Overall I thorughly enjoyed this cruise. Embarkation was a breeze....long line but it moved quickly...since we cruised last with Carnival; they have added an extra layer of security...so be prepared (alot of walking; my wife has a bad back...but the line moved quickly). We were on the ship within a 1/2 an hour of getting on line! We were suppose to meet with people from our roll call after the life boat drill (life vests can remain in the cabin...added plus) but it was a bit long and my wife had to sit down...so they sat her in a lounge until it was done (they asked her if evacuation was needed would she need a wheelchair and relunctantly she said yes).
A few things here...this is where the wonder part comes in...You are not allowed to smoke in the cigar bar! the disco yes (but the crew doesn't want you too) starboard side yes, and the Sports bar (where we would usually go. My wife is a Smoker) but not in the cigar bar...GO FIGURE! During one of our appearances in the sports bar we met up with some of our Roll call friends...this would become one of the highlights of our cruise. Other highlights were the service: Carlos; Our Room Steward was outstanding; he dissappeared after 1/2 the cruise was done (we didn't see him anymore) but our room was still taken care of. Robert and Alvaro were our waiter and assistant waiter and they were fantastic. We went to the Steakhouse one evening with one of our friends from the roll call...I spent a little more than I should have (on the wine...not the meal) The meal was a couple of notches above the dining room fare...and in total was a fantastic meal (but when deconstructed into its components we have had comparable....EXCEPT FOR THE STEAK WHICH WAS AMAZING!!!) Also the Buffet food was the Best that I have had on a cruise especially the Deli and Mongolian wok!
As I said My wife has a bad back...she went to the spa (a first for us; usually it is not in the budget or I refuse to pay so much) She had accupuncture and I must say that although my wife wasn't cured (which they never said as a matter of fact they encouraged follow up when she got home) gave her enough relief so she could enjoy the cruise (she went twice once for back, and once for sciatica) The entertainment was not the best I have seen . We saw two show and the R rated comedian the first night...most show in the theatre started out slow but got much better...the comedian was Hilarious...in the internet dictionary next to the abbreviation ROFL is a picture of Jim Brick ( I think that was his first name anyway) Now for the wonder part again....what were they thinking when they decorated the ship...it was a very dark ship, I thought I would have problems with the decor but didn't but it was the darkest ship I have been on! We also hit what some people would consider rough seas (not exactly calm seas but not a hurricane either...some where in between closer to calm) The ship sounded like it was going to break-up (now of course it wasn't but it sounded like that) a combination of speed and weight distribution turned it into sort of a spped boat...and you know the sound when the ship lands on top of a swell...well that was the sound (not just once but many times) Also there was considerable vibration from the thrusters (ordinarily I wouldn't mention it but because of the speedboat thing...it was very noticeable)
The Ports wer Great...Cozumel we didn't get off the ship because of my wifes back but we have been there 6 or 7 times so although it would have been nice...oh well! Costa Rica was great once you got past the condition of Limon. Here we did a tour with Greenway Tours and it was extremely enjoyable, very PROFESSIONAL, and very extensive. We did the 6-1 Limon highlights and when we go back to white water raft I will not hesitate to usse them again. Panama was a ships tour the Aerial tram and once again the tour was Great...a little bit more walking than we expected (again my wife back) but we dealt with it and again Very professionally run.
Debarkation from the ship was the QUICKEST EVER! We did the relaxed debarkation..where the ship takes care of your luggage....Amazing! Speaking of Luggage a nod to those guys and a huge thank you...we suppose to put our luggage out between the hours of 9-12, and we were having such a good time that we forgot! one of the people we were hanging out with said it was 12....so I made a mad dash to the room and saw a room steward....I said "please tell me that noone has put out their luggage yet" (I knew the answer) he asked me if I needed the to get my luggage ...I said yes ....and he asked me how much time i would need to pack (incredible) I explained that I was already packed (since 6pm) I just hadn't put the luggage out....he said go ahead and as I opened my cabin door a luggage handler (who had been taking a break with his buddies) took the luggage out of my hands! Unbeleivable service!
I look forward to cruising with Carnival in the future....I just hope this Crew is on another ship because until the comfort discrepancies (IMHO) are corrected I won't sail on the Freedom again!