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Old January 10th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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Default Fresh Freedom Review Jan 1-9th 2011

Cruise Review 1/1/2010-1/9/2010….Carnival Freedom (Eastern/Southern 8 day Caribbean)
Our 18th cruise overall and 3rd with Carnival…….we are an active married couple in our mid 30’s
Day 1
We boarded the ship with little wait. We arrived at the pier at 10:45 am and were on board by 12:00 noon. Our rooms did not open until 1:30 pm which was a bit later than we were previously used to. Come to find out this was because of the late party night from New Years Eve the night before. We arrived at our balcony room (6404) at 1:30. We unfortunately found it to be very dusty and nowhere near as clean as we have been used to on our previous cruises with Carnival and other lines. I initially was very upset but found out soon later from our room steward that he had not yet finished our room because they were very backed up from the late cruiser festivities from the night before. We wrote it off and decided not to make a big deal of it as long as it was taken care of. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and average dinner and then retired to our stateroom at about 10pm.
Day 2-Sea Day
We usually book inside rooms because of the value but decided to book a balcony. It has been years since our last balcony……I must say it has been TOO LONG! I guess you forget how nice it is to have to open air and private view and sound of the ocean just outside your door. I’m already finding that we spend much more time in our room when the ocean is just outside. So far, the balcony price is paying off imo. The weather today started out sunny but soon turned cloudy with a high of 78 with fairly high winds. We lay out on deck until 12pm and then the clouds won out! We did notice the Serenity adult area but no chairs were available…..I’m assuming you need to get up pretty early to snag a chair if you want one. Serenity was a nice addition to the Carnival ships imo. This cruises crowd is proving to be very docile and friendly in nature with relatively few children for a Carnival Cruise. The breakfast and lunch options once again proved to have wonderful choices and great taste. Tonight was the Captains Gala dinner and unfortunately it was similar to the first night and service was slow, poor, inattentive, and cold food to boot….very similar to the night before. We did have a different waiter but still had the same results. We actually felt we had superior food choices, taste, and service in the buffet….odd for sure. The evening entertainment consisted of comedians and a Las Vegas type show. The show was New Orleans themed and I must say it was the BEST show that I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. The cast was awesome. The comedian was average. It was overall a good day.
Day 3-Sea Day/San Juan Evening Stop
Morning started with party cloudy skies, smooth seas, and temps in the low 80’s. By afternoon it was in the low to mid 80’s with PERFECT sea day conditions. I’ve seen chatter on CC and Cruise Mates about cut backs in entertainment on Carnival….I’ve found this NOT to be true on Carnival Freedom as the music/entertainment has been what you would expect and more out of a Caribbean cruise imo. The day ended with a stop at the pizza bar on board and a quiet evening in San Juan.

Day 4-St. Thomas/St. John
The morning started out with cloudy skies and a few drops of rain. The daytime temps reached a comfortable 83 F. We decided to head over to St. Johns and enjoy Cinnamon Bay for the day. We enjoyed our time at the beach very much even though the sun barely broke through all day. I’ve heard wonderful things about St. Johns on CC and it was very nice……but I will say that I think you can have just as nice of a beach experience staying at St. Thomas and not spending all the extra time and money to go to St. Johns. Between my wife and me, we had $92 wrapped up in cab and ferry fees. Very nice day but probably would just stay at St. Thomas like we have in times past. Overall a nice day with decent weather. We were hoping the dining room service/quality is better tonight than the previous nights…..unfortunately it was more of the same. The dining room is the only area on our cruise that is blatantly out of sort’s imo.
Day 5-Antigua
Our morning started out with mostly cloudy skies once again with the temps around 80F. Today we had a tour with Eli’s Eco Adventure. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication about meeting time and we missed the tour. Instead we went to Valley Church Beach and I must say that it was one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever been to……defiantly much nicer than the beaches on St. Johns imo. Even though we missed our tour, we ended up really enjoying our day in Antigua. Our dinner seating proved to be more of the same…..slow and unorganized in every way. Tonight our dining experience took exactly 2 hours to complete. We have yet to have our table served all together. Food comes at all different times. In 17 cruises, we have never seen anything like it. The evening show was a singing and dance tribute to military veterans and I must say it was very good.
Day 6-Tortola
This is our last day of ports with the exception of Nassau (we typical don’t do much there). We have decided to head back to Virgin Gorda and go down to the Bathes. The Bathes are in my opinion one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s a definite must see if you have never been there. The Bathes were as beautiful as usual but unfortunately there were 3 ships in Tortola today which made for very large crowds at the Bathes. Overall it was a very beautiful day with near perfect weather in the mid 80’s. The boat ride over to Virgin Gorda was almost as beautiful as the Bathes themselves. There is no doubt this is my favorite part of the Caribbean. Well, we hoped for better service in the dining room and we got it, finally everything went smooth with service that you should expect from the dining room…better late than never I guess! Overall it was a wonderful day at Virgin Gorda and on board the Carnival Freedom.
Day 7-Sea Day
Day 7 started out with mostly cloudy skies. The plans are to just relax, soak up some more sun and enjoy our last day at sea. The temps reached about 84F today with partly to mostly cloudy skies with fairly strong winds. Overall today was a very nice afternoon of relaxation, great entertainment and great food. Day seven was formal night and most people were dressed smart casual to mildly formal. Service was once again better tonight than it was the first 5 days. The Carnival singers and dancers performed a nice show and then we headed to the comedy club for a night cap!
Day 7-Nassau
The temps today are supposed to be much cooler than we have come to enjoy and are only supposed to be in the lower 70’s. Nassau is not a port we usually take much part in. We’ve been to Atlantis several times and the port side vendors always seem to be a bit pushy for our tastes. We decided after 4 great ports that we would get off the ship for a short time and then enjoy our last day on the Carnival Freedom.
***CRUISE SUMMARY***
We were overall very pleased with our vacation on the Carnival Freedom, she was a very beautiful ship with very comfortable decor. The itinerary was superb with amazing port of calls. The weather was near perfect! The fellow Carnival cruisers had fun, awesome attitudes that you come to expect from people that cruise Carnival. The entertainment was very good from top to bottom. The “chatter” about Carnival making cut-backs in entertainment was not evident on this cruise (not to say it is not happening elsewhere). ….it was everything we would expect the entertainment to be and more. The staff was very organized. We would have to say the food was about average at best (not great but defiantly not bad). It is important to note that we are not overly picky about food. Imo, there is only so many ways to “skin a cat” when it comes to food. The only real downer on this cruise was the dining room wait staff. From my experience and others we talked to, it was fair at best. I’ve noticed over the years that as soon as they went to automatic tipping being charged to your ship account, the service has suffered greatly in the dining room on all cruise lines…..just my opinion. The disemabarkation process was the fastest that I have ever seen. We were cleared to disembark by 6:30am. Overall a wonderful vacation and our 3rd Carnival cruise and 18th overall. Did we enjoy our trip? We very much enjoyed it. Will we cruise Carnival again? Probably, but we will defiantly consider revisiting other cruise line options also. I will note that we loved the 8 day option and wish more cruises were offered at 8 days.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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Welcome Back,
Sounds like you had a really nice cruise, nice ship, good weather, etc. It is also nice to hear you didn't notice any drastic cut-backs that we've been hearing about lately.

