After reading CC reviews for months about the Carnival Freedom, I finally went on MY trip. We were five couples, mostly teachers what work together. We arrived in Rome the night before the cruise, each couple getting to Rome on their own. Some had FF miles and other like me, booked their flight through Wholesalefares.com. Lufthansa flights are a dream! On time, comfortable and generous with the food and drink on the long flights. We spent our night in Rome at the Sofitel Roma! Gorgeous and great place to unwind after a long flight. Bob's limo service (recommended by our TA) took our group to the port the next day. I recommend Bob's Limo Service highly, and we used him for half of our tours during the cruise. He was cheaper than Carnival and very convenient, and one of their tour guides met us at each port we wanted with an a/c van. We had a balcony room midship. The room was larger than most and the bathroom was nice. Our steward Crz was hardly seen, but always there by the cleanliness of our room. someone also mentioned on a review that they could hear the lounge piano at night and the laundry room as well. We heard it as well. One of our couples complained and the purser didn't know what to do for them, strawberries in chocolate, etc.We moaned and groaned to ourselves and didn't get the extra goodies. The shows in the showroom were lacking. John Herald is very funny and one review answered my question about some of the acts being 'staged'. The sleeping lady was hilarious at the time, and now realize that others saw the same act. Now I am wondering if Mr. Poo and Mr. Banger were real as well ! The males featured singer was very amateurish and basically the shows were as well. Carnival has their tour organization down to a science. People were put on tour buses quickly and professionally. The tour guides on the buses were excellent and knew their countries well. We were happy with the tours booked through Carnival. We also used a private tour company for other tours and were happy with them as well, Bob's Limo Service. The food on the Lido deck was OK. NOthing special, and they would run out of certain things during morning breakfast. They ran out of lemonade and we didn't see it again until the end of the cruise. Lunch on Lido deck was ok. All our dinners were in the Chic dining room (8 pm) and I thought the best part of each dinner was the dessert. Shrimp appetizers were small and OK. Our waiters Alexander and Zohan were fun and very accommodating. Carnival gave us a round table for 10 and we were very happy about that. Nothing special to say about the dining room dinners other than they were edible. The company made up for the food.My husband loved the corned beef sandwiches at the deli. Long lines at times but well worth it. I had freshly made chinese food,(opposite side of the deli on Lido deck) and thought that was very very good.There were no midnight buffets, but you could get pizza and a grilled hamburger late into the evening. I never had a burger so I can't comment on that. The pizza was OK. At 5:30 on promenade deck they serve sushi and several times antipasto bar. I thought the antipasto bar was excellent. I could have skipped dinner. The One night we went to the Sun King dining room ($30.00 p/person) for a very good dinner. The presentation of the food was like art work. It tasted better than the dining room and the portions were huge. I recommend the Sun King if you want a good dining experience on the ship. THe highlight of my activities on the ship were playing the various trivia contests. Three other teachers from my group played as well. There were a group of trivia addicts playing for the 'Ship on a Stick', and that was fun. I left with two ships and the rest of my friends left with about four others. I would have loved to see more shipboard activities, like shuffleboard, ping pong etc. My husband and I went to the late night movies on the desk several times and it was like being in a drive in movie. The movies were NOT great, but sitting late at night on deck in the open sea, was very cool. I recommend watching a movie at 10:30 pm, eating some pizza or hamburger and just enjoying the sea air. At 5:30 on promenade deck they serve sushi and several times antipasto bar. I thought the antipasto bar was excellent. I could have skipped dinner. The sushi was ok. We are not big drinkers but some people's bar bill could have been thousands of dollars. You rarely saw anyone without a drink. The casino was the 'one arm bandit'. I read somewhere that the slots on a cruise ship pays 85% as compared to Vegas which if 97%. After losing and losing and losing, I finally figured out that playing the slot machine on a cruise ship was a losing proposition. Even the drinks they offer while gambling cost money. I ordered a drink after playing blackjack for awhile, then told I had to pay (oh well,)I entered a slot tournament and blackjack tournament and didn't get into the finals either. There were lots of kids on our cruise and they roamed in packs. I guess they all hooked up together once on the ship. One night we went to adult karaoke with Moana, and they invaded the karaoke. I have no clue where their parents were, but finally Moana asked them where their parents were, and if they couldn't produce them, they had to leave karaoke. Everyone in the room clapped.Moana the lady in charge of karaoke was fun and we enjoyed it. You need quarters for the laundry room, and the easiest way to get them is from the slot machine. There was always someone doing laundry and it was frustrating when I needed a machine. I think some people brought their laundry from home to do on the ship ! The spa was big business. My husband had his teeth whitened on the ship and then bought the stuff they recommended to continue the treatment. His teeth look the same, but hopefully it will have been worth the money. Appointments at the spa book quickly so make sure you make them when you get on the boat. I had my hair done once and they did a good job. The do try and sell you lots of stuff after your treatments, just say 'no' if you don't want to by a buyer. I didn't not have any massages. I thought they were expensive and I took a nap instead. On the first day of the cruise, when the spa was offering a view of its facilities and services I booked a body fat analysis with the gym director. He tried selling me a $600. pkg of body detoxifiers. If I knew thats what the evaluation was about, I would have NOT gone. While sitting there, he is your best friend, then when seeing him two hours later, he didn't remember who I was. I didn't like that at all. Needless to say, I didn't NOT buy the $600. detoxifying program. I will eat some prunes instead. Having a balcony room was the best. My husband took several naps on the balcony, or we just sat and talked on our balcony. Our friends rooms were on either side of ours and that was fun chatting from balcony to balcony. James, the assistant cruise person was great....Moana the karaoke lady was fun, and John Herald was funny, however, learning that lots that he does is preplanned has left me with a bad taste. All in all I would recommend the Carnival Freedom for a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean. Its not advertised as a gourmet cruise, for what it offered it was a fun experience.