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Lovin' the Freedom 12/20/08 I will admit after reading several negative reviews I was a bit worried. However, I do think every vacation is what we make of it. We are heading out of town me, dh, dd 17, and ds 13 from Indiana. Bad weather was predicted and we were keeping our fingers crossed to get out of Indy on the evening of the 19th. The kids weren't as I say "pleased" with being away from their friends for 13 days but oh well life goes on. They also had me started out on the negative. We booked through a online travel agency whom we've used the last three out of four cruises.(Cruise Value Center) and since we booked within the sixty days we had to pay full price at booking. Thank heavens the money we paid went directly to Carnival or we could have been up the creek.........we booked a inside gty and ended up in cabin 2464 on the main deck. For spring break this past year we had the gty and got on the lido deck that was awesome. Anyways cabin 2464 was towards the back and we had a great steward named Amy. It is the first time we have had a female but she did a excellent job for us. The kids were normally in bed too late for room service until she came back in the afternoon but we were very happy with the services she provided. We left her a gift bag full of goodies and our Christmas tree we had brought along. Getting on the ship: we flew into west Palm Beach on friday evening and drove down to the Hilton at the airport for a good nights sleep. Our flight arrived light so we did not get to bed until about 1am. the kids were exhausted after getting up for school at 6am so we decided to let them sleep until 9:30 or 10"ish". We got up got ready and headed to drop off our rental car at the airport. Unlike last cruise there was no wait at the airport for the free port shuttle and were on our way in no time. When we arrived at the port we had to get luggage tags since CVC had went out of business and failed to send them to me and for some reason I was unable to print online. Once in the LONG line outside it was a breeze. I really thought it would take forever but it moved quickly and we were having lunch within the hour. Food: we had our first lunch from the deli(which we loved on the Liberty) and were quite pleased. We managed to visit there several times during the week either for lunch or late night snack since they are open until 11pm. We got the early seating as requested and were at table 355 in the posh dining room. Our waiter was GREAT!! We called him Suki (his name was Sukatiawm) and his asst Andrew who was just there for the 2nd week did a great job as well. We have NEVER had a wait staff get to know & remember all of our names. they would call us by name in the dining room or anywhere else we saw them on board that was amazing to us. Like I said we were impressed with both of them as well as our bar waitress who just started from thailand Nareerat. Our table was lower level and a table for four. I was so bummed as my hubby & myself were hoping to have "others" to chat with to relax and get to know. I did go and request a larger table and after waiting in line they informed me requests were only for early/late changes etc. No big deal but they could have been nice about it. It worked out actually we were not in a booth so we had a open table with a space between another family from Florida. We got to know them quite well and hung out with them in the casino and lounge areas. it is fun to hear about other peoples lives etc........ it made our dinners more enjoyable. I am sure we had more conversation that we would have if it was just us and the kids since they could not understand why we refused to pay forty cents per text message for them to text uncontrollably home. I know I was a much BETTER teenager to point out lol OOPS back to the actual FOOD...... we found something each evening that we found delightful. The lobster(all 6 my dh had and the 2 for me yummy). Chateaubriand mmmmmmmm filet dd was too done but sent back and second one fine. Steaks seem sometimes to get "too cooked" but they will just bring another and I was not cooking so it was even better. Kids loved the melting cake every day and I was happy to have baked alaska & my 13 yo thought it was 'cool" to have expresso. (even though it is nasty he told his sister but was trying to bug me). Kids Activities: our 17 yr old always has enjoyed the teen hangs. She will sleep in and run of fto hang out with kids her age and has been happy to do so. My one complaint is they have absolutely NO ACTIVITIES for her next year. Once you are 18-pre 21 they do not have meet & greets , games, socializing or nothing which I find odd. I heard tons and tons and tons of people complaining about this throughout the cruise. they are not at the age for everything "organized" but they need a movie night, meet & greet, games, or karaoke to still