Thanks for posting you reivew.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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So glad you enjoyed your cruise..We were on this ship in 09, when it did just 7 days...loved the itiin and the ship too, would have loved that extra day!
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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Were sailing freedom in November and our back to port time is 8:00 am. What time were you due back to port that you were cleared so early?
I ask only because of flight times for us there’s one flight at 11:30 am then not until 5:30 pm. I hate to book the later flight if we port as early as you did.
Great review, were very excited to sail her and now I’m even more excited.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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Robin I would not be hesitant to book the 11:30 flight..In Fll, the airport is so close it's a non issue...the longsest wait you will have will be the security lines. Get off the ship,ASAP,and you should do fine. They have aiport personnel, going through the lines to assist passengers close to their flight times.

That being said though, the onlly glitch I see is, if the ship does not clear customs as early as they normally do.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerogirl View Post
Were sailing freedom in November and our back to port time is 8:00 am. What time were you due back to port that you were cleared so early?
I ask only because of flight times for us there’s one flight at 11:30 am then not until 5:30 pm. I hate to book the later flight if we port as early as you did.
Great review, were very excited to sail her and now I’m even more excited.
Def book the early flight. Regarless of the cruise Im on, I always try to get a flight between 10:30am and noon. Ive never even been close to missing a flight. We had an 11:40 flight and were at the airport 3.5 hrs before flight left.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Nail View Post
Def book the early flight. Regarless of the cruise Im on, I always try to get a flight between 10:30am and noon. Ive never even been close to missing a flight. We had an 11:40 flight and were at the airport 3.5 hrs before flight left.
What time was the ship scheduled to port that you cleared so early? I see Freedom’s scheduled to port at 8:00 am. Was that the time for yours as well and you arrived early?
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Old January 10th, 2011, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Aerogirl View Post
What time was the ship scheduled to port that you cleared so early? I see Freedom’s scheduled to port at 8:00 am. Was that the time for yours as well and you arrived early?
I think it was scheduled for 8am but in my experiences they always are in much, much sooner.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 08:37 PM
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We just got off of the Freedom on the 18th. of Dec. Did the 6 day. We could of had better weather. The wind was so strong the first night I could not open our balcony door. Needless to say we did not get to go to Key West. The port was closed. The Capt. was able to get us into Cozumel on the next day. Just swapped sea days around. Not a big deal as we have been to both several times.
I found the opposite on the food and staff in the dinning room. We were celebrating my wife's 60th. B-day. and the staff was amazing. Perhaps the best we have had. I guess every week can be different.
We have the Freedom booked again in Sept. for the 8 day western itin. That is how much we enjoyed the ship. I am glad you had an overall good cruise.
Enjoy your future cruises.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Nail View Post
I think it was scheduled for 8am but in my experiences they always are in much, much sooner.
Ditto, we were on the Freedom in July and it was docked well before I awoke around 8am! I find the published time is always a much later time than they actually dock. Its to discourage people from booking a 9am flight or something silly like that. Also it gives the cruise line some wiggle room in case of an unexpected delay. But I have to say sailing into Port Everglades and flying out of FLL is by far the EASIEST and smoothest process we've had yet.

So bon voyage and enjoy!
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Old January 14th, 2011, 03:11 PM
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Remember that docking and customs clearance are not the same thing.

I suppose clearance depends on any number of factors including how many ships are in port (cruise ships as well as commercial), how motivated the customs agents are about doing their job quickly and probably other things as well, Perhaps the itinerary matters, perhaps the number of foreign nationals. Only the shadow knows.
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