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harryfat1

Cheapo dad's trip report on Freedom of the Seas

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This is exciting! I'm on this itinerary in less than 3 weeks. Your photos are amazing - love the action in the belly flop pic!

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Loved your last report and can't wait to follow along on this one as well!! Thank you for taking the time to compile, I'm sure it's a hefty task!

 

Sent from my SM-G900V using Forums mobile app

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Yay! You are BACK!!! I've been waiting for this one.....:D:D

Loved your last review!!! D

 

Patiently waiting for more.......Great start with the pictures!!!!

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Great pics and I'm really looking forward to the "cheapo" perspective! I could use some tips that don't involve things like "you've got to try the Johnny Walker Blue, it's only $28 per shot!" :):D

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First day back at work after vacation and holiday is not the easiest time to start a new project. :D We have another holiday weekend coming up.

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Thanks everyone for your kind words and encouragement. It’s great to be back cruising again and sharing our experience. We took a break last year from cruising to go to Disneyland with the Star Wars hype. See pics below.

 

I truly appreciate everyone comments. In the interest if time, I won’t thank everyone individually unless there are questions but I will say hi to a few old friends from the previous trip report. I know people log on to read about cruises or look at pictures instead of my conversations.

 

 

 

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There have been some comments about the pictures. I wish I could take credit by saying I have a Canon 7D with a f2.8 lens and I took this picture with a +2/3 exposure and using manual control and a polarizing filter, blah blah.

 

Nope. Nothing that fancy. The secret is called Smart Phones. I used to be a camera snob in that I scoff at the various people taking pictures with their cell phones as not advanced enough. But after this cruise with my Samsung note 5 (you know, last year’s model one that does NOT catch fire) and my wife’s new Samsung S7 edge she got on Black Friday, we took many indoor pictures with just these 2 cell phones and they turned out amazingly well. I think every one of the food pictures you will see are taken from the cell phones.

 

We still have a dSLR and a bridge camera and underwater camera and camcorder and all kinds of electronic gear (between just the 4 of us, we brought 4 cell phones and 4 cameras and 1 camcorder). Every night I have to track what gets charged in the limited charging plugs in the cabins. There are still areas where the cell phones can’t compete like zooming and fast moving action scenes but indoor still pictures, the smart phones are just specular.

 

So I wish we could take credit for some of the nice pictures of the trip but the work is really done by the phones. We just push the big round button (dummies using smart phones).

 

 

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Thanks Harry.

 

A great start!!!

 

Sorry we had to miss this cruise, hopefully some other year and we will meet up on a cruise.:)

 

Hi, Ken,

 

We had great weather on this cruise. Sorry you couldn’t make it but then you are going on the Harmony so not like you downgraded. Maybe we will do Harmony in 2018 when the price is lowered as right now, the premium on her sailings are too rich for cheapo dad.

 

We might do Adventure of the Seas next December but my flat butt can’t sit that long of a flight from CA…

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Oh yah...have been waiting for your report (via recent comments added to your "Cheapo Allure Report") so was so happy to see the link there.

 

I loved your last report...so funny, witty, and I can relate to, let's just call it "saving money". ;) And I highly doubt that this sequel will suck...lol... typical Harry humor. I love it.

 

Can't wait to read more...Thanks for reporting back.

 

Hi, LuCruise,

 

Good to talk to you again. Glad you found the link from the other trip report.

 

This report won’t be as long as the previous one as it’s one less day but I think the night time photos are better as I just posted. Not because I took better pictures, just technology has been better and we upgraded our phones.

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Hi, I just found this review and I really love reading people's review of their vacations! I love your pictures too. Since I have never read any of your previous trip reports (plan on going back to read them now though) I will just ask....do you ever label your pictures as to where or what they are? I haven't seen a lot of places, but when I look at your pictures, I would love to know where it is or what it is. Looking forward to reading more! Thank you!

 

Hi, Barbara,

 

Thanks for the kind words.

 

Actually these pictures now are just my shameless way to market the trip report. If I just posted 10 paragraphs of words only, people will never read them. But if I add in few pictures, then it makes it more interesting. They are like trailers in the upcoming movie where you see various scenes but you don’t really understand the plot until you get into it.

 

When I get to the day by day events, you will see these pictures again with comments on where we were and then it will all make sense. Right now, I am just throwing them out there to pad my “blah blah blah” introduction pages.

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Hi Harry,

 

So glad you and your extended family enjoyed cruising on Freedom. It seems a very nice and elegant ship.

 

Waiting with the popcorn for the sequels :) Thanks.

 

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, with lots of cruising in the future.

 

Dani

 

Hi, Dani,

 

Glad you found this page. Besides the popcorn, maybe add in some candies as well. I can’t promise quality but I think I can do quantity pretty well with my many side tracking thoughts.

 

Be sure to tell me about your southern Caribbean cruise as that is a possibility for us in 2017.

 

Happy Holidays to you and yours as well.

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First day back at work after vacation and holiday is not the easiest time to start a new project. :D We have another holiday weekend coming up.

 

Hi, Patti,

 

Nice to hear from you again. Happy Holidays.

 

Hard to go to work during the holiday week. I rather be home writing trip reports but don't get paid doing this...

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So how anal are you? Meaning on an analality (I know, no such word, stop being anal about my bad English) scale of 1 to 10, with higher number being more anal, what do you rate yourself? From my own self-assessment, I think I am in the 9+ column. In theory, anyone who is reading trip reports and researching these boards are at least a 6+ on the scale as if you are totally care free and play it by ear, why are you reading this? Just trying to perhaps improve your cruise by 0.03% with the extra knowledge?