feel included in my opinion. I hope Carnival does something about this because I feel they will lose lots of cruisers if not. Common Areas: the layout of the Freedom is identical to the Liberty and we LOVE it. There are plenty of places to sneak away to read or chit chat. I love the larger ships for this fact. Entertainment: my favorite thing on the ship was the lido big screen!! They have so many opportunities to use this that I think they could do way more with it. I was very surprised they did NOT show any Christmas movies at all. I figured we'd see the polar express or Santa claus or something ...... but nope. They have it on during the day with photos while the Caribbean bands/groups play music which is a nice touch but I wish they would have late night movies and stuff maybe someday. We normally enjoy spending alot of time in the piano bar...... this cruise it was not so happening so I was alittle disappointed. Not much of a crowd any night so it was alittle boring but I did enjoy watching karaoke instead. the lady in charge of both the family & individual karaoke does a wonderful job. Be sure to comment card her because I heard everyone with comments get promotions or raises or something like that. We enjoyed the Beatles show, and Legends as well as Percy Crews the comedian absolutely hilarious!!(I hope we can see him again another time.) We went to the Welcome Aboard show, the Christmas Show on the 26th(the boat was rocking so much they had to cancel it on Christmas) & Sea Feud where I finally won my first Carnival gold medal lol. Besides that we didn't make it to the lounge. Fitness area: I didn't personally use it but my husband enjoyed working out daily. He loved the sauna and steam rooms as well. His one complaint was why do men just think they should come in these places totally naked and sit down right by you and strike up a conversation? I am not sure if the ladies is the same way but I would have been uncomfortable as well. Ports: two new ports for us this time. Cozumel was wonderful as it was last time for us. Our family LOVES Paradise Beach it is so relaxing and fun for the kids. The food and service was good and the kids enjoyed the free access to email thank God they limit it to 15 minutes so they could check myspace or facebook HAHA. Several kids did get "stung" by miniature jellyfish I believe in the waters here. They had vinegar up at the bar though for any discomfort. The weather was amazing I think in the 80s and it was cloudy when we first arrived and it rained for maybe an hour but the rest of the day was beautiful. I will take sunny & 80+ on December over snow and wind chills in Indiana any day. Costa Rica- we booked a private excursion of white water rafting with a another family from our roll call. We used Danillo Hall (from C.R. boards) and were very very happy with the excursion. We had not gotten our confirmation back before we left so I sent an email from cozumel and said we would be there if he still had room and there he was with a sign for us. His van was full but had two others families private taxis to follow him for the tour it was great. We paid $85 per person. Carnival does the same tour for $115 per person and they cannot bring the tour bus down to the rapids entrance so they had to walk I'd estimate a mile or so DOWN the road to ge there. I would have been pissed. It was a wonderful excursion and we all had a great day. We learned about their culture and the banana plantations and were satisfied with the day. It is a very poor country so please follow advisory and do not go out on your own by foot. Both taxi & tours seemed the safe bet to me. Panama- we really were not interested in seeing the panama canal as we wanted to 'go to the beach' for our holiday. We booked on our own a day at the Panama Sol Melia hotel. They have the most amazing pool area. It is three tiered you can jump off the cascading waterfall thing to below and we just relaxed here all day. It was $99 for the night. Bad thing they hardly speak ANY english at all. the website says they have free kayaking, ziplining, basketball, and volleyball....... yes it is all there but the ziplines have not worked for two years, nobody EVER came the entire day for us to use kayaks, and the bball & vball were just okay but nothing to write home about. We were there for relaxation so it was fine for us. I think we will plan something else next time or probably just skip this port. To be honest with you we had a great time and were happy to get away. Others may not have enjoyed it as much as us but honestly that doesn't really matter to me. I will still read reviews and take it with a grain of salt because every one has different tastes. i look forward to cruising again with Carnival in the near future. I can't wait to make my countdown clock which I can check daily and obsess over reading everything on Cruise Critic.

Lovin' the Freedom .......

