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Old 03-30-2014, 02:10 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
I am here!

Never having been on a cruise, I find it all very confusing. I thought so much of it was "all inclusive" now I am seeing that is not the case. Lots of little add ons... or big add ons.

For some reason too... I didn't realize that you were not on a Disney cruise. I guess I just assumed. I would have figured it out faster if I had read your title...
Hi Ann! Sorry for the confusion.

Cruising used to be so much more inclusive, but I suppose you have to increase costs even more to truly do that. So jut like themeparks they just chip away at what's included.

Disney has free sodas, Royal charges for them. Royal has Ben & Jerry's that you pay for, Disney doesn't have that "level" of ice cream. Etc.

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Really enjoying reading your trip report. We are Sailing Freedom for New Years 2014-2015. We just sailed Disney Wonder and love reading about RCCL from someone who knows DCL. Please keep it coming. I am hooked.
Thanks for reading! How fun would a New Years trip be? Wow!
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:56 PM   #32
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Some pictures from Day 1

We're still on Day 1's pictures.


If I recall correctly, hubby and son were tired and wanted to laze around. I was tired, too, but find it VERY difficult to laze around when I have new things to look at. So I went on out, camera in hand. Probably snagged my first iced latte with the Replenish package while I was at it, too.

I think this room is in the Solarium area. In the daytime it's nice. We had a chance to wander alone at night on maybe the 5th day, and it actually kind of freaked me out. SO dark, the water is also SO dark, you're just so alone. Felt spooky to me. I had to leave! I'm sure normal people would find it romantic at night.




Never actually used the Solarium on this cruise. The one time I tried, the chair "hogs" were even worse than out in the main area!




The bridge is surprisingly steep.




The weather that day was weird. No big surprise, as it had been weird the whole time we were in Florida!







For newbies, this is the water play area. Looks very different in the bright sunshine when kids are playing all over!




I went to ask questions about registering DS for AO, which is when I found out that the 9-11 year olds would be in with the 6-8 year olds. So this door was never open.




Walking in to the arcade, which is the indoors way to get to the kid's clubs.



But with the noise, THIS is how the arcade always FELT to me. Poor wittle me is really sensitive to loud noises.




Wandered some more. Found that Johnny Rockets has a veggie burger! We never got back there, but at least I knew it.




Never got here, either. Flowrider OR rock wall.




There are games out along the deck with Adventure Ocean.










Pictures from above! You can see that kids have come out. The donut shaped thing towards the left is a "lazy river". Obviously we called it the lazy donut, instead. When DS finally went in it, he had a very fun time.




Boy oh boy was it gloomy!




I was fascinated by the "hole" in the bow of Dream.




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Old 03-30-2014, 07:22 PM   #33
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I don't want to criticize RCCL, but this was a problem all over the ship. They really really need someone to make SURE they have things spelled correctly. I only wish I had taken note of what stairway/deck this was in/on so I could let them know.







Weird art.






Promenade.









Underside of light-up bridge! Just in case anyone gets paranoid that "up skirt" pictures can be taken from under. (answer = no, thank goodness)






By this time my guys had woken up and I dragged them from the room. It was obviously time for ice cream.









It was also time for a Boddingon's Ale for me. (or perhaps a Le Fin do Monde?)



When I went into the English pub to order that, I brought my card and DH's card as well. This allowed me to get us both bottles of water. I also paid OOP for my beer. The bartenders were really nice. I liked that I was able to get both of us waters as long as I had both cards.



Eventually it was sail-away. We didn't really participate in the party, but wandered as we wished. The Dream was following us. Pirates.





We had My Family Time (or My Time Family?) dining with that early early seating.





We were at a table of 6 with a super-awesome family from Georgia. By the end we were all so sad to have the cruise end! Their family consisted of a mom, grown daughter, and 16 year old son.


Our serving staff was so much fun. Server was Jean (as in the French way of saying that name). His nametag said Mauritius as his location, but he said he was from Madagascar. Cool, either way. He was lovely and fun. His assistant was Donovan.

I found the menus to be decent for figuring out what we, as ovo lacto vegetarians (which means we do eat eggs and dairy), could eat, though not perfect. I have a picture from a later dinner that showed a fish or seafood meal as being vegetarian. They know better from previous menus, so it was an error. A typo. And ONE night the dessert menu suddenly had the symbol for vegetarian on some items, which I *think* just meant someone decided to put it on there and not the others, but it COULD mean that the other desserts from previous and future nights all contained gelatin. I think that in the future I'll just skip most desserts on RCCL and head to Ben and Jerry's. That ice cream tastes better than anything I ate at dessert!

The drinks server came around once that night, we didn't want any alcohol, and she never came around again. The whole week. I didn't notice this until around a week AFTER our cruise, so it didn't bother us. The thing that caused me to notice it was that I was unpacking and realized I didn't have any little shot glasses like I did after our Radiance cruise for our honeymoon, and I realized those little cordials had never even been offered to us. Strange but no big bother.



