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Desiree

Age: 47

Occupation:office manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Freedom of the seas

Sailing Date: 2010-05-23

Itinerary: Eastern Carribian

We just returned home from our first cruise and we were not disappointed! We felt a little overwhelmed the first few minutes but quickly began exploring the ship and learning our way around. The ship is beautiful and user friendly. We left feeling like we had the best vacation ever and motivated to plan our next cruise!

Prior to the cruise my husband and I had been on a weight loss journey with both of us achieving great success. We were very pleased with the selection of food including an extra menu called "Vitality" with healthy choices. We loved the dining room with sit down service even for breakfast and lunch and only ate in the Windjammer a couple of times. While the Windjammer is convienent with buffet style, we wanted the complete experience of relaxing even during mealtimes. The food was wonderful! My husband is a beef eater and was very impressed with every piece of beef he ordered. We had planned to go to Chops but found the dining room so pleasent and the food so good we didn't feel the need. We had My Time Dining which was convienent. One half of one dining room is designated for My Time Dining and our first night was not perfect. It was just the two of us and we were placed at a table right next to the serving station and in a major traffic area. The next night we asked to be put somewhere else and they were very accomodating. We were concerned we would not have the "personal" service with My Time Dining but we had nothing to worry about. Our server, Alicia, called us by name and became one of the highlights of our trip! We were not impressed with the food choices on the Royal Promanade and only tried them once. It was fun getting ice cream at Sprinkles by the pool every afternoon.

We were pleasantly surprised by the size of our stateroom. We had a balcony and I am afraid we will not be able to cruise without one now! We didn't spend alot of time in our stateroom but what time we did was very pleasant. We utilized every bit of storage which we found to be more than we anticipated. There is sufficent space under the beds to store luggage. The bathroom isn't big enough for two people to get ready but I don't like to share the bathroom anyway! Shower was great with wonderful water pressure and plenty of hot water! It wasn't big, but it was more than adaquate. There is a clothes line in the shower that is very useful for drying swimsuits. The stateroom attendants were very attentive without being intrusive. They prepare your stateroom for the night during your dining time so with My Time Dining our steward asked us to put out the "Make up room" sign so he would know when we were going to be out. The bed was really comfortable and we probably slept better than we normally do away from home!

We enjoyed many onboard activities including trivia contests, bingo, shopping, evening shows, ice show, rock climbing, flow rider. The Cruise Director, Allen Brooks, was very good and very funny. The Love and Marriage show was hillarious! The 80's dance party was impossible to get into because of the crowd. There were a few times we were frustrated getting into an activity if we were coming from something else and couldn't get there early to get a seat. Quest is a very popular game and was overcrowded. We actually had to sit on the steps. The best activity was lounging and walking the decks looking at the amazingly beautiful ocean! We had many times of very pleasant, casual conversations with other passengers. The last day of sea the ship did a fundraiser for Make a Wish Foundation, "Walk for Wishes" and we were very blessed to participate. We had our very first massage in the spa and it was fantastic! They do try to sell you products at the end of the massage. The fitness area is unbelievable! Unfortunately we didn't use it as much as we thought we would. Next time, for sure! Many activities require extra money to participate but there is plenty to do that doesn't.

Our excursions would have been better if the weather would have cooperated. It was cloudy and rainy both days at St. Maartin and St. Thomas. One of our excursions, Kayaking and Snorkling at St Maartin was canceled due to lack of interest, which apparently rarely happens. We had no trouble booking another one. Our excursion at St. Maartin actually got back late. We were supposed to be back at 4pm to be back on the ship at 4:15. We didn't get back until 4:30, our group was the last people on board. We were told that if you book your excursion through the ship they will not leave without you but if you book an excursion with a local company the ship is under no obligation to wait. We didn't spend much time on Coco Cay. We spent the morning on the ship at the spa. We were scheduled for parasailing in the afternoon another first for us. We loved it!

We took this cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary and some other significant life milestones. We had a wonderful time and came home refreshed and transformed. The time we spent together without phones, computers and TV gave us special time together. We found we didn't think about anything (jobs, family) except what we were doing the whole week! Another first for us and one we are treasuring and determined to incorporate in our lives on a regular basis.

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