Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
1 cruise (first)

Review
1

Helpful Votes
13

4 out of 5

Kid friendly! Wonderful experience!!

Sail Date: December 12, 2010

Reviewed: 5 years ago

Traveled As: Family (young children)

Room Type: Balcony

This was my first vacation with my wife in three years and since our 2 year old son was born. Since we brought the little guy along on this trip, it was extremely important to me that his needs were met.

The staterooms were remarkably clean and our stateroom attendant personalized the experience. He called my son by his first name each time he saw him and took the time to speak to him. The other stateroom attendants in the hallway all came to know my son in his travels down the long corridor and it was a fun stroll to and from the ends of the ship.

We dined in the formal dining hall only once and found that for a 2 year old, it was not the right setting (or food) for him. So we happily enjoyed the variety of tasty meals in the Windjammer restaurant for the entire trip. What I particularly liked about our dining experience was the same consistent friendly attitude by each of the waiters that tended to our needs.

My 2 year old is in his "me too" stage and so he has to do what big people do. So it was important for us to find him a booster seat at the start of each meal. This was the first thing we did at each meal. My wife and I were relieved and delighted at the speed and interest that each waiter took in locating and delivering a booster seat. They even went so far as to speak to him like any other guest: "Would you like some more fruit punch?". And like a clever little 2 year old, he caught on to this whole waiter-thing. He was tickled to be able to order his own drink.

Docking in ports was always on schedule and the disembarking procedures were simple and expedient. I should note that we almost did not make our cruise!! At the time we arrived at the checkin counter, it was discovered that the U.S. Customs agent forgot to stamp our passports! So it was a relief that Royal Carribean staff were able to see that we flew into the U.S. legitimately and arrived by car rental from the airport legitimately. Anyway, it could have been a nightmare before we even got started but "common sense" prevailed and we were happy once again.

Our trip included stops in Haiti's Labadee, Jamaica's Ocho Rios, the Grand Caymen and Mexico's Cosumel. The destinations were fabulous and after speaking with other travelers on the boat who had traveled on other boats and cruise lines, we knew that for our first cruise vacation, we made the best choice!

Before I took this cruise, I was always a believer that cruises were boring. I couldn't have been more wrong! The pools on the top deck catered to all ages and the endless ice cream machine maker made managing my son's day easier! Sure, he probably put on an extra pound or two, but it was a treat for him to look forward to, nonetheless :)

Bonus points to solid construction of the staterooms. I thought for sure that I would be kept up all night by noisy neighbours and that was certainly not the case. I slept like a baby to the point that my wife kept waking me up because of my snoring. When you work day-in and day-out for months at a time and get about 5 hours of sleep a day, this cruise was heaven! I never thought about work the whole time I was there and I "finally" feel "rested". Good thing too because Christmas is just a week away.

Anyway, I'm not sure what really else I can say except that cruises are for all ages! My wife and I are already planning our next escape to Royal Carribean and next time we will be brining my in-laws. This way they can let us have more time to experience the nightlife on the boat which we craved this time around.

Thanks for a wonderful experience and we will be back!

Pros: The consistent friendly attitude of the ship's crew

Cons: The disorganization and long delay in leaving the ship at the end of the trip

Recommends Freedom of the Seas? Yes!

Children's Programs
I would like to see more time given to toddlers and more 'toys' for them to play with. A daycare option (for 1-2 hour drop offs) would be F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! This would allow parents to have pockets of sanity-time and enjoy the other things offered (eg: have a drink by the pool, listen to the live band).
Food and Dining
The only thing missing from our entire trip was crab and lobster in the Windjammer restaurant. Since a "dining" experience was not really possible with a 2 year old, I craved lobster all week long, only to be disappointed to never have that on the "general dining" menu.
Ship Quality
There is nothing bad that I can say about this boat! It was spotless! Washrooms were always clean. There was never any garbage to be seen strewn about anywhere. The crew's appearance and mannerisms were also spotless.
Cabin / Stateroom
Impressed! Spotless! The only recommendations I have is that there needs to be a "wall to wall" curtain that can be drawn to divide the TV/Couch area from the bed area. With a 2 year old, he was in bed at 8:30PM each night and because he needs the room to be "dark", I ended up going to bed at the same time because it was not possible to sit quietly alone without waking him up. To this end, I would also recommend the option of providing guests with a "long" corded headset that can be plugged into the TV so that it mutes the audio while kids are sleeping.
Service and Staff
Excellent. Staff always went above and beyond to make my son feel welcomed and to feel recognized. It was perhaps the best part of my trip.
Entertainment
The video arcade saved us! Grant it, it cost us a lot over the course of a week. But try and do something with a 2 year old boy who's attention span is 20 minutes. I only wish the toddler play times were more frequent.
Cozumel, Mexico
The party atmosphere at the local dockside pub is a fun time! The drinks were fabulous too! Wish we could have explored the beaches but not enough time for us on this day (nap time again!)
George Town, Grand Cayman
Wonderful place - absolutely beautiful beach and crystal clear water!!!! Snorkler's delight!
Don't Miss: The beach!
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island)
I would have loved to have been able to go on the zip line!!! The beach was nice but unfortunately it was overcast and a bit of drizzle and wind on our day there.
Don't Miss: The zip line!!
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
I visited Jamaica once before and I detest being hounded by the locals once you step foot off the pier. They are like flies! Don't go shopping! Just turn left and head on over to the Ocho Rios public beach and enjoy the peace and quite there


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