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Old December 16th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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Default Freedom of the Seas 1/6/13

My husband and I are booked on this cruise and are so excited about it. It is his first cruise, and my first one since I was 13 or so. We are 26 and 28. Is anyone else booked on this sailing? We are kind of "old souls" and frequently enjoy socializing with people older than us. We enjoy a good drink now and then but we are in no way wild and crazy young people.

Has anyone sailed this ship? Any advice? I heard something about half price happy hour drinks, which sounds promising...

Here are the ports we are visiting and our tentative plans. We are planning our excursions ourselves, not going through the cruise line. We are taking our own snorkel gear to give us a little freedom there, and maybe save a few bucks. We are flying Delta and can check free bags through them.

We are from Idaho so I am so excited to get out of the cold. And yes, the sunblock will be our favorite accessory.

Here are our stops and (tentative) plans:

Labadee (private island) - lay in the sun, snorkel, drink yummy drinks

Jamaica - We are both very competent horseback riders, and we were thinking of some sort of horseback ride, probably a private one. Any thoughts about that? Anything else in Jamaica that we shouldn't miss? We know the waterfalls are impressive, but are they usually very crowded? We have seen a lot of waterfalls, in the Smokies, Rockies, and Hawaii. Are these really that special?

Grand Cayman - Stingray city/snorkel tour with Dexter Adventuresea. We are reserved and he has said they will dive a conch for us. The rest of the time we will just snorkel or wander GC.

Cozumel - no plans yet. Any ideas? We do like history, and we are both pretty fit, so I was contemplating a nice hike of the ruins or something. Are there any can't miss snorkeling areas around?

Does anyone know if the Freedom has a midnight buffet, like with ice sculptures and decorative food? That is the thing I remember best about my other two cruises, weirdly.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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The mid night buffets are a thing of the past. They do, however hold a party on deck one evening instead of the buffet....They can be fun and enjoyable, but sorry, no buffet
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Old December 16th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Here are our stops and (tentative) plans:

Labadee (private island) - lay in the sun, snorkel, drink yummy drinks

Jamaica - We are both very competent horseback riders, and we were thinking of some sort of horseback ride, probably a private one. Any thoughts about that? Anything else in Jamaica that we shouldn't miss? We know the waterfalls are impressive, but are they usually very crowded? We have seen a lot of waterfalls, in the Smokies, Rockies, and Hawaii. Are these really that special?

Grand Cayman - Stingray city/snorkel tour with Dexter Adventuresea. We are reserved and he has said they will dive a conch for us. The rest of the time we will just snorkel or wander GC.

Cozumel - no plans yet. Any ideas? We do like history, and we are both pretty fit, so I was contemplating a nice hike of the ruins or something. Are there any can't miss snorkeling areas around?

Does anyone know if the Freedom has a midnight buffet, like with ice sculptures and decorative food? That is the thing I remember best about my other two cruises, weirdly.
In Jamaica the horseback riding is a really good choice. I have done it and recommend it. Another good choice is zip-lining. One thing you do NOT want to do is to try to visit any town or city on your own. In fact, do not go pout on your own in Jamaica, it is a dangerous island. Fortunately, that is not true of most islands. The "waterfalls" are over-hyped in my opinion. They are not so much falls as just rapids that local people help you climb over - kind of sumb.

Grand Cayman - stingray city is the classic, tried and true adventure there. Highly recommended.

Cozumel - I would think about a "resort dive" for real scuba. Or swimming with the dolphins at Chaakanaab (a private beach for day users with a restaurant, lockers, etc). The island is basically flat and isolated. Shopping is basically boring. Snorkeling or scuba are your best bets.

Labadee - do the zip-line. It is one of the tallest in the world. It is just one long/fast span where you are really up high. Lots of fun. You can't shop or rent cars in Labadee, you are confined to the beach.

Have fun & good luck!
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Old December 18th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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I am sad to hear there are no more midnight buffets. They were so amazing.

We have finalized our reservations for a private horseback ride (with Braco Stables, who seem to have pretty good reviews) on Jamaica and a Stingray City/snorkel catamaran tour on GC. We aren't really interested in the zip line - the money/time ratio is too high, plus we watched the youtube video and both just said... eh. We have both done zip lines before.

I heard that in Labadee all your food is taken care of by the cruise line? So theoretically, is it possible to just laze around the beach/ship and not spend any money? We may end up taking a short snorkel expedition there. When we went to Hawaii we snorkeled at least for a while every day we were there (5 days). Is there any advantage to booking ahead, or should we just wait till we are there and see what looks good? I'm assuming we can just use our ship cards there?

Yeah we have talked about doing some sort of scuba, but it is just so expensive and we are already spending a ton of money. My husband wants to do the dolphin thing, but that is also rather expensive, and I am bit concerned about the animal rights issues involved. That park does look nice. If you do a dolphin thing there, do you get admission to the park for the day?
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Old December 18th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Of course, you can lay around on the beach all day and they do offer a BBQ lunch at various places on the beach. You can also walk all the way across to the open ocean area, plenty of space. I also suggest renting a floaty device for the day, works on the beach and the water...Have done the jet ski excursion and it was a gas, something to consider, but I would pre-book this, the spaces do fill up quickly... I know you will have a fantastic time, enjoy.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Donna View Post
The mid night buffets are a thing of the past. They do, however hold a party on deck one evening instead of the buffet....They can be fun and enjoyable, but sorry, no buffet
I just got off a weekender on Monarch. Yes, grand buffets are a thing of the past, but on Saturday night they had a poolside party with some buffet items, some displays too.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 08:33 PM
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Sweet, I'm glad to know RC is at least still doing some food displays.

I AM SO EXCITED!
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