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We just completed our Carnival Freedom cruise to the Caribbean, which ended 1/13/18. This was our first Carnival cruise in about 15 years, but since that time, we’ve cruised 27 times with all the other mass market lines and some luxury cruises. But this review will not be a comparison to them. We did not choose FTTF option, as we didn’t feel we needed it. We weren’t in a rush to get into our cabin or off the ship. We scheduled our port arrival with Carnival for 11:30 -12:00 and once we made our way into the terminal, we were whisked through the process in less than 15 minutes. Since we knew we would have our carryon luggage with us until 1:30, we limited it to one bag and had the porters handle the rest. Our first order of business was finding a table in the Lido since we didn’t want to be on deck. That day it was about 45 degrees in Galveston. Since the Lido beverage stations are so spread out, it was easy to find a table for two. We wanted to try Guy’s burgers for our first food choice, but there was a long time. Instead, I tried the Mongolian Stir Fry. Very important note for the Mongolian food station and Guy’s – many times there are lines on both sides of the station. Before standing in line, check to see if the other end is open. That option shortened our wait many times during the cruise. Regarding food on the lido, if you like your food hot (temperature not spicy) stick to the areas where they prepare it hot in front of you. Otherwise, you will probably receive much of your food lukewarm. I’m not a fan of tepid pancakes, waffles, and toast. However, since my tastes for lunch are usually chef’s style salads, the temperature was not an issue there. I made those salads by getting the greens at the salad section, and then taking a clean plate to the deli for pastrami or getting shrimp at the Blue Iguana or the Mongolian spot. A quick note about the pizza… loved the thin crust and the choice of toppings. You are not limited to the four pizza options on their menu. You can mix and match any of the ingredients available because it is made fresh to order and comes hot. At 1:30 we went to our cabin and found one of our large bags was already there. At first glance, it looked like we wouldn’t have enough space for our clothes, but it worked out. Your cabin steward can bring more hangers, which are the type that you click onto a bar so you don’t steal them. We had an interior stateroom and the nightstands were a joke. The tops were no more than 12” square and the door opened to an empty space, no shelves. In that case, it was a disappointment, but we doubled up elsewhere. The bed was not the standard comfy pillow top I’ve come to love at hotels we stay at but it was improved with an egg crate mattress and 3 comforters under the sheet. The room comes standard with 4 comforters. The tiny bathroom made up for its size with a substantial amount of shelving above the counter. Didn’t plan to use the shower much anyway, since we usually shower in the gym’s locker rooms after a workout. Had an issue with the steam and sauna rooms in both men’s and ladies areas. They are supposed to be turned on at 7:00 am. However, when we arrived around 8:00 we had to request they be turned on. Each takes 20 minutes to heat, so check before you use the gym equipment. And here’s another puzzling aspect. There’s a “hot tub” in the middle of the gym, but you can’t get to it in the gym. It can only be accessed through an unmarked door in the locker rooms. However, once we found the secret entrance, we discovered that the tub wasn’t heated. Per the spa manager, it’s supposed to be at body temperature (which I understand to be about 98 degrees) but the water temperature was more like your average drinking fountain. After the quick muster drill with no life jackets needing to be carried about, we headed out to the pool deck. The sail away was fun with the cruise director and his staff getting us up and line dancing to the music. The wait staff was actively pitching their drinks of the day – which average $9.25 for cocktails and about $6.50 for beers. With those prices, I can understand how many buy the Cheers packages. On our first night, we made a reservation for the Steakhouse. While we dined, there were maybe 8 or 9 tables in use with mostly couples only. Still with that small capacity, they couldn’t deliver the food hot. A béarnaise sauce that has a congealed topping is a sure giveaway to that point, but apparently not to the waiters. We did enjoy the crab cake, onion soup, and the steak, but they forgot to bring the side dishes for our entrees. Other nights we dined YTD at the MDR. We had no trouble getting a table for two and stayed at the same station each night because we liked the service of Ricardo, Luis, and Gaipilau (not sure if I spelled that right – sweet young lady who carried a humongous amount of dishes to the serving station). Usually, finished our meal in 60- 75 minutes so it was easy to attend the production shows or music venues. Always enjoyed the options for appetizers and salads and could find at least one entrée I wanted to try. Desserts were disappointing with a seeming lack of needed sugar or butter. However, that meant one less way for me to gain weight! Most of the music we listened to was the pop band who played in the atrium night. It was a pick-up band like other cruise lines do, but you’d never guess they hadn’t been a group for years. Great musicians and great voices. The other locals for bands we didn’t seem to catch right. Either we heard their last song in the set or they were already on break. I appreciated the singers in the production shows but was not impressed with their costuming or choreography. However, I loved the high-tech aspects of the background and the pyrotechnics. We only saw one comedian, but he wasn’t our style, so we skipped the others. Not a fan of dropping the f-bomb every few sentences. Crass and not funny to me if that’s how you show your artistic ability. Did not do any excursions as we’d been to these ports multiple times. Even stayed on the ship in one port to enjoy the emptiness of the gym, pool, and hot tubs on deck. The Dive in movies were pretty popular and a fun idea to watch from a lounge chair at night. Room steward delivered average service. We asked for morning and night service, which we received for 2 nights. Even though we were out early for the gym and breakfast, he usually came only late in the afternoon. However, he greeted us by our names whenever we saw him in the hall. Debarkation is my least favorite part of a cruise. However, we were .eased into with a relaxed and unhurried breakfast in the MDR. Our section for leaving came 15 later than scheduled and included the slow crawl around the deck like Disney Theme Park lines. Customs was a breeze, but a bit confusing for those who bought alcohol and had to do the Texas declaration and pay the fees. We weren’t in that batch, so we easily moved toward our shuttle pick-up point. Overall, the cruise was good. We enjoyed the food for the most part and the overall service. We’d rate it like a two-star hotel with your average casual dining spots and local entertainers. That was fine with us as we didn’t expect a 5-star experience – nor did we pay for one.

