We sailed on the Carnival Freedom out of Ft Lauderdale on February 26 with friends from Northern Ontario and Michigan.We are all in our 50's.This was our 5th cruise with Carnival.The night before we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Hollywood Florida on Sheridan Drive and they offered free parking for the duration of our cruise as well as a free shuttle to the port.Booked through ParkSleepFly.com .This Hotel is excellent with the only drawback being you have to arrange your own transportation back to the hotel to pick up your car at the end of the cruise.Ebarkation was very well run and the wait was very minimal.Our cabin was ready by 1.30pm and we were on the ship at 12 noon.By the time we finished lunch our balcony cabin was ready.Debarkation was also a breeze as Carnival has got this down to a fine art.Its just unfortunate that some members of the public can not follow simple directions.
As usual on Carnival we found plenty of things to do with bars and entertainment that cater to every taste.The comedians were very good and the Broadway style shows on this ship were outstanding.The food was very good in the main dining room and our head waiter Omar along with the assistant waiters Richard and Marvin went out of their way to make dinner an enjoyable experience.One thing that is noticeable is that Carnival over the years seem to have eliminated items like Jumbo Shrimp or Surf and Turf.These selections are offered in the upscale pay restaurant only. The Lido Restaurant also offers good food with a very good selection.
Capt's night has also been greatly cut back as Carnival only offers $1.00 off drinks for an hour prior to Dinner.This is a far cry from the way it used to be 3 or 4 years ago.Carnival needs to improve on this.
The crew on the ship do an excellent job of keeping the ship clean and the housekeeping staff are totally amazing.
The Cruise Director Dan(from Australia) and the assistant Cruise Director Calvin ( from Canada) are excellent.We met both these gentlemen at a Cruise Critic Members meeting that one of the Cruise Critic members arranged on day 3 of our cruise and they had no problem answering all of our questions.There is no doubt in my mind that Calvin will be moved up to a Cruise Director position on some Carnival ship in the near future as he definitely has the skills and abilities to do the job.
One of the problem area's is guest hogging deck chairs.A lot of inconsiderate guests place a towel on the deck chairs tying the chair up for the whole day while they go and do other things thus depriving their fellow guests of the use of those chairs.Carnival needs to do a better job of policing this as it has seemed to be getting worse over the years.
As far as the ports go we had a good time in all the ports.1 excursion we took that was memorable was with Antigua Premier Tours.Our driver Carl Warner was excellent and for $35.00 a head we got a great tour of the island.
Summing up we had a great time on the Freedom and definitely will be taking another Carnival Cruise next year.Even though Carnival needs to improve some irritants they still offer good value for our travel dollar.