Saturday, 19 September 2015

Freedom of the Seas 2015 - Part I

In July, a friend and I did the Western Caribbean itinerary of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. Since I have posted the Freedom before, this will mostly cover the shore excursions.

Labadee from the Pier
The first stop was Labadee on Tuesday. This was a really nice day. We went to Columbus Cove which  I have never been to before. It turns out, I have been doing Labadee wrong. This is, in my humble opinion, the nicest Labadee beach I have seen, and the water is lovely.

Columbus Cove
We had a very pleasant morning, and enjoyed a few drinks at the convenient bar, before getting the tram back to the boat.

Lavender Vodka Tonic (well, Soda)
We chose this night to go to Chop's Grill. I am very fond of this upcharge restaurant. On each ship, I find the service here to be excellent and the food delicious. I am especially fond of the Caesar salad with caviar, and the staggeringly delicious red velvet cake.

Pirate Night at the Casino
 I don't gamble, but I did like the fact that the casino had a pirate themed night.

I don't have any pictures of the next part because I had left my camera in the cabin, and had just taken my friend to the helipad to watch our arrival in Jamaica. It was then that we heard the Bravo code announcement, and discovered that the ship was on fire. We were preparing to go back to the cabin to get everything we might need when the assembly alarm sounded, putting paid to that notion.

It was a long muster, and for those unlucky enough to have outside muster stations it was especially uncomfortable standing in the Jamaican heat, but it was reassuring that the Captain had the ship pull up to the pier so we would not have to evacuate onto life boats should it come to that.

After an hour or so we were moved into the theatre, which was as cold as the deck was hot. But, they began serving food and water. Occasionally, there would be updated from the cabin as to the situation. We would have been released a lot earlier, apparently, but some passengers had gone missing, and they couldn't dismiss us until everyone was accounted for.

After that, some excursions were cancelled, and some were rescheduled. We were fortunate that ours was rescheduled, and we got to enjoy a somewhat delayed day in beautiful Jamaica.

Waiting for our Catamaran 
Our excursion was a snorkelling excursion in the national park in Montego Bay. I can't begin to say what a great trip this is. First off, the service was excellent and the crew were very laid back. The soundtrack was terrific, and they didn't make me wear swim fins to go snorkelling (I swim much better without them).

Catamaran
There were lots of fish in the water, and my friend even saw a shark (probably a nurse shark). The snorkelling experience was great and I was rather sad when we had to get back on the boat.

Fish

Lots of Fish
But we weren't done yet, and the catamaran sailed us to a protected area, so we could see an amazing variety of birds and...

Jellyfish (look carefully)

Sanctuary

Jellyfish
hold a jellyfish in our hands. I doubt this is cruel, since I don't think jellyfish have feelings (although, part of me hopes they do, after all the times the little buggers have stung me).

Once we returned to the ship, we discovered that Royal Caribbean had gifted each cabin with an on board credit as compensation for the day's inconvenience. They had also deemed that the ship was sea-worthy and our cruise would not be cut short. Bonus and extra bonus!