Our cruise on the Carnival Freedom (8 day on May 21) was as usual fantastic. I will start by saying we are in our 60's and very easy to please. We don't feel that we have to meet the CD or ask for any special privileges. Just keep the soft serve ice cream open and we are happy campers. We feel that it is such a privilege to cruise that the little things don't bother us. Traveling in May we had very few children on board and did not see any kids running wild. It was an older crowd with some young adults sprinkled in. Never saw anything out of line with anybody. Yes, we noticed some chair hogs around the pool area but since we don't like to sit there it didn't bother us. I did enjoy the serenity deck a time or two. We took our 2 bottles of wine and our 2 12 packs of sodas on board and ordered a bottle of Crown from the Bon Voyage department. It was in our room when we got back from enjoying Sail Away.
Flew in the day before. We stayed at the Hyatt Airport. Nice hotel, shuttle from the airport and to the ship were great. Close to a lot of restaurants and shopping. Publix in the shopping center next door. Left the hotel at 10:00 am and were on the ship by 11:30 am.
We met our steward Arun and tipped him at the first meeting. We had excellent service. Always had ice and a clean room. That is about all we ask for. The 2 sea days were relaxing, I always love the sea days. While on board we went to 2 shows " All that Jazz" and "Ticket to Ride" both were typical Cruise ship shows, entertaining but not outstanding. We also went to the Steakhouse 1 night. It was a wonderful experience and for $30 a person I think an outstanding bargain. We did not go to the comedy club but walked through the piano bar one time and someone (not the pianist) was singing and it was terrible. We found a wonderful band in the Habana Cigar Bar and were there before and after dinner every night. They also preformed in the show "Ticket to Ride" You have to walk through the Cigar Bar to get to the computers. We took advantage of the "currently onboard" forum (Carnival Website Forums in Funville) to stay in touch with the family in Houston. The website is free and I felt so much better getting daily updates from our Son and Daughter visiting my 90 year old mother.
The food in the MDR was very good and I always left way too full. Our waitress was Sylvia and she was great. We were at a table with 2 other couples about our age from England. They were a delight. We looked forward each night to trading stories about what we had done that day. Both couples were very interested in "the American old west" and were thrilled when they learned we were from Texas.
Tues - St. Thomas - We walked across the street to Paradise Point and took the tram to the top. A reminder, nothing opens in St. Thomas until 9:00 am so we had to wait about 30 minutes for the tram to open. But the view was worth it. We had our Bushwackers , took way too many pictures and went back down the tram. We found a taxi (very easy to do) and told her to take us to Mountain Top, Drakes Seat and Megans Beach. The views were awesome but we both found Megans Beach way too crowded. 2 ships in port (Freedom and Dream). Next time we will request another beach.
Wed - Antigua - My favorite port !!. We booked a tour online with Lawrence of Antigua. He was wonderful. There was just one other couple on the tour with us and we all enjoyed it immensely. We visited Shirley Heights, The Interpretation Center, Nelson's Dockyard , saw some beautiful countryside and learned some interesting Antiguan history. The entire tour Lawrence was telling us things about the island and pointing out interesting sites. He stopped numerous times for us to take pics or just take in the beauty. We then went to Valley Church Beach. What a change from the day before. It was wonderful, quite, peaceful and beautiful. There is a bar/restaurant ,bathrooms and a shower there so I was happy. Lawrence waited for us and took us back to the ship about 4:00 pm.
Thurs - Tortula - Since this was short day (ship left at 3:30) we took a Carnival tour of the island and went to Cain Garden Beach for a swim and buffet lunch. Food was good and the setting was beautiful. The ride in the open air taxi was interesting to say the least. Very steep, winding roads over the mountain. Kind of scary but very fun.
Friday - Sea Day I purchased the "Behind the Fun Tour" for my husband. He loved it and said he would recommend it to anybody. It was very interesting and he had his picture taken with the Captain.
Saturday - Nassau We were "beached out" so we took a harrowing taxi ride to Atlantis just to walk around and see it. On the way out we saw a sign that said ferry to town. We took that back to town and it was much nicer and very interesting. We had a man on the ferry to point out points of interest and talk about Nassau. The ferry docks next to the ship, so very convenient. We went to Hard Rock for lunch and walked around the Straw Market, quite an experience. That place is one of those things you need to see but only for a short time. Very crowed and pushy vendors. I am not sure but I think we might have left 3 people in Nassau, they were paging them until we sailed away. It seems that Senior Frogs might have claimed some more cruisers. That place gets lots of people in trouble.
Sunday - Ft. Lauderdale We had an 11:00 flight back to Houston. We did self assist and left the ship in the first wave of people. No lines at Customs, got a taxi easily and got to the airport waaaay too early but, better safe than sorry. Washed clothes for the next two days. Oh well, back to the real cold cruel world.
All in all I would say this was a fantastic cruise. We did what we wanted, when we wanted and were taked care of wonderfully by Carnival.