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This was my fourth cruise on Carnival and fifth overall; I sailed with my sister, who is retired due to medical issues. We drove down from Atlanta before the cruise and used a "stay-cruise-park free" option at the Quality Inn FLL South in Dania Beach. As promised, parking and the port shuttle were free (BOTH directions) with one night's stay...a great deal! We were both pleased with the ship and its crew, and our only problems with this cruise stemmed from issues related to the embarkation port, Ft. Lauderdale. We had Carnival's Faster to the Fun (FTTF) program, and it worked fine EXCEPT that the luggage porters failed to place the orange FTTF Priority tags on our luggage...so they arrived after muster drill at 4 pm when they are supposed to be expedited to the cabin. I mentioned the missing luggage to Guest Services and, to their credit, they refunded the cost of the FTTF program ($50 per stateroom), unasked, even though it wasn't Carnival's fault. VERY cool. The other "port" problem was at debark, which took over an hour waiting in lines both on the ship and then shoreside to process through Customs. Various reasons have been proposed online including additional scrutiny caused by drugs found in luggage, but the process took almost two hours. Then the layout of Port Everglades took its toll, since shuttle buses have to drop off passengers first, then circle back around to pick up departing passengers. A true disaster, but again, not of Carnival's making. As mentioned, the ship was great! Fresh from her Funship 2.0 upgrades in the spring, Freedom's expanded dining options -- Guy's Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Cantina, etc. -- were as great as always. Aside from some lamentable choices in interior designs and colors. the ship looked great. We had Your Time Dining, and our service from waiter Georgina was so good we asked for her again the following night -- best MDR service we've had on Carnival since 2011 on Imagination! Our ports of call were Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. At Nassau we only left the ship long enough to get some supplies and cheap t-shirts for my nephews. At Half Moon Cay we had rented a cabana for the second time and we really enjoyed it; the weather was perfect, too. At Grand Turk, the winds and seas were high enough that my snuba expedition had been cancelled, so I visited Jack's Shack (finally seeing it for the first time) and then did a lot of snorkeling by the beach, which was pretty intense due to height of the waves! Quite a workout! Regarding Hurricane Gonzalo, we had been worried about the hurricane since before departure, but the storm never impacted our cruise directly with rain or winds...but we DID encounter a lot of long-period swells from the storm which caused the ship to "buck like a bronco" from stem to stern. It wasn't the worst WE had seen on a cruise, but a lot of first-timers were concerned about it and a few were seasick. There are steps the crew can take to minimize side-to-side rolls, but for those type of waves, the best they can do is forge right into them, especially since Grand Turk is a good distance from HMC.

Carnival Freedom 10/13/2014 -- Skirtin' the edge of Hurricane Gonzalo!

