Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by cubfever7: Don't under estimate Carnival!
Overall Member Rating
Don't under estimate Carnival!
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We've been on a number of cruises the last 10-15 years. Royal 2-3 times, Norwegian, Celebrity. I hate to even write this, but there was sort of a stigma Carnival had as being cheaper and not as good. In my opinion, it simply isn't true. Every where you go there are always people who are pre-disposed to fault finding and complaining. I saw them on this cruise too--and it becomes almost comical if you're an observer and not the poor employee who has to take their whining.
Most ships have a quirk or two in their layouts where not all decks go all the way through from aft to stern. This one is no different and after a day or so and checking of the ship maps (posted everywhere) you know what to do. Our spacious balcony cabin was on deck 8 port side. We could literally go from our cabin and into either the pool or Lido buffet in about 1 minute. Terrific!
The food---I just don't see how people can complain. The quality and consistency on the Lido deck was admirable--as was More the main dining room. There are SO many choices, if you didn't find something you loved--shame on you--it's your own fault. Guy's burgers are off the chain--fabulous--the Fish and Chips venue was delicious--and the even had ceviche and oysters rockefellar (not tried). We had dinner at the Steak House and it beat the specialty dining of every other cruise ship I've tried. Brandon was the exec chef and we were given an amuse-bouche of lobster carpaccio or mushroom soup expresso..what a treat! Veronika and Anastazia ( i think i got the spellings right--one was from Belarus and one from Croatia) were our servers and they were top notch. the crab cakes--lobster bisque--ribeyes and deserts were simply stellar. This place is worth the $35 up charge--You get a $100+ meal and service for 1/3rd the price.
Main Dining Room team--the team leader was Yiem (from Thailand). You can go back through your memories of all the people you've worked with and you'll be hard pressed to find someone more focused on high performance than Yiem. I was totally impressed. No matter what tables asked for or threw at him--he never blinked and always made it seem effortless. One table had a party of several devout eaters and they asked for 2-3 appetizers and entries a piece every night...no problem. Yiem's other three partners in excellence were Jose (P.I.), Alfredo (Mexico) and Ipitu (i know this spelling is wrong--i believe he was from Malaysia?) The breads were good every night-- the soups i had (potato and mango cream) were quite tasty...they seem to excel on chicken dishes and dishes that are stewed or have gravy..lamb--1/2 roasted chicken, Southern Fried Chicken, beef brisket were very good..prime rib was decent..deserts were mostly very good..cakes were consistently good--i didn't care for their spin on bread pudding or souffle--but trying to make a top souffle for hundreds at a time has to be really difficult to execute. The one memorable clunker dish was red snapper--Yiem seemed to notice right away that i didn't tear into it and quickly offered something different..but it was no big deal--there was plenty to eat.
Vernan (Costa Rica) was our cabin steward..we aren't real high maintenance--but our daughter ordered room service about 4 times and he always made sure the dishes were gone--we also go through all our towels every day--but no sweat for Vernan..he handled it!
We loved Christina (Bulgaria) from the Red Frog on the pool deck--very, very professional and fun to be around. There seemed to be plenty of room--the ship was supposedly at or near capacity--but we never seemed to have trouble getting choice spots on the adult deck for reading and sunning, This is not the case on other cruise lines--people who've sailed with them recently tell me they can be very crowded. We used the hot tubs at the forward part of the ship and were up top when we pulled out of Ft Lauderdale and Aruba..pretty cool,,,,anyone who says there isn't enough to do must not read their daily planner. There were so many more things offered that I wanted to do but didn't have time. Honestly--i don't know what activity you could want that wasn't offered--repeatedly. I got 21 out of 21 on Beatles trivia but lost the trophy on a tie breaker..dag nab it!
There were a number of comedians who appeared and I heard they were all quite good..the guy we saw was pretty average. The juggler was both very good and very funny--good routine..we missed the bigger production a shows--so it's unfair for me to comment.
I would sail on this ship again any time--it's well appointed and well run. Not once--no matter how much stress they were under--did i ever have a single crew member greet me with anything less than a smile and a sir..not once. And remember--when you read reviews--the truth is probably somewhere in the. Some people are so glowing that you wonder if they're shills--others are so negative that you know they're chronic complainers... Less
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Cabin review: 8388
Occasionally at night you could hear tables etc being moved above you. I assume this was Lido deck nightly cleaning and it didn't really bother us. The good news is that you could be in Lido restaurant or pool area in about 1 minute from the time you left your stateroom..if you hustled? About 30 seconds.
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I'm ready to go back again!!!