I booked the 6 day western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Freedom for June of 2013.
Embarkation: We reached the port at around 11:30 the terminal was already filled with eager passengers to board the ship and begin their fun ship vacation. it took about 25 minutes to 45 minuets to board the ship. Not so bad but i have been through worse. checking in was easy and the lines seemed to move rather quickly.
Once we boarded we headed straight up to the lido deck as did everyone else for lunch.the lines were already long but i didn't mind cause i was happy to be on vacation.The lines didn't take that long anyways, i don't see why everyone is always complaining that Carnival buffet lines are ridiculous. I had a cheeseburger which was good. after eating i took a tour around the lido deck and by the time i knew it was time to check out the cabins. I booked an interior cabin 2464, I usually book interior because we aren't really in the room to much just mainly to sleep at night. We arrived to our cabin nicely made with a note from the captain stating that we will not be sailing out of Port Everglades at normal time because of maintenance to the bow thrusters and would instead be leaving at 8pm. It did not bother me too much because our itinerary would not be affected. and as an inconvenience they gave us one free drink for each person in our cabin worth up to $9. It wasn't too bad, but i would have loved to have left at normal time but i completely understand the ship has to go through scheduled maintenance. i later came to figure out that the free drink was only to be used on one of two sea days in the dining room for breakfast or brunch between 7am-1pm which was upsetting because i would have loved to use it in the afternoon after a relaxing day at sea and not during breakfast. this has to be my only complaint about the entire cruise. We left exactly at 8pm but i missed much of the sail away because of dinner at 8:15 in the Posh dining room. The dining room was very nice and were greeted by the greatest waiters. the food was great and always warm,and came out in less than 10 minuets. Since we left port a few hours late we headed toward Key West faster than usual. we were traveling at 21 knots. The cabin we had was at the aft end of deck two. There was a lot of vibrations because of the ship was sailing so fast but i managed to sleep through. If you are very sensitive to noise i would not recommend this cabin. the other nights of the cruise the cabin was quiet and you could hear a pin drop. once the ship travels over about 19 knots you can really hear and feel the engines. if this doesn't really bother you then i would recommend this cabin. It did not bother me at anytime even when we were traveling at 21 knots.
we arrived at Key West the next morning had beautiful weather and walked around and did some shopping and were back on board around 3pm.
the next day was a day at sea. it was very relaxing and we had beautiful weather.
We arrived in Grand Cayman the next day. For $20 a person we took a tour through the city and visited the rum factory,Hell,the turtle farm which i highly recommend its $10 per person to enter but it is worth it to hold the turtles and take pictures. right across the street is a dolphin encounter which is free to enter and see the dolphins and we got a deal for $40 for two of my children to take a picture of the dolphin kissing them. its $40 for two and the pictures were free it was worth it. our driver took us back to downtown were we did some more shopping and then returned back to the ship.
The next day we arrived in Ocho Rios Jamaica. We got a driver to take us to Dunn's river falls and then drive us downtown for shopping. Be careful because the drivers will ask for the money upfront. my family and i entered a bus and were told to pay upfront. i protested them that i would pay after but they would not let me. so we got off that bus to talk to the woman in charge of the drivers and she would not give us a ride until we pay upfront and give us a receipt. we were told by the ship not to pay upfront and from other passengers that they have heard stories of drivers leaving entire families with their money. luckily we found a driver who would drive us around and we would pay after. he was great and i'm so happy we found him. we climbed Dunn's River Falls it was a blast. I highly recommend it to anyone and it is not as hard as i expected. after that we did some shopping. they are very pushy for you to buy things. handing them to you and saying its free and then asking you for money. and are very difficult with their prices. but if you bargain hard enough you will get a good price. and if you feel uncomfortable just ignore them or simply give a no thank you and they will leave you alone. try not to get sucked in because they will pressure you into buying. other than that it was a lot of fun.
The next day was a nice relaxing day at sea, a perfect way to end the cruise.
Overall the cruise was great. Good food and entertainment I highly recommend watching the show Big Easy with a New Orleans theme it was great and one of the best shows Ive seen at sea great for the entire family. The crew was also super friendly always saying hello and remembering you by name. I really appreciate the hard work they do everyday for us to have a great vacation. I recommend this cruise to anyone there is something for everyone Carnival is a great cruise line and I have never had any problems.