day 4 - Jamaica - we did not book any excursions, but decided to wing it. We walked through the village not really looking at much, and decided to exit the gates. We had heard there was a local outdoor market that day, so we went looking for it. Ahh, it's pretty rough outside those gates, we were harassed a few times for taxis & tours but mainly we just felt uneasy walking around town. I think we walked 4-5 blocks then circled around back to the gate entrance. We did take the trolley tour, it was a little cheaper than booking through RCI, $22 vs $29 I believe. It was a nice & informative tour, a little over an hour, a couple stops, and cheap :). After that we shopped the village, bought some nice souvenirs & just hung out at Margarittavile (Free WIFI!). Went to the show again, it was excellent, Tony Tillman was very funny & so talented! Also went to the love & marriage show, always great for a laugh. I think there was more ppl there than in most of the shows.

 

Day 5 - Grand Cayman - NOT ENOUGH TIME! If there's one thing I would recommend, get off the ship asap & enjoy this island as much as possible. We walked around town for a little bit then took a taxi to the beach. It appears they like to bring u to Royal Palms, as there was a lot of ppl there. The beach & water were awesome, but just a little too busy. We wanted to hit more shops so unfortunately we were only at the beach for a couple hrs or so. If we would have planned better, we would have gone straight to the beach asap then shopped after lunch. Would love to spend a few days or a week at Grand Cayman, friendly ppl, and you feel safe to walk around. Can't recall if we saw the show tonight, but I don't think so.

 

Day 6 - Cozumel - The water looked really nice as we came in, I wish we would have did a day pass at the one of the resorts so we could have enjoyed it. We had booked a excursion that went to the Maya ruins on Cozumel (we had no desire to travel the 6 hrs round trip for the Chichen Itza tour) & also 1.5 hrs at the beach. The tour & guide was very good, a lot of good information about the Mayas, it was neat to see the ruins, but we had to stay together as a group instead of venturing out on your own. The beach was on the east side of the island, the water was a little rough but still beautiful, I think the west side of the Island was much better. When we got back, we walked around town, found a sort of a flea market full of shops, bought a few things, but were nagged quite abit to buy stuff. Back on the ship I heard a guy on the elevator say he had his best scuba diving there...sounded really fun! Not much to say about the evening activities...been there, done that.

 

Day 7 - Sea Day - vacation almost over :( they were selling RCI branded Labadee, Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel t-shirts for $10 up by the pool, what a mad house lol, but we did buy 6 shirts. They seemed to run out of certain sizes quickly, but then later in the afternoon, they had the same deal in the Promenade. I guess we didn't need to stand in line for 30+ min. We spent most of our day on the top deck getting nice & tan. Also we liked Sabor so much, we went back for lunch, they were booked for lunch, but we got lucky and grabbed a cancellation. Cheaper price & oh so good! My wife only had a bite or so of my Red Snapper on Mon & wanted her own.

 

 

All in all a great vacation, we tended to get bored in the evenings, a lot of "so, what do u want to do now?", lol. Many times we would just get some drinks & sit on our balcony and watch the ocean go buy, we were happy with that. Before the cruise I read alot of complaints about bar service & having a hard time getting drinks. We never had any issues at any of the bars. We frequently went to Boleros, R bar, Schooner, casino bar & a few others, never waited more than a few minutes. Most of the bartenders were friendly, yes there were a few that you could tell were not too excited but most had a smile & were friendly. I recall Corlina (I think thats the right spelling) at the R bar always saying... "at your service..." & always w/ a smile. Most bars had at least 2-4 bartenders, I believe they all had a drink menu (not a huge selection), but would make whatever u wanted. I also brought a printed copy & copy on my phone of the old drink list that was posted here on CC. It was useful to get ideas. I'm not a huge drinker but my goal was to get my $$$'s worth & then some ;)

 

Bottom line, no complaints about the bar, and we probably had close to 100 drinks between the 2 of us. I tried to keep track at first but many times either you would not get a dup copy or no sign at all. The did keep the receipts I received, and last count was around 50, but we had twice that amount.

