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We were looking for a family friendly cruise line for our young family. First and last cruise for young family We took our 5, 3 and 1 year old on the Carnival Freedom 7-day cruise to key west, FLA, Freeport Bahamas and Nassau Bahamas. We did lots of research on shops and were looking for a vacation that would be conducive for our young family. We chose this ship because the Carnival website advertised good kids programs for kids and especially because of the baby splash pad area they advertised for this specific First I’ll start with a few positives before getting to why overall, my expectations for a family friendly vacation were not met. 1. Excellent food 2. Camp Ocean was very organized and had competent staff . When we arrived we were told that there was no water area for under 2s. Carnival does not allow non-potty trained babies in any water area. In addition to no baby water area or splash pad there was no kid pool or even a designated kid area. The three small pools on the lido deck were always packed with adults who were drinking and engaging in adult behavior, not an environment suitable for kids. Furthermore on the lido deck there is always very loud adult music playing. In the kids area, Camp Ocean, located on the very top deck of the ship, almost impossible to get a stroller to, my one year old was only allowed to play from 8:00-10:00am. Like most one year olds this time was during her morning nap. The kids The schedule The entire cruise ship schedule is not suited to kids or families. There are LGBT mixers and adult comedy shows. In all 7 days there were three “family friendly” activities, a Build a Bear Workshop (which you had to pay extra for) a movie, Peter Rabbit (PG) and the Seuss a Palooza Parade which was run by a staff member who appeared to never have worked with children before. My three and five year old were wildly unimpressed with the “parade” which involved about 100 kids walking from one area of the ship to another waving bells and other noise makers. The Dr Seuss characters, advertised on all promotional materials, were present for about 20 min total. Changing table There was one baby changing station on the entire lido deck. Food The food places were closed from 2:30-6:00 leaving young families like us out of luck For after nap snacks and early dinner times. There were also almost kid friendly options on the buffet. They had a pizza place and a deli open almost always but they were very often so crowded we opted to not stand in more lines with our children going wild. On the buffet they had melon, pineapple, apples and bananas for fruit and almost no other kids food options for picky toddlers. There are a number of adult only sections of the ship, including the very front called the Serenity deck. Being at the very front of the boat, there were many children anxious to see it but they were not permitted to enter. Putt-putt was a good family activity but it closed at 5:00, right before our kids bedtime when our family would have gotten the most use out of it. There was essentially nothing for my one year old to do on Carnival Freedom. We spent our days taking turns walking her around and letting her go up and down the stairs Excursions Our two excursions in the Bahamas were marketed entirely to families. On both of them we had to walk over a mile to get there and wait in lines for over an hour. Once we arrived at the beaches, they were so crowded we had to wAit in more lines to secure a shaded area for the kids. All in all, this did not meet my expectations for a family friendly vacation. I feel as though Carnivals explicit marketing to young families is false advertising. Next time we will pay the extra for a Disney Cruise or opt for a family centered resort.

First and Last Carnival Cruise for Young Family

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by kmedmiston

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Interior Upper/Lower
We were looking for a family friendly cruise line for our young family. First and last cruise for young family

We took our 5, 3 and 1 year old on the Carnival Freedom 7-day cruise to key west, FLA, Freeport Bahamas and Nassau Bahamas. We did lots of research on shops and were looking for a vacation that would be conducive for our young family. We chose this ship because the Carnival website advertised good kids programs for kids and especially because of the baby splash pad area they advertised for this specific

First I’ll start with a few positives before getting to why overall, my expectations for a family friendly vacation were not met.

1. Excellent food

2. Camp Ocean was very organized and had competent staff .

When we arrived we were told that there was no water area for under 2s. Carnival does not allow non-potty trained babies in any water area. In addition to no baby water area or splash pad there was no kid pool or even a designated kid area. The three small pools on the lido deck were always packed with adults who were drinking and engaging in adult behavior, not an environment suitable for kids. Furthermore on the lido deck there is always very loud adult music playing. In the kids area, Camp Ocean, located on the very top deck of the ship, almost impossible to get a stroller to, my one year old was only allowed to play from 8:00-10:00am. Like most one year olds this time was during her morning nap. The kids The schedule The entire cruise ship schedule is not suited to kids or families. There are LGBT mixers and adult comedy shows. In all 7 days there were three “family friendly” activities, a Build a Bear Workshop (which you had to pay extra for) a movie, Peter Rabbit (PG) and the Seuss a Palooza Parade which was run by a staff member who appeared to never have worked with children before. My three and five year old were wildly unimpressed with the “parade” which involved about 100 kids walking from one area of the ship to another waving bells and other noise makers. The Dr Seuss characters, advertised on all promotional materials, were present for about 20 min total.

Changing table

There was one baby changing station on the entire lido deck.

Food

The food places were closed from 2:30-6:00 leaving young families like us out of luck

For after nap snacks and early dinner times. There were also almost kid friendly options on the buffet. They had a pizza place and a deli open almost always but they were very often so crowded we opted to not stand in more lines with our children going wild. On the buffet they had melon, pineapple, apples and bananas for fruit and almost no other kids food options for picky toddlers.

There are a number of adult only sections of the ship, including the very front called the Serenity deck. Being at the very front of the boat, there were many children anxious to see it but they were not permitted to enter.

Putt-putt was a good family activity but it closed at 5:00, right before our kids bedtime when our family would have gotten the most use out of it.

There was essentially nothing for my one year old to do on Carnival Freedom. We spent our days taking turns walking her around and letting her go up and down the stairs

Excursions

Our two excursions in the Bahamas were marketed entirely to families. On both of them we had to walk over a mile to get there and wait in lines for over an hour. Once we arrived at the beaches, they were so crowded we had to wAit in more lines to secure a shaded area for the kids.

All in all, this did not meet my expectations for a family friendly vacation. I feel as though Carnivals explicit marketing to young families is false advertising. Next time we will pay the extra for a Disney Cruise or opt for a family centered resort.
kmedmiston’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior Upper/Lower
Cabin 1A 1330
The rooms were fine.
Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins