My wife and I are 45 and 44 and our two daughters are 18 and 16. We have cruised Carnival 3 times and Disney 5 times. We are really big Disney fans and love there cruises, but can't see paying over double for them. The last two spring break we have did Carnival and loved them both.
We flew into Miami on Friday night and stayed the Springhill Suites by the airport. Hotel was very nice, but it was just a place to sleep before our journey began. We left for the ship Saturday morning about 10:30 by taxi, because we needed to stop at Walgreens for my daughter. We got to the port a little after 11:00. Check in wasn't too bad. By the time we got the the counter, it was 11:30. They had just started boarding. We had number 8 boarding, so we had a seat on the floor. Not sure if it's normal, but we never heard any numbers called out for boarding. We just had to try to see what numbers the people in line had. We finally got in line and were on the ship by 12:15. Lunch was very crowded, but good. We did find four chairs together by the pool, and went to our room after 1:30. We had a balcony room which was very nicely laid out.
The room was one of our complaints for the week. We had a room over the International Lounge stage. So the thumping was very loud between 9:00pm and 12:30am. We did call the pursers desk and they did call the sound crew to turn down the bass, by the way, we weren't the only one to complain. The pursers desk said there were other complaints and they had come up to our area and agree it was very load. You might be wondering why I picked this cabin, I didn't, I had booked a balcony guarantee and that's where we got. I guess I know better now to always pick my location. Our other complaint was the ship felt crowded during breakfast and lunch. On our previous cruises, we were on smaller ships(Carnival Miracle, Disney Magic and Wonder) and you never felt crowded. But on the Freedom it did. OK that's it for the bad, now the good.
The food for breakfast was your basic breakfast, lunch was a very nice selection. We had dinner every night in the CHIC dining room. I followed our server recommendations every night and wasn't disappointed. Servers were the best we have ever had, very friendly and polite.
Room stewards were just as good, my oldest daughter had a allergic reaction to the towels and sheets, after the second night, he started bring her special towels and put different sheets on her bed that were washed in different detergent.
The entertainment in the Victoriana wasn't that good. After seeing Disney shows the rest look like High School groups. We did really like the Seaside theater. We went on Lido deck most of the night to watch the movie. We also liked the screen during the day.
Excursions- In Cozumel we did Nochi Cocum beach club. Like I said earlier the ship felt crowded, that made this beach club all the better. It is limited to 100 guests a day. I think there might have been like 20-30 that day. It felt like our own private beach. Grand Cayman we booked an excursion with Nativeways watersports. We did the Stingray and Island tour. We only had 6 in our group, talk about a private excursion. Ocho Rios we booked our excursion with Phil Lafayette. We did Dunns River Falls and River tubing. I can't say enough about how wonderful all of our excursions and tour operators were.
Disembarkation was the easiest out of all our cruises. We're sailed out of Tampa, Port Canaveral and now Miami. We had an early flight and the pursers desk gave of a number 3. They started allowing self disembarkation around 7:20 and before they finished all decks of self assist, they call number 1-3 at about 7:45. We found our luggage within 5 minutes. Came out of the terminal and quickly found transportation to the airport. Miami airport was crazy busy, but we made our direct flight back to reality.
Great trip, can't wait to cruise Carnival again!