Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by MaRyBGM: Great excursions, met nice folks, food was just fair ~!!!
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Great excursions, met nice folks, food was just fair ~!!!
We arrived at the Carnival Freedom on Sun, Feb 21st for a 6 night cruise at approximately 11:15 AM, and had to wait outside for only about 10 minutes. The lines weren't very long to get checked in, but then we had to sit there, in a crowded area, for a long time before getting on the ship. They didn't let us on until after 12:30 PM. Lunch was ready upon boarding the ship. Rooms were ready promptly at 1:30 PM. We were supposed to leave at 4 PM, but didn't leave until after 9 PM. Some crew members said there were engine problems, while others said they were waiting for some passengers to arrive from delayed flights. I'm not sure of which was the cause.
We recently were on a Mediterranean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox, which was so elegant, in an understated way. So when we boarded the Freedom, we thought it was a bit gaudy. Our cabin was a nice size with a lot of storage space (actually more storage space than on the Equinox). The beds were comfortable. Our balcony was very More narrow.
We had early seating. The first night, we were assigned to a booth for 4 in the corner of the main dining room. My husband went to the maitre d', and asked to have our table changed to a more open area, and larger table. The next morning, we were excited to see that we were assigned to a new table. It turned out to be a table for 10 ----- we all got along great. We went to the shows together, and several of us went on excursions together. On the last day, there was a Breast Cancer walk which 7 of us from our table participated in.
The first morning on the Freedom, I waited on line for 10 minutes just to get oatmeal and a croissant. The Equinox had far more choices at every meal than was offered on the Freedom, and all buffets had individual stations, so you NEVER had to wait on line. For example, for lunch, there was a separate station for salad, for bread, main entrees, assorted meats (including minute steak and chicken breast served every day), pasta (choose type of pasta and sauce), side dishes, pastries, fruit, etc. There had to have been at least 20 different stations at each meal, in addition to hamburger and pizza offerings. The quality of the food on the Equinox was superb, whereas I thought only some meals on the Freedom were very good (primarily the fish and seafood), and some, especially the turkey, were awful. My husband eats only sugar-free desserts. At lunch there was only 1 sugar-free cake, and at dinner only one sugar-free cake and only vanilla sugar-free ice cream. Our waiter was fine serving what was on the menu, but was never accommodating with other requests, or even trying to get it for a future dinner. On the Equinox, the maitre d' was at our table EVERY night, and so accommodating --- he brought us salads, etc from the specialty restaurants to the main dining room at request. All we had to do was ask for something --- if it wasn't on the menu that night, he ordered it for us for the next evening. On the Freedom, the maitre d' NEVER came to our table even once. We have been on 3 Celebrity cruises, and feel it's hard to beat the quality and selection of their food, so maybe we were spoiled.
We thought the entertainment was very good. The Big Easy was one of the best production shows we've seen. Singer Jamie Frasier and comedian Happy Cole put on a SUPER show. Happy Cole performed the next night doing an adults only show, which was extremely funny. The Beatles show was good, not great ---- but enjoyable. They did fill in with guest talent show, but it turned out to be enjoyable, consisting of 5 guests with good voices. We thought Felipe did a very good job as Cruise Director (on the Equinox, we were not impressed with the Cruise Director --- he was conceited and not very visible). Felipe had a great personality, and was quite visible, as were Little John and other members working to assist him. It was great that they did a lot of interactive activities as Newlywed Game, pool games, trivia, etc. For the people who participated in these activities, Felipe said they were getting a huge discount on purchasing a DVD. It turns out it was a $10 savings ---- how petty can they be!! These folks provided entertainment for the guests --- the DVDs should be given as a gift for participating, as it cost them nothing to produce the shows.
At sea days, and after excursions, we spent a lot of time at the adult pool, and never had a hard time finding a chaise lounge, although we found them very uncomfortable.
My husband enjoys the casino more than I do. I found it very smoky, so couldn't stay there too long.
First port --- Key West --- it rained quite hard all day. We went to Mel Fisher Museum which was very interesting, and then walked around town a bit. We were planning on going to other museums, but they were a long walk, so went back to the ship for lunch. Then we went out again, and took a 1 ½ hour tram ride around Key West. The tram had a roof, but was open on the sides, so they gave us ponchos. We still got wet, but enjoyed the tour and seeing all of Key West. Cayman Islands --- we went on a Carnival tour to Turtle Farm, Hell and swimming with the stingrays. The turtle farm was interesting, and we got to hold large turtles. There's not much to see at Hell, except for a rock formation, but it was interesting to be able to say we went to Hell, and sent postcards from there. We then took ½ hour boat ride to a sandbar, and swam with the stingrays. It was an awesome experience. The tour was from 9AM til 1:30, so were back on the ship for lunch. Ocho Rios ---- we were planning on going to Dunn's River Falls with Moby Dick Tours, which was $40 per person. But then some of the gals at our table told us out they were going with Peat Taylor Tours, which offered Dunn's River Falls and tubing for $50 per person, so we changed tours and went with them. I climbed to the top of Dunn's River Falls, which I find an accomplishment, as I'm usually not adventuresome. Everyone holds hands, and the tour guide helps a lot along the way. It was a great experience. Then we went tubing, which was so much fun. When it was over, I wanted to go back for another 45 minutes. Peat Taylor and his son were so very personable and made it fun. They were talking to us all along the ride, and had us singing. Several folks were dropped off for lunch at a local restaurant, but we went back to the ship for lunch. Afterwards, I heard the restaurant was quite good and had a great atmosphere. We met at 8:30, and returned at 1:45. FABULOUS tour ~!!
The debarkation was run extremely well. They called your assigned number, and you left the ship without waiting with large groups of folks for them to call your number.
I read rave reviews about the food on the Freedom, but perhaps those folks didn't have the comparison that we had. All in all ---- we didn't love the food, but we had a super time because of the folks we met, the entertainment and the excursions we took. Less
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