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  1. We love port Canaveral, just not DCL anymore. There was an OJ stand/small shop just down from our hotel where we always got a glass of fresh squeezed OJ the morning we sailed. My wife also like the hush puppies from Long John Silvers. We had beach access and would go to walgreens to get soda and snacks the night before. Maybe post pandemic RCCL will offer ships like the freedom or adventure out of PC. I think Celebrity does sail out of Tampa and that wasn't too pricey, but it sure doesn't beat sailing out of your backyard like PC is for you.
  2. Ok, don’t flame me as I’m seeing more comments about anything but cruising theses days here. Anyone a fan of Sandals resort’s? I ask because I have the Freedom booked in Jan 2021 for a 50th birthday celebration. Should we not be able to cruise, I would like to find a backup sooner than later. appreciate your feedback. thanks!
  3. The current holding company for Birka Cruise Line did operate the Swedish ship and had changed the name to Birka Cruises actually. They have a total of 8 ships among 3 lines. These Baltic lines do have a very rich history and they have actually had a great impact on modern cruises as many of the innovations, such as the Promenade first appeared on ships sailing the Baltic, with the Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony. Without those advancements in the early 90s you would not have many of the features on the Voyager and Freedom class, such as the Royal Promenade 9 years after the introduction in the Baltic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Silja_Serenade Having lived in Sweden for the 90s, I do recall Birka's ship as one of the 'stars' of the Swedish soap TV show, Rederiet that ran for 10 seasons. It was referred to as the Swedish television's 'Dynasty'. I only sailed with them one time when they had the former Royal Viking Sky for one year after NCL had operated the ship for a while. I had sailed on this ship around South America and on a Panama Canal sailing both in the 80s and it was nice being able to walk from my home to the 'Cruise' Terminal for boarding 45 minutes prior to departure. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103523/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt
  4. I am keeping distracted with knee replacement and physical therapy should be done for our October 4th Freedom cruise if not canceled.
  5. It will be interesting to see if a vaccine is produced whether it will become effectively mandatory. Traditionally, vaccines have always been optional and a safety/civil liberties/medical line used by some who are reticent about this step. However, given how readily changes to civil liberties have been imposed around lockdown as an essential public health measure, I wouldn't be surprised to see any vaccine strongly recommend up to and including mandated. Possibly, some sort of other liberty / freedom is curtailed if people say no? Just a thought?
  6. I am one of the "lucky" ones who booked Freedom in August were refused a lift and shift option. I just wanted to let other people know that are in the same boat (lol) that there is hope! I called today and told our travel agent that I wanted to lift and shift our cruise but if they will not do it, I want to cancel for a refund. I told her that I have asked several times and they refused me. So... she called them and they lifted and shifted to Symphony of the Sea in July! I am so excited. I hope that others can get the same deal. Our Freedom cruise was $400 pp and the SOTS cruise is about $1400 pp. I have been wanting to go on SOTS for a while, but we could never afford it. Good luck and maybe they are more lenient now that the other option is a refund. Now I am just praying that they can survive that long...
  7. I just looked again on the Carnival website and the October 4 sailing of the Freedom is still listed but the funny part is that the next sailing after that is November 15 followed by the 21st and 29th. So wonder what the Freedom is going to do for over a month between the October 4 sailing and the next one on November 15. Maybe the October 4 sailing slipped by their scheduling department and was posted. These are indeed strange times now.
  8. I have an upcoming 8 night Bahamas cruise on Anthem of the Seas out of Bayonne sailing on December 19, 2020. I was planning on making my final payment on August 28. The ports are Port Canaveral, CocoCay, and Nassau. I am becoming more doubtful this cruise will become a reality. What are my Lift & Shift options on a Quantum or Oasis class ship (or even Freedom a class ship)?
  9. I was supposed to sail out of Bayonne in May to Bermuda. I have rebooked for next May and I am glad to see that the Freedom of the Seas will be there!
  10. I would love to be an optimist but I am also being a realist. My money is on everything cancelled until 2021. We also have OBC on this cruise from our cancelled Conquest B2B cruises this summer. We are also booked on the 14 day Freedom Panama Canal cruise in January and I am skeptical about that one even being a go. I have never wanted to be so wrong in my life. I hope I am wrong.
  11. I like the Freedom class Windjammers just fine. Now, Oasis class could use some help.
  12. Windjammers differ greatly by class of ship. The station setup on Anthem is a pleasure however serving area on Freedom class always felt cramped and unpleasant. Vision class also tight to navigate but not as bad due to fewer passengers.
  13. Personally, I would choose 5 days on Mariner. Since the ships are very similar, one day extra always wins for us. 🙂 What kind of cabin are you looking at? We love both Freedom and Voyager class for the corner aft cabins on deck 7, which you can usually only book for 3 people. It is the cheapest balcony class on these ships, but great in size. The cabin is regular, but the balcony is huge. Enjoy planning!
