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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:04 AM
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April 28- Day at Sea – Freedom
This itinerary is ideal for those who love days at sea. I didn’t get out of bed until nearly 10 AM, and was greeted by cloudy skies, and some rain showers. By mid-morning the skies began to clear as the Captain did his utmost to adjust our path to avoid storms. As the day proceeded temperatures did reach into the eighties.

With the early showers, there were plenty of sun-loungers available pool-side, and lots of people enjoying themselves indoors. Today’s daily “Carnival Capers” was filled with a long and diverse list of activities; dance lessons at 10 AM drew a near capacity house to the 70’s Disco. There were sign ups for the ship building contest, and a planned get together for those wanting to play Scattegories.

I was shocked at the number of passengers attending the Art Auction. Frankly, as many cruises as I’ve been on, I am still in bewilderment that people will purchase their art, sometimes at great costs, on ships. The practice is obviously a successful one as all the cruise lines continue having Art Auctions, and I continue shaking my head – and wishing my name was Park West.
Our own CruiseMates, Ray and Helen, were once again the stars of the Marriage Game this afternoon. Though I think they’ve participated in more Marriage Games than years they’ve been married; and they’ve been married 62 years. God bless them, because they love each other so dearly, and love cruising just as much!

At 1 PM the Cruise Director, Todd, and many of the Cruise Staff held a “meet and greet” for all passengers in the Swingtime Lounge. The purpose was two-fold; encouraging passengers to socialize, and also asking guests for their opinions and suggestions about activities they’d like to see planned during the upcoming sea days. I thought this was a pretty innovative approach by the Cruise Staff, as this is surely not Carnival’s normal Caribbean crowd on this sailing; for example they’ve had to find more space for Bridge players to use.

Later in the afternoon, Mark Silver, also one of the members of our CruiseMates group, voluntarily hosted a seminar on learning basic Italian. The large International Lounge, aft on Deck 5, was packed to overflowing, so kudos to Mark.

About 7 PM I was about to step out on the balcony, when suddenly the balcony was awash, and appeared it might be ready to flood into the cabin. No, it wasn’t raining. Something was occurring on Lido Deck right above us that was obviously flowing down to us. I realized immediately it wasn’t the swimming pool having sprung a leak because the water looked soapy. I surmised that they must have been washing some floors above, and had simply pushed the gathered liquid over the stern, but I had no way of knowing that.

I did try and call guest relations immediately, but the button on the telephone marked Guest Services wasn’t functioning. About 15 minutes later the same thing happened again. I checked the balconies on either side of me, and the situation was the same on those.

We were about to leave the cabin for dinner, so on the way I went by the Guest Relations Desk to inform/inquire about this strange downfall, and asked if this was going to be a regular occurrence through the cruise. They, of course, looked at me like I had just told them pigs could fly.

They had no explanation, but said they would check with housekeeping. If it happens again I’ll ask them to supply umbrellas for the balcony. Had I actually been standing on the balcony I would have been soaked with lord only knows what kind of liquid.

From there we went to the dining room for dinner. We’re now three nights into the cruise, and I’m disappointed with the food quality and the menus. This is quite the opposite from even my most recent cruise on the Freedom in January. I’m unsure if the menu is new just for this 14 day crossing, which is an unusual run for this ship, or if the changes are fleet wide.

The last several years I’ve been a staunchly positive advocate for Carnival’s food department, so I’m concerned by this seemingly sudden reversal. Hopefully the future meals on this cruise will prove my opinion of the past three nights anecdotal, but at this point, comparing the meals I’ve had to those experienced on last week’s NCL cruise… NCL wins hands down!
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