8 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Sail Date: July 02, 2011 Ship: Carnival Freedom Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Family (young children) Reviewed: 6 years ago
The ship was very good. The slide was a big hit with my 6 year old as was the miniature golf course. The casino was great for my in-laws. All shows I saw were very well done with great performers. The food was above average. The itinerary was strong. Overall, a great cruise and a fantastic multi-generational family vacation. However, I still prefer Disney Cruise Lines to all others.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Overall the quality of food was very good. You could easily find items for many pallates. We chose the "dine whenever you want" plan and I don't know if I would do that again. On the positive side, you can eat whenever you want between 5:45-9:30, but there was often a 30 minute wait. So as long as you plan ahead (I think we'll be ready to eat in 30 minutes, run up to the restaurant now and put our name down) then you are fine. However, it was tough with little ones (4 and 6 year olds) who don't have patience to wait to eat and then sit at the table for another hour. That was tricky. But, there were several nights that we ate late because we had had a late lunch, and having the flexibility to dine at 8:30 or 9 was a bonus. I also prefer the consistency of the same wait staff, which you miss on the "dine whenever you want" plan.
3 out of 5
We had four days at sea and, honestly, the non-pool-goers (my in-laws) seemed to not have enough to do. My kids never stopped and they had plenty to do, but I didn't see as many inside organized activities as I have seen on other ships (such as fruit carving, napkin folding, and other things like that). There wasn't a tour of the bridge which was a bit disappointing as my father in law and son would have been very interested in that. Also, Bingo at $20 per card, was just too expensive to enjoy playing as a side activity (we were a big group so it was $100 for us to play Bingo).
5 out of 5
My daughter had a great time at camp carnival. They had good activities and a lot of structure. Overall the staff was great and it was really well organized.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Great staff, very kind and friendly. Always smiling and willing to help. Great service with the exception of the photo shop staff who were not as helpful as I'd like them to have been.
3 out of 5
Everyone was always cleaning it seemed. The ship was very clean. Sometimes the restrooms were hard to keep clean but that was more a function of the number of people flocking to the most conveniently located restrooms (i.e. the one beside the pool area).
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Our kids loved the bunk beds and overall the size was fine. I actually loved the interior room because it was like a cave and my kids slept longer! However, my in-laws had an outside cabin with a sofa bed, which had more space and was a much better room. So, if you can afford the extra splurge for the outside room, it's worth it. Our cabin steward was fantastic - very friendly and kept the room very clean.
We bought a tour from someone at the port (not through the ship) but it did the same thing as the ship tour did. The Carnival organized tour was $89 per person or so and we paid $35 for 5 adults and kids were free and it was ok, but we didn't see much wildlife on the river cruise. Overall it was average. We would love to have done the zip line and canopy tour but we had seniors and small children.
Don't Miss: zip line and canopy tour
We opted to grab a taxi and go to a beach on our own which saved us a lot of money compared to the ship's beach excursion. We were 7 people so we had to be conscious of the per person costs. We went to Playa Paradiso which was close to the port and had a great pool, bar/restaurant and beach. It wasn't crowded and was very family friendly. It was a good value for the money.
Don't Miss: The beach!
Ok, I'm biased because my husband's cousin lives in Panama City so he picked us up in a van, drove us around for a private tour and took us to his house for a great BBQ. But, I don't know what you would do if you didn't have Oswaldo to show you around!
Don't Miss: Panama Canal
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