Above our trip begins at the airport. Here is a shot of us all while waiting for our flight. Below, we finally arrived in Orlando, FL but a little confusion with the shuttle service caused them to bring a small van. No problem, I have learn to pack up vehicles over the years since hubby and I had 7 kids together so that is what we are doing in the below photo. My sister Cindy helps out with the heavy bags and we get r done.
After a great night sleep (yep great since we had 5 of us in one room) at the Days Inn in Cocoa, FL - it was time to catch the shuttle and head to the ship. Shirley Shuttle picked us up in a huge vehicle this time.
From Jamaica, to Georgetown, Grand Cayman - always a nice, lovely and beautiful port of call. The meeting spot at the pier (ships have to use tender boats) is always so crowded since this port is so popular so they anchor several ships there at once. But the tender service went very smooth. Again, we settled for a ship tour called "Land & Sea!" We caught our semi-sub for a trip out to Cheeseburger reef complete with a couple of wrecks on the way. We saw huge tarpon fish, a stingray and many other species as the scuba diver fed the fish.
You have heard anger people say the words, "Go to Hell" so we did. Yes, Hell, Grand Cayman. What a name for your town. lol But boy have the people there found a way to make a lot of money off this tourist trap. Nothing much there to see but you can hit the stores to buy shirts saying "been to hell and back" or just mail yourself a postcard and it will be postmarked from Hell when you get home and receive it. Takes a long time to get a post card from Hell to your home town. Silly huh! I will say that my sister Cindy, would not smile in the photo as she said, "there is nothing to smile about thinking of going to HELL!" I can agree but only in the biblical sense of it. It is ok to just enjoy this town of Hell. Last stop on the tour - Tortuga Rum Factory. Yes, these are the best rum cakes you would ever want to eat. They offer banana, chocolate, pineapple, original, coconut, cinnamon raisin and maybe some I can't remember. They are soooooooooooo delicious. But very expensive. After another late night at the Crypt (OK guys - it is spring break even for us 50 year olds lol) it was off to Cozumel docking at the International Pier. This stop, many tours included beach and/or snorkeling so we decided to just get off, shop and get back on the ship. Mom can't really take the heat for long periods and snorkeling definitely isn't her thing to do. lol So, off the ship and shop. I have not mentioned on my blog that I left my curl iron at home. Wasn't able to buy one on the ship or in Labadee as it is a private place and no big stores. Then in Jamaica it was a holiday and all big stores that sell curl irons were closed. By the time we got to Grand Cayman, the cruise is half over. So here in Cozumel, I found a hat I liked so that was my only purchase. lol Will make the rest of the trip and flight home easier. lol In the below photos you will see my three sisters had no problem finding some great buys.
Well, I have covered all the ports of call but this is one ship that needs the entertainment discussed. It was EXCELLENT. The two production shows were fabulous with "Once Upon A time" being the best show I have seen in 50 cruises. The Ice Show (Freedomice.com) was also great and for those that have ever heard of the "Quick Change" show, this was done on ice. We also got the pleasure of seeing Ricky Nelson's twin sons (Ozzie & Harriet's grandsons) named Gunnar and Matthrew perform Ricky's famous songs and then I had my photo taken with them after the show. I really felt like I was a high school student on spring break at a concert. lol Drew Thomas was the magic show (was on Americans Got Talent) and was so great. (and I do not care for magic shows) Just a fabulous line up of entertainment.
The entertainment continued around the ship with the cruise staff and cruise director Kirk Deitweier. He is just great. On the Promenade Deck they gave us a little bit of British music made famous by the Beatles, Spice Girls, Elton John and others. We also enjoyed the sailaway parade on the Promenade Deck but missed the Mardi Gras parade as we were at dinner. The Adventure Ocean program even gave us a great entertainment when the kids did a skit type program. So cute.
