I should probably start by saying we are no Carnival-bashers or snobs who normally frequent more highbrow cruiselines: We have sailed the others as well as Carnival and still came back to book this cruise on the Freedom. But whether or not we will again remains to be seen. First of all, we have always felt the food on Carnival was a notch better than RC's and a step below Princess. This time, meals were only so-so: Nothing very imaginative at all - Just "a-iight" as the kids say. Service left so much to be desired. In the Posh Restaurant at breakfast, we were delivered rolls hot from the oven that looked so delicious - if only we didn't have to ask 3 different times for Butter! When it finally arrived, the rolls were cold and when we asked for a hot basket, we were met with the most disdainful attitude! On another occasion, one in our group ordered a beer in the same restaurant and when it hadn't arrived after 10 min, he questioned the waitress who calmly stated "Oh, they didn't have your brand". It apparently never occurred to her to share that news with him or offer an alternative. Or asking a table of 8 if they would like coffee - all respond in the affirmative - and the waiter brings 1 COFFEE CUP AT A TIME! It would have been hilarious except you're talking about that first cup in the morning!
Then there was the issue of the Ship's Medic Dept. One in our group was a pill short of a blood pressure medication and visited the Medic during the stated hours of 8-12 and 1-3, only to find a sign on the door stating it was closed as they were in "Training". I assumed ship's doctors or nurses had already completed medical training! This happened 3 straight days with the same result. One only wonders what would happen in a serious emergency! And who ever heard of a Sports Bar not showing any Baseball during Baseball Season on a route frequented by Americans? When questioned, an employee told us they had recently "lost" several channels they used to access, but couldn't explain a reason for that. Cost saving measure? Entertainment was also lukewarm: The Comedians were pretty good, the Ticket to Ride show lame and uninspired. A good mix of movies were offered on the big Screen and there was a good offering of Trivia Contests and the like. The Casino had some tight slots, but the manager was great about sending a complimentary round of drinks to the Poker Table nightly. They still can't touch RC for activities and entertainment however. Positives? The Cabin Stewards were good and aimed to please (re-filling an ice bucket to chill wine without being asked) and the Wait Staff at Dinner in the Post Restaurant were excellent. Oh, and they started the trip out by downgrading us from our Gold Card to the new "Red Card" because they've changed their loyalty program. Whoever heard of such a thing? Really, whoever heard of such a thing? In short, lots of signs that the Freedom is in need of some upgrading and Carnival overall needs to re-examine Customer Service if they want to keep us coming back.