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Old May 1st, 2008, 11:20 PM
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May 1 – in the Atlantic- Freedom
Carnival really does have the best pizza at sea! I already knew that, but hadn’t made it to the aft pizza counter yet, until today.

While I’ve been fairly busy talking about the dining room food I should mention that the breakfast and lunch buffets have been very good. To me breakfast food is breakfast food; that is in most cases standard fare. And Carnival now also has made to order omelet stations to top off the buffets.

I quite like the Freedom’s buffet set-ups for lunch. Pool-side, on the port side, there’s a daily grill, serving tortilla chips, with warm cheese sauce, chicken fingers, onion rings, fried, hot dogs and hamburgers. On the starboard side the pool-side station serves a Tandoor selection.

Entering the Freedom restaurant, the first buffet line (served from two sides) offers Mongolie Grille style Asian food. You choose your ingredients as you pass, and when you reach the chefs they Wok the food, so it’s hot and fresh. Just opposite of these buffet lines, is the International Buffet, where the theme changes daily.

As you make your way aft, on port-side they have the deli window, with exceptional Reuben sandwiches, as well as pastrami and corned beef or combo options, or turkey sandwiches – all served on a choice of breads.
Further aft there are two traditional buffet lines, where selections change daily. And by the aft pool, port side is the 24 hr. Pizzeria. On the starboard side it’s a grill for hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak sandwiches.
Overall many, many choices, and good quality buffet items.

There’s no early morning scramble to save deck loungers on this cruise. Here’s a picture taken by the central pool on Lido Deck at 10:30 AM that pretty much tells the whole story.

Today Todd Wittmer, the CD, posted in the daily Carnival Capers, scheduling a meeting for all the Internet junkies to socialize and have a Q&A session with he and Assistant Cruise Director Noortje

I thought it was brilliant to broaden the scope and invite the folks who frequent the various cruise web sites, and bloggers. I suggested that Carnival should adopt the policy, call it Internet Connections, and have such an event planned every cruise. I do think that would be more effective and efficient then having people form roll calls, then writing Carnival to request get-togethers.

Todd shared some stories, answered people’s questions, until they didn’t have any more questions, and asked for suggestions from the fairly large crowd who attended the gathering. As one would expect, there were some good suggestions from the participants.

Later in the afternoon we had a CruiseMates meet for cocktails, and a gift exchange. I think about 60 of the 82 in our group showed up, and we had some fun opening surprise gifts, and chatting in the 70’s Disco.

I’ve met some wonderful new people in this group, and of course cruising again with old CM group cruise veterans. It’s very cool to meet CruiseMates from so many different places. This cruise we’ve even got a lovely couple from Australia in the group. I think it’s significant that CruiseMates makes us an International community. Oh… and our great CruiseMates’ friends John F and Priscilla- who’ve been on more than a dozen of our group cruises, I think – gave me the cutest darn Moose.

At the cocktail party I did take a straw poll of those attending and the majority seemed to say they were having an excellent cruise. I asked what everyone thought about the dining room food, and once again the majority responded that it was quite good. Though afterwards, privately, several did say they were disappointed. So, taste is obviously in the opinion of one’s own taste buds.

This evening at about 6:45 PM, there was once again a very localized rain shower, on the balconies on Deck 8 (mine included). Only this time we spotted the culprit; the crew, above on Deck 10, were hosing down the deck. So guess where the dirty water was going! They seem to be assuming that no one will be using their balconies at this time of day. Why, I don’t know. I had been sitting out there not 10 minutes earlier watching yet another spectacular sunset. Worse timing and I could have been spectacularly drenched.

We’re on a roller coaster in the dining room, and tonight we were certainly climbing upwards. I was served a delicious, and very tender, Osso Buco entree. And even better, a wonderful beef and vegetable root soup, which was even served hot. There was an oddity tonight though; every entrée was served with the exact same accompaniments. This is not big deal, just odd, but probably much more efficient and cost effective for the galley.

Once again today the seas were calm and the sailing smooth, with temperatures in the low 80s F. It couldn’t have been two much better days to be on a cruise. With two social events, no nap, and facing loosing another hour due to a time change, after supper I headed straight back to the cabin; a draw-back to 8:15 dinner seating on this particular itinerary. We left the dining room at 10:30, so considering tonight’s time change I viewed it as 11:30, and I still had to write you and tell you about the day.

Another tough day at sea doing nothing in store for tomorrow.
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