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Joined: 12/04/2013
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Serenade of the Seas

November 2017 - Serenade of the Seas to Caribbean

Smooth cruising

Very nice southern caribbean 10 day cruise with substitute ports after the 2017 hurricanes. We enjoyed seeing Martinique for the first time. We went to Balata gardens on a ship excursion. We highly recommend it if you like gardens. The weather in late Nov was perfect (minus rain in Barbados). Very good food and headliners on this trip. Rate this cruise high on our list of cruises taken. Prefer taking the ten day cruise out of Ft Lauderdale over traveling to San Juan for a 7 day cruise to the same ports.

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Oasis of the Seas

October 2017 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Oasis was great again

Second time in a Central Park balcony cabin. The benefit is a free lunch in Giovanni's which we substitute for dinner. After being diverted to Nassau due to a passenger illness, we missed our first stop at Labadee but later in the week got there anyway because tropic storm Nate prevented the ship from going to Cozumel. So after Jamaica they doubled back to Labadee. Weather for the day on the beach was perfect. The headliner this week was Savannah Jack. They played a variety of popular music and were one of the best headliners we have seen. It was so good we went to two shows.

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Oasis of the Seas

November 2016 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Great cruise on Oasis

oasis-of-the-seas Nov 5th 2016. First cruise out of Port Canaveral  for 8 days to Labadee,  Jamaica,  Costa  Maya and Cozumel. We had a great time in an oceanview balcony room on deck 11. We ate dinner  in the main dining room twice, the Windjammer once and specialty  restaurants  the rest of the time.  We did not prebuy a restaurant  package because we had on board credit to spend. Once on board they were selling 3 dinners for $90. We chose Giovanni's  Table, Izumi and 150. Giovanni's  was very good. We chose the Hibatchi dinner at Izumi. Shrimp and beef combination was sensational. The 6 of us in our group all agreed this was our best meal. 150 was a complete dissapointment. The beef short rib  was small and cooked like a roast with no sides. The waiter had bragged about the squash soup. It didn't  live up to the hype. Desert was ok but didn't  save the experience. On Monday we were sitting in the promenade and were approached and offered a discount for the Solarium Bistro.  First he offered 40% off. We hesitated and he went to 50% off plus he said we could get the lobster for free if we came on Tuesday  which was the normal lobster night in the main dining room. Normally they get  another $5 for the lobster. We agreed to purchase and go on Tuesday. I can say it was a great choice as the meal and experience  was great. All the shows were very good too. I am not too interested in sitting for 2.5 hours but I did it for CATS. I can't  get excited about the story but every singer and dancer were quite good and in that context I enjoyed the show. The quality of entertainment justifies the premium the ship costs as well as the interest provided by the neighborhoods. I  had a personal priority to go to Sabor. We had experienced  Sabor on Freedom of the Seas and it was so good we couldn't  wait to go again. The menu on Oasis was not the full menu we had on Freedom. Instead of it being one price it was a-la-cart. They treated this venue more like a place for a snack instead of a specialty restaurant. With all we did during the week, Sabor fell through the cracks. The smaller menu just wasn't as compelling to us.


On Thursday, day 6, I saw them offering a drink card for $79. That's ten drinks that anyone can use. We didn't make the purchase but I know some readers want to know if it was offered.

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Explorer of the Seas

December 2014 - Explorer of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern

Nice cruise for relaxing.

With four sea days and not much planned activities aboard ship be prepared to entertain yourself. We had no issue with this fact and found our time to be a chance to unwind and relax. There was a distinct lack of younger people and children which we attribute to the time of year and the newness of this itinerary from this port. Being able to see the southern caribbean ports without dealing with travel to Miami or San Juan was a plus that many people couldn't pass up. There was a very heavy participation from Florida residents as well as high level crown and anchor society members. The weather was perfect for the entire cruise but finding seats on deck around the spas and pool was never an issue.

The on-board singers and dancers were superior on this boat. Usually there is one decent singer but here there were four very good singers. The production shows were very entertaining and different from other boats so we were seeing fresh shows. Same with the ice show. This was different and up to the usual superior standard that this show has offered on other boats.

We stayed in cabin 6338 which is a balcony room. Fairly standard balcony room with everything in good shape and good working order. We had a flat screen TV whereas we had heard other say they still had CRTs. We attribute this to the ship replacing defective CRT TVs with flat screens as time goes on. During retrofit next year they should all be changed to flat screens.

The ships service people were also very good. However the guest services still fell short of that standard as has been our experience in the past. If you have an issue that you'd like to take up with guest services, don't expect a favorable resolution. Sorry to say they seem to use deflection as a standard response instead of correcting the situation. The ships are extremely efficient at billing you but never are willing to correct an error.

The food in the main dining room was no different than any other RCI cruise which is to say barely above minimum acceptable standards. We found the "starters" (appetizers) more appealing than the entries and most nights had no more than one entree that looked appealing (some previous experiences with the menus has ruled out certain selections).

This ship currently only has Portofino available and we did not eat there this trip.

