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-   -   Freedom of the Seas 3/15/2009 (

Sam27 01-06-2009 08:47 AM

Me and my boyfriend are booked on the freedom of the seas march 15,2009 and we are so excited and cannot wait. It is our first cruise with royal, my second overall, his 3rd. We have heard so ,many good things about royal and the freedom in general. Our cruise is the western caribbean, and we are booked in room 8658. All of you know so much about cruising and cruising with Royal, if anyone has any suggestions or anything good they could tell me about the ship or any don't miss excursions it would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks

Sam27 01-09-2009 07:01 AM

Did I not ask the right questions??

Dave 01-09-2009 07:59 AM

Welcome to cruise-chat.

I was on the inaugural revenue voyage of the Freedom and have also been on the Liberty. Prepare to be impressed! You'll wonder how it is possible to have so many things on a ship.

On embarkation day you will want to head to the Windjammer for lunch as soon as you board. If you linger it will get terribly crowded and you'll end up wandering around looking for a seat while your food gets cold. It isn't as crowded on the other days of the cruise. The Windjammer is quite large and there are several serving lines and islands. They won't let you go to the cabins until 1 or 1:30pm (it could be 2pm, but I forget), so you really have no choice but to eat and explore with your carry-on in tow. I usually park around the pool and have a drink.

They'll most likely have the Flowrider running. There are benches for watching, or you can try it.

RCI has their lifeboat drill at 4pm or so. They are quite strict about it. If you are in your cabin when the drill commences you will have to put your life jacket on before heading down to the muster station. Nobody is allowed to carry the jacket to the drill.

My favorite bar on these ships is Bolero's. It is down adjacent to the promenade. Most people like to try a mojito but my favorite is the caiparenha. At night they have salsa style music. It can really get rolling later on.

You'll want to attend the ice show. They will have three shows (all the same) and they break it up so everyone gets a chance to see it. They will hand out tickets one morning (usually the second day). Get there early to get your choice of show. The tickets are free but you need one.

Many like to eat a special dinner at Chops or Portofino. These two specialty restaurants are up by the Windjammer. You need reservations which can be done on-line at the RCI website or you can do them on embarkation day. Don't linger if you want to do this. They book up fast. $25 per person for Chops and $20 for Portofino.

Don't become a slave to the Windjammer. Many do and they miss out of some very nice meals in the dining room. I prefer to eat breakfast in the dining room since it is quiet and you can get eggs benedict.

The Freedom has fresh water pools which I like.

There is a lot of extra-fee stuff on the Freedom, so be careful what you ask for or you'll be paying for it. Johnny Rockets diner is $3.95 per person which includes the food but not the drinks or ice cream. Getting certain desserts and coffees at the Cafe Promenade will cost you. Ben & Jerry's is extra, but it is hard to resist the smell of the waffle cones being freshly made. Room service between midnight and 5am will cost you $3.95 per order.

The Freedom rides quite nicely. Since it is so large you can't get anywhere too quickly so be ready. The elevators by the dining rooms will be useless at times as people leave or arrive for dinner. Rather than wait just go forward to the other elevators. You'll be glad you did. Similarly, on embarkation day go either forward or aft from where you enter the ship and use the other elevators. You'll beat a lot of people to the buffet lunch.

Sandy 01-09-2009 08:01 AM

HI Sam27 and welcome to Cruise-Chat. You asked good questions; sometimes it takes a few days for folks to respond. In the meantime, you can use the "Find" function at the top of the message block to search for prior discussions of Freedom of the Seas. Try putting Freedom into the bar as your search term.

In short, you'll have a great time. There is so much to do on the ship, you won't believe it. It may take you the whole week just to see everything!


Sam27 01-09-2009 09:07 AM

Thankyou both very much, I guess I am a little impatient counting down the days. lol My first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph,Dec. of 07, and there was a hurricane following our ship. I felt so sick I could only lay in bed. I even resorted to the chewable dramamine they sell on the ship. It is horrible tasting. we picked March because my boyfriend is in school so I am hoping with the time of year and a newer nicer ship it wont be anywhere near as bad as it was

Sandy 01-09-2009 09:14 AM

You should have smooth sailing. The Freedom is so huge, it is not as susceptible to the waves as other ships.

I've used Dramamine and it tends to just put me to sleep.

