“Carnival Freedom to Western Caribbean in October 2011”
Cruise review of Carnival Freedom

DrJfrmLA Carnival Freedom 4 Carnival Freedom to Western Caribbean in October 2011
Member Since 2011
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We were excited about the 8-day itinerary having three sea days since our cruise before was a 12-day Mediterranean cruise on Carnival Magic that left us thrilled but exhausted. Our goal was a lazy sea-filled holiday with no internet or cell phone bother. Freedom's itinerary delivered that wonderfully. Freedom is clean and well-maintained. While it isn't fair to say she is worn around the edges, her decor is a bit dated. Maybe frumpy is the word I should use. Our cabin was clean and well kept by our Steward. I think I heard the Cruise Director mention that she was due in dry dock for a refurb before long. The crew were up to Carnival's usual standards of efficiency and politeness, but there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm or friendliness beyond the letter of Carnival's expectations for employees. That is not to say the crew were unfriendly. Our room steward was quite friendly and polite, for example, but the bar staff, the entertainment crew, and the dining room staff did not go "the extra step" that we have come to expect from Carnival crew members. I can't exactly put the words to the feeling, but it came from a crew motivation issue that is the director of the hotel's shortcoming. We use Anytime Dining, so we did not have a single server for the duration of our cruise. The service in Anytime Dining varies from efficient to distracted depending on whether the dining room is filled or not when you eat. Since we eat relatively early, the Anytime Dining area was crowded most nights and it was difficult to get everything to the table at the same time. We often waited for silver service or for a tea bag or honey for coffee. The waits were not terrible, but it was a bit frustrating to sit with food in front of us while we waited for the proper untensil(s) or to have coffee go cold before the honey arrived. The quality of the food was Carnival's best fare, although the one night I had the Flat Iron Steak I had to send it back twice to get a rare piece. As usual, the dining staff were willing to accommodate whatever food combinations we requested. The concierge services we receive as Platinum Cruisers were delivered as promised, and the VIP check-in got us aboard and settled at a table on Lido before the boarding rush began. We were off the ship first (with the early flights) and were in the car and on the way home before 8:30 AM. The Cruise Director was consistent with the lack of enthusiasm we found from the crew (maybe he was the source). Jacques was effective but he had the annoying habit of coming on the loud hailer and going on with a five minute litany of activities rather than saying 30 seconds worth a time so we could get back to whatever we were doing. Our last sailing was with John Heald, so it is probably unfair (but inevitable) to compare. The musicians on this cruise were not to our liking. There are inevitably one or two Promenade/Sun Deck acts you can take or leave, but the mix of music on this cruise was uniformly off our radar and not very good to boot. That doesn't make or break any cruise for us, but if I were under 45, I would have been disappointed. In fairness, we are not late night disco goers, so that music may have been just what the doctor ordered for those who like it. We used this cruise to unwind and relax, so we participated in fewer of the onboard activities than we usually do. It is uncommon for us to come home without at least one "ship on a stick" but we passed in favor of card games on the Promenade and lazy afternoons on the Serenity Deck. Freedom is a fine ship and its crew are right up to marks. As I said, there was something undefinable missing from this experience that we have come to expect from Carnival cruises. We enjoyed the cruise a lot and would not hesitate to book Freedom again, so I am not damning with faint praise. We simply did not have the "wow" experience we have had on nearly all our other Carnival cruises.
Carnival Freedom Cruises to the Western Caribbean
Overall Ratings
  • Cabin
  • Dining
  • Embarkation
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Family & Children
  • Fitness & Recreation
  • Onboard Experience
  • Public Rooms
  • Rates
  • Service
  • Shore Excursions
  • Value for Money

Cabin review: Balcony

A little too close to the atrium elevator lobby. The performers in the lobby bar could be heard in our cabin. The Steward would close the boarding doors at night to muffle the noise until it subsided. I think it was more an acoustics problem than the actual location of the cabin. Great elevator proximity. Noise from lobby bar. Across from pantry--noisy in the morning if you sleep late.

Port and Shore Excursions

Not much to do, but the scenery was breathtaking. The two street shopping district is still developing, but right now a short stroll off the ship for a couple of hours will let you see all there is to see.
Read 1,035 Antigua Reviews
We took a snorkel/sail excursion right off the cruise dock, so we did not do our usual stroll down Bay Street. The straw market was destroyed in a hurricane earlier this year and has not been rebuilt, so the street along the port (right out of the arrivals hall) is a shanty town of the vendors from the old straw market. Nassau is not my favorite port because it is much like Cozumel in terms of tourist attitude; you are quite aware the Bahamians realize their economy lives on tourists and cruise ships, but they don't like it a bit. Ripping off a naive guest is the national passtime.
Read 4,128 Nassau Reviews
Charlotte Amalie is down-at-the-heels a bit more than Nassau. The shopping area at the cruise terminal is newer but lacks the charm of downtown.
Read 3,415 St. Thomas Reviews
Shopping isn't great in Tortola, but you don't notice because the island is so beautiful. It is the setting for "Pirates of the Caribbean." We took an island tour that wound over to Pusser's Landing and back. Clearly there is more to see than our brief stay allowed, but you won't find it on any shore excursion.
Read 967 Tortola Reviews
Published 10/23/11
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Carnival Freedom Cruises to the Western Caribbean
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