Port Everglades embarkation quickest we have ever experienced (this was our 9th cruise). We arrived at 12 and were on board and eating on the Lido Deck by 12:30. There were six of us to check in and it could not have gone any quicker.
The cabin was ready at 1:30 and did not disappoint. Roomy and clean. Only small complaint was the picture windows were not clean on the outside(they were in process of cleaning them while in port..did not get to ours) This cabin was aft and overall quiet except when coming into or leaving port. The vibrations are a result of the ship being maneuvered into berth.
Cozumel.. We took a cab to Playa Paradise for the day. No charge for chairs and umbrella, only thing they ask is that you order a drink. We did and also had lunch. If you wanted to use the water playground,snorkel gear, paddle boats etc the cost was $12 dollars per person. They ask once, if you say no,they do not hound.
Limon Costa Rica..We booked a zip-line excursion through Greenway Tours and saved about 60% from Carnival prices. They guarantee you will not miss your ship so book with confidence. We were met on the pier at 10am by Jackie and promptly taken to our awaiting bus. She was full of local history and information during our ride to the zip-line,about an hour trip away. Zip-line was a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat. Afterwards we were taken to the Del Monte Banana Plantation. This may sound boring but quite the contrary. Extremely interesting...did you know that bananas are actually an herb? Greenway Tours got us back to the ship by 2pm leaving us with 2 hours of shopping time.
Colon Panama...We again did not use Carnival but instead booked through My Friend Mario. They too guarantee to get you back to ship on time. We were met at port terminal at 7:30 am by Alex, taken to the bus and off we went. We did the Fort San Lorenzo and Gatun Locks Tour. Our savings were substantial but the hospitality we received was priceless. The guide and driver were great. Pulled over every time a sloth, howler monkey or white faced monkey came into view on our way to the fort. They even allowed us off the bus to take pictures. Fort San Lorenzo was built in the 1500's sits high on a cliff and has some of the most beautiful scenery. The Locks were interesting and we were fortunate enough to be there during the crossing of a cargo ship. During the entire tour they supplied us with snacks, soda, beer, home made empanadas and the sweetest pineapple we have ever had! We were back in port with plenty of time to shop.
The Freedom...Beautiful and clean. Cruised Carnival three other times,by far and away the best food and service. On Freedom they did not miss a thing. Our daughter has a food allergy that was promptly resolved by our head waiter Romulo. He arranged for the dining room hostess to meet with our daughter every night and select her menu for the following day. No worries here, she enjoyed every meal...On other Carnival ships we were never offered this service. By the way, the food was very good whether you ate in the dining room, Lido Deck or room service. We utilized all three.
Adult only Serenity... Awesome! We all need a break from our kids. This section of the ship offers parents a pool, hot tubs, bar, food, hammocks and couches without kids...who could ask for more.
Entertainment...We attended the Beatles show put on by the dancers which was very good. However our favorite was the hypnotist. Of course he used fellow passengers and the show was absolutely hilarious.
Debarkation...SMOOTH! You are now given the choice of self assist as long as you can carry your luggage off the ship without difficulty. Since all luggage is now on wheels it was a no brain-er for us. We were off the ship by 6:30 am and through customs by 6:40. Breakfast was served starting at 6am so missing breakfast was not as issue. If however this is not what you want, you can still put your luggage out your stateroom door the night before and have the cruise line take care of it for you.
We looked forward to this cruise and the Freedom and her staff did not disappoint.