343 Carnival Freedom Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We normally cruise Royal. We've been wanting to see the Bahamas and like departing from Galveston because we can drive there easily, so we thought we would try Carnival. We traveled with four other families for a total of 15 people. ... Read More
We normally cruise Royal. We've been wanting to see the Bahamas and like departing from Galveston because we can drive there easily, so we thought we would try Carnival. We traveled with four other families for a total of 15 people. Carnival does some things better. We liked the food, the kids club, and the entertainment were all impressive compared to Royal. The ship layout is horrible though. The buffet was disappointing and the volume of the music and PA on the pool deck made conversation impossible. Even our kids wanted to leave after the music got cranked up. Royal has better onboard ship features and activities. This ship had problems with sewage, water pressure, and air conditioning. My biggest complaint was the smoke from the casino poured out into decks 3,4 and 5 where all the activities and clubs were. My biggest compliment goes to the crew. Everyone was very nice and helpful. I was impressed that even the stage show performers seemed to enjoy interacting with the passengers. That was something I have never seen from Royal. Will probably still prefer Royal over Carnival, but might give them a try on one of their newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this sailing for smaller ship size and ports. The service for the past few cruises has declined due to massive cutbacks in personnel. This effects the customer and turnover rates. This last sailing, I actually got a steward who ... Read More
I chose this sailing for smaller ship size and ports. The service for the past few cruises has declined due to massive cutbacks in personnel. This effects the customer and turnover rates. This last sailing, I actually got a steward who verbally insulted me, made up the room only twice in one week, never brought the one item we asked for (ice), left our clothes at the laundry (we sent out 2 bags) for half our sailing. Leaving us dirty clothes to wear for half the week. Turnaround is supposed to be same day. We called down to laundry and were told they were ready same day but stew "forgot" to pick them up. Service in MDR - forgot what we ordered every single night. Only 4 at the table. MDR not busy. Cabin: toilet not flushing on arrival. Fridge DOA. Service in casino - more often than not - had to go to bar and get it myself. One guy tipped a waiter $100 bill just to make sure he would get service that night. Found out Carnival now only gives free vouchers for free cruise if you're in the top 5-10% of "whales" spending in casino. One guy I met spent 30,000 and didn't get one..he got free drinks in casino. That's it. So the little guy and the middle income people..unless you are one of the ever increasing few that gets incredibly lucky..u get nothing but maybe free alcohol. The rich will get the comps. Food was just ok overall. Embarkation was horrible. It was searing hot. A 2 plus hour wait in the heat without water (you're not allowed to have water in bags to get on this cruise line to go through scanners). People were dropping bc of heat..While Royal Caribbean stood outside handing out ice water to its customers..knowing it was too hot for them to be out there without some hydration. Shore excursions not booked through Carnival. I'm done with Carnival. Never ever again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We really enjoyed our cruse on the Carnival Freedom. The crew was very nice and everything was very clean. The main pool and water slides are also fun. The ship is not huge so the number of people on board is not crazy. So the lines are ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruse on the Carnival Freedom. The crew was very nice and everything was very clean. The main pool and water slides are also fun. The ship is not huge so the number of people on board is not crazy. So the lines are not to crazy. If you happen to go to their private island, Half Moon Cay the line to get back on the tender will be very long at the end of the day. So either stay on the beach till they tell you to leave or get back to the ship early. I would stay on the beach, it's amazing. Be careful on on the back adult pool though. The smoke stack drops something red and it will get on your cloths. However, if you bring it to guest services they will remove the stains and no charge. The food was good, the shows were awesome but be sure to read my review on our room, cabin 6368. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Summary. We are a party of 10 cruising – 6 adults, 4 teenage girls. Overall positive experience, found the ship and staterooms to be clean, friendly staff overall. Enjoyed the restaurants over buffet. The crew works very hard and ... Read More
Summary. We are a party of 10 cruising – 6 adults, 4 teenage girls. Overall positive experience, found the ship and staterooms to be clean, friendly staff overall. Enjoyed the restaurants over buffet. The crew works very hard and deserve the gratuities. Many pros/ cons and key recommendations to help plan your trip! First the positives: 1) Download and use the carnival app. It’s a great way to communicate (chat plan) with your party and source for the daily activities, restaurant hours, and ability to monitor your daily portfolio spend. $5pp for entire cruise a bargain! 2) Excellent room upkeep and service! Room steward will quickly know your names on day 1. Offer to clean your room 2x a day or 1x a day, your choice (and you note this on form day 1). 1x in the morning was fine for us. Tip them! 3) Cruise director / Emma is great. “Hello lovelies” will stick with your after this cruise. It’s really funny when she laughs at herself with this unique chuckle and then the audience laughs at that. She is really fantastic. Oh yeah, she is from England. 4) Food in restaurants is pretty good! Dinner and breakfast. Now the negatives: 1) Entertainment for most part sub-par compared to other cruises. They do work hard and try, but seems budget is limited. Limited to comedians, lip-sync, customer engaged event shows, and few production dancing shows. The 80s show was fantastic and a must see! Finally some better comedians came onto the ship last few days. Emma cruise director is doing a fantastic job trying! 2) Very noisy areas in main pool area and much of the ship in general. Loud speakers, kids running, etc. This is more of a kids ship and hard to find quiet areas for adults, but there are some hidden areas. See below. 3) Expect long waits for: Restaurants if you do ‘any time dining’ we waited 45min average given our large party of 10. Expect shorter for 4 or less parties. 4) Long lines at: Pizza Pirate near the adult pool. Expect 30 people plus waiting and 1 worker making pizza. Priority goes to the $5 delivery person so expect a wait for 30-45min to pick-up your slice of pizza. Late night pizza lines given limited food options. To management, can you not add another person making fresh pizzas to cut down this line? Tips & Recommendations 1) Install/ use the Carnival app. A bargain for $5 per person for entire cruise. Have everyone in your party do this and you can chat on the ship for meet-ups and know the hours for restaurants and daily activities for entertainment. 2) Bring your own cups (e.g. YETI) to fill with water, lemonade, tea, etc. at the 9th floor deck. The larger the cups the better. Fill them at breakfast and bring to your room. The little green and yellow cups they provide hold about 6 oz. of liquid. Ice is plentiful. Water refill at buffet area, poolside, or bars. Even keeps your beer colder longer! 3) Bring a 3-prong power socket extender. There is ONLY 1 power outlet in your rooms (well, another behind the TV and used for that). You will need to charge multiple phones etc. Or bring a portable charger for your phones. 4) Bring binoculars if you wish to see passing boats, distance, shore excursions, beach, dolphins, etc. 5) Bring a case of water or buy on day 1. You get 2 large bottles day 1 and that will go quick. 6) Wine/ Wine package. Bring your bottle of wine onto ship day 1 only, why not? Else, cost is $35 bottle average. The wine beverage package (3 bottles for $80 with auto-tax) is worth it comes to $26 bottle for standard wines (given auto gratuity) or higher price for premium wines. 7) Best quiet spot for a book or just snooze in the breeze. 3rd floor outside deck under the life boats. There is also the ‘Serenity deck’ for age 21 and up top floor front of ship. Can be crowded there. 8) For large parties eating together at ‘anytime dining’ send someone down to put your name down and get a pager. Will cut your time down for waiting from 45 minutes to 10 minutes. 9) Alcohol in general. Gratuity of 18% auto added to every adult beverage., expect $10 drinks average. The carnival craft brew was great. Value of getting $18 beer pitchers. 10) Teenagers can visit the sports deck for volleyball, basketball and hanging out with others. 11) Auto applied Gratuities for your team members: Vary by cabin, but example $112 pp in cabin allocated to restaurant staff ($55), room service ($35), and group for all others ($22). Posted 2 days before end of cruise, and you can make adjustments at the front desk +/- and allocation % to your preference. 12) Unless you buy/ plan for roaming leave all phones in Airplane mode. Friend charged $3000 prior trip by AT&T and even though I requested all our family to keep in airplane mode, daughter still activated for a few hours and AT&T sent us email for international data of ~$200 for Bahamas temporary use of her social media. Food options 1) Avoid the daily buffet (there is MUCH better options with the restaurant, else Guys Burgers, B-Que). My view is more of poor food quality and lacking taste at buffet and sanitary conditions. Do you really want to touch the tongs that everyone else on the ship is using to server their food including all the kidos! 2) Use the restaurants, they are excellent for breakfast and dinner. From salmon bagels cream cheese capers to steak (filet mignon) and eggs. Yumm. Brunch menu. Dinner options have extensive menu options. 3) Dinner Formal nights. Lobster on the menu for one night and filet mignon the other. Yes, you can get as many lobsters as you can eat! 4) Lunch: Recommend Bque restaurant on 10th floor. Across from steakhouse. Many don’t know about this place given a bit hidden. 5) Lunch. Recommend Guy’s burgers and pizza take out. Pizza is actually very good. 6) Lunch: The sandwich window, excellent meatball sandwich. All are actually great. 7) Breakfast: Eat at the dining room or order room service. 8) Free drinks stations at the buffet areas. Ice, Water, Lemonade, ice tea, coffee. Found the coffee was surprising good and strong. There is a custom coffee shop for $5 coffee, but my view is standard coffee is fine in dining rooms. You can also get coffee delivered room-service! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I am a former cancer patient. I entered remission just a few months ago and had my leg amputated. This was my first cruise. I want to start off with the musicians. There was music for everybody’s taste. But I enjoyed ALL of them. Luisa, ... Read More
