Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by JoAnn&Mike
- Sail Date: November 2012
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
This was our first time going out of Port Everglades (Ft Lauderdale). Embarkation seemed to be a little bit slow, but I think it was because Carnival knew we were not going to be able to sail away on time due to the number of ships in port. We did get an email telling us to come a little later, but of course I didn't listen so I have no one to blame but myself... Lol. As long as I'm on that ship, sipping a DOD (drink of the day) I don't care what time the ship actually sails!!! Lol
There was one lady, a staff at the port that was a hoot!!! She had us singing songs, she would sing songs...got us in the cruising mood for sure. The time went by fast. We were able to board about 12:30. Once we got moving it didn't take us hardly anytime, maybe 15 minutes, to actually be on the Lido deck of the ship!!!
The Freedom is a beautiful ship. Of course the name kinda gives you a hint of the decor...Statue of Liberty in the buffet area on the Lido is awesome. Of course the freedom has the seaside theater, and the deck is like stadium seating, in levels. More on the decor later...food is more important!!
Of course the buffet is open and has some good stuff on it....BUT from reading other reviews I knew about the "Fish n Chips" bar on the 10th level. So, if you go up one level, take the stairs right there by the desserts, you will find it!! You can get fish n chips, seafood fritters, fried oysters, and sushi. This little area seemed to be the best kept secret throughout the cruise until someone asks "Oh! Where did you get that?" We had late dining, so when we would come back from a port, I'd head for the fish n chips for lunch about 2... Perfect timing for dinner at 8:15!!!
But now on sea days...please experience eating in the dining room for lunch. They usually have a wonderful menu...and remember, the dining room is only open for lunch on sea days.
On the television in your room is an interactive menu. You can select several things like looking at your sail n sign account, and of course the menu for the day. It was nice to see what the choices were going to be for the evening meal. To me the meals in the dining room are way better than the buffet...they're hot, you are served, the selection is wonderful...it's just a much nicer atmosphere.
We had all of our dinners in the dining room except for the last night....because.....I wanted to watch the show twice!!!!!! Lol. "Ticket To Ride" - tribute to the Beatles ...was absolutely wonderful!!!!
The shows on the Freedom were fantastic!!! The dancers put their whole hearts into these dances and they were amazing!!! The singers were fabulous!!! The theater, the Victoriana, was decorated beautiful. The chandelier was very unique as well as the renditions of the painting on the walls. If you tune into one of the channels on the TV, can't remember which one, the designer of the ship explains his designs for each major room on the ship. It's very interesting.
This was the 6 day cruise, and we had 2 elegant nights. It's always fun to take pictures!! I suggest you go to several of the picture stations, then pick the ones you like best. Each one of me will do different poses and of course have different backdrops. You can buy some of the pictures, all of the pictures, or NONE of the pictures. So just try it.
Tea Time- this is probably the most relaxing, wonderful time to spend an hour on a sea day afternoon at 3:00 pm and the attendance is so low!!! There is usually light music, the tables are set like a tea (yep!!! Lol) they come around with a wooden box, you pick your tea, they pour your water. Then they come around with a cart and all the scrumptious desserts!!! You can sit and have conversation with your friends, watch that big blue beautiful ocean going by...as you just relax for 45 min or so!!! I only discovered this about 3 cruises ago, now I won't miss it and I really don't even like tea!!!! Rofl...it's just so dang relaxing and isn't something I would ever get to do here at home...well I could if I wanted to serve myself, make my own desserts, and maybe put the lawn sprinklers on for the water...just not the same!!!! :)
The casino...well we've come to the conclusion we are not among the "lucky" people!!! The slot machines seemed very very tight. We cruised this time with a couple that are avid gamblers...and I mean they go all over the US looking for casinos....well they even stopped gambling .... Or "feeding the machines" as they called it!! You just couldn't win even enough to play on for a little while.
Scott's Piano Bar had something going quire often and there was a good time to be had in there!!! The piano player was great and really engaged the audience in the songs....and when you walked in he would stop the so g for a second and say "there they are" and everyone would clap as you came in the piano bar...he was great.
Before dinner every night, which our dining room was the Posh Dining room, we would go into the Habana Bar and there would be this 4 piece band playing music. They were so good. People would be clapping, dancing, singing along....fun...just fun!!!!
Then there's the deck party one night along with the Mexican buffet....ice carving is on display, water melon carvings, great Mexican food and dancing, dancing, dancing!!! More fun!!
Then before you know it it's debarkation day :(. Pack up the night before, put your luggage outside your door by 11:30 pm. The next morning, if you're not platinum, go to breakfast about 7:30, I prefer the dining room, take your time, have a second cup of coffee, make your way to the theater. Read a book, watch whatever they have going on the screen, then when they call your zone, head on down. Then they will pop hour card in that machine for a final time and then you walk on off the ship...and the whole time you are thinking....gosh I can't wait till our next cruise!!!!
If you want to save yourself a lot of hassle .. I would strongly suggest you use Park N Go!!! This company is wonderful. If you make your reservation ahead of time and on-line, your rate is $9 day. They drop you off at the baggage area at the port and pick you up at the pick-up point. When you get to their lot, your car is waiting for you, (the driver calls in your ticket number so they know you are coming). Since you paid for it on-line, you hand them your paper from when you checked in and they hand you an ice cold bottle of water and you're on your way out their gate!! Within no time you are on your way home. Very smooth operation!!!!
As you can tell we had a wonderful cruise...first time cruisers, keep in mind a cruise is what YOU make it to be!!! Don't let the small things bother you...if you're in a long line talk to the people around you, if the elevator is slow you may want to take the stairs.... Don't let things get to you!!!
Very quiet even though we were on the Lido deck. So close to everything which made it really nice when you needed something for your room.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
SnorkelingWe did Captain Marvin's 2 stop tour...Stingray City and snorkeling. I highly recommend Captain Marvin for your tours. Very professional, friendly, and so helpful!! https://www.captainmarvins.com/View All 240 Snorkeling Reviews
The snorkeling was the second stop of the 2 stop tour. The stingray city was first (review below).
The area we were brought to for snorkeling was amazing....thousands of fish...so colorful...coral. Just beautiful!!!! Can't wait to get my pictures developed!! I noticed a couple of the staff were helping people snorkel. I'm not real sure that this was part of the tour...snorkeling lessons...but the were so willing to help anyone that wanted to learn.
You definitely won't be disappointed if you make your tour reservations with Captain Marvin.
Stingray SwimWe did Captain Marvin's 2 stop tour...Stingray City and snorkeling. I highly recommend Captain Marvin for your tours. Very professional, friendly, and so helpful!!View All 540 Stingray Swim Reviews
If you do not do Stingray City in the Grand Cayman you will miss an experience of a lifetime!!! This is the most exciting thing I have ever done!!!! The stingray is absolutely beautiful...a stunning swimmer!!!! We were able to hold one, kiss one, pet them, feed them, and just be there in the same water with them!!! They are huge!! They also took pictures of each person as they held the rays and you had the option of buying your photos on a CD on the way back. So bring some extra cash...you will definitely want your pictures!!!
Key WestWe really didn't do much here. On a previous visit we had taken the Conch Train Tour and really enjoyed it. We leaned much about the history of Key West and found the tour to be very informative.View All 1,451 Key West Cruise Port Reviews
This time we were with a group which made it difficult to just go off on our own. On our next visit we would like to tour Hemingway's house and The Little White House. This is something you might find interesting.
View Cruise Critic's Key West Cruise Port Review
Dunn's River FallsMy husband is 64 and I am 60 and we made it up the Dunn's River Falls!!! Now we came home with a few reminders of our climb...lol. Scrapes, bruises, one small cut, and sore the next day... Lol. We had a blast!!!! Took us a little over an hour but we did it!!! They should give you a little button to wear...something like. "I DID IT!!"View All 183 Dunn's River Falls Reviews
If you've not climbed the falls I strongly suggest you at least try!! There are many "exits" along the way. You can get out at any time you feel you can't continue or just don't want to continue.
Now the only thing I actually wished we had as we climbed was a guide. Mark Morris will take you to the falls and your tour $ includes the cost of the falls...but not with a guide. Having a guide to tell you the best rocks to step on, or if its better to go to the left or right side would have made it a little easier. But, not having one, we can actually say .... We climbed the falls!!!
It was a lot of fun!!
Island Tourhttp://www.markstours.com/. Mark Morris is who we booked our island tour with and were definitely not disappointed!! Mark is unbelievably knowledgeable and very articulate!!! He's even very knowledgeable about the history of the US and how it compares to Jamaica.View All 20 Island Tour Reviews
You would not be disappointed if you booked your tours with Mark Morris!!
It is rather hard to shop in Jamaica. The economy is so bad there the people are so desperate to sell you anything. They seemed to have calmed down quite a bit and will actually say things like "Come over here...I won't be pushy" , so they know what the reputation of Jamaica is. My heart goes out to them, but I just did not feel like I could stop and just take my time and look....so I ended up not getting anything. :(. Now Mark Morris will actually go I the shops with you so we never felt like we were in danger...but just not a relaxed atmosphere.