Back in December we flew out to Miami for our annual holiday this time sailing around the Eastern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
My travel post normally go along the road of a daily diary of what we get up to on the cruise however this time I am going for a bit of an overview of each day seeing as we had 3 sea days on this cruise which consisted of sitting at a bar due to bad weather or sun bathing when the sun decided to make an appearance. So this cruise was around the Eastern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale stopping at St Kitts, Antigua (instead of St Maarten), Puerto Rico and lastly Labadee.
Boarding Freedom was an absolute breeze, no queue at check in and we walked straight onto the ship, very rare I’m sure but we couldn’t believe our luck. As cabins weren’t available it was straight to the bar of course. This will probably be a first and last time I could say I was checked in and in the bar with a drink within 20 mins. Happy Holidays!!
Until our cabin was available we spent the time exploring the ship and finding our bearings before heading off to the muster drill. Thank god everyone was huddled together at the stations it was so windy and rainy on the outside decks. After muster drill it was off to top deck for sail away which was a bit low key due to the weather we wouldn’t be beaten though.
After getting into our cabin we had to wait for our luggage to arrive. I was one of those unlucky ones that was walking up and down the corridor looking for my luggage while telling myself I should of packed the essentials in my hand luggage. Panic was over about 7pm when our lovely cabin attendant found my case.
We went for dinner in the main dining room which wasn’t a good experience the waiter was awful and dinner wasn’t the best. Now dinner could have been down to our choices but I didn’t expect to sit with my finished dinner plate in front of me for 30 mins before someone cleared them away just to make matters worse we got our drinks after our mains, I didn’t stay for pudding. I was so disappointed that I did speak to the dining room manager to which she promised to make it up to me tomorrow. Stay tuned!
After the disastrous dinner we decided to have another red velvet cocktail (tastes just like the cake) at R Bar before calling it a day, evil jet lag was beginning to take its toll.
Our first day at sea was welcomed with awful weather, windy, rainy and just a little rocky – hence the lack of pictures on this day. Now this is not what I expected or planned for the first sea day but there we go you can’t predict or control the weather. So what do you do when the pool deck is closed, the weather is pants and your on a cruise… you explore every inch of the ship and then you head to the bar of course.
We spent pretty much the whole morning walking round this ship, stopping at the cafes for tea and cake and then the theatre where we watched a presentation on all the different shore excursions there was available at the ports of call. Early afternoon the ship seemed to still be crashing against the waves and the movement got a bit too much for me and I began to feel poorly so off to the cabin I went to try and sleep it off I could not believe the first day of the holiday and I was going going back to bed.
After a good sleep I began to feel a little better and as we had done a bit of exploring in the morning we spent the rest of the afternoon in the bar. It turns out sitting at the bar on a rainy day was the place to be, we got chatting to so many people and a lot of experienced cruisers it was nice to hear everyones opinions on all the Royal ships.
Dinner was formal night and back in the main dining room, this time being seated on the opposite side of the restaurant with waiters Slama and Pravin. The dinner experience tonight was much better the waiters couldn’t do enough for us. We decided to book in for dinner for the same time for the rest of the week even though we had my time dining this guaranteed us the same table and same waiters for the remainder of the trip.
After dinner we managed to sneak into the back of the theatre show which had already began. Then it was onto the R Bar which was quickly becoming our favourite spot for drinks on the ship. The crew behind the bar where so friendly and always up for a laugh and plus the cocktails were insane here.
Our second sea day was much calmer and the blue skies were welcomed by everyone on board. Breakfast was in the main dining room where they give you the option of buffet or ordering off the menu which changed daily. We opted for the buffet as nothing really took my fancy on the menu, but the buffet is still nice and a lot calmer than the windjammer.
As the sun was out today it was up to the top deck to enjoy the first bit of winter sun since arriving, strawberry daiquiri in one hand and a book in the other the perfect sea day. Later in the afternoon we managed to catch a glimpse from the sky bar of the belly flop competition that was taking place in the main pool. This competition brings such a crowd to the pool and all around the upper deck looking down.
Later in the afternoon we took a stroll round the upper deck of the ship down to the flow rider and mini golf. Here you could notice that the ship was looking a little bit tired compared to the Oasis Class ships. The flow rider was always busy but there just didn’t seem to be enough seating around to watch and the bar at the back was closed.
As the day started to come to an end and the sun began set we grabbed a spot at the sky bar along with a cocktail to watch the sun completely set. We got chatting to a long time cruiser called Frank who taught physics back in Florida. As the sun was setting he was telling us all about why the sun sets red. This guy was incredibly smart and you could tell he was very passionate about what he taught. What was supposed to be a pre-dinner drink turned into around 4 drinks and nearly being late for dinner.
It was Italian night in the main dining room which was always my favourite the pasta dishes are always incredible. Slama was great again, always ensuring we were ready for our next course and always keen to find out what we had been up to on the ship throughout the day.
After dinner we went to the headliner show in the Arcadia theatre which was a tribute to Elvis. I wasn’t really expecting much as I am not a huge fan of Elvis however, I was pleasantly surprised as he was actually quite good and really interacted with the crowd. After the show it was back to the bar of course for the remainder of the evening.
The third day was in St Kitts and after two days at sea I was very grateful to make it to land. How people do transatlantic cruises with 7 consecutive sea days is beyond me. Our arrival in St Kitts wasn’t until 9am so I spent some time on the balcony with a cup of tea watching the waves I was convinced I seen a couple of dolphins swimming alongside the ship although my imagination could have been playing tricks on me.
Arrival in St Kitts was right on time, however we had no shore excursion booked so we was in no rush to get off the ship. We went for late breakfast in the windjammer which I thought would be quiet, I was wrong this place is always so busy. After the rush of getting off the ship had died down we made our way down to the first deck and to the gangway and finally onto land.
As we had no shore excursion booked we just took a walk around the port and had a look in some of the shops. There wasn’t huge amounts of pressure to buy anything which surprised me as walking into the port you were being approached left, right and centre by people trying to speak to you about trips. The port was a lot larger than I anticipated and there was also plenty of bars even one with a swimming pool. Although I am not sure why you wouldn’t just use those facilities on the ship. After an hour or so walking around the port we decided to head back to the ship but not before a local attempted to try and put a monkey on my shoulder… I ran a mile there was no way that monkey was going anywhere near me.
Back on board Freedom, we grabbed a sun lounger on the top decked and enjoyed the hot winter sunshine although it seemed incredibly strange sunbathing with christmas songs playing through the speaker, I was used to hat, scarves and gloves at this time of the year. Lunch was back in the Windjammer which seemed a little quieter than breakfast and I finally got to try some of those Royal cookies, they are not diet friendly though.
The ship quickly started to fill up with more and more people returning from their day in St Kitts and the sun slowly started to go down. By the time we were due to leave St Kitts it was dark and we watched the sail away from the balcony. We had a large tug at the side of the ship that we were connected to so I sat and watched the workers and the tug eventually pulling away leaving us to sail into the night.
Dinner tonight was amazing I had a pulled pork type pasta in a tomato based sauce it was incredible, Slama was even trying to persuade me to have a second dish but it was far too filling to eat two. After dinner we had a few drinks at the R Bar before heading down to the Ice show in Studio B. The ice show was fantastic the skaters are all just incredible and I really admire all of them. They really put on a show and worked the audience, I really was captivated by the show however I am a sucker for watching ice skating so I am sure Sam might not have the same opinion as me.
After the ice show we continued the night back at the R bar where Shaun was preparing our drinks before we had even made it to the seat on the bar. The crowd this bar pulled in at night seemed to be great fun and everyone was always up for a laugh.