April 26 – Day 1 – Freedom
I stepped out of the shower shortly after 7 P.M., and was about to shave using the safety razor Carnival offers in the small baskets in the cabin washrooms, when our cabin steward knocked on the door; poor wayward Sam Sonite had made his way to our door. Limping from his previous wound, and exhausted from his trip to Malaysia (or wherever he may have gone) I think he was as happy to see me, as I was to see him.
Somehow, despite the systems in place which do their best to leave a reasonable person in a state of confusion, British Airlines had got my suitcase to the ship prior to sailing, and Carnival had delivered it to my cabin.
I do have to say, just prior to 8 P.M. Joel, from the Guest Relations Desk, called to ask if my suitcase had arrived. I was impressed with the good follow-up from a customer service perspective.
Now to back up a bit to the beginning of the day…
We arrived to the pier at about Noon, and there were some line-ups for check in. Apparently the prior cruise had been late disembarking in Miami. From what I understand, lately this has been a bit of a common theme with Customs & Immigration procedures in Miami the culprit. Plus the Freedom was not using her “normal” berth and terminal, but instead was berthed at Pier F, one of the older Terminals at the Port of Miami.
As we tried to enter the VIP embarkation area, a Carnival shore side employee asked for our tickets to verify that we are Platinum members of Carnival’s repeaters club (10 or more Carnival cruises to qualify), before allowing us to proceed. As they did so, someone who obviously looked more honest than us walked right on by into the VIP check in area. Once allowed in, our check in procedure was quick, and after waiting only a few minutes they began to allow boarding, and we were amongst the first group to board.
This is my third time on the Freedom since Nov. ’07, so I am certainly familiar with the ship. This trip we’re in a cabin on the stern, facing aft. The motion is a bit more noticeable in these aft cabins, but the balcony is almost twice the size of standard balconies along the sides of the ship.
For dinner, we’re assigned late seating (8:15 PM) in the Posh Dining Room. Our table, #441 is on Deck 3, and in the central portion of the dining room. It’s an excellent location, and I knew that because I had requested it specifically. Entering the dining room the first night is normally slow, as passengers don’t yet know where their tables are located, so everyone has to be escorted to their tables. It was 9 PM before we started eating, and the service was a bit slow. After being on a Freestyle cruise just last week, it’s going to take a little adjusting again to return to set dining times and tables. But we’re with CruiseMates friends (82 in our CruiseMates group), so all will be well as we settle in.
Tomorrow morning at 11:00 we have our first CruiseMates get together.