The Carnival Freedom is a nice ship. I expected it to be a mess in decoration, based upon other reviews I read, but that wasn't the case. We had a balcony on the port side of the ship and loved it. I would probably get a starboard room next time if the ship docks the same way each time, that way the room faces shore almost every time the ship is docked. The room was just as the pictures showed on the Carnival website. Embarkation and debarkation were fast and easy. Watch out for the taxi's of Ft. Lauderdale. We rented a car for a day as we arrived a day early but used a taxi to get back from the rental office and to get back to the airport after the cruise. Our taxi driver one time drove under the speed limit, i'm sure to make the price go higher. The other time, I paid the driver with a $20 for a $12.50 fare (from FLL airport to the hotel approx 2-3 miles). He looked through his glove box, fiddled around and said he didn't have change. So I told him I would go get change and then he told me the fare went up when I got back.
I did use the casino once and was done; I didn't win anything. I did talk to a few people who did win though. We watched a couple of the comedy shows that were really good, especially the first show. I didn't care much for the "Vegas style" shows at all. Just not my taste, nor did I like the look inside the theatre in the second level. Way too much chrome and it looked old to me. The seats on the second level were very uncomfortable as well. No problem of the show being full, so no need to rush getting a seat during our cruise. The comedy shows filled up fast though.
We also ate in the Chic Dining room/restaurant and it was great! Our server was Joel most of the time when we could get to his section. I would highly recommend him and also the anytime dining. He will tell you about the specials for the night and recommend items as the other two servers we had on two different nights did not. Joel was laid back and funny, the other seemed tense. The service was very prompt by all though. Very attentive and polite by everyone. The servers and staff put on a little "show" at dinner each night in the Chic Dining Room. They would sing a song as they lined the stairs; it was fun.
The food elsewhere on the ship was not so good. I think I lost weight on the cruise. I thought there would be a buffet with a big variety, but there was a small variety of food. I thought the buffet, especially the breakfast, was disappointing. Not good! No waffles, french toast once, pancakes were bad. I stuck to bagels and fruit. Room service was nice though and did that a few times. I wouldn't eat the cake on the ship either, nor the brownies. The sushi bar was very busy on all the nights and is not open on the formal nights, which there are two.
On formal nights, get your pictures done EARLY! Do not eat first incase you spill food. The lines get long for the pictures, especially on the stairs. There is barely any room for people to move around, so I would get formal pics done early and AVOID the photo area in the lobby. Pictures are $12-$22 a piece, free to have taken and not obligated to buy.
There were movies shown on the big screen outside, which was fun to watch. They showed the Saints vs. Vikings game live on the big screen too. Grab some food and go watch a movie or a football game.
The serenity adult area was very relaxing with hammocks, big chairs with covers and a hot tub. We didn't use any hot tubs or pools as they were crowded. I did use the waterslide several times! Never too old for that. Wanted to play minigolf but never did. Basketball and volleyball were available but didn't get to play. I didn't understand the ping pong tables outside considering the windy conditions on the seas. We didn't use the spa or fitness area. ***watch your bill at the end of the cruise. My girlfriend was charged for the spa she never used. She was refunded, but not if you don't catch it.***