 

 

Some disappointments:

 

-the food - unless u shell out extra for specialty, the food was mediocre. We both remembered liking the Windjammer & looking fwd to their theme nights & ice sculptures...ie, Italian night where you chose your pasta, ingredients & sauce and they would sauté it, it was so good. The food has definitely gone downhill.

 

-the Crown & Anchor discounts - We used a couple of the discounts but most was of no value to us. Use to be a lot better.

 

 

*wifi texting & calling tip* I'm not a fan of paying through the nose for international calling & texting, we have Sprint & the fees were about the same on the ship as shore, about $3/min for calls, $.15 to receive texts, $.50 to send. One nice thing on Sprint, they have free value roaming in Mexico that gives u unlimited texting & data (bear in mind it's slow data)

 

So instead, I just used my Google Voice # when using wifi. Google Voice is free, you choose a phone number of your choice, then use the google voice app to make/rec calls & texts. I did not use on the ship, only in port on free wifi.

 

 

I scanned & uploaded the compass' & platinum discounts...

 

Cruise Compass' & Platinum discounts

 

 

hope this review helps...we can't wait for our next cruise!

Edited by OMJ

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Thank you so much for sharing your recent experience aboard Freedom and also including the compasses. We are super excited about our upcoming back to back trip aboard Freedom. :D

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Thanks for the review ! We will be on her again in Oct. we haven't sailed on her since last year, so this will be the first time in the new terminal and seeing whats new after her dry dock !

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Thanks for the review! & definitely thank you for posting the compasses.

 

Quick question, do they give you all the compasses your first day? Or do they give you only one the night before?

It'd be nice to have them all at once so I can circle the stuff I'm interested in for the rest of the cruise the first day when planning stuff out.

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Thanks for the review! & definitely thank you for posting the compasses.

 

Quick question, do they give you all the compasses your first day? Or do they give you only one the night before?

It'd be nice to have them all at once so I can circle the stuff I'm interested in for the rest of the cruise the first day when planning stuff out.

They only give you one compass at a time. However, some ships distribute a Cruise Planner at the beginning of the cruise (sometimes at check-in), with a schedule of highlights of events during the entire cruise on one sheet. Speak to Guest Services if you don't get one.

Edited by clarea

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They only give you one compass at a time. However, some ships distribute a Cruise Planner at the beginning of the cruise (sometimes at check-in), with a schedule of highlights of events during the entire cruise on one sheet. Speak to Guest Services if you don't get one.

 

Thanks for the info!

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Going Jul5 and really appreciate all the info. First time cruising for parents 50th.

Having the Compass helps with my needing to plan/know everything.

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Thank you! 292 days until our sailing, so this will help pass the time dreaming of our upcoming cruise next year.

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We have cruised a bunch but this is the first time on RCI...how do the beverage options work? Not used to paying for sodas/water. Any details or suggestions appreciated! TIA:)

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We have cruised a bunch but this is the first time on RCI...how do the beverage options work? Not used to paying for sodas/water. Any details or suggestions appreciated! TIA:)

These are included in the basic cruise fare: tap water, coffee, hot tea, iced tea, lemonade, milk, and juices at breakfast.

 

A can of soda costs around $2.50 each.

 

If you don't want to pay for beverages singly, there are beverage packages:

 

http://media.royalcaribbean.com/content/shared_assets/pdf/menus/beverage_packages.pdf

Edited by clarea

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Thank you very much for those compasses. I'm going for my first cruise in October, seems like I'll have to take couple more to see everything :confused:

Can I expect same showtimes, or do they chance from time to time?

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Day 1 - Embarkation - the new terminal is very nice, we arrived around noon, and were on the ship within 20 minutes!

 

That is because the people getting off that day were kind, courteous and quick about it!

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