I am a former cancer patient. I entered remission just a few months ago and had my leg amputated. This was my first cruise. I want to start off with the musicians. There was music for everybody’s taste. But I enjoyed ALL of them. Luisa, Juliana and Juan in the Accidental String Trio were just...the only word to describe it was beautiful. Neil was singing and Jammin’ the reggae hits on the steel drums. And Rob was rocking it on the guitar. DJ JD with the hits. The Brassaholics with the amazing Maroon 5 medley. And the Latin Band covering latin hits. Emma, Layla and Francois brought so much energy throughout the whole ship. Vargus Mason with the jokes! T.A. Williams at the Piano Bar. Diana and other bartenders tending the bar at the Lobby very well, including the bartenders on Lido who also bring their energy to the ship. I tipped what I could. Next I want to say how much I really appreciate how kind, thoughtful, and caring the staff was. They always offered help. I don’t usually accept help but I made some exceptions. I also made some friends on the cruise. The whole experience is one to remember. They always had smiles on their faces, and always greeted as we cross paths. And as you’re reading this to all of the staff, I just want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. I hope I get to meet you all again. Cheers "Let your smile change the world, don't let the world change your smile..." - unknown "My cup is full to the brim, I could go on and on, the full has never been told" - Buju Banton Side Note: Im looking for a job also (galvancromeo@gmail.com) all photos are unedited Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We choose this cruise because it was stoping at the Bahamas and Keywest. First lets start by saying that this is one of Carnival older ships. The decor is outdated and the colors are dark. However, the ship was clean, the staff was ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was stoping at the Bahamas and Keywest. First lets start by saying that this is one of Carnival older ships. The decor is outdated and the colors are dark. However, the ship was clean, the staff was friendly, and there was plenty to do. Out of all of the cruises Ive taken this one has had the best food so far I really enjoyed Guy's Burgers, deli, BBQ, and the 24 hour ice cream. The dining hall food was really great as well. Every drink I had was great! They keep the entertainment live on this ship. Emma the cruise director kept the energy alive the whole 7 days. She is awesome. The first stop was Keywest. There is really nothing to do here in my opinion. All we did was walk Duval St. We ended up renting a golf cart to get around the island but that was a waste of money. We only did it to make it easir on my parents so they wouldn't have to walk around. The second stop was Freeport Bahamas. We booked an excursion off the boat. Which is much cheaper than booking with Carnival. I suggest booking with tour guide Brice. He was very informative while taking us around Freeport. Then he took us to a really nice beach where the water was beautiful and not too crowded. The weather was hot but beautiful. We visited a candle factory and also sampled rum cake. Brice took us to a local market where you can buy homemade souvenirs that the local made themselves. Our last stop was Nassau Bahamas. It was cloudy and scattered showers. We booked tour around the city once we got off the boat. We visited the Queens staircase which is beautiful and historic. It was also a marketplace there where you can buy souvenirs that the locals made themselves. We also visited hotel Atlantis. Which all we did there was walk around the lobby and they have an aquarium along the perimeter off thr lobby. If you want to visit the aquarium you will have to pay an additional cost for that. We didnt bother to go to the beach this day due to the weather conditions. We also went to a rum cake factory and tasted samples of rum cake. And we went to a tea factory and sampled tea, which was really tasty. The shows were okay. The comedians at the comedy club was really funny. Everything was a blast and smooth sailing up until the last day and half of the cruise. We got caught up in Hurricane Barry. And the boat was rocking so bad you could hardly walk. People were getting sick everywhere due to the motion. It was not a fun day or night. Most of my family were 1st time cruisers and that pretty much ruined any chance of them getting on a ship again. Overall we had a blast. It would have been perfect if it was not for the hurricane. I would definitely cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Sailed on the Freedom out of Galveston. First time in 10 years sailing on Carnival. Have sailed once with RC and 6 times with Disney. Embarkation was easy (we did have FTTF). We flew in the night before and stayed at a Holiday Inn ... Read More
Sailed on the Freedom out of Galveston. First time in 10 years sailing on Carnival. Have sailed once with RC and 6 times with Disney. Embarkation was easy (we did have FTTF). We flew in the night before and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express on points. Took a Lyft to port which was easy. We sat for maybe 30 minutes before boarding. No line for security and our bags were at our door when we boarded about 11:45. It was also nice to have a shorter line at guest services. We had an oceanview room on deck 2 forward (2288) The room was a good size, bed was comfy and there was plenty of storage. Liked the shelves in one of the closets for clothing and shoes, and suitcases fit under bed easily. Shower was ok but the water seemed to come out of the shower way too easily. Not enough water pressure for me either but the temp was ok. The main problem with the room was the noise. It was right across from where the stewards loaded their carts which was pretty noisy. It also really creaked a lot - there was a noise that sounded like a marble rolling above our heads a lot of the time. Kind of annoying! Room steward was awesome though. Always kept the room clean with ice etc... and was very friendly. The TV remote didn't work correctly. Food - the main dining room food was pretty good. IMO it was significantly better than RCL and about the same as DCL. Breakfast buffet was ok but it was the same exact thing every morning. Tried the Sea Day brunch one day and it was ok (pancakes were tough) but eggs were good. Loved the Guy's burgers. Really enjoyed the sushi (extra cost but got quite a big serving for the price). Also tried the crab sliders at the seafood shack - they were ok but the buns were hard. The burritos at Blue Iguana were also very good. We did try the steakhouse selection in the main dining room and thought the filets were very good. Not a noticeable difference (other than maybe 3 ounces) in quality of the included filet on the MDR menu though. Room service was quick but didn't enjoy the food all that much for the price. We did have the bubbles package for soda. Really didn't enjoy having to stand at a bar for a soft drink. Wish Carnival would do what RCL does with the freestyle machines. It seemed like such a waste to have canned sodas (not chilled at all) on the ship. You would have to pour it over a whole glass of ice which immediately watered it down! Now to the shows. Enjoyed the Hasbro game shows and Bingo. I also really liked the 80s pop show. Probably not fair to compare to DCL but the shows were not even in the same category as Disney. I knew that going in. The cruise director Emma was great and the singers/dancers were also very nice. We did get bored in the afternoon sometimes as there didn't seem to be much to do. Loved the comedians in the evening a couple of nights. Service. The MDR servers were very nice but after sailing on DCL really missed the interactions we are used to there. Service was usually pretty good but a couple of nights seemed really slow. We had the early assigned dining time ( 6 PM). The bartenders were all nice but sometimes really busy which meant waiting for 10 minutes for a drink. The room staff were great. I asked for a fan for our room the first night but it never showed up. I was able to use an app on my phone for white noise but still. The biggest difference we noticed was the décor and layout of the ship. It was very dark and IMO really ugly (very dated). I should have taken a picture of the pink snakeskin wallpaper in the dining room - so didn't match anything! The atrium area just felt dark and closed in and it took us a couple days to figure our way around. There are a couple of decks that you cannot walk all the way through as a dining room is in the middle. The pool deck had several levels but also felt really small and closed in. The adult pool at the far back of the ship was nice and more open though. I also didn't enjoy the smoke in the casino. I would have gambled a little bit but couldn't breathe in that area! It would be nice if they would consider maybe a time or two throughout the week where non smokers could enjoy the casino. Also, all week several of the elevators were not working (or just turned off). We visited Key West, Nassau and Freeport. In all three we just walked around the shopping areas. Freeport was not very nice - would really recommend an excursion there as the beaches looked nice. My daughter had a cast on her leg so we couldn't do our normal beachy excursions this trip. We had purchased the trolley tickets through Carnival but the line to get on was so long we ended up not using them. There was no shade while waiting. Also thought Carnival was a lot less organized with shore excursions. In Key West anyone with any excursion was supposed to meet in the dining room but there wasn't a Carnival staff member there to direct or ask questions. Overall we did enjoy the trip. It was about 1/2 the cost of DCL by the time you pay for all the extras. If we do another Carnival, we will try a newer ship and hope the layout and décor is better. I have another RCL and DCL booked so we shall see. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was an experimental cruise for us. We have taken 10 cruises and normally book a Jr Suite, or a balcony. This time we decided to go with an outside cabin with an eye toward saving some money. Right up front, I must admit I really ... Read More
