Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by stlrboo
- Sail Date: December 2008
- Destination: Western Caribbean
Our friends from the UK picked us up at the airport, and we spent the afternoon at the Sleep Inn, and shopped at Publix, as well as dinner at the Kings Head Pub.. Quite good! In the AM, we dropped the ladies off at the ship at 1130 AM, then returned the rental car to the airport... We then took a cab back to the ship, and were all onboard the ship by 115 PM.. The lines were long at embarkation, but moved quite quickly..
After 'brunch' at the Lido, and a drink or two, we went to our cabins on the Verandah (aft). We had 8448 and our friends had 8442, both category 9A! The steward (Ellsworth) stopped by, introduced himself, and graciously opened the balcony partition as we had requested thru our PVP! Ellsworth was probably the BEST cabin steward we have had on any previous cruise. Our kudo's to him..!! He certainly was highlighted on our 'comment card'! Muster drill was a breeze, and most passengers made it there in a quick and orderly manner.
Cabins: I really can't say enough about the 9A's... We viewed the 'side' 9A for the first time and were thoroughly impressed.. Very nice, and almost two times the size of a regular balcony cabin, altho' the balcony was not near the size of the 9A aft-wrap that the DW and I occupied! The connecting balcony (with the partition opened), gave us a 65 foot long balcony! Heaven!
Dining: We had late seating, and for some reason were assigned to the center DR, the Chic! We are normally assigned to the aft DR, but it really made no difference. The four of us were assigned a booth table (172), and were a tad worried, but the cushions were quite supportive, and we enjoyed the experience. Wait staff was wonderful (Andrej), and the beverage service (Marina from Croatia) were GREAT!.. (More kudo's on the comment card)!
The food was really GREAT, altho' we received a cold (hot) dish on an occasion or two, and were offered to have it replaced. We had two entrees on two evenings! The lobster, which was an entree split by the DW and I was on the the 'iffy' side, but the wife loved it...! I have seen them cooked better..! All in all, probably an 7/8 out of 10 for everything! Lunches in the DR are wonderful... Never made it to breakfast there.. Breakfast on the Lido is 'run of the mill', tho pretty good... Was actually looking for corned beef hash, but never did find it...
Fish and Chips was really good... A tad 'greasy', but really tasty! Had fish & chips (fries) and fried oysters.. Just couldn't bring myself to try the Octopus... ACKKKK!
Sun King was excellent, altho' probably only half full... Next cruise, we will probably NOT do the Supper Club, but we heard that CCL is discontinuing the option in February, anyhow..! Service was wonderful, as well as the food... Really didn't think I could eat a 24 oz steak, but I did!!!
Deli was GREAT! Ate there several times for lunch... Grilled Reubens were my favorite! Mongolian Buffet was quite crowded all the time.. We opted out, as we do Mongolian quite often at home, and 'standing in line' is not high on my list!
Room service was pretty quick on most occasions.. They 'post' in the Capers when the service may be slow.. I tried several things, and everything was good. No complaints..! Tuna salad is great, as well as the sliced beef..
Entertainment: Lenny Halliday was our CD.. Seems to be quite good..! Can't comment on the 'shows', as the wife and I are not 'late-nighters'... We enjoy a cocktail or two after our late dining time, then relax on that huge balcony... (after a quick trip to the Casino to donate a few $$$)
Excursions: Key West was our first stop, and the reason for the cruise... DW had never been there! Thus, we opted for the Old Town Trolley Tour... We had thought about doing the 'Hop On - Hop Off' feature, but decided to dod the entire route, then go back to Duval Street on our own.. We all enjoyed the Tour, even tho' I had been to EYW probably 5 or 6 times previous! We all had a nice time, as well as a 'pit' stop at Sloppy Joe's..
DW and I stayed on the ship in Grand Cayman, as we have been there before.. Our friends made a short trip into town (a tendered port), but seeing the prices on trinkets and souvenirs, decided to return..! We relaxed on that BIG balcony for most of the day!
Ocho Rios was where the wife and I were married in 2004.. We opted for a 'private' tour with Marva Shaw, and had 'Lion King' for a driver/guide. Quite a wonderful day, visiting Shaw Park Gardens (where we were married), then Fern Gully, the Jerk Center for lunch, (YUMMY), then a bit of shopping.. NOTE: Avoid the 'local craft market', unless you can deal with really 'pushy' vendors.... ACKKK! The CCL recommended shopping areas were fine!!
Disembarkation: (Getting off the ship).. Was really worried from all the previous reviews we had read! We were assigned #12, and we placed the tags on our bags..! We went to breakfast on the Lido at 730 AM, even tho' we were not required to vacate our cabins until 830 AM. We had a leisurely breakfast, and good conversation... Our # was called at around 905 AM... We were off the ship, and at the airport by 1030 AM! There was no problem getting our of customs... The problem was 'getting a cab'..!! With 7 ships in port that day, cabs were few and far between..! Most people waited for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes to be accommodated.. Naturally, this is not in Carnival's control..!
MY observation: After the poor reviews, we were somewhat concerned, but I truthfully believe that by 'following the suggested guidelines', anyone sailing the Freedom will have a wonderful time. A cruise is 'what one makes of it'! We 'go with the flow', and enjoyed this cruise as much as the others!
ps: The decor was fine.. Very interesting in fact! The crew was always smiling and friendly, and all in all, sailing is still a very good value for the money!
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Some vibration during docking, but we enjoy a little motion while sleeping!
Quiet, less foot traffic... Easy access to the Lido and aft restaurants...
One can not express how nice the view is! WONDERFUL!!!!