Friday, July 11, 2014

 

Family Vacation Cruise Royal Caribbean 'Freedom of the Seas'

Family  Vacation 

June  29th  -  July  6th,  2014

Sunday 6/29 Port Canaveral, FL


All Aboard

Royal Caribbean 'Freedom of the Seas'


Parked the Van and got the bags...lets GO!



There were 4 ships at Port Canaveral and ours was the biggest one!  We were super excited to board and get started with our family fun!!!  



Since we live about 45 minutes away from the terminal we were there right on time to get on and explore.  



Isaac was hooked once he found the Sports Courts.  He brought aboard his own basketball (which in hindsight was a brilliant move on his part)...the crew was not helpful at the Sports Court they were not open much to hand out balls or do the rock wall....so Isaac was popular when it came to basketball.  Having your own equipment on this ship seemed to be key.  




We did enjoy an early game of Putt Putt golf...the equipment for this was out 24 hours for use.  Thank Goodness!  




We found the 'teen' hangout room...




Chloe's Selfie..what a doll!


Chloe then discovered the pools...happiness!





We were expecting a big BON VOYAGE party to happen up on the pool deck like every other cruise we've been on, but it didn't happen.  Next thing we knew we were moving and heading out to sea...it was odd.  
This was the beginning of what we should expect on this ship.










The Ice Cream Machine is working...
The other ships we were on were 24 hours of ice cream machine...this one we got lucky if it was working when the sign said it was supposed to be 11:30am-6pm



We got the go ahead to check out our room... needless to say we could all hold hands in the center of the room closely, but that was it.  We had the steward take out the 'coffee table' because there was NO way that thing could stay in there with all 4 of us.  




Time for some entertainment...



Monday 6/30 Cocoa Cay, Bahamas


Our first STOP.. well little did we know there was some tropical storm or something like that called 'Arthur' ...we don't get weather forecasts onboard so we were going with the flow...well the flow apparently wasn't kind.  Note date on this and where it was ...YEP we were in to win it!  



Anyway the ship anchored out and we had to take a small tender boat onto the island...we got there and saw lightning (this was Royal Caribbean's private island) so no one was allowed in the water just yet.  We had a fun excursion of these floating trampolines, slides, climbing items out in the water about 50-80 yards out off the shore.  You swim out the water is quite deep and just have a grand time... We did something similar in Mexico 2 years ago.  Since the weather wasn't working for us at the time we had to figure something else to do until we got the 'green light'.  

BELOW THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO, but this is what we were hoping to enjoy!


Basketball Yippee!







Chillin' still waiting on the 'go ahead'


Finally got the go ahead.  Weather didn't look great, but we went out and got about 15-20 minutes in.  We swam out to the 'toys' and had a great time cheering each other on ...jumping, balancing, bouncing, sliding... then the storm swallowed the island!!!  NO JOKE...it came on fast and furious!  I was told later by people that stayed on the ship that one minute they could see the island and the next it looked as if it disappeared...LIKE THE SHOW "LOST"!
There were kayak-ers out there and they were coming towards shore and us so fast the waves, wind, rain was blinding!  It was insane... I was on a trampoline and just dove off and headed for shore...I couldn't see.  Scott and the kids were farther out on a huge slide and they were heading in... I got to shore and looked back the lightning was going behind them and they were trying to get to shore.  It was scary to watch, but a bit comical as well.  I ran for our stuff (bags, towels etc) that we had left on the beach lounger it was soaked and we had to find shelter. 

People were huddled everywhere they could find something to cover them ...I noticed the basketball courts had a overhang, but after the thunder and lightning shook the ground I said we need to find a better place.  Scott mentioned the bathrooms there was a small space in the back of the overhang so Chloe and I went in (some lady was mad at us for pushing in, but I said excuse me) we got back there then noticed the bathroom was almost empty..only 5 people in there...what the heck!  We went in there for cover...the boys went to the men's room.  We were in there about 45 minutes it was insane...the water was coming into the bathrooms there was a lady that worked there on the radio so we knew what was going on...  she said the storm wasn't going to let up.  As soon as it let up a bit we headed for the small boats to head back to the ship.  The line for that snaked around forever too! Here's some pictures from waiting in line there.. What a crazy adventure.  







Once on the boat we headed to the basketball courts and played soccer with some dad and kid...it poured!  But they had fun anyway!!!  The shoes were soaking wet and clothes so the smell in the room wasn't good...AT ALL!   Imagine a sardine can and that smell plus stinky wet shoe and multiply that smell... not pleasant.  





Chloe sliding on the wet ground ...on purpose...slip and slide anyone!?



Some dad NOT doing it on purpose...oops!