After dinner wanderings... We didn't do a show and DS didn't want to go to the club. We did partake of the free family arcade hour, though. (I say that like we meant to do it...we didn't. We had forgotten all about what we had seen a couple hours before on the Compass. Just happened upon it.)



Saw Po. From behind.





Elevator lobby.





Helpful sign to help you find what way to turn! 1700 was all the way in the back of the ship, so it was a bit of a walk sometimes.





Eventually we turned in for the night. CocoCay was the following day.

Last edited by bumbershoot; 03-30-2014 at 11:24 PM. Reason: back, not bow...I still get confused b/c I rowed Crew in college where we faced backwards...messed up boat directions forever
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:14 PM   #34
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...... I went to ask questions about registering DS for AO, which is when I found out that the 9-11 year olds would be in with the 6-8 year olds. So this door was never open.....,,

Really enjoying your trip report. Did they tell you if the 9-11 year old club was closed for a particular reason? I'm guessing not enough 9-11 year olds to justify opening it? Just curious as we have 2 kids in that age group.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:17 PM   #35
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Enjoying your report. TFS

What is the Replenish package?
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:25 PM   #36
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Day TWO!

Finally it was Jan 27th. Our first time on CocoCay. I was a little bummed I didn't get to run a 5K like on Castaway, but I quickly got over that.


Compasses!













This page describes one of the things I had wanted to do. A Treasure Hunt while snorkeling. But we were NOT up to it on that day, so I'm really glad I didn't book it.







For the drinkers reading; well, the drinkers who don't quite need the drinks packages, notice that page!

Quote:
Happy Hour-50% off!
Head over to Casino Royale on Deck 4 for the best Happy Hours onboard Freedom of the Seas! 50% of all house and call brand cocktails today in the Casino from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.
I believe that this Happy Hour was had every night of our cruise, though we didn't partake of it. With it being in the casino, and given how sensitive I am to smoke, it would have required Robert going down and getting my drink then bringing it up, and while that's not a huge pain, it was just enough to make us never really think about it.





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Old 03-30-2014, 08:41 PM   #37
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Really enjoying your trip report. Did they tell you if the 9-11 year old club was closed for a particular reason? I'm guessing not enough 9-11 year olds to justify opening it? Just curious as we have 2 kids in that age group.
They did not. But when I think about how relatively few kids there were each time we dropped him off or picked him up, I think they just had a really small group of kids between both age groups. So we did dropoff and pickup at the 6-8 year old room.

The room was big and bright and airy, but it wasn't packed with *stuff* like on the Disney cruise kid's clubs. The staff, however, were great. Cheerful, happy, and really personable. And happy to see him. He only started going to the club 4 days into the cruise, but in no time they had learned his name and would even greet him when in different areas of the ship.

My son is really good at interacting with young AND older kids, so it wasn't a problem for him, and I think the staff are really good at making sure everyone can participate without getting too bored.


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Enjoying your report. TFS

What is the Replenish package?
Thank you!

Replenish is the NON-alcoholic drinks package they just created this winter. Before, they had soda "cards", water packages, and wine packages. Now they have 4 more packages.

Replenish includes specialty coffees, which means lattes, mochas, frappucinos, etc. We always got them from the espresso stand next to Cafe Promenade. It's possible you can get them from bars, though I don't know that absolutely. It also includes premium teas, which I think means Tazo vs something like Red Rose. Also the fresh-squeezed OJ in the mornings, bottles of water (500mL), smaller bottles of sparkling water, and mocktails! You also get soda; if your ship has a Freestyle Coke machine on it, you'll get a cup that works with the Freestyle machine (though you can show your card at bars and get soda there, too, if you don't have your cup with you). If you aren't on a ship with the Freestyle machine, just get it from bars.

It's $20 per day for an individual. So if you're not a big alcohol drinker but do want mochas and virgin coladas and things like that, it can work out well!

You do NOT have to buy the same package for everyone in a room; you don't even have to buy A package for everyone in the room. You can order it ahead of time (which means you pay for it ahead of time), you can buy it once onboard (so if you have onboard credit that can be used to pay for it). If you don't buy a package and then decide to do so, you can buy later in the cruise, *as long as* there are at least 4 days left in the cruise.

Oh, and the packages include a 15% gratuity, so you want to keep that in mind!



Here's a copy and paste from the PDF from the package section on Royal's site.


