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We had a cabin on deck 8 and it was a balcony. We went to Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel. Embarkation was fast and easy. Arvin was the best steward ever. He helped us with water, extra pillows, mattress pad, and kept things clean. We only requested service once a day because we tend to be in and out of our cabin a lot, and he was great about keeping things tidy while we were away. We got to enjoy towel animals regularly even though we were only traveling with adult kids. No matter the age, we still enjoy the fun stuff! Very nice man! The cruise director and her staff were probably the best we've ever experienced. Emma and Laylay and the gang were lots of fun. Make your way to the atrium lobby for music and dancing (ignore that it says music trivia; it is really about a party time). We loved the Clue game, but we arrived a couple of minutes late to the first event and didn't get all the instructions or starting "book". I tried to check in with the staff about it, but apparently there were not enough copies. I asked about it but I guess I was misunderstood. It would be nice to add the instructions for the game to the hub so that people can join in. There seemed to be enough clues available at the cafe, but one of the in person clues was during our dinner, so we didn't get that one (8:15 first night). My 20 year old enjoyed the clues and the daily sudoku.The hasbro game and love and marriage were really fun to watch. I only saw one comedian. He had some funny stuff, but a lot of it was just so so. I'm not big into disparaging humor. My son really liked it. We were looking forward to some nice photographs, but only bought one. I'm glad we didn't get the package beforehand. Pixel sets up for evening shots in crowded areas. I did find out that in the atrium lobby, there were some backdrops set up without as much crowding. The photo we bought from Pixel had us pretty crowded, so we were not centered with space on either side. I would have stood in line for some of the other spots if I had not set up an appointment with Dreams Studio. Dreams Studio is a great idea if you have the time and stress level to get it done. However, it was not what I imagined. First, the girls (me and my daughter) were running a couple of minutes late, so that affected my stress level which no doubt affected the experience (my bad). However, my husband and son were on time and got their photos done, then my husband and I, then my daughter joined. So really, the photographer did not have stand around waiting for us time. They only schedule for 30 minutes total. We were told when we got there that it would be only the black backdrop photos. We would not have photos taken at any of the pretty places on the ship. I had also asked about beach shots. In the initial emails, he told me that we could check with him once on board. However, when we got on board and asked on the phone, he said that it was too short of a cruise. I would have hired a photographer at port if I had known before that. Heck, even some photos in the Havana room would have been nice with their pretty chairs and window shades. All we were told was that the deck was too windy. They were not upfront about a few things. I asked for pricing starting with emails and kept getting put off on it. So I did not see pricing until our appointment to see the photos on the last day (we had an appointment for two days after our sitting, but we arrived early and were asked if we could put off from our 7:30 appt until 8:00; which we couldn't because of dinner, plus, who wants to run down to the Havana room over and over (it isn't easy to get to)). The $149 package includes only 2 prints. It would be $299 for 3 prints). To get any digital, you have to pay at least $200 for one photo and that includes the release. Packages started at $499 after that. At this point, the photographer was getting pretty testy/abrupt/snarky (which was evident at other times with our interactions as well). We ordered 2 prints for $149. This was our 25th anniversary celebration, so I was hoping for at least something. When we picked them up on the last day, the one of my husband and me was nice, but the one with us and our two kids was very dark with deep shadows on the sides of our faces. That is not how it looked when we saw them in the studio. We asked to speak to the photographer, but admittedly did not remember his name. The other photographer came by and agreed that it looked dark. He tried to contact the one who took our photos, but that one apparently just said they could reprint (for which we would be responsible for finding them to get it before getting off the ship) or we could get a refund. No offer of the other one that printed correctly for a lesser price (I would have paid 80 for just the one). No offer to reprint it correctly and have it sent to our room. No offer to reprint it and mail it to us. All of it was for nothing. Very disappointed. I should have stuck to my usual professional photographer at home. It felt very much like low balling and switch and bait. A waste of our time. I'm glad I took the one with Pixels right after, or I would have nothing to show for all that time. This is of course only our experience. I hope others have had much better. Casino: I like the computer poker table because we can play cash games. The poker tournament was a bit crazy though. $150 buy in. Only 10 people total (so get there early). Only 1st place is paid with $750 and seat in $175,000 tournament on another cruise (cruise not included). 2nd place (me) got a seat to that big tournament. I found out later that we could have both quit at the same time and split the pot at the cage, but didn't know it was possible with the computer set up. Please, note, they did not have a dealer or anyone watching the game, so this costs them no money beyond the computer poker table. The slots are VERY tight. The dealers at table games did well. I did not see any errors and they were always nice and friendly. Bingo includes just 3 games each time at $40 for dauber, 9 cards per game, and pull tab game. You get extra cards for the last game which can win $5000 if blackout in 49 balls. Food really ranged from excellent to average. The carnival cake is wonderful. I had ordered an anniversary cake that was also very good. It was too big to eat the first day, so we found a way to shove it in fridge. They do not provide a box so that you can eat later. Filet mignon, lobster, pizza, french toast, bacon were all good. Bread for dinner was definitely good!!! Salmon was dry, scrambled eggs were runny. Waitstaff was fun. Drinks from the bar were pretty good for the most part. We did not book shore excursions from carnival. Now that they are price matching better, we probably should have. This 6 day cruise made for little time in the ports and they were 3 days in a row--exhausting. The itinerary says 8 hours, but that is not really how much time you have once you dock and so forth. carnival excursions guarantee you will get back on board in time. That is definitely a plus, as we watched arrivals well after the time we were set to leave. Disembarkation was a bit long, but to be fair, we didn't understand to get the luggage tags early (look for them the day before on deck 5 midship). We should have listened to Emma better, lol. I definitely will choose a 7 day over 6 day next time. However, on the Freedom, it does not feel overcrowded (except during photo times) and did not have long lines. It is a trade off to consider when booking your cruise! Overall, I rate it as number 2 out of 5 cruises that I have been on.

