EMBARKATION: Smoothest that we have ever encountered. We arrived later but there was little wait and check-in was very short.
PORTS: Personally, the worst ports of call were in Rome and Messina, Sicily. The city of Rome itself was quite dirty, but the Colosseum was spectacular. Messina was a smaller city, but the problem was everything was closed. Barcelona, Spain was the best part of the cruise and another scenic wonder was Dubrovnik, Croatia. Cannes, France was also interesting as it is like a movie star's playground, there were exotic cars and yachts everywhere.
FOOD: Of the 3 Carnival cruises we have been on, the food was the worst on this one. The buffets on the Lido were mediocre, but I would recommend the Stir-Fry, Fish & Chips, and the Deli. The food in the dining room was a little below par for Carnival, but the waiter, Martin (who has been with Carnival for 10 years) was excellent and always willing to go out of his way to get us something, even if it wasn't on the menu. Putri, his assistant waiter was very good as well.
ACTIVITIES: This is one area where Carnival let us down. There were far more activities on the other two ships we were on. Bingo seems to be a total rip-off when the whole lounge is packed full of people paying $20.00 each, they (Carnival) are making some serious money off of that. At night, there was not much to do except drink and gamble (and I hate to say it but with the prices of the drinks on board, gambling was the cheaper way to go).
THE SHIP: The Freedom is a very oddly designed ship. I still found myself wondering how to get somewhere on the 9th and 10th day of the cruise. I would have to cut through the dining room and get dirty looks from people just to get where I needed to go. The genius that designed the ship put the supper club underneath the basketball, volleyball, mini golf, and sunbathing deck, which all were forced to close at 6:00 when the supper club opened. The gym was only open until 8:00 and was always extremely crowded.
SERVICE: The room stewards always kept our room in top shape. Most of the people on the Lido were very helpful. The only staff on the ship that I found to be quite rude were the casino staff, they always had a bad attitude even when just being asked a simple question. John Heald, the cruise director, is a funny guy and his blog will help you to prepare if you are going to take this cruise.
DEBARKATION: This ended up being a total nightmare. They give you tags with a color and number, and tell you what time they are going to call it. It seems like a good system, except for the fact that they called our number 40 MINUTES EARLY, our wakeup call had not even come yet. They called the numbers so fast, just because they wanted to get everyone off of the ship. It ended up being a mad dash.
OVERALL: A good experience, Carnival just needs to work on the small things and