September 2013 - 6 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Freedom
To Carnival OR NOT
First cruise on Carnival. Have been loyal Royal Carib cruiser in past. Could not find any cabins available on Royal for the time period I could travel, so I opted to try out Carnival this trip.
Ship is old and in need of repair. I know it is going into dry dock. And it is in need of renovation. I had a suite and the balcony was full of rust. Furniture is old and worn.
The one great thing was the food. The food in the dining room and the breakfasts on the Lido level buffet were all good. I ordered omelets from the Omelet stand for breakfasts and grabbed a croissant and juice. The dinners in the dining room were all very tasty and the portions were big. Our wait staff were friendly and attentive. I tried the Fish and Chips from the Lido top level and that was okay. Used On the Grill for a cheeseburger one day and was satisfied with that meal. Ice cream from the Swirls stations was yummy and they kept the machines well stocked. So, I cannot complain about the food, and I have to say the food was the highlight of my cruise.
As for entertainment, I would have to say "what entertainment." The DJ's on the Lido deck were mediocre to poor. The singers in the Lobby, and at the Casino appreared to be Karoke singers. I guess I have been spoiled by Royal Caribbean with their High Diving/Acrobatics show, their ice skating show, their 90 minute version of Hairspray, comedy club, etc. etc. etc. I really missed the Royal C character parades on the Promonade.
Excursion wise: I loved Key West because I had never been there. It rained in Grand Cayman, and I must say, if you are stopping in Grand Cayman, for God's sake, book an excursion to Sting Ray City or the beach, because there is absolutely nothing in Georgetown to do, other than to drink at Margartaville. All excursions were cancelled in Grand Cayman due to the weather, and I was glad to say adios to that place. Ocho Rios is a dump! Shady characters hanging around on every street....Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville which boasts a swimming pool, water slide and swim up bar online, was a huge disappointment. The swimming pool was full of scum and mold and obviously was closed. Shopping was terrible. Junky dirty shops trying to sell you diamonds.....please have more sense than to shop there. I would never even get off the ship in Ocho Rios. I enjoyed Falmouth (Royal C's port) 100 times more. There were new restaurants, bars and stores all enclosed within a safe wall at the port, with fantastic entertainment, food and enough to keep you occupied for hours.
As I said before, I booked a suite.....and had to complain about housekeeping. The first day onboard I noticed a sticky substance on the floor just by the counter/work desk. The floor still had not been cleaned on the third day. Additionally, my ashtray was never emptied on days two and three. Had to go to guest services to complain. They quickly sent someone to inspect my cabin and then another steward to clean. I noticed that the steward who had been assigned to my cabin the first several days was replaced by another one. But this is inexusable.
Overall, Carnival was a big disappointment to me. And, just days after arriving home, I received an offer from Royal C to book a cruise before yearend and get an 80% discount. Now, why couldn't they have sent that offer just one month earlier!!! Oh well, live and learn.