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Overall Rating
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Arnie Janson

Age: 53


Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Freedom

Sailing Date: 2009-08-23

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Although we enjoyed ourselves, we would not cruise on Carnival again. In one word, it lacked the "elegance" we were accustomed to on earlier Princess Cruises. The clientele are different - with many more children (about 700 on our cruise) so a difference is to be expected. We chose it because we brought our 4 children along (ages 17 - 26) and they enjoyed it - as it was their first cruise. It was slightly less expensive compared with Princess. We also strongly prefer the "personal choice" option for dinner seating. The shore excursions were better value for the money compared with earlier Princess cruises.

Food in the formal dining rooms was excellent, as was the service. The buffet restaurant lacked the elegance compared with Princess. One indicator is that bacon is served to you by kitchen staff and not self-serve. It is obvious that this is a cost-saving measure; they have learned that if they allow self-serve, then people eat more bacon and that is too expensive.

Inside room was comfortable and comparable to Sun & Island Princess.

The "Ticket to Ride (Beatles) Show was the best entertainment we have seen. It was fantastic. Beyond that show though, there was little and the evening entertainment is important to us.

"Swimming with the stingrays" was the highlight of the vacation. Don't miss it.

The primary problems we found related to the ship itself. 1) Swimming pools, too small, salty water and always too crowded. Even the "adult only" pool was simply too full, i.e. too many people just standing in the water; impossible to swim. 2) Dining rooms: the two dining rooms are on the same level with the galley in between. The one dining room is at the back of the ship, directly above the engine and on the first night, the table vibrated enough to create a standing wave in my water glass. Very unnerving. We asked for an alternate table and that worked out - but if that other table had not been available, it would have been a very disappointing cruise. Also, with the two restaurants at the same level, if you were in the center of the ship and wanted to get to the end restaurant, you either had to go up two floors or down one to get to the entrance to the end restaurant. Not nearly as convenient as the Sun or Island Princess where the two dining rooms are on top of each other. 3) No promenade: On Princess, there was an outdoor promenade on Level 7 (I think) where one could walk entirely around the perimeter of the ship. On Carnival Freedom, there was no such promenade; also, when going from one part of the ship to another, it often meant having to go up or down. Very little "throughways" (the restaurant was just one example).

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