This was our 2nd time on Carnival Freedom having sailed on it April 2011. Timing and pricing was right so we sailed it again. As a family (couple in early 50s + 20 yo son), we probably enjoyed this sailing more than the one in 2011 basically because we had lowered our expectations.
We flew in the day before and stayed at the Embassy Suites. Good location. We had upgraded from a balcony cabin to an ocean suite on deck 7. Husband raved about the additional space in the cabin but I am not sure it was worth the extra $500. Shower had mold (yuck). Good cabin location in a quiet area forward. No smokers on the nearby balconies. Because of the suite we had VIP embarkation which was rather meaningless since we still had to wait for our zone to be called. We dropped out waters in our room even though it wasn't ready yet.
Food: Seemed worse than last year. Seemed like the vegetables with the entrees were frozen. Seemed like wedding banquet food. Service in the dining room was slower than last year - we had anytime dining. The Lido buffet always seemed packed. Getting an omelet or getting the Mongolian choices required LONG waits.
Deck: Love all the decking and LOVE LOVE the Serenity Deck. Even though the cruise was sold out could always find deck chairs easily. And the weather was great!
Entertainment: Lame but we knew it would be. We love the casino though and the staff that works in there are wonderful.
Ports: Only did an excursion in Jamaica which was a first for us - LOVED it! Cool Runnings to Dunn River Falls - was super fun!Highly recommend!
Disembarkation: did self-assist -easy off.
Carnival cruises are a good value if you are looking for a reasonably priced vacation to visit Caribbean islands that are too expensive to fly to independently. We are not big fans of cruise entertainment so we don't think the premium Royal Caribbean charges is worth it. If you are like us and like to gamble and like the Caribbean sun and want to do it rather cheaply Carnival is the way to go.