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  1. We just got off Freedom yesterday, so I thought I would share a brief summary of our trip while it is fresh. This trip report won't be like some of the wonderful ones I see here with lots of pictures (because I am trying to catch up on some work), but I felt it was important to share because I get so much from this group. My husband and I were traveling with another couple who had never cruised before. We arrived in Miami late Sunday evening and took an uber from MIA to the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. Check-in was fast and hotel was very nice and clean. There is a $30 Destination Fee added to the cost of your room. This fee includes the following: Premium High-Speed Internet $30 F&B Credit Welcome Gift - 2 BPA Free Water Bottles Two Bike Rentals (up to 2 hours per room, per stay) Daily yoga/fitness classes for 2 guests per room Two tickets to Millions Billionaire Sight Seeing tour Two Welcome Drinks in “Gold Coast Kitchen + Cocktails” We had a bay view room (#9304), which had a great view of the bay and the ships. We are early risers, so on Monday morning, we woke up, had some coffee in the room and then headed downstairs to the M Club for the complimentary breakfast. The breakfast was nice. It included eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fruit, cereals, pastries, meats, cheeses, etc. M Club includes 24-hour access for some alcoholic drinks, free breakfast, etc. If you do not have Bonvoy status, it can be purchased, but I am not sure of the price. Check-out as fast and easy. We ordered an Uber for 10:15am for the short ride to the port. Including a couple of pictures below.
  2. How did you guys go about getting the $300 from Royal or contact executives? I noticed others mentioning this when they have had lost luggage. I am super frustrated. We disembarked on Friday, Oct 28, 2022 from Freedom of the seas and my luggage was deemed “lost”. The customer service phone number says I have to wait 7-10 business days to see if my luggage “shows up”. The thing is… I had my luggage. I was right by the exit of the port and took my hand off of it to put my birth certificate in my backpack and stepped out the door. My bag was right in my sight and I wasn’t allowed to grab it since it was in the building and I was out of it. It was then deemed “suspicious” until the cruise disembarked entirely and the bag was searched which was like 4 hours later and we had a flight to catch. The port agent took my information so that they could ship the bag to me after (at my expense) but I haven’t heard a thing. Every time we try to contact Royal they have no record of it and say to just wait 7-10 business days to see if it “shows up”. It was right there. It was never lost!!! All the phone calls are like 45 min waits and zero help. The person that took my information obviously failed to follow through.
  3. Leaving tomorrow to go to Miami. 2/25 is first day on Freedom and having my upgraded Grand Suite. Stay tuned here for all the deets!! Follow me on Tiktok and youtube for videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3qy7q6F7n08P8BWpUCT6ew tiktok.com/@Dara_Alt.666
  4. Getting excited for my first taste of Oasis class in just 7 days! This will be my third (& fourth!) cruise with Royal and cannot wait to see the mega beauty herself, having never seen anything bigger than Freedom class in person. This will also be my first semi-Side to Side... semi in that we have to spend a night in Miami between cruises. Still counts to me, twooo cruises, one vacation! Booking this came about because my boyfriend and I cruised in August 2019 on Freedom from San Juan and I got hooked on Royal and cruising in general. Right after that we went on Holland America’s Oosterdam in December 2019 and it further made clear our preference for Royal. I couldn't stand to wait in dry dock til Jan 2021 (at the time) so I snagged this 4-nighter on Oasis to hold us over. Like everyone