My husband and I cruised on the Freedom for our 14th wedding anniversary. We are in our 40's and work in the entertainment industry. We chose this cruise because it was affordable and we liked the itinerary. [ Key West, Grand Cayman & Ocho Rios] It was our second cruise with Carnival.
Embarkation was a pretty long process, but we expected that. It took nearly 2 hours. The cruise was booked solid, so there were about 3500 people to process, which takes time!
Our cabin was available right away. We had an inside cabin on the Empress Deck. Our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived. It was a nice cabin , with a very comfy bed and everything we needed. Our cabin steward was Sarjena, or "Sarge" He did a very good job taking care of us and our cabin. He was not an exception. All of the staff I encountered were very friendly and professional. They remembered our names and always greeted us with a smile, which is important to me! Our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived.
The ship dEcor was fine, except for the Statue of Liberty heads staring at you creepily from behind the buffet!! Ha-ha! The layout was a bit confusing, and the pools are a bit small for so many people. Other than that, I thought it was a nice, clean ship.
The cruise director, Brad Calabrese, was very good at his job! Very funny and likeable! He was all around that ship, hosting things, making announcements, and even on the tv for a fun talk show in the morning.
"The Fun Patrol" was a group of guys and girls that helped everyone have a good time and Mysti was especially hardworking and nice.
Onboard, we did a little gambling in the casino,[ didn't lose too much!] hung out in the adult pool area, attended two adult comedy shows ,[funny] watched live band Karaoke, [very entertaining]several musical acts :singles ,duos and trios[ not as good] and played BINGO . I also participated in the talent show on the last night of the cruise!
"The Love Game", and the 2 musical shows in the Victoriana Theatre [The Beatles and The Big Easy] were fantastic! Charlie Garrett and The Freedom Orchestra were excellent, the dancers and production were as well. The female lead singer, Heather Wagner was a standout and extremely talented!!
We ate at the buffet for breakfast and it was standard buffet food. Lunches were usually pizza by the adult pool. Food was available throughout the ship at various times. I enjoyed having some sushi before dinner.
The food in the Posh dining room was pretty good. The staff made our meals there memorable and if the dish was not to my liking, they would bring me something else immediately. My favorite was Wassana , a joy to be around and a real asset to the ship.
The Sun King is definitely worth the extra expense and we enjoyed a lovely anniversary
dinner there. The service was impeccable .
Elegant and formal nights there were many photographers with various backgrounds to have your picture taken. It was fun and we took home a beautiful photo of the two of us.
The ports of call were all enjoyable. We just walked around Key West and did a little shopping, and ended up at a bar called "The Treehouse", It was a great people watching spot and Mike, the bartender was very fun and makes a mean Margarita with fresh squeezed orange juice!
We booked our own excursion in Grand Cayman with Nativeway Tours, which I found through Tripadvisor.com. We went to Stingray City and I kissed a stingray!!! Then we snorkeled and had lunch at Rum Point Beach. Chris was our Captain and JC his mate. They did a great job with our group of 20 , making sure we were safe and comfortable.
It was a wonderful day and a very good value!
The tender line back to the ship was CRAZY!!! An hour and ten minutes in the blazing sun! The area where they have you in line is not comfortable . Basically cement , with a few tented areas. I think that it could be made much more comfortable for the guests.
In Ocho Rios Jamaica , where we have visited many times.we hired a private driver, Paul Williams, also highly recommended on Tripadvisor.com, and someone we have used before. We met a lovely couple on the Freedom, named Howie and Pearl and we brought them along. We went to "The Enchanted Gardens" An off the beaten path spot. We were the only ones there! Our guide, Devon, walked us through the greenery and waterfalls, showing us the different plants. We smelled plants and tasted fruits and really got to know the place through his eyes. Then we went into the aviary and fed the birds. Macaws, peacocks, love birds, parakeets, roosters. They were on my head and feeding right out of my hands! It is an amazing , peaceful spot and I highly recommend it!
Next we went to visit a friend of mine, Elise Yap, the innkeeper of a exquisite B & B called "The Blue House" She is also the founder of "Breadbasket Ministries" a charity that helps local children in Ocho Rios. Last year we visited her and got to spend the day with the children. We only had less than a full day this time, so we just dropped off some school supplies and visited for an hour. It was lovely!
Lastly, we went to Reggae Beach and I had a fresh whole red snapper and a red stripe lunch. It is a very beautiful beach, and a waitress walks you down to your spot and takes care of you the whole time. There is a fee to enter $9.50 each . You can also pay $50 each and have an all inclusive deal on the right side of the beach called The Bamboo Club. It was kinda rowdy and loud. So, we just went to the left side of the beach where we sat under a shade tree and soaked in the beauty that is Jamaica! It was a very memorable day!
The last day at sea, was fun and relaxing,and that evening we attended a cocktail party for repeat guests , with complimentary food and drinks and the orchestra and Freedom Freddy the mascot! It was very nice. Luckily disembarkation was much quicker and fairly painless and orderly.
All and all, FREEDOM IS A FUN SHIP! If you know how to have fun , you will!