Thanks everyone for your kind responses. And yes, being the "lead" in planning a family cruise is more like a game of stick in the eye as opposed to a game of stick ball.
At the very least, I would expect the Carnival representative to tell me that early saver discounts expire less than 24 hours from now. I think that's a pretty important fact and would think it would be fairly important to disclose it.
If I'm reading you correctly, the FREEDOM cruise still qualifies for "early saver" since it leaves 4 months from tomorrow (12/26) correct?
Lastly, anyone book a full suite before? Best cabin I've had was on RCL Liberty of the Seas (balcony). Is a suite that much bigger/better? Advantages?