ROYAL REPLENISH* $20 USD per person, per day
Includes:
• Premium coffee
• Premium tea
• Bottled water: Sparkling
(375ml) or Still (500ml)
• Fresh squeezed
orange juice
• Non-alcoholic cocktails
• Fountain soda with
Coca Cola® souvenir cup



SELECT* $40 USD per person, per day
Includes:
• Beer
• Wines by the glass
(up to $8 value)
• Non-alcoholic cocktails • Fountain soda with
Coca Cola® souvenir cup



PREMIUM* $55 USD per person, per day
Includes:
• Call, and premium cocktails (up to $10 value)
• Frozen cocktails
• Beer
• Premium wines by the
glass (up to $12 value)
• Non-alcoholic cocktails
• Bottled water still (500ml) • Fountain soda with
Coca Cola® souvenir cup



ULTIMATE* $65 USD per person, per day
Includes:
Virtually unlimited options. A combination of all the benefits from Premium and Royal Replenish packages.





Enjoy 20% off bottles of wine with the Select, Premium and Ultimate package.
• Package prices already include gratuity. Any additional gratuities are at your discretion. • Available on sailings of 4 nights or longer. ^
^ Packages available to purchase onboard up to 4 nights prior to end of sailing
.

Last edited by bumbershoot; 03-30-2014 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:22 PM   #38
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Jan 27, Day TWO

We didn't get up early, we didn't disembark early. I had meant to, but we were too exhausted.

DS and I had been sick while in Florida. I got that virus from Hades on Jan 6th, and he got it on the 11th. We spent the rest of our WDW portion sitting around feeling miserable, spent nearly a week in Daytona even more miserable, and most of our week+ at Universal still not healthy. Although we were well enough to answer the health questionnaire honestly and still get onboard, it's not like we were totally rested and rarin' to go. DS was still having rough nights which made for tired mornings.


But with a balcony like this, you get a view like, well, this.






Since the balcony is on the corner, you can look around and see off to the side.








I'm pretty sure I enjoyed that view with an iced latte and bottled water in my hands, having run down to what I'm just going to call Cafe Promenade from now on. (on cruisecritic they call CP the place where you get sandwiches and treats, and they call the espresso stand Lattetudes...but it's the same people making your coffee as getting your cookies from the case, so to me it's the same place)

Got everyone ready, had breakfast at Windjammer. Food is decent there. BEST part of it, for those who eat eggs, is the made-to-order egg section. On Freedom this was the midway point where the "back" of the buffet meets. There's an employee who takes your order then calls it when it's up. You get in line to order then mill around, listening for your number. We like eggs overeasy around here, and they made them perfect!

I would get those, a bunch of fruit, maybe a pancake or two. Yum.


Finally we made our way down to the deck to get onto the tender. Boarded and sat for awhile, waiting for it to fill up. Met some nice people while waiting!
















Last edited by bumbershoot; 03-30-2014 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:52 PM   #39
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This is a brochure you get. Front page gives you tidbits about booking excursions.




And here's the back page.




Here is one side of the map inside the brochure. It's actually perfect to start off like this.

You can see where the tenders dock. The little houses on the map are places like bathrooms, excursion offices, the "Boss's" house. Straw Market (much like on Castaway), hair braiding.




You can just barely see a bridge at the edge of the right side of that part of the picture. (the island also continues over to the right, but that will be the next picture) That should let you across to the "bottom" of the island.

#21 is the Water Slide. I had imagined the water slide as being IN the water, as I *think* the slide at Pelican Plunge is. But it's more of a slide that you might see at a really big fair or company picnic, with water in it, not in the water.

#22 the number is on this page, but the actual things for 22 are on the other page. It's Caylana's Aqua Park. This, like the slide, are excursions you pay for.

#23 is Adventure Ocean; DS didn't go to it so we didn't see it.

#24, aw, Nature Trail Entrance. Sounds nice! Wish we had gone.

#25, a bar.

#26 is the Kayak Adventure and Floating Mat station.

#27 is the Barefoot Beach Cabanettes. I know NOTHING about those. I know that on Labadee cabanas are only available to those who have access to the concierge lounge. (which is more and more how it's going with DCL) But I don't know about the "cabanettes".

We got off the tender and went towards the bathrooms. Then we sort of wandered, not sure where to go. On Castaway you follow the herd and the paved path to the trams. You get on the trams and go where everyone else is going. But on Coco, there are a variety of paths. There are trees near you. There is sand (crushed shells?) that you're walking on, not pavement.

There are chickens!



(and roosters, more than one of them, as we heard later on)



So now for the other side of the map!





As you can see, there are small inlets. It's not just the long expanse of beach like on Castaway (to those who haven't been on Castaway, forgive me...it's the only small private beach island I'd been on before Coco, and I know there are many others who have been on the island and want the comparison). Each little inlet feels almost like an island unto itself. Or maybe that's just me.




After walking a bit, we found a nice bit of beach right near #12, the Floating Mat Station, in that small inlet.











Yes, water shoes are nice here.





I did not go in the water here. Just didn't want to. Here are my knees. And my view.




These are pictures DH took of fish.










