Feb 2011 Carnival Freedom;
First just a couple things about us. This is my wife and I third cruise. First one with Hawaii Cruise lines ( now NCL.) The second one was on the Norwegian Star. We had VIP embarkation on this trip. I won't go into that here just to say if you can get that do it. It took us 15 minutes to be on the ship and starting our vacation. We had a Jr. Suite 9206 on the Lido deck this was larger than any room we have had before. And now on with the review:
Ship Shape: the room was taken care of by a very professional staff. They pretty much stayed out of our way and we pretty much stayed out of theirs. They took care of the room when we weren't there. I'm not really sure how they did that. There was always a towel animal and the room was clean clean clean. We had room service and this I would say just barely makes the good category. Very limited menu. The food in general I would put anywhere from mediocre to super. Some of it just was better that other. We had the Mongolian barbeque and man is that good. The pizza in the pizzeria was good, hot and the usual suspects peperoni but also calzones so give it a try. There are always coffee, juices all day long. There is also very good lemonade try that with the ice tea kind of a half and half pretty good. The shows are ok a lot of prancing around in colorful costumes, but enough about me. Good not great. Did not see the comedy shows. The two excursions we went on were the pub crawl in Key West, lots of fun if you're into roaming around Key West kidding around with your shipmates. We liked it, you may not. The sky ride in Jamaica was also very nice I would do that again if I went to Jamaica for vacation.
Ship of fools? Sodas are a couple bucks a piece, a bucket of four beers 24.15 available all cruise long. The mixed drinks and going to set you back anywhere from 7.50 to 9 bucks and believe you me they push those mixed fruity drinks. They pretty much learned I drink beer so they left me be. There is plenty of chance for the cruise line to separate you from your DE blooms . The casino ching ching, pull tab tickets 5 bucks a pop, a couple of bingo games 10 bucks a card or 20 for three, what a deal huh. There is the steak house 30 bucks; I did not give it a try. The excursions are also a little pricey. AND then there is shopping on board....can't tell ya anything about that so let the buyer beware.
Now for the stuff I hate; I don't think there is any way to fix this but the little trick of putting your towel on a lounger and taking off for half the day really chaps my hide. I don't normally sit out in the sun but if I wanted too I would have to get there early. I'm up at 5 every day anyway so I guess I should run on down and put my towel on a chair and then head off to breakfast and then a nap and then around 1 in the afternoon back to my lounger, you know who you are. Cmon Man !
Now for the cool stuff; we had a great couple who we chatted with every night at dinner it was a real joy to sit and talk about the cruise and just life in general. The crew is uber friendly, our room was great, ship is clean and well maintained, and Carnival seems to be a great value. Oh one more thing we went the first week in Feb, I have read other reviews about this cruise stating that there kids everywhere. I did not find this to be the case I think probably being so close to the end of the holidays the kiddies are back in school, there was like 12 kids. So if you like a lot of kids around I guess don't cruise in Feb. It was a great week everything went off without a hitch.
NCL v Carnival: The Norwegian Star is a big beautiful ship I think better laid out than the Freedom and it seemed bigger who knows you can look that up if you wish and then you should think about getting a hobby or something. The Freestyle dinning has its pluses and minuses. There is no structure you eat whenever and whatever you want. It was kind of nice just to have a few choices and have them done well. The dinning time gives a little bit of a schedule to stay on. We liked that. NCL the food was hotter because it was always being prepared. The main dining areas on NCL are very chaotic all the time. Carnivals nice sit down without the craziness. SO there you have it if you're headed out on a cruise have a great time and promise me something ....that you will not sweat the small stuff just go with the flow.