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Carnival Freedom Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1318 reviews
7 Awards
Carnival Freedom
Carnival Freedom Dining
Carnival Freedom Cabins
Carnival Freedom
See all photos
Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good
Brittany Chrusciel
Cruise Critic Contributor

When it launched, Carnival Freedom represented a major step on a trajectory that hurtled Carnival Cruise Lines toward its current position as a family-friendly, multigenerational cruise line. Carnival has always offered value, but within the past decade or so, it has set its focus on families. That's not to say the Carnival Freedom ship doesn't offer adults the chance to live it up, however.

The Carnival Freedom Deck Plan Is Well Laid Out

Belonging to the Conquest class, Carnival Freedom is a mid-sized ship with a maximum capacity of 2,980 guests. Its deck plans are well designed and keep most cabins and public spaces on separate levels, allowing for less foot traffic on cabin decks.

That said, the fact that some decks pack in multiple dining, drinking and entertainment options means that staterooms located directly below or above are subject to noise. In particular, light sleepers may find that most cabins to avoid on Carnival Freedom are located on decks 2 (Main), 6 (Upper) and 8 (Verandah). Regarding the best deck on Carnival Freedom, it largely depends on personal preference: while the Riviera Deck (deck 1) is a good pick for light sleepers who suffer from seasickness – especially towards the middle or the aft of the ship – The Verandah and Lido decks (8 and 9, respectively) may be a better option for those who want to be in the heart of the action.

Carnival Freedom was refurbished in spring 2019, bringing with it the line's Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades. Its deck plans changed quite a bit, with the addition of a great waterpark with a 203-foot-long slide, a few retail shops and an aerobics studio in the gym. The mini-golf course was also relocated to Deck 11. The RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar on the Lido Deck offer more tropical tipples than ever before, and spaces like Alchemy Bar add a hint of sophistication to the ol' cruise watering holes.

With all the changes brought by the retrofit, some spaces still need work. A few lounges lack true identities, the library is gorgeous but out of place, Spa Carnival needs a "wow" factor to keep up, and there's a giant skylight dome overtaking valuable court space on the sports deck. That's when we remember that Freedom isn't a new ship; it's a ship with fresh and exciting concepts that are well executed. It's an appetizing taste of what's to come for the line, and it challenges you not to have a good time onboard.

Carnival Freedom dining has remained largely free of charge, and we never felt like we were deprived of choice. Apart from the buffet and the main dining room, there are burgers and burritos with enough toppings to have a different experience every day of your cruise. Even within the buffet, themed counters are like stepping foot inside tiny, specialized eateries. The quality does not suffer, in spite of its being free.

Carnival Freedom Amenities Cater to Families and the Kid in All of Us

Freedom was the first ship with Camp Ocean, replacing Camp Carnival as the onboard children's program, and the first ship with Bookville, a reading room and play space that anchors the Seuss at Sea experience onboard. It was also the first ship with four full PlayList Productions shows at just 30 minutes each, which rotate throughout the cruise. While Camp Ocean has upgraded the kids' space, an arts and crafts room is included to encourage participation from parents in their children's daily activities. Seuss at Sea welcomes kids of all ages (meaning adults, as well) to march and let loose in a parade, become reacquainted with "The Cat in the Hat" and test their taste buds with culinary creations ripped from the pages of Dr. Seuss' books. Getting everyone involved in the action is part of the plan and also part of the charm.

A number of other branded experiences enhance life onboard. Once the plain Sports Bar, now EA Sports Bar, action is on every wall with sports games, video games of sports games, and sports memorabilia that comes to life. "Hasbro, the Game Show" takes the board games everyone knows and loves and plays them out on the stage with members of the audience chosen through sheer enthusiasm and answers to trivia questions. Apart from the bizarre (and loud) "commercial breaks" showcasing old Hasbro advertisements, the action is infectious.

Carnival Breeze vs. Carnival Freedom

While Carnival Breeze sails to the Caribbean and Carnival Freedom offers itineraries to the eastern Caribbean and Alaska, it is common for travelers to not only decide by itinerary or price but also by ship – and these two are particularly similar in the Carnival Cruise Line, despite Breeze being part of the Dream class.

