Pixie777

Pixie777
Second Mate

Joined: 12/13/2013
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Pixie777's Past Cruises

Freedom of the Seas

December 2016 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

A Little Disappointed

I’m a platinum member of RCCL, and have cruised approximately 20 times with RCCL and other lines.  However, I have to say, that I was a little disappointed in this cruise.  Not entirely, but with a few items. 

 

First of all, the service and the staff on this ship were great.  They were all extremely helpful and friendly.  The cruise director seemed part comedian, and always a hoot to listen to.  The ship itself was in good shape, and as with all RCCL ships, was beautiful.  My main complaint was the food.  RCCL, in my opinion has always had good food.  However, we had just gotten off a Carnival (Conquest) for another trip with our children before going on this one with my sister and brother-in-law.  I have to say that in comparison, Carnival’s food was much better.  I had a sirloin steak one evening on Freedom, and have to say it was the worst steak I’ve EVER had.  It was almost as if it had been boiled.  It was pale, tough, flavorless, and I ate only a few bites.  They’ve evidentially never tasted “cake” as all of their desserts were some type of “mousse.”  All desserts I would rate about a 3 out of 10.   The dining room menu was mediocre, and the buffet on the Lido deck about the same. 

 

The ports were nice.  St. Kitts is a very small island, but seemed to be fairly well maintained and very pretty.  We took a tour there, and it was very interesting.  In San Juan, we also went on a tour, but it was raining, and the tour started in the afternoon.  So about 1 hour into it, it was already getting darker, and you couldn’t see as much.  We got back to the ship in the dark.  Labadee is great.  What a beautiful island, and with all the amenities, it made it a terrific day.  Be sure to ride the Dragons Tail coaster - a short but very fun ride.  We got the “day pass” for only $10 more.  We’ve been to St. Maarten many times, and unless you go on an excursion, most of the area is shopping.  We did have a tour scheduled, but it was cancelled because of some protest going on with the island people.

 

The entertainment in the theater was above average, but not on par with the Carnival production that we had just seen.  It appeared to be more like a high school or college production, not a “Vegas” review.  The other entertainment (i.e. – ice skaters, comedians, etc. again, were not bad, but just mediocre.

 

I will probably continue to sail with RCCL because I love their ships.  However, on this particular cruise, it was just a little below my expectations.

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Allure of the Seas

December 2014 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Wonderful Cruise

Don't let the size of this ship intimidate you.  For having so many passengers, the ship ran very smoothly and never seemed crowded.  There were so many things to do, that you really didn't have any crowds in any one place.  BIG RECOMMENDATION:  Go online and get all of your tickets for evening shows (ice, water, theater, etc.)  When you've pre-registered for them, you just go to the entrance and they scan your card.  Without the reservations, there are long lines, and only if those registered people don't show up, you will be allowed to see the show that night.  The onboard activities (zip, flowrider, etc.) didn't seem to be as crowded, probably because of the smaller age group doing those types of activities.   The food was very good (not fantastic) in most of the restaurants and cafes.  The service was fantastic.  There were always crewmen near if you needed something.  All of the evening shows were terrific.  Very well done, and some of the best acts I've seen at sea.  This very large ship does run a bit slower, probably because of the height of it.  I also noticed a little more movement from sided to side - probably because of the height, but it wasn't too disturbing.  We were in Cabin #12222 which is midship.  Embarkation and debarkation were fairly easy - again considering the size of the ship.  But, we carried on our luggage, so we didn't have to pick them up at the end.  I've sailed over 15 cruises and it is ONE of my favorites.  However, because of her size (I'm guessing), they only go to 3 ports, which was a disappointment.  However, I'm very glad I went on the Allure and I would recommend it.     

 

 

 

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Independence of the Seas

December 2013 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Best Cruise Ever

I've been on about 15 cruises with different lines (RCCL, Princess, Holland America, NCL, and Carnival).  I would have to say that this was the best cruise yet.  Everything was great - the food, the entertainment, the service, the ports.  The ship (160,000 tons) was smooth with no movement, even tho there was a day with wind and the seas were a little rougher. 