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by Pellaz

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2014
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Interior
This was my fourth cruise on Carnival and fifth overall; I sailed with my sister, who is retired due to medical issues. We drove down from Atlanta before the cruise and used a "stay-cruise-park free" option at the Quality Inn FLL South in Dania Beach. As promised, parking and the port shuttle were free (BOTH directions) with one night's stay...a great deal!
We were both pleased with the ship and its crew, and our only problems with this cruise stemmed from issues related to the embarkation port, Ft. Lauderdale. We had Carnival's Faster to the Fun (FTTF) program, and it worked fine EXCEPT that the luggage porters failed to place the orange FTTF Priority tags on our luggage...so they arrived after muster drill at 4 pm when they are supposed to be expedited to the cabin. I mentioned the missing luggage to Guest Services and, to their credit, they refunded the cost of the FTTF program ($50 per stateroom), unasked, even though it wasn't Carnival's fault. VERY cool.
The other "port" problem was at debark, which took over an hour waiting in lines both on the ship and then shoreside to process through Customs. Various reasons have been proposed online including additional scrutiny caused by drugs found in luggage, but the process took almost two hours. Then the layout of Port Everglades took its toll, since shuttle buses have to drop off passengers first, then circle back around to pick up departing passengers. A true disaster, but again, not of Carnival's making.
As mentioned, the ship was great! Fresh from her Funship 2.0 upgrades in the spring, Freedom's expanded dining options -- Guy's Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Cantina, etc. -- were as great as always. Aside from some lamentable choices in interior designs and colors. the ship looked great. We had Your Time Dining, and our service from waiter Georgina was so good we asked for her again the following night -- best MDR service we've had on Carnival since 2011 on Imagination!
Our ports of call were Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. At Nassau we only left the ship long enough to get some supplies and cheap t-shirts for my nephews. At Half Moon Cay we had rented a cabana for the second time and we really enjoyed it; the weather was perfect, too. At Grand Turk, the winds and seas were high enough that my snuba expedition had been cancelled, so I visited Jack's Shack (finally seeing it for the first time) and then did a lot of snorkeling by the beach, which was pretty intense due to height of the waves! Quite a workout!
Regarding Hurricane Gonzalo, we had been worried about the hurricane since before departure, but the storm never impacted our cruise directly with rain or winds...but we DID encounter a lot of long-period swells from the storm which caused the ship to "buck like a bronco" from stem to stern. It wasn't the worst WE had seen on a cruise, but a lot of first-timers were concerned about it and a few were seasick. There are steps the crew can take to minimize side-to-side rolls, but for those type of waves, the best they can do is forge right into them, especially since Grand Turk is a good distance from HMC.
Pellaz’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4G 9247
A small cabin, but adequate for our needs. The room got a lot more navigable AFTER we stowed the luggage under the beds. As usual, Carnival had ignored our request to have the beds separated and we found them together, but the steward (Allan, whose service was good) had them separated before bedtime the first night. Ventilation was adequate and the room was comfortable. Great location, on Lido Deck just past the atrium lobby, nice and close to pools, good food and (for my sister) the smoking area on Panorama Deck 10.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Grand Turk
    This was our third visit to Grand Turk. I had booked the 2 pm snuba excursion through Carnival, since I had done it once already here and had a great time. Since it was the later time for the excursion I had some time to kill beforehand, and I was bound and determined to finally get to see Jack's Shack, which is a little down-home place down the beach from the pier and Margaritaville, and I headed there immediately upon debarking. I was the first person from the ship to trudge down the beach to get there and, as promised, the people there were as friendly as advertised...and I got to meet and pet their dog Topher, who is probably the most famous dog in the Caribbean by now! He greets new arrivals at Jack's and then digs holes in the beach. The people at Jack's confirmed what I had already noticed -- the waves and the winds were both VERY strong, and the winds were blowing onshore, highly unusual for Grand Turk. This was caused by Hurricane Gonzalo, which at the time was a Category 3 and less than 400 miles away.After spending a bit of time and a few bucks at Jack's I headed back toward Margaritaville, intending to reserve a beach lounger before they were all taken and do some snorkeling. Upon arrival a fellow passenger told me the snuba excursion had been cancelled, along with the scuba excursions, and I went and verified that. Oh, well. High seas and low underwater visibility were to blame.So, I went snorkeling instead, and with the high waves (1-1.5 ft.) it was a real chore! Still a lot of fun and a heckuva workout! I went out several times to the demarcation line, where the bottom i about 12 ft., and explored the sunken anchors there. (There was also a cannon there at one point, but I think it's been removed.) All in all, a great and active day despite the cancellation of the excursion, and Grand Turk remains one of my favorite ports.
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  • Half Moon Cay
    This was our third visit to HMC and our second time actually making it to the island, so we are 2-for-3 on getting to enjoy HMC. My sister appreciates having a cabana to relax and enjoy the island, so we reserved Cabana #11, just as we did last time. (You reserve the cabana by booking the excursion through Carnival pre-cruise, but you have to go to Shore Excursions immediately upon boarding to reserve the actual cabana of your choice. Timing is critical!) We had FTTF and also rented a cabana, so we were eligible for priority tendering. On this cruise, the Freedom's crew handled this very well, having us meet early in the main lounge and then escorting us down a cordoned-off stairway to the gangway on Deck 0. The usual fare was offered with the cabana...sodas of our choice (we brought some back with us), bottled water, ice, tortilla chips, veggie tray, sliced fruit/melon tray, dips and salsa. Floating mats and snorkel gear are also provided even though the snorkeling by the white-sand beach is almost pointless. The free barbecue provided by Carnival was pretty good, too. We walked along the back service road back and forth, and this is often the easiest way to get from one end of the beach to the other. An open tram took us out to the cabana upon arrival, but we didn't happen to encounter any later in the day. As usual, tendering back to the ship was hot and disorganized; I'm shocked Carnival (or Holland America, which owns HMC) hasn't installed some sort of covered waiting area or at least some cloth screens to give some shade. All in all, it was a great visit to HMC, one of the nicest white-sand beaches in the world.
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