  14. Greetings! This is my trip report from our family’s vacation on the Freedom of the Seas cruise to the Western Caribbean from December 18 – 24, 2016. I called this posting “trip report” instead of “cruise review” because in my opinion I am not qualified to do a professional review. This is just a summary of what our family experienced during our vacation time – Days of our lives, so to speak. Keep in mind when I say “trip” report and not “cruise” report. Meaning you will be taken along for a ride for the entire trip process, not just the cruise portion. It’s the mailmen version of the vacation report, stopping off at each and every point, no matter how minor, I will talk about it. So skip sections that don’t interest you. Background – We are an extended family of 6 on this cruise consisting of my wife, 2 boys, myself and my in-laws. For this trip, we are also joined by my wife’s high school friend and her extended family of 10 on various port excursions so it was a very large group. We live in California so we had to fly across the country for this cruise. My wife and I are both CPA’s (aka bean counters – we have very boring dinner time conversations) so I will probably have more numbers related discussion than most people care to read. Bias – Everyone has bias on their preferences when it comes to cruises & life in general. The key is to identify the bias and discount the bias versus fact. Two year ago, I wrote a lengthy trip report on the Allure as that was the best cruise we had as a family. So you know we like the big ships, the bigger the better. You will see that bias in my report. That’s just our preference, but certainly will not be everyone’s preference so discount it anyway you deem necessary. In following the same format as my previous report, I will throw in some random pictures from the cruise which I think are the highlights of the trip during the next few introductory posts – eye candy, if you will. Being a dork that I am, I am debating in throwing in a picture or two from my other vacations just to see who is actually paying attention – Hey, what is Cabo picture doing on a western Caribbean cruise? We’ll play the kids’ game of “what doesn’t fit into this trip report?”
  15. I am a cruise history buff and one of my most memorable cruises was on a long, now defunct line that cruised the Caribbean in the 1990's. Odessa America Line was a joint venture with a Ukraine company, and we sailed out of Tampa on one of their ships, the Gruziya some time in the early 1990's. I remember being hesitant in regard to the condition of the ship, etc. but once at the port found the ship to be in excellent condition. The husband of a couple who went with us, a machine engineer, went through their engine room and pronounced it one of the most pristine he had ever seen. (yes, in days past, passengers were always welcomed into most (now unseen these days) areas of the ship. There was no casino, and no Vegas style state or entertainment, but we were absolutely enthralled every single night with the musical and cultural entertainment, the traditional clothing, dancing, Russian teas and the food was a total positive surprise. We must have had at least 7 kinds of borscht in a 9 day cruise (and at the time I thought it was all made of red beets !). The ship (for you other history fans) was built in Turku, Finland in 1975, so was probably pushing 20 when we sailed on her. She had been refurbished in Bremerhaven Germany in 1992. No balcony rooms of course, but had a "superior" outside on the second deck (there were 5 decks plus a tiny "sun deck" on top al la the old RCCL crown lounge, which was an observation/library area, and outdoor area. This made a total of 6 decks, but essentially the boat deck was the top deck. It contained what we'd term the lido deck now. Had a pool, children's pool, and pool bar, small massage area (no beauty salon), and the ship's hospital. An very interesting sidebar; years later, on the Carnival Freedom with children, grand children, on family cruise had one of the most outstanding waitresses/waiters EVER. A young woman from Ukraine who exemplified the epitome of service and wine knowledge, personality, and "people skills". Over about 9 days on that cruise, and many discussions at meal times, came to find out her MOTHER had been a server on the Gruziya ! She could not believe we had been on that ship, we were the first American cruisers she had ever met who had been on, or knew of, that ship and that it once cruised out of Florida ! Now looking for anyone else who may have been on this ship ! ? Are you out there ? Speaking of history, anyone been on Premier, Dolphin Line, Fair Wind, Fair Sky, etc. Maybe we can get a history of cruising forum going....LOL !
  16. I have been looking at the deck plan for the Freedom. I can not tell if you can get to the Serenity deck if you are in a wheelchair or scooter. My sister can not do stairs so I am hoping that someone can tell me if she will be able to get to the serenity deck. Thank you
  17. I have room 1700 booked next month on liberty and again on freedom next May. I’ve seen all the YouTube videos that I could find. Read several threads here and on another “blog”. Lots of good info out there, So I knew that’s the cabin I wanted to book. We want extra space and a balcony. This is the best I could find without getting into the suites. Just a couple questions I had that I could not find a solid answer. 1. Is the windjammer or any other upper deck able to look down to see our balcony? Will we be able to look down on the lower balconies? Are there any other privacy concerns? 2. It doesn’t appear to be a true corner aft balcony. By that I mean is there 270 degrees of ocean viewing angle? Best I can tell there is only 180 degrees of viewing angle. Just like all the other balconies down the side of the ship. Except my 180 degrees of viewing are rotated 90 degrees. Making for an aft view. I think maybe the deck 7 corners aft have that 270 degree viewing angle. Not sure. 3. Can I let the kids paint the pole? Watercolors of course. Easy to clean. And I would definitely disinfect it first. I’ve seen those pictures on this site. 4. Port or starboard? Any way to find out which side the ship “parks”? I’d like to check each port to see which way the ship will be parked. 5. Is it going to be awesome? If not then don’t tell me. Just lie to me and tell me it’s awesome. Also if you have pictures, videos, or any helpful info on these cabins, I and others would love to see. If it’s something you’ve already posted, I’ve probably seen it. Thanks in advance!
