Our family loved the Carnival Freedom. We sailed during Spring Break and had a wonderful experience. The ship at first glance was somewhat tacky but by the end of the first day the decor grew on us and we found the ship to be beautiful and very clean. I read previous complaints that the ship was broken up and confusing but this was not a bother at all and I don't really understand the fuss. If a floor didn't go through, then we simply walked up or down a flight or two of stairs and went to a floor that had access through. We quickly got the hang of the layout. The Freedom's staff are a fantastic crew and the cruise director Ryan was very enthusiastic and good at his job.
There were certain areas of the ship that were very smoky and it was difficult to sit in any bar/lounge area without smoke. As non-smokers we would have enjoyed a non-smoking bar area.
The entertainment was very enjoyable at all venues. The singers and dancers were impressive and the comedians were funny. The Beatles revue was excellent. The movies on deck in the evening were a good way to spend some family time. How often do you sit outside with a warm breeze and watch a movie with the family?
The food was very good and plentiful. My husband enjoyed 2 dinners each evening with 2 appetizers and a caesar salad (the caesar salad was consistently delicious). Wow - the chocolate melting cake is a must for dessert. Our server Made and his team were a fantastic group. They always had smiles on their faces.
We were shocked at the food waste on the ship. We witnessed excessive amounts of food waste, mainly in the buffet area. Our #1 rule for our family was that any one of us could take whatever we wanted, but we had to eat all we took...no food waste.
The pop cards for $36 are a must for pop drinkers (great deal for our kids). Buckets of beer are approx $25 with gratuity and slushy drinks are approx $8-$9 with gratuity. My favourite was the Mango Swirl (delicious). Gratuity is automatically included in every bar order, including pop, water and liquor. When we sat down for dinner every night our wine steward delivered the kids pop automatically and promptly took our wine order. He was another example of Carnival's fantastic staff.
Our room was an oceanview on the Main floor. It was very spacious and comfortable for 4 people. Our room steward Joan did a great job looking after us. She filled our ice bucket daily and created a different animal with our towels every night. We looked forward to coming to our room to see what she created for us. One night we thought that she did not do an animal and it took us approx 10minutes to find it. It was a monkey hanging on the doorknob of the connecting door to the room next to us.
The only disappointment was Camp Carnival. Our 11 yr old found it to be too young and chose not to attend after the first day.
We did not participate in any ship excursions on shore but chose to take taxi's/shuttles to the beach at every port ourselves. It was substantially cheaper for us and we really just wanted beach time. We always came back in time to do a little shopping at shore and then board the ship (see port reviews).
Embarkation and debarkation were both smooth and quick. We chose to take our own luggage off the ship and would not do it any other way.
Carnival exceeded our expectations and we were very happy with our choice. We will choose Carnival again in the future.