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by maryhou

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Lovin' the Freedom 12/20/08
I will admit after reading several negative reviews I was a bit worried. However, I do think every vacation is what we make of it. We are heading out of town me, dh, dd 17, and ds 13 from Indiana. Bad weather was predicted and we were keeping our fingers crossed to get out of Indy on the evening of the 19th. The kids weren't as I say "pleased" with being away from their friends for 13 days but oh well life goes on. They also had me started out on the negative.
We booked through a online travel agency whom we've used the last three out of four cruises.(Cruise Value Center) and since we booked within the sixty days we had to pay full price at booking. Thank heavens the money we paid went directly to Carnival or we could have been up the creek.........we booked a inside gty and ended up in cabin 2464 on the main deck. For spring break this past year we had the gty and got on the lido deck that was awesome. Anyways cabin 2464 was towards the back and we had a great steward named Amy. It is the first time we have had a female but she did a excellent job for us. The kids were normally in bed too late for room service until she came back in the afternoon but we were very happy with the services she provided. We left her a gift bag full of goodies and our Christmas tree we had brought along. Getting on the ship: we flew into west Palm Beach on friday evening and drove down to the Hilton at the airport for a good nights sleep. Our flight arrived light so we did not get to bed until about 1am. the kids were exhausted after getting up for school at 6am so we decided to let them sleep until 9:30 or 10"ish". We got up got ready and headed to drop off our rental car at the airport. Unlike last cruise there was no wait at the airport for the free port shuttle and were on our way in no time. When we arrived at the port we had to get luggage tags since CVC had went out of business and failed to send them to me and for some reason I was unable to print online. Once in the LONG line outside it was a breeze. I really thought it would take forever but it moved quickly and we were having lunch within the hour.
Food: we had our first lunch from the deli(which we loved on the Liberty) and were quite pleased. We managed to visit there several times during the week either for lunch or late night snack since they are open until 11pm. We got the early seating as requested and were at table 355 in the posh dining room. Our waiter was GREAT!! We called him Suki (his name was Sukatiawm) and his asst Andrew who was just there for the 2nd week did a great job as well. We have NEVER had a wait staff get to know & remember all of our names. they would call us by name in the dining room or anywhere else we saw them on board that was amazing to us. Like I said we were impressed with both of them as well as our bar waitress who just started from thailand Nareerat. Our table was lower level and a table for four. I was so bummed as my hubby & myself were hoping to have "others" to chat with to relax and get to know. I did go and request a larger table and after waiting in line they informed me requests were only for early/late changes etc. No big deal but they could have been nice about it. It worked out actually we were not in a booth so we had a open table with a space between another family from Florida. We got to know them quite well and hung out with them in the casino and lounge areas. it is fun to hear about other peoples lives etc........ it made our dinners more enjoyable. I am sure we had more conversation that we would have if it was just us and the kids since they could not understand why we refused to pay forty cents per text message for them to text uncontrollably home. I know I was a much BETTER teenager to point out lol OOPS back to the actual FOOD...... we found something each evening that we found delightful. The lobster(all 6 my dh had and the 2 for me yummy). Chateaubriand mmmmmmmm filet dd was too done but sent back and second one fine. Steaks seem sometimes to get "too cooked" but they will just bring another and I was not cooking so it was even better. Kids loved the melting cake every day and I was happy to have baked alaska & my 13 yo thought it was 'cool" to have expresso. (even though it is nasty he told his sister but was trying to bug me).
Kids Activities: our 17 yr old always has enjoyed the teen hangs. She will sleep in and run of fto hang out with kids her age and has been happy to do so. My one complaint is they have absolutely NO ACTIVITIES for her next year. Once you are 18-pre 21 they do not have meet & greets , games, socializing or nothing which I find odd. I heard tons and tons and tons of people complaining about this throughout the cruise. they are not at the age for everything "organized" but they need a movie night, meet & greet, games, or karaoke to still feel included in my opinion. I hope Carnival does something about this because I feel they will lose lots of cruisers if not.
