We are ages 51, 50 traveled with 18 yo son on Carnival Freedom 6 day.
Stayed at Embassy Suites the night before - would not recommend as they do not respect non-smoking requests. $15 cab to the port around 12:15 pm - should have arrived earlier as there was a long winding line in the sun. Took us close to an hour and a half to board; at least our cabin was ready!
Thought the balcony cabin was nice. Liked being on the Verandah deck with no balconies overhead and only one deck from the Lido buffet and pool areas. There was quite a bit of noise overhead certain nights as if crew was moving chairs/equipment around. Cabin steward was one of the best in all of our cruises as we never returned to an unmade cabin.
Liked the ship even though it was big - lots of deck space to lay out on. Even though the ship was sold out and there were chairs being saved, there were always available loungers if you went up to a higher deck (where it was also always cooler with a breeze!) LOVED the Serenity Deck!!!
Thought the food was good - plenty of choices at the buffet. Our son is a health nut and he was always able to find something to eat and the dining room staff always accomodated his requests. Had Your Time Dining and never had to wait for a table. Found a wait staff we liked and requested their table every night.
The ports were repeats for us so we did not do any excursions, just got off and walked around and shopped.
Disembarkation was a breeze. Did the self-assist and was off the ship by 6:45 am. I would not be afraid to book an early morning flight in the future based on the ease of this disembarkment.
Lastly, the negative - the entertainment: BAD. Worst of all our cruises. Enjoyed the late night comics but their show repeated all week so once you saw the show your only choice was to re-watch them again and again. The production shows were ok but that is not our favorite type of entertainment. The cruise staff shows were just silly and lame. Sitting thorugh bingo or that silly gameshow was painful. Liked the big screen TV but the movies were old movies that have been out a long time on DVD and again they were repeated throughout the week. Carnival's cruises are priced lower than the other lines and this is the area we felt like "you get what you pay for".
Would recommend this cruise to others but keep your expectations on the entertainment low.