It was 'Formal' night so we got cleaned up and ready to get some pictures taken and head to dinner.  It was wonderful food our table was set for 7 and we had some great dinner company during the trip.  A mom, son who was 21 and daughter 15 from California.  We went to a show after that... some air acrobats and a comedian.  Entertaining!










The kids had an ice skating event to attend with their teen group.  Fun to be able to go ice skating on the HIGH SEAS...the rink was tiny, but still a lot of fun to watch them skate together. Isaac was the protective big brother watching out for Chloe.  Very sweet!  They had to wear helmets and pads to get on the ice it was a rule.  






If you were 12 and under there had to be an adult present in the room.  Since Chloe's 12 still we got to watch without kids complaining...hee hee!  So sweet!



Tuesday July 1st  Day at Sea

So what do you do when your at sea all day...well... anything you want!  Chloe and I spent most of the day together.  We went to a lounge area and painted our nails.  


The boys spent the day on the courts... well mostly Isaac.  He could be there all day and maybe even sleep there if we let him.  There was plenty of people playing basketball or ready to play all day long...plus soccer.  So never a dull moment on the Sports Court.

Scott enjoyed watching a couple World Cup Games...the Ship showed all the games on the BIG SCREEN above the pool area (plus you could watch in your cabin as well).  


I then forgot to take my camera out all day and just enjoyed hanging out with out NOT taking pictures!  We played PUTT PUTT GOLF a lot the weather was super windy...always fun!  Chloe swam like a fish that day.  I on the other hand pretty much followed Chloe around, but a great day.  The ship had a indoor 3D movie screen so Chloe and I saw "Mr. Peabody and Sherman".  She made a friend at the pool named Rachel whom she hung out with throughout the cruise. 


Rachel & Chloe


We ate, relaxed, walked about, went to shows and such... was a good day.  The Soccer games were fun to watch everyone was into it...the pools were packed wall to wall people cheering and it made it a lot of fun even for those of us who are not super soccer fans.  Many people from all over the world on this cruise so there were TRUE fans out there.  Chloe made another friend named Cameron who was a nice boy (bit odd), but they had fun with karaoke and hanging out.  

There was some great entertainment from these Singers (from Orlando) "Edge Effect" GREAT GROUP...you can check them out on YouTube.  Scott, myself, Chloe and Cameron went to the first showing and we knew Isaac would love it so we told him he needed to go.  While at dinner he said it's almost 9pm Mom..we have to go to the show. Didn't know he wanted me to go so I went with him.  It was really fun and worth seeing twice.

Wednesday July 2nd  St. Thomas






Excursion time... we had a Kayak, Hike and Snorkel...


We took a jeep/bus ride to the other side of the island about 20 minutes.  We sat and listen to our instructor tell us what we to expect.  

We are seated in the back row


I rode with Chloe (2 per kayak).  It was probably a 45 minute trip one way... they had us stop midway to listen to some ECO stuff...which was fascinating!  Very educational and great tour guides...they took photos as well so I had left my camera aboard the ship. 








Once we got to a small island area we went snorkeling in very very shallow water no flippers allowed.  It was very pretty and saw plenty of fish and other wild things.   




Lookin' Good Boys


Chloe and I on the left 

Queen Conch  (Scott loves Conch Fritters)
French Grunt Fish swimming safely in the Mangrove Roots  
Cardinalfish
Scrawled Trunkfish 
Blue Tang
 Mangrove Jellyfish
 Fire Clam
 Mangrove Jellyfish
 Squid
Fire Coral 

 Blue Tang
 Scott Snorkeling
Neptunes Shavingbrush and Algae
 Four Eyed Butterfly Fish
 My favorite... Parrot Fish I love watching them munch on coral so cool!
 Pufferfish
 Puffer and  Porcupine Fish
 Sargassumfish
 Sea Cucumber 
 Starfish
 Tulip Snail
Variegated Urchin 
 Brain Coral 
 Sand Diver

A few things we didn't see on this trip, but apparently are out there...

Stingray
 Shark


 Sea Turtle
 Barracuda


Then back to the island area where they had a zillion hermit crabs that are there you can hear them crawling...they had a hermit crab race.  Scott and Isaac in the photo...Chloe and I were playing with some other hermit crabs along the benches.






We went on a hike ...the guide told us more stories which were fascinating about pirates.  That very spot was the first place on a map to have the skull and crossbones marking for the pirates. We went to a blow hole area that was fun. Also learned about more of the vegetation.  


Sally Light-Foot Crab
 Pelican

 Sea Grape Tree
AKA the Party Plant
The leaves are very waxy so you can etch an invite on them and it will show up.  There are very few leaves you can put a postage stamp on and mail...this is one of them!  Chloe made sure to put her name on one!
 Iguana
 Red-Footed Tortoise
 Virgin Islands Racerlet









 The black little guy is a Spine Urchin 
Scott and I held it as it crawled all over our hands very cool!

