September 2014 - Carnival Freedom to Caribbean - Southern
Grand Turk Island, the Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba were excellent destinations, with a good range of shore excursions. Each stop included enough time to do a shore excursion and get a feel for the country. The Grand Turk kayaking expedition and the Dominican Republic Taino cave expeditions are highly recommended.
On board did not have as many amenities as past cruises. Dining hours were more restricted, so that late lunches involved a choice between room service, burgers, or pizza. The meals in the main dining room were excellent but only available at set times. There were multiple "raffles" that later turned out to be irredeemable "vouchers," with the raffles taking over the facility until complete. (We gave up on the gym due to a spa raffle one evening.) Some of the gym equipment did not work properly.
My general impression however was that there were simply too many people on board. This is my fifth cruise, but this one felt overcrowded. Pools were overfilled with people.
We traveled with a 22 year old, who found little to do on board ship, and very few people in his age range. On the other hand, there were also few activities suitable for those over 50. Both groups spent a lot of time in the gym.
The on board shows each evening were smaller scale than usual, not up to the "Vegas" style of Holland America, similar to community theater musical reviews. Each performance was like the lats. The comedy shows were good, but so crowded that seats were not available unless you arrived 40 minutes before the event. The selection of movies shown at sea was good, with a good variety of movies.
Overall, I was glad I took this cruise, but all three of us decided that we would pay the extra fee to cruise Holland America or Princess Lines next time.