My sister and I decided to take our mother for a cruise for her 80th birthday. we arrived at Port Everglades around 1:00 p.m. Our departure time was set for 4 p.m. Parking was a bit hectic and we ended up on the roof of the parking structure at mid-terminal. The Carnival Freedom was docked in slip 19 so it was a quick walk across the loading area to the building. Luckily, my mother had her wheelchair so we did not have to stand in the lines snaking around the ropes and were on the ship in a matter of 15 minutes. If not, I estimate the wait time would have been anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Our cabin was ready so we dropped off our carry-on and checked out the view from the balcony before proceeding to the Lido deck for lunch. The ship itself wasn't esthetically pleasing, but it was clean and the crew was pleasant. The layout of the Freedom makes it difficult to go from one end to the other without having to go up to deck 5 to cross over. Deck and 3 and 4 were blocked by the galley. Fortunately, we were slightly aft and our dinning room was three decks below us, so we didn't have to take any extra elevator rides. As expected on the first day, the elevators were jammed and it was hard to get a wheelchair into one with alot of people. After the first couple of days, finding an open elevator got easier. The safety drill was hot and had us standing for a bit as late comers (who were forced to leave the bars) finally showed up. We didn't have to bring our life jackets so that made it a bit more comfortable.
The first two days were at sea and the weather was nice with a little wind. Deck 12 where the putt-putt was closed as was the water slide due to the wind on the first day. People as usual were hogging chairs with towels from early morning and not arriving until mid-morning to early afternoon to use the chairs. I'm not much of a sun worshiper, however, I found this to be as rude as the people who do it. I heard one couple saying their friends get up and 5 a.m. just to put a towel on a chair and then go back to their cabin to sleep some more before going to breakfast.
This cruise had alot more elder than I normally see and they filled the adult pool and jacuzzi. Most of them were so tanned they looked like leathery creatures. There were some kids but not as many as normal due to the time of year. As with all cruises, there are basically just rude people and this was no exception. Two women almost knocked my mother down in the Lido Buffet as she went to sit at an open table. They promptly sat down at the table and ignored her. My mother has more patience than me because they would have been sitting on the floor if I had been there.
St Thomas is always fun and beautiful. We did some shopping and roaming around Haversight Mall. I love Diamonds International so I was a happy camper. I've been on the tours before and feel they are getting a bit expensive to book on the ship. It is cheaper to book from a local just make sure you come to a agreement on price before you get into the taxi.
Next, stop was Antigua. Again, we just roamed the shops at the doc as it isn't one of my favorite islands. There are some pretty beaches, however, I live in Florida and we have beaches too.
Tortola, is probably becoming one of my favorite places now. Took a cab ride to the top of the mountain and looked down one one side to the Atlantic Ocean and the other to the Caribbean Sea. We then proceeded to a local beach (sorry, can't remember the name) that had a few shops and bars. We rested there before heading back to the ship. It was restful and beautiful by the water. The drinks were good too. Pain killers are the best.
Our last stop was Nassau, again not one of my favorite islands and Atlantis if probably the only place to really have some fun. We went downtown to Del Sol and other shops to pickup gifts.
All in all we had a good time, the entertainment on the Freedom was good but not earth shattering. We liked the shows in the Victoria Lounge and some of the individual entertainers throughout the ship. The comedians at the comedy shop were okay but I wouldn't pay money to see them.
The staff and food on the Freedom were surprisingly good from what I had expected by some reviews. I guess you can't please all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time. I actually enjoyed the food on Carnival better than I did on Radiance of Seas with Royal Caribbean. I found our head waiter, George, to be awesome and fun. The rest of his staff were attentive and also a pleasure to be around. I only ran into two crew members who didn't like being on the ship. They were home sick and cruising wasn't for them. Understandable if they were more quiet than the rest.
We are ready to book another cruise, maybe a 4 day cruise to just get away. If not, another 7-8 day but on another Carnival ship for a change.