We rented a car and drove to the port on Sunday. It was great. We got the car from Thrifty rental at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and returned it to their facility just outside the gate to the Port. Thrifty then shuttled us right to our ship.
The Carnival Freedom was a larger ship than the Sensation which was my first Carnival experience. Despite there being many more people than on the Sensation, I didn't see any difference in the amount of wait time for meals, embarkation or debarkation. The crew did an excellent job handling the crowds. I was very impressed with how smoothly the debarkation went.
The ship was extremely clean! Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Our room steward, Fro, was fantastic. I sprained my ankle in Key West (our first port!!). Fro always made sure that we had ice in our room so I could ice my ankle. (what a sweetheart.) We had a veranda room on deck 7 mid ship. I recommend paying the extra money for the veranda it was wonderful!
The voyage was very rocky, the ship swayed back and forth a lot. I heard that the seas are rough in January. Several people were wearing Sea sickness patches. My last cruise was in the month of April and I didn't notice the movement of the ship at all.
The only complaint that I have is the food. It was rather tasteless. The food on the Lido deck buffet was usually lukewarm. One day, the fried chicken was undercooked (disgusting)! The other food available, deli, pizza, and hamburgers, was very good. The food in the Posh was tasteless but at least it was hot. The food service staff was very friendly and helpful.
Despite the food quality, I would cruise Carnival again. I think it was a good value.