It takes a long time for a cruise ship, even one as big as ours (currently the biggest cruise ship in the world), to get to the Eastern Caribbean, so our first full day of cruising was a Sea Day. We walked the corridors to the Aft elevators, just to the left of the teal carpet.
It didn't take long to recognize the artwork that told us we were getting close to our cabins. The mosaic of paintings of different breeds of dogs in the glass case on the left. The photo of a cow sticking out her tongue. The Black & White photo of the toad looking in a mirror, and we were just about there.
Deck 11 was one of the decks that made it easy to get from Forward to Aft. It's the deck with all the pools and half of the deck chairs. The sides are protected by glass, which cuts a lot of the wind that blows unchecked across the sea.
As you work your way Forward on Deck 11, the first set of pools is for the kids. Brightly colored sculptures pose amid fountains and sprays and splashes and waterfalls.
Beyond these are more sedate yet family-friendly pools, and the adult-only pools are the farthest forward. The atmosphere around the adult pools reminds me of snooty society people who sniff and turn away from the unsightliness of children. But that could simply be my imagination. Mostly, the people just lounged in chairs silently reading books.
Near the pools are places to buy drinks to refresh yourself as you toast in the sun. The only drinks included in the cruise price are the non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks served at meals. You pay a bundle for all the other drinks. Like these:
I just kept refilling my water bottle from the sink in my room. (Note: The ship is equipped with desalinization equipment to supply the thousands of gallons of fresh water needed on board every day.)
One of the cool features on the Freedom is the set of matching hot tubs that extend twelve feet beyond the sides of the ship (one port, one starboard), suspending soakers way above the sea. They're very popular.
The Fitness Center is behind the reflective windows, up on Deck 14.
The ocean never ceased to change. This was one of the calm moments when no whitecaps dotted the surface. But the lowering of the sun in the sky signaled the coming of our first formal-dress dinner, so we had to go below and get ready.
Our dining room extended up three decks, though each deck had a separate name, so diners knew which deck they ate on. We were on Deck 3 (Leonardo's), the lowest deck of the dining room.
Our Waiter and the Head Waiter are from the Philippines, and our Assistant Waiter (a real sweetheart) is from Jamaica. They treated us like their favorite people in the world, letting us have two appetizers when we couldn't decide between them. My friend, who has fallen in love with cruising, was just on a week-long cruise to Mexico about six weeks ago, and she said the menu looks identical to the one from her Mexico cruise. She said that every night they'll have a cold fruit soup, and all of them are wonderful.
The strolling photographer came by and took a picture that both my mom and I liked well enough. The one she took of me the night before was horrible. I looked half-asleep (or drugged) and angry, and everyone in our group agreed that the picture should be destroyed. Not so with this one.
We're really cruising now!