I compare this cruise against my previous cruises with NCL, RCI & MSC, all of which were far superior to Carnival.
This was a mess! When we arrived at FL it was torrential rain and there was no organisation for taxi drop off, hence we had to wait in the taxi for 20mins before being dropped off. Carnival had left everyones suitcases out in the parking lot in the rain and they were absolutely soaked! Due to this, we boarded with our cases (something which we have never had to do before!) The area for check in was depressing and packed and very hot. It took around 2 hours from arriving to get on the ship, having to queue in about 4 different queues!
We had an aft-extended view balcony. Room ok. Considering the ship is only a few years old, the decor seems very old fashioned (70's). The bathroom was not very modern and had a 'friendly' shower curtain rather than screen. The only positive about the room is that it was quite big and the balcony was larger than usual. However, the balcony partition screens slant so privacy is limited. There was also a lack of dusting in our room as the top shelf, TV etc was covered in dust. We would not pay the $ more for an aft balcony again as normal balcony near enough the same.
This was nowhere near as good as previous cruises. The buffet was always packed with very long queues. The 'Wok' station queue was often about an hour wait! Quite often we had to wait until 2pm to get food as we could not be bothered queuing. Also, between 4-6, other than burgers, there were so snacks. On previous cruises there has been cookies/fruit/cheese biscuits/pastries laid on during this time and we found this very frustrating. We ate in the 'Posh' restuarant each night and always had to wait for a table for two anything from 10 minutes to 40 mins. This did not bother us too much as we went for a drink. Food again, not of the best quality and service often very poor.
We enjoyed the comedy shows, but hard to find a seat as always packed, only watched two shows, both very good. Disco poor as not very busy and often 70's/80's music which we do not like.
We would not cruise in the Carribbean again and definately not with Carnival. We had no 'cold towels' or water provided at the gangway as on previous cruises and the drinks prices were very expensive. We are British and found the ship far too 'American' and a much lower class & standard. This may be due to the fact that compared to similar size ships we have been on, there are far less balcnoy cabins on the Freedom and therefore 'cheaper' cabins. This obviously results in a lower standard of passengers. I don't mean to sound snobby, but when we travel on a cruise we expect a degree of luxury, comfort and relaxtion, none of which are present on Carnival.
If you want a cheap, cheerful, informal, 'all you can eat' type holiday for the masses, then carnival may be for you. If you like RCI/NCL then stay away from Carnival as it will not meet your expectations.