And the big entertainment for us spring breakers started about 11:30 each night at the Crypt - the night club. Us 50 plus year olds hung right with the college kids. (you had to be 21 and we never were carded lol) The first song began at 11:30 and that song ended at 3 a.m. Literally. Kinda different from our days as 20 year olds. One night they moved the night club and DJ Schuller out to the adult pool turning it into a "Hollywood" type atmosphere with dancing by the pool. Well, some ended up in the pool. ;) Not us for sure. Loved that red carpet photo area. lol
We did spend a lot of time at this Promenade Cafe. All the coffee, hot tea, desserts, sandwiches and people watching you want to do. lol
The next photos are random around the ship. All of us by the H2O waterpark, Me and sister Joyce at the entrance to the Pharoah's lounge, all of us with our new friend Richard, and me petting the dog (always made me think of Bob as that is the kind of dog he should get)
Now, people that made our cruise so great. And I mean great. First is the Captain of the Ship.Roxroy was both cabins - cabin steward. He really took care of us and made sure we were ok. Thank you Roxroy.
We met Gregory day one and he ended up being someone we loved to hang out with. He didn't watch out for us, we watched out for him. lol Thank you Gregory for all the memories and you know there were some funny ones. (we have our eyes on you lol )
Our waiter, Leslie from India. On my gosh he was great. We had so much fun keeping him entertained. lol Leslie, we still want you to dance with that pole. ;)
And so many others including the Coordinator in the dining room, the Matre D - Alfred, and the Head Waiter - Wellington. Just an excellent Dining Room staff - including the chefs. Excellent.
We also enjoyed our time with Desy (from the Promenade Cafe) and Ben (also from Promenade Cafe but no photo) and again, Gregory from Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor.
By the way, I said we first met Gregory on day one - that is because at the lifeboat drill, he was our teacher. lol lol Way to go Gregory. You know we gave him a hard time from day one. lolNext random photos around the ship. First photo, vegetable/fruit carving, next, salad bar in the dining room at lunch, then Johnny Rockets (for a fee), and the dining room.
And no explanation needed for these photos around the ship.
But the best place on this ship is the Promenade Deck. The four story open air walkway that runs the length of the ship. All the shopping, eating and entertainment can be found here or gotten to from this walkway. It is the reason why I love Royal Caribbean cruising on the largest ships. Even though this ship had the bridgeway leading to the Promenade Deck that was all lit up in colors of light that changed. Awesome and Beautiful.
But now, the people we met. Some of the most awesome people ever. Brad and Laura, our friends in and out of the Crypt (lol) were just great. Love them. Hello Detriot. But we found friends in all sizes, shapes and ages over this week. The Cecka family were very special as they were also a family of siblings cruising with their one parent/father. (as we were with our mom). All of these people in the below photos (and many others including the Crypt Crew and Preppy lol) made this cruise for all of us - fabulous. Thanks to you all and you know who you are.
And finally what this cruise was all about. To my mom, you put four menopausal daughters that truly love each other, into two cabins with you and we fought it out, kissed and made up, and enjoyed so many hours together. As you know mom, we all have our great points (yes I am great) and our faults (ok, I am not a great caretaker) but at the end of the day - we love each other and have a great time together. (we will definitely remember those Crypt nights everynight. lol). I personally thank you for this trip, I loved it. I travel a lot and this by far stands out as the greatest cruise ever. We all missed our husbands and could visualize doing this with them but, it would not have been as special as it was with the five of us. I love you MOM and all my sisters. And my prayer is that you will get healthy and we can enjoy more times just like this.
Ok, so maybe I couldn't doctor your injuries but look who is pushing the wheel chair. Not those lazy sisters of mine. ;)
Ok, so pushing that wheel chair really worn me out. lol Or maybe it was being at the Crypt until 3 a.m. I really need to get some sleep when I get home.
And as always, we have sailed off into the sunset and are now back to reality. lol So, for those that follow my blog, as you have read, - this is one special trip to me. It had been well over 35 + years since the five of us had traveled together and we were definitely in need of some mother/daughter time and sister/sister time. I can't speak for everyone but I loved the trip and would do it again in a minute. (Mom do you hear me. lol) So again, I want to thank all my followers for reading this blog. Feel free to comment if you have enjoyed a special trip like this. Or if you have any questions regarding the Freedom of the Seas and all the ship has to offer just ask. Thanks again.
- THE END