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Old November 23rd, 2007, 10:15 PM
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Nov. 23 – Freedom
We slept quite well last night, and quite late into the morning. And I awoke feeling a bit better than yesterday, but a cold has evolved. Today was probably the hottest day of the cruise (weather wise), and the pool decks were certainly indicative. The towels on the empty deck loungers were everywhere. I sure hope their owners had lathered all those towels with sun-screen before abandoning them for hours in the hot sun. Carnival must have given up on any attempt to deal with this problem, because I don’t recall seeing any mention, either in the Carnival Capers or signs on deck, telling people not to save loungers. On the other hand, if one went up a deck to Deck 10, there were plenty of unoccupied loungers available in nicely protected areas.
You could easily tell the cruise is down to its last few hours. People were acting like it was “Black Friday? onboard as well as on land, the way they were invading the gift shops. And they were slapping the slot machines silly trying to get their dollars back.
Luggage tags were delivered with disembarkation instructions, and comment cards left to be filled out. By early afternoon Mrs. Kuki had us totally repacked, so we could spend the remainder of the day laying back and enjoying the ship- read- eat, drink, nap the day away.
I have to admit we’re truly spoiled, 7 day cruises are just not long enough. Particularly these days, when air travel is as much an ordeal as it is effective, and a couple of days to distress upon arrival feels necessary, the only answer is longer cruises, or as we’re doing, back to back cruises. No doubt the cruise lines understand this, and thus the growth in home port cruising, alternating itineraries, and longer cruises.
The décor of the Freedom is not likely going to inspire anyone to run home to attempt to duplicate it in their own homes. However, regardless of if you like the interior design, you should be impressed with the quality of the materials used throughout the ship. There’s nothing low end, or cheap, about the materials. It’s just the way there are combined for use on the ship may leave you scratching your head. Frankly though, after a day none of it really ever entered my mind. Nor it did it have any positive or negative impact on our cruise experience.
To my mind, the more important areas of the cruise experience are food, service, and entertainment. And with the exception of the experience of the first 2 days (that I talked about at length earlier) our service was very good. Talking to others in the group today, after a full week, some had less positive experiences, and some raved… so a bit of a mixed grade overall, at least from our 80 person sampling.
In my view, looking at service in its entirety through the ship, I’d give it about a 7 out 10; friendly, but perhaps not as professional or as polished as it might be.
In regard to food quality, I think Carnival competes quite favorably with any of the mass market lines. We’re going to be returning to the Freedom for the Jan. 19 /08 sailing, with another CruiseMates Group, on The John Heald Blogger’s Cruise, and we look forward to returning. We just have to be certain we don’t get that dreaded “Alaska Zone Washroom? seating assignment for dinner.
Our CruiseMates group cocktail party was this afternoon, and we had an excellent turnout… amazing what free drinks can do. . This was somewhat different from other group cruises we’ve done in that there were lots of families traveling together. Though everyone said they had a terrific week there was a bit less group interaction and activities going on than with our non holiday groups. But when we did meet there were plenty of laughs, so it was all good.
We had given out a trivia sheet for all the dinner tables to work on over a few nights, and at the cocktail party we gave out the answers and a prize for the winning table. Also gave a prize to CruisingDeb who’d brought flashing turkeys for everyone in the group, as well as half the dining room staff.
I did go to dinner tonight, and had a chance to say goodbye to the late seating part of the group. But with my cold, there was no hand shaking or hugs. I don’t want to be responsible for sending anyone home sick.
Carnival’s traditional “Legends Show? is tonight, where different passengers play some of the legends of music. Not feeling well, I had decided to simply return to the cabin, put our luggage in the hall, relax, and turn in early.
I’m going to try and write a bit of a concluding review to end this cruise tomorrow, back on land, with a hopefully less congested head.
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