 

The architecture of this ship was absolutely the most beautiful I've seen.  Like RCCL’s newer ships, this one had the promanade deck that ran through the center of the ship.  Shopping and some restaurants were all located here.  It was like walking through a mall - only there were 3 layers of rooms above it.  We were in one of those rooms overlooking the promadade.  You could see a lot of action below.  The room had a window with a sofa in front, so you could sit and look out.  It felt like an outside cabin, but without the view of the water.  Our cabin (6275) was located mid ship, so walking to the dining room on one end, or theater on the other didn't seem too far to walk either way.

 

All of the staff were always smiling and seemed happy.  They were especially attentive on this ship and made everyone feel special.  The “buffet” as seen in many ships was not located partially outside on deck, but in a large dining-type room.  This made it much more comfortable, and there was never a time where we couldn’t find a table.  The staff was so helpful, and would carry your plate for you if you had anything else in your hands (coffee, bowl of soup, etc.)

 

The entertainment was the very best that I’ve seen.  With such a variety (singers, dancers, ice skaters, comedians, orchestra, violinist, special ABBA group that was contracted) the entertainment was always something to look forward too.  Some ships have “canned” music, but this orchestra was live and able to be seen and appreciated.  The dancer's costumes were the most beautiful that I’ve seen.

 

I’ve been to most of the ports that we stopped at, so I chose to stay on board in Grand Cayman.  It was a great day since the ship was so uncrowded.  I climbed Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, which I’ve done in the past a few times, and its still a great experience.  I also went to Green Grotto Caves, which was a good choice, and I’m glad I was able to see them.  There was fairly strong wind the day we went to Labadee, and the snorkeling that we did was not a good experience.  But that was not the fault of RCCL.  We chose to return to the ship afterward, so I didn’t really get to appreciate the private island and what the cruise line has done to make it great.  I had been to Labadee about 25 years ago, back when it was just an island with some sand and beach.  The cruise line has definitely done tons of work on this island.  I will definitely put Independence of the Seas back on my list of ships to again cruise with.

 

 

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Pixie777's Tips

Freedom of the Seas Freedom of the Seas - Make sure you download the Passport App for Apple and Droid for a faster disebarkation.
San Juan, Puerto Rico - The two forts are amazing and very interesting. Also, because of the slopes of the streets, Segways and very fun to ride there.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - I was really disappointed here since my last visit about 30 years ago. Nothing now, except shopping and about 80% jewelry stores. We went to a McDonalds which had a coach roach climbing the wall.
Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida - Our flight didn't leave until evening, so we took the water taxi and toured the billion dollar home area which makes several stops along the way to shop or eat.
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Tip #1) Get all of your evening shows pre-registered on line Tip #2) Carry on your bags - if possible. It makes a much easier deportation Tip #3) If doing MyTime dining - still go online and make time reservations.
Independence of the Seas Independence of the Seas - You have to get tickets (free) for the ice skating show, so don't forget to listen for announcements. It was probably the best of all of the shows.

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added Dec 10, 2016 cruise on Freedom of the Seas to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Eastern cruise on Freedom of the Seas and gave it 3 stars!

shared a quick tip for Freedom of the Seas"Make sure you download the Passport App for Apple and Droid for a faster disebarkation."

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful Cruise

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful Cruise

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful Cruise

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful Cruise

received a helpful vote on their Allure of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful Cruise

shared a quick tip for Allure of the Seas"Tip #1) Get all of your evening shows pre-registered on line
Tip #2) Carry on your bags - if possible. It makes a much easier deportation
Tip #3) If doing MyTime dining - still go online and make time reservations. "

reviewed their Caribbean - Eastern cruise on Allure of the Seas and gave it 5 stars!