Reporting back on my Carnival Freedom cruise with ACD Dan as the CD during Spring Break .Embarkation was a breeze and we arrived at the ship about 11:15 and were on the Lido by noon! It's a Beautiful ship but I still prefer the Spirit class ships for the flow and the decks that are not broken up by a kitchen between. The food was prepared well but it was obvious to me there were cutbacks in quality.That didn't deter from the experience though.We had a horrible table location in the POSH dining room. There was a pole right in front of our booth that was on the aisle leading to the kitchen were the waiters carrying enormous trays of dirty dishes had to shimmy around sometimes leaning over us. After the first evening we asked for a different table and we were accomodated immediately by Goran who then came to visit us at the new table to ask us why we requested the switch .He apologized and asked if we were happy with the new assignment( which we were and thanked him for his prompt attention and concern).The wait team of Nando, Edwin and Achung were great. They learned our names and beverage preferences and anticipated our requests. My tea was served after dinner each night after the first night without my even requesting it. THAT showed such initiative. Very impressive!
My 16 yr old daughter signed up for Club O2. Where she had an amazing experience. Greg, the counselor (from Canada) earned rave reviews from her. She sometimes didn't return back to the cabin until 3am. The first evening when she wasn't back by 11, my husband went to check on her to make sure she was safe,went to the club and was met at the door by Greg. He described my daughter and Greg said "you mean the girl that plays the bagpipes?" My husband was floored.She was indeed in the club and was being looked after by someone that took the time to get to know a little bit about her! She met a great group of teens and he kept them all engaged and entertained.At the end of the cruise all the "Club O2ers" were given back packs, t-shirts and assorted other gifts.
Key west was the first port and I was disappointed thatwe docked at the far pier at the Naval Air Station and had to be shuttled into town.Going ,not so bad. Coming back, LONG LINES! I just hated waiting for a shuttle in the hot sun.While in Key West we toured the "Little White House" since my DD was learning about Harry Truman is her American history class.It was a pretty good tour.Then we walked down Duval and over to Kermits for some chocolate covered Key Lime pie on a stick. YUM!
Next stop Grand Cayman. We had been here before , twice. We had already been to Hell, the turtle farm and swimming with the stingrays so this was just a wnader around town and shop stop. Funniest moment was seeing a small KFC on a side street with chickens and roosters hanging out in front of the store being fed by the diners.Next stop ,Jamaica and Dunns River Falls.This is where the vaca took a turn.
During our excursion in Jamaica,my husband (after our Dunn's River Falls climb)hurt himself on the Cool Runnings deck while dancing (no alcohol involved,he had a drink in his hand and hadn't even taken a sip when he got up to dance). He couldn't walk. The captain of the catamaran was right there with ice and he had to get a wheelchair back to the ship.The wheelchair from the Cool Runnings had to be used to get him up the gangplank because the ship's wheelchairs are to wide for it.( that needs to be looked into) . So he gets to the Med clinic on board and Dr. Peter Willemstadt from South Africa looked after him. We had a fabulous experience with this doctor.He took xrays and told us my husband had ruptured the patella tendon that holds the knee cap in place. Not pretty. He said he could fax the info for a consult to see if he needed to be airlifted off ($250 consult fee)We agreed to the consult( we purchased the Carnival cruiselines Insurance as secondary and have really good insurance through the Elevator Union) .However, the Doctor never heard back from the fax he sent. Not good follow up from whomever he sent the fax to stateside. We did cancel the consult and no fee was charged as now it was too late because we would be back in Florida in another day. The put an immobilizer brace from thigh to ankle and told him to stay in bed but did give him crutches to get him back and forth to the bathroom. My favorite part was when the nurse gave him an shot in his butt!( she wouldn't let me do it, I asked!!)
Now, leaving the ship is where it gets a little hairy.We requested the wheelchair to get him off the ship which was promptly delivered to our cabin.We get him to the lobby and we hear the last "ping" on our cards and a security guard came out right after us and took the wheelchair away. I asked how he's supposed to get down the gangway on crutches but that security guard just walked away. So I stepped back into the lobby and said "are you going to help him? He can't get down this gangway on crutches". Blank faced stare from security man.Dan , the acting CD , ran to our rescue when he saw me getting upset. I explained what has been going on then Dan gave us back the chair , called a staff member to wheel him down , that guy handed us off to a Carnival port employee who took us through customs and to the curb for our shuttle. Drove 3hrs back to Sarasota and right to the hospital. He had surgery Wednesday to repair the damaged tendon.Best case scenario 2 weeks recovery, worse case 2 months recovery.Everyone all along the way except for that one security guy was helpful ,caring and professional. Forgot to mention that that was Mike's 7th Carnival cruise and my 6th. The 2 kids are up to 3 each and we bought 2 future cruise certificates! Can't wait to go again but we have to wait until next year.
What I did get to see of Dan, he's headed to the top! Misty is wonderful at trivia.Didn't get to meet the Captain because of my husband's mishap but he got us where we needed to go safely and on time, so he did a fine job! I loved the three big productions but especially seeing the Big Easy on Fat Tuesday( Mardi Gras).Not too fond of the Legends show but I did enjoy the one comedian I saw ,John Rathbone,although the venue was way too small and the hecklers should have been tossed out the second time they opened their big mouths!
Cabin stewards had their hands full with the spring break crowd who were very loud in the passageways in the wee hours.( I returned the favor on my way to breakfast every morning at 8am( much to my DD's dismay). No towel animals the first or last night.But Marco was there whenever I needed something or had an issue such as the safe not working on elegant night for me to get my jewelry. He had the right person there within 10 minutes. I was very appreciative and impressed with the promptness.
Worst experience was having to pick up the alcohol purchased rather than have it delivered to the room.What a nightmare! 2 people trying to distribute the purchases and the line snaked all the way down the hall.I felt sorry for the two crew members that had to deal with all the people on the queue who were furious at how long the wait was. I got there at 6am and waited 20 minutes by the time I left, the line was farther back than I could see.Not a good client experience to a point that I may forego purchasing any alcohol on the future cruises. What kind of loss would that be if many others felt the same?
I did manage to win a coveted 24kt Golden Ship on a stick and despite some minor glitches I had a wonderful cruise.
Kudos to all the crew members I have mentioned except to that heartless,insensitive security guy who left a man in a brace and crutches( who had never used crutches before) standing on the deck. He could have gone the extra degree and didn't step out of his little box.I hope he never finds himself in the predicament my husband was in.