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My friend & I chose this cruise specifically for the ABC Islands and St Maarten itinerary. We both prefer Carnival, but the dates and prices were right on for this one. Overall it was a great time! ** See my port reviews ** We flew in the day of the cruise from Ft Lauderdale. Took a cab to the port. NO lines anywhere, since ship departs at 8pm. Dropped off our bags around 3pm, and found the room. Then got another cab to head to downtown Old San Juan. Went to the street with the umbrellas to take some pics. Walked from there down the cobblestone roads. Made it back to the ship around 6:15 pm. ** We missed the safety briefing!! ** (not on purpose, but it was an added BONUS!) We were invited to a "private" safety briefing in a nice comfortable air-conditioned conference room with about 25 other late-comers. So much better! Had the early seating (6pm) for dinner. I wish we had chosen the late; we always seemed to be rushing to get ready, then would be full and tired by 8:30pm and want to sleep by about 9:30pm (!) HA! But the service at the Main Dining Room was superb!! Food was what you expect for cruising. My favorite is always the pork chop. Didn't care for any of the desserts - ended up ordering chocolate ice cream and choc chip cookies like I saw kids getting! We signed up in advance for the Guacamole Class at SABOR, the Mexican Restaurant, for one of our sea days, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For the cost to just eat there (around $30 pp) we got the "class", making our own big bowl of guacamole. They also showed how to make three different types of margaritas. Then everyone was offered any of those margaritas - as many as you like. We got appetizers, main course, and dessert. I loved their mini churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce! Glad we did it. Entertainment was pretty good. At the Welcome Aboard Show, the comedian was great -- Monique Marvez. There was an aerial act also -- Jimmy and Anna -- they were awesome! The band out by the pool was wonderful -- One Love -- played Caribbean music. Loved the ice skating show!! Just show up at least 15 minutes early by the doors so you get a seat when they open. There was a funny activity going on when we waited one night, "If You Know It, Sing It". Hilarious to watch! I was bummed that there was no water slide, but oh well. I tried to go up and walk/jog every morning on the track, but there is one section that is like a wind tunnel - crazy! The exercise equipment looked pretty good, but I'm not a gym person. The ship is easy to learn your way around. Not enough outdoor space or windows for me though. I do like that you can walk out from Deck 4 or 5 forward to the bow where the Helipad is. Many people don't know how to get there. Debarkation was relatively organized. Only stood in lines for about 20 - 30 minutes total. I would take this cruise again, just for the itinerary. Port are great!

Nice Southern Caribbean itinerary

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by NeedToVacation

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My friend & I chose this cruise specifically for the ABC Islands and St Maarten itinerary. We both prefer Carnival, but the dates and prices were right on for this one. Overall it was a great time! ** See my port reviews **

We flew in the day of the cruise from Ft Lauderdale. Took a cab to the port. NO lines anywhere, since ship departs at 8pm. Dropped off our bags around 3pm, and found the room. Then got another cab to head to downtown Old San Juan. Went to the street with the umbrellas to take some pics. Walked from there down the cobblestone roads. Made it back to the ship around 6:15 pm. ** We missed the safety briefing!! ** (not on purpose, but it was an added BONUS!) We were invited to a "private" safety briefing in a nice comfortable air-conditioned conference room with about 25 other late-comers. So much better!

Had the early seating (6pm) for dinner. I wish we had chosen the late; we always seemed to be rushing to get ready, then would be full and tired by 8:30pm and want to sleep by about 9:30pm (!) HA! But the service at the Main Dining Room was superb!! Food was what you expect for cruising. My favorite is always the pork chop. Didn't care for any of the desserts - ended up ordering chocolate ice cream and choc chip cookies like I saw kids getting!

We signed up in advance for the Guacamole Class at SABOR, the Mexican Restaurant, for one of our sea days, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For the cost to just eat there (around $30 pp) we got the "class", making our own big bowl of guacamole. They also showed how to make three different types of margaritas. Then everyone was offered any of those margaritas - as many as you like. We got appetizers, main course, and dessert. I loved their mini churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce! Glad we did it.

Entertainment was pretty good. At the Welcome Aboard Show, the comedian was great -- Monique Marvez. There was an aerial act also -- Jimmy and Anna -- they were awesome!

The band out by the pool was wonderful -- One Love -- played Caribbean music. Loved the ice skating show!! Just show up at least 15 minutes early by the doors so you get a seat when they open. There was a funny activity going on when we waited one night, "If You Know It, Sing It". Hilarious to watch!