This was an experimental cruise for us. We have taken 10 cruises and normally book a Jr Suite, or a balcony. This time we decided to go with an outside cabin with an eye toward saving some money. Right up front, I must admit I really really enjoyed this cruise. First of all, the boarding in Galveston was fantastic!! We normally have priority boarding because we usually book a Jr Suite, but this cruise was an Outside room, which would have meant long lines and slow processing. I can honestly say we boarded just as quickly on this cruise as any other cruise we have ever taken. We showed up at noon, walked right in and was promptly processed. No lines at all, no Disney World serpentine shuffle!!! The hardest part was just walking up the gang plank! Galveston and Carnival have figured it out!!! As a military veteran, I was overwhelmed by the attention Carnival has given to Armed Forces Veterans. Not only did we have daily teas and gatherings, but there was an awesome Veterans Salute in the Victoriana Theater. It was truly the highlight of our cruise. Every serviceman and woman should experience this. We decided not to take any organized tours of Key West, Freeport or Nassau, but rather, to walk around and shop. No one we talked to really like the hop on-hop off trolley, because of long lines and long wait times. Walking was easy for us, as everything we wanted to see was close at hand. We had no complaints about the food, entertainment or service. We were told we had 3330 passengers on board, but never felt crowded or uncomfortable. I will say that if you are not a smoker, stay clear of the casino, as the smoke is so thick in there, I found it hard to breathe, even as I walked by. We were very pleased with all aspects of the cruise and will do it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The staff was nice most of the time, the balcony room was fair. We only got a few channels on the TV, not that we were there to be watching TV but come on. The food was terrible!!!!! I was told that cruise line food was amazing, even ... Read More
The staff was nice most of the time, the balcony room was fair. We only got a few channels on the TV, not that we were there to be watching TV but come on. The food was terrible!!!!! I was told that cruise line food was amazing, even the fine dining was not very good. Im sure I dropped some weight. The bar tenders are inconsistent my wife and I had the cheers package and some of them would not let me get my wife a drink even if I had her card with me. The casino bar tenders were top notch they know how to treat people. The shows were hit and miss, lip sync was good and the bands were good especially the violinist. It really seems like you get nickel and dimed to death and they don’t tell you about the extra costs, they are sneaky about that. I won’t cruise again for awhile, we are looking for all inclusive destinations from now on. If I do cruise again it won’t be with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My hubs and I typically cruise with RCI but, because we have exhausted all of the Royal Caribbean itineraries out of Galveston, we chose this cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival. We had only cruised with Carnival once before on a quick ... Read More
My hubs and I typically cruise with RCI but, because we have exhausted all of the Royal Caribbean itineraries out of Galveston, we chose this cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival. We had only cruised with Carnival once before on a quick 4-night trip so we did not know exactly what to expect. We had heard that the Freedom was scheduled for dry dock shortly after our return so we expected a ship that was a bit outdated and worse for the wear -- not so at all! We really enjoyed our Ocean Suite and will probably never go back to a regular balcony room. The extra space, storage room including a second closet, and tub/shower combo are well worth the extra money. The food was fantastic, although at times the buffet can be unbearably crowded, and our cruise director, Emma, is amazing. However, all of the shows in the theater are of the sing-along type -- good dancing and singing but no storyline. Also, disembarkation was a hot mess from beginning to end. Security at the port were horrible -- angry, screaming at passengers including my 70-year-old parents. I realize the port staff are not Carnival employees but it is worth mentioning because they are atrocious. Overall, a fantastic cruise. More affordable than Royal Caribbean with incredibly friendly staff and great excursions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We took this cruise as part of a specialty group, which had to get permission for onboard activities, thus we were limited to this particular itinerary. Both my partner and I have traveled on Carnival for some time... I turned Gold on ... Read More
We took this cruise as part of a specialty group, which had to get permission for onboard activities, thus we were limited to this particular itinerary. Both my partner and I have traveled on Carnival for some time... I turned Gold on this trip, and she turned Platinum. We had a balcony room on the 8th deck, and it was certainly a nice room, with a great view. The ship is still in great shape, and was very enjoyable, however there were a few things that I didn't like. First... the NFL football playoffs were not available unless you went to the casino, or to the sports bar. The casino was filled with cigarette smoke, and the sports bar was just filled beyond capacity. Because Dallas was playing in the Saturday night game, there was a LOT of interest in the game. Carnival no longer has local channels on their shipboard TV (speaking of which.. the choices for in-room entertainment are very slim). Unfortunately, in todays world, its almost impossible to get totally out of touch, therefore internet is a necessity, not a luxury. However, the shipboard internet is woefully lacking. Download speeds were as bad as a 1200 baud modem at times, and never got any better than decent dialup (for those old enough to remember that). This was a nice itinerary, although The Bahamas was not as much fun as it could have been, due to cruising in winter. Although the outside temperature was nice (70s), the chill on board ship was not fun. And water activities were uncomfortable at best. I would not consider cruising in winter again, unless it were a special activity. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
They managed to get over 2800 guests along with their almost 1200 employees onboard and mobilized, and it set us up well for a smoothly run resort on the water. The three destinations to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica were short, ... Read More
They managed to get over 2800 guests along with their almost 1200 employees onboard and mobilized, and it set us up well for a smoothly run resort on the water. The three destinations to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica were short, and involved a lot of process and security checks getting on and off the ship, and reminded us that the point of the cruise was less about seeing and experiencing these destinations than enjoying the ship. Carnival Cruise offered very little in the way of educating us about the locations we were visiting and we had to figure much of it out on our own. Carnival spent considerable time trying to sell us expensive excursions offering us North American versions of these countries. We avoided them and explored these places on our own and were left with little time to do so. However, we made the best of it breaking through the tourist facade of these port of calls, and found some pretty places to see and learn about. If you like alcohol, 18 hours a day of loud rock or Latin music, gambling, smoking in the casinos and on some decks, eating a lot of amazing food, plugging in to online cable or internet or shopping, swimming and hot pools, cruises are for you. The pop culture is alive and well here. It is a perpetual party. The cruising culture is set up well to captivate people with all of these options with a quick up-sell on almost every opportunity. Alcohol could not be brought on board and we were held captive by some steep alcohol prices or all-inclusive charges. With this being said, there were some real gems in the cruise experience for us granola Canadians. The gym was five star and we appreciated the peace and quiet of this relatively unused space along with the sauna and steam rooms. Once we got used to lining up for everything, the food was good. The dining hall offered us terrific food, but we had to wait. I can not speak highly enough about the amazing staff. This cruise line has employees well-trained to serve in a service industry with a relatively demanding North American clientele. They got things done and made us feel very welcome on board. The cruise director was high energy the entire trip. We could hear her cheerful voice making announcements and participating in high-energy activities that might wear the average person out. The commitment of this Carnival Freedom Team was impressive, and we were amazed at how they entertained everybody right to the very last minute. There truly was something for everyone and my husband and I were continually finding new places on the ship to explore. We managed to come away from the cruise with a very conservative bill at the end. We chose not to buy internet, cable or all/inclusive drinks and soda pop deals. We also did not pay for expensive excursions because we have an aversion to line-ups and being herded through experiences. We appreciate the security of choosing this option, but we chose to explore places on our own. We gambled very little as our thirty minutes of gambling glory cost us 50 dollars. We shopped only at the end a bit when the shops were offering clearance specials. In a nutshell, we viewed the ship as a way to see the ocean and three ports of call with some wonderful food in a spacious state room that was always sparkling clean. We enjoyed our cruise and feel very happy to have been blessed with such a great experience. We feel well-rested, well-fed and amply entertained, but with this being said, we will not be cruising again until we are much older, and will likely do so on smaller cruise lines geared for a more mindful crowd. We are glad to have crossed it off our bucket list. We enjoyed the journey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our second cruise. Previous was on Carnival Valor. It "WAS" an annual anniversary trip. NOT ANYMORE!!! Here are some of the "highlights" - I told Carnival I would not stop telling everyone till they ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Previous was on Carnival Valor. It "WAS" an annual anniversary trip. NOT ANYMORE!!! Here are some of the "highlights" - I told Carnival I would not