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My wife and I did a 7-day cruise on Carnival Freedom 1/9/16, leaving out of Galveston, TX. We are in our 30s. It was our third overall cruise and our first with Carnival. The stateroom was in excellent shape; no issues with cleanliness or repair. The staff was remarkable; the team leader knew us by name the first time we met, and addressed us as such the entire trip. Dining was less than impressive. The buffet had limited options and most of it was overcooked. The dining room was remarkably slow except for 2 nights when we had a great waiter. One night my wife's chicken was a brick; she literally could not cut through it. We never send food back, but had no choice here. Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana burrito bar were great, but only open from 12-6 and 12-3, respectively. There was only one specialty restaurant (Sun King Steakhouse) and it was an extra $35; there were 5+ specialty restaurants on our other ships which were better and more affordable. Gluten-free passengers beware: the gluten free bread at the deli is a brick; it was dry and crumbly. It resembled more of a loaf cake rather than bread. The gluten-free pizza wasn’t great either. The website said gluten-free hamburger buns were available, but we never found them. If you are extremely intolerant, you'll need to coordinate with guest services as soon as you arrive; there is "hidden gluten" in a lot of the dining room's options. Drinking and entertainment. We bought the Cheers package and for the most part it was great. It only takes $50 a day for it to pay for itself. However, you can’t activate it until day 2 if leaving from Galveston and are limited to 15 drinks per day and cannot even pay for a drink after that. Drinks $10 or less are covered and this includes nearly everything on board, even premium liquors. This was a pleasant surprise as on our last cruise nearly anything of quality wasn’t covered. As far as good places to drink, there can be only two words... ALCHEMY BAR. Everything was amazing. It is themed like a pharmacy, with 'medicine cabinets' behind the bar, bartenders wearing lab coats, eccentric artwork, etc. All their drinks are specially crafted unique cocktails, nearly all of which contain premium liquor and were still under $10, meaning they were covered under the Cheers package. This also helped bring in great clientele; we had several conversations with other cool passengers here (not the case nearly everywhere else on-board). The bar snacks of marinated olives, cheese, and nuts were a nice touch too. The staff was phenomenal! Johana, Vera, and Bojau were so nice - always greeted us cheerfully and chatted us up about our day. Even when we wanted to change things up a bit, they were willing and able to craft something unique. They got to know our tastes and continually outdid themselves. The casino bar was good too, but only after we earned the bartenders' favor, because it's also where the band played every night, so it tended to attract a lot of the rowdy crowd, which they understandably didn’t have much patience for. The RedFrog Pub is kind of nice, too. All things considered, Carnival is cruising on a budget and we found out why. It depends on what is important to you. For us, it wasn’t a miserable week (saved in large part by Alchemy Bar), but we probably won’t do it again.

Carnival Freedom - January 2016 Caribbean

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by barrett_314

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My wife and I did a 7-day cruise on Carnival Freedom 1/9/16, leaving out of Galveston, TX. We are in our 30s. It was our third overall cruise and our first with Carnival.

The stateroom was in excellent shape; no issues with cleanliness or repair. The staff was remarkable; the team leader knew us by name the first time we met, and addressed us as such the entire trip.

Dining was less than impressive. The buffet had limited options and most of it was overcooked. The dining room was remarkably slow except for 2 nights when we had a great waiter. One night my wife's chicken was a brick; she literally could not cut through it. We never send food back, but had no choice here. Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana burrito bar were great, but only open from 12-6 and 12-3, respectively. There was only one specialty restaurant (Sun King Steakhouse) and it was an extra $35; there were 5+ specialty restaurants on our other ships which were better and more affordable. Gluten-free passengers beware: the gluten free bread at the deli is a brick; it was dry and crumbly. It resembled more of a loaf cake rather than bread. The gluten-free pizza wasn’t great either. The website said gluten-free hamburger buns were available, but we never found them. If you are extremely intolerant, you'll need to coordinate with guest services as soon as you arrive; there is "hidden gluten" in a lot of the dining room's options.

Drinking and entertainment. We bought the Cheers package and for the most part it was great. It only takes $50 a day for it to pay for itself. However, you can’t activate it until day 2 if leaving from Galveston and are limited to 15 drinks per day and cannot even pay for a drink after that. Drinks $10 or less are covered and this includes nearly everything on board, even premium liquors. This was a pleasant surprise as on our last cruise nearly anything of quality wasn’t covered.

As far as good places to drink, there can be only two words... ALCHEMY BAR. Everything was amazing. It is themed like a pharmacy, with 'medicine cabinets' behind the bar, bartenders wearing lab coats, eccentric artwork, etc. All their drinks are specially crafted unique cocktails, nearly all of which contain premium liquor and were still under $10, meaning they were covered under the Cheers package. This also helped bring in great clientele; we had several conversations with other cool passengers here (not the case nearly everywhere else on-board). The bar snacks of marinated olives, cheese, and nuts were a nice touch too. The staff was phenomenal! Johana, Vera, and Bojau were so nice - always greeted us cheerfully and chatted us up about our day. Even when we wanted to change things up a bit, they were willing and able to craft something unique. They got to know our tastes and continually outdid themselves. The casino bar was good too, but only after we earned the bartenders' favor, because it's also where the band played every night, so it tended to attract a lot of the rowdy crowd, which they understandably didn’t have much patience for. The RedFrog Pub is kind of nice, too.

All things considered, Carnival is cruising on a budget and we found out why. It depends on what is important to you. For us, it wasn’t a miserable week (saved in large part by Alchemy Bar), but we probably won’t do it again.
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