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  1. Traveling in November on freedom of the seas to st Maarten, st Thomas, and st kitts. Would like to do a beach day on one of the islands but wasn’t sure which island is best. We are traveling with a 1yr old and a 5 yr old. I wasn’t sure how grabbing a taxi would be with the kids. Ship excursions only go to the beach for like 2 hours
  2. We are past final payment and now all checked in for a four day on Freedom of the Seas January 23, 2023!! It will be the first time away from the babies (both under two) for me and my wife for more than a night but, as I told her, we deserve it and at some point we just gotta do it (very fortunate to have some awesome nearby grandmas to help). It's a cruise of many firsts, we are fortunate to have cruised a fair amount, we will pass into Emerald status on this cruise with a goal of being Diamond in a few years, this will be our first time in a Junior suite as well as first time with Ultimate Dining and first time at Coco Beach Club. I have done almost all of the Voyager class earlier in younger days on family trips and together we've done two Symphony cruises and a Navigator (the most recent Symphony was during spring break of this past year which was unfortunately not a great time with the crowds, lack of activities, pretty poor service level overall compared to previous voyages and yes a cruise is better than no cruise, yes spring break is always busy but we were limited by teachers and school aged children in the group of family we had with us, so that's a whole other conversation, but looking forward to things being somewhat more normal and not have to worry about the testing drama for a large group, masks, blah blah blah) so while we don't have the time or budget for a big 7 day cruise every year we are very much looking forward to a getaway as the two of us and splurging a bit as our Christmas gift to each other. I have been getting free interior and ocean view stateroom Casino Royale offers on all of these Florida based 3/4 nighters as well as a variety of older/smaller ship 7 nighters since before the shutdown and not being able to take advantage of them yet due to the babies and work commitments had been killing me! We were on one of the very last cruises in Feb 2020 just before the shutdown to check out Navigator in her newly amped state as well as the brand new south beach and other additions at PDCC so this is a bit of a retread in a way, but hey, we know what we like and this ship appealed to us the most. I say that because we really preferred Navigator over Symphony - I totally understand and respect of course that different folks like different things and Wonder looks amazing, lots of fun things to do, but for me the size and access to most areas, the connection to the ocean, the price, the familiarity to get around the ship easily .....that 2020 trip made Navigator our favorite of any ship we've been on and so that led us to being very keen to see Freedom in her relatively fresh state having been amped and then empty for two years. We likely won't be onboard any Oasis class 7 nighter again until we can afford to truly go all out, stay in a suite, get ultimate dining etc to fully take advantage of all the things those ships can offer. Being in a 'normal' non suite room on Symphony (without access to my favorite part of the Voyager class, the Viking Crown) and without doing specialty dining etc just created a lot of FOMO if that makes sense? The base level approach was not for us, I don't think I would recommend it for other seasoned cruisers but would love to try Odyssey and will try to keep an open mind - we're all different and clearly Royal knows they had some challenges on the service end with the recent news about the main dining room menu etc and I applaud them for acknowledging that, but there's plenty of chatter about that elsewhere. At the end of the day we are well aware of the business model, if you want more than the basic experience be prepared to spend more to get it and so on this particular four nighter we can afford to do just that. It's good marketing and Royal clearly knows what they're doing, I'm fine with that. Through a great travel agent we've used in the past we paid a very reasonable upgrade fee on top of my casino royale offer to get ourselves into one of the brand newly built out Junior Suites on Deck 11 (thanks @Matt for the tip in a previous live blog of Freedom). Final price was a third or less per person than what they have been going for in recent sales. We both have DBX with Wifi at a great black Friday rate (imo the key is a very expensive, unnecessary clump of word salad for any experienced cruiser who is organized even a bit) we grabbed Ultimate dining for the first time as well as a Coco Beach Club day pass for $89. We're flying into Miami from Ohare around noon the day before using American Miles and staying with Hilton points I've racked up at work (can't tell you how much I love having 99% of this entire trip already paid for aside from the cash we'll bring onboard). Have yet to choose the exact hotel but we will stay on Miami beach so we can escape winter and start vacation mode as soon as we land! Checkin is all set for 10AM Monday to take full advantage of our time aboard. In the mean time, I'll be lurking around here and taking in as much content as I can to survive a busy stretch at work and get through the holidays. I know we will miss our baby girls at times, but it's just a few nights and without them I will have time to review and be a blogger wannabe, looking forward to some time to play with my Nikon D5200 and various lenses, will link to my Flickr if necessary. 40 days and counting, happy holidays to everybody here and thankful for all I've learned so far. Cheers
  3. Freedom of the Seas question. My family booked into 6234 & 6236, w balconies and connecting rooms. We are so excited! Well, I just googled the room, late in the game, and reviewers complain of noise and obstructed views in that area. The star lounge is said to be below us, but to me it looks like the library. We are forward and starboard, near the stairs. Has anyone experienced this area? Any recommendations? Thank you, in advance! They say it is sold out and no room changes are available.
