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C Rosland

Age: 60

Occupation:Financial Services

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Freedom

Sailing Date: 03-22-2009

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

First cruise for my wife and I. Had never really had an interest in it, but she and friends convinced me to try it. We loved it, especially the service and the entertainment options. We could relax when we wanted to or find a variety of activities to enjoy. The crew was great, with a few minor exceptions. It took us a couple of days to get into it and to learn where things were, etc. The best days were the last few, but they were all enjoyable.

I had read prior reviews so what we found exceeded our expectations. The food quality was good to very good, considering the number of people being served. A great variety of foods on the Lido deck for breakfast and lunch from casual foods like pizza and hot dogs to ethnic and theme foods, fresh and bountiful salad fixings and other buffet type items. It took a couple of days to find where all the food locations were. We ate dinner each evening in our assigned dining room (Chic), except for one night when we made reservations for the Sun King Supper Club. In Chic, some of the beef dishes were a little on the chewy side, but overall the quality was very good. I tend toward seafood and those were good to great. Some items were exceptionally well prepared. Overall the quality was better than I what I expected, considering the number of meals they were serving at any one time. The servce was FANTASTIC. We felt pampered, and the wait staff was very attentive. They seemed to anticipate what we wanted and brought it. Several times when I debated over different appetizers or desserts, our server would bring me one of each, even though I had only ordered one of them. After the first couple of nights, he knew what I liked and would suggest or point out something on the menu that he thought I would enjoy. On some nights the entree choices were mostly Beef or seafood dishes, but on others there was a greater variety. I didn't go on the cruise for the food, so I was pleased with what they offered. We had a great table for eight and most evenings we were there for about two hours, enjoying our dinner and conversing with our table companions. No one hurried us.

We ordered room service breakfast on a morning when we had an early excursion and it was handled perfectly.

The Sun King was worth the extra $30 per person. This was our romantic evening of intimate dining. We felt like we were the favorite customer of an exclusive restaurant and were treated accordingly. The number of entrees was limited to mostly steaks and seafood, but the quality was excellent; my filet was prepared just the way I like iit and ordered it. The extra sauteed mushrooms I ordered with it were the best I have ever had. The presentation of the food was superb.

We both thought that the qualiy of the beverages was very good, especially the featured daily tropical drinks. The prices were what I expected and even under what I would expect to pay at a resort lounge for drinks of the type and size we had. Service in the lounges was great.

We had an outside stateroom on the second deck, with a window. The room was fine and there was plenty of closet and drawer space for us; not sure how it work for a family or three or more people. Besides our bed we had a couch and occasional chair, along with a chair for the built in desk/vanity. Our room was toward the bow and near the first bank of elevators. That was great, as it gave us easy and quick access to the theatre and to the lobby deck one level above. Service with our room was great. I had ordered a bottle of Asti at embarkation but we did not open it for two more nights. Our room steward kept bringing in fresh ice and refilling the wine bucket each day, besides the ice in the regular ice bucket.

We visited another passenger who had a similar room on a higher deck, but with a balcony. The balcony was very nice, but it took away from the space in the room, so that ours was roomier than the more expensive room with a balcony.

There were a lot of activities, for all ages and interests. We could only sample some of them. Lounges are numerous and varied, and the entertainment was very good. The "house band" was better than I expected and we heard them play at the shows, as well as, combinations of them playing at other times and venues. Great variety of music, from lounge singers and pianists on up. There were a lot of families with children on board, as well as college students on spring break, but there were places and activities to appeal to everyone. If you wanted to be with the younger crowd, you hung out on the Lido deck amidships; if you wanted a quieter, adult area you could go to the aft part of the deck with an an adults only pool and whirlpool, or to some of the lounges and quiet areas on other decks.

Stingray City at the Grand Caymans was fantastic, although it had been windy for several days so there was some wave action, which made it difficult to snorkel for any length of time. Rum Point beach was nice too. Dunn's River Falls at Ocho Rios was great, and the guides did a fine job. We also opted for the Bamboo Beach Club, which I had some reservations about after reading some reviews. But our experience there was great and we enjoyed the sun, the surf, and the rum punch. The foods was nothing to get excited about, but it was included and not the reason we were there. The service was very good; we were offered more drinks and food than we could handle. Overall, our day in Jamaica was the best of our three days at ports.

As it was our first cruise experience, we relied on the Internet, what other people told us, and quizzed people we met at boarding time and on the ship about various things. People in general, whether other passengers or crew, were very helpful. There were a few things that could have been done better or differently, but we had a great overall experience. I would expect our second cruise to be even better, now that we have learned "some of the ropes." The price was reasonable and I thought we got great value, when you consider the accomodations, food, amenities and entertainment that were included. We will cruise again, and will certainly have Carnival at the top of the list we make our plans.

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