This was our first time at Aruba, Bonair and Curacao. They did not offer a lot to see. You either like their beaches (which we did) and snorkeling (which we didn't do) or you have little left to do. However on the plus side is that taxi fairs were minimal ($5 per person to beaches we went to) when you joined others in a van type taxi. We had trouble finding this out prior to the trip and were led to believe you'd be paying high taxi rates. Each island had the same rates so it was no problem heading out on your own (at least not taking a ship tour). Eagle beach on Aruba was broad and long, very soft sand making it slightly harder to walk if you already have trouble walking on sand. Bonaire we went to Sorobon beach was smaller and had very shallow calm water since it is on a bay. This was perfect for younger kids. The persistent wind made it ideal for wind surfers who were quite prevalent. They were entertaining to watch. There was a rope in the water providing separation (protection) between wader/swimmers and the wind surfers. Plenty of beach chairs assuming you get there by mid day. And there was a bar to order drinks and food at reasonable prices. On Curacao we walked 10 minutes from the pier to downtown and spent an hour looking around before heading out to Mombo beach (near the sea aquarium). This has an entry fee and chair fee but the overall cost was fair. This was also was a nice beach with many more chairs available and food / drink available. 

We found the cruise to be everything we expected and did not find the ship to be run down due to age. Previous reports of high smoke content in and near the casino were true. Walking near the stairs down to the casino on the promenade deck was quite unpleasant. Too bad the air flow brought up the smoke to the promenade deck rather than sucking good air down to the casino.






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Freedom of the Seas

September 2014 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

2nd time on Freedom ...still great

Spent this week in room 8354. Standard balcony room which has a great location from our point of view. Good access to the stairs / elevators. Our room steward "Speedy" did a fine job for us. We carried on two bottles of wine which he chilled for us when we wanted them to be cold.


We used my time dining for the first time. We had six people in our group and did not try to pick dining times prior to the cruise. We were faced with a choice of 6pm or 8:30pm. Nothing else. We went with 6pm for every night. Had the same table every night. Service was decent. We finished in time to go to the 8pm games in On Air which were always done in time to go to the 9PM shows. The cruise staff were very good hosts at all the events we went to. The cruise director was very much to my taste. Not over the top but very still entertaining.


My over all score for entertainment during this cruise was about a 6 out of 10. Others in our group rated it as high as an 8. The magician show was just so so. The production numbers were ok. We'd seen them before and they were so so then also. The ice show remains superior even though there were new skaters in their first week of work on the ship.


We ate at Chops and I personally found a couple of their changes not to my liking. Both my wife and I really were disappointed that they replaced Mississippi Mud Pie with a mousse style cake which was ok but nowhere near as good. They had the nerve to call it by the same name to add insult to injury. Secondly, I did not like how they changed the mushroom side dish from what they had previously served. My wife was ok with the change. They used three types of sliced mushrooms instead of the single type of whole mushrooms used before. The differences could be enough to keep me away next time.


We had very good island excursions at every port. On Jamaica we did the Martha Brae bamboo raft float. Relaxing and perfect weather. No bugs there may be normal based on what the guide said. It certainly made the trip more enjoyable. Grand Cayman was a catamaran trip to stingray city and snorkeling. First time for us at stingray city. It was fun. Snorkeling was so so. If we did this stop again we'd forego the snorkeling for time on 7 mile beach and we would not need to see stingray city again. It was worth doing once though. At Cozumel we did a jeep tour which was the best excursion of the week. We used Very nice time and very good value.



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Freedom of the Seas

November 2013 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Wonderful cruise

We had a wonderful time on Freedom of the Seas. The service was great and the ship was very clean and beautiful. Loved the Chops Grille restaurant. We had 3 of our dinners at Chops and 1 at Portofinos. I highly recommend both.  My husband and I cruised on the Allure last year and we still rave to everyone about how wonderful that ship is and how much we loved it.  Freedom of the Seas is a step down from the Allure but is still a really nice ship.

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cruisetiludrop's Tips

Castries, St. Lucia - Second time at this port. We decided to stay on the ship that day since had previously toured the island.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - We spent the day at Magens Bay. They were still planting new trees after hurricane Irma but the beach was in good shape. We took a taxi (van) for $10 a person one way. There was a beach vendor for chairs and umbrellas but we ended up passing this up based on their pricing. They wanted $45 and said they would return $20 at the end (like a deposit). Then we saw you'd have too drag the chairs yourself. Not at all the same as every other beach experience we've had.
Bridgetown, Barbados - Spent the day at The Boatyard. Unfortunately it rained most of this day but the time we had their was enjoyable. I'd go back to The Boatyard again.
St. John's, Antigua - Spent the day at Ciboney Beach resort on Dickenson Bay. $6 per person taxi, one way and $20 for chairs and umbrella. Great spot for spending some time on the beach and in the water.
Serenade of the Seas Serenade of the Seas - Enjoy the advantages of the smaller size ships, relax and have fun cruising.
Oasis of the Seas Oasis of the Seas - If you value watching your ports team, pay for the highest speed internet and stream you own programming. The ship will only present one game a day.
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico - They have a shuttle and taxis to take you to the beach. The taxis are located a short distance beyond the shuttle service. Shuttle cost was $3 per person but the taxis only charges $2 per person. Taxis are faster too.
Oasis of the Seas Oasis of the Seas - Get online as soon as reservations open and pre-book all your shows. Reservations go fast especially for the comedy venue. Start checking 3 months out.
Explorer of the Seas Explorer of the Seas - Main dining room breakfasts are going to take a long time and the food will not be pleasing however lunches are good there and provide a nice alternative to the windjammer. Snacks are limited at the Cafe Promenade. We do not like the pizza at all. I suspect they don't make them on board.
Falmouth, Jamaica - Two straight cruises with good excursions. Locals not pushy at all.
Freedom of the Seas Freedom of the Seas - They seemed to have left out a couple things that we noticed from last time in the windjammer. Prunes... cottage cheese. Who knows why or what else they eliminated. Do not expect guest services to help solve any issues you have. You must deal directly with whomever you had an issue with.

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received a helpful vote on their Oasis of the Seas cruise review - Great cruise on Oasis

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