We took this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We've always wanted to go to the Panama Canal on a ship, and this cruise with the Panama excursion sounded appealing to us.
We live in Florida, but don't choose to push our luck with a 4-hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale, so we booked a night at the Hyatt Place Airport North. We were very impressed. The hotel was very nice, very clean, and personnel quite friendly. There's a continental breakfast buffet too. We would recommend this place for a pre or post cruise stay.
Carnival Freedom, what can I say but wow. The ship is beautiful. I found the ship easy to navigate and very clean. The crew was outstanding. Very friendly and always eager to help.
I use a rolling walker for ambulation and quite a few of the crew members went out of their way to assist me. I felt the ship was very accessible for me and had no problem navigating the ship. The only place I could not go was the walking track and basketball courts and miniature golf, none of which I could really use while using a rolling walker anyways.
The serenity deck was amazing and quite comfortable, the shows on board were fabulous (especially the Beatles show), and the food was very good. We were terribly spoiled by our waiters in the dining room.
There were plenty of activities on board the ship. Always something to do. We aren't people who enjoy things by the pool, so we often enjoyed trivia and shows and games and Bingo in the lounge.
The service was superb. Every crew member we saw had a smile on their face and was eager to please. Our waiters were outstanding in the YTD dining room. Our cabin steward did a fantastic job.
Port & Shore Excursions:
We did one private excursion in Costa Rica with Okeydokey tours and one Carnival excursion in Panama. Those were the best excursions we've ever done. The Okeydokey tour was amazing. Got to see a lot of Costa Rica and even hold a sloth. Tour guide was very friendly and tour ran on time. The Panama canal excursion is not to be missed. We took a ferry right into the canal and got to see it from way down inside the locks. It has a long bus ride, but our tour guide made it fun. It's a long day though.
This was our first balcony cabin. It was wonderful to have private time to sit on the balcony and relax. Our cabin steward kept our cabin very neat and tidy and clean and was always a joy to talk with.
We chose Your Time Dining for this cruise and we now know we really like this. Having the flexibility to choose when we want to eat is so nice. Only had one time we had to wait and that was on elegant night when we had a 5-10 minute wait, which was not a problem at all.
The entertainment was superb. The shows were outstanding on this cruise. The crew are so very talented. The Big Easy and the Beatles tribute are not to be missed. There was one very good comedian named Carl and one so-so comedian whose name I can't remember.
Ryan, the cruise director, and Dan, the assistant CD, are just wonderful. Very talented and have great personalities. We really enjoyed being on the ship with them.
The best ever. Since we were taking our luggage off ourselves, we opted to use the Victoriana Lounge to wait until our number was called. That meant getting to the lounge at 6:45 am and relaxing instead of waiting for a crowded elevator with pushy people in it to get down to the disembarkation deck. Getting off the ship and through customs was very fast.
Once again, Carnival gave us a fantastic vacation. We were very pleased with the ship, the crew, and the excursions. We fell in love with having a balcony cabin too. We met some people from our Cruise Critic roll call on the ship and had a great time with them. We highly recommend the Carnival Freedom and we hope to cruise this ship again some day.