My wife and I have cruised more than 20 times over the last 20 years, with many different cruise lines, in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Russia, and the Mediterranean. We had cruised with Carnival more than half a dozen times, and booked on Carnival Glory eight months ago.
We received an "URGENT NOTICE" email from Carnival five days before our sailing on the Carnival Glory. It informed us that the largest GLBT travel agency in the US, was having Drag Stars at Sea with a large group on our sailing. This group would be in drag and have their own private special events. Carnival offered to give a full refund and reimburse for any non-refundable travel related expenses. I'm sure that Carnival had been working for months with this travel agency, but failed to notify all passengers until the last minute.
We had to scramble to find another Carnival ship to sail on and had to pay a premium price. We had an uneventful cross-country flight to Ft. Lauderdale, rented a car, and More
spent one night at The Beacon Hotel in South Beach (which I would highly recommend). The next day we drove up to Ft. Lauderdale and turned our Avis rental car at the port (however it is hard to find this location). We caught a taxi to the port and were processed quickly by Carnival and got on the ship.
We had an ocean view cabin (2357), which was mid-ship but next to a storage room and the equipment kept shifting around during the cruise and making noise, so I would not recommend this cabin. It was several hours before our luggage was delivered, longer than we have found on previous cruises. The stateroom itself was very typical and adequate. Our cabin service was good. We found the interior of Carnival Freedom rather gaudy. I would guess the average age of passengers was 65, and I've never seen as many passengers in wheel chairs. The wheel chairs were parked in the halls at night.
The dining experience in the main dining room was better than we have experienced before on any Carnival cruise, and on par with cruise lines that cater to a higher class clientele. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of food and the service was good also.
The entertainment was good, however we had one rough day at sea that required postponement of the show one night. One of the comedians couldn't get to a port due to weather, so we lacked some variety. One of the outdoor pools had a major water line break that flooded the International Lounge and all the way down to one of the main dining rooms. This was a big inconvenience.
We had been to all the ports of call before except for Grand Turk, so we did not plan any shore excursions. Due to rough seas and high winds, we could not dock at Grand Turk. Instead, the Captain arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than scheduled which gave us extra time at that port. Our disembarkation at the end of the cruise went smoothly.
We enjoyed this cruise, but if we had remained on Carnival Glory with the Drag Stars at Sea, it would not have been the leisurely cruise we were expecting. Carnival should have been willing to rebook passengers on another Carnival ship at no additional expense in order to compensate for the terrible inconvenience they caused.. I wrote to Carnival almost a month ago and have yet to receive a response. It's ironic that their email address starts "iCare". Apparently they don't. Less
Old San Juan is walking distance from the dock and lots of fun to explore. Don't miss the old fort and castle. There are some good restaurants with local cuisine. Prices for items in shops is probably best in the Caribbean.