Entertainment, dining, activities and atmosphere are almost the same on both ships, and both have adult-only areas and lots of family-friendly options. In addition, Carnival Breeze holds almost 24% more passengers than Freedom without being that much bigger. To us, the main difference between both ships is the spa – Breeze features Cloud 9 Spa, which is much nicer and more modern than Freedom’s.

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Carnival Freedom, please refer to Carnival Cruise Line. You can also use Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Pros

Free dining options and age-appropriate activities, including Seuss-themed events

Cons

Layout forces passengers to climb stairs to access other main areas of the ship on the same deck

Bottom Line

Tremendous value to passengers and families, with fun-for-all-ages atmosphere

About

Passengers : 2,974
Crew : 1,160
Passenger to Crew : 2.56:1
Launched : 2007
Shore Excursions : 84

Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

Costs Included with Your Cruise Fare

• Two main dining rooms, the buffet and select other eateries
• Some room service menu options
• All theater and comedy shows
• Use of the water park, mini-golf and other outdoor activities
• Most daily activities unless noted below
• Use of the gym, but not most classes

Not included with your cruise fare:

Costs Not included With Your Cruise Fare:

• Gratuities (amounts vary by cabin type)
• Automatic beverage (18 percent) and spa tips (15 percent)
• Most room service deliveries, plus tip
• All drinks beyond water, tea (including ice tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet
• Spa treatments
• Shore excursions
• Wi-Fi
• Activities including, but not limited to the arcade games and bingo
• Photos

Fellow Passengers

Freedom attracts all ages, and groups containing up to four generations can be found among the young couples, retired couples and smaller families onboard. The passenger mix varies, but North Americans (including a solid number of Floridians) dominate the onboard demographic. Passengers 41 to 50 years old tend to compose the largest percentage of passengers.

Carnival Freedom Dress Code

The Carnival Freedom dress code ranges from laid back during the day to dressy at night. The ship sails Caribbean (and Alaska) itineraries, and the daytime dress onboard reflects that with a casual, poolside atmosphere. Cover-ups, shirts and flip-flops are required for the indoor Freedom Restaurant on the Lido Deck, but the rule doesn't seem to be strictly enforced.

The main dining room requires that men wear shirts with sleeves, and at night, wardrobes are typically turned up a notch to include khakis and collared or button-down shirts for men, and blouses or sundresses for women. Depending on the length of the itinerary, there could be one to two formal nights aboard Carnival Freedom. Fashion runs the spectrum from cocktail dresses and pressed slacks to full evening gowns and tuxedos; pack according to your comfort level, but be aware it does get dressy.

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More about Carnival Freedom

Where does Carnival Freedom sail from?

Carnival Freedom departs from Seattle, Miami, and Port Canaveral

How much does it cost to go on Carnival Freedom?

Cruises on Carnival Freedom start from $179 per person.

Is Carnival Freedom a good ship to cruise on?

Carnival Freedom won 7 awards over the years.
Carnival Freedom Cruiser Reviews

Carnival Freedom, Eastern Caribbean

Great casino $100 offer....I will make this short and sweet....Have been on 13 cruises....and this was the 3rd time on the Freedom.Read More
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susan1957

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

You get what you pay for....sort of

Carnival Freedom is not small, but was sailing with limited capacity, so we opted for this as our second Carnival cruise because friends were going.Read More
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porterstarbird

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Solo 8 day cruise

Carnival Freedom 8 day cruise from Miami sailing to coco cay, grand turks, Aruba, and Bonaire. Sailing solo 1st challenge dinner. I was signed up for my time dinning at first very lonely.Read More
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npacute

10+ Cruises

Age 50s

Not our best Carnival experience.

This was our 5th Carnival cruise and our first time on Freedom. We knew going in what to expect with the ship age and size. No surprises there. First the cabin...Read More
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djake13

10+ Cruises

Age 50s

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