Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas
As I wasn’t sure that Santa had received my change of address card I decided not to hang around for Christmas. At the last minute we found the only cruise still available over Christmas and booked a week crusing the western Caribbean. Accomodating 4500 passengers she could have held my summer town’s winter population and more.
The first day was purely a cruising day and I luxuriated at not having to pack/move/unpack. It was a symbolic end to a few months of stress and fatigue. I fell into my first nap to the shushh of the ship cutting through the sea, arriving on a gentle, warm breeze through the open balcony door. There were no schedules or other anxieties looking in either direction.
Coming and Going
We quickly determined that we wanted to be where the other 4498 were not as best we could. The Royal Promenade is an incredible mall that divides the stateroom sides of the ship. Here one finds a Starbucks, a Ben & Jerry’s, a pizza parlor, a conventional coffee and pastry shop, a cupcake shop, liquor store, and a variety of jewelry, accessory and clothing shops. But, at 7:00 AM all was yet quiet as I stole down to retrieve coffee for our on-the-balcony wakeups.
The Royal Promenade (before people).
On subsequent days we lounged and read, walked about the decks, enjoyed some shore excursions, saw some of the shows available, the best of which was a dramatic ice show (yes, a decent sized performance ice rink), and navigated our way around most of the crowds. I took far too many sea shots but it was good practice
The shore excursions were too touristy for our taste. In every case one ran a gauntlet of shop keepers urging us to see their goods. We picked a couple of tours that took us away from the dock to get a sense of the local life. A highlight was the turtle farm on Grand Cayman.
For a change of scenery, a variety of things to see and enjoy aboard ship, excellent service, and more food than could really be enjoyed, it was a good experience.