StressPlanner

StressPlanner
Cruise Director

Joined: 12/09/2013
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StressPlanner's Past Cruises

Freedom of the Seas

December 2016 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Great family trip

Freedom of the Seas 8 night Eastern was a wonderful vacation for our multi-generation family of 7.  Everyone had an easy time finding something to make them happy for the entire trip.  The ports of call were great and allowed us to visit places we have not been to before.  St Maarten was beyond beautiful.  We did a private snorkel excursion and got to spend some wonderful time talking to some locals while exploring the water.  St Kitts we visited Dolphin Encounter and enjoyed an amazing afternoon in the water with the dolphins.  San Juan was the only port that we found disappointing.  Some probably loved it, we simply didn't. 

 

We had two balconies on deck 7 (7370 and 7370) that were perfect.  Close enough to the elevator but far enough that there was not a lot of foot traffic in the hallway.  We had great views pulling into the ports from the balcony.  The ship in general was extremely clean.  The staff was incredible.  Every single person was quick to make sure that everything we needed or wanted was found.  The Adventure Ocean staff were amazing and the DreamWorks experience was also great.  The cruise director was fun and the captain did a great job of giving us information in regard to other ships and islands we were passing.

 

The only complaint we had was with the Coke Freestyle machines.  There are four in the Windjammer which are only accessible when the Windjammer is open and even then only 2 worked the entire time and during morning hours only served juice type drinks.  There was one in the arcade that would have been accessible 24 hours a day but it was down the entire trip.  There were two in the promenade that seemed to work.  It is something to consider when deciding whether or not to get the soda package.  We don't spend a lot of time in the promenade so it was a hike from the pool area when Windjammer was closed.

 

This rounded out our Freedom class ships and of the three in that class Freedom and Liberty were the sure winners with Independence simply not matching.

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Independence of the Seas

March 2016 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Spring break time = horrible cruise

We are always raving about Royal's high standards and took the in-laws along this time only to be highly disappointed in the vacation.  We got on the ship only to find it was over run by obnoxious spring breakers (we thought we had another week before that would be the case).  There were countless incidents on the cruise with a very large number being handed over to police.  Getting to the bar and getting served was almost impossible so we wasted a premium drink package essentially.  Our children had to deal with college kids spilling alcohol on them in the elevator (and this was at 6 pm), people being loud in the hallway at night, food on the floors of the hallway in the morning.  We hurried back to the ship when at port in attempt to get a few hours of normalness which was sad considering part of the reason we cruise is to visit other places.  The crew itself could do little to change the effect the students had because they can only do so much.  Every person we spoke to that was not on spring break complained of the actions, dress, etc they had to deal with while on this cruise.  I know this is a review of the cruise in general; however, it was difficult to separate the state the students put the ship in from the ACTUAL experience we could have had.  I will say the behind the scenes tour of the ship was nice even though we had to duck out early to get the kids from Adventure Ocean.  Zipline was a great experience as well.  The ports of call were nice.  I would say the cruise would have been the typical experience from Royal, just do NOT go in late Feb, March, or April unless you like essentially no clothing, no shoes, loud crowds all the time, and people being rude the entirety of the trip.

Disembarkment resulted in us being 2 hours later than we should have been leaving the lounge area thanks to so many self carrying and not going down until 9 am.  It was a very frustrating trip.

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Grandeur of the Seas

August 2015 - Grandeur of the Seas to Bermuda

Liberty of the Seas

November 2013 - Liberty of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Great family vacation!

We had a wonderful trip aboard Liberty of the Seas!  If there is one thing I can say about Royal Caribbean it is that they go to extremes to provide a wonderful experience!  The staff was more than anyone could imagine.  Every single staff member made sure to make it a point to spend extra time with our three kids.  All of the room attendants on the 8th deck knew my kids as well as their personalities by the 2nd day.  The staff in the Windjammer went above and beyond to help with the kids as well.  They were always asking if I needed anything and would stand and talk to the kids.  They truly made you feel welcome!  Everything was extremely well kept and clean.  Not a single point in the trip I even considered looking into another cruiseline for the next trip.  The one thing on this ship that made it perfect was the children's program.  Between the Dreamworks experience and the Adventure Ocean program this trip was a hit with the three little ones (ages 7, 2 and 1).  My 7 year old looked forward to going to camp each evening and asked how much longer until she could go.  My 1 and 2 year olds loved the toy lending program and enjoyed having toys in the stateroom which we could switch out at no cost.  We also used the daycare room two afternoons during their nap times so they could nap without being moved around while we enjoyed the activities that they couldn't participate in (rockwall, miniture golf, ice skating, etc.).  The staff at both age locations were amazing and made me very comfortable about leaving the kids with them.  I had no concern at all.  

Cozumel was wonderful.  We utilized one of Royal Caribbean's excursions for the Mayan Ruins and had a wonderful time.  It was just long enough to experience the island without the kids getting bored.  EVerything was well organized and Mimi, our guide, made the experience even better.  The bus was in great condition and the driver wonderful.  We had enough time to grab a bite to eat at Senior Frogs before boarding.  Even after the excursion, a little shopping and eating we got on the ship early enough to enjoy the kid pool area with most of the guests still off the ship.  That being said, even when we were at sea we never had any "crowded" moments other than the elevators that are near the back of the ship.  We found that the elevators at the front were much less utilized.  

I can't comment on the actual dining rooms because we only ate in the main dining room for the character breakfast.  The food we recieved at that breakfast was much like the Windjammer and I don't feel we missed out by avoiding the long seating times and eating at the Windjammer.  

Overall, we had a wonderful experience with nothing to complain about.  If you have the opportunity I would opt for a balcony room.  It is nice to have the extra space and ability to sit back and relax in private while still being able to take in the view.  

We will definitely be sailing with Royal in the future (planning one for next October already!!).  Oh, almost forgot, we embarked on Thanksgiving Day and they provided Turkey and all the common Thanksgiving dishes for dinner.  It was something special and allowed us to engorge ourselves with something we thought we wouldn't be getting.  A nice little touch for the day.  They also had the Christmas decorations up when we boarded.  Great time to be sailing! 

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StressPlanner's Tips

Philipsburg, St. Maarten - Octopus Dive has a great excursion especially if you are looking for a private one! Quick walk from the pier and they drop you off right back at the pier when it is over.
Basseterre, St. Kitts - We booked the Dolphin Discovery excursion through CheapCruise and it went flawless! It was about HALF what it would have been through Royal but still have the insurance on the excursion itself.
Liberty of the Seas Liberty of the Seas - Don't feel like you need to eat in the main dining room to get good food! The Windjammer had many of the same main dishes only there were hundreds of choices rather than just a few. The staff in there are wonderful as well! Also, use the different children's programs!

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received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Independence of the Seas cruise review - Spring break time = horrible cruise

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Great family trip