Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by greenmanalishi: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Overall Member Rating
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I'm going to focus mostly on what happened on the Freedom, more than the ports. We went with our 12 year old daughter. It was clearly spring break for a lot of people, including us. Most of the kids on board were teens. This accounted for a lot of noise, chaos, and kids who aren't interested in following the rules. We saw a bunch of kids running around the dining areas with wet bathing suits and no shoes, which is supposedly a no no. We also had the usual kids running down the halls screaming and yelling at midnight or later.
The main area is the Lido deck, with the pool, water slide, big screen, and bar and grill area. Get a chair early in the day if you want one. One of the biggest complaints I've heard over the years still rings true: people put a towel on a chair or two, and it sits there for hours. It's annoying and sort of inconsiderate, considering there are 3000 people on board, and nowhere near that many lounge chairs. They have signs that say no saving More chairs, but no one enforces that. The water slide wasn't open at all times, we couldn't figure out the schedule. If you get a soda card, be prepared to wait at one of the bars to get a drink. The bartenders don't seem in any hurry, especially if they see your soda card. So pull up a chair. Also, we got two cards for the cruise, and it was $78. So be prepared to suck down some Cokes to make it worth your while. Don't forget, there is a 15 percent tip added to every drink purchase, which is one of the biggest jokes of going on a cruise. During the day, there is a band up top, playing the same old steel drum songs you were tired of 20 years ago. Sort of hard to hear your ipod or get any peace and quiet with HOT HOT HOT blasting over the speakers. It was cool to watch a movie at night on the big screen, but the wind often makes it hard to hear. We tried to get someone to turn it up, but not too many employees are interested in making sure your complaints are fixed. They usually just pass the buck , or say something in another language that you don't really understand. Although, we watched the national championship college basketball game, and it was cranked up pretty high.
Our room was on floor number one, and it was an inside room. Pretty nice, with a bed that pulled down from the ceiling for our daughter. Our steward was alright. Mostly you see them once a day, and they nod and smile. The room was always clean. So that gets a thumbs up.
We went to the introductory show in the theatre. It was a lot of dancing. Not our cup of tea. The Beatles tribute show was pretty awesome though. We didn't go to see the comedian. The Cruise Director Todd, was a pretty cool guy. Seemed to work very hard to make sure everyone knew what was going on. I asked him how much sleep he got, and he said, "very little, lots of Red Bull".
Now for the food. I have never seen so many obese people in one spot in my life. Wow. I'm guessing the thought of free food for a week is the reason many people cruise. The buffet areas had mostly the same stuff every night, they just tweak it a little. Chicken prepared differently each night, fish a little different each night, pasta, etc. They also have a grill area where you can get burgers and hot dogs. Those are actually pretty good. They do have a separate mongolian stirfry grill, deli, tandoor, and mexican places. Plus pizza. You can get that usually late into the night. In fact after 9 or so, pizza is it for food. Frozen yogurt too. We did not go to the fancy restaurant, that you have to pay extra for ($30 per person), although someone told us it was worth it. We only went to the main dining room twice. Once for the formal night. We had lobster and shrimp. Pretty good. The other night we had salmon and steak. There is a place near the casino where you can get nighttime snacks, and they change that every night. There are also a couple of places to buy fancy coffees.
Getting on the boat took longer than getting off. If you don't like standing in line, get there early to get on. They give you many instructions for getting off the boat at the end of the cruise, and really none of that matters, except putting the luggage tags on your bags. They told us to keep the stubs, make sure we had one in our hand on the way off. No one checked anything. They are just trying to make sure everyone isn't in a big hurry and rushes down at the same time to get off.
Honestly, most of the trouble we had onboard, were with people, and not so much the boat itself. The boat is great. Clean, lots to do, and almost too many employees. They actually seem to be in the way. Anytime you put 3000 people in a spot that small, you're going to have trouble. Kids not paying attention to what they're doing, not following rules, getting in your way, being rude. Basically the parents let the kids roam, and the kids take full advantage.
If you are looking for a relaxing, quiet, peaceful week at sea, DO NOT take this ship. We had a much more relaxed cruise last year on Princess. However, if you are up for partying, drinking, smoking wherever you want (more later) and being loud and doing whatever the hell you want, this is your ship. We are non smokers, and didn't realize that people would be able to smoke anywhere onboard. So, on the first day as we were laying out in the sun, I had about a 70 year old woman next to me firing up smoke after smoke, and not caring if I liked it or not. If you are not a smoker, keep in mind, you may get a room that someone smoked in on the last cruise. It wasn't a problem for us, but we were ready just in case, with the Glade. Yeah, we're snobby non smokers.
Our ports were Key West, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios Jamaica. Key West was fun for a couple hours, shopping in old town. In Grand Cayman, we went in a submarine, and it was awesome, 100 fee under the clear water. We saw everything but a shark. In Jamaica we swam with the dolphins and climbed the Dunns River Falls. Both were worth the money.
I doubt we'll go on Carnival again, since we like to relax and take it easy on our vacations. Less
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