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To Go or Not to Go - Freedom of the Seas

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 11:03 AM, prmet said:

The bad reviews recently were for one date, november 25, and the problem was that it was partially charted by a radio station. Not gonna find that chaos on other date.

I can't say for sure about any other date, but I was on the Nov. 25 sailing.  It was bad.

 

I will state a bartender told us the level of chaos on that ship changed dramatically when it moved to San Juan.  The bartender didn't think the change was for the better for the average guest.  This was unsolicited commentary from the bartender.

 

I would suggest avoiding the Promenade in the evenings.  The gaggles outside the lounges, dining rooms and WJ will be bad enough to navigate.  

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On 12/29/2018 at 2:16 PM, EeyoreRN said:

When you say Coronado, do you mean Condado? Did you stay at the Condado Plaza (Hilton)?  We have a reservation there for May, but I know the place is still under construction and is getting pretty iffy reviews. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by "it looked pretty rough?"

 

Thanks!

We stayed at the AC Hotel Condado and it was modern and clean.  The price was right and it was a great value.  I felt perfectly safe walking around the "strip".  Condado lacks the charm of Old San Juan but there were lots of people, friendly, live music.  I wouldn't hesitate to stay in the area again.

 

The burgers and onion rings at the Place were delicious.  And breakfast at Pannes was fantastic!

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On 12/27/2018 at 9:27 AM, Racer70 said:

My family sailed out of San Juan on the Adventure of the Seas just after the hurricane in Oct. 2017.

 

There were many Puerto Rican families on that sailing for obvious reasons (they live in PR) and needed a vacation from the extreme chaos that PR was facing at that time.

 

We loved that sailing and did not notice any trouble or issues. The cruise was lively and fun.

 

I did notice many Puerto Rican women love to sing karaoke in the bars and that made for an entertaining & fun time when they had karaoke.

 

We're booked on the Freedom of the Seas for the July 28, 2019 sailing out of San Juan this summer and are very much looking forward to it.

 

As they say, "It's cool to begin your Caribbean cruise in the Caribbean".

 

Don't sweat the small stuff, enjoy your cruise with your family & friends.

I love sailing out of PR - I did the Adventure three times and went out on carnival 2x. I love being able to get to some of the more southern island - Curacao, Aruba, etc.  I never have had an issue with the crowd on the ship.  We just booked the 7/28/19 cruise yesterday and we are very excited - Bonaire is a new port for us. 

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Took our first cruise out of San Juan on Adventure right after the major hurricanes came through in Nov 2017 - the ship was at least 3/4 Puerto Ricans at that time, which we happened to LOVE!  I'd take loud and boisterous Puerto Ricans who were there to have a good time ANY DAY over what we experienced on our Carnival cruise out of NYC.  I swore I would never cruise out of NYC again after that - we have never seen such rudeness on a cruise (people yelling in the halls at night, parents not watching their children, loud music in the halls at night, ship security breaking up fights in the buffet more than once, etc) .  My now 7 yo son, when we talk about cruising, says "Puerto Rico, HEYYYYY!", because every time Puerto RIco was mentioned on the ship, everyone would yell "HEY!"  It was one of the most fun cruises we have ever done, and we are heading to San Juan again this year in August on Freedom with my 7 yo and 2 yo.  

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We are cruising on Freedom this summer ; she is one of our favorite ships. This may be our last cruise for a while with all of our college age kids and we wanted lots of ports; time constraints made heading to the Med. impossible this year. As the last kid is off to college and the other two doing research at school this summer we had one week that we are all available. That left Allure, NCL Breakaway and Freedom. We also are bringing Mum and having a burial at sea of Dad's ashes; six adults even in a 2 BR GS is too tight for us and Gramma needs her own bedroom. So we needed 2 suites; I need the space and the reserved seating/priority disembark has always made it worth it to us. We also didnt want half the family in a suite and the others without the "perks"

 

The cruises from Florida/NY that we were looking at were the same old islands or cost prohibitive. For the price of the 2BR GS  on Allure we have a 2BR GS AND and a GS AND 3k in our pocket on Freedom. I know Allure is bigger, better, newer, more suite perks yada yada; we are looking for ports. NCL has shot itself in the foot with its insane prices; we have done the Getaway/Breakaway and the ships as well as ports have become boring. 

 

We have Gramma in the 2 BR with us, the college kids in a GS ( 21,21,18) , paid for airfare to SJ and paid for tours for less than a single 2BR on Breakaway or Allure. This trip is about tours and the price is worth  the chaos at the pier and the  possibility of boisterous co-cruisers. 

 

We have cruised on some pretty rowdy NY Eve cruises in the past ; if we need to escape the noise we have a giant aft balcony to retreat to.

 

The kids like the idea as they all speak Spanish . We'll see how that goes!

Happy cruising, all

 

 

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On 12/27/2018 at 10:07 AM, RG306 said:

 If you want to see a show be prepared to go at least 45 minutes before.  

That advice is mentioned on this forum for just about every itinerary and that's even if you made reservations. Princess you have to go 45 minutes before the show and their shows are only 35 minutes. 

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I have sailed out of San Juan many times on both Princess and Celebrity. They were my favorite cruises to date. I didn't find that the locals took over the ship any more than the large CC roll call groups that I was attending. I don't understand all of the negative comments about English not being spoken. Maybe it's because I live in a multicultural area that I just don't notice or get bothered by language barriers. I don't know how people can travel internationally and expect that English will be the only language spoken. If this is really an issue than I would suggest that you limit your international travel to Bush Gardens or Disney Epcot.

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Posted (edited)

We just returned from a B2B cruise (3 March and 10 March) on the Freedom. Like all of our other cruises out of San Juan, no problems, great cruise and met a lot of good people. Well except the jerks in the room next to us who thought no smoking on their balcony didn't mean them. After a call to GS, security advised them differently. 😜 But that had nothing to do with sailing out of SJ. Can happen on any itinerary. 

Edited by davekathy

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My worst cruise was out of San Juan after the hurricane last year. RCI gave locals a great deal to sail. In terms, lower the quality of the food. I hear it was worse the week before but ours was quite different than regular sailings. I even saw some Diamonds getting a lot of friends in the Diamond lounge which usually doesn't happen either.  Just would not want to repeat that sailing. 

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I was on Freedom of the Seas last week. 

 

There were a TON of Canadians on board, they were generally speaking english and they were mostly under control. 

 

:classic_biggrin:

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This seems to be a recurring topic.  I had the same concerns when I sailed this itinerary a number of years ago. Even posted a similar question myself at that time.  Turns out, no issues at all and we had a great time.  Also stayed at Condado Hilton for the before and after and that was fine too

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As someone who doesn't cruise often I am not loyal to any particular cruise line.  We decided to cruise in November and Freedom had a great itinerary that worked for us.  So far the only drawback is I haven't been able to find decent airfare yet, but I'm told it will go down.  

We have things planned every day we are in port.  We plan to eat in the MDR almost every night & we do not plan on hanging by the pool all that much.  We plan to really enjoy the ship and luckily its big enough that hopefully if the crowd gets unbearable we'll be able to go elsewhere. We don't have a balcony & neighbors are always a crap shoot, hopefully they aren't honeymoaners, lol. 

I've been on Disney vacations (not cruises) where we've spent a bunch of money and have had to deal with so many rude & entitled guests everywhere.  I've taken Elsa's advice and I'm learning to let it go. That said, if I have any major issues I have no problem going to Guest Services to try to get them straightened out.  

Hope others who are cruising in the upcoming months will post some more.

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My wife and I are going on the Freedom in June.  It will be our 1st sailing out of San Juan.  Was wondering if anyone has sailed on the ship recently and can give their opinion on the shows in the thearter.  What were the shows? (Musicals, sing/dance, comedian, magician, play, etc.) Did you enjoy them? Also, we are staying in SJ for 3 days before the cruise at the Marriott near the port.  Will it be easy to take an Uber to get to the good beaches, site seeing, airport, etc.? Thank you for the help and info.

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5 minutes ago, umpisoccer said:

My wife and I are going on the Freedom in June.  It will be our 1st sailing out of San Juan.  Was wondering if anyone has sailed on the ship recently and can give their opinion on the shows in the thearter.  What were the shows? (Musicals, sing/dance, comedian, magician, play, etc.) Did you enjoy them? Also, we are staying in SJ for 3 days before the cruise at the Marriott near the port.  Will it be easy to take an Uber to get to the good beaches, site seeing, airport, etc.? Thank you for the help and info.

 

Shows are typical cruise ship production shows and headliners such as comedians, magicians, jugglers, etc.

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4 hours ago, umpisoccer said:

My wife and I are going on the Freedom in June.  It will be our 1st sailing out of San Juan.  Was wondering if anyone has sailed on the ship recently and can give their opinion on the shows in the thearter.  What were the shows? (Musicals, sing/dance, comedian, magician, play, etc.) Did you enjoy them? Also, we are staying in SJ for 3 days before the cruise at the Marriott near the port.  Will it be easy to take an Uber to get to the good beaches, site seeing, airport, etc.? Thank you for the help and info.

Uber is very easy... No issues. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, umpisoccer said:

My wife and I are going on the Freedom in June.  It will be our 1st sailing out of San Juan.  Was wondering if anyone has sailed on the ship recently and can give their opinion on the shows in the thearter.  What were the shows? (Musicals, sing/dance, comedian, magician, play, etc.) Did you enjoy them? Also, we are staying in SJ for 3 days before the cruise at the Marriott near the port.  Will it be easy to take an Uber to get to the good beaches, site seeing, airport, etc.? Thank you for the help and info.

Along with what Bob posted you will also have the ice show in Studio B, the Qwest in studio B, the Marriage show in the Arcadia theater. The Cruise Compass is a great source for all activities and shows. 

Edited by davekathy

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On ‎3‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 8:55 PM, SG65CB said:

I was on Freedom of the Seas last week. 

 

There were a TON of Canadians on board, they were generally speaking english and they were mostly under control. 

 

:classic_biggrin:

 

We'll be on Freedom out of San Juan in November.  My understanding is that it is the Canadians speaking Spanish that you really want to avoid... 🤭

 

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I've sailed out of SJ 3 times and my worse sailing, unfortuantely, was the one I took shortly after the hurricane in November 2017. This was on Adventure but it was the first time I felt crowded on a ship and I've been on Allure. However, that wouldn't stop me from sailing from SJ again. It's a beautiful departure port.

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3 hours ago, NouCruzer said:

 

We'll be on Freedom out of San Juan in November.  My understanding is that it is the Canadians speaking Spanish that you really want to avoid... 🤭

 

 

They said it was Canadian Spring Break last week - 765 kids on the ship. Shouldn't be the same in November...

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To OP—as residents of St Croix, many of our cruises have started/ended in SJU.  We did an Easter cruise in 2011 on Adventure of the Seas and had an awesome time. Since the storms in 2017, we did 2 cruises out of SJU—with no issues.  They rank as tops in my book—one on RCCL (Jewel of the Seas) and the other on Celebrity. As for staying in Condado or Isla Verde, we have enjoyed many MANY weekend get aways in those areas and always had a great experience.  As they say, no worries, it will be a good time —you are on vacation!  😎

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On 3/21/2019 at 12:56 PM, Eldaph said:

As someone who doesn't cruise often I am not loyal to any particular cruise line.  We decided to cruise in November and Freedom had a great itinerary that worked for us.  So far the only drawback is I haven't been able to find decent airfare yet, but I'm told it will go down.  

 

Sailed out of San Juan a few years ago on Adventure and it was one of our best cruises.  Going again on Freedom in May.  I STILL don't have flights booked as it's currently about $1000 pp.  There are a lot of open seats though and I'm still waiting for prices to go down.  Getting a bit nervous...

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Ashland,  I could not find your review of your B2B FOTS last Sep.  Can give me the details?

 

 

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On 3/23/2019 at 9:24 AM, bobmacliberty said:

 

Sailed out of San Juan a few years ago on Adventure and it was one of our best cruises.  Going again on Freedom in May.  I STILL don't have flights booked as it's currently about $1000 pp.  There are a lot of open seats though and I'm still waiting for prices to go down.  Getting a bit nervous...

Same here!  Going in June and haven't booked flights yet.  They are so expensive but tons of open seats!  I feel like they will have to eventually lower prices but I feel like I'm playing a game of "chicken" with the airlines!  

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Going in November.  Booked cruise this past November.  Booked airfare end of last month. 

I used the Hopper app and originally flights from Newark/NYC area were almost $900 pp round trip (non-stop).  The app kept telling me to wait.  I finally got the alert once Jet Blue released their flights and we are paying $444 pp round trip (no-stop).  It said to book now so I did.  I don't normally fly but I kept the alert on the app just to see if it drops again.  I know I can't change it, but knowing I have my flights booked at a decent price gives me peace of mind.  

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On 3/19/2019 at 9:27 AM, davekathy said:

We just returned from a B2B cruise (3 March and 10 March) on the Freedom. Like all of our other cruises out of San Juan, no problems, great cruise and met a lot of good people. Well except the jerks in the room next to us who thought no smoking on their balcony didn't mean them. After a call to GS, security advised them differently. 😜 But that had nothing to do with sailing out of SJ. Can happen on any itinerary. 

So glad you had a great trip!  Also happy to note security stepped in!

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