I would be impatient, too, if I had a cruise on Freedom coming up!


spoheat 01-09-2009 12:21 PM

Friends who are flight attendants recommend Bonine--this is a similar concoction to Dramamine less drowsy formula and is said to be more effective. I get in the front seat of a car, at a movie with a lot of camera angles, even a fast moving elevator, and I have only gotten sick 2-3 days over the course of all the cruises I have taken on RCCLs Voyager and Freedom class ships. Liquids make sea sickness worse--surprisingly, the last thing you want to do when you feel funky--eat--will be the best to calm down the rocky-ness. You shouldn't notice this much on the Freedom. The Bonine stays in your system 24 hours. It can make you somewhat drowsy, but not like a regular Dramamine, and you can always take a half and see if you get relief before overmedicating yourself.

You will love this class of ship. There will be a lot of families aboard when you go, but the H2O zone keeps a lot of the younger kids out of the pool areas, and of course there is an adult area you and your friend can hang out in.

If you want to try the flowrider, your best bet for a minimal line is board the ship, grab something to eat, and change into your suit and head that way--whether you can get into your room or not. People are exploring and eating and guarding their carry-ons waiting to go to the rooms and this was the best opportunity. Also if you are an early riser there was stand up surfing time around 8:30 that wasn't as busy.

blotter 01-09-2009 12:35 PM

We sailed from Bayonne NJ in November on the Explorer. The first couple days were rough seas. One of the crew members told us to eat green apples with salt for sea sickness. I had already taken something, so I never tried it. Just thought I would share the tip.

spoheat 01-09-2009 01:59 PM

I've heard the green apple thing before. Also ginger (you can get tablets at the health food store/Vitamin store) is supposed to work. I know people who had good results with "sea bands" on their arms, but personally thought they were worthless. The sickest we have ever been, however, was on the "power ferry" ride from Cozumel to the mainland to see Tulum. When we boarded and walked past a great trash can full of mops it should have given us a clue. People were throwing up right in their seats, even topside in the open air. We were later told that it wasn't even a particularly rough day--but these people movers have no stabilizers at all. What a mess! On the mainland near the docking space a shop sold 8 dramamine tablets for $8 American. They are really wise to the mentality of the people getting off who still have to go back in the afternoon! Most of them would pay anything!

It is one of many reasons we advise cruisers to visit Tulum (fabulous!) on a mainland stop. This adventure in vomit lasts 50 minutes, one way, and after you are all churned up you board a bus for 45 minutes! see Tulum, reverse the process. Too much transportation, not enough Tulum.

spoheat 01-09-2009 02:14 PM

Sam, you wanted don't miss excursions and no one has helped you. Grand Cayman: Do a search of this site for Captain Marvins or Moby Dicks (I think they both have a website). Go to Stingray City with either of them. You will save $$, avoid huge crowds (you have 4000+ people on your ship, a good percentage of them trying to go there--do you really want to be in a group of 150 people?) and they have made a reputation for always having people back at the terminal in plenty of time to board. There will be a line for tenders back to the ship near the end of the day here--lots of people to transport back. Plan to stand for awhile, holding anything you carry with you. The beach is great on Cayman. Jetski with a company called Ebanks waterports (website). They are amazing, clean well maintained vehicles. Young owners, individual attention. They have lived in the US and are very business-like. They can take you to Stingray City on Jet skis--very private, very fun, leave on your own schedule. VERY small groups. Very consciencious about getting us to the terminal in plenty of time for departure.

If you stop at Jamaica stick with a ship's tour. This is a very poor, sometimes dangerous country. Just read the descriptions and pick one. You don't want to get stranded here. Most people like Dunn's River Falls. This is very convenient to Ocho, not so much to Montego Bay, not sure of your stops. I preferred tubing down the White River, this is offered in Ocho. Be prepared for beggars and relentless sellers. Smile and move on. Say no politely and firmly. It gets tiresome, but remember who poor they are. Some experienced cruisers just stay on the ship in Jamaica, but I don't mind it too much.

On Cozumel it depends on your budget. Our favorite was swimming with the Dolphins (the "royal swim")at Chankaanab which we booked independently from the ship (we used, but you can search them and book on your own, cabs are plentiful and fairly inexpensive). This is spendy. You can just go to Chankanaab and snorkel from shore, there is a small beach. There is concession. You can see the dolphins, etc. This is a park and there is an entry expense. We did a jeep tour last time we were in Cozumel. We saw most of the island, went to a tavern the beach, swam, snorkeled, shopped, site-seeing, and had lunch at a great local spot. We used for this also. It was intimate and wonderful.
Of course, the beach is always a good choice in Cozumel. There are private beach clubs with an entrance fee that will include lounges and umbrellas and sometimes access to non-motorized water toys with the option to rent jet skis. Snorkeling can be great on Cozumel. Shopping is good--very mexico--tourist items, sterling silver, etc. Not as cheap as it used to be!

You will have a blast, whatever you decide.

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