Bigger fish.




Very close to a bigger fish on the left side of the picture.




And supposedly there's a crab on the rock , along with the partial fish, in this picture, but what I notice is that something went awry in the camera for this ONE image.


Last edited by bumbershoot; 03-30-2014 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:22 PM   #40
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I lazed around, I had some food. I had a Coco Loco ("so nice, yummy yummy, so nice"...as the servers call out in calm beautiful voices) in a souvenir cup. I relaxed, read my mystery on my Kindle, and took pictures.





Ship looks like it's *right there*. It's not.




Whimper. Can I be there right now?




Me and DH in one magical shot.




Me. And my son. Robert knew the kiddo was doing that behind me, and took the pictures amusedly. Since it's my kid and he's doing it in my picture I think it's funny. (if anyone is reading the Themeparks "photobombing" thread, you would understand why I'm being careful to explain why I'm OK with my kid doing that in DH's picture of me, but wouldn't be OK if he did it to someone else or if it had been some other kid doing it in my picture)




Food! I liked the food just as much on Coco as I do on Castaway. I don't think they had a veggie burger like Castaway, but they had other vegetarian items and they were just as good. Instead of cookies, they had cake; I had a spice cake that was good. Since I do NOT like the cookies from Cookies or Cookies Two on Castaway, the dessert was an upgrade for me!



More pictures.











Yes there's a pelican there on the pilings.




We wandered a bit. Saw the water slide, visited more bathrooms, saw that there was more to the island than I had seen when walking in (mainly the stuff down on the bottom of the map). Lots to explore!

Finally we had to leave. So sad. I was somewhere between the sadness I felt the first time I went to Castaway (super duper sad, chain me to the buoys kind of sad) and the second time (wow it's hot I want to go back a couple hours early).


We took a longish way, and it was pretty. I think we might have crossed the little bridge I pointed out on the map, which might be called Cocothepia Bridge.










The whole time we were revisiting bathrooms and walking along, we could hear two roosters talking. Back and forth, talking talking. I grew up with chickens (and the very occasional rooster) and I liked it. Especially since it wasn't the break of day.

One of them was hiding in here. You can just barely see a rooster shape just sort of above the top rope on the "fence".







And that's a:




In case you're trying to get lost, it's difficult.








Through the metal detectors and bags through an xray, you could take your waters but leave the shells on the island please. And onto the tender. As we made our way to the ship, this is the view that your eyes could see.




So if you hand your camera to your taller husband and he zooms in to avoid all the arms, you see THIS.




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Old 03-31-2014, 01:51 AM   #41
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Love your pictures from around the ship.

They sure give you a lot of planning information of daily events. I imagine that is helpful!

I feel that same way going into DQ!

Love the pictures of the beach/cay. It looks like you had an amazingly relaxing day.

And the zoomed in pictures of the ship are awesome!!!

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Old 04-01-2014, 02:23 AM   #42
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They do give you pretty much all the info you need to know! The trick is to read AND comprehend it in time for it to be of help.

Oh Disney Quest is the worst! I think I mentioned I had to wear my earplugs there, yes? So noisy.

If we could have gotten to the island from the ship earlier in the morning it would have been more relaxing, but yeah, it was good.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:37 AM   #43
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Really, really enjoying your review and photos, thanks! Your son looks so pleased about his ice cream; that's cute.

I thought Coco Cay was very pretty and liked it as much as Castaway. Half Moon Cay beat them both, hands down. But that's a story for a different time and thread.

There is a plane submerged off the beach at Coco for people to snorkel around. I was unable to go out there due to a timid teen, another story for another time! Others said it was pretty interesting/fun. Anyone who likes to snorkel and wants to view it can search on Youtube for videos.

Thanks again for the review, I'm looking forward to more.
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:19 AM   #44
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Oh Disney Quest is the worst! I think I mentioned I had to wear my earplugs there, yes? So noisy.
I couldn't even brave it this last time when my family went. I guess earplugs might have helped!
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:52 AM   #45
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Really, really enjoying your review and photos, thanks! Your son looks so pleased about his ice cream; that's cute.

I thought Coco Cay was very pretty and liked it as much as Castaway. Half Moon Cay beat them both, hands down. But that's a story for a different time and thread.

There is a plane submerged off the beach at Coco for people to snorkel around. I was unable to go out there due to a timid teen, another story for another time! Others said it was pretty interesting/fun. Anyone who likes to snorkel and wants to view it can search on Youtube for videos.

Thanks again for the review, I'm looking forward to more.
Thanks!

He was so happy about his ice cream. We were dealing with a really blunted set of tastebuds b/c of the January plague, and for some reason chocolate was one food we could both consistently taste.

Half Moon...that's HAL?



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I couldn't even brave it this last time when my family went. I guess earplugs might have helped!
Lucky there are others in your family to go.
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