 

Not that I am big on poll taking (think we all had enough of polls after this year’s Presidential election), but I would be interested to hear some feedbacks from the community on what your self-assessment is.

 

Disney theme parks are well known for long lines on their popular rides. It’s not uncommon for people to be in line for 1 plus hour for a 3 minute ride. This is somewhere around a 20 to 1 ratio of wait time versus actual ride time.

 

Now for the cruise planning in reading the various cruise critics’ posts, how many hours are you spending here? Assume a typical cruise of 7 days, which is 168 hours max. Take away few hours of not getting on ship until 12 noon and depart by say 9 AM on last day, we are looking at 165 hours or so. Keep that number in the memory.

 

Now the question is how many hours do you spend on CC researching for your cruise? Assuming you booked your cruise 6 months out and you read CC 2 hours a day everywhere to read trip reports/check excursions/hotel stay pre and post cruise/roll call. So we have 2 hours X 7 days/week X 180 days = 2,520 hours of cruise preparation. Now divide 2,520 of preparation time by 165 hours of actual cruise time = that’s 15 to 1 of research/prep time compared to actual cruise time (including sleeping).

 

For my research work, I go back and read various trip reports for the past 2 years on any ship just to have a feel on what the ship has to offer. So my ratio is probably higher than 15 to 1. I would be interested to hear what other cruisers have as your ratio. My wife and kids thinks I spent way too much time and effort planning and researching. Guess that’s part of being anal/chap in wanting to maximize the vacation value for the thousands spent every vacation.

 

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So now we move on to the actual proof on how anal I am (don’t scoff, I know there are some of you out there in the same boat/ship). In the Allure trip report, I uploaded my Excel template for my daily activities for anyone that wants one. I coined the phrase – Friends of Excel support group – for those of us who likes to schedule things out.

 

Even though I never had to use one for the Freedom cruise because their entertainment schedule is more traditional/predictable and we have the late dining at 8 PM, I am attaching it again for this trip report in case someone is reading this and might need one for their trip planning. I have read various posts asking for schedules and I think someone should start a new thread and ask people with Excel or any other schedules to upload them into one central repository so any cruiser that wants it can find it quickly instead of having to dog into post #27 of any given trip report to find it.

 

Anyway, if nobody has started the schedule thread by time I am done with this trip report, I will start one. I have seen some trip reports with fancy schedules. Someone color coded theirs by the days of the week. I am waiting to see if anyone also color code their underwear/socks to match the color codes on the spreadsheet (e.g. blue color on day 3 of the cruise means blue socks and blue underwear). I will bow to the gangplank that person walks on as that’s the ultimate planner!

 

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Cruise Schedule.xls

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So what info do I bring to the ship? One thing is my seating request. Up to 50 days prior to your cruise (at least it used to be 50 days couple years ago), you can email Royal and request certain table seating location – for example, window seats or by the railing if you want deck 4. That was my request – I asked for table for 6 on deck 4 next to the railing toward the back of the restaurant for more privacy.

 

Now this next part shows that you can never assume and must ask the fine people at CC. I know from various pictures that the MDR has a piano in the back wall. I know from the previous Allure sailing they had classical musicians playing in that area on certain nights of the week. So naturally I assumed Freedom will have the same type of classical musicians. Nope. Nada. So either Royal has cut back on all musicians or they only have them for the bigger ships. I assume someone will share that info.

 

At any rate, here is the rare view of a floor plan info I received from RCI. We are the table 467 next to the railing. My wife’s friends’ family was originally requesting to sit nearby but somehow last minute they were moved downstairs to deck 3. But the floor plan is fluid as they will change between sailings.

 

The top number is table number and lower number is size of the table.

 

 

 

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Hi Harry! I'm very excited for your trip report, we we on the freedom just before your trip, from December 10-18. I was looking for you and your family as we departed to tell you how much I enjoyed the Allure report and wish you a merry Christmas, but sadly did not spot you.

We took b2b cruises on Harmony and Freedom this December, both were equally fantastic for their own reasons. For example the harmony felt less crowded, but it was easier to get around the ship on freedom.

Your pics are stunning, you've got a great eye for photography. Looking forward to seeing the ship again from another perspective!

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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So what info do I bring to the ship? One thing is my seating request. Up to 50 days prior to your cruise (at least it used to be 50 days couple years ago), you can email Royal and request certain table seating location – for example, window seats or by the railing if you want deck 4. That was my request – I asked for table for 6 on deck 4 next to the railing toward the back of the restaurant for more privacy.

 

Now this next part shows that you can never assume and must ask the fine people at CC. I know from various pictures that the MDR has a piano in the back wall. I know from the previous Allure sailing they had classical musicians playing in that area on certain nights of the week. So naturally I assumed Freedom will have the same type of classical musicians. Nope. Nada. So either Royal has cut back on all musicians or they only have them for the bigger ships. I assume someone will share that info.

 

At any rate, here is the rare view of a floor plan info I received from RCI. We are the table 467 next to the railing. My wife’s friends’ family was originally requesting to sit nearby but somehow last minute they were moved downstairs to deck 3. But the floor plan is fluid as they will change between sailings.

 

The top number is table number and lower number is size of the table.

 

 

 

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Do you still have the email address to send the request? Thanks!

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Thanks for all of the good info and the time you have taken to make these reviews! We used your last report to assist on our first Allure cruise a couple of years ago. Freedom was our first cruise(Indy after that) and we love this class of ship. I couldn't agree more with you that these cruises are what you make of them. I'm the planner/photographer in our family as well. My wife complains sometimes about the amount of time that I spend researching or the amount of pictures that I take, but after the cruise, she can't thank me enough for the memories that we have made and captured together.

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