Carnival Freedom Review
This was my first cruise, so I didn't exactly know what to expect.
This was honestly probably the worst part of the cruise. We arrived at the terminal at about noon. The line to get through security was so long that it ran all the way out the door and down the sidewalk. The line moved very slowly and it took at least an hour to get through security. From the security checkpoint, we went upstairs to the check-in area where they scan your passport and give you your sail and sign card. This line was also long and very slow moving. This process probably took another hour. From the check-in desk, we proceeded to the gangway and waited in line again to get on the ship. Overall the boarding process took close to 2.5 hours from the time we arrived to actually stepping on board. The terminal in ft lauderdale is not well organized and the temperature inside must have been pushing 85 degrees.
Like all Carnival's ships that I've seen, the decor is not what you'd call classy or elegant. The design of this ship though is over the top to the point of being gaudy. The ship itself was spotless and very well maintained. The layout is a bit confusing though. As far as I could tell, there's no way to go from the lobby to the aft dining room without going up to deck 5 and then back down. Getting on and off the ship in port can be challenging sometimes. We frequently had to wait in long lines to re-board the ship. We waited 45 minutes in the pouring rain to board in Jamaica.
The majority of passengers on this cruise seemed to be families on summer vacation. Most seemed to be from the southeast or midwestern portions of the US. Most passengers were very nice, but of course it always amazes me that some adults don't know how to behave in public.
We had a cheap interior room on deck 2 forward. The interior rooms are definitely small and somewhat cramped, but we didn't spend much time there. The room was also very quiet in spite of being located beneath the theater. The bathroom is the same standard design that most Carnival ships have from what I understand.
Breakfast is your standard buffet food. The quality was generally good, but more variety would definitely be much appreciated. The only thing I didn't care for was the scrambled eggs which tasted like that cholesterol free egg substitute that comes in a carton. Lunch was also very good. We only ate in the buffet on the first day. We always missed the buffet times the other days and usually ended up eating burgers or pizza, which were also very good. Dinner was definitely the best! The quality of the food was very good and the service was amazing.
All of the service on this ship was outstanding. The dining room waiters were so friendly and very funny. They would always address us by name and even got to know what we liked and didn't like. Our room steward introduced himself the first day, and would always address me by name when I saw him in the hall.
We didn't participate in many of the activities, but there seemed to always be a lot going on. We did win a trophy in one of the trivia contests lol.
We we to all of the production shows on board. They definitely have some good talent, but they come across as slightly cheesy. The comedy shows were just ok.
Key West was nice, but similar to every other small florida beach town. We didn't do any excursions but just walked around town and then went to the beach.
Grand Cayman was definitely my favorite port on this cruise. We did one of the snorkeling excursions which was very fun! The reefs there are beautiful. The only downside for us was that is was cloudy and rainy all day.
Jamaica was about what I expected based on things I'd heard. We did a rafting excursion which was just ok. It was a good chance to see the rain forests of Jamaica, but wasn't the most interesting. Overall, I wouldn't do it again.
Debarkation was best described as semi-organized chaos. People were everywhere trying to collect their baggage and find their bus/shuttle/van/taxi to collect their cars. In my opinion this terminal is very poorly designed and does not flow well.