I was bummed that there was no water slide, but oh well. I tried to go up and walk/jog every morning on the track, but there is one section that is like a wind tunnel - crazy! The exercise equipment looked pretty good, but I'm not a gym person.

The ship is easy to learn your way around. Not enough outdoor space or windows for me though. I do like that you can walk out from Deck 4 or 5 forward to the bow where the Helipad is. Many people don't know how to get there.

Debarkation was relatively organized. Only stood in lines for about 20 - 30 minutes total.

I would take this cruise again, just for the itinerary. Port are great!
NeedToVacation’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 2V 6469
I liked being on Deck 6 towards the aft. It was an easy walk down 1 deck to 5 (Promenade). Or down 2 to our Dining Room for dinners. Didn't feel any movement of ship. Quiet area. Middle aisle of interior rooms.

Cabin is what you'd expect. Not enough storage space in bathroom (typical for RCCL), so maybe bring a hanging pocket bag to hold toiletries. Good storage space in closets.
Nice firm comfortable beds. Had a mini fridge, but it was not cold at all. We ordered an ice bucket from our room steward for everyday.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Island Tour
    Nice little land tour in an air-conditioned bus. Very comfortable. Good guide. Too much time at the Aloe Factory and gift shop for my liking. I do love the Rock Formation area they take you to. Saw the remains of the Natural Bridge. Stopped at California Lighthouse. Offered for some to stay at Arashi Beach if they wanted & they would be back in an hour. They were nice enough to drop my friend & myself off at Moomba Beach so could catch our sailboat excursion from there.
    View All 217 Island Tour Reviews
  • Sailboat Tour
    Maybe I'm too old for this type of excursion (!) it was lots of drinking, loud music, not very good snorkeling, and swinging from the rope into the water. The crew was as nice as could be though - everyone had a good time. Very windy & not great conditions for snorkeling.
    View All 9 Sailboat Tour Reviews
  • Island Tour
    Booked this online through shoreexcursioneer, as a Land & Sea Tour Combo.
    Great guide. Cute little open-air bus. Saw flamingos, salt mounds, pink ponds, slave huts, ended up at Lac Bay by Sorobon Beach. Lots of windsurfers there. Very shallow water. That was my least favorite part - seemed a little dirty, and water was too WARM for my liking. Overall great tour though.
    View All 86 Island Tour Reviews
  • Sailing
    Booked this online through shoreexcursioneer, as a Land & Sea Tour Combo.
    Awesome sailboat excursion - wonderful captain & crew!! Took us snorkeling in the crystal-clear blue waters. Saw tons of colorful fish, including some curious HUGE blue angelfish that would swim almost right up to your fingers! Spiny sea urchins, saw an eel, flying fish, corals, etc. Crew served us drinks, snacks, treated us like royalty. Would highly recommend.
    View All 9 Sailing Reviews
  • Beach
    Took the All West Beach Tour - it was excellent!! Swam with sea turtles at one, could take the 40-foot cliff jump if you wanted at the next, swam at Knip Beach (looks just like a postcard!), ate lunch, and snorkeled & swam at Porto Mari. Would highly recommend this tour and these beaches.
    View All 102 Beach Reviews
  • San Juan
    San Juan is very crowded. After we dropped our bags at the ship, we took a cab back into Old San Juan. I wanted to go to the Chocobar Cortes, but our cab driver told us we wouldn't have enough time - it takes so long. My friend wanted to see the street with the umbrellas, so that's where we got dropped off. Took some pics, bought some sodas & chips at the grocery, then caught a cab back to the ship.
    View All 3,767 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • Snorkeling
    Took the 6-hour boat tour around the one side of St Maarten / St Martin. It was a comfortable Cigarette speed boat with a big bow and plenty of seating. There were 7 passengers total. Captain Tony did an excellent job!!

    Departed from a dock just a 10-minute easy walk away from cruise terminal. Went under the draw bridge through Simpson Bay, out the other side. Past Marigot, stopped at Creole Rock for some interesting snorkeling. Saw lots of colorful fish, spiny sea urchins, coral. Next stop was Tintamare to swim with sea turtles. Someone saw a spotted eagle ray also. Stopped at Pinel Island where Capt. Tony gave us sandwiches & drinks. We could wade up to the beach, for shopping, bathrooms, restaurant, if we needed. Pretty places!! Nice water everywhere we went. Last stop was Mullet Bay on the way back. Beautiful beach & water for swimming. Saw a plane coming in for landing at Maho - flew right over the top of our boat. Very cool!
    ** Would Highly recommend this excursion ** Great way to spend the day!
    View All 123 Snorkeling Reviews