Embarkation: Very organized and easy! Had our fun pass in hand and we were on the ship and in our cabin within 10 minutes of arriving at the "tent." We landed in Rome at 10am and had been traveling for 24 hours from SLC, UT, so we purchased the Carnival transfer from the ship before hand (grossly overpriced at $75 dollars a person) because we just wanted to get to the ship when we landed. The Carnival folks at the airport were very nice and the process was painless.
Public Rooms: We loved the Freedom, it is our favorite ship that we have been on. We have been on 3 cruises prior all with Princess and the Freedom was by far our favorite ship. There were plenty of places to sit and relax, the decor was great and all the rooms were easy to get too. The theater has a different set up and if you sat on the first floor it was hard to see if you were at the back of the room. We loved the international lounge where they have karaoke. The dining rooms were nice and elegant and the Sun King supper club was the very tasteful and we had the best meal ever there!
Cabin: We booked an inside stateroom guarantee and received an upgrade. We were on deck 7 which was perfect as the Lido deck is deck 9 and the main activities took place there. Eating was on deck 3 so we were right in the middle. Our cabin steward was Rodolfo and he was fabulous, everything was always taken care of and our room was always clean.
Fitness and Recreation: The gym was great. Lots of equipment and very modern, plus they have a public steam room and sauna that were very nice.
Dining: The food in the morning was great. We always just ate at the Lido buffet because we really didn't want to wait in the dining rooms to be served breakfast. Lunch was great with tons of options. There was a stir-fry station, fish and chips, sandwich bar, pizza bar, burger bar, tandori station, and a little window that always served empanadas and chips and salsa. Dinner was our least favorite meal. We are both 30 and were grouped with a 3 older couples, they were all very nice but we had nothing in common with them and the food wasn't anything to write home about. We wish Carnival would group you at tables based on age. Our servers were the worst that we've had on any cruise, they didn't even bother learning our names and my water glass was EMPTY the whole cruise. The last few days we just ate dinner on the Lido deck at the buffet and had a much better time.
Entertainment: Fantastic shows, the best we've seen. Although the cruise director thought he was part of the entertainment and was always telling lame jokes we'd heard before, he was horrible. I would never book a cruise with him on the boat again. He was always pushing Carnival shore excursions as well.
Service: Everything was great except for our dining room staff. If you're seated at the Chic Restaurant table 179 with Jede asked to be moved!
Shore Excursions: We did 4 shore excursions through Carnival and 4 on our own. We honestly had fun on both, it's really what you make of it. We really didn't find the Carnival excursions overpriced.
We would definitely sail with Carnival again. For the money this vacation couldn't be beat!