Well, our 8 Day cruise with the Carnival Freedom during Memorial Day was fantastic! We have been on 5 previous cruises, including one with a reputable Cruise Line (that was not so memorable). We usually cruise with Carnival, because we are younger and enjoy the ports of call and shore excursions. My wife and I are working towards getting our Platinum Guest status with Carnival as well. One of the few negative things that I have to say about our cruise, was the port of embarkation, Fort Lauderdale. The port in Fort Lauderdale is old and needs some renovation. It had been raining all day and we had to hike (as there were no porters for luggage) from the parking garage to the port terminal. There was no covered area to walk under while traversing from the garage to port terminal, so we got wet and dirty. There are numerous potholes in the parking lot around the port terminal, which your luggage becomes a victim to. Other ports of embarkation that we have sailed out of have covered walkways, sidewalks, and porters to assist you. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale had none of this and this was a disaster, as our clothes became wet and dirty. Nevermind, the endless amount of bus and taxi traffic in this small port terminal (Terminal #19).
On to the positive things about our cruise... 1) We had a great experience with the cleanliness of the ship (being in the Coast Guard, I can appreciate this). 2) The crew and staff are very friendly and helpful. 3) The ship is immense (I only saw 70% of the ship) and never felt claustrophobic (even when the ship was booked full). 4) There were very few lines (with a full capacity ship). 5) The cabin stewards (Osbel and Putra) were fantastic, as we never lacked for a thing and our room remained clean at all times. 6) The Team Waitstaff was great (Imade and Imade). 7) The ports of call were very good (our favorites being St. Thomas and Tortola. We did not like Antigua as much, as it was very dirty and the island seemed extremely impoverished. We liked St. Thomas for the friendliness of the locals and Tortola (a beautiful island with friendly people). We of course enjoyed the casino, sushi, bingo, and the shows (Happy Cole was extremely funny). The Cruise Director (Todd) was fantastic, as he was a great host and for the brief amount he was on the P.A. system (some cruises have very annoying cruise directors on the P.A. system all the time). The ship was always slightly early or on time, which was great when you had shore excursions, and being in the military (timeliness and being on schedule is very important).
Overall, I would give this cruise a 8 out of 10. It wasn't perfect, but was pretty close. We had no major hangups, which is a rarity with the cruise line industry. Debarkation went alot smoother than embarkation, as we did self-assist and were off of the ship and in our car in 45 minutes (but again with no porters to assist with luggage).