stop telling everyone till they compensated me for a replacement cruise or at least half price. We got a $100 on board credit for our next cruise. I got food poisoning on the first night after my grilled chicken was served very undercooked. I noticed it was rubbery but didn't think alot about it but the taste was worse with every bite. 2 days I spent in my cabin vomiting. So much for the endless drinks package we bought. Cigarette ash and butts were being dropped on us while on our deck. 2 decks above, we saw them. We tried reporting it many times and showed them the butts on our deck. NOTHING done. Serenity bar was closed the entire cruise. The hot tubs back there were barely bath warm and when many of us (8) at that time tried to ask then to turn it up the guy spoke no english and couldn't understand. Then finally said something about maintenance and nobody ever came. Room service - 3 attempts - Received our food once after we stood in the doorway and waited the whole time. Since they don't actually knock. The pieces a rusty overhead metal falling on a group of us while sitting in the serenity area didn't please us either. And the deck we paid extra for was a joke. Glass could never be seen through as had a disgusting yellow film all over it so if we wanted to look out we had to stand the whole time. Many more events but by this time they may seem petty as we were already very pissed. Oh, btw the King bed isn't a king. Its 2 twins put together making it a Queen. Talk about false advertising. I was asked to add more about our onboard experience. I honestly don't know what else to say. There was so much negative on this cruise that any positive was hard to notice. We did get to watch Mama Mia 2. That was a highlight. Sat on deck and watched on big screen above pool. Was very very windy that night but loved our relaxing movie outdoors. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I'll preface this by saying that it had been almost 10 years since my last cruise, and at that time i was only a 18 year old teen who's sole ambition was to drink myself to death at the ports. So needless to say this one was like ... Read More
I'll preface this by saying that it had been almost 10 years since my last cruise, and at that time i was only a 18 year old teen who's sole ambition was to drink myself to death at the ports. So needless to say this one was like my first cruise all over again I went on the Carnival Freedom with a big group of about 20 people of different age groups. Everyone had a great time and was able to enjoy the variety of activities no matter the age. Also our Cruise Director Emma was one of the high points of the entire trip. Embarkation was fairly easy. We drove down the morning of, parked in a garage across the street, gave our luggage to the porters and waited in line. We didnt have any priority advantages or anything, so it was about 1pm when we actually stepped foot on the ship. The cabin was clean and the internal climate was controlled well, it never got too hot. My cabin was on the 7th floor, and I strategically picked that floor to avoid any extra noise from areas above or below with constant traffic (lido deck, havana bar, etc.) Didnt do that many activities, although we had friends that constantly were doing different activities and they said they loved each and every one. (especially the cake/chocolate party) The food was amazing as usual. The Mongolian Wok meals were delicious every single day. The same cooks were also the ones for the Omelette Station, which explains why both lines were extremely long on both sides. Still, it was worth the wait. Guys Burger is hearty and artery-clogging, just like it should be. The Blue Iguana burritos were good too, about the same as Chipotle or Freebirds. I really enjoyed the option of breakfast burritos in case you get tired of the continental breakfast. The dinner in the MDR is good like everyone says. Some entrees were hit and miss, but you could always find something that was appetizing. I really only have a few criticisms of the entire ship: 1. There were a limited number of daybeds, and only 1 hammock on the serenity deck, so if you wanted to use one you either had to get there ASAP, wait until one freed up and pounce on it, or just check randomly and hope for the best. 2. the elevators were always busy/full 90% of the time, so if you dont like stairs, be prepared to wait.....for a very.....long....time 3. The fitness area could use more machines. Too often the machine i wanted to use was already occupied. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Embarkation was extremely smooth, probably due to the fact that we had purchased "Faster to the Fun". Our cabin was ready when we boarded around noon and the luggage arrived shortly there after as promised in the FTTF. This ... Read More
Embarkation was extremely smooth, probably due to the fact that we had purchased "Faster to the Fun". Our cabin was ready when we boarded around noon and the luggage arrived shortly there after as promised in the FTTF. This was the first time we have gotten a premium balcony cabin and we were not disappointed. Its size was immense; essentially a suite for the price of a balcony. Huge balcony and lots of room to move around in. The ship was clean but after having taken a tour around it was clear that it was in need of a dry dock visit. During the entire cruise was alot of movement felt that was not caused by the sea state. At most we may have had 1-2 foot seas for the entire cruise. The movement was being caused by vibrations coming from who knows where. Even when the ship was in port and tied to the pier we could still feel these vibrations in our cabin. The pixel studio needs a massive upgrade. We cruised on the Conquest last year and we could view photos on a computer terminal. On the Freedom we had to "hunt and peck" through literally thousands of pictures to find ours. I'm sure that some passengers probably gave up and that surely cost Carnival photo sales. Dining options are standard and can be found on all Carnival ships. I would guess that what you think about them depends on the service that you get on any given cruise. For myself I was a bit taken back when diners were allowed in the Steakhouse with baseball caps on. There are notices everywhere detailing what not to wear in the dining rooms but these seem to be taken as mere suggestions by a great number of the passengers. Surely you can get presentable for one meal a day. Debarkation was haphazard at best. For those of you thinking about taking a cruise out of Galveston, be prepared to pay a duty on any liquor that you purchase on the ship or in any of your port of call. It was $3.75 per qt duty and there also was a duty on tobacco products. Trying to find a porter to help with luggage was a test of patience. My wife and I finally decided to hoof it with out four pieces of luggase and other hand held pieces rather than wait for someone we would have to tip. Many of the passengers were strong enough to do this by themselves and were forced to wait. For the most part we had a great time on the cruise. All of the crew we came in contact with were always ready to go "above and beyound" to meet our needs. The Alchemy Bar was fantastic and we spent every night in the Punchliner comedy club. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This trip was me and my hubby, both retired, in our mid fifties. We spent the night in Galveston the night before. Stayed at Best Western Plus, at 102 Seawall, and found out they will let you leave your vehicle there for free during your ... Read More
This trip was me and my hubby, both retired, in our mid fifties. We spent the night in Galveston the night before. Stayed at Best Western Plus, at 102 Seawall, and found out they will let you leave your vehicle there for free during your cruise. They don't have a shuttle, but Uber was only $13.00. Carnival has gone to a mailbox system outside of your room, if you preregister you go straight on the ship and pick up your room key in your mailbox. Very speedy checkin. Our cruise director was Brad, and he was just awesome!!! The shows at night were really good and were more like Broadway shows rather than Six Flag shows, if you know what I mean. This ship had a Guy's Burger, so we were good to go. The lunch buffet seemed to have the same thing every day and just didn't look all that great. Went to the breakfast buffet once and did not like it. We much preferred the Posh Restaurant brunch. The food was fresh, hot and cooked to order. They also had real OJ instead of the fake kind at the buffet. I just don't understand people that stay away from the main dining room for supper. The food is so much better than the buffet. We order whatever and however much we like so between the two of us we can try everything we want. We are not the kind of people that are going to dress up like we are going to prom at our age. For formal nights I wear a dress like I would wear to church and my husband wears a nice pair of jeans or a pair of khakis and we have never felt under dressed. We always wondered why someone would pay to go to the specialty restaurants, when there is so much free food available. One night nothing sounded good on the menu and nothing looked good on the buffet. We had a $50.00 room credit so we went to the steak house and they were able to seat us. Wow, for $35.00, you get a appetizer, an entree and a dessert. The portions are HUGE. The steaks are WONDERFUL!!! They have desserts not offered anywhere else on the ship. It was a wonderful meal and we now plan on having one meal of every cruise in one of the specialty restaurants. We closed down the ship every night with Jason at the piano bar. It was packed every night and everyone had a blast. Be sure and go to the Carnival Quest if they have it. It is a hoot. An adult scavenger hunt for those who are not easily offended. The two comics at the first of the cruise were great. Wish I had their names, much better the two that came later. I had always been told that you don't want a room in the back of the ship, but at the time we booked that was all that was available. It really was no different, maybe a little more vibration, but it didn't bother either one of us. We always get an interior room, just can't justify the price difference. Love that pitch black room, boy can we sleep good. Wish I could get my room at home that dark. On to Ports of Call. First stop, Key West. I liked more than Hubby. Rather touristy. It was super hot so we decided to take the Conch Train. Wished we had paid a little more and done the trolley. The conch train only makes four stops and they are not very close to anything, where the trolley makes more stops closer to the things you want to check out. But we did learn some neat things about Key West and we had enough time to take the tour