Common Areas: the layout of the Freedom is identical to the Liberty and we LOVE it. There are plenty of places to sneak away to read or chit chat. I love the larger ships for this fact.
Entertainment: my favorite thing on the ship was the lido big screen!! They have so many opportunities to use this that I think they could do way more with it. I was very surprised they did NOT show any Christmas movies at all. I figured we'd see the polar express or Santa claus or something ...... but nope. They have it on during the day with photos while the Caribbean bands/groups play music which is a nice touch but I wish they would have late night movies and stuff maybe someday. We normally enjoy spending alot of time in the piano bar...... this cruise it was not so happening so I was alittle disappointed. Not much of a crowd any night so it was alittle boring but I did enjoy watching karaoke instead. the lady in charge of both the family & individual karaoke does a wonderful job. Be sure to comment card her because I heard everyone with comments get promotions or raises or something like that. We enjoyed the Beatles show, and Legends as well as Percy Crews the comedian absolutely hilarious!!(I hope we can see him again another time.) We went to the Welcome Aboard show, the Christmas Show on the 26th(the boat was rocking so much they had to cancel it on Christmas) & Sea Feud where I finally won my first Carnival gold medal lol. Besides that we didn't make it to the lounge.
Fitness area: I didn't personally use it but my husband enjoyed working out daily. He loved the sauna and steam rooms as well. His one complaint was why do men just think they should come in these places totally naked and sit down right by you and strike up a conversation? I am not sure if the ladies is the same way but I would have been uncomfortable as well.
Ports: two new ports for us this time. Cozumel was wonderful as it was last time for us. Our family LOVES Paradise Beach it is so relaxing and fun for the kids. The food and service was good and the kids enjoyed the free access to email thank God they limit it to 15 minutes so they could check myspace or facebook HAHA. Several kids did get "stung" by miniature jellyfish I believe in the waters here. They had vinegar up at the bar though for any discomfort. The weather was amazing I think in the 80s and it was cloudy when we first arrived and it rained for maybe an hour but the rest of the day was beautiful. I will take sunny & 80+ on December over snow and wind chills in Indiana any day.
Costa Rica- we booked a private excursion of white water rafting with a another family from our roll call. We used Danillo Hall (from C.R. boards) and were very very happy with the excursion. We had not gotten our confirmation back before we left so I sent an email from cozumel and said we would be there if he still had room and there he was with a sign for us. His van was full but had two others families private taxis to follow him for the tour it was great. We paid $85 per person. Carnival does the same tour for $115 per person and they cannot bring the tour bus down to the rapids entrance so they had to walk I'd estimate a mile or so DOWN the road to ge there. I would have been pissed. It was a wonderful excursion and we all had a great day. We learned about their culture and the banana plantations and were satisfied with the day. It is a very poor country so please follow advisory and do not go out on your own by foot. Both taxi & tours seemed the safe bet to me.
Panama- we really were not interested in seeing the panama canal as we wanted to 'go to the beach' for our holiday. We booked on our own a day at the Panama Sol Melia hotel. They have the most amazing pool area. It is three tiered you can jump off the cascading waterfall thing to below and we just relaxed here all day. It was $99 for the night. Bad thing they hardly speak ANY english at all. the website says they have free kayaking, ziplining, basketball, and volleyball....... yes it is all there but the ziplines have not worked for two years, nobody EVER came the entire day for us to use kayaks, and the bball & vball were just okay but nothing to write home about. We were there for relaxation so it was fine for us. I think we will plan something else next time or probably just skip this port.
To be honest with you we had a great time and were happy to get away. Others may not have enjoyed it as much as us but honestly that doesn't really matter to me. I will still read reviews and take it with a grain of salt because every one has different tastes. i look forward to cruising again with Carnival in the near future. I can't wait to make my countdown clock which I can check daily and obsess over reading everything on Cruise Critic.
maryhou’s Full Rating Summary
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