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Freedom of the Seas- 13 people sharing the Presidential Suite with an 18 month old

Best laid plans...

I haven't really accomplished much here.  But, let's see if we can change that.  I recently got the chance to sail on Freedom of the Seas.  It was just me and my hubby but it made me reflect to the first time we all sailed on Freedom of the Seas.

It was November 2009.  My daughter was 18 months old.  It was her second cruise.  This was our first large family vacation.  There were the 3 of us, my In-Laws, both of my hubby's sisters and their families (one a couple, the other a family of 4), my hubby's aunt and uncle and friends of ours.

We had planned this vacation very far in advance and were trying to be very economical.  Most of us had gotten oceanview staterooms.  A few had gotten balcony staterooms and one of us a promenade view stateroom.  The promenade-view staterooms were something special on Royal Caribbean ships and they overlooked the Royal Promenade.   Our rooms were all over the ship.

As time went on, and prices fluctuated, we mostly all switched to balcony cabins.  Then one day a bizarre option happened.  The presidential suite became available.

After doing the math we realized that since the suite holds 14.  We could get 13 of us in it and it would only cost us about $1000 total more than what we were paying for all of our individual rooms. We went for it.

It was an amazing experience.

The suite has 2 entrances.  Both open to a hallway.
The suite has 4 bedrooms.
2 master bedrooms with connecting bathrooms.  Both bedrooms had sliding glass doors out to the balcony.
2 more bedrooms that slept 4 each.  A king size bed and 2 pulldowns
There were 2 more bathrooms- one in each hallway.
There was a dining room and a living room with a sofa bed couch.
Each bedroom had a television and there was one in the living room with a DVD player.  There was a bar area in the dining room.
The living room and dining room both had sliding glass doors onto the balcony (so if you are keeping track that is 4 ways to get to the balcony).  The balcony had a HUGE table.
There was also a bar with a fridge and sink and a hot tub.

The baby was in a pack and play in one of the master bedrooms (she got to sleep with Grandma and Grandpa).

This vacation definitely gave new meaning to traveling together.

Traveling with a mobile toddler was pretty easy.  We had brought our Maclaren stroller and we used to quite often.  It was compact enough to fit easily through crowds and onto elevators and alleviated the "I'm tired, carry me" moments.

This trip was definitely different than the one a year previous.  She was much more aware of her surroundings and much more opinionated on what she did and did not want to do.  She was also actually eating.

Princess was a good eater, but I was concerned about how she would be for a week on a ship.  I was also concerned about snacks.  So, for this trip, I still had my supply of diapers, but I also had an assortment of Gerber Baby snacks.  She was drinking a lot of milk but had lots of dairy problems, so I brought the soy milk she had been drinking.  She was no longer drinking from a bottle, but I was worried about what she could drink from, so I brought sippy cups.  Packing for a toddler was a lot more stuff.
We had clothes for every day.  Clothes for every night.  Bathing suits.  Sun hats.  Sunglasses. Shoes.  A few toys and activities to entertain her.  Books to read to her at night.  Her stuffed animal.  This time packing stressed me big time.

We loved the ship.  The Royal Promenade to snack on cookies.  Sorrentos for pizza.  The meals were great.  The wait staff in the main dining room was superb.  They had 15 of us to deal with and they did a great job.

They always made sure Princess had something to eat and they always had her apple juice waiting for her at the table.

We ate in Chops Steakhouse twice.  They only allowed kids in the very early evening so we had the first seating.  I remember sitting in the restaurant and getting looks from other tables.  Specialty restaurants were not for children and they were not happy.  My nieces ( a teen and preteen) weren't getting many looks- but Princess was.
Thankfully we actually had people come over at the end of the meal and say she was so wonderful and they had been concerned.

Because we were in a suite we got to eat breakfast in Portofino (the specialty Italian restaurant).
This made things extremely convenient as we didn't have to search for a table in the busy buffet area.

Many of us got off the ship in Labadee to enjoy the beach and the Dragon's Tail Coaster.  We left Princess on the ship with Grandma and Grandpa.

With a group our size, we were grateful to have access to the concierge and concierge lounge for seating at the shows and ice shows.

We would sail this ship again in a heartbeat.

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