Itinerary Miami; Labadee, Haiti; OchoRios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico.
This is our first cruise on a ship of this size.
Embarkation Arriving at the Port of Miami, we find that traffic is backed up, police are routing everyone away from the area. What should take 45 minutes to board ended being 3 hours. Later we were told that a security breach caused the problem. I'm happy to be onboard. Let the fun begin! We leave the carry-on luggage, make our way to the sailaway party, book onboard services (massage, Portifino's, etc).
Ordered the drink of the day and watch as Miami slowly disappears.
The Ship Freedom of the Seas is the largest built so far:160,000 grt Passengers 3,634 Length 1,112 feet Amenities: Rock climbing wall, casino, Promenade, ice rink, virtual golf, Solarium & pool (adults), 2 specialty restaurants, H2O Zone (children), fitness center, basketball, boxing ring, Sea Teck Dive Shop, several bars, online internet, Conference Center, movie theater. This ship is HUGE, but easy to navagate. On each of the decks you can get from one end of the ship to the other. At the glass enclosed elevators there are replicas of F-16 fighter jets and stop lights hanging in mid-air nearby. I couldn't figure them out.
Promenade deck 5 has the purser's desk, Champagane Bar, shopping, Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream, barber shop, Vintages Wines, Bull & Bear Pub, Café Starbucks, Book Nook, pizza, cigar club, Pharaoh's Palace.
On Deck 11 there was the Jade & Windjammer Café, Portofino & Chops Restaurants, Sprinkles soft ice cream (free), Squeeze Bar, Pool Bar, Fitness Center, boxing ring, and the Solarium.
The Cabin We had a balcony, port side. Nice and spacious. Lots of storage. The decor was of aqua blues, peach, shades of green and cream. I like the little touches; night light over the bed to read by, hair dryer in the drawer by the make-up table, a safe you can program with a code instead of a credit card, flat screen t.v. that rotates to view on other side of room. We like to order breakfast and cocktails in our cabin, watch the water and enjoy the open sea.Only one problem -- the shower is small. If you drop the soap your backside is out the shower door. Sink and counter top also small.
Dining Rooms Three levels - Isaac's and Galileo's. We ate at Leonardo's at second seating. We were at a table of 14. We moved to different seats each night to talk to everyone. Food & service were very good.
There was a different nationality menu each night. Steaks done to perfection, seafood just right. I ordered my seafood plain and use only lemon (don't like a lot of seasoning). Deserts are the usual fare; pies, cakes, ice cream. One night there was Baked Alaska. The chocolate cake was very good.
Entertainment Every night there is a different program in the Arcadia Theatre. The cruise directior, Becky Thompson, is energetic, funny and beautiful. First night was the Broadway Review song and dance. What great talent they are. Motown Live with "Spectrum" from Las Vegas.
Magic show staring Phyllip Kaiser, Comedian Phil Tag, Once Upon a Time by the Freedom singers and dancers. We really like the stage shows the best. What talent!
The Royal Promende had parades down the middle of the ship. What a sight to see. A flying bridge came down from the top deck to showcase the acts. Anything you desired to see and do, they have it all: Jazz, Classics, Piano, Ballroom Dance, Latin Music, 70's & 80's music, D.J's nightclub in all the different bars & clubs.
Of course, there is the Ice Show. What can I say? Wow! It is incredible! Try doing jumps and spins on a moving ship in a 30' x 40' ice rink. You have to see it to believe it.
Sports Deck 13 Lots of activity here. Basketball, jogging/running track, Flowrider, mini golf, golf simulator, sports contests, Surf & Sports Shop.
I tried the Flowrider. What a blast! You have to sign an injury waiver for each day. There are many tryouts for best trick, etc., at different times. The boogie board is twice a day with a divider so two people can surf at the same time. I tried my weak skills on the Flowrider. What a blast! Pictures in the Gallery.
Itinerary (Ports of Call)
Labadee, Haiti (Private island owned by Royal Caribbean): Very clean, nice beaches, restrooms, buffet lunch, beers, frozen drinks. Don't drink the water. We swam, and enjoyed the beach. The activties were zipline, parasiling, kayak, powerboat, waterslide, SCUBA and snorkeling.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We went to Dunns River Falls, Coyaba Gardens, Museum. I didn't want to climb the falls after I saw many people falling and getting hurt. One man broke his hand, and a friend of ours fell and hurt her leg. The gardens and falls in Coyaba River were the most tranquil paradise. Many tropical flowers, birds, a very pleasent stroll. Shopping in the park was a hassle, vendors were at you all the time. We hurried out.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman: We have been to Grand Cayman many times, so we chose not to tender off the ship. The many adventures there are wonderful. We liked the Stingray City the best.
Cozumel, Mexico: We took the tour Wonders of Mexico & Cozumel Highlights. "Discover Mexico" is a miniature replica of the history and the people & buildings (pyrmids) thru the ages -- from pre-Myan, Columbus, Spanish, all the way to modern times. All the buildings were to scale in detail. Next we traveled to a working Hacienda and sampled Tiquela. Then on to the city for shopping and lunch. We had a very nice lunch at Pancho's Backyard (corner of Waterfront & 8th St).
Overall, the Royal Caribbean Line is trying very hard to please everyone -- the children, adults, and grandparents. All seemed to have a good time. We met many wonderful people from the Florida Pharmacy Association. They held a continuing education seminar program onboard. What a way to get educated!
The only bad experience was a freek storm while returning to Miami at 2:00am. The ship listed port side about five degrees. That caused some people to become worried. The captain announced to everyone we were fine. An interpreter came over the pa system speaking in several foreign languages to translate the same message. It was all over in 30 minutes.