Embarkation - We drove from Naples, FL to Port Everglades. Dropped our luggage and went to park. Had no problems with parking. For as many cruises that go out of Fort Lauderdale, Carnivals port facilities were not as I would have anticipated. Check in went well and we were on our ship. We are Platinum (our 23rd cruise on Carnival, 27th overall). Because we are Platinum, we went straight to our cabin.
Ship The Carnival Freedom is a very nice ship. This was our first time on the Freedom and really enjoyed it. This was not a Fun Ship 2.0, so it has not been upgraded yet. It was a beautiful Ship.
Cabins It was on the Panorama Deck (10) on the port side. The balcony was nice and we used it quite a bit. We like being up high on the ship and enjoy the port side.
Entertainment. The ships shows were very good. They did a Beatles Revival show that we actually went to for the second show. It was really great. The music in the various locations was great. We danced at several locations.
Bars The bars were good, but of course, they have not gone through the 2.0 upgrade. We had a great bar waiter in the adult pool area at the back of the ship. He even came around and filled up our buckets of beer with extra ice. That was a very nice touch.
Dining We are sold on the anytime dining. It worked out really well for us. We met several nice couples and had an enjoyable evening every night. It is great not to have to be at dinner at a specific time. We also dined in the dining rooms for Breakfast. It is the only place you can get Corn Beef Hash, which I love. Of course, the deli and the Manchurian Wok were outstanding. Being that the ship was not upgraded, I got my favorite pizza. I think the De Chevrie pizza. It was goats cheese, sausage, mushrooms, and roasted garlic. They also had the Grilled Chicken and Caesars Salad in the pizza joint.
Services - Our cabin steward was outstanding. Had no issues with any of the wait staff. The bartenders were great. Overall the service was great.
Tours We went to Key West first. We always do our own thing there. We walked to where my parents lived when they were married in Key West in 1952. We also hit a couple of bars on Duval Street. Quick HIT for everybody. If you stop at the tourists stands, they have coupons for buy 1 get 1 free drinks. Very Nice. In Grand Cayman, we tendered in and then caught a $5 cab ride to Surfside Beach (on 7 mile beach). Had a very good time there, but found out the bar just down from us were serving buckets of beer for $5 less than the Surfside. The sad part, we brought this up to the Bartender and he said they were selling it for $20 Caymanian vs. US dollars. We found this to be untrue. As we were leaving Grand Cayman for Ocho Rios Jamaica, the captain informed us we were headed for Cozumel due to weather issues. That was fine for us. We booked a 5 hour tour to Passion Island. It was very nice, but we were too rushed to get back on the ship. I wish they would make that tour earlier in the day.
Debarkation - Very smooth and efficient. They did a good job. The only complaint here was that we got into port early and they started making announcements at 6am. We went to breakfast and assumed that since they were early, we could get off at 8:15. Best laid plans.we did not get off until about 9 and had a fairly long wait. So much for priority debarkation as a Platinum member. We were right across the street from the parking garage, so it worked out well.
Overall reaction It was a great cruise. We had a great time. This was the second of 4 cruises planned this year. We will be on the RCL Oasis of the Seas in September for a western Caribbean so we are looking forward to it. We will be on the Freedom again at Christmas doing an Eastern Caribbean.