Like a 2-star hotel and priced accordingly

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by chrismch

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We just completed our Carnival Freedom cruise to the Caribbean, which ended 1/13/18. This was our first Carnival cruise in about 15 years, but since that time, we’ve cruised 27 times with all the other mass market lines and some luxury cruises. But this review will not be a comparison to them.

We did not choose FTTF option, as we didn’t feel we needed it. We weren’t in a rush to get into our cabin or off the ship. We scheduled our port arrival with Carnival for 11:30 -12:00 and once we made our way into the terminal, we were whisked through the process in less than 15 minutes. Since we knew we would have our carryon luggage with us until 1:30, we limited it to one bag and had the porters handle the rest.

Our first order of business was finding a table in the Lido since we didn’t want to be on deck. That day it was about 45 degrees in Galveston. Since the Lido beverage stations are so spread out, it was easy to find a table for two. We wanted to try Guy’s burgers for our first food choice, but there was a long time. Instead, I tried the Mongolian Stir Fry. Very important note for the Mongolian food station and Guy’s – many times there are lines on both sides of the station. Before standing in line, check to see if the other end is open. That option shortened our wait many times during the cruise.

Regarding food on the lido, if you like your food hot (temperature not spicy) stick to the areas where they prepare it hot in front of you. Otherwise, you will probably receive much of your food lukewarm. I’m not a fan of tepid pancakes, waffles, and toast. However, since my tastes for lunch are usually chef’s style salads, the temperature was not an issue there. I made those salads by getting the greens at the salad section, and then taking a clean plate to the deli for pastrami or getting shrimp at the Blue Iguana or the Mongolian spot. A quick note about the pizza… loved the thin crust and the choice of toppings. You are not limited to the four pizza options on their menu. You can mix and match any of the ingredients available because it is made fresh to order and comes hot.

At 1:30 we went to our cabin and found one of our large bags was already there. At first glance, it looked like we wouldn’t have enough space for our clothes, but it worked out. Your cabin steward can bring more hangers, which are the type that you click onto a bar so you don’t steal them. We had an interior stateroom and the nightstands were a joke. The tops were no more than 12” square and the door opened to an empty space, no shelves. In that case, it was a disappointment, but we doubled up elsewhere. The bed was not the standard comfy pillow top I’ve come to love at hotels we stay at but it was improved with an egg crate mattress and 3 comforters under the sheet. The room comes standard with 4 comforters. The tiny bathroom made up for its size with a substantial amount of shelving above the counter. Didn’t plan to use the shower much anyway, since we usually shower in the gym’s locker rooms after a workout.

