Carnival Freedom, Part 9
Saturday, May 30, 09
Our last port day in Nassau, Bahamas, dawned gray and rainy, and we hoped for better weather before our excursion at 11 a.m.
I set off early for my Pilates class and 6 people showed up this time!
I must admit I don't enjoy Pilates on ships because of the close proximity to all the exercise machines, the bright lights, the people passing through, and worst of all, the loud pounding music that is just not conducive to the relaxing exercises we should be doing. There really needs to be a seperate room for Pilates and Yoga.
Nevertheless, it was a good workout, and I was ready to face the day!
Unfortunately, while I was in class, the sky had turned darker and it rained heavily for awhile, so we wandered the ship until it was time to disembark for our excursion.
As anyone who's ever been to Nassau knows, it is a very long walk from the pier, through the shopping mall, and out to where the tour buses and boats are waiting.
There were 5 ships in port that day, the most we'd seen all week! There was us, Carnival Freedom, Carnival's Imagination, NCL's Sky, Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas and a ship called the Bahamas Celebration.
It was quite a sight to see them all lined up at the pier!
Once we got to our double-decker boat, we had a nice motor ride for about 30 minutes out to Blackbeard's Beach.
The island looked very nice, and the weather continued to be cloudy with bits of rain, but it was warm enough to enjoy the beach and the water.
We had a nice spot on the sand, where I wrote some notes to my co-workers back home, one for Kim & Gino our tablemates who were with us that day, and one to my dear husband .
This excursion was a combined one; some people like us just did the beach, some snorkeled, and some did the snorkel/stingray tour. The stingray area was close enough to the dock that we could see the stingrays even though we weren't in the water with them.
The trip back to Nassau was interesting. A short ways out from the island, they had some problems with the boat's propeller, and we stalled and had to wait for it to be fixed.
Then about 1/2 way back, we stalled again and the captain had to call a "tow" in the form of a speedboat, who came to our rescue alongside and pushed us back to the pier!
While we were waiting and drifting out there, I had time to take some pictures of the nice view of a lighthouse and the ships in the distance.
Back on land, we had to pass through the shopping mall area and I had to pose for this photo in full Bahamian costume.
Once back onboard the Freedom around 4 p.m.. we were famished, as we hadn't had any lunch on the island.
The only thing open at this hour was the Deli, the Pizza counter and the Grill, and we chose Cheeseburgers at the Grill.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon in a deck chair by the aft pool, where the sun peeked out for a little while, and we said goodbye to Nassau as we set sail for home.
I really hate the last afternoon onboard a cruise, as I know I have to drag myself away from the pool and go to pack my suitcase. I don't want my cruise to be over!
We tried something new that Carnival is offering, called the Luggage Express Program, where for a $20 fee, you pack your bags and put them outside your cabin the last evening, and you don't see them again until you pick them up at your home airport!
No lugging heavy bags off the ship, or searching through the warehouse trying to find them, loading them on shuttle buses, or dragging them through the airport. You just have to make sure you keep out clothes and shoes for the morning, and anything else important you might need, to take in your carry-on.
I honestly thought we'd never see our bags again, but lo and behold, there they were on the luggage carousel at Trudeau International Airport in Montreal the next day!
As we had had a very late lunch, and were tired from our day on the beach and from packing, we decided not to get dressed up and go to the dining room this evening. (our good clothes were packed anyway!).
Instead, we opted for a later dinner on Lido Deck, where we dined alone and al fresco, out by the pool. The food was just as good as the dining room, including my favourite Warm Chocolate Melting Cake for dessert, which I topped with vanilla ice cream from the Ice Cream station!
We stayed up for the last theatre show called "Legends", starring talented passengers who auditioned to sing in the roles of music legends such as Garth Brooks, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, James Brown, Britney Spears, Madonna, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
The passengers were amazingly good, especially "Frank Sinatra" who brought down the house with his version of "My Way"!
On our way back to our cabin this last night, we filmed and took more pictures of a few of the lounges and bars and public areas to help illustrate my contention that this ship was "over-the-top" with garish decor!
The worst offender in my opinion, was the Lido dining area, where there was such a mix of colours, patterns, and textures it was dizzying; one print on the booth benches, another on the chairs, yet another on the carpet, all clashing with the fake marble wall panels, next to the orange zebra print wall panels, next to the green ceramic tile wall panels, not to mention yet another dizzying design on the ceiling....well I think you get the picture!
Even the elevators didn't escape the mad decor. We always felt claustrophobic in the elevators, and I'm sure this is the reason why!
In Scott's Bar, I even laid down on the floor to capture this photo of a piano on the ceiling! They were all over the walls too!
We passed this bar every night on our way to bed, and although it was always packed, we never understood why because the piano/sing-along sounded just awful!
We never did try the Wine Bar with it's colourful lights, nor the Swingtime Jazz Bar, nor the Babylon Casino, although the latter had to be passed several times a day along the main Promenade to go anywhere.
This was also the unfortunate spot where the daily/nightly entertainer was stuck on a little stage, in competition with the ringing and dinging of the casino across the way and the constant traffic flow of passengers creating a distraction.
Although the entertainers appeared to be good, especially an acousitc guitarist named Paul, you just couldn't really sit and appreciate them because of their location.
Decor aside, we really enjoyed our cruise on the Carnival Freedom, and I especially liked the 8 days as opposed to our usual 7 days.
The entertainment staff were great and the activities I participated in were a lot of fun.
The production shows, even those I was not fond of the era of music, were top-notch, and in general, all the staff were helpful, pleasant and friendly.
But best of all, was the food, by far the best dining room meals we've had in a total of 14 cruises.
We will definitely sail Carnival again, as we believe it is still the best "bang for the buck".
That doesn't mean we won't try other lines, in fact we have 2 cruises booked in the next year on different lines, so stay tuned for further reviews!
And now, a salute "Goodbye" to Carnival Freedom!