Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by julianne74: Very nice!
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Review of Carnival Freedom, 8 day to Panama, Costa Rica, and Panama. May 2011.
We are a married couple, no kids, have cruised on a few different lines and are in our mid 30s. This was our 3rd cruise on Carnival in four years. Our last cruise was an obstructed balcony on the Legend last fall. (I totally recommend the obstructed balcony! Great value!)
I give pretty unbiased reviews, so if you are wanting to read a perfect glowing review, stop now. ;)
Our first issue was that we took the cruiseline's airfare package. We do not normally do that, but being that it was near spring break time, fares were high. The flight was a connecting one on the day of the cruise and was not getting in until 1:25 pm. I called CCL about a month before sailing when we got the itinerary finally and they did not seem concerned. The boat would wait for us. Well, as luck would have it, we were delayed out of the connecting airport due to mechanical problems More and did not get in until after three pm! By the time we arrived, we were treated as an afterthought when checking in and it was stressful and exhausting. Was the mechanical issue CCLs fault? No, but they could have not cut it so close to begin with! No apologizing, nothing. I do not know what I expected them to do, though. I suspect CCL would blame it on the people they farm out the airfare crap to. We did not miss the boat.
Check in was obviously quick at that point. We arrived onboard during the boat drill. Quick, painless. We had early dinner and that was fine. Food during the cruise was fine. I had weight loss surgery in January and there were plenty of options for me. Tandoor, the Mongolian wok place, deli meats, etc. I brought my protein powder and a shaker cup to make breakfast in the a.m. and there was always eggs and breakfast meat. Dinner always had lots of lean protein, veggies, soups, sugar free dessert. No complaints. We did not go to the steakhouse for obvious reasons, but the steakhouse and chefs table have always been awesome. Also note that my husband loves the fish and chip place and he loved that.... It seemed to be open more often on this cruise than on past cruises.
Review of the ports.
Cozumel. Blah blah. You have probably been there if you are a cruiser. We did the Two Reef Snorkel and it was underwhelming. Palancar is the place to go in Cozumel. This Two Reef deealio took us to two relatively barren places that were still in view of the ship. It was a gorgeous day, but if it was my first snorkel trip i may have never gone again. The operators of the tour were fine, the sites sucked though. Great place to buy rx drugs, btw. There is a place in the little fake town port that is newer and they have a place called like Drugs and Deli or something. Ha!
Costa Rica. Eh. Did the ziplining.... Something about a rainforest canopy tour? Never ziplined before, but other than our tourbus getting stuck in a ditch and having to change vehicles, it was a crowded tour but nice. Terrain uneven. Lots of mud.
Panama. First time there. Took the My Friend Mario 007-1 tour. This was indians and a lock tour out of Colon. Mario is not my friend. I now know. Not that we ever met him. To begin, the tour was very unorganized to start. I think this was the only time that month we were in port, so they packed us like anchovies into these busses when they finally got busses. When we arrived at the little rural area where we were to get on the motorized canoes, there was no restroom. I bought toilet paper at a creepy little store for thirty cents and then paid seventy cents of "conscience money" to an old woman with no teeth pandering with a very ill child who was displayed next to the sidewalk. She was an angry woman with a wooden shack with literally the dirtiest outhouse I have ever seen. I was traumatized. I am not joking. I dont need to expand on it, but the point is that we drove 45 min and this was the only bathroom facility that the tour had for us. The next
bathrooms would not be for another 40 min at the Embera Indian Village place and even that place.... The facilities were crude and the flies....oh the big flies...... Just wow. Anyway, I would not recommend wearing good shoes as the clay is still all over my sneakers and they probably have urine and feces on them from the restrooms. My suggestions include.... Not taking this tour if you have not had tetanus shots or hepatitis shots, if you are not agile and may have a problem with uneven terrain to the extremes, if you are prone to dehydration, if you get queasy easily, or if you have any back issues. The canoe ride was hard on our tailbones and we are healthy young people. The indian thing was neat, the lock was neat (gatun) but the tour guide woman was kind of snotty. Knowledgeable but snotty. And kind of mean.
The ship itself was nice. We like Carnival. We had an inside room on deck 10 and it was no bigger than a regular inside room, but it was awfully convenient for the pool and lido deck areas.
We loved sitting in the hot tubs at night and watching movies under the stars. We also liked the karaoke with a live band behind you that they had a few times. All in all, this was a lovely cruise....with just a couple of rough spots that were not really Carnival's fault. Great steward, good waiter, decent cruise director. This was a full sailing and the only crowded places were the places that had food and sun. Sometimes we felt like the ship was half full, but during peak buffet times it was really crowded. Oh, and the interior is horrid style wise.... Your mileage may vary!
All in all, a good cruise! :) Less
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