Our fourth day was an early start, we docked in Antigua around 7am and we had an shore excursion booked for the day. Antigua wasn’t originally one of our stops on this cruise however, as St Maarten still had quite a bit of damage from Hurricane Irma our stop was changed to Antigua.
We had booked the Antigua Buggy Adventure before leaving for the trip and I will do a whole separate post on our excursion and the day we had in Antigua along with the pictures I took throughout the day. However, I absolutely loved Antigua and bearing in mind this wasn’t supposed to be one of our stops I really feel like we would have missed out.
After the day in Antigua we got back on board the ship and off to top deck we went for sail away which was early afternoon. While the ship sailed away we enjoyed a few more hours of sunbathing. As the sun began to set we grabbed some pizza from Sorrentos and went back to our room where we could see the sun completed go down from the balcony.
Dinner was back in the main dining room tonight, as the food had been so good in the dining room we didn’t really feel the need to go to the speciality restaurants. However, dinner wasn’t dinner without some pre-dinner drinks at the R bar of course. R bar is literally a stones throw from the dining room also so it was quite convenient when waiting for your dinner time. I’m just trying to justify how much time we really spent at this bar. After dinner we enjoyed a few more drinks around the ship before calling it a night.
Day five was spent in the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico, the beautiful town of Old San Juan. We docked in the town around 7am however, as we didn’t have a shore excursion booked for Puerto Rico we decided to head for breakfast and avoid the mad rush getting off the ship.
I had done a lot of research about Old San Juan before our visit even to the point of getting a tourist map posted to the UK from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company… what can I say I like to plan. After all my research we opted not to do a shore excursion as it seemed easy enough to our own little tour and at least we could take our own time at the different places we wanted to visit. I will do a more detailed post (with a lot more pictures) about our day in Old San Juan and where we visited with my thoughts however, some of the places we managed to visit were:
- Raices Fountains
- Puerta De San Juan
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro
- Old San Juan Square
- Puerto Rican Flag Door
- Senor Paleta
Old San Juan, was everything I imagined, the streets were colourful the people were friendly and I loved to just stroll up and down all the back streets. The shopping in Old San Juan is tax free so if shopping was your thing this was the place to go on a spending spree.
I could have spent a lot longer in Old San Juan but sail away was at 2pm which was quite early in the day however, docking at 7am did give us plenty of time to explore. Back on the ship we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the top deck as the weather was beautiful.
Dinner was again in the main dining room, and as the rest of the week was delicious and amazing service. After dinner we took a walk along the promenade into the Star Bar where we caught the end of a game show going on it involved people from the audience and everyone seemed very keen to be involved. We then went into the main theatre where the headliner show, once upon a time was on which was good but not the best show I had seen.
We then took a walk outside on deck 4 which went around the whole ship it seemed strange to be outside and what seemed so close to the water. We also seemed to be going at some speed which felt very strange walking in the opposite direction. After our walk it was back to the R Bar for the rest of the evening for some more of those red velvet cocktails.
Day seven we spent back at Royal Caribbean’s private resort Labadee. We spent the day docked in Labadee last year so we knew exactly what to expect at this port. We watched the ship dock around 9am on top deck the ship did a full 180 and reversed into port which was quite a sight.
Once in port we went to breakfast with what seemed like 80% of the ship it was very busy and the queues for the main dining room were going right down into the promenade, really we should of just opted for room service this day. A lot of the staff have to get off the ship and set up the Island with food/drinks ready for the day therefore staff in the restaurants was a little short and they couldn’t open up the whole restaurant which was the reason for the long queues. Luckily our waiter (from dinner) spotted us in the queue and managed to squeeze us onto a table of 2 in the corner.
After breakfast it was off the ship and onto Labadee, we took a walk all the way down to the little market where local vendors sell their goods to be honest I didn’t venture right in as I don’t like to be hassled but even walking past I was getting whistled and asked to come and see what they were selling so you can only imagine what it is like inside. We stopped at schooner bar on the island for a few strong Labadoozies. Instead of the local rum I was asking for Malibu which gave the Labadoozies more of a tropical coconut taste, I would definitely recommend if coconut is your thing. We took our drinks and went off to the the small hammock area where we enjoyed our drinks and the amazing weather. Labadee really is the perfect island to relax and unwind.
As we were not to fussed about sitting on the beach even though they are really beautiful we thought we would take the opportunity to enjoy a quite ship and some of the activities on board. We played a bit of table tennis followed by some mini golf and then basketball, we had the whole back of the ship to ourselves which was great for us. If you want to avoid the crowds for the activities on board this was the time to go.
Sail away was at 5pm which was just as the sun was starting to set, the sunset was beautiful. The further out to sea we got the stronger the wind became so we grabbed our things and went back to our room via Sorrentos for some pre-dinner pizza to eat on the balcony.
It was the final formal night this evening so as with the majority of the ship we got dressed up and went down for dinner via the R bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. For the first time we spent quite a while at dinner. Previous nights we were in and out in just over an hour, not because we didn’t want to be there, the service was just extremely quick but tonight we took our time and Slama (our waiter) held out on the time between our courses.
After dinner we went to see what was going on in the theatre and we caught the last of the Beatles show to be honest I am not the biggest fan, one song was plenty for me so it was back to R Bar for more drinks and to chat to other people on the ship.
Today was the last full day on board Freedom while we made our way back to Fort Lauderdale. Breakfast in the main dining room was chocolate themed… possibly the best breakfast ever.
After the most indulgent breakfast on the cruise we spent the morning up on top deck trying to get the last of the sun but it seemed the weather had different ideas it was overcast and very very windy towels that weren’t clamped down were flying everywhere. After fighting with the pages of my book and putting a towel over my head we decided to call it a day and head down to the balcony where we were a little more protected from the wind. We spent some time on the balcony planning what we wanted to do in New York (the second part of our trip) and enjoyed the sun when it made minimal appearances.
For lunch we tried out the windjammer, it was hectic in there however we managed to get a table and there was plenty of options food wise. To be honest buffet isn’t really my thing and the hustle and bustle of the windjammer was just my worst nightmare but it was ok and the food we had was still really good.
Back down to the balcony with cookies of course to enjoy in the afternoon and finally the sun was out so we enjoyed the final hours of the sun and the beautiful sunset that followed before packing up our suitcases ready for the early departure in the morning.
Our final night was of course spent in the main dining room and at the R Bar where we had our first drinks of the cruise and final drinks of the cruise.
Overall our trip round the eastern caribbean on board Freedom was great fun we met lots of great people and drank lots of amazing cocktails. I fell in love with Antigua and can’t wait to visit the island again some time in the future. All the staff on board Freedom were friendly and always interacted with guests. Having been on an Oasis class ship, I must say I prefer these ships however, a lot of people on board Freedom preferred the smaller more intimate cruises which this was. Don’t get me wrong I loved this cruise as much as my previous ones but I think I am an Oasis class girl. Roll on April for Symphony of the Seas.