I had so much fun on the Freedom. OMG! Sure, it was spring Break and there were a lot of youngsters walking around drunk but hell, that's all part of it right? Not once did I wait in a line more than 4 people deep for the buffets or grills. I found the food to be always hot and well prepared, especially in the MDR. Like the reviewer before me, Piotr (Peter from Poland) was our waiter, he has a great sense of humor. I've had early dining and late dining and find the food hotter and fresher during early dining.
Our oceanview cabin 1249 on the Riviera was such an amazing location. I pat myself on the back for that one. The cabin is forward and very near the tendering so after an exhausting day on shore, I walked one floor up to my room and fell onto the bed. I found it easiest to get to the Lido and upper floors by walking the length of the ship on the Riviera (deck 1) to the back elevator and hitting your destination from there. Otherwise since the galley (kitchen) uses pretty More
much the midship between floors 4 and 5, you don't find yourself going up 2 floors, walking to the next bank of elevators and riding back down 2 floors.
The ship's decor looked fine to me. I hardly noticed it I was having such an enjoyable time onboard. It's called a Carnival ship, it is not supposed to look like a carnival? Whatever. I have no complaints about how the Freedom looked.
The shore excursions were a blast. We booked everything through Carnival just because it was easier and the prices were often only $10 cheaper doing it yourself. I went into great detail about Grand Cayman and Jamaica in the port reviews section below. Not sure how it will be included.
Debarkation was simple however the lines were long. Embarkation was simple as well but the security screeners kept finding issue with my bags and would rescreen over and over. We were on the ship, in our room by 1230pm. The rooms were clean but hadn't been wiped down. I slipped the stewards some cash and explained that we'd flown the red-eye and hadn't slept in over 24 hours. They had no problem with it and left us alone until 3pm.
The crew onboard the Freedom was fantastic however there are a few that deserve honorable mention:
Piotr - head waiter in Chic MDR - exceptional service (and cute to boot)
Elidar - bar service in Chic MDR - sensual and sexy, she remembered our names, our drinks and that all drinks were to be charged to my husband, lol.
Bamrung - room steward - sweet and quiet, always had a smile for me and ice in my bucket. I saw him a few times around the ship and he remembered my name.
Hennie - hospitality on Riviera deck - she kept me entertained when I was on crutches.
Tatiana - busser in Freedom restaurant - another intelligent, beautiful person with great conversation we encountered while eating frozen yogurt.
Pornsawan - team waiter in Chic MDR - funny woman, always served with a genuine smile.
Daniel - waiter/coffee guy in Posh - spent the better half of our brunch discussing Hawaii and inviting him to our home.
FYI - do not bring a power strip for your plug-in electronics. Security confiscated mines and I forgot to pick it up before I left. They kept my luggage on Embarkation day until I went down and acknowledged my mistake - I was pretty upset but it didn't ruin my cruise.
Key West - hot and humid. We only walked around, had a blast.
Grand Cayman - sexy, strange exchange rates, great excursions, beautiful water.
Jamaica - fun and adventurous, broke my doggone toe on Dunn's River Falls. Ouch.
This was my best Carnival vacation so far. *thumbs up* Less
Cabin 1249 was awesome! It was located one floor above the tendering so I was always able to go straight to my room after an exhausting shore excursion. Granted it's far from the Lido deck food and activities but once you became acclimated to the ship, you realized the walk back was a breeze. The bathroom door didn't lock however but not such a big deal.
Kayaking is fun. Jay gave great instructions and we didn't tip our boat once. I didn't understand why the tour guide went on and on about Mangroves until back on the ship I read the description of the excursion. Oops, it was all about Mangroves, lol.
Lovely. Jay, the proprietor was warm and welcoming, very knowledgeable about the islands and it's flora and fauna. The snorkeling was a blast - Jay made sure that everyone had a good time and there was plenty of sea life to look at. Gorgeous. My favorite excursion of all.
So beautiful and terrifying at the same time. The ride is long and really enjoyable. The museum at the top has original relics from pirate Captain Morgan and his ship and Captain Bligh (Mutiny of the Bounty). The local artists up there are friendly and not at all pushy. There is also a Mystic Mountain gift shop up there that is reasonably priced.
I felt like we were rushed on the Dunn's River Falls tour which in essence may have led to me fracturing my toe on an underwater rock. While the climb up the falls is leisurely and refreshing, the constant drive to "have fun" and "shake your booty" was a little bit over the top. The tour guide and photogs are interested in only one thing: Money! So the quicker you get up the falls and act a fool, the better. They capture all moments on a DVD and hustle you heavily for it at the end of the tour.
Holding hands for a rock climb is wrong and dangerous and yet they kept insisting we hold each other's hands, forming a chain of slip, sliding tourists. After the first level, I stopped holding anyone's hands so that I could keep my balance and enjoy myself.
Staying in a group was unnecessary as well. The only purpose of the group was so that the photogs knew where to find your video at the end.
You can climb the Falls without a group, at your own pace. There were so many groups that the scene was a madhouse on the falls. Anyhow, I slammed my toe into an underwater rock when our tour guide kept insisting that we move quickly up the rocks and into the next photo op area.
After leaving the falls midway, I limped to the First Aid station where I was splinted and reminded that Dunn's River takes no responsibility for my injury. No problem mon, not much you can do for a hairline fracture anyway.
Anyway, I rested under the trees near the tour guides and photogs while waiting for my group to finish. Interesting the conversations they had. Cruise ship tourists are called Movie Stars. They complained amongst themselves the lack of revenue the Movie Stars were providing that day and joked about charging the "heavies" more to climb the falls because they required more assistance. Whatever. I laughed along with them! When in Rome... right?