Here is my overview of our recent trip on the Carnival Freedom – 6 Night Western Caribbean. We are a pretty laid-back couple (late 30’s) and this was our first cruise together (I sailed on RCL in 2005).
Ft. Lauderdale – we stayed the night prior to our cruise at the Riverside Hotel on Las Olas Blvd. A great street with lots of bars & restaurants. We took a trolley ($2/person) to Ft. L. Beach. We walked the strip and stopped for drinks while watching the cruise ships sail out of port. It was a great way to start our week! The next morning we strolled along the Riverwalk before catching a cab to our cruise.
Boarding went pretty smooth. We arrived at Port Everglades by 11:30 and were on the ship by 12:30. We toured the boat and grabbed lunch until our room was ready at 1:30pm. Our luggage arrived shortly after.
Ship: The ship was clean and very well taken care of. The décor is a bit funky, but we didn’t mind. We had room 6256 and found it spacious with lots of storage. Another thing I liked about this room is that it was near the elevators/stairwell – so just 3 flights up to the Lido and 3 flights down to the lobby bar & Chic Restaurant. Very convenient for popping back to the room when we needed.
The staff….they were all wonderful & helpful. Not complaints or bad experiences.
Pools & Hot Tubs were always full – we mostly just sunned ourselves.
Lots of sun chairs to be found. We had to search a bit more on sea days, but always found a spot. Only on our last sea day did I see them putting the ‘chair hog’ stickers out.
We had no problems finding lots of yummy food to eat. We really enjoyed the Posh Restaurant for breakfast. One morning we ordered room service to eat on our balcony, and a few days we grabbed a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit & pastries from the buffet. I wasn’t a fan of the regular coffee, but I did try a cup from the Coffee Bar one morning, and that wasn’t too bad.
Lunch could get busy on the Lido, but we always found a table. We loved the salad bar and deli. I tried the turkey wrap & grilled Ruben. DH enjoyed the Mongolian grill. Overall, the buffet was fine. Some items were not to our taste, but we never went away hungry.
We had ATD in the Chic Restaurant and loved eating on our own schedule! Our wait staff were friendly and ready to meet all of our needs. A few evenings we were seated immediately, others we were given a pager, but the most we waited was 20 minutes, and so we just had a drink in the lobby bar. No biggie! Food was delicious for the most part, and the items that stood out were the caesar salad, lobster tail, filet mignon and spanakopita. Oh, and, the warm melting chocolate cake….of course!!
We often stopped in the lobby bar for drinks & live music before heading to dinner. We attended several of the adult comedy shows, which we thought were quite funny. We also enjoyed watching movies in the evenings on the lido deck with fresh popcorn. Sadly, We didn’t make it to a show. We planned too, it just never happened!
We love drinks while on vacation, so we decided to do the Cheers Program. It was so nice to try anything we wanted (under $10), without thinking about the cost at the end! While I don’t think we saved much money, I’m sure we came close to breaking even. Sign up was really easy – they had a booth in the lobby as you enter the ship, and we had our first drink in hand within 5 minutes of boarding the boat.
Key West – easy to get around. We decided to do the pub crawl and so glad we did. A great way to meet people, have fun and get a bit of a tour. It was from 11-1pm, so lots of time before and after to walk around on our own.
Grand Cayman – Also easy to get around. We hopped in a cab ($4/person) and went to the Royal Palms on 7 Mile beach ($2/person). Chairs were $7/person, so we passed and just laid our beach blankets on the sand…for free! We also enjoyed a few Caybrew’s (local beer) and walked the beautiful beach. We had lunch at Margaritaville before heading back on the ship.
Jamaica - We did Dunn River Falls. What a great experience. We really enjoyed climbing the falls. A bus took us too/from the cruise port, so we weren’t off the ship for long (I’m not a fan of 4-5 hr excursions), so this was perfect and we were back on the boat having lunch by 1pm.
We checked ourselves off the ship at 7:30am and zipped through pretty quick! A bit of a line at customs, but not too bad. Lots of cabs outside waiting to take us to the airport.
So as you can see, we had a great time. We enjoyed lots of R&R, sunshine, great food & lots of fun drinks. The most exciting part of my day was waking up in a new port each morning. We loved cruising and hope we are lucky enough to do it again in the near future.