My wife and I are in our early fifties. We have been on about 20 cruises(10 Celebrity; 5 RCCL,; 3 Carnival; 1 Holland America; 1 Princess; and 1 Cunard).We picked this cruise because of the itinerary and thought our two kids (15+13) would enjoy the slide and entertainment.
Pre-Cruise In Rome we spent two days at the Westin Excelsior. We loved the hotel!
Embarkation We had a mini-van drive us to the port(145 Euro) At 3:30 P.M.. We walked right on the ship in 5 minutes. Piece of cake.
Cabin We had two connecting cabins 6295 & 6297. Even though they were inside cabins, they were fantastic! Extremely clean and comfortable. The beds were great! Our steward, Felicia, kept the rooms spotless.
Impression of ship Overall, in our opinion, the ship's decor and layout was awful. The colors and designs are extremely hard on the eyes. Eating in the Chic dining room with all the lights and decorations was uncomfortable. The pools on this ship were a joke for the number of passengers. With 3,400 people on board the pools are way to small. On sea days we could see 25 people in the small pools and 10-12 people in each jacuzzi. The chair hogs were in full force. I would say 50% of the lounges by the main lido pool had personal stuff on them. There were no pool butlers (like Celebrity) so nobody did anything about it. The only available lounges were on the teak decks between the lido and aft. pool.
SAFETY WARNING!!! The aft. pool area and the steam and sauna have the worst flooring possible. I slipped near the aft. pool, broke my glasses, banged my head, and nearly broke my toe(I went to the infirmary for an x-ray). For your own safety wear deck shoes in these areas. Carnival will have to redo these areas. They would be sued everyday for liability in the states.
Cruise Director The Cruise Director was everywhere. On the big screen TV by the lido pool, on the TV, and on the PA. You could not escape his voice or face. Do any of you remember the TV show The Prisoner? It felt like that on the ship. He was forever talking and selling and telling jokes. This is something that bothers us about carnival. Do you think we are that stupid we need this guy to guide us through our cruise with never ending PA announcements? Even my 15 year old daughter was complaining about the cruise director after one day.
Pluses 1.The food was better than we expected. The buffets(especially the deli) were good. Dinner in the dining room was not as good as Celebrity, but the buffets were better in the lido. The Sun King Supper Club was excellent. 2.Cabins and bedding were excellent. 3.The entertainment was very good. The shows were very enjoyable. 4.The ship was kept very clean. 5.The motion on the ship was nearly undetectable. (We had 50mph winds and very large seas leaving Barcelona)
Minuses 1.Too many people with 3400 passengers. The ship was extremely crowded and lines were everywhere. This to us was the major problem. We usually enjoy sea days but not on this cruise. There was just too many people. We ended up sitting in our cabin to avoid the crowds. We went on the Millennium two years ago and with 2000 passengers it seemed like a private yacht compared to the Freedom. 2. Stupid design- to get to the internet room you had to go through a cigar lounge. My kids would come out smelling like cigar smoke. How many bars and lounges does a ship need? We would walk into one lounge after another with several people in it(all smoking, of course). You would think with 20 lounges on board they could make one non-smoking. 3.Carnival is successful despite Joe Farcus' interiors. It seems he had a computer come up with the worst colors and decor possible. The atrium and dining rooms are the ugliest public rooms we have ever seen. 4. Yahoo Factor- Yes, believe it or not, even on a European cruise. The amount of alcohol consumption was amazing. People seemed to be drinking all the time even in the laundry room people were having beers. Buckets of beer everywhere on the deck.
Disembarkation Excellent walked off the ship to our luggage in five minutes. We were scheduled for 8:30, but our color and number was called at 8:00.
Overall-2 stars Dining- 3 stars Spa & Gym- 5 stars Entertainment- 5 stars Cruise Director- 1 star Decor- 1 star Embarkation- 5 stars Cabins- 5 stars