of Truman's Little White House, which was really interesting. Next stop was Freeport, and the Glass Bottom Boat excursion. We enjoyed the ride and getting to see some pretty fish, although most of them were the same kind, but what really made this excursion was the SHARKS.They bring them right up to the boat and feed them a fish tied to the rope and we had about a dozen 8-15 foot sharks literally jumping out of the water right there at the side of the boat. It was breathtaking!!!! Next day was Nassau. We decided to have a beach day at the public beach. They say Junkaroo Beach is walking distance from the ship, but if you are in your mid 50's and not in the greatest shape it is a LONG HOT walk. The beach is very little and not nice or pretty at all. The Tiki Hut has control of it pretty much. After bartering with them for an umbrella and two lounge chairs, we hit the water. It was murky and full of seaweed. I looked up and they had tipped over our umbrella so it hid our view of our bags, so I ran up the beach and asked what was going on and they gave me some sketchy story about some one trying to take our umbrella and they were having to redig the hole. I didn't see no one messing with it but them. If I had to do over again I would go to one of the resorts, even though it would of cost me. Our three previous cruises have taken us to Cozumel and Progresso and we wanted a change so we choose this cruise to the Bahamas. I am not sure what we were expecting, but we were very disappointed. Both Freeport and Nassau were not very clean and was filled with old, dilapidated, empty buildings, which I realize that could of been due to hurricanes.. The islands themselves were not very pretty. The shops were almost all t-shirt and cheap souvenirs made in China. Ready to head back to Mexico or a different part of the Caribbean I hope this didn't jump around too much and that maybe it helps someone with their questions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were looking for a family friendly cruise line for our young family. First and last cruise for young family We took our 5, 3 and 1 year old on the Carnival Freedom 7-day cruise to key west, FLA, Freeport Bahamas and Nassau Bahamas. ... Read More
We were looking for a family friendly cruise line for our young family. First and last cruise for young family We took our 5, 3 and 1 year old on the Carnival Freedom 7-day cruise to key west, FLA, Freeport Bahamas and Nassau Bahamas. We did lots of research on shops and were looking for a vacation that would be conducive for our young family. We chose this ship because the Carnival website advertised good kids programs for kids and especially because of the baby splash pad area they advertised for this specific First I’ll start with a few positives before getting to why overall, my expectations for a family friendly vacation were not met. 1. Excellent food 2. Camp Ocean was very organized and had competent staff . When we arrived we were told that there was no water area for under 2s. Carnival does not allow non-potty trained babies in any water area. In addition to no baby water area or splash pad there was no kid pool or even a designated kid area. The three small pools on the lido deck were always packed with adults who were drinking and engaging in adult behavior, not an environment suitable for kids. Furthermore on the lido deck there is always very loud adult music playing. In the kids area, Camp Ocean, located on the very top deck of the ship, almost impossible to get a stroller to, my one year old was only allowed to play from 8:00-10:00am. Like most one year olds this time was during her morning nap. The kids The schedule The entire cruise ship schedule is not suited to kids or families. There are LGBT mixers and adult comedy shows. In all 7 days there were three “family friendly” activities, a Build a Bear Workshop (which you had to pay extra for) a movie, Peter Rabbit (PG) and the Seuss a Palooza Parade which was run by a staff member who appeared to never have worked with children before. My three and five year old were wildly unimpressed with the “parade” which involved about 100 kids walking from one area of the ship to another waving bells and other noise makers. The Dr Seuss characters, advertised on all promotional materials, were present for about 20 min total. Changing table There was one baby changing station on the entire lido deck. Food The food places were closed from 2:30-6:00 leaving young families like us out of luck For after nap snacks and early dinner times. There were also almost kid friendly options on the buffet. They had a pizza place and a deli open almost always but they were very often so crowded we opted to not stand in more lines with our children going wild. On the buffet they had melon, pineapple, apples and bananas for fruit and almost no other kids food options for picky toddlers. There are a number of adult only sections of the ship, including the very front called the Serenity deck. Being at the very front of the boat, there were many children anxious to see it but they were not permitted to enter. Putt-putt was a good family activity but it closed at 5:00, right before our kids bedtime when our family would have gotten the most use out of it. There was essentially nothing for my one year old to do on Carnival Freedom. We spent our days taking turns walking her around and letting her go up and down the stairs Excursions Our two excursions in the Bahamas were marketed entirely to families. On both of them we had to walk over a mile to get there and wait in lines for over an hour. Once we arrived at the beaches, they were so crowded we had to wAit in more lines to secure a shaded area for the kids. All in all, this did not meet my expectations for a family friendly vacation. I feel as though Carnivals explicit marketing to young families is false advertising. Next time we will pay the extra for a Disney Cruise or opt for a family centered resort. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
First off, this was my husband and I’s first cruise! We stayed for a week and left from Galveston Tx headed to Bahamas. The customer service was above and beyond excellent and we had an overall pleasant experience. There was a lot of ... Read More
First off, this was my husband and I’s first cruise! We stayed for a week and left from Galveston Tx headed to Bahamas. The customer service was above and beyond excellent and we had an overall pleasant experience. There was a lot of variety of food included in the cruise such as the open buffet, hamburger restaurant, 24 hr pizza and etc. The hamburgers were the best tasting food and salad bar was good. They also had unlimited ice cream (machines self serve) and it was really yummy. The omelets were the best breakfast item to eat. They had serveral jacuzzi’s and a few swimming pools and water slide. They showed movies on theatre big screen outdoors under stars every night. The cruise chose great family friendly movies. They also had a lot of great free activities on the cruise as well. My husband and I went to a lip sync battle, family game show, love and marriage event, Latin dance class, country line dance, comedy shows (each night) and bingo. (Bingo was $10 a card) (all the other events were free) The customer service was above and beyond excellent. All the staff were super friendly and accommodated us so well. They were smiling and very friendly. The cruise director we had was named Malcolm and he was really professional and very funny guy. He hosted quite a few of the events and made us laugh and feel at home. The cruise also offered a cell phone package for purchase if you want internet during the cruise and my husband and I bought it and it worked great! There was a casino, sport bars and gifts shops on the cruise as well. We visited the spa for a full body massage on the last day and that was great as well! All the excursions were fun as well! We went para sailing when we stopped in Key West and went on an Atlantis tour in Nassau Bahamas. The only thing I would have done differently is bought a blanket from home cause in April for our cruise it got a little windy outside at night when we were watching movies outside under stars on deck. But they have blankets for sale on the cruise but they weren’t really long enough and I’m 5’5.... My hubby rented blankets from the ship for about $22 apiece....but you have to rent them each day....so it’s better best to save money and bring your own blanket. We got an interior room to save money and it was great. The room had a small bathroom, no window and twin beds that they pushed together. They kept coming apart (which was annoying) but it was just a small inconvenience. Overall, this experience went above and beyond my expectations and I would recommend Carnival to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Embarking was very confusing and not easy to figure out. That may just be the port of Galveston. The room steward is fabulous. His name is Edy and he has been very attentive and very cordial. He has made the trip pleasant. Our room is ... Read More
Embarking was very confusing and not easy to figure out. That may just be the port of Galveston. The room steward is fabulous. His name is Edy and he has been very attentive and very cordial. He has made the trip pleasant. Our room is nice and comfortable. No complaints there. We are on the 10th level. The food has been less than stellar. The sweets are absolutely awful. It all is either flavorless or seems stable. The crescents should melt in your mouth. The pastries are just not even close to edible. I did enjoy my Guy Fieri cheeseburger however I am a cheeseburger fanatic so that may be why. Plus I was starving. We ate at our sit down place and time just once. The food took quite some time to come to the table and it was the same as they were serving in the buffet. Speaking of buffet, the line is ridiculous. I ordered a shore excursion and did not receive my tickets until after I left the ship. We kept checking our mailbox. Nothing. Went and requested duplicate tickets for a 9 am for a 10 am departure. When we returned to the ship we received the first tickets. What? We had asked Edy about them the night before. He assured us that they would be in our vox by morning. Nope. Much of the staff is unsmiling and crabby. I get why. But still, they need a little training in customer service. I have cruised only once before on a different line and it was like night and day in comparison. The smoke near the casino is just awful. I try to avoid that area at all costs. I type this review while still on board. I plan future cruises but carnival will not be my choice. This was just bleh and it should have been wowapalooza. Just my opinion. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Cruising is all about managing your expectations. We had never cruised with Carnival before, and only had Princess, Norwegian, and Cunard to compare with. From what I had read in prior reviews, I wasn't expecting to be over impressed ... Read More
Cruising is all about managing your expectations. We had never cruised with Carnival before, and only had Princess, Norwegian, and Cunard to compare with. From what I had read in prior reviews, I wasn't expecting to be over impressed with this trip. HOWEVER, that being said, Carnival was just fine in all major departments . Nothing either above or below average. Embarkation was a breeze, but we were staying in a suite and had priority boarding. I have only cruised at the level, so I don't know how boarding is otherwise. Overall it looked like everyone was moving along quite well. Disembarkation went very smooth as well. The Carnival system seemed to work a little better than other's I have experienced. The ship, while we saw efforts to maintain, does show some wear. But think about it, 3000 people, 365 days a year....it's going to wear out. For the most part, everything appeared clean, and in good working order. Our Suite (7242) had ample space with tons of closet and storage space. I think it may be more akin to a balcony room on other lines, rather than a suite. We were in an Ocean Suite, but booked a Grand Suite for my daughter, son in law, and grand daughter. They had tons of room as well, with great arrangements for traveling with a little one (5). They really appreciated to extra room. I feel that there Grand Suite was more like the suites I have experienced on other lines. Regardless we all enjoyed enough space for the duration of the cruise. The décor is odd, and I just don't have words to describe it. Unlike any other line I've sailed with. Not totally distasteful, but not very cheery either. I fount the MDR to be dark in my opinion. Speaking of dining rooms.....The food on Carnival was much the same as other lines. When you are cooking for 3000 it's difficult to capture every ones delight. Everything I tried in the MDR was editable...soups were plenty warm, and main course was still warm. Breakfast seemed better in selection than dinner, Enjoyed the Eggs Benedict of the Seaday Brunch. Pastries were also above average, as were deserts. Portions were large enough for even the more robust appetites. We dined at the steakhouse one night, found the steak to be very good and the sides appropriate. Not sure it's worth $35.00 additional, but maybe. Everyone at our table tried a different steak and all were cooked as ordered, meat was tender, and had a good flavor. The buffets offer so many choices, most were fair to good, with a few items (cornmeal breaded chicken - for one) moving out of the good and coming close to really good. The Pizza was always a hit, very consistent, as was the Deli. The breakfast burritos from Blue Iguana were really quite good as well. (How do you mess up scrambled eggs in a tortilla?) Mongolian Wok was decent, and the soft serve a great alternative to the pre made deserts. All in all, I give the food a 7 ...no one lost weight...or went hungry. One note, the morning room service lacks a little. We always order room service on days we have excursions, limited to cereal and pastries...continental breakfast on Carnival. The ship has tons of stuff going on. You can choose to participate, spectate, or just veg in your own space. My grand daughter loved Camp Ocean and it appeared to be well run. We took in a couple of shows...ok but not outstanding....Scotts Piano Bar is a fun place to hang out, along with Red Frog....or just take in the action in the Atrium. With 3 and 4 generations of people all traveling together, I think Carnival did a pretty good job of capturing entertainment for everyone group. I tried the Spa for a facial. The facility was clean and the operators friendly. Nice facial as well! No high pitched sales...but I did buy a product from them. Overall service was quite good. Everyone was attentive and address us by name. All of the staff we had interactions were pleasant and easy to communicate with. We canceled our Atlantis Excursion, because the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy. Turned out to be only chilly but sunny. We found a private glass bottom boat offering at the port and decided to take it. My granddaughter loved feeding the fish and seeing under the water. It was a little chilly on the water, but overall a nice tour for $35.00 (kids free) adventure. We did the old town hop on hop off tour in Key West. Not so sure about this...here's how it went for us. There was a line to board the "trolley" that stretched down the street, around the corner and three blocks down was the trolley. We opted to walk to the place we wanted to grab lunch, and catch a trolley at a later point. We went to Blue Heaven (Key Lime Pie is their claim to fame) had lunch and then caught a trolley later along the way. We got on at stop 6 I think and rode to the end or starting point again, with out getting off. The trip is slow, we were afraid we wouldn't be able to get back to the Southern Most Point if we stayed on the trolley and had to wait for the next one (and hope it had seats) to get back. We took a golf cart taxi instead...shot over to the SMP...did the photos (around the line, as there was a line about a block long to take a picture with the marker). The trolley passes on great information, but takes quite a bit of time. You can hop off, but you have to hope for a seat being available to "hop" back on. Very Busy...I think I would investigate some other way to tour Key West. We planned nothing for Freeport, just checked out the market place at the port, and took advantage of the empty ship!. This trip was a birthday celebration for me, my daughter, and grand daughter. We really had fun, and spent some quality time together, something that's hard to find with everyone's busy schedules. I've done some comparisons and think that Carnival might not be a bad option for quick cruises. You get what you pay for...manage your expectations, and it all works out fine. I knew before getting on the ship that they offer no special perks for their suite passengers (no private breakfast area, no private entrance to MDR, no butler, no stocked mini fridge, of free use of spa areas, no invitation to meet the captain or attend private functions, no daily treats brought to your room, no comp bottle of champagne at sail away, (so we brought our own!) no full menu room service, etc. etc.) but the price for two on a seven day cruise was about 30% less expensive. It's just a matter of what you want and what is important to you. All in All I would consider Carnival again, if planning a cruise. Convenient it is out of Galveston, less that 30 miles from home! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We have been on 29 cruises, with no commitment to a particular line. Our selection is made, based on a mix of itinerary, price, ship, and time of the year. My experiences with Carnival, over decades, range from the worst ever (the initial ... Read More
We have been on 29 cruises, with no commitment to a particular line. Our selection is made, based on a mix of itinerary, price, ship, and time of the year. My experiences with Carnival, over decades, range from the worst ever (the initial sailing of the Sunshine), to this very good seven day cruise from Galveston to Key West, Freeport, and Nassau. Embarkation- We were scheduled for check-in to the ship between Noon-12:30 PM. We dropped off our bags at the designated area, and were marched, in line, to seating, by group, with our group the first to be processed after Diamond, Suites, military etc. As we had earlier completed docs and sail account on line, it just took minutes before we were quickly moved to the ship. A generous buffet of a variety of well prepared foods awaited us on the Lido deck. There was no problem getting seating. Guys Burgers and the pizza area were also open. Before long, our cabins were ready, with our bags showing up a few hours later. Perfect! Cabin We had booked this cruise less than a month before sailing, so cabin selection was limited. The only outside cabins left were on deck 1, but we were able to get one mid-ship, cabin #1379. With no public areas above or below us, and because of it's location mid-ship, we had a quiet sleep. We have never been on that low of a deck on a larger ship, and found the view of the waves from the windows, mesmerizing. The cabin had a generous sized bathroom with just the basic, on-wall, shampoo and liquid soap dispensers in the shower, and a tiny bar of soap on the sink. The cabin had loads of storage, with three closets, shelves, drawers, and under-bed storage. Twin beds could be joined. There was also a sleeper-sofa. The mattresses on the beds were VERY good quality. The TV, safe, phone, and hairdryer, all worked well. The carpeting was spotless, the towels always fluffy, and the bedding crisp. Nothing was frayed, worn, smelly, or busted. I was delightfully surprised by this cabin and service of it. Cleanliness With all the concern about ship-born illnesses, and victims of it in the past, ourselves, we were very aware of the health factors. Wherever we went on the ship, there were crew, cleaning the railings, the windows, refilling purex containers, and continuously reminding folks to wash their hands, and use the hand sanitizers around the ship. Public bathrooms even had sanitized sheet dispensers by the door when you left the bathroom, as well as a trash container to throw it after use, so you did not have to touch the door handle with a bare hand on the way out. They also schooled you on exposure while on-shore. Our cabin was spotless throughout the seven day cruise. Carnival did a terrific job in this normal area of concern for cruisers. Food This was a delightful surprise. We did not have a bad meal. We selected the early seating, and was assigned to the Posh dining room. Although serviced was slow, taking close to two hours, and that was without extra orders, or bar, the food delivered was as described, well prepared, and always hot. It was so slow, though, a few times, we had to leave the dining room before dessert, so we would not miss the scheduled Playlist Production show in the Victoriana theater on the opposite end of the ship. The food, though, was welcome surprise. as an example, one night we had a tasty, well prepared prime rib, medium rare, that came out perfect. It was a decent, tasty, piece of meat, even before the perfectly prepared sauces. Sides, whether a starch or other vegetable, were spot on. Appetizers and desserts did not disappoint us. Some of the desserts were creative, like a vanilla creme brulee with popcorn and a caramel sauce. The food was so good that we elected not to do their specialty dining. Breakfasts and lunches were in the