Just on the flight home from a great Carnival cruise. This was my 7th cruise - 3rd with Carnival. It has been almost 8 years since I cruised Carnival. the Carnival FREEDOM was chosen by a group of Cruise Critic friends. We arrived at the port around 11:30am. We had a Dollar car rental which we were able to pick up at the airport and drop off at the port. Dollar shuttled us to the cruise port- quick and easy. There was very little line when we arrived and we quickly passed the checked luggage off to a porter and then went through the security scanners without issue. We ended up waiting in the holding area for about an hour.
Once on the ship we found our cabin & dropped off the carry on luggage. I was honestly a bit disappointed in our balcony room - more because I was comparing it to the recent balcony on Royal Caribbean. Our cabin number was 7380 and it was an excellent place for a room with a full floor of cabins above & a full floor of cabins below. Also just two flights up from much of the nightlife, and just two floors down from the lido/ pools/ buffets so we were able to run up or down two flights of stairs to get anywhere quickly. Friends of ours had 6442 (below & aft) and they commented many times about hearing the music and loud base from the nightclubs below. They loved the aft cabin despite that. Our cabin was I oranges and while very very clean, it did seem a bit worn and dated. There was a door & a window to the balcony which I prefer a double door like Royal Caribbean better than the door & window here. Otherwise the balcony was great - normal decent size with two nice chairs & a table . There was tons of storage in the room. We had an excellent room stewart and once I got over the color scheme and that it was a bit dated, was happy with the room.
The ports of call were Antiqua, Nassau, Tortola & St Thomas. Enjoyed all the stops though found Antiqua was pretty depressed. St Thomas - we did a tour (including blackbeard's castle and went to Megan's beach (spelling??) The beach was beautiful, then stopped at Senor Frogs at the pier and did a bit of shopping although wasn't impressed with the shops. In Antigua we were a bit nervous - we had been warned that there had been a fair number of crimes against tourist so we stuck together (about 17 of us) we were surrounded by locals who wanted us to hire them to drive - finally found one and one of the people who toured with us negotiated a rate of 7.00 per person each way to Church beach - the beach was lovely, had changing rooms, food, drinks sandy beach - only issue were some persistent jet ski rental people constantly trying to get us to rent one. Tortola - We did a Virgin Gorda Snorkel & Baths & it was my favorite. We jumped on a very big catamaran ? spelling?? went on an exciting ride about half an hour over to beautiful huge rock formations and were fitted with snorkel gear. We hopped off the boat & snorkeled to shore then followed the guides into the caves around the rocks. It was tricky to climb & crouch and squeeze through the rocks - I am short & it was easier for me but larger/taller & older guests had a more difficult time. The walk through the rocks took us maybe 20 min & we then came out to a beautiful beach where we snorkeled around for about 1 1/2 hours. After that we all followed the guides and snorkeled back to the boat. They had rum punch on the ride back - this was my favorite excursion. Nassau was our last stop and we were also warned about crimes against tourists there. We were In a group of 20 people and we took a city bus (1.25 each) over to the Breezes resort. It was nice but we didn't have nearly enough time there.
Back on the ship. The food, in my opinion was better on Carnival then my last Royal cruise - We never felt the need to go to the steakhouse - We had anytime dining and that worked perfectly with our schedule each night. As far as the entertainment - it was ok. I enjoyed Royal's entertainment much more. I had an excellent cruise but I did feel this ship needed updating. They have done an excellent job cleaning but there are lots of areas that just seem worn compared to other ships I have been on. I understand that Freedom is going in for a big refurb in April. I wouldn't hesitate to go on the Freedom again, though I would prefer a bit newer ship.