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.

First Light

 I’ve also posted more images from the trip in one of my galleries.  Click here to see them.


  1. Jeanne Says:

    Liked your commentaries. And the Promenade. And the turtle. Looked pretty at Christmastime without people.

  2. Jan Narducci Says:

    I think my Dad and his wife Dottie would like this cruise.

  3. Bonnie Rovere Says:

    I’m glad you had a nice, uneventful trip with a good captain. Love the Christmas. Welcome back!

  4. Bonnie Rovere Says:

    Christmas tree!

  5. fiebs Says:

    Really enjoy both your images and writing. Would love to use this as a model text for my students, with your permission.

  6. Gaye Pino Says:

    Amazing photos and story.. so glad you have such a wonderful life.. thanks for sharing… Gaye

  7. Ken Curtis Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip, you lucky dog! Glad you got a little stress-free R&R. Nice pics. Will go to your gallery as soon as I type this. Happy 2012.

  8. MikeP Says:

    Thanks Ralph for the virtual trip…. here’s to more excursions in the new year.

  9. denisebushphoto Says:

    Looks like an awesome ship and a nice relaxing time.

  10. Sartenada Says:

    Hello. How nice to see the photo of Freedom of the Seas. Did You know that it is made in Finland? Probably not. I have a post about world’s biggest cruise ship Allure of the Seas – made in Finland.

    Allure of the Seas – world’s biggest cruise ship

    Happy and safe travels!

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thank you for visiting my blog. She is a beautiful ship and we enjoyed our cruise very much. I’m afraid I know little of Finland other than your valiant fights against Russian invasion, and the great music of Jan Sibelius. About 25-30 years ago we cruised the Baltic and visited Helsinki. We were taken to a modern church below street level. While there some children were rehearsing Finlandia acapella. I nave never forgotten how moved I was. I’m also fond of The Swans of Tuonella. Hyvää uutta vuotta.

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