We flew into FLL from Baltimore MD (mainly but we had others come from Philly, Nashville and VA) through Airtran. We had a group savers booking and all received 10% off the lowest price on the website. We had a bumpy flight in but a very smooth flight out.
About 30 members of our group stayed at the La Quinta Inn (Airport). They offered free transport to the hotel and to the port in the morning. They also had a great free breakfast including make your own waffles. While the hotel is further from the airport than we expected, it was very close to the port. Also it was located right outside of a large shopping center. We arrived at the hotel around 3:00pm (ppl in our group arrived different time) and went to the hot tub then went to TGIFridays for dinner (had 10% off there with our hotel room key). The hotel was very nice and staff was friendly. Would definitely recommend this hotel.
On the morning of our cruise we ate bfast at the hotel then boarded a large coach bus for transport to the port. Because we stayed in a suite we had VIP boarding. When we arrived at the port around 10:30 the Coast Guard was completing a test of some sort so we waited for about 10 minutes before boarding. We were literally around the 20th ppl to get on board. We immediately went to Lido and got the Mongolian grill.
Our Suite Our suite was awesome. Loved loved loved the jetted bathtub and the bathroom as a whole with the dressing room. We had a larger balcony. Our Room stewards David and Iba were the best. Very attentive to our needs. I sent my wedding gown out to be pressed the day before the wedding way after the time in which I needed to send it in order to get it back before the wedding. David made sure my gown arrived early the same day.
The Actual Ship and Staff I will be really honest. I got really annoyed reading ppl's reviews of the Freedom bc I never really notice if a ship is pretty/ugly. Well ppl's comments were warranted bc I noticed on this cruise. I am used to the layout of Conquest class ships but the dEcor on this ship sucked. All those Statue of Liberty heads started freaking me out. Otherwise the ship was fine. The ship was sooo clean all the time and I felt that this ship had the best staff overall. Wee Jimmy the CD was okay (IMO he was great) but I have many family members who are platinum cruiser and they hated him. They felt that he was way too laid back and couldn't get the crowd on its feet. I enjoyed him being a bit laid back. It was refreshing as compared to the over the top CDs I've experienced. Also in San Juan I saw Wee Jimmy in a restaurant and he gave me the best Mojitio I've ever had lol. The female Maitre D in the Sun King (Supper Club was awesome). My husband and I really bonded with her when we went to the Supper Club alone on our wedding night and she treated us like celebrities. She also informed us of the fact that she hadn't been off the ship in 4 months. So Sad... Let her off!!!!!! The manager in the jewelry store was great as well. Also our waiter Leo in Posh was awesome and so was our Maitre D Fernando.
Activities I read reviews that stated that there were no shows for ppl who ate at the 8:15 dinner. That's a lie. They had 10:30 and midnight shows for late seating guest. To be honest we really didn't do much besides casino, shows and eating but all of our friends were always rushing off to one activity or another so I know they were plentiful. Also my friends and family members loved the disco and they hung out there almost every evening from like 12-3am-ish...
San Juan In San Juan We celebrated the night before the wedding by barhopping and shopping. We ate at this great little place in Old San Juan then went to some great bars. We were in San Juan at night which was fun.
St Thomas Wedding Day I got married on Megan Bay Beach then had our reception at The Grille Room on the Mahogany Run Golf Course. We then had an island tour by Sunny Liston. Everything went well. I would definitely recommend Sunny Liston again and again. I would not recommend my wedding coordinator Janelle Scott of Island Bliss Weddings in St Thomas.
Antigua In Antigua we missed our pre paid Lobster Lunch cruise with Creole Cruise. We were really looking forward to that, but we were on ship time not island time so we were left. We then found a personal tour guide and were taken on and island tour then to Nelson Bay?. We ate lunch at Caribbean Cuisine a local restaurant and had something that our guide recommended but we hated it. It was this mushy cornmeal stuff. But we also had selfish. OMG that was delicious. We then went to this beach (it felt like the beach was on the other side of the earth) and I got a 1 hr full body massage on the beach while my hubby jetskiied, Not the day we planned, but it worked out.
Tortola In Tortola we went on a tour unplanned. We got off the ship late and weren't on the island long. However our tour guide was really good and gave us an extended tour. So we were touring for at least 3 hrs. Way to long after a while but it was a very nice tour.
Nassau In Nassau we went (with about 20 family members) to a cafe that my family knew about. We had great food. I loved the Conch Soup. We then went to Cable Beach. We were supposed to pay but our cabbie spoke with the staff and they let us in for free. We hung out the rest of the day there relaxing and jet skiing.
Conclusion In conclusion we really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. The staff we encountered was awesome. All the food was great. I loved the new midnight buffets outside the disco. Karaoke was lame on this ship so we didn't go to the Legends show but the talent show was awesome. The waters were very rough due to a storm in Cuba so it was really hard for all the 1st time cruisers. My sister had the babysitting service watch my niece one night (she's 11 months). My sister sent her food and explained that she needed to eat in about an hour. An hour after she got there my sister was paged because my niece was crying. When she arrived my niece was hysterical and starving because they had chosen not to feed her. Clearly my sister never let her return to the babysitters. We booked thru a PVP and not as a group due to so many ppl being return cruisers. This worked out until our PVP was promoted. We didn't like our new PVP as much and I probably won't work with him in the future, I will definitely cruise carnival again. This was my 3rd and hubby's 4th Carnival cruise. We want to be platinum ASAP!!!!