Embarkation: We arrived at noontime so we were sent right in to the new Miami terminal for check-in. We were taken care of immediately and once checked in, only had to wait about 10 minutes for our number to be called to board. Simplicity and a grade of A.
Cabin: We were in a Cat. 8C Balcony on Empress deck. Typical Carnival cabin with enough space for the 3 of us. Our cabin steward Jorge was very friendly and efficient. Our room was always clean and ready for us no matter when we returned to it. No complaints here. A+.
Tours: We did 2 tours through Carnival. One was a Pirate Adventure on Grand Cayman which we did solely for our 3yr old son. It was a bit cheesy and suffice it to say would not recommend it unless you have young children. The other tour we took was the Playa Mia Deluxe Beach tour in Cozumel. It was a nice place and very clean too. It has a pool as well as the beach and various water sport "toys" that we were able to use at no charge with our package. Lunch, which was traditional mexican and very good, was included as was open bar. It was a nice place if your looking to do a beach, but I think you can probably go cheaper if you book it yourself. Tours get a C.
Entertainment: The shows were very good but the "Ticket to Ride" show was absolutely fabulous! We enjoyed that one the best. They also had a talent show which my husband participated in and had a great time doing so. The "legends" show was pretty sad, they really need to do away with that piece of garbage in my opinion. The only other show we saw was a comedian whose name escapes me, Eddy Capone maybe? Something Italian anyway. He was ok, but nothing to write home about either. I'd give the entertainment shipwide a C+.
Service and Food: The service was very good and we really didn't have any complaints in that department. Our dining room servers, Robert and Irena were competent and friendly, but didn't go out of their way to make dinner anything spectacular. As mentioned before, our cabin steward Jorge was very good and took wonderful care of us. Now on to the food...Blah, with a capital B pretty much covers it!! I've been on a lot of cruises and have eaten a lot of cruise food and i'd have to say the food on Freedom was about the worst i've ever had and my DH concurred. It was as tasteless as an old shoe and about as appealing too. The pizza was divine as usual though and was a saving grace when all else failed. We did the Sun King supper club one night and it was well worth the $60 for the 2 of us. The food there was superb and we enjoyed every bit of it! If only the food on the rest of the ship had been even one half as good we would have been happier overall. My DH did enjoy the duck in the dining room on the first formal night, so if you like duck that is about the only thing I can recommend as far as the dining room goes. Desserts were equally as bad, tasteless and blah! The cookies at the Coffeshop (on deck 5) were delicious though and well worth the buck. My DH also enjoyed the cappuccino (sp?) too. Can't give the food any better than a D-.
Camp Carnival: Our 3yr old DS loved CC. The girls working there are absolute gems and are wonderful with the kids. They do so many activities with them there is no chance of the kids getting bored. The latenight babysitting service (after 10 p.m) is well worth the $6/hour. We also left a tip for the girls at the end of the week since they do not get a cut of the gratuities that are added to your sign and sail card. We love Camp Carnival and give them a solid A+.
We also each used the spa once and would give them a grade of A for the therapists and treatments but they are much more pricey then you would pay for a landbased spa treatment so C for price. Wait for the daily specials, you'll save some $$$.
Debarkation: They have implemented a new debarkation system and it moves so much quicker and is much less crazy then the old system. They did have a problem with the customs computers in the terminal which slowed things down for a bit, but even with the glitch we were off the ship and in line at customs by 9:30 am. Luggage is now on a carousel like at the airport and is sooooo much easier to find. This new system gets an A+.
Overall we had a wonderful cruise and will probably sail Carnival again sometime in the future. We give this cruise a B+ overall. Freedom is a great ship and other than the terrible food, we highly enjoyed it and would recommend it.