By Steve Faber, Cruise Critic Contributor
Carnival Freedom Overview
The 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom -- the fifth and final incarnation of Carnival Cruise Lines' highly successful Conquest class -- debuted in 2007. Like its Conquest-class sisters, Freedom features a decent ratio of cabins with balconies, a poolside jumbotron, an energetic casino, an ornate three-deck theater, more than a dozen bars and lounges, and a series of shops. The hard-to-please teen set get their own nightclub, too (which is located along the promenade with the rest of the "adult" fare).
Freedom's basic architecture is a conventional sandwich with most public rooms on Decks 3 through 5; most fitness, spa and casual dining on Deck 9 and above; and most passenger cabins in between or below the public room decks. This basic design has been a template for Carnival new-build construction since the introduction of Destiny in 1996. There have been some changes and improvements in attributes and amenities since the class was launched in 2002, most notably the addition of the Seaside Theater, a giant outdoor screen poolside on the Lido Deck (now on almost every Carnival ship), but Freedom suffers from the same passenger-flow bugaboos as do the others in the class. For example, it is impossible to get from the Posh Dining Room at the aft end of the ship to the Victoriana Lounge (main showroom) all the way forward without having to climb or descend one or two decks, and even then one has to pass either through the other dining room or the cigar bar.
But what really sets each Conquest-class ship is the design choices, some of which will invariably have you scratching your head, wondering how they came up with an ambience that was at the same time dark and gaudy. Metallic accents are generally in copper rather then the brighter choice of brass. Lighter colors -- beiges, creams and whites -- appear seldom, and then only as accents. Lighting sconces throughout the Freedom Restaurant, the ship's buffet venue, are fashioned from disembodied heads of the Statue of Liberty casting eerie watery light through their translucent blue fiberglass faces. And all over the ship there are banks of pulsating lights that constantly change color.
Patterns from nature are used as major background elements, but as if seen through a distorting filter. For example, in the Millennium Atrium and throughout the public decks, wood paneling with hyper-emphasized grain patterns in bright orange, black and gray proliferates -- looking like the result of a tiger and a zebra falling into a plywood-manufacturing machine. The ceilings and walls in both main restaurants are done in a black and deep red metallic snakeskin pattern.
Zaniness aside, Freedom ultimately gives you what you'd expect from any of the "Fun Ships" -- gambling, dining, partying, lounging and fun for cruisers of all ages.
Carnival Freedom Fellow Passengers
Expect a casual, largely American group with high energy and a penchant for having fun. Caribbean sailings generally attract the younger end of the scale -- Carnival estimates only 30 percent over 55 -- and feature a healthy blend of Carnival loyalists and first-timers.
Carnival Freedom Dress Code
Casual. Though blue jeans are now off the verboten list, shorts and T-shirts are still unacceptable at dinner -- but that's about it. Even Sun King does not have a dress code beyond the vague "dressy casual." There are two cruise elegant nights, and a decent percentage of passengers go to the formal end of the scale: men in suits or tuxedos, women in cocktail dresses and evening gowns.
Carnival Freedom Gratuity
Carnival recommends $11.50 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $5.80 to dining room services, $3.70 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.
I booked the 6 day western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Freedom for June of 2013.
We reached the port at around 11:30 the terminal was already filled with eager passengers to board the ship and begin their fun ...continue
We have sailed Carnival many times and have never been disappointed - and the Freedom has now been added to our list of "must do again"! When we arrived at the cruise port we were immediately registered, photographed and given our cabin key - we ...continue
1 - 3 of 667 Reviews
Great service, wonderful staff, beautiful meals and destinations. Food and service in Chic totally better than I expected. Great food choices each night, it was incredibly hard to choose.... and the belly can only hold so much. The filet mignon ...continue