Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by Lainie_nine: Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!
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Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!
- We were travelling in a group of 18 adults. No children. - We arrived in Miami the day before we were due for embarkation. What a nice change in weather from the minus 20degrees Celsius we left behind in New Brunswick earlier that day! We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, because of its proximity to the pier and because a free shuttle to the pier was offered. The hotel itself was OK but nothing special.
- February 2, 2008 we had a nice breakfast (included in the fee) and then we were shuttled to the pier terminal. We were met at the terminal by a porter waiting to take our luggage onboard. It was waiting for us later outside our room. - The check-in went smoothly as we had already filled out the necessary forms at home. On the way to the ship they took our picture (which we could purchase for a nominal fee). - We had looked at pictures of the ship on-line and talked to other cruisers so we thought we knew what to expect. WRONG!!! Our first impression of the Freedom was WOW More and from that moment on everyone went far and above to make sure our stay was as comfortable and carefree as possible. - After exploring a little we had a nice buffet lunch on the Lido deck and spent the rest of the day relaxing with a few yummy drinks. - We had an inside stateroom with lots of closet space and drawers for everything we brought. (I packed way too much because we spent most of the time in our bathing suits during the day). Each room has its own safe and fully stocked mini bar; a separate fee will be added to your sail and sign card if you use any of these beverages.
- Our room steward tidied the room each time we left and there were always fresh towels and lots of ice in the bucket. Tickets for each of our pre-booked excursions and a copy of the ship's daily newsletter " The Carnival Caper" were slipped under our door. At night the beds were always turned down and there was a different towel animal and chocolates waiting when we came back from dinner. How's that for being pampered?
- After the mandatory life raft drill we were free to explore more of the ship. We took in a tour of the spa and the gym facilities and although we didn't take the time to use any of them, they were well equipped and staffed. Later on, after listening to some fantastic Calypso music (Which I loved!) we were off to our first night in the Posh Dinning Room. - We were seated formally and introduced to our waitress/waiter, Luci and Dregor (sp?) It amazed me that before the first dinner was over they had mastered each of our names and who was married to whom (remember we were a group of 18!). Some of our group even changed seats the next night, but they were still kept us all straight! Luci was always smiling and made each of us feel like a welcome part of her family.
- The food was delicious and always hot and beautifully presented. A treat for the eyes as well as the palate. Be sure to try the melting chocolate cake! Yummy - After dinner each night we took in the show in the Victoria Lounge. The singing and dancing left us awed. There was a comedian one night and a juggler another both were excellent. During the days at sea there is always bingo, the Casino and other games of fun and lots to do for everyone. - Many opportunities to have pictures taken, again available to charge on your sail and sign. We only purchased a group photo and one formal of my husband and I. It was hard to choose because all the pictures were lovely.
- Even though the ship is huge, we were able to do our own thing and still managed to keep in touch with other members of the group. - We found a quiet spot on the deck outside the lobby deck with lots of deck chairs where we could relax and read or plan our day. Watch for the flying fish...yes flying fish! They hover near the surface before diving underwater. A sight to see for sure!
- Ports of Call - Cozumel Mexico- we took the "Explore Cozumel by Jeep with Snorkel" tour. We were met on the dock by our guide, Edwardo (What a funny guy he was!). I was a disappointed with the snorkeling, not as many colorful fish as I'd expected but since it was my first time it was a fun adventure. The rest of the tour was well worth it! What a beautiful spot! The lunch on the beach was very tasty but if you have a fussy eater you might want to take along a bag lunch. Some of us got temporary tattoos mine smeared all over my chest and was definitely not worth the money. After the beach we started our drive back around the island, stopping at the "PeePee Station" (I kid you not!) to do some shopping.
- Grand Cayman- Lots to do here but chose to spend the day at Seven-Mile Beach just relaxing and drinking rum punch. There was snorkeling equipment that you could rent for $10.00 for the day. Lawn chairs $5.00 and umbrellas for $2.00. I would suggest if you were planning on snorkeling, that you bring your own gear from home. I didn't like the idea of using a mouthpiece someone else had used before me, even though they cleaned them, I still used hand sanitizer on them first. We enjoyed the snorkeling here because we were able to go at our leisure. I got some great pictures. Lots of time to shop in Grand Cayman but be prepared to be hassled by the vendors.
- Ocho Rios Jamaica was the most expensive place we visited. We were met at the pier by our guides and bussed to Dunn's River Falls. At the entrance we were given beads from some gentlemen standing there. I thought "Oh this is a nice welcome" until they asked for a $2 tip! To make matters worse one of them tried to pull a money change trick on us. I say tried 'cause he wasn't successful. We rented watershoes $5.00 ea. and lockers $2.00 which was refunded when you return the lock. Then we were taken for our climb up the falls by yet more guides. The climb is not difficult but it is slippery. At the top of the falls the guides expect a tip. In their words "If we have treated you well, you treat us well too." Before you leave the area, you pass through more vendors who aggressively hassle you to buy. I found this rather annoying and more than a little intimidating. I was glad to be in a group for safety. After the falls our guide took us to the Bamboo Beach Club for lunch and drinks and traditional Jamaican entertainment. After which they too were tipped. All things considered it was a very nice day, albeit expensive! I got some very nice pictures that day as well.
- FYI - Be sure to haggle with vendors over prices. - Sunscreen, hat, comfortable shoes and camera - Underwater camera - Bottled water - Hand sanitizer - Back pack to carry purchases - Small travel clock - Bring lots of $1.00 bills for tipping
Our last day! Bummer! Time to get back to reality! Disembarking went so smooth it was amazing considering there are some 3500 guests on board! We were instructed to wait until our assigned number was called to avoid a crowd. Once it was called it was a hassle-free exit. Our luggage was collected outside our staterooms the night before and we claimed it from a carousel in the terminal. All in all it was such a wonderful experience that we are already planning our next trip and you can be sure it will be on another of the Carnival Fleet! Less
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