July 2014 - Carnival Freedom to Caribbean - Southern
My daughter and myself sailed on the Carnival Freedom July13-21 for an 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise. I purchased the "Faster to Fun" package, so we could board early and our bags would be delivered quickly. The boarding process went smoothly without any issues. The faster to fun advertises that your room is available right away, but that wasn't the case, though I just walked right to our room and put our things down. They had signs up saying that the rooms weren't available. I had already booked our excursions at every Port prior to sailing. I compared prices for the excursions prior to buying, both from Carnival and outside vendors. I am pleased to say that Carnival has finally woken up and their prices were right in line with the outside vendors. We Power Snorkeled in Grand Turk, great excursion. Indian Caves in Dominican Republic, another great excusion, I didn't even mind the stop downtown to do some shopping. Mini-Jeeps in Curacao, the actual Jeep tour was great! The beach portion was a waste of time, I didn't want to get all wet and salty and then get dirty on the Jeeps. The drinks at the beach were just as expensive as they were on the boat! We did the submarine in Aruba, that was another great excursion! This was the first time I experienced the art auctions onboard and really enjoyed them! I won 2 prints at the raffles and bought 2 prints. We like the Anytime Dining, as we can go whenever we want. We also like to share a table with others to meet new people. My daughter participated in the 02 teen group and had fun with that. The Guy's Burgers are fantastic!!!! I found it strange that the pizza place would not make pizza to order, you have to select from the pizzas on the menu. I wanted pepperoni and mushroom and couldn't get it even though I could get a mushroom or pepperoni pizza????? We had one great waiter in the Chic dining room, the others were just average and didn't even bother to introduce themselves before taking our order. Food is good in the dining room with a good selection. For those that have never cruised before, you can order anything you want, even ordering several appetizers and entrees. The deserts........ this is where I feel Carnival is REALLY lacking. Their deserts are frankly, boring. They really need to step up to the plate and get some pastry chefs on board as that was a huge let down! Room service is very limited. I had the bottomless bubbles plan, which is unlimited soda, and they wouldn't bring me soda with room service. Frankly, the breakfast buffet is pretty poor with the same things over and over, every day. By the time you get to your table your food is cold. I like the fact that even on these larger ships, you don't feel over crowded while on board. They have the disembarking at Port down good, so there wasn't any problem getting off or on the boat. Rooms were nice and service there very good. All employees are friendly and helpful. I rented the small video camera that they have for $60 for the week. It comes with a 16g card you keep. I always bring my laptop, so it worked well for me downloading the videos every day and recharging the unit. The drawback with it that you can't "view" what you are filming, it is just a point and shoot camera. But, it is waterproof down to 30ft, they provide you with a floating wrist strap and a headstrap system for hands-free operations. Disembarkation is a slow tedious procedure, no where near the efficiency of all the other disembarkations at the other ports. It could use some improvements.
When comparing Carnival to other cruiselines I have been on, none of them could compare with what they provide for the price. If you are looking for a highend experience, this isn't it. But if you want a fun, reasonably priced vacation, this is it.