  4. My husband and I are going on a 7N Freedom of the Seas (FOTS) cruise January 2020. I'd love to hear of all your suggestions for excursions. We LOVE the water/beach but are open to other ideas as well. We have already been to St Maarten and did a RC snuba excursion which we enjoyed. All other ports we have never been to. With so many ports, we'd love to hear your feedback on ports to do an excursion versus no excursion-either staying on the ship or exploring the town. I should also note that one day we'd love to go back and stay at an island for longer than one day so any suggestions on day passes at a resort to explore those would be great too.
  5. Since the solarium pool on Freedom is listed as vaccinated only, have they been allowing those under 16 and vaccinated to use it?
  6. We’re sailing in August and have just the stops in Nassau and Perfect Day. Was wondering if any of the people sailing in July were told if they needed the Bahamas health visa for the “day stops”. I’m “the planner” for our group of 7 and have warned everyone that it “could” be a requirement, but haven’t seen anything yet that tells me yes or no. I’m sure Royal will provide us information when they have it, but want to stay ahead of this since not all parties are will be traveling to Florida at the same time. Thanks. note: all parties are fully vaccinated
  7. Does anyone know if the Staterooms on the freedom of the seas will also get upgrades and remodels when the ship goes into dry dock next month? Or is the revamp of the ship just for the public areas? Thanks!
  8. Hello there, We are taking our first cruise ever and one of the stop is Barbados. What are the best shore excursions to do while there for a day? We were thinking of going on our own for Harrison Caves and Flower Garden and then booking Glory Tours for swim with turtles adventure? Anything else we should do or explore or any helpful itinerary for a day would be helpful? Thanks,
  9. It's time and I am jazzed! I start this blog on the front sun deck area up front deck 12. It's my second blog and hope to share enough info to help others and just maybe entertain. We embark from San Juan in about 5 hours which has lent itself to be a very relaxed time. We arrived at the port at noon and from handing the bags to the porters to walking on board was ten minutes max. I assume we slid in right after the call of all those that were waiting for the ship to be cleared to board. The windjammer seemed quieter possibly again because there is so much time before the muster drill. No sense of a rush to get food before they close. We are coming back to Freedom from our first trip on an Oasis size ship. Honestly I was surprised that my first impression was that this ship seemed small. I remember how I thought Freedom was gigantic just last year. Well, not to fear, after walking around during the past few hours, it is feeling large again. Plus it helps being next to the Disney Wonder which is a good deal smaller. I will recap the full day later but will leave you with some pre departure thoughts. - San Juan airport was very busy with the taxi line being about a 30 minute wait. No Uber from the airport. - We stayed at a nice boutique hotel, the San Geronimo, but it's more european style than American. It is less than a mile to the port and about a mile and a half to the center of old San Juan. - fortunate enough to have been here for the San Sebastian festival in old San Juan. Good music and fun but very crowded. Hope you enjoy following and feel free to ask questions. I will try to track the answers down!
  10. This is my first post and my first cruise as the person in charge! My boyfriend and I are on Freedom in late August and both of our birthdays will fall on nights while on board (5th and 7th). What does the MDR do for birthdays and how do I go about alerting them to our double celebration? Once on board? Or can I let dining know when I email RCCL for our MTD table reservation 20-ish days out? I haven't been on a cruise since HAL Oosterdam with my parents in college, and Sovereign waaayyy back in '98 as a 5th grader, so this time I am in charge of booking and scheduling! So excited to be on such a big ship. Well, in comparison to the other two... I will have to work my way up to Oasis class. ?
  11. I'm staying in a Spacious Oceanview w/o balcony on Freedom of the Seas. I was thrilled to find photos of what I thought was my room (7400) but they are confusing because obviously the 3rd is totally different from the others. The 4th photo is a different room, but the wall is obviously slanted and the window is much smaller. Now I'm really trying to figure out what our room/view looks like. I was also trying to locate it from outside photos of the ship but that was a huge fail on my part. I know it's a long shot but has anyone stayed in this room?
  12. Anyone else on the Southern Caribbean cruise starting at the end of the month? If so, what excursions are you doing? We haven't booked anything yet, but have some ideas. Not sure about Antigua and St. Lucia - so any recommendations on those are appreciated!