Lido. This ship got the Guy's burger thing RIGHT, and the pizza was thin, was a good sauce and FRESH mozzarella. The only downer was the afternoon "tea". It was a few select desserts, with slow, surly, service, and totally unnecessary for us, seeing that we would be sitting down at the early dinner in a few hours. We do not eat Mexican food so we cannot comment on that, nor did we try the seafood grill, or any of the specialty coffees, desserts or other $$$ venues. We also do not drink alcohol, so cannot speak to the quality of the beverages. Entertainment & Activities The Playlist Production shows were pretty good, and worth seeing. There were a lot of repeat cruisers on this 85% Texas ship, many who had seen the shows before, so getting a seat at the show was never a problem. Music is pre-recorded. Surprisingly, considering the regional draw, they had no country themed shows or music venues, although people kept asking for them. We were okay and flexible on that. Singers and dancers were adequate. Typical historic events like the hairy-chest type contests, were well represented. Lots of trivia, but also lots of people looking up answers on their Smart phones, diminshed our interest in participating. The fitness area was well appointed, we were thrilled to see it was never that busy when we were there. Daily specials on watches, handbags, etc, consistent, with cruises, were here as well. Nothing was that great, that cheap, or that meaningful to us to buy or shlepp off the ship. I think we bought one beach bag for $10. The tv viewing selections left a lot to be desired. They had about 6 channels relative to the ship, but many just repeated sales pitches for jewelry, shorex, and things that had already happened days earlier. There were a few very old movies, occasionally, and CNN. None of the shows or events form the ship were televised later, for those who were possibly unable to attend the event. This is something pretty traditional with most cruises. There was no weather channel. Live daily announcements often mentioned the wrong comedians (from several days earlier) or even the wrong date (It was Feb 1 and they were announcing it was January 25th. Wrong cruise too. We had not sailed until Jan 27th). BTW, the comedians performing had left the ship days earlier. Longitude and Latitude on the ship were flashed regularly, but never the outside temperature. When I asked the CD why they did not post it somewhere, or make it available on tv, he said they did not want to responsible for weather forecasts. HUH? I was also referred to their APP, being told I could find out on there. Puzzling...on the APP but not on one fo their tv channels.. We were also informed by the CD at the Cruise Critic meeting that Carnival has decided to ELIMINATE THE PAPER VERSION OF THE FUN TIMES, AND PASSENGERS WOULD NEED TO RELY SOLELY ON THEIR "APP"....he said, to save on the high cost of paper. Better bring your Smart phone folks, and plan to use it. One woman expressed concern that she and her husband do not have the type of phone with this capability. He shrugged. He said Carnival has already made the decision to move forward on this, and is in meetings to consider the implementation date. I questioned the wisdom of this decision for safety and other reasons. Most on this ship were retirees, and many, I suspect, not tech savvy, or just not wanting to use their phones on vacation. Most of the features using your phone had a fee. The Spa---well, I cannot say anything good. They push the Spa services continuously, and bombard you with paper ads daily in your cabin. I was given a birthday card with a $50 gift card for the Spa enclosed...but only good for the two upcoming days we were at port, for which we had already purchased shorex from Carnival. So, I tried to buy products from the Spa, only to learn from them that it could only be used for services. So I asked what services they had for men, and how much they were, thinking I maybe could fit something in. After some scrambling about, they handed me a sheet, but told me they had nothing with the prices on it, and could not tell me what they were. HUH? I walked away, checked out the sheets, and it only had two men's services on it. Only those could I use this credit on. I went to guest services, but they told me that this was done by corporate, but they could give me $9 in drinks but I would have to pay a 20% gratuity. Later, I spoke with another passenger who also got one of these, and she advised that they do it for the whole ship. This was no gift, it was a "promotion" to fill the spa on their slow days, and although she had booked services earlier, she was told she could not use the "gift" either. From those who DID use the Spa, most complained about the quality of services. The space could be better used for other purposes. Ports and Shore Excursions Key West - Before the cruise, we independently purchased a non-Carnival shorex for the local the Hop-On, Hop Off. Although I have killed many brain cells during my early years in Key West, it was nice to revisit some spots, like the East Martello fort/museum, and pay our respect to "Robert" the haunted doll, check out some of the current art, and crawl the fort. The Ho-Ho gave us the widest , and most convenient, spread around the key, stopping also at places like the African Memorial, where 294 slaves lost their lives and were buried on the beach, and the AIDS Memorial near one of the nicest piers in KW. We stood clear of the busy crowded spots and bars. KW was pretty much cleaned up since the late year hurricane and the damage from the previous year. KW has something for everyone. Freeport - The day we arrived was cold and windy. The islanders were clad in winter coats, hats, scarfs, and gloves. Some of the shorex were cancelled due to the weather. You did not really know how cold it was until you got off the ship onto the pier, because the ship would not provide the temperatures. Many we watched disembark, then come back on, to get warmer clothes. Freeport never appeared to have recovered from the storms, and a lot of properties were closed and boarded up. Several ships elected to by-pass Freeport and replace it with a Cuba stop, so local businesses suffered even more. At first we thought we would stay on the ship, but at the last minute, decided to take the Carnival offered shorex to the Garden Of The Groves. It was inexpensive, offered us some time off the ship, and the opportunity to stop at The Lucayan Village, which was supposedly THE place to shop on the island, offering a variety of crafts, restaurants,and high end stores. On the bus ride to the Garden, the driver shared information on the island, in his own inimitable way. Many enjoyed his singing and comical nature. Garden of the Groves (named for the wealthy Grove family who were instrumental in developing this port) looked like it had been quite the place some decades ago, but plantings did not look to be maintained. The jungle took much of it over, so it was more like walkways through jungle and mangrove-like vegetation, downed, dead trees, with an occasional surprise flowering bush pushing up out of the weeds giving us a hint of what it was like in it's glory days. Insect-devoured plants hung on for life. In the "hibiscus" section, now a kids play area, with some picnic benches, we discovered two lowly red hibiscus blossoms, with no others to be found. You could see the layout of what must have been a beautiful area earlier in time. A small plain, white, chapel originally built by Mr Grove for his religious workers, still stands.Occasionally, you would encounter a small body of water, with a duck or two about. We initially had a tour guide there for about an hour, Katrina, who met our bus. She was very pleasant and knowledgeable on the history of the place, and did a good job. At no time, in the few hours there, did we see anyone tending to the grounds, but we did see several employees just standing around, chatting. We made the most of it, and enjoyed ourselves exploring this raw wilderness We then were driven to the Lucayan Marketplace. Half of the small wood frame stores were boarded up, businesses closed, and there were just a few souvenir stores, a branch of Diamonds International and some emerald place. Across the way they were three rows of stalls, all selling the same low-end tee shirts, key chains, and tacky wood pieces. The sellers were sitting around jawing about the lack of business, and kept quizzing each other about the last time they sold anything. We were in and out of there in 20 minutes, and hunted down the bus, . Across the main road was a huge multi-story hotel that, we learned, had gone bankrupt, and was looking for new owner They could have skipped this shopping stop. Nassau We elected to take the Discover Atlantis tour. We were warned that it would be too dangerous to venture away from the ship, unless we were on a tour, something they repeated several times. We were met at Atlantis after a short, organized, bus ride. It was a nice orientation to the resort, walking thorough the casino, checking out some of the lovely Chihuly glass pieces, then descending down to the underground aquarium and make-shift deco typical of what one may experience on the mythical Atlantis. It was nicely done. We were then brought over to view the water features including the pyramid slide between two pools of sharks. The tour continued around the grounds. We then had free hours to explore the shopping village, restaurants and facilities. Buses continuously left back to the ships. This was probably one of the least expensive shorex, but well worth the few bucks you paid. Now, if you wanted to USE the water park, that would set you back serious bucks. We were very pleased and recommend this tour. Disembarkation We were at the bottom of the ship. Normally, we would do a self-disembark, but, being two levels below the gangway, we got lazy, and did not want to have to fight for elevators to go four levels up to deck 5 with the bags, only to have to drag them down two levels when we were allowed to leave. Sooooo, we put out our bags the night before. As a result, all upper decks without bags left first, then over time, they would go to a lower deck. Then they allowed those, like us, without bags, to depart, but, of course, they started at the top of the ship again. We were the last group on the ship to depart, but, as it turned out, all went fast, and we departed an hour before they projected. They had "Funniest Home Videos" on the screens in the Victoriana theater to keep us occupied. The 9th level Lido was also opened if someone wanted to grab a snack. When advised of our time, we departed. Our bags were in the appropriate place in the terminal, and we just grabbed them and walked out. Very organized, very efficient. Carnival did a great job. The cruise, overall, was a pleasant surprise, and we are glad we made the decision to take it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This cruise was for celebration of my DH birthday and Thanksgiving. This was our 21st cruise with Carnival and twice on the Freedom. We felt the pairing was just off and we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Boarding was very quick ... Read More
