8 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Sail Date: July 02, 2011 Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 6 years ago
Upon embarkation, which was extremely smooth, we were brought into the main lobby of the ship. It was truly dazzling and elegant. There's a piano bar there and you can sit and lounge, listen to music and watch the elevators rise and descend. From there we trekked off to find our room. I would say that though it had no affect on our cruise, the layout was a bit confusing. We were still doing pirouets around the halls trying to determine which way dinner was, vs. the show, vs. our stateroom, vs other places. But there are signs and people with shirts that say "Just Ask" which we found amusing. The comedy shows, stage/floor shows and musicians around the ship were very good and it was lots of fun to see how much was going on. Loved the shops, thought we could've gotten some better deals after we disembarked, but overall, was
satisfied with our purchases. The excursions were first class and we had absolutely NO trouble understanding the guides or with any bad attitude of any kind ( maybe one minor incident with a subordinate of our guide during our Kayak through the Panama Canal), but again, minor and it didn't ruin our trip one bit. The ship was VERY comfortable, welcoming and beautiful. Our room was very clean and though small, had enough closet and drawer space that we made it work. (Had a 4G interior cabin). We LOVED this cruise. We'll be back on Carnival before you know it! I will say one thing that overall bothered us was the smoking. Since there are two sides to each pool or at least two sides to the ship, they need to make one side non smoking. I was physically ill from breathing all the smoke and was coughing severely by the last day. My clothes and luggage STINK! :)
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We have been on many cruises. Carnival food NEVER fails to disappoint. We took our 3 small children on two Disney cruises (both the Magic and the Wonder) a few years back and most food was regurgitated into napkins, and that was our entire party, especially the kids. I don't think chicken fingers should taste like wet dirty dog smells. Anyway, on this cruise, the Carnival Freedom, we kept saying "ooooo I'm going to get some more of this" but then the next dish was even better. Very impressed and VERY grateful that they cared enough to keep the food at this top notch level.
5 out of 5
The entertainment team was, overall, extremely great! The variety of shows was fantastic and we enjoyed the contests on deck and the stage shows, especially the one that had the 1940's music (though I'm only 45). The band that played on the Lido deck by the pool was a Caribbean band and though they were good they tended to play the same songs repeatedly and toward the end, did get a bit loud. But there were plenty of pools so we just moved over to Serenity, which is, well, very serene!!
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Let's just say I wish there were more stars. Our server was terrific but not as bubbly as some we have had in the past, but he remembered absolutely everything, did smile and was very polite. Our cabin steward definitely went above and beyond. The room was spotless and he was very nice.
5 out of 5
I think this ship was just the right size. Since the Carnival Dream sailed, it was my "Dream" to do that, but I started see an extraordinary amount of complaints about long lines because the main common areas weren't really large enough to accommodate that many more guests. We opted for this one, the Freedom because of it's size and the ports and dates that were avialable and I feel we really lucked out.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
We had an interior room and though it didn't ruin our cruise at all, it was a bit cramped. Three problems we actually did have were 1) that the A/C didn't work very well so we were hot most of the time, 2) The fridge was also warm and 3) the bed was very hard and way too small (my husband and I are both tall).
We liked our Biking through a Caribbean Village tour very much. I was worried when we began the tour and seemed to be going downhill the whole time, then turned around after the beach party to ride "uphill". However, the bikes were such good quality and so easy to handle, it was extremely easy. I am a tad overweight and not as young as I used to be but I had no problems at all. Tour guide was AWESOME. His name was Will Smith and he said "Why does everyone laugh when I say that?" He was cute.
Don't Miss: Stop your cab or see if the driver will stop and try to spot monkeys and sloths in the trees. That was awesome.
LOVED our tour which was the Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party. The guys on the Fury Catamaran's really know how to have fun and the beach was beautiful, clean and full of fun options, including hammocks, water trampolines and more.
Don't Miss: Snorkeling. It's absolutely beautiful and relaxing.
We also loved this tour. We hadn't been to Panama and ended up Kayaking around the Panama canal. This was the tour when one of the women helping out was very rude, but we just kind of got away from her and things were fine from there.
Don't Miss: Don't go to Panama and miss the Panama Canal in operation. AMAZING!
Pros: How can I choose? Food, service, fun, ports, cabin...?
Cons: Our seating arrangement at dinner, a little cramped.
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