 Chiton

 The picture below and above...this is where we were standing...we did get hit by one wave!
Below on the right is the rock we were standing on slimy and slippery...also not big enough for size 12,12,10 and 8 feet!!!!

Then headed back to the kayak's.  Isaac and I teamed up this time.  Fantastic excursions!  
Thanks to the guides and crew who took some amazing photos!






We had booked our cruise through Costco which was GREAT!  We got a couple hundred dollars to spend on the ship plus other bonus items...
Dinner for 4 at Johnny Rockets (onboard)
Dinner at one of the fancy Restaurants for 4
A fun treat delivered to our stateroom 
2 beverage/soda packages 
2 Ben and Jerry's Treats
Welcome Aboard wine meet and greet (which we skipped)


The rest of our evening was enjoyable having an early dinner at Johnny Rockets overlooking the island.




See ya next time St. Thomas...maybe we can stay longer?!!?!? 



Thursday July 3rd  Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Excursions time again...  This time it was a Catamaran trip to snorkel and then to a beach.  All aboard the Mairbella!


Scott helped hoist the sail...thirsty work



There was small slide off the back of the boat you could use which was quite fun for Chloe..ok yes I joined in the fun too!  The snorkeling there was interesting.  
There was a sunken helicopter and small airplane.  The weather was perfect and water was super clear.  The guides came out with us and tossed in bread so the fish were everywhere all around you.  Scott and Isaac saw baby squids spurting ink!  After we were done here we headed for a ride out to a beach area for some swimming!




There was a cannonball contest (biggest splash) winner got a bottle of Rum!
We didn't win I believe Scott was in 2nd or 3rd





Countless jumps, dives, fancy flips off the side of the Catamaran 




It was time to get out the rum punch which I ended up spilling an entire tray of them.. insert a laugh here.. I saw the bottle of Rum sliding off the counter so I yelled 'Save the Rum' I grabbed it then lost my balance and knocked an entire serving tray of punch (in cups w/ ice) all over myself!  The kids looked at me and shook their heads.."Nice one mom". Scott was in the bathroom so he missed the crazy mom show.  While people were in the water the guides would toss Beer to people.... Scott yells "BEST BOAT EVER"!  It was fun and just a nice trip out for the day.  On the way back to the ship Chloe almost threw up overboard the last 10 minutes of the trip.  We really enjoyed that trip though...she thought it was the best besides the rough ride back...she's not a fan.

Friday July 4th Sea Day 

It didn't feel like the forth of July at all.  Although people were dressed in RED WHITE AND BLUE.  No fireworks.  We spent the day doing lots of stuff... arcade, sports court, pool, hot tub, soccer, Chloe and I went to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at the 3D movies.  We played putt putt and went to dinner at a nice restaurant called CHOPS.  Late that night while Isaac was at the basketball courts the 3 of us went to watch a movie on the big screen above the poolside area under the stars.

Here's a few pictures of the 'towel animals' we only got 3...



Bunny got a Bunny



Saturday July 5th  Sea Day ...also last full day

Isaac wanted to spend his final day on the court...shocking!  




We had breakfast together then went to finish off our 'play card money' at the Arcade.






Time for putt putt as a family, but with a little competition...







Chloe lost so her punishment was to eat snails, but Scott gave her an OUT she had to climb the rock-wall which was a pleasure for her! She was AWESOME! She did a great job on that wall!  Made it and rang the bell at the top...and loved it!









Chloe headed to the FLO RIDER and did that with her friend Rachel.  I have to say my daughter has great balance and skill...she was GREAT!  Very fun to watch!  

Chloe watching Rachel wipe out


Rachel in black/pink suit behind Chloe watching her get ready...




Below is a short clip of Chloe I stopped the video taping before she got up on her hands and knees...bummer!  She really was quite good!  Got a lot of clapping from the crowd!

video



Our last day we all enjoyed a little alone time.  Scott watched a soccer game on the poolside screen Norway vs Costa Rica while sitting in the hot tub.  I caught the end of they game...last few minutes and overtime and shoot out!  True fans there watching too.  Scott said this one man in a Costa Rica jersey stood the entire game watching it...too bad they lost.

Chloe played a lot with Rachel.  Isaac spent his time on the sports court.  I enjoyed the gym! That evening we had one last meal in the dining room.  Did a little gambling (coming out on top) and saw a comedy show.  

We had heard wonderful things about Royal Caribbean and unfortunately were highly disappointed in it.  We've been on 3 other cruise lines and had a better experience.  We still had a wonderful family vacation.   

 

Formal Night







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