else, this cruise has had several iterations and rebookings; it started as a May 2020 cruise, got swapped for a Nov 2020 cruise and finally Lift & Shifted to this Nov 3, 2021 itinerary. I added the Freedom 4-nighter right after as a way to see the renovated Coco Cay while also extending the value of my cross-country flight! I have been to Coco Cay once before (summer '98, baby!) so it should be fun to see how it's changed. Itinerary The mini Oasis sailing was originally slated as Labadee, got switched to Cozumel due to the unrest in Haiti and then switched a THIRD time to Nassau and Perfect Day at Coco Cay. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) that means we’re essentially going on the same cruise twice on different ships! Oasis Day 1 - Departs Miami Day 2 - Perfect Day at Coco Cay Day 3 - Cruising Day 4 - Nassau - Day 5 - Debark + turnaround night in Miami, Penguin Hotel South Beach - Freedom Day 6 - Departs Miami Day 7 - Nassau Day 8 - Cruising Day 9 - Perfect Day at Coco Cay A vacation with Perfect bookends! Hard to complain about that. Who’s Going - my fiancé (Adrian) and I (Daryl) Cabins Oasis - Ocean View Balcony 10554… our first non suite. Ahh! We will see how we fare with the smaller room and lack of walk in closet! Haha Freedom - Ocean View Balcony 1880. I am excited to be on deck 12 with easy Lime & Coconut access. I also put in a bid for a GS that was slightly above the “weak” segment so we’ll see! Pre-Purchases I got us the DBP + Voom Surf and Stream for both legs of this trip - $61/day on Oasis and $75/day on Freedom. $75 was the sale price, too! Since this may be my only OA class for awhile I also snagged us the 3-night Dining Package for Oasis so we can try Chops, 150CP and Giovanni’s. I am also thinking about adding Giovanni’s again on the Freedom leg because the menu appears to be different! I kept waiting and waiting for the UDP to appear for OA but it never did. We will also be using some leftover OBC at Playmakers and Portside for sure. Excursions Since our itinerary was changed so many times for Oasis I really don’t have anything scheduled for our first 2 PDCC and Nassau stops. In Nassau we are thinking we will do a walking tour I found on these boards and grab some conch fritters at Oh Andros, then have a chill beach day at Coco Cay. I am eyeing the Up, Up and Away balloon but I hear it has a low chance of going up this time of year. At $74 each it seems pricey for those few minutes of incredible views but I may just yolo book it. On the Freedom leg, we booked the Snorkel & Sail excursion in Nassau and have Thrill Waterpark tickets for PDCC. I got these for $46.99 and haven’t seen it that low since! (I had them on a Nav cruise for the outrageously low price of $29 but it was sadly cancelled) Mid Cruise Hotel We are once again being cruising renegades as the best non-stop flights to Miami leave San Diego the night before the cruise and get in at 5am on the morning of, eliminating the need for a pre-cruise hotel. I feel like the 12 hours of wiggle room are enough to get us through. We have never been to Miami (Aside from our forced overnight near the airport on the way home from San Juan last time) so I wanted to stay in South Beach to get a real feel for it. I chose Penguin Hotel for this stay! Ocean Drive, directly across from the beach and had a “penthouse” (read: third floor) suite with a luxurious 1,000 sq ft “terrace” (read: roof of the hotel). I am anticipating a Bird Cage Art Deco vibe! One does want a hint of color. Hmm, what else? I bought the 6 pack of Binax AG Card tests, so that’s our Covid Testing Plan between cruises although Royal said they would take care of it. I like to always be prepared juuust in case! I hope to up my game on the live-ness of this blog, and take more ship pictures this time as I marvel at the beauty of Lady O. I am excited to see the AMP Freedom received since we last sailed her, too. Only 7 regular sunsets before the ultimate: SHIP SUNSETS are back in my life!
