Friday, 27 September 2013

Freedom of the Seas 2013 - Day 1 (Travel)

We flew WestJet to Orlando. I did the upgrade to nicer seats and "free" meals. It is not very expensive to do so on WestJet, but the seats aren't as nice as first class on other airlines, and don't have the fancy meals and unlimited drinks. The luggage service was fairly efficient, and we didn't have to wait long after we landed to find our bags.

At Baggage Claim

Our driver, from Spaceport Transport, met us at the luggage area, and things went fairly smoothly to the hotel (Country Inn & Suites near the port). We got a whirlpool suite, since they are not expensive.

The Whirlpool

Window View
The hotel is not expensive, and includes a free hot breakfast, but it does not have some of the amenities we are accustomed to, such as a bar, and onsite restaurant. Both of which we would have had if we had stayed at our normal Radisson. But, the pool area was under renovation, so we decided to try something different. I believe we will go back to the Radisson in the future.

I had done some research before this trip, and decided to try one of the restaurants which face the port and ships sailing out. I chose Rusty's because it has a "pirate" theme, and outdoor seating. It is nice enough, and we had a good view of the ships du jour. We arrived during happy hour and treated ourselves to some cheap, but tasty, raw oysters.

Rusty's

Suitable for Happy Hour
We spent some time here, relaxing and watching the ships sailing out.  There was a Carnival ship, and the Disney Fantasy. We were just on the Fantasy last December, but none of the pictures we took of it this time turned out very well.

Carnival ship sailing away

There were a lot of birds at Rusty's, and almost as many signs admonishing you not to feed them. This is very important, since feeding them causes them to become a nuisance instead of an entertaining guest.

Pelican 
We had dinner at Rusty's, and I would have to rate the food as fair to good. Andrew's mahi mahi sandwich was very nice, but the Cajun scallops were small and disappointing. Next time, I think I will have the fish.

There is one thing we found kind of annoying this time. The taxis seem to have instituted a flat rate system, instead of metered fares around the port. They did not have this two weeks prior when I was there to go to the Bahamas. Also, some of the cab drivers seem to be taking advantage of this. The driver to the restaurant wanted to charge us $10 for the 2 minute ride. When we protested, he knocked it down to 8, which is still too much. The driver on the way back charged us $6.  I am not a fan of this. More about cabs tomorrow though.