Arrived in Venice Monday evening (had planned to arrive Monday morning but missed flight from Catania, Sicily...misjudged traffic snarls in Sicily!) Check-in went very smoothly, probably due to the late arrival. We (two ladies, 50ish and 60ish) booked this cruise at a rockbottom price and expected to be lodged in the bowels of the ship! What a pleasant surprise to open the door to a twin room on deck 2 with a window, couch and table! Not sure what we did to deserve this upgrade but thank you Carnival!
This is only my second cruise (NCL Southern Caribbean 2005) and my friend's third (several caribbean). Since this was the inaugural sailing for the Freedom we were expecting to see a few kinks in the system that may need to be worked out, so I won't be overly critical of small issues. The only glaring problems I noticed was long delays for port debarkation. Perhaps this is due to port clearing regulations since this was the first port visit for the ship. At a few of the ports the waiting (standing) became uncomfortable for some of the passengers. The mandatory life boat drill also seemed to take an extremely long time. I'm sure these will be improved with practice. Also, I had a few occasions to visit the purser's desk and several times there were 1/2 hr lines there.
We were scheduled for the early (5:45) meal time and I felt it was too early to eat dinner. I only went to dinner twice in the dining room (Chic). The food was nice: one meal was lobster (large tails, and very delicious), the other T-bone steak (okay, but cut fairly thin and only medium well choice for doneness, which was a bit overdone for me). My friend went a few more times and had escargots one night which she said was also good. The breakfast buffet was standard fare and quite mediocre. We tired of this after a few days. We then ate breakfast at the sit down Posh restaurant which offered eggs benedict, bagels and lox, corned beef hash, fresh fruits, etc. We enjoyed this very much. The lunch and dinner buffets seemed a bit better but still sort of bland for the masses. I enjoyed the special early evening offerings on deck 5. One day they had tapas, another mediterranean fare and twice delicious sushi. We didn't try the premium restaurants and I didn't talk to anyone that had. We only used room service for morning coffee and it arrived promptly each day we ordered it. The daily cocktail special was very good also, although the price (usually around $6 I believe) didn't seem very "special" to me. A few times I had dessert at a small area by the casino on deck 5 where they offered extra fancy things like cheesecake, chocolate and fruit tortes, chocolate strawberries, lots of mouth-watering things. They were a few dollars extra but very delicious. I thought the desserts in the freedom buffet were not that special. Also, only once I ate in the fish 'n chips and felt that was a bit greasy. Also, it was only open for lunch/early dinner and we were always touring ports so only able to try it on the one "fun sea day". Overall, the food met my expectations...I am not partial to buffets while on land either. As an aside, I felt that the wine and cocktails were a bit overpriced, but the house selections were nice. That's it for food/drinks.