  5. It’s nearly time! I feel like I have waited for yeeears to set off on my first cruise as an adult! (It’s been… 84 years… ) In reality, I haven’t had to wait all that long as the days between booking and embarkation maxed out at 146 days. Now it’s down to just SIX days! The saddest part was that I had three vacations to go on between then and now and the poor Grand Canyon and Puerto Vallarta did not get the travel-obsessing they deserved. In March, my boyfriend and I were looking into different trips we could take for our birthdays this August (on the 22nd and 25th) and as a Puerto Rican he suggested a trip there to visit his mom who went down to help family after Maria. I was pricing it out to stay in PR for around 6 nights (typical length of a land vacation I can afford) when he mentioned having taken a cruise from there back when he was in high school. The next day I googled cruises from SJ and booked a 7-night sailing on Freedom hours later! The price was pretty comparable and on this itinerary we would get the added bonus of seeing 5 other Caribbean ports! Who could say no? It should be noted that I booked during the 30% off sale but I even got us into a JS for less than every vacation I have taken to Hawaii. After reading about a million fabulous live blogs here I thought I would give it a go because I would love to give back, so if you have any Freedom questions, feel free to ask! Itinerary Day 1 8/18 - San Juan, Puerto Rico Day 2 8/19 - St. Thomas 8am-6pm - Magen’s Bay via taxi (haven’t been since I was 7!) Day 3 8/20 - St. Kitts & Nevis 8am-8pm (only ship in port) - Cockleshell Beach via Shore Excursioneer Day 4 8/21 - Antigua 8am-5pm (only ship in port) - Antigua By Sea (RC Excursion) Day 5 8/22 - St. Lucia 8am-6pm - Rainforest Zipline & Aerial Tram via Shore Excursioneer for MY BIRTHDAY!!!! Day 6 8/23 - Barbados 8am-9pm - Catamaran/Snorkel via Shore Excursioneer Day 7 8/24 - Cruising Day 8 8/25 - Return to San Juan With the added bonus of Day 9 - Extra day in San Juan! With a newly-renovated oceanfront room at my favorite hotel in SJ, the Caribe Hilton. I could not say no to seeing the renovation for myself. I am also a brand loyalist to my dear, sweet Hilton, specifically because I love getting to pick my own room (e.g. north-facing Disneyland Resort room for fireworks every time). We also got a rental car so we can cruise the island and pick up my boyfriend’s mom so she can point us to the best mofongo! Who’s Going - my boyfriend (Adrian) and I (Daryl) Cabin - Junior Suite 9538. The larger balcony is what got me because I am a lanai girl through and through. I get an oceanfront every time I go to Hawaii and even extended the year-round lanai time to include my apartment in downtown San Diego, specifically for sunset balcony-sitting! So suffice it to say I plan on spending a lot of time out there for sail away cocktails and the JS balcony was a major draw. Priority embarkation also sounds nice without having purchased The Key. Pre-Purchases - I got us the DBP for $44pp/pd during the 30% off sale although I can never figure out if it’s on sale or not cause it remained the same price once the sale was over?! Seems like at $12 each it is not hard to get to $44 per day, I can easily drink 4-5 cocktails and will also need 100+ ounces in water to make up for all that dehydration. Hoping to keep track of my drink consumption like @JLMoran! Also got the Voom Surf and Stream for 2 devices for instagramming and live blogging. Excursions St. Kitts - Cockleshell Beach transportation that includes a stop at Timothy Hill on the way. A taxi all the way down there was somewhat comparable but with a drink and chair included, it was worth it for the excursion version of going straight to the beach. Antigua - 80ft catamaran that circumnavigates the whole island! I went back and forth on which beach to taxi to from the port (for the record I had settled on Dickenson Bay - $14, haha) but decided this would be a fun way to see all 365 of them with a lunch/snorkel beach stop on Green Island off the east coast of Antigua. St. Lucia - Rainforest Aerial Tram and Zipline in the Castries Waterworks Forest Reserve on my biiirthday! I almost did the Pitons zip as advertised on the cruise planner but opted for the one with the sweet 45-minute aerial tram ride through the jungle. I am thinking SD Zoo Skyfari x10! Barbados - Catamaran/Shipwreck Snorkeling excursion to Folkstone Marine Park and Carlisle Bay. I am a sucker for both catamaran rides and snorkeling (a must in Waikiki and at Hanauma Bay evvvery single time) so I couldn’t pass this one up! --- I hope I can keep up with this blog as we go. I haven’t been on a cruise since December of 2005 when I sailed HAL Oosterdam with my parents out of our home port of San Diego to the Mexican Riviera. BUT! My very first cruise experience was with my friend's family on RCCL ol’ gal Sovereign of the Seas out of Miami in 1998! We went to Key West, Nassau and the oooolddd fashioned Coco Cay. Would love to try out Perfect Day on a future cruise to see the transformation (besides the fact that I love waterslides). Ahhh! Seeing the logged-in Royal countdown at 6 Days To Go has me feeling near-constant excited stomach butterflies! ? These 5 work days are going to crawl by.
