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We had an amazing time! I didn't know what to expect. We were first time cruisers. We had mixed reviews from our friends about cruises. But this was Fantastic! We used EZ Cruise Parking in Galveston. You get a 20$ discount if you walk to the terminal. It was worth it for us because it was only like two blocks over. I read alot about what to take and what not to take, so I didn't overpack (I think I used everything in my suitcase about 2 or 3 times!). We only had two suitcases and a backpack each so the walk was easy. The embarkation process was pretty quick.It took about 30-45 minutes. Once we got on the ship we weren't sure what to do, but there were plenty of Carnival reps telling you where to go and answering questions. We spent some time exploring and eating until we set sail. I was really not impressed with the theme of the ship. That was one thing, I don't know if I was looking in the wrong places, that I definitely did not expect. It looked like something out of the gawdy 70s. Don't get me wrong, it was really really clean and I could appreciate the intricacy and detail put into it. Just wasn't my thing. The staff was amazing though. We will try a different ship next time, but if we don't love it I would do Freedom again just for the staff. Loved the Carnival HUB app that let us know what was going on and we could pick things we were interested in and it would remind us 15 minutes before. We most enjoyed dinner. Definitely do dinner and definitely do elegant night. If you're on the fence, just do it! Our waiter Richard was awesome and always genuinely interested in how our day went and what excursions we did. We sat with a couple the first couple nights, but they came with some friends and ended up eating dinner with them. So we asked our waiter to see if the couple sitting next to us, also by themselves, if they would like to join us. They were like yes please! haha So we ended up making some new friends. The food was always great! You had your main meals and then the Ports of Call menu. We would always try something new. The room was always super clean. Ron, our room steward was really nice! He always had great towel animals for us and asked us the first day if we wanted one service or two a day and when we would like it cleaned. It was a small interior cabin, but just what we needed. We didn't come to stay in the room haha. We debated the first night about the Cheers package. We would've had to drink about 6 drinks a day each to make it make sense for us. Which for my husband would've been good, but for me not so much. I had about 3 or 4 a day. It was going to be 758$ for both of us. You have to purchase it for each person in the stateroom, you don't get a choice. So we opted not to and spent about 500$ for the whole cruise. You can't use it until you get into International waters anyway (If I understood them right) and we were in port for three of those days (obviously doesn't work there). I probably would've felt less guilty trying different drinks all week, but we saved money and got to put it toward memories that really mattered. We enjoyed the comedy club in the evenings. We had late dining so we'd go to the family show before and then try to hit another one after dinner. I liked most of the comedians, but I like funny, not vulgar and some of them were a little vulgar. But halfway through the cruise they switched out comedians so it got better. Other activities were fun. I did the build a bear for my son (who wasn't with us haha) and we went to the art auction a few nights. It was interesting. I also did the towel animal folding which was really fun! I made a dog and a stingray. Super cute and fun! My husband ended up doing the casino most of the time. He had fun on the live tables playing Blackjack and Fun 21. The Bars were fun to go to. We went to the Piano bar on night after the comedy club. We just peeked our heads in cause someone told us it was fun. They were all singing and carrying on. As soon as the pianist saw us he shined a flashlight at us and said, look who's here! And the WHOLE bar hollered, Holy Ship, come on in! It was hilarious and something I'll never forget haha. We did the Spa for the discounted price (99$ for 50 minutes) and it was okay. My husband ended up adding the hot rocks and bamboo (I think it was 25 or 30$ more) and said it was much better. Mine was okay, but I've had better massages that cost less. I don't think I would do it again. I wish they had made more use of the big screen outside during the day. They only showed one or two movies in the evenings and the late one I usually wasn't much interested in. Our excursions were all through Carnival. They were AWESOME! We did the push/pull dolphin swim and buffet in Cozumel (definitely recommend!), the Zip line, crystal cave tubing and buffet in Belize (it was great! Felt safe the whole time. I would skip the cave tubing though. The water was Cold!) and the clear water kayak and snorkel in Roatan (it was great, but next time we'll spend more time snorkeling. The Kayaking we could've skipped on this one. It was just a short jaunt down the beach and back). They were all great though for our first time! Very organized and easy to find when you get off the ship. They made sure they kept up with everyone. Guides were all informative (the most memorable ones were Raymond and Edmond in Belize). They all made sure you got back to the ship in time and we never felt super rushed. Cozumel was beautiful. Belize was, eh, not so beautiful. Roatan was beautiful too. The Carnival port there, in Roatan, looked really nice. We took a brief walkthrough there after our excursion and probably could've stayed there all day. Really nice beach and lots to do right there. I will say, just buy your own snorkel gear. It's like 15-35$ to rent it every time and I mean, it's sanitized, but still. It was worth it. We got a few sets on amazon for like 50-80$ each. And we'll use it again next time. Debarkation did not take too long. We checked our bags. Probably don't need to do that again. Everyone that didn't check them got to go first so we had to wait. We had Passports and it went really quickly because that line was short. Make sure if you do get passports that you give yourself the 8-9 weeks it takes to get your passports back. I thought the wait would be about 4-6 weeks and I was wrong so had to pay extra to get the expedited. It was worth it to have them though because debarkation was so much quicker. Overall it was a Great experience! I couldn't believe how friendly all the staff were and that they were all happy to be there. They all made us feel like part of the Carnival family. I have a degree in Marketing and I don't take reviews lightly. I read soooo many before we decided to spend the money (on Everything, from excursions to ships to cruise lines to what to take). This was absolutely exceeded my expectations. We didn't splurge on a really nice room or the Cheers package. So we had money to do things that really mattered to us to make memories. We're already planning our next one. Definitely will consider Carnival.

