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Deb Moore

Age: 52

Occupation:VP of operations

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Freedom

Sailing Date: 2010-01-10

Itinerary: Carribbean

Husband and I just returned from a cruise on the Freedom. The ship is beautiful, with dining at every level, water slides, adult-only pool areas, mini-golf, shopping and a casino. I am sure there is more, but that's what we saw. The crowd on this one was a nice mix: seniors, families with kids, singles, young adult couples and middle aged couples, and Carnival does a great job of catering to all. We LOVE the Serenity Decks and the adult pools. We didn't see any shows, but did hear that they were entertaining. Our ship went to Key West (LOVE IT THERE!), Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, with 2 "fun days at sea." It was a nice mix of ports and sailing. (We're not looking for a million ports, so 3 is great for us.)

We think Carnival has good food and a nice selection. We were especially impressed on this ship with the Grand Buffet at lunch. The selections at the carving station each day were outstanding, sometimes outdoing the dinner selections! Yes, I agree with a previous post that they are trying to cut out waste by serving the breakfast ham and bacon. I don't doubt that people load up on it and it ends up in the trash, so I can't blame them. (Our server would give us as much as we asked for, so don't hesitate to ask for more if you like bacon :) The fruits were plentiful and delicious, too-- I had the sweetest cantaloupe-- makes my mouth water just to think about it! I will probably get booed for this one, but I don't think they have the best desserts. There are plenty, but they are missing something-- sweets are not sweet enough, and sometimes a little odd (chocolate fruitcake, anyone???) :(

We always go for a balcony room as we enjoy some quiet time there. The room was similar to any of the others we had-- and that's what we like about Carnival. Once you find your way around, you're set on any of their ships. Our room had 3 large closets and some drawer space. I would love for them to put something in the shower that would hold my shampoo bottles and cleansers, but otherwise it was more than adequate. There are nice robes provided and hairdryers are in each cabin. (But they are small, on a short cord and you have to keep the button pressed with your finger to keep them running (kind of like toy fans) and I have thick hair, so it was a hassle.

We're not ones for the pool-area contests-- the hairy chest contest is reason enough to go to the Serenity Deck. But they had a cocktail making contest that looked fun, and there seemed to be lots to do if you weren't into lazing about in the sun-- bingo, art auctions, shopping, gambling, basketball, golf, fitness center, spa, discussions; pretty endless list. There seemed to be something for everyone. They even sponsored a "