THE SHIP: Freedom is not that old, but the ship could use a refit. There were many places where the use of 3000+ passengers every week or so is beginning to show.
THE ROOM: I loved our balcony room. Sitting on the balcony watching the sea go by was one of the true highlights of the cruise. Propping the door open at night and listening to the waves slap the boat rocked me to sleep every night.
THE STAFF: Rarely have I been treated with more respect. The staff aboard constantly went out of their way to see that I was cared for and my questions were answered. When the person I approached did not know the answer, they didn't leave my side until they found someone who DID know. I appreciated our room steward.
THE FOOD: Room service, even with its limited menu, was very good. Posh (and Chic I suspect) were great although I was led to expect a wider menu. Still the service and food cannot be faulted. Away from those two venues, the buffet food was little better than you'd find at any stateside buffet. The pastry chef needs to open their own restaurant. Their skills are wasted aboard a ship.
I was warned that I'd gain weight during the cruise. In fact, I lost weight. While the food was passable, I admit to being a bit disappointed.
MONEY: Every time I turned around, I was nickeled and dimed to death. Not only that, everything I purchased aboard automatically included a "15% gratuity" whether I thought the service deserved a tip or not. I was encouraged to add more of a tip to the bar staff.
Stay out of the casino unless you know what you are doing. My travelling partner made that mistake and we were out more than a thousand dollars before she caught on.
I'm not sure what my expectations were before I sailed, but Carnival didn't meet them. I've read here in a different review that Carnival is the K-Mart of cruise lines. If...and right now that's a HUGE "if"...I cruise again, it will be with another line.