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disembarkation Day


Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[dis-em-bahrk] –verb (used without object) 1. to go ashore from a ship. 2. to leave an aircraft or other vehicle. –verb (used with object) 3. to remove or unload (cargo or passengers) from a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.

After deciding not to get off the ship early at 6 am we put our luggage out the night before and received our information on when and where to go to get off the ship. I have issues with people who don't follow directions and do what they want to do anyway. We were 45 minutes late getting off the ship because of people dragging all there luggage with them through customs. When we finally got through it was very quick and easy and we found our luggage with ease. Got our car out of hock and proceeded to sight see through Miami a little.

We drove back the way we came and stopped again in Port St. Lucie for the night. Drove back to Orlando and we were home around midnight because of delays with the airline. We loved this ship and would recommend it to everyone. We booked our next cruise while on board, but we haven't decided on where to go as yet.

When our cruise docs arrived back in late March, we found out that our return flight didn't leave Miami till 5:20pm. Even with a big ship I knew the latest we could stay on the ship was around 10am, so I knew we could have 5-8 hours to kill so we decided to book a post cruise South Beach excursion. Online RCI states that in order to book this excursion your flight must be after 3pm. I hoped that they would keep us busy till at least 2pm. I could easily kill 2 hours at a restaurant there.

When you have the South Beach or Everglades excursion, you get the luggage tags for the first group after express departure. After our last Windjammer breakfast we met in the Pharoah's loung on deck 5 at 7am. (We were advised to be there by 7:15) Things were very organized here. Stickers were given out to designate which tour and by 7:45 Freedom crew members were leading us off the ship. Our bags came quickly (thianks to my wife's genius, they are the easiest bags to spot) and we had a porter transport them to the tour bus. After about 30 minutes we had the bus full and we were leaving the port area.

The tour starts with driving around the southbeach area in Miami and our guide was quite charming and informative. It seemed though that everyone including ourselves had stayed up late the night before enjoying the last night on the ship (We got to bed around 2am, then up at 6) Quite a few people fell asleep during this part of the tour. I admit to nodding off a little, and that was no reflection on our host.

After about an hour of driving around the area we were dropped off at the Bayside Market where we were to pick up a tour boat and tour the Biscayne bay. The boat didn't leave for more than an hour so we had that time to look around the market area. Unfortunately, nothing was open except for a coffee shop. We did walk the area and see alot of things we wanted to visit after the tour. Once on the roomy boat that seats around 100, we did see Freedom from a few different points of view. We spent a lot of time going around Fisher Island and visiting the homes of the rich and famous. It was an enjoyable time killer. When the boat returned to the market we look forward to a little shopping, but we were informed on our return that the bus left in 20 minutes. That was a bit disapointing. With that, we ended up back at the airport with 4 hours to kill. This excursion was nice, but I wish it was about 2 hours longer.

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Shaq's house and boat dock

We took advantage of the express disembarking program, and carried our own luggage off the ship. We had to be off the ship between 6 & 7:15, if I recall correctly. We had purchased airport transfers from RCI on board for $28.00 per person. We were quite disappointed at the amount of time we had to wait at the port for the bus to fill up. We were unable to get a straight answer from the bus driver or RCI coordinator as to when the bus would leave. It was almost an hour. Then, when we finally arrived at Ft. Lauderdale airport, this bus dropped us off in between terminals, as opposed to right at the gate, hence a longer walk with our luggage to the terminal. We will not use RCI transfers in the future. The “Go Shuttle” is available as soon as you exit the RCI terminal and the fee is approximately $20.00 per person. You would get to the airport sooner and cheaper.

So, in summary, we’ve cruised the Freedom before, been to all the ports before with the exception of Ocho Rios. (Last time in Jamaica, we went to Montego Bay.) We loved the ports as well as the ship. The ship handles the numbers very well. You rarely felt crowded. The tenders were ok for the most part. But tenders are tenders. The food was very good, the entertainment quite good. The cruise director was fun, friendly and quite entertaining. Our cruise critic friends were super….we really had fun posting for over a year and meeting each other was really fun. A few other comments: I returned a few bracelets to the venders on the ship where the jewelry is sold by the inch. No problem with the returns. They know their stuff and replaced them happily. And, as usual, I do not enjoy dropping the soap while showering. All in all, another fun filled successful Royal Caribbean cruise vacation of which I am very thankful to have gone on from both a health and financial standpoint.

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