Seems like we did a lot of waiting this time around..... and it's best to prepay for extras
Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean
Highlights- ports of call and the shore excursions - Costa Maya was fun because we have never been there before - Cayman Islands - our second time there; the first time we did stingray city, this time around we enjoyed kayaking in the Caribbean along with snorkeling and a beach break. Cozumel was also fun - and also our second time there; we did a tour of the Mayan Ruins and then enjoyed some beach time. The Diamond status definitely made our embarkation seemless and relatively quick compared to prior cruises. We also enjoyed the Diamond Perks like the free food and drinks every night between 4:30 and 8:30 along with up to 3 complimentary drinks from any of the other bars on the ship. The lowlights - it was the week before Christmas - and there were very little by the way of holiday cheer on the ship - other than the very large tree in the Promenade. The service was not nearly as good in the main dining - we often felt forgotten as people were served their deserts and we were still waiting on salads and water refills. And the lines- we waited in line for everything it seemed - which is typical I guess for a cruise vacation - but this one we definitely felt the presence of all 4400 passengers - and over 1000 of them were under the age of 21. I dont think we will cruise the holiday time frame again - but overall we had a great time together and made the most of the ships amenities; theater show, ice show, flow rider, rock wall, and the Promenade. If I could make any suggestion here - I would suggest that if you know you will drink a lot - regardless of the beverage type, and if you know that you want a lot of the photos taken by the ship's photographer, and if you know you will want an internet package - it really does save you money to buy these packages ahead of time; online; and before you board the ship. I wasn't sure if it was legit or not - or just away to upsell you on the front end when booking the cruise - but I did buy the internet package and a water package - both about 50% less than if you do it on board. same with shore excursions - take advantage of any online discounts you may be offered on booking the shore excursions because it does save you money. On board - everything is expensive - for example - one 6x8 photo is $16.99 - and you know how many photos are taken - so buy a package and do it online. Beers are $7.99 each (with gratuity) - so if you have at least 4 to 5 per day - it makes sense to buy the alcohol package. And mixers - can run $12+. If you have a lot of sea days - that is where you will spend the most money - that is when these beverage packages really make sense. We only had 2 sea days and we took advantage of the freebies in the Diamond lounge so our drink cost was minimal. Lastly - the internet was DREADFULLY SLOW AND CUMBERSOME TO LOG INTO and it would boot you out without warning and frequently. The cool thing is that wireless is available throughout the ship - and you can text message family and friends at home using imessage if you all have iphones - just don't expect speed. We really do like Royal Caribbean and it is nice to earn a "status" that allows you to save money and convenience while sailing.
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again - buy packages in advance & on-line - saves money! On board - everything is expensive - for example - one 6x8 photo is $16.99 - & you know how many photos are taken - so buy a package & do it online. Beers are $7.99 each (with gratuity) - so if you have at least 4 to 5 per day - get a package