Such a relaxing way to get away from it all. No ringing phones, no texts... great food, enjoying being back at sea (retired US Navy sailor!).... so much to see and do, either underway or in port. Good value for the money.
Freedom of the Seas set the bar HIGH as far as what to expect on a cruise (did many, many, MANY cruises in the US Navy, but this was my first PLEASURE cruise!). Ship was very clean, and hand sanitizer stations were abundant. Room was comfortable, food was good (seriously, I think we ate about 19 times a day!!) and we were never at a loss for things to do. I would definitely cruise on this ship again! We had a large family group (15 people, ranging in age from 15-84)... we all could find stuff to do on our own, but would always meet together at dinner time to recap what we all did during the day, and we always saw a show or did things together after dinner. Nobody came away disappointed. Wish I had gone diving... my brother went in Grand Cayman and Cozumel and thought is was some of the best diving he's ever done.
Cozumel, Mexico - No excursion, just did some last minute shopping for souvenirs to take home. Vendors can be a little pushy... all you have to do is give them a polite "no, thank you" or "no, gracias" and all will be fine. I speak Spanish, and it seemed like they really appreciated people who took the time to learn their language... I conducted the majority of my transactions in Spanish. Ate at a little shack of a restaurant that had good food... other family members saw me sitting outside eating, and joined in as well.
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico - Did an excursion to the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben. We went with a private tour company (I believe it was Toucan... my SIL booked for us). Tour was informative, some of the family got off the bus at the beach afterwards to hang out for a bit and eat. It was a very enjoyable day!
George Town, Grand Cayman - Excursions I wanted to do were sold out, so I went about on my own. Wandered around on my own... the people were lovely and quite friendly. Did some souvenir shopping, and made sure I picked up rum cakes to bring home!
Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida - Didn't do an excursion... been here before. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly, especially in light of the fact that the ship was sold out and it was a holiday week (Thanksgiving) with loads and loads of children running about.
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico - Did the Chacchoben ruins tour through Toucan Tours. This operator cannot pick up right at the port... it's about a one mile hike up the street outside the port area. Tour was good, and our guide was friendly, engaging and knowledgeable... only problem was that she didn't have a microphone on the bus, so sometimes it was hard to hear what she was saying. We stopped at a roadside stand on the way back and got bags of fresh pineapple... So delicious!! Bus continued on after the tour to take people to the beach and a restaurant... the area near the beach isn't really set up well to handle buses.
George Town, Grand Cayman - Port was a bit crowded with quite a few ships in port. Excursions sold out fast, so I wandered around on my own. Beautiful town, very clean, everyone was super nice, not pushy at all. Had to pick up rum cakes to bring home! Will definitely make a point to book my excursions early next time I come here! The shopping was great!
Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida - Stayed at Comfort Suites in Dania Beach the night before the cruise (there were 15 of us). Parked the car there, and they had a shuttle to and from the port, it was 10 or 12 bucks each way. It was Thanksgiving week, and it was a full ship. Had 2 mobility challenged family members with me, had requested wheelchairs in advance and they didn't have any record of it. Waited a bit and they managed to get us a pair. Boarding wasn't bad after we got that issue squared away... Would have been less chaotic if it wasn't a holiday week, but we chose this week since we had college students in the family, and we wanted the whole family to be able to take a nice vacation together
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