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Kaiser Family

Age: 45

Occupation:real estate

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Freedom of the seas

Sailing Date: 2009-08-9

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was a great cruise and an overall great experience. The ship was absolutely beautiful and massive and had lots to do. The food was excellent and there was great variety in choices unlike the Disney and Carnival ships. The ports of call were good, Cozumel and Grand Cayman were excellent. Labadee was so-so, and we did not get off the ship in Ocho Rios. We have done this particular itinerary before (with Royal Caribbean and Carnival) and enjoyed it more on the Freedom.

The food was very good. The food in the Windjammer and Jade buffets was good quality and a lot of variation for a buffet. This was the place to go for breakfast and lunch, but the dining room was far better for dinner.

The Johnny Rockets on the ship was very cool. The food was good and the service was excellent.

The dining room was by far the best. The food was excellent, and there was a decent variety of choices. The service in the dining room was excellent. Our waiter Khantee, assistant waiter Ed, and head waiter Suleyman all were great waiters, very friendly, attentive, and always catered to our needs without being asked. The dining room staff went above and beyond, and that is hard to do when you have 85,000 meals a day to handle.

The stateroom was nice. The balcony view was great, and we enjoyed the flat screen TV.

The stateroom cleaning staff was the only real disappointment on this cruise. The cleaning was done the required twice per day, but at the bare minimum. The bar of soap in the shower was never changed once over the course of the week. There weren't always fresh towels either. Our attendant was also not very friendly compared to previous experiences.

The onboard activities were far superior to any other ship. The rock climbing and ice skating were fun, and the Flow rider was very cool. The pools were nice, as were the hot tubs. The h2o zone is great for young kids.

On Labadee, the best option for us was to sit and enjoy the beach. We did not do any excursions other than the water slide for the kids.

The excursions in Ocho Rios were so-so other than Dunn's River Falls which we had done in a past cruise. I would recommend that to anyone physically able. Unfortunately our 9 year old broke her toe in the kids program, so she wasn't able to do this. This was one of the reasons we stayed on the ship in Ocho Rios.

In Grand Cayman, we did the 7 mile beach break. The beach was beautiful. The wave runners on the beach were also fun for anyone able to drive them. The only rip off was the food. The transportation was a glorified school bus, but it did the job and was better than a taxi.

In Cozumel, we did the Playa Mia beach break. The beach was nice but not as nice as Grand Cayman. They had the wave runners here as well. The drink service was nice, but the food was very mediocre and overpriced. It was a buffet style place and was $16 a person. RIP OFF! Don't pay for the package that includes the transportation and food in Cozumel. Taking a taxi here is cheaper and the food isn't worth it.

Well, this cruise was amazing, but I feel compelled to mention our original experience with Royal Caribbean relating to this cruise. This actually was our second attempt, but our 3rd or 4th or cruise with Royal Caribbean.

The original cruise on the Freedom we were scheduled to take was on July 5th from Port Canaveral. We booked over the phone with Royal Caribbean and were handled by a man named Bernardo. When we inquired about whether we would need a passport for the cruise, he said that a birth certificate would be fine and left it at that and made no further mention of any birth certificate requirements. We drove to the port (we are in Orlando FL, about an hours drive). We had our bags checked by the porters, got through security and everything, and were at the check in counter. We handed them our documents, which had been used on all previous cruises with Royal Caribbean, and were suddenly shunted off to a different counter.

Now imagine our surprise when the agent bluntly stated to us "We can't let your husband sail." The excuse they gave was that the birth certificate he has, was hospital issued, and wasn't acceptable. This was the birth certificate he used about 2-3 years ago on RC. No mention was made to us by Bernard, and in their confirmation emails nothing about this is mentioned. They also told us that we would receieve no compensation if we didn't go and that we should split our family up and go to save the money. At this point, my daughter was hysterical, my husband and son were extremely angry and fired up, and I was extremely upset. The pier agents were extremely rude and incompetent and did absolutely nothing to help us at all. They also implied that out luggage would be in limbo for the week and we wouldn't get it. We decided to abandon this cruise and called Royal Caribbean corporate numerous times, finally getting them to reschedule us on the August cruise and recieve 100% credit minus a $500 upcharge. We were upset with RC corporate but the cruise made up for it.

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