  13. I've been Googling but keep coming up with different lists. I *think* this is the most current, can someone confirm? Deck 3 - On Air Club, Deck 4 - Boleros, Casino Bar, Sabor, Schooner Bar, Deck 5 - Bull and Bear Pub, R Bar, Star Lounge, Vintages, Deck 11 - Pool Bar, The Plaza Bar, Deck 12 - Sky Bar, Deck 14 - Olive or Twist, Viking Crown Lounge Also, if I'm missing any or any of them are listed wrong I'd appreciate any feedback. Have I mentioned I'm a ridiculous planner? We want to be sure to check out the entire ship and having a drink in each bar can't hurt.
  14. Hi! A few friends and I just booked the 7 night Southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan on 3/17/2019. I am wondering if anyone knows when RCCL will have a promo going on for the drink package? Apparently the price is increasing in 2019 and I don't think I am going to drink $63-$74 per day in alcohol lol. I figured I won't get one or I will wait for a promo. Thank you in advance!
  15. Firstly let me thank all on this site for the knowledge they have shared, being a new cruiser i didnt know what to expect but the information and friendliness shared on this site has made me less worried about things. For me this upcoming cruise has been a long time coming, in fact over 20 years, it's a bucket list item that i thought i would never be able to tick off! I have dragged my wife to some strange cities and countries around the world, be it on vacation or for work but one thing i could never do was get her to go on a cruise due to her dislike ( thats an understatement ) of water. However this year as this trip is for my 50th birthday she had to relent ? hopefully this cruise is the first of many! We fly British Airways (BA)from a very cold and wet North East of Scotland on Thursday, heading to New York via Heathrow with a 7hr layover in JFK before boarding our Delta flight down to Peurto Rico for a 2 day stay before our cruise. I booked both of these flights as soon as i was able to (11 months out) and i have watched prices daily, BA has never dropped, Delta i could have saved a little ($100) if i waited one month. Since then prices have risen so it was a good idea to ignore my wifes advice to wait until 2 or 3 months out. The hotel of choice having read good reports on it was the Sheraton in Old San Juan, right opposite the cruise port or so i thought! Thanks to info on here i found out that RC leave from another terminal, that along with the fact my wife saw a photo of a hotel with a beach with hammocks on it where we could just chill on our first day sipping cocktails after a long flight, i decided a change was needed, booked the Courtyard by Marriot Isla Verde ( yes the one with hammocks) as soon as dates appeared available and since then i was watched the prices rocket, so again good idea to book as soon as you can. The cruise itself was booked through a UK travel agent, i didnt have a clue which one to use but noticed one was giving you a price match, $100 OBC and free drinks package and 6 bottles of red wine if you booked through them, the wine was the deciding factor and i must admit they tasted nice. Room is an oceanview on deck 9, i wanted a balcony but had to compromise as my wife wasn't keen on a balcony on first cruise. For UK cruisers i used trivago to look for best deal on hotel, skyscanner for flights and just searched for best deal on cruise, i then went onto TOP CASHBACK and used that as a link to BA, Booking.com and company for insurance and have ended up with a £200 payback which is extra money to spend on holiday ONBOARD Voom purchased for my wife using OBC so she can keep in touch with family back home As i got drinks package FOC, theres no point adding up bar bill to see if i break even, also the fact as im scottish the batterey would probably run out an calculator from over use?? Schedule Thursday 22nd Aberdeen to Newyork Friday 23rd New York to Peurto Rico : 2 night stay CRUISE ITERNERARY BASSETERRE, ST KITTS & NEVIS ST. JOHNS, ANTIGUA CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN Back to San Juan SJU TO JFK As we just like to wing it and decide what we want to do when we wake up or sober up lol, the only things we have planned are Bernards tours in St Maarten and Atlantis Submarine in Barbados ( another bucket list item so i had to bribe my wife for this one) After the cruise we head back to the big apple and heres where the bribery kicks in, a 2 night stay in the Grand Hyatt in NYC taking in the xmas lights etc, ice skating in Bryant Park even though i've never skated in my life( just as well i have idiots abroad travel insurance) some Xmas shopping at Jersey gardens, however my wife wants to visit Tiffany's for her present ? and just when i thought everything was done and i could relax without having to spend anymore more money, John Legend announces a tour where his only New York date corresponds with our time there and knowing full well what my wifes reaction would be if we get there and she see's advertisements for his concert, its easier for me to have a quiet life if i just open my wallet and purchase 2 tickets All packed and counting down the days ? Ray
  16. Hello! We booked 4 rooms on Freedom of the Seas MONTHs ago. We were very specific in the place, type, number (not "guaranteed") and other cabin detail when selecting them. Unfortunately, we have a situation where we booked a balcony cabin for 3 people. One is no longer able to attend. We're happy to pay for the room & 3 people. Even so we've been told by both the cruise line and our travel agent that because our room "sleeps 3" that if we drop to two people, we'll be moved to a "sleeps 2" cabin... none of which are balconies. Is this the reality of it? Or am I missing something? And if it is real, what are the best ways to keep our room? Thanks all!