  18. 100% agree. Also the kids not being at school, playing sports, etc. - who's advocating for them? What about the long term effects from isolation and lost-learning? We're kidding ourselves if we don't think this virus (or a mutation thereof) is going to be a part of our lives for a while. MAYBE there will be a vaccine available at some point in the next year or two (not months away) and likely the pharm companies will play their game of controlling the quantities and driving up the prices to get it - so we have that to look forward to. We need to cautiously continue to allow businesses & schools to open, with mask & social distance guidelines with the realization that some people will continue to get the virus (with most recovering). If we choose to leave our homes and go anywhere there are other people, we are accepting the risk that we may get the virus. If we accept people into our homes that have been places where there are other people, we are accepting the risk that we may get the virus. I wish that the U.S. implemented the mask mandate back in March - then maybe we wouldn't have had to "Lift & Switch" my daughter's fall wedding to late 2021, but unfortunately that didn't happen - and 200+ years of personal freedoms in the U.S. have resulted in large contingencies of citizens now refusing to comply because it infringes on their personal freedom. The U.S. is its own worst enemy in any attempts to control the pandemic.
  19. The Resilience , honour and Bravery of the American People will make you get through any crisis, including this one. Happy 4th of July, Fireworks and bravado speeches are not needed to know that you live in a Great country, with great people who bravely travelled to a far land at one point, wether voluntarily or enslaved but all hoping for the life and freedom they deserve. That is your common strength, and that is what binds you together as one strong Nation. Home of the Free. Enjoy your Independence Day my dear friends.
  20. The Grand Prix is always hailed as bringing financial benefits. Except there is no full disclosure of costs and benefits. Everything is commercial in confidence and/or exempt from freedom of information. One piece of information that slipped out is that attendance can be highly over-reported. It seemed everyone working onsite had to scan in and became part of the official crowd. some of the impacts relate to the closing of large areas of community sporting fields for 3 months for the set up and takedown. Plus repair of subsequent damage to the grounds. Noise remains a significant issue. Local schools close, impacts on business etc. On the map below, I live in Williamstown. The track runs around Albert Park Lake, shown on the right. Nothing but open water in between. I can assure you, the one day of practice this year was well and truly heard, and not appreciated.
  21. Well, I was in the process of transferring my deposit for Freedom on Nov 2020 to Odyssey on April 2021. Big reason was because the pricing for that sailing was so good (cheaper than Freedom). I was getting ready to call the TA to make the change on the same day that the news broke about the delay. 😒 Oh well.
  22. Like you, I served our country for 20 years in the USAF. Then Government work for another 20. We need to wake up America! We must retain our freedom, rights and pursue happiness. We fought for our rights, we earned them. Don't forget those who gave their lives so we may live free. God Bless America! The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!
  23. So were torn about what to do. We looking at 2 sailings: Freedom 8 night sailing which will do a Southern Caribbean itinerary ( Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Bonaire and Aruba) vs. Horizon 6 night Western Caribbean Sailing going to Ocho Rios, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Heres our situation: Several adults going, most of which are late 30s in age to late 40's in age. All of the adults are pretty active. Children ranging in age from 6 years old to 11 years old We were initially supposed to sail this year on the Breeze ( that has been cancelled ) so the Freedom will be sailing the exact same itinerary that the Breeze wouldve done this year We love the itinerary but we don't care for the smaller ships. After sailing the Breeze and even the magic we knew that we didn't want to sail anything smaller than Dream Class of ships. We have never been to Bonaire or Aruba so again that itinerary is definitely inviting. We've never sailed on the Horizon however we have been to all of the ports that it will visit on this itinerary. We love the thought of a newer bigger ship but the itinerary is just " ok " for us. Also we only get 6 nights with this sailing instead of 8 with the Freedom. We've taken a vote amongst our group and we're dead split 50 /50 Any thoughts on the 2 ships Will we miss having more activities choosing the Freedom? Hows the condition of the Freedom?? Any suggestions / recommendations are appreciated.
  24. We did a three night cruise on Mariner a little over a year ago. She is a great ship and has lots of great stuff for kids. I haven't been on Independence but Freedom class and Voyageur class are very similar in layout.
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