This was awesome!! This was our Anniversary Cruise

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by mamabearjp

15 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We had an amazing time! I didn't know what to expect. We were first time cruisers. We had mixed reviews from our friends about cruises. But this was Fantastic! We used EZ Cruise Parking in Galveston. You get a 20$ discount if you walk to the terminal. It was worth it for us because it was only like two blocks over. I read alot about what to take and what not to take, so I didn't overpack (I think I used everything in my suitcase about 2 or 3 times!). We only had two suitcases and a backpack each so the walk was easy. The embarkation process was pretty quick.It took about 30-45 minutes. Once we got on the ship we weren't sure what to do, but there were plenty of Carnival reps telling you where to go and answering questions. We spent some time exploring and eating until we set sail. I was really not impressed with the theme of the ship. That was one thing, I don't know if I was looking in the wrong places, that I definitely did not expect. It looked like something out of the gawdy 70s. Don't get me wrong, it was really really clean and I could appreciate the intricacy and detail put into it. Just wasn't my thing. The staff was amazing though. We will try a different ship next time, but if we don't love it I would do Freedom again just for the staff.

Loved the Carnival HUB app that let us know what was going on and we could pick things we were interested in and it would remind us 15 minutes before.

We most enjoyed dinner. Definitely do dinner and definitely do elegant night. If you're on the fence, just do it! Our waiter Richard was awesome and always genuinely interested in how our day went and what excursions we did. We sat with a couple the first couple nights, but they came with some friends and ended up eating dinner with them. So we asked our waiter to see if the couple sitting next to us, also by themselves, if they would like to join us. They were like yes please! haha So we ended up making some new friends. The food was always great! You had your main meals and then the Ports of Call menu. We would always try something new.

The room was always super clean. Ron, our room steward was really nice! He always had great towel animals for us and asked us the first day if we wanted one service or two a day and when we would like it cleaned. It was a small interior cabin, but just what we needed. We didn't come to stay in the room haha.

We debated the first night about the Cheers package. We would've had to drink about 6 drinks a day each to make it make sense for us. Which for my husband would've been good, but for me not so much. I had about 3 or 4 a day. It was going to be 758$ for both of us. You have to purchase it for each person in the stateroom, you don't get a choice. So we opted not to and spent about 500$ for the whole cruise. You can't use it until you get into International waters anyway (If I understood them right) and we were in port for three of those days (obviously doesn't work there). I probably would've felt less guilty trying different drinks all week, but we saved money and got to put it toward memories that really mattered.

We enjoyed the comedy club in the evenings. We had late dining so we'd go to the family show before and then try to hit another one after dinner. I liked most of the comedians, but I like funny, not vulgar and some of them were a little vulgar. But halfway through the cruise they switched out comedians so it got better.

Other activities were fun. I did the build a bear for my son (who wasn't with us haha) and we went to the art auction a few nights. It was interesting. I also did the towel animal folding which was really fun! I made a dog and a stingray. Super cute and fun!

My husband ended up doing the casino most of the time. He had fun on the live tables playing Blackjack and Fun 21.

The Bars were fun to go to. We went to the Piano bar on night after the comedy club. We just peeked our heads in cause someone told us it was fun. They were all singing and carrying on. As soon as the pianist saw us he shined a flashlight at us and said, look who's here! And the WHOLE bar hollered, Holy Ship, come on in! It was hilarious and something I'll never forget haha.

We did the Spa for the discounted price (99$ for 50 minutes) and it was okay. My husband ended up adding the hot rocks and bamboo (I think it was 25 or 30$ more) and said it was much better. Mine was okay, but I've had better massages that cost less. I don't think I would do it again.

I wish they had made more use of the big screen outside during the day. They only showed one or two movies in the evenings and the late one I usually wasn't much interested in.

Our excursions were all through Carnival. They were AWESOME! We did the push/pull dolphin swim and buffet in Cozumel (definitely recommend!), the Zip line, crystal cave tubing and buffet in Belize (it was great! Felt safe the whole time. I would skip the cave tubing though. The water was Cold!) and the clear water kayak and snorkel in Roatan (it was great, but next time we'll spend more time snorkeling. The Kayaking we could've skipped on this one. It was just a short jaunt down the beach and back). They were all great though for our first time! Very organized and easy to find when you get off the ship. They made sure they kept up with everyone. Guides were all informative (the most memorable ones were Raymond and Edmond in Belize). They all made sure you got back to the ship in time and we never felt super rushed. Cozumel was beautiful. Belize was, eh, not so beautiful. Roatan was beautiful too. The Carnival port there, in Roatan, looked really nice. We took a brief walkthrough there after our excursion and probably could've stayed there all day. Really nice beach and lots to do right there. I will say, just buy your own snorkel gear. It's like 15-35$ to rent it every time and I mean, it's sanitized, but still. It was worth it. We got a few sets on amazon for like 50-80$ each. And we'll use it again next time.

Debarkation did not take too long. We checked our bags. Probably don't need to do that again. Everyone that didn't check them got to go first so we had to wait. We had Passports and it went really quickly because that line was short. Make sure if you do get passports that you give yourself the 8-9 weeks it takes to get your passports back. I thought the wait would be about 4-6 weeks and I was wrong so had to pay extra to get the expedited. It was worth it to have them though because debarkation was so much quicker.

Overall it was a Great experience! I couldn't believe how friendly all the staff were and that they were all happy to be there. They all made us feel like part of the Carnival family. I have a degree in Marketing and I don't take reviews lightly. I read soooo many before we decided to spend the money (on Everything, from excursions to ships to cruise lines to what to take). This was absolutely exceeded my expectations. We didn't splurge on a really nice room or the Cheers package. So we had money to do things that really mattered to us to make memories. We're already planning our next one. Definitely will consider Carnival.
mamabearjp’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4E 7260
It was small but perfect. Ron, our room steward, took great care of us and kept it super clean. We had the beds put together for a king size. It had plenty of mirror space. Plenty of light. Plenty of closet space and a few shelves. The bathroom was big enough for us. Plenty of shelf space to put our things. And a clothes line in the shower to dry our bathing suits and things.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cave-Tubing
    It was okay. Our guide was great! But I wouldn't do it again. The water was Cold. I guess I wasn't expecting that. The cave was beautiful. Our guide had plentiful information. The most beautiful part was coming back to the cave mouth. All the greenery and the sun coming in, but then the darkness of the cave.I wish I'd brought my phone and trusted our little waterproof pouches I bought lol. But it was "shockingly refreshing" as our first guide had told us haha.
    View All 337 Cave-Tubing Reviews
  • Ziplining
    This was Awesome! If it's important to you, the bus ride there was a little cramped. We were fine though. Our guides were Raymond and Edmond, they were talkative and informative the whole ride there. Passing out sheets that talked about the animals and whatnot in Belize.They made the trip worth it. I felt safe the whole time. I was so worried after I booked this. But I saw another review about someone who was worried and then saw an 8 year old do it and I thought heck, I can do this! We got up there and it was so quick that I was gone before I knew it. The Ziplines weren't too long and after you got going it wasn't a big deal at all. The guides made you feel totally safe and talked to you the whole time. I probably wouldn't do it here again, just cause I've done it now, but I would be open to doing it other places. Lunch was good. Your basic lunch, but I was hungry and I was glad it was available.
    View All 60 Ziplining Reviews
  • Dolphin Swim & Encounter
    This was awesome and a must do! We did the Push, Pull and Lunch Buffet. It's something that's been on my bucket list. I was a little worried when we had a group of about 50 people, but we got there and they broke us into groups of 8 per dolphin. Definitely do the first one in the morning you can so you have plenty of time for the Chankanaab park. We had plenty of time with the dolphin. He took her back and forth in front of us while we were waiting for two people to swim out to be pushed or pulled by her. Pretty self explanatory, but know how to swim lol. Two people in our group didn't know how to swim. We had life vests on, but they were still scared. They have plans in place for this. They got a life guard to help her swim out and do the push on the boogie board. Instead of swimming out for the pull she rode the dolphin in a circle right there. The park was clean and nice. The buffet was pretty good. You're usual buffet, not spectacular, but I wasn't there for the food. And it was nice to have the option to eat while you were doing so many activities all day. They asked us when we had to be back on board and told us when the last bus would leave. We got to see the Sea Lion show and we brought our own gear to snorkel. We had plenty of time for everything. Snorkeling was beautiful. Lots of colorful fish. It was our first time and we figured out everything on our own. I was glad we had plenty of time to experiment and do this on our own before we did our guided tour at another port later. Again, I will say make sure you do the first excursion available and you should have plenty of time and not be rushed. Would definitely recommend this excursion.
    View All 415 Dolphin Swim & Encounter Reviews
  • Galveston
    Embarkation and Debarkation were pretty easy.
    View All 671 Galveston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Galveston Cruise Port Review
  • Gumbalina Park
    It was cool. It was neat to see all the Iguanas just free roaming. I didn't realize that our kayaking and snorkeling came with this. It was fun to do after we were done with our excursion. We got to see the beautiful birds, monkeys, and a short tour of the little man made cave there. It was interesting. I would recommend it.
    View All 167 Gumbalina Park Reviews
  • Ocean Kayaking
    This was neat, but I don't know that I would do it again. It was just a short jaunt down the coast to some resorts and back. I was surprised we more enjoyed the snorkeling. But the guide was nice and informative talking about all the things on the coast. It was worth it and I'd recommend it if you like that sort of thing.
    View All 7 Ocean Kayaking Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    Our guide was great. I didn't realize it was a guided tour. He took a life saver for us to hold onto if we got tired. He pointed out some neat fish and different things in the reef. We got to see a baby baracuda, a hammer fish, he showed us a conch shell that was empty, some different colorful fish and he even picked us up some little shells we could take home. Very nice and made the experience worth it.
    View All 302 Snorkeling Reviews