This cruise was for celebration of my DH birthday and Thanksgiving. This was our 21st cruise with Carnival and twice on the Freedom. We felt the pairing was just off and we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Boarding was very quick and easy in Galveston. Our room was clean and ready when we arrived around 11:15am, priority boarding. We went to Steakhouse this first night and enjoyed our meal very much. We ate in the Main Dining room at a table for 10. Our service was quite slow and we missed stage shows due to the late serving. Also they have taken away the bar service and now order wine or drinks with your waiter which slows down the delivery for wine and burdens the serving team with more work. Tuesday we went to the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party. There were only about 14 people that showed up. I wish more would please read the Fun Times and attend once they sign up. We visited Key West, Freeport and Nassau and enjoyed all of them. The casino was fun but no money won. Over all this was a good Cruise and we can check Key West off the bucket list. Will rate overall cruise a 3 of 5 because many little things were just off key and didn’t synchronize. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The food was great -- steaks were amazing! Our wait staff was super busy, but continued to be attentive to our needs. The ship is beautiful and well kept. Our granddaughters and family were with us and the girls had lots of fun ... Read More
The food was great -- steaks were amazing! Our wait staff was super busy, but continued to be attentive to our needs. The ship is beautiful and well kept. Our granddaughters and family were with us and the girls had lots of fun participating in youth activities. We took the trolley in Key West, toured Hemingway House and ate Key Lime pie at Kermit's (a must!). We were sad to see that the festival on the dock has apparently ended. Was always a fun part of visiting Key West. Spent time at Lighthouse Point resort on Freeport and, as always, had a great time. It is a beautiful place and is not crowded at all. Both beach and poolside available there. You can kayak, parasail, jet ski, or just hang out. We chartered a private sailboat and snorkeled in Nassau through Island Marketing Ltd. There were just 6 of us on the boat. Sean was a wonderful guide and we actually were powered by sail most of the time, unlike many excursions that claim to be "sailing." Only dark spot in the entire was a group of teenagers that were misbehaving and being rude during the Dive In Movie. Security was much more present the following night. The musical entertainment was wonderful throughout the entire ship and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise because it left from Galveston (we are all in Texas) and went to the Bahamas (where we hadn't been yet). 26 Family members aboard. This is by far my least favorite ship (6th cruise to date) I have ever been ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it left from Galveston (we are all in Texas) and went to the Bahamas (where we hadn't been yet). 26 Family members aboard. This is by far my least favorite ship (6th cruise to date) I have ever been on. The layout is so confusing that even by the 6th day I was often confused about how to get where I wanted to go. We also had many connecting balcony rooms, but the balcony doors could not all be opened because of the room layout. Very dissappointing as on our Alaska cruise(not Carnival) we had 10 balconies opened up to each other. The food was ok. NOTHING to write home about. Our Steward was GREAT! Otherwise service was iffy. One night our waiter in the main dining lost our ticket, so we had to reorder. Not tragic, just sub-standard. Casino bar staff seemed annoyed to be serving. Casino was ok. My favorite slots were often tied up for hours on end for the never-ending slot tournaments. Went to a seminar and no one showed up to teach it. When I asked a crew member she totally blew me off. Guest services put us on hold for 15 minutes before we hung up. I was dissapointed in the choices of shore excursions on this cruise. Snorkeling in Key West was WAY too rough and there wasn't anything to see. Freeport-took a cab to a "private" beach full of sand fleas and broken glass. Also paid double to snorkel but they ran out. Nassau was AMAZING. I did the sea lion encounter and beach day. It was totally worth it and absolutely beautiful. I can't reccommend this excursion enough. I have been told that Carnival is the Walmart of cruise lines, but after this cruise I might say they are actually Dollar General. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Carnival Freedom 11-18-2017 7-Day Bahamas Room 7370 Overall Rating of The Cruise 3.5 out of 5 “It is firm belief that wine is enhanced by experience. You may have a bottle that is rated poorly, but pair it with the right ... Read More
Carnival Freedom 11-18-2017 7-Day Bahamas Room 7370 Overall Rating of The Cruise 3.5 out of 5 “It is firm belief that wine is enhanced by experience. You may have a bottle that is rated poorly, but pair it with the right food, company, and atmosphere, it may be one of the most memorable bottles ever” Quote Laura Mohseni. This is the same line of thought that came to mind when summarizing our latest cruise on Carnival Freedom. The pairing was just off and I can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Embarkation: Rain possibilities forecasted for Galveston again. Uber to port arrive at 11:00 and still lots of people outside who had just debarked. We checked bags with porter and proceeded to check in. Check-in was a breeze customer services reviewed boarding pass, medical disclosure, and used picture from our passport and sent us on our way. No sail and sign card, the boarding pass was just that, a “boarding pass”. The sail and sign cards were in stateroom mail box. For those who didn’t have immediate access to their room, the bar code on the boarding pass allowed purchases of anything just like the sail and sign card. This was a first for me and I liked it, Ver Efficient, rate it 4.8 of 5. Room 7370: Room ready and clean and everything in good working order. Laurence the Room Steward stopped by and discussed service and our expectations. Highly recommend Laurence and his team to anyone. 5 of 5 Steak House: 1st night We had reservations for 6:30 PM seating. The steak house is on deck 10 mid ship. Team Waiters Maryna Prodan, and Natsiree Songput provided excellent service. Noted the staff was extremely busy and didn’t have time to socialize as have dinning staff on other cruises. The food was just what we expected. DW had lobster tail and I had the Spice-Rubbed Prime Ribeye Steak. Both done to perfection. Chef Subhasis made his way around discussed our meal. Rate this 4 of 5 Meet and Mingle: Held on port day Tuesday, this seemed odd day to me, in the piano bar. Carnival provided snacks and refreshments. Cruise Critic had 10 attendees plus 4 other guests that crashed the party. I personally encourage others to drop in so we can introduce them to Cruise Critic and get their opinions. Malcolm, Cruise Director made it about 5:30 after he completed the Make a Bear program with the kids. Malcolm shared his tenure on Carnival Freedom. 3 of 5 Dining Room: Posh Lower 6:00 PM, table #437 Head Waiter Darwin, Team Waiter Mohammed and Assistant Team Waiter Jundel, Maitre D’ Chubby from Hungary. The waiter staff performed good taking into consideration; number of guests they handled, drink orders were taken and delivered by the waiter staff, table #437 is for 10 and those guests had an overabundance of special requests. Chubby made it around to our table couple of times and supported the entertainment. We noticed that one table of 10 close by had a “special guest” so attention was given reducing the quality of our service. Thank goodness, we have seen the shows in the Victoriana Theater on other cruises and didn’t plan on watching them on Carnival Freedom! On one occasion we were the last to leave the dining room and a couple of times we were watching the dining room entertainment while eating our main course. Carnival please drop the shots and bring back bar service. This was a Thanksgiving Cruise; the turkey dinner was good but I know the Chef can bake a real pumpkin pie. 3 of 5 Entertainment: The Comedy club was and is always a great evening of entertainment. Casino: The Casino on Carnival Freedom is ok when you consider Carnivals attitude concerning smokers. It reeks when you exit the mid ship elevator and a cloud surrounds the casino bar. We need more nonsmoking areas in the casino with better ventilation. The Casino Hosts Karol and Kuda we always on the move with one event or another. Thanks for the big smiles and personal touch you both add to the casino. 3.5 of 5 Ports of Call: Key West: We debarked and strolled thru the town. Had to hit Margaritaville, Sloppy Joes, and Captain Tony’s Saloon to mention a few. Great shopping, Clean town with little damage visible due to Hurricane season. Recommend 4.5 of 5 Freeport: We debarked and grabbed a cab to Lucaya Beach with intentions to spend a relaxing day at beach. Much to our chagrin we found damage from two Hurricanes this season had closed the hotels and access to the beach is extremely limited. The only public beach provides a rocky and risky access to the water. Talking to the locals the hotels will not be open for another year. Do not recommend this beach to anyone. 1 of 5. Nassau: Carnival Excursion “Catamaran Sail & Snorkel”. We debark and boarded Catamaran at the pier. We had pleasant 45 minute catamaran ride to an island with a good reef to snorkel. The island itself showed signs of the Hurricane season with lot of debris. After about one hour we headed back to port where they dropped us off near the pier in front of the flea market. Recommend this excursion. 4 of 5. Finished the day by eating lunch at “Lukka Kairi Restaurant” specifically recommend conch salad. Lukka Kairi Restaurant is a good, safe and clean place to eat. Recommend 4 of 5 Over all this was a good Cruise and we can check Key West off the bucket list but would like to go back again. Will rate overall cruise a 3 of 5 because many little things were just off key and didn’t synchronize. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Carnival Freedom Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 5.0 4.3

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