This 6-night cruise on Carnival Frredom with 3 stops, Key West-Grand Cayman-Jamaica, and 2 sea days was perfect for our family of four with two young children on Spring Break, not too short, not too long, decent land excursions, and great Spring weather where the high tempurature was in the mid-eighties the whole time.
Embarkation was simple and quick and Self-Assist Debarkation was better and quicker. We stayed on deck 9 where the 3 pools, 5 hot tubs, huge buffet dining room, outdoor movie, water slide, live music, and many other activities are located. We don't have to ride a whole lot of elevators. Stay on this deck if you can, especially if you have kids with you. The pool and the water slide were opened on embarkation day, so bring swimsuits in your carry-on. Food and entertainment selections were good and plenty. Select Your-Time-Dining if you can, because you can go to dinner in the formal dining room anytime between 5:45 PM and 9:00 PM. You maynot be seated at the same table everynight if you select this option. Staff members throughout the ship were very nice and helpful. Shore excursions were excellent at all three stops. We had a great time on this cruise.
Key West: We went parasailing with Fury company. The cost is much cheaper than booking with the cruise line, which is using the same company. The ride out on the speed boat was nice. We all enjoyed our ten-minute ride high in the air and a quick dip in the ocean. The total trip was about an hour. We then went to town for some shopping and sight seeing before returnning to the ship for a late lunch. You only have to bring your Sign & Sail cards and driver license if you are 18 or older to get on and off the ship for shore excursions. Leave your passport in the room safe.
Grand Cayman: We took an 8:00 AM tender to port. Grand Cayman time is the same as Central Standard Time, that means one hour ahead of our ship time. We met with Dexter from the Fantasea Tour for a short bus ride to his catamaran. It was a peaceful 40 minute ride to Stingray City. We spent 30 minutes there playing with the stingrays and snorkling in the 3 to 5 foot deep sandbar in the middle of the ocean. We then went to the nearby reef for more snorkling in the 8-10 foot deep water where you can see the bottom clearly with plenty of fish around. The total time for this excursion was about 3.5 hours. Don't forget to bring a waterproof camcorder/camera. I used the Kodak HD Sportplay camcorder/camera. The video clips and pictures came out great.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We took an early tour to Dunn's River Falls using Peat Taylor Tour, rented a $5 locker to store all your belongings and then follow the park guides to climb the falls. It was an easy climb since my 7 year old girl had no problem at all and wanted to do it again. The water shoes really help for this 30-minute climb with several stops at leveled parts of the falls for pictures. Try to get there early because it will be too crowded later on. We then got back on the bus for a 15-minute ride through towns and up the hills to a White River Tubing spot. We met the guides with fifteen other riders and each of us was given a large hard-plastic bottomed inner tube to ride in. The water was only waist deep and it was very safe for kids. We stopped midway for break and to do base jumping into a deep part of the river from 15 feet above, only if you are interested. We then river tubing the rest of the way. The total time for this 2-stop excursion was about 3.5 hours. We did not encounter any problems with pushy vendors or the park employees as some reviewers mentioned.