Carnival Freedom Pleases Again: Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by chuckg228

Carnival Freedom 5
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Carnival Freedom Pleases Again

Sail Date: October 2010
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Background: We are a gay couple (55 & 60) who love cruising. This is our 4 cruise together. We sailed last year on the Freedom with a group of about 200 gay men to the Eastern Caribbean. This year's itinerary was Cozumel, Costa Rica and Panama.

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday evening. We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel on Sunrise Blvd. and loved the place. Spent Friday walking around the area and then went to a pre-cruise party. We had breakfast on Sat. morning and then headed for Port Everglades about 11:30.

Embarkation: Very good. After checking in we were given a boarding zone number and directed to a waiting area. Within 15 minutes we were headed for the ship, pictures taken and then to the buffet area for lunch and a cocktail. I would call the process almost seamless.

Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on the deck 6. The room was immaculate and the perfect size for 2 travelers. I will comment here about our room steward, Buddy. Although we rarely More saw him face-to-face, our cabin was always meticulously cleaned and ready for us when we returned from breakfast. When we did have a request, he handled it quickly and efficiently. Great job!

Food: This always seems to be an issue with cruisers, but I find most of the food to be tasty. It is not 5* cuisine, but I always find something to please.

We also ate at the specialty restaurant and it was well worth the $30 cost. Excellent service and a delicious, leisurely meal.

Entertainment: We are big trivia buffs, so we did take part in several trivia games during the cruise. We came home with a Carnival Freedom medallion. The shows, while not Broadway material, were entertaining. I will say that the cruise director did a very good job. We also took advantage of the return cruiser's reception in the theater. Although we expected this to be a sales pitch for future cruises, we were pleasantly surprised with the hors d'oeuvres and free drinks. We felt like Carnival really appreciated the fact that we had chosen to sail with them a second time.

New Serenity Area: All I can say is that this is a wonderful improvement to the Freedom. Two decks of upgraded loungers, hammocks, hot tubs, sofas and a bar. And for adults only. Thank you, thank you Carnival. What a lovely relaxing area you have created.

Ship Layout: This was our second time around for the Freedom, so we had a good idea of the ship's layout. I would agree with others who have criticized the location of the Chic restaurant which makes it impossible to get to the Posh restaurant without going up to deck 5 and then going back down at the rear of the ship. Also the location of the Habana bar which is a smoking location so close to the rear elevator bank is troublesome for those of us who do not enjoy the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke.

Itinerary: 3 ports and 4 sea days. (See individual reviews below)

All in all, we had a great time aboard the Freedom and hope to cruise on it again in the future. The negatives include the proverbial chair hogs - towels appearing at 8 o'clock in the A.M., but no bodies until noon and smoking on balconies. The man in the cabin next door was smoking a cigar on his balcony, so needless to say, we could only use the balcony when he was out. We are seriously considering ocean view cabins after 3 cruises in a row with people smoking on balconies. Less

Published 11/19/10

Cabin review: 8B6332 Balcony

Nice size room, lots of storage space, nice size bathroom, quiet location, ok balcony (problem with smoking next to us)

Read All Balcony (8B) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Again this tour was organized by our tour director. The town of Colon is a gritty industrial port town trying to double as a cruise ship terminal. Everyone was warned not to walk away from the cruise ship vendor area and as we drove through the town, we could understand why. Although visiting the Canal was something we have always wanted to do and it is an interesting experience, we were only there for about 30 minutes. From there we visited an old Spanish fort, pretty much just a wall and some ruins and then off to a beach. This was a disappointment as the beach itself was littered with trash and you had to be careful not to step on broken glass. There were also several mangy-looking dogs searching for any food that was dropped. All in all, this was not a pleasant beach day. My general feeling about Panama is that it is not quite ready to be a tourist stop. The canal is certainly a draw but they have a long way to go before they will compete with the other beach areas we have visited.

Went to the Mayan ruins in Tulum. Long ride, but worth it for the interesting ruins and the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. The stop on the way was a bit of a tourist trap, but the bathrooms were clean and no one was holding a gun to your head to buy anything.

Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

The port itself is gritty and I don't think anyone would want to walk around town. We opted for a natural history tour organized by our tour director. Costa Rica is beautiful and there seems to be a concerted effort to keep everything as clean and natural as possible. The tour included a boat ride down a river (maybe a large canal) where we saw sloths, monkeys and quite a few species of birds. We then continued on to a rain forest tour on a tractor-pulled covered wagon. We stopped many times along the way and the guide picked up spiders and (very carefully) poisonous frogs and brought them over to the wagon so that we could take pictures. This was a very nice tour, but I would suggest mosquito repellent, because whenever we stopped, the bugs found the wagon. Fortunately we had sprayed ourselves with Off.

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