  6. As I sit here an look at cruise videos instead of working I was wondering which one is used for MTD.
  7. Hi Everyone I Thought I Share A Video I Made Of The Freedom Of The Seas. Hope You Enjoy
  8. Four in my group - 3 adults, one teen, plus our previous foreign exchange student.
  9. This is my first time ever hearing of tendering (I've only cruised to the Bahamas before and neither port was a tender port). Where do I find out if any of the ports on my upcoming cruise require this time of embarkation? I am on Freedom of the Seas, June 9th, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. Thanks for any help!
  10. Looking forward to our cruise out of San Juan on Freedom of the Seas later this summer. A friend and I were looking for something to do while our wives take advantage of the Spa (thank you Cruise Planner Sales). I've read varying reports about a Cigar Bar on RC ships. I know they were labeled as Connoisseur Clubs, but I hear the familiar mantra (in Matt's voice) telling me "These vary ship to ship and sailing to sailing". So I ask in this forum, does Freedom have a Connoisseur Club? Thanks and Happy Sailing to all,
  11. I've searched and can't seem to find any info. . . I understand that Harmony has a teen SPA for those 13-17, but wondering if Freedom offers that also? My son will be 17 and our cruise is his graduation present, and he is BEGGING for a deep tissue massage (athlete of course. . LOL!). Wondering if it's offered or if I could get for a 17 year old? Also, are there Mommy and Me services? I seen on other ships (Disney obviously!) Mommy and me mani/pedis, etc. Just something fun to do with my 10 year old for a girls pampering. Any one have any info or experience I'd greatly appreciate. Thanks!
  12. Hi everyone! My husband and I are trying to decide which cruise to take this summer (July) and would love any help in the decision. The three choices: 1) Anthem OTS- 9 night Bermuda- only 1 day in Bermuda, then off to San Juan, St. Marteen, and Labadee. 2) Grandeur OTS- 9 night Bermuda- overnight in Bermuda, then off to Nassau and Cococay 3) Freedom OTS- 7 night Southern Caribbean- St. Marteen, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Johns, and Barbados. Other information: * We love Anthem, but will be doing the Bahamas itinerary in just a few weeks in April. *We haven't been to Bermuda or St. Lucia and both are appealing to us to visit. *I am not sure if we would regret not having more time in Bermuda on Grandeur if we went on Anthem. *I'm not sure if the Southern Caribbean itinerary will be unbearable weatherwise. We did Greece last year and Italy the year before and survived :) The Freedom itinerary has the most adventure of them all. *We are diamond members, but would likely be staying in a balcony for anthem and possible grandeur and a suite for Freedom. As you can see, I am quite conflicted! Any recommendations or feedback would be great. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! :)
  13. I'm looking to book a cruise next year, and two that interest me are either on Freedom of the Seas, or Allure of the Seas. Allure is a bit more expensive, but it's on a larger ship. I'm wondering if it is worth the extra money to be on it?
  14. First time with an Embarkation Day that has a Late Evening Departure (8:30PM). Just a general question about luggage, where/how to be luggage free during the day. What to do with luggage if we wanted to explore San Juan during the day, before Embarkation? We do plan to travel into San Juan the day before & have a hotel, but: Curious if the hotel would hold the luggage for the day, even after check-out time (assuming a fee perhaps)? Could we drop it at the ship porters earlier in the day? Thanks All!
  15. I've searched high and low on the internet for pictures of videos of the deck 12 balcony rooms on freedom of the seas, I understand these were added on around 3 years ago but cant find much information on them. I see a fair few videos for for the panoramic rooms which look great but non for the balcony. can anyone help me out?
  16. As well as Caribbean, also pricing up Japan cruises with Royal Caribbean. There’s two cruises that we looked up, both going to 3 ports. One is on the Quantum from Shanghai, and the other is on the Ovation from Tianjin. Which ship is better? Is there a difference? Does one have something the other one doesn’t? Thanks in advance.
  17. Going on Oasis of the Seas next July, and I was wondering if the shop on board sells different model ships, not just the one you are on. For example, if you are on board Mariner of the Seas, could you buy a scale model of Liberty of the Seas, or would you have to go on that ship to get that model? I would really like to get a couple of different models on board.
  18. Going on our 3rd cruise on Freedom. First time in aft stateroom. Has anyone stayed in aft stateroom 9407? Balcony looks smaller than our previous balconies midship. Concerned we may be disappointed. Any advice on that room?
  19. I am sitting in my hotel waiting for magic hour - that time when you head to the pier. It's slowly inching closer, minute by minute. Tick, tock, tick, tock. IT'S CRUISE DAY!!!!!! I spent the week in the Rocky Mountains working at a site just over 10,000 feet in altitude. It snowed twice and temperatures went below freezing every night. Last night the Florida humidity was even higher from the rain and it hit me like a wall as I stepped off the plane onto the jet bridge. Less than 24 hours ago I was scrapping ice off the windshield of my car. I'm so ready for this cruise... I flew in last night and stayed in the Las Olas area of Ft. Lauderdale. It was raining as I headed out late for a bite to eat and my sneakers were soaked by the time I got back to the hotel. Thankfully the hotel had a shoe drier (a.k.a. hair dryer). It's a beautiful sunny morning today and I've got that wonderful feeling in the pit of my stomach - IT'S CRUISE DAY!!!!!! I ran into some RCI IT workers at the bar last night but I bit my tongue and didn't bring up the website. Good thing, these guys work in other areas like point-of-sale. I did learn that IT doesn't sit in the Miami office where the executives are, rather they are in Miramar, FL. These guys seemed to enjoy working for RCI and had only good things to say about the company. The cruise is operating a modified itinerary. Despite Eastern ports opening back up this month in the wake of the hurricanes, the itinerary was changed from Eastern to Western Caribbean. Day 1 - Ft. Lauderdale Day 2 - Sea Day Day 3 - Grand Cayman Day 4 - Cozumel Day 5 - Sea Day Day 6 - Ocho Rios Day 7 - Labadee Day 8 - Sea Day Day 9 - Ft. Lauderdale This will be my first time using terminal 29. My inside guarantee fare has landed me midship on deck 10. First time on Freedom class and I'm looking forward to exploring a class of ship that I've heard great things about. After this cruise I have a longggg 6 nights before my next cruise. I've recently added a couple of lens to my camera kit and I'm looking forward to trying them out on this cruise. Without further adieu, it's time!
  20. Hey Guys and Gals! Hope all are well! I'm having 2nd thoughts about the Jr Suite booked for Jan 28 2018 FOTS 6 nighter. I booked it because Cindy's "vacation" has always been to "lay" on a recliner chair on a balcony/shade and read herself to sleep. That's her "down time", her absolute pie in the sky vacation. I noticed in the RCCL Jr suite pictures, the balcony had a regular chair, and what appeared to be a loung chair (one with a totally different back) shown in the picture, but not fully shown. I'm hoping and praying there really "is" a lounge chair. Before I started calling RCCL to see if there is in fact at least one lounge chair on a Jr. Suite balcony, I thought I'd ask you upper classmen cruisers. Would any of you that know for sure, enlighten me? I know there's not a chance in heck, of "requesting" one, if they are not a part of the norm., and I understand why. I know the regular balcony rooms come with 2 "chairs". Any information is appreciated. This will be our 2nd cruise. :) We're counting the days. Thank you all, Rob Rob and Cindy Whatley Auburndale, FL
  21. Hi Gang, Noticed a $14 and change per day single person VOOM on the Cruise planner. This question is to any of you been on FOTS and used Voom, how was it? I know some ships are much better (bandwidth) than others, and I will need to do some "work" :( While on the ship. I don't recall seeing any "scopes" from Freedom recently, but then again, I'm old and forgetful. Thanks so much for any input. Jan 28th can't get here fast enough. Thank you all. Rob and Cindy
  22. I am cruising on Freedom of the Seas March 12, 2017 out of Ft. Lauderdale. It says the ship leaves at 5:30pm. How early can I embark? Also, how late is too late? I am booking transportation and need to know best times to book!
  23. I am not one to produce lengthy cruise reviews but there are a couple of things from my cruise last week on Freedom that are worth passing on. My streak is in tact ! I still have never had a bad cruise ! WHEW ! 1. Diamond Plus members are no longer invited to the reserved section of seats at the ice shows. We had no problem at all finding a good seat but I was surprised that the reserved seating no longer includes D+ - Gold card holders only. 2. D+ were welcome in both the D Lounge and the Concierge Lounge although all of our voice messages came from the Diamond Lounge Concierge. We did not receive any voice or written correspondence whatsoever from the Concierge Club Concierge. 3. D+ are still included in the reserved seating area of the main theater. 4. Even though we were only in a Junior Suite, we were allowed to go to the express disembark line for Suites. I was very surprised at this. It has been my experience in the past that the express line for Suites only included Gold card suites but it was a very welcome and unexpected benefit as the disembark line was endless by the time we got downstairs. This was our own fault. We had a disembark number of 3....but chose to wait until later to disembark since we had a later flight. What a mistake that turned out to be - until they moved us from that endless line into the express line where NOBODY was. We were very fortunate. 5. The seas were some of the calmest we have ever experienced. We almost NEVER cruise in the summer but since we were repeat victims of Empress Gate this was what we got. Cruising during the summer can be very risky but we got lucky. The seas were like glass. 6. While on Grand Cayman, we heard from some locals that they are going to be building a pier next year ! Finally ! I know that they had resisted building any kind of dock or pier b/c of the unavoidable damage to the reef. I guess finances finally overcame the environmental concerns. While I heard that this construction had been approved, there is still significant resistance to the plan - primarily from environmentalists and those financially impacted (primarily those that operate the tenders, I am guessing). 7. While snorkeling on GC, Dan saw an (approx.) 8' Nurse Shark. He was so tickled. Of course, rather than being afraid, he followed the thing as far as he could. When he returned to shore, the locals (same ones who told us about the pier) said that it was a very, very rare occurrence. This young man had lived in GC all of his life and said that he could count the number of times he had seen a Nurse shark on 1 hand. 8. The casino gods were not favorable to me.
  24. Hello, Does anyone have experience with the cabins on Deck 10 AFT, D1 category, 1380-1392 or 1680-1692 on the Freedom class of ships? We have the option for a D1 cabin in that area of the ship but are a bit concerned being directly under the windjammer. It is appealing however because its on deck 10 in not such a busy area, away from elevators and more suites on this deck so maybe a bit quieter. The other options would be similar D1 cabin on deck 7 that would have cabins above and below us instead of the windjammer. Tried searching pictures of these cabins but can't seem to find any. Also, is there a way to figure out the bed arrangements on Freedom class ships? Is the bed always by the balcony or does it swap between being close to the balcony or close to the bathroom? Thanks for any help / advice.
  25. When we were on Freedom two weeks ago, I decided to buy myself a watch. I don't wear one all the time, but mine is getting some age and I wanted a nicer one. I was perusing the specials on the Promenade and found a pretty Invicta that was 75% off of the "retail" cost of $525. I ended up paying $149 for it and was pretty happy (Mattheus was super helpful and nice, BTW). A couple of days after I got home, I looked on the net to see just how much I saved...to my huge disappointment, every site I saw had it for less money. Some of them a good bit less. So, my advise is to be smart when you shop. If you have connectivity, research before you buy. I know that, in the end, it's my fault for not knowing any better, but nonetheless... It's still a lovely watch, and I'm going to enjoy it.
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