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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:22 PM
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BobMiller BobMiller is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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You didn't say which ports you were going to. We were on the wetern cruise, Key West, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios Jamaca.

We sailed on the Freedom in December. It's a really great ship! The decor is not quite as over the top as some of the Carnival ships and it is really laid out well. Our cabin steward was the 2nd best we ever had but all the stewards in our area were greeting us by name and very friendly.

The ship still has the “New” feel to it. Everything is clean and shiny and new, except for the big dent in the tail end from backing into a dock on its first cruise.

The big screen tv on the Lido deck seems to work pretty well except in direct sun light. They mostly played music and concerts on it during the day. In the evenings there were sports or movies as well as concerts on the screen. The flat screen tvs in the rooms have good reception and several decent channels. Network broadcasts, however, are from “local” Denver stations so it’s a little odd to be watching snow forecasts in your swimsuit.

The food was better than the last couple of cruises but the serving times for lunch seemed really short. The dining room was open for lunch from 12:00 to 1:30 and the buffet 11:30 to 3:00. We were accustom to the buffet being open until almost 5:00.

Be sure to try out the fish and chip station on the second level of the Lido deck and the Mongolian Bar B Que (Both open during lunch and dinner buffet times). The Pizzeria, deli, and ice Cream are available all day. The room server (included at no charge) also has hot sandwiches as well as the cold selection found on most Carnival ships.

Our waiter was very efficient and fast but was not as accommodating as most in the past. He was fine if you ordered one or two extras up front but was a bit grumpy if you added or changed something later. That wasn’t an issue with us but our table mates were on their first cruise and having a wonderful time.

Key West is a very nice stop and has a lot to see. Make sure to try out the Key Lime Pie. The Conch train tour can give you a pretty good overview of everything. We did the glass bottom boat our first time here but it takes up a good chunk of time so the second time we took the Conch tour then shopped. The aquarium was a nice stop and the sculptures outside of the art museum are fun.

Grand Cayman is a tender port so allow a little extra time to travel to and from the pier. Sting Ray City is the primary tour here. There is a lot of high end shopping available but no real bargains to be had. Many of the jewelry stores do have $20 sterling silver sting ray necklaces that make great gifts. The rock formations in “Hell” and the turtle farm are interesting too. You can taxi to 7-mile beach pretty quick but traffic on the ride back gets pretty heavy. Allow about 45 minutes to taxi back and catch your tender before time to leave.

You can’t do everything in one trip to Ocho Rios but we tried! There are many great tours to choose from. The Zip Line and jungle Roller Coaster were highly recommended by people on our cruise. We were not interested in climbing Dunns River Falls but we wanted to see it so went out looking for a taxi to take us there. One of the tour operators tried to sell us packed tours but we finally ended up with a motor coach, driver, and tour guide for $65 including tip and got a tour of the city, about 40 minutes at the falls and dropped of in the prime shopping area with an introduction to the owner of one of the largest jewelry stores there. There was a separate entrance fee to the Dunns River park but the views are well worth it. Watch Dr No (the James Bond movie) before you go. There are several places including the port, a bauxite plant, and the Falls that are in the movie. The shopping at the pier is primitive but a short walk from the gate takes you to a great mall with a lot of local flavor. Overall shopping is not as expensive as the other stops by not quite the bargain as many of the ports. The sellers, even in the high end shops, are fairly pushy too.
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