October 2014 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
My DH and I sailed out of Port Canaveral on Oct 12 for a 7 day cruise on the Freedom of the Seas. We were a little apprehensive, because of knee surgery that was not healing as fast as we wanted I would be using a walker for the first time on a cruise. I guess I should tell you that it was #13. We arrived at Embarkation about 11:30 and every employee was gracious and efficient. Embarkation was a breeze, as soon as they saw my walker, I was given a wheelchair. We went through the lines very quickly and were on the boat and up in the Windjammer, before I could hardly breathe. DH had to go the line for me and even though we have been married 43 years, it was a funny mixture of food. The cookies were fantastic, especially the macaroons. That was the only time I saw them, but I might have just missed getting at other times. I'm used to waiting for our room, but by the time we finished lunch all rooms were ready. We had cabin 9609, which was an interior cabin, It was quite roomy for an interior. We met Lloyd our cabin steward almost as soon as we opened our door. We had 2 immediate requests, we wanted twin beds this time for my knee, and I needed a sharpie container, since I am diabetic. It was all done after we had done a little exploring, our bags seem to come faster this time too. So far the only #13 stuff was me.
Freedom of the Seas is enormous, there was so much to see and enjoy. I never saw everything, DH saw the Flow Rider and the Crypt which I skipped this time. I say this time, because we will take another cruise on Freedom of the Seas someday soon. I guess I am rambling and this is getting longer and we haven't left port yet.
We went down to a 10 seat table in the Leonardo MDR, 8 were there the first night. We had Albert and Chris as our waiters, they were great. They were always helpful on picking the best item from the menu for each person. The other couple showed up the second night.. We changed seats every night as to get better acquainted. The food every night was very, very good. My favorite entree was the prime rib, wish I had ordered more. It was so tender and delicious. I loved the desserts and about half the time I got the sugar free, they tasted just as good as the sugary ones. The apple strudel the last night was exceptional and most people at the table got it.
The first day at sea the ship was crowded up on the pool deck, but we found two chairs up by the
adult pool and ended up with a lovely, breezy siesta. I loved watching the kids in the H2O zone, it was so colorful and looked like so much fun, if I could have gotten in the water, I would have tried borrowing a kid, since I have no grandchildren of my own. Why don't they make one of these things for adults?
We enjoyed almost all the evening shows, except for the last one "Once Upon a Time" I was disappointed in it. Why didn't they use the Dreamworks characters, and the music was songs from everywhere and anywhere. DH fell asleep. Really liked the "Unexpected Boys", their plot line made it even more fun.
First stop Labadee, Haiti, had two nice wheelchair rides down that long pier. The tram took us over to Columbus Cove where we had two lounge chairs close to the water. I could not get in water over my knees due to another physical problem I was having then. Managed to get into 3 or 4 inches, but my balance was not the best, so no more water. Lunch had some wonderful watermelon, very sweet and juicy. Only glitch was a tram that pulled up to the craft building, engine dropped tram, and went off somewhere else, leaving around 50-60 people sweltering the heat for about 30 minutes. About half of them gave up and starting walking back to the ship. I couldn't do that had my walker and found it doesn't do well on sand, dirt and little pebbles, only the concrete.
We started hanging out every evening in the Schooner Bar, they had a piano player there, Jim Broadbent, who do did mostly Oldies or Country. We really enjoyed his mellow style.
Ever since Royal Caribbean came out with the Promenade I have wanted to walk down it. I wasn't disappointed, plenty or shops and we enjoyed the Cafe Promenade. Only thing I was disappointed in, the Logo shop did not have the ship pins. I have been trying to collect one for each cruise.
Because of the hurricane in the eastern Caribbean, we got bumped from Falmouth, Jamaica for the Allure to Montego Bay. I had arranged a private with Patrice Bailey in Falmouth, so we weren't sure what was going to happen. She showed up with another one of her staff and we had Patrice and Mark giving us what turned out to be a private tour. We were well taken care of on this tour. I wanted to see some crafts so we went to this series of huts? on the mountainside and were taken to a booth by a woman waiting outside. The women there took good care of me, I got a chair, and at least two women were fanning me. It was hot! Spent too much according to my DH, but I felt bad only spending at 3 booths and then I had had it. Back to the van for me, with that lovely AC.
Richmond House, owned by the DeWars?, whiskey distillery, has a beautiful house with fantastic views of the city and bay. Only $2.00 to get in and $5.00 to swim in the pool, only saw one little girl swimming. They also have a bar with soda and water, which I was glad to have.
Third stop was Grand Cayman, but because I was really hurting, and DH didn't think tendering with my walker was a good idea, we stayed on the ship. We had been there 3 times before so I didn't mind this time. I had been going to make this a beach day cruise, but knee put that out of my mind.
It was nice, having plenty of chairs to stretch out on.
4th stop was Cozamel (can't spell tonight). We just went into town, not sure where we were downtown. We were told it was the Central Plaza, but Diamonds International was there so unsure.
Nice shops with lots of stuff, bought a beautiful pendant, and a little wooden painted cat. Then that was enough, I was suffering from the heat again.
Last day at sea didn't seem as crowded, everyone finding their own space on the ship.
Debarkation took a little longer, I was going to use my walker, but the long line off the ship, persuaded me I needed a wheelchair. I am overweight and had a tiny Chinese girl pushing my chair, she had a delightful personality and was very gracious to me. Luggage found quickly and off to a hotel for one night in Florida, before returning back to cold, rainy Maryland.
Even with my problems, we had a wonderful cruise and can't wait to go again, again, and again.
We want to go on Freedom of the Seas again, when I can get around and see more things. The crew was especially nice, not only our steward and waiters, but also the staff of the Windjammer who made sure people had drinks and other things they needed. One funny thing one day in Windjammer, there was a door near our table and staff kept going in, and in. We could just see a bare room when, they would open the door. I counted when they came out 34 people went in and came out. We also were in Cozemel when the Carnival Magic tried to dock and some of our table mates had seen it turned away. It was a little weird, because DH was wondering what would happen if there was a major illness, like Ebola on a ship. It all ended well though, just like our much enjoyed cruise on Freedom of the Seas.