  17. For those who have cruised on FOTS, if you could only go to one of the dining venues which one would you recommend? Not interested in Sabor so it's a straight choice between chops grille and giovannis. Thanks ?
  18. By FlowBro Ty Here's some photo of the flowrider on the freedom of the seas. Let Me Know If You Liked It And Comment Thanks FlowBro Ty
  19. Hello Royal Caribbean fans - I recently came into possession of a crystal bowl engraved with " Freedom of the Seas Innaugural Season 2006" and a likeness of a ship. The bowl has a sticker on it from "Burns Crystal, handcrafted in Scotland". I cannot find any info on this piece. I was hoping someone here could tell me more about it? Thank you in advance Matt
  20. First-time cruisers on Freedom of The Seas in March and we are really excited! This site and podcast have been a tremendous help for our planning. I did want to ask if anyone has done the Shore Excursion in San Juan, Puerto Rico called "Give Back to La Perla Community" it sounds like something encouraging to do but wanted to see if anyone knew more about this. Thank you!!
  21. So I'm 290 days out from my Eastern Caribbean cruise on Freedom of the Seas, and I see that the beverage packages are now available for me to buy on the Cruise Planner. Since I just missed the last Sip and Stream offering, and I've got so much time before embarkation day, I'm gong to bide my time and keep an eye out for either a 20-30% off sale or another Sip and Stream offer. Maybe around 4th of July week? This is kind of nuts, I'm still a little over 9 months away from my trip! At the rate things are coming up on the Cruise Planner, I'll have all of our excursions, drink packages, and internet booked and paid off at least six months ahead of time. At that point I'll just be making the monthly cruise fare payments until final payment in December.
  22. So I'm taking my first cruise ever, on Freedom of the Seas (8-night Eastern Caribbean sailing in March/April of 2018). I have some general questions I haven't found answers for after listening to the podcast and searching the blog and these message boards. Apologies if these have actually been asked a million times already. First question is about the main dining room. I'm looking at the deck plans for FOTS, and I see that there are three areas labeled "Dining Room" -- Leonardo Dining Room on Deck 3, Isaac Dining Room on Deck 4, and Galileo Dining Room on Deck 5. Are all three of these combined actually the "Main Dining Room"? Or are they distinct in terms of appearance, menu, any background music, etc.? Related to this: I have the Early Dining assignment (5:30 PM) and my family's cabins (connecting balcony rooms) are on Deck 8. Will we be assigned to just one of these dining rooms for the entire week? Any way to predict which one based on our cabin deck? Do we have to eat in that assigned room for all meals where we choose a dining room option, or can we go to, say, the Galileo room for breakfast even if we're assigned the Leonardo room for dinner? Does it even make a difference if we do? Next question is about stargazing and taking photos of the night sky. I've read here that at least some of Royal Caribbean's ships have at least one planned stargazing event on the helipad. Are passengers allowed on the helipad at night when there is no planned event? Just want to know if I have to make sure to find that announcement in the Cruise Compass and tell my family that I'll be doing that no matter what else they might want; I live too close to bright cities to ever get a good view of the night sky, and being able to actually see the Milky Way and maybe take some long-exposure photos to capture it is something of a bucket list item of mine. Related to that, are passengers allowed to bring a tripod onto the helipad in that situation? Long-exposure shots don't work when holding the camera, so at a minimum I'd want to bring a very small (I'm talking 6") folding mini-tripod I own that I could set up, or something like a Gorillapod that I could wrap around a railing or post. Next question is about the Adventure Ocean program. Both my kids will be with me, and they'll be 14 and 17 at the time. Are they able to just go to the teen lounges without actually signing up for Adventure Ocean, or do they need to be signed up so it shows on their sea pass card that they're allowed in? Besides those teen clubs, does the ship staff typically do anything special for teens during the day on sea days? Or is the expectation that kids that age will just roam the ship on their own and do their own thing with or without their parents? Last question is about what people's experiences have been with the staff when it came to special events. My TA has noted on our reservations that it will not only be our first ever cruise, but our 20th wedding anniversary and our daughter's graduation from high school. When we went to Disney the first time, we got big buttons to wear and the staff went out of their way to be extra helpful and make the stay even more enjoyable than it already was. I've heard / read multiple comparisons of Royal Caribbean to Disney in terms of their effort to "wow" their passengers, so I'm curious if anyone here has traveled under similar circumstances and gotten similar "TLC". That's it for now, at least. Thanks in advance for whatever help you can give! - Joe -
  23. Hi all, This will be our first cruise with RC - we've previously been on Disney twice. I have a 12 year old son who will be with us, and he's looking for friends for the cruise in his age group. Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Cate
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