Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by cruisingmedic: Nice and relaxing
Overall Member Rating
Nice and relaxing
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation - The terminal at Port Everglades is old and crowded. We drove from the Tampa area the morning of the cruise and arrived at the Park 'n Go at about 1030. Waited for a few minutes to get checked in and then waited for a few minutes for the van to fill and head off to the port. The port itself is a mad house. There were 3 or 4 other ships leaving the same day. Getting to the correct terminal was crazy. We were dropped off and baggage given to the handler and in line by 1130. The line was long and the baggage was moved by forklift to the terminal. The problem with this is that the forklifts had to drive through the crowd to move the luggage to the staging area. The potential for an accident is tremendous. They did not open the terminal until 1200 and after opened the line moved surprisingly fast. We were aboard and eating lunch by 1245.
Cabin - We booked a balcony cabin on the Veranda Deck (8422 - port side aft). It was a standard Carnival cabin and we had no More problems with the cabin during the trip. Our steward was excellent, greeting us by name, and giving us the standard rundown of his services. He kept our room nice and clean and the minibar and ice well stocked. The balcony was nice, but the majority of space was occupied by the furniture. My only disappointment was the number of smokers around us - it just made using it less enjoyable.
Food/Dining Room - We used the buffets for breakfast and lunch and ate every night in the dining room except for one, when we dined in the supper club. The buffet was standard fare and was edible. The omelet station and the Mongolian grill were my favorites. Our waitstaff was excellent, meeting our every need. The food was good and the menu diverse. Food was not quite hot - but it wasn't cold as some here have complained. The portion size is very good, you leave full but not stuffed... unless you want to be stuffed. I will say that the macaroni and cheese was excellent for a side dish. One night we dined in the supper club and it was superb!
Ports - Key West, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. I was stationed in Key West when I was in the Navy and things are certainly different! We just walked around Duval Street going through shops and getting a few items that were forgotten when we packed. Grand Cayman. I have to give kudos to the Captain and crew here. The normal anchorage was too rough to allow for tender service so he chose to anchor in Bodden Bay instead of missing the port. The crew made changes so that the tours were moved to the new landing site and everything moved smoothly - for such an abrupt change. We, of course, did Stingray City (my 5th time but my wife's 1st!) and then walked around George Town. In Ocho Rios we did the shark swim and the fall and both were amazing. We booked through Carnival prior to departure just to make sure there were no problems with the tours.
Debarkation - Nothing short of amazing. We were scheduled to debark at 0710 and we did. The longest wait was for the elevator to deck 0 - we chose self assist. Through customs and at our car by 0745. The Park 'n Go van pulled up just as we exited the terminal and took us directly to our waiting car.
Park 'n Go - just a quick word about them. If you leaving from Port Everglades and have driven - use them. It is so much simpler that using the port's parking facilities, oh, and it's about half the price.
One Last Word - It's Carnival. They're known for their Vegas style decorations. If that's not what you want I'm sure that another cruise line will be more than happy to have you book with them. Read the reviews people, if you don't like "garish" don't go on Carnival, but you'll be missing out on a great trip for a great price.
Happy Sailing! Less
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