Very exited party of 10 in their mid thirties to early fifties boarding Freedom for 8 days in Eastern Caribbean all 1st time on Carnival ship, 4th cruise overall.
Absolutely awesome, friendly, smiling, helpful and professional crew members. The MDR staff was kind and great! Room steward did good job, never on the way! Ticket To Ride ware the best production I've ever seen on the cruise ship, orchestra did great. Nice sauna and spa, water slide, outdoor TV screen while on the deck we can learn lot of thinks about activities on board and visiting islands. Prices in the ship stores lower the competitors. Definitely destinations was the highlights of the cruise: St Thomas (island tour by rented minivan, Paradise Point, Mountain Top, Coki Beach snorkeling, Megan's Bay swimming) Antigua (private island tour, Stingrays, Fig Tree Drive, Coco Beach, Jolly Beach) Tortola (private island tour, Smugglers Cove) Nassau (Atlantis tour, Straw Market shopping).
Since we were on the ship at noon our luggage arrived in the cabin very late about 5pm. We shared our cabin with our daughters (7, 11) and nobody brought us small (kids) life jackets, compared to our last cruises on various lines we always received the small jackets without asking, hmm... Carnival safety issue? Our cabin washroom door lock did not work. The interior decor of the ship is ghastly dark, difficult to understand, boring and depressing. Annoying, changing colors signs or light repeating in almost every public room of the ship. Wall panels with the same design patterns repeating everywhere: from main dining room, lido buffet, hallways to elevator panels. Multiple story atrium will look much better if replace the psychedelic brass forms. Again, repeating cheap plastic of Lady Liberty heads on the light fixtures in the lido restaurant. Or how to explain my daughters that Statue of Liberty is in bright electric blue color ... only on Carnival Freedom! No table cloths, candles or flowers (even artificial) on the lido restaurant tables at dinner time seen on other lines (Costa Fortuna, Nieuw Amsterdam). Public toilets on the Lido deck were filthy, not cleaned frequently with paper and spilled water on the floor. Seats in the main theater were uncomfortable. Except Ticket To Ride and The Big Easy the worst shows ever, or I should say no show at all, in one night in the Theater the main show was just Talent Show performed by 3 passengers (3 songs and over!) oh.. almost forgot...BINGO was before. Next night there was no entertainment scheduled at all. We expected classical music, our kids acrobats, magicians but there was none. After the budget cruise on MSC Poesia E. Caribbean in 2008 we thought that it could not go worse; food in the ship buffet...until we sailed on Freedom... it was maybe not the worst but about the same. Nobody was hungry but paid this much money we are expecting from the ship menu no ordinary, tasty, variety, hot dishes and we are extremely disappointed with feel of "local restaurant". Mongolian Wok - wasting time in the long line dishes tasteless in my opinion they use not enough or very light sauces. Mediocre main entries in MDR and very poor desert selection, Baked Alaska was a joke compared to REAL Baked Alaska on HAL. Each night exactly the same selections of meat, fish or deserts in MDR and Lido Buffet for dinner, read: if you do not eat well in MDR you will run upstairs and have almost the same dishes as a buffet! Self frozen yogurt stations messy most of the times. Good luck to find lounge chairs after 10am on day at sea. In the ship paper no information what kind of show or sometimes even no title of the show! Lido band frequently repeating "Somebody say ye yo..." without any other clue how to make deck fun. Very few and poor activities and deck parties, didn't have the spark we saw on Costa Fortuna or RCL few years back. Self disembarkation was crowded and long lines. But the worst experience of the whole cruise was discovered after returning home and checking credit card: overcharge $57.00 on top of our cruise bill (2 cabins the same amount over the bill). Called Carnival and heard that this is for in-room beverages (how it is possible, if we never use it?). Called twice and still waiting for the promised refund...have been told that they have lot of inquiries and they are processed in the order of received (is this typical for Carnival?).
Besides all of the negative things we did manage to have a great time, the best islands on the Caribbean, beautiful weather and calm seas, fun with family and friends recompensed all the above. However, we won't be booking with Carnival any soon, and will explain to our friends what to expect if they decide to cruise on Freedom. All 10 of us are looking forward to book future trip with HAL where the elegant atmosphere, decor and standards are light years ahead and that's just for us.