This was our 3rd cruise. The first two were on the Carnival Miracle so it was nice to see another ship this time. We flew in Friday night and stayed at the Bahia Mar. It was a really nice hotel with everything you could want, close to airport and pier and a nice pool with a bar. That's where we met up with our friends from Cruise Critic.
We got to the pier around noon and had a small wait before we were on board. All in all it was a pretty good process. We were on the lido deck for lunch and drinks before 1pm. I liked the ship's dEcor but I did not like the layout. On the Miracle you can get from one end of the ship to the other on any floor. On the Freedom you had to go up a flight to cross over on some decks.
Dinning was what I expected. Breakfast had your normal eggs...pancakes...sausage...bacon...Etc...although now they hand out the bacon....Lunch was fine. Some long lines but nothing out of the ordinary. Dinner was really good and I guess that's from having More
great table mates. Two other couples from Cruise Critic group, one of which we sailed with before. Our waiters were great. Most nights we ordered two or three starters and main course meals.
I did notice them cutting back on some things....Silly things but I noticed. First thing I noticed was no more mints on the pillows at night. Second thing was the Captains meet and greet, instead of free drinks you now get a dollar off...and as I mentioned they have staff handing out bacon so you don't have a whole plate full.
Over all the staff were great which is what I have come to expect from Carnival. Only complaint I had was the layout of the ship. Other than that a perfect time was had.
As far as the ports......First stop was Cozumel....We booked a tour with Cozumel Water Sports. $45.00 pp for beach, snorkeling, all you can eat and open bar... Sounded too good to be true. I have to say it was by far one of the best excursions we have done. Beach was clean with plenty of lounge chairs. I figured we would have to find the server each time we wanted a drink, but I was totally wrong. If my glass was ½ full our server would be there asking if I wanted another one. The food they had buffet style with chicken wings, French fries, hot dogs and other assorted stuff. You were also able to order off the menu. The fish platter was awesome and the coconut shrimp was the best I ever had. Two thumbs up for Cozumel Water Sports!!
Our second stop was Costa Rica. There we did a tour with Okey Dokey Tours. Ray our tour guide was awesome. First we took a boat ride and saw various wildlife. Birds, iguanas and sloughs Etc....Next we did the Zip line....13 platforms and I would have gone around again if we had time. Everyone in our group had a great time. I really enjoyed the zip line and can't wait to do it again. After zip line we had a nice lunch of chicken and rice. From there we went to a banana plantation to see how bananas are grown and harvested. On the way back to port Ray took us to a supermarket where we all purchased a few items. All this for $99.00 a person.
Our last stop was Panama. Here we took a tour with MyfriendMario. First we went through the rain forest were we saw lots of wild life. We saw PLENTY of monkeys and if anyone from our tour reads this they will chuckle. We saw so MANY monkeys when our driver asked if we wanted to stop and see more the whole bus shouted NO!!! From there we went to San Lorenzo Fort...Nice place and a great place to take some really good pictures. The last stop was the Panama Canal. Truly a high point on the tour. It was fascinating watching the ships go through the locks and to learn about the history. Did not realize how much these ships pay to go through. Our tour guide said they pay anywhere from $100,000 to 300,000 a trip with an average of 33 ships a day....
To close this out we had another great cruise with Carnival. Great friends, food and warm weather....How can anyone complain....Just wish the ship was designed a little better. Less