Carnival Freedom June 5th, 2010 We did the 8 day Western Caribbean. The ports were Cozumel, Mexico; Limon, Costa Rica and Colon, Panama. This cruise was for my 40th Birthday from my husband!!!
We stayed at The Sheraton on the Beach (also called "The Clipper"). OMG what a GREAT hotel!! It was WONDERFUL! If you ever need a hotel we would highly recommend it! There are several places within walking distance. We ate at Bubba Gumps! There were several places to choose from and lots of shops. We also did the Water Taxi and enjoyed that as well. It is $15pp and it runs all day, you can get off and on as much as you want.
Boarding was a breeze. We know they say don't go early, but we did and we were there around 10:30am -10:45am and on board by 11:30am. We like to roam around and look at the ship and take photos of it before the crowds get on board. Carnival by far is the best at boarding. They give you a "Zone" number and then call by "Zones". It is so easy.
Our stateroom was on deck 10 1037 forward it was nice. We LOVE Carnivals beds. My DH had my room decorated for my 40th Birthday and it was fun to see it all decorated. It was an inside room and we had plenty of room. We had a nice room Stewart. However, we did not see her much. But she did take care of us. She also made us some Towel Animals we had never had before.
We had four sea days and I will just loop them all together. We enjoyed the daily trivia games. We pretty much played them all. We won several of them and got our "Ship on a Stick" and the "Carnival Medal". Unless you're a water person and like the pool there was not a lot to do during the day. But I found things to do to keep me busy. We were a little disappointed as they did not offer any "Back Stage Tour" or the "Gallery Tour". We usually enjoy doing these on our other cruises. We also like how they have their "Funtimes", they have a tab along the right hand side that has the daily activities that you tear off. It makes it a lot easier to fold up and put into your pocket. We did enjoy going to the Towel Animal folding class.
They did the normal art actions and had singers in the clubs. They did do a deck party one night and we stayed up for it. They ran some movies on the big screen. They also had different backgrounds and were doing photos every night. Which I did take advantage of. The hubby found some good deals on liquor in the stores on board so watch the fliers.
Entertainment on the ship was, to say the least, ok. We are not into karaoke and they had that. Or the night clubs. They did 3 big shows and the regulars. Saturday: Welcome Aboard - Sunday: The Big Easy - Wednesday: Jump, Jive & Wail - Friday: Ticket To Ride and Saturday: Carnival Legends. You HAVE to see "TICKET TO RIDE"! It is a MUST SEE! It was one of the best shows we have seen so far. They had 2 comedians - Monday: Thien Fu and Friday: Mike Panzeca. They were both great. We saw both their family and adults only shows.
We did get to meet the Captain, Claudio Cupisti. He is very nice and personal. We attended the "Carnival Past Guests" party, they did not do the Captains photos. The cruise director Ryan Fitzgerald was great as well as his assistant Kevin. The ship itself was neat and clean.
The food was ok. The lines in the buffet at times were long. We did eat breakfast and lunch there. I did not find much for lunch and usually ate a hamburger or a tuna sandwich. The hubby ate at the fish and chips a couple of times. We found the food to be pretty regular. Dinner was ok not great as I usually ate steak or chicken and hubby had fish. We both think the food on Princess is better.
For the most part we enjoyed all our excursions. The Deep Sea Fishing is the only one that we have ever not been happy with (and we always do something in port). We did book all of these through Carnival. While in Costa Rica there was an excursion running late and the ship waited over an hour for them maybe an hour and a half. It was one done through the ship. So it is a reminder of an excursion on your own vs one through the ship.
Limon, Costa Rica: We did the 10:45am All About Port Limon $69.95 this was a GREAT excursion!!!! We did a lot and did not feel rushed at all. The Sloths are amazing!!! I would actually do this one again. Our guide also has his own tour company (but I can’t remember the name of it). He was very nice and
answered all our questions. His name is Xavier Martin and he is great!!! Hubby wanted some coffee and some local beer and he told us to go to the market (grocery store) as it would be cheaper then right there at the pier. OMG was it, like half the price. It is only 2 -3 blocks plus there is tons of shops. Never felt scared at all. Got coffee for $2 a bag and beers for $1. They also take US dollars. So don’t be afraid to walk thru the market into the street and shop.
Colon, Panama: We did the Panama Canal Tour $179.95 as this is the whole reason we took this cruise. We were not disappointed. It is a tour that will take your day and time. We had 15 minutes to shop (if that). But it was sooooo worth it!! The canal is SOMETHING to see (at least once)!! We got to do 2 of the 3 locks. I would highly recommend this to anyone doing the Canal. It was about an hour and a half drive each way from where you port to enter the canal and exit. It was easier for us and ease of mind to go thru the ship. We got back to the ship 20 minutes before we were to sail so you can easily run close on time and that was running without traffic in the canal. They also give you a little certificate saying you have “done” the Panama Canal. Which I thought was nice.
We did not want this cruise to end. We ate breakfast and then walked around waiting for our number to be called. Once it was we headed out, sad to see it over. It was just as easy leaving as it was getting on. No problems leaving :-(
We very much enjoyed this cruise! We would recommend it to anyone who wants to see the canal but can’t do a longer cruise to cruise the canal. We did have some down time on this cruise and were somewhat disappointed with the entertainment, but it is Carnival. What we did like is their BEDS!!! The crew was all very nice and Ryan, the cruise director, was great! They had a “sale” on one of the sea days in the dining room and we bought some fun things. They had a lot of things on sale like: T-Shirts, hats, watches, stuffed animals, jewelry, etc… I wish I would of gotten some more of the bracelets. Check that out when they have it. We were ready for the long buffet lines (as I had read about them on CC).
The only bad thing was there were a TON of kids. They were rude and out of control. We will not cruise again in June. When crew members would see them they would just walk by and not say a word. Where the heck were the parents of these kids... And it wasn't the little kids or the young adults it was the pre-teens.