Great Staff in general, but Dreams Studio was disappointment

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by partay_family

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We had a cabin on deck 8 and it was a balcony. We went to Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel. Embarkation was fast and easy.

Arvin was the best steward ever. He helped us with water, extra pillows, mattress pad, and kept things clean. We only requested service once a day because we tend to be in and out of our cabin a lot, and he was great about keeping things tidy while we were away. We got to enjoy towel animals regularly even though we were only traveling with adult kids. No matter the age, we still enjoy the fun stuff! Very nice man!

The cruise director and her staff were probably the best we've ever experienced. Emma and Laylay and the gang were lots of fun. Make your way to the atrium lobby for music and dancing (ignore that it says music trivia; it is really about a party time). We loved the Clue game, but we arrived a couple of minutes late to the first event and didn't get all the instructions or starting "book". I tried to check in with the staff about it, but apparently there were not enough copies. I asked about it but I guess I was misunderstood. It would be nice to add the instructions for the game to the hub so that people can join in. There seemed to be enough clues available at the cafe, but one of the in person clues was during our dinner, so we didn't get that one (8:15 first night). My 20 year old enjoyed the clues and the daily sudoku.The hasbro game and love and marriage were really fun to watch. I only saw one comedian. He had some funny stuff, but a lot of it was just so so. I'm not big into disparaging humor. My son really liked it.

We were looking forward to some nice photographs, but only bought one. I'm glad we didn't get the package beforehand. Pixel sets up for evening shots in crowded areas. I did find out that in the atrium lobby, there were some backdrops set up without as much crowding. The photo we bought from Pixel had us pretty crowded, so we were not centered with space on either side. I would have stood in line for some of the other spots if I had not set up an appointment with Dreams Studio. Dreams Studio is a great idea if you have the time and stress level to get it done. However, it was not what I imagined. First, the girls (me and my daughter) were running a couple of minutes late, so that affected my stress level which no doubt affected the experience (my bad). However, my husband and son were on time and got their photos done, then my husband and I, then my daughter joined. So really, the photographer did not have stand around waiting for us time. They only schedule for 30 minutes total. We were told when we got there that it would be only the black backdrop photos. We would not have photos taken at any of the pretty places on the ship. I had also asked about beach shots. In the initial emails, he told me that we could check with him once on board. However, when we got on board and asked on the phone, he said that it was too short of a cruise. I would have hired a photographer at port if I had known before that. Heck, even some photos in the Havana room would have been nice with their pretty chairs and window shades. All we were told was that the deck was too windy. They were not upfront about a few things. I asked for pricing starting with emails and kept getting put off on it. So I did not see pricing until our appointment to see the photos on the last day (we had an appointment for two days after our sitting, but we arrived early and were asked if we could put off from our 7:30 appt until 8:00; which we couldn't because of dinner, plus, who wants to run down to the Havana room over and over (it isn't easy to get to)). The $149 package includes only 2 prints. It would be $299 for 3 prints). To get any digital, you have to pay at least $200 for one photo and that includes the release. Packages started at $499 after that. At this point, the photographer was getting pretty testy/abrupt/snarky (which was evident at other times with our interactions as well). We ordered 2 prints for $149. This was our 25th anniversary celebration, so I was hoping for at least something. When we picked them up on the last day, the one of my husband and me was nice, but the one with us and our two kids was very dark with deep shadows on the sides of our faces. That is not how it looked when we saw them in the studio. We asked to speak to the photographer, but admittedly did not remember his name. The other photographer came by and agreed that it looked dark. He tried to contact the one who took our photos, but that one apparently just said they could reprint (for which we would be responsible for finding them to get it before getting off the ship) or we could get a refund. No offer of the other one that printed correctly for a lesser price (I would have paid 80 for just the one). No offer to reprint it correctly and have it sent to our room. No offer to reprint it and mail it to us. All of it was for nothing. Very disappointed. I should have stuck to my usual professional photographer at home. It felt very much like low balling and switch and bait. A waste of our time. I'm glad I took the one with Pixels right after, or I would have nothing to show for all that time. This is of course only our experience. I hope others have had much better.

Casino: I like the computer poker table because we can play cash games. The poker tournament was a bit crazy though. $150 buy in. Only 10 people total (so get there early). Only 1st place is paid with $750 and seat in $175,000 tournament on another cruise (cruise not included). 2nd place (me) got a seat to that big tournament. I found out later that we could have both quit at the same time and split the pot at the cage, but didn't know it was possible with the computer set up. Please, note, they did not have a dealer or anyone watching the game, so this costs them no money beyond the computer poker table. The slots are VERY tight. The dealers at table games did well. I did not see any errors and they were always nice and friendly.

Bingo includes just 3 games each time at $40 for dauber, 9 cards per game, and pull tab game. You get extra cards for the last game which can win $5000 if blackout in 49 balls.

Food really ranged from excellent to average. The carnival cake is wonderful. I had ordered an anniversary cake that was also very good. It was too big to eat the first day, so we found a way to shove it in fridge. They do not provide a box so that you can eat later. Filet mignon, lobster, pizza, french toast, bacon were all good. Bread for dinner was definitely good!!! Salmon was dry, scrambled eggs were runny. Waitstaff was fun. Drinks from the bar were pretty good for the most part.

We did not book shore excursions from carnival. Now that they are price matching better, we probably should have. This 6 day cruise made for little time in the ports and they were 3 days in a row--exhausting. The itinerary says 8 hours, but that is not really how much time you have once you dock and so forth. carnival excursions guarantee you will get back on board in time. That is definitely a plus, as we watched arrivals well after the time we were set to leave.

Disembarkation was a bit long, but to be fair, we didn't understand to get the luggage tags early (look for them the day before on deck 5 midship). We should have listened to Emma better, lol. I definitely will choose a 7 day over 6 day next time. However, on the Freedom, it does not feel overcrowded (except during photo times) and did not have long lines. It is a trade off to consider when booking your cruise! Overall, I rate it as number 2 out of 5 cruises that I have been on.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    Ants near the chairs that were very painful. A lot of people selling, which would have been okay if they had asked us once and we said "no thank you"; but many of them came by multiple times. Not good for snorkeling. Don't forget that kayaking is included in all inclusive, but it is hard to get them. Waiter was very good. Probably won't be back to this one.
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