Don’t jump ship. Stay the course. The wind will change, blowing you to calmer seas. – author unknown
I have to admit, day one on our Freedom of the Seas cruise was somewhat…well…lots….on the frustrating side. We drove to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. I’m not one who enjoys driving in tons of traffic, and when we almost got hit by another car changing lanes without looking, we decided in Boca Raton to get off of I-95 and head over to route 1. Still a lot of traffic, but definitely easier than driving down I-95.
We got to our motel, LaQuinta, in north Fort Lauderdale around 3:30 pm. Checking in was easy and quick. The room was clean enough, but our window overlooked route 1 (Federal Rd) so it was kind of noisy. We decided to run to IKEA in Sunrise, Florida, but once we saw the parking lot, we decided not to even try to go in. Didn’t feel like standing in line for hours. We ended up going to Pollo Tropical on Federal Rd for dinner. Pretty good and healthy food there, and we enjoyed it.
Awakened to a fire alarm
After a restless night at LaQuinta, we got a rude awakening, the start of our frustrating day, which also happened to be our 40th wedding anniversary. Not sure how, but the fire alarm was activated at 7:15 am. We really didn’t need to get up that early to get to Port Everglades, but after that we were definitely awake.
Not a happy moment while we tried to figure out what was making the ear piercing nose. We couldn’t smell smoke, and no one was running around like there was a fire, so we got dressed and headed over to the breakfast area. There are plenty of tables for breakfast eaters, but they are really crammed together and it’s hard to move around them. They did keep the area stocked, but it’s nothing fancy. There were waffles, cereals, bagels, toast, and muffins. Also, orange juice, apple juice, and coffee.
Park n Go
This was our first time going out of Port Everglades. I had found parking at Park n Go near the Airport. It was about 8 miles from LaQuinta. Not a bad drive, but once we got there, it was very confusing. The website doesn’t really make it clear that you will have a valet park your car. And when we drove into the entrance, the lady taking our info wasn’t really clear either.
So, we followed the other cars in, unloaded our luggage, and then tried to figure out what to do because there was no one around to tell us. I got into the car and moved it towards the parking area, but I could see that cars were parked 3 and 4 deep, and I had no idea what to do, when finally a lady came up and asked for my key. Leaving the key didn’t make me happy, but I had no choice at that moment. The shuttle driver to Freedom of the Seas was really nice and helpful though. He made sure we had our luggage, and then helped us unload it when we got to the port.
Port Everglades was another frustration. We’re used to the nice port terminals in Port Canaveral and Miami, so this one was a disappointment. It’s basically a warehouse with not enough seats for everyone. We did get to check in quickly, then we stood and waited for the doors to open.
We got there around 10:45 am and had to stand for around 25-30 minutes, so it wasn’t too bad. But they gave us no boarding number, and there were no loudspeakers to hear who was boarding and it was not listed on the televisions in the area like most terminals do.
I’m guessing that the Diamond, Pinnacle, Suites, and other higher classes went first, I couldn’t hear the lady. Then she finally came over to the gold side. Well, we had been standing there for a while, and the others had been sitting down, and she says that they have to go first. In my opinion, while she was trying to get them to hear her we could have already been in, so we did go in. And once we got up the escalator we saw that there were drinks and seating up there, so why were we standing downstairs waiting? Port Everglades came across as very disorganized.
Finally on Freedom of the Seas!
After we got onto the Freedom of the Seas we went straight to the Windjammer to get some lunch and sit down and relax for a while. We found a table easily, and then went and got something to eat. I’m trying to eat healthy for as long as I can on this cruise. Last cruise I gained 5 lbs. and I really don’t want to do that again. So, I had a nice big salad and some fruit, and that was it. It actually was pretty good.
We got into our room at 1:00 pm and checked it out. I was expecting that my wifi code would be waiting for me, and we had been told that because of a booking problem, that chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine would be waiting for us. It wasn’t. The room was clean, the door was open when we got there, but our luggage wasn’t there, so we went to explore.
I decided to check in at the customer service desk to see if I could get my wifi code and see about the wine and strawberries. Once there I was told that they had no record of us getting complimentary wifi, wine, or strawberries. I showed him that email from the media rep, but he still insisted that we had nothing. I didn’t leave there a happy camper, but I was polite.
And our door wouldn’t close
We got back to the room and discovered that we could push the door open and that it wouldn’t lock at all. Great…. now we can’t even leave the room. So while my husband called maintenance, I went on the balcony and called the Royal Caribbean Media Rep, Lyan, and left her a message about what was going on.
Maintenance took maybe 20 minutes to get to our room. He said that someone had left the door slam hard, and it has messed up the lock. He got it fixed quickly. And after that I got an email from Lyan saying that things were taken care of. Yay…. well, all except that we still didn’t have luggage and it was 5:15 pm.
We had a 5:30 dining time in the main dining room, so we went there in the clothes we’d worn onto the ship, hoping that our luggage would be there after dinner. We did request to sit with others, we love meeting people, so they sat us at a table right next to a very nice couple from Pennsylvania. It’s a really nice dining room, we were on the fifth floor level.
We started out with Calamari, which was very tender and delicious. Then I had the Prime Rib with broccoli and a baked potato, also delicious. For dessert I had the chocolate hazelnut cake with ice cream. It was okay, but not the greatest. I had half, but that was okay because I didn’t need all the sugar. I’ll try to remember the names of the waiters tomorrow.
Where is our luggage?
After dining we went back to our room to see if our luggage was there. His was there, but not mine. Our Steward said they were running slow. But just minutes later mine arrived, along with the bottles of Gatorade that we brought on. And that’s when the trip started becoming so much better.
So, yes, you can bring bottles of Gatorade, just put a luggage tag on them and tape them up. I also brought two cans of ginger ale in my luggage. So, it was a huge relief getting the luggage. I was having visions of only having one outfit the entire cruise. And then we got a call with our wifi access code. Guess it’s a good thing I called the media rep.
Then we went to the show in the theater. It started out with a married couple who were acrobats. They’d been on America’s Got Talent. They were good, but I’m just not all that fond of acrobatics, so they lost my attention. After that a comedian came on stage, and he was funny. I’m hoping to see him again.
After the show we walked down to the Windjammer to get a bit of dessert. I had what was called a coffee mousse, but it tasted more like banana. I really need to stop getting all these sugary desserts. We talked to a young man from the Philippines for a couple of minutes, then headed back to the room. After the long hard drive, and the early wake up call, I was worn out. And once we got back into the room what should arrive but champagne? Still waiting for the strawberries though…… And hopefully tomorrow will be a less frustrating day.
I’ll post pictures on my Facebook page. I’m not able to upload them to the ship’s computers, and my phone won’t allow me to access my webhost. Talk to you tomorrow!