Had an issue with the steam and sauna rooms in both men’s and ladies areas. They are supposed to be turned on at 7:00 am. However, when we arrived around 8:00 we had to request they be turned on. Each takes 20 minutes to heat, so check before you use the gym equipment. And here’s another puzzling aspect. There’s a “hot tub” in the middle of the gym, but you can’t get to it in the gym. It can only be accessed through an unmarked door in the locker rooms. However, once we found the secret entrance, we discovered that the tub wasn’t heated. Per the spa manager, it’s supposed to be at body temperature (which I understand to be about 98 degrees) but the water temperature was more like your average drinking fountain.

After the quick muster drill with no life jackets needing to be carried about, we headed out to the pool deck. The sail away was fun with the cruise director and his staff getting us up and line dancing to the music. The wait staff was actively pitching their drinks of the day – which average $9.25 for cocktails and about $6.50 for beers. With those prices, I can understand how many buy the Cheers packages.

On our first night, we made a reservation for the Steakhouse. While we dined, there were maybe 8 or 9 tables in use with mostly couples only. Still with that small capacity, they couldn’t deliver the food hot. A béarnaise sauce that has a congealed topping is a sure giveaway to that point, but apparently not to the waiters. We did enjoy the crab cake, onion soup, and the steak, but they forgot to bring the side dishes for our entrees.

Other nights we dined YTD at the MDR. We had no trouble getting a table for two and stayed at the same station each night because we liked the service of Ricardo, Luis, and Gaipilau (not sure if I spelled that right – sweet young lady who carried a humongous amount of dishes to the serving station). Usually, finished our meal in 60- 75 minutes so it was easy to attend the production shows or music venues. Always enjoyed the options for appetizers and salads and could find at least one entrée I wanted to try. Desserts were disappointing with a seeming lack of needed sugar or butter. However, that meant one less way for me to gain weight!

Most of the music we listened to was the pop band who played in the atrium night. It was a pick-up band like other cruise lines do, but you’d never guess they hadn’t been a group for years. Great musicians and great voices. The other locals for bands we didn’t seem to catch right. Either we heard their last song in the set or they were already on break. I appreciated the singers in the production shows but was not impressed with their costuming or choreography. However, I loved the high-tech aspects of the background and the pyrotechnics. We only saw one comedian, but he wasn’t our style, so we skipped the others. Not a fan of dropping the f-bomb every few sentences. Crass and not funny to me if that’s how you show your artistic ability.

Did not do any excursions as we’d been to these ports multiple times. Even stayed on the ship in one port to enjoy the emptiness of the gym, pool, and hot tubs on deck. The Dive in movies were pretty popular and a fun idea to watch from a lounge chair at night.

Room steward delivered average service. We asked for morning and night service, which we received for 2 nights. Even though we were out early for the gym and breakfast, he usually came only late in the afternoon. However, he greeted us by our names whenever we saw him in the hall.

Debarkation is my least favorite part of a cruise. However, we were .eased into with a relaxed and unhurried breakfast in the MDR. Our section for leaving came 15 later than scheduled and included the slow crawl around the deck like Disney Theme Park lines. Customs was a breeze, but a bit confusing for those who bought alcohol and had to do the Texas declaration and pay the fees. We weren’t in that batch, so we easily moved toward our shuttle pick-up point.

Overall, the cruise was good. We enjoyed the food for the most part and the overall service. We’d rate it like a two-star hotel with your average casual dining spots and local entertainers. That was fine with us as we didn’t expect a 5-star experience – nor did we pay for one.
chrismch’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4D
At 1:30 we went to our cabin and found one of our large bags was already there. At first glance, it looked like we wouldn’t have enough space for our clothes, but it worked out. Your cabin steward can bring more hangers, which are the type that you click onto a bar so you don’t steal them. We had an interior stateroom and the nightstands were a joke. The tops were no more than 12” square and the door opened to an empty space, no shelves. In that case, it was a disappointment, but we doubled up elsewhere. The bed was not the standard comfy pillow top I’ve come to love at hotels we stay at but it was improved with an egg crate mattress and 3 comforters under the sheet. The room comes standard with 4 comforters. The tiny bathroom made up for its size with a substantial amount of shelving above the counter. Didn’t plan to use the shower much anyway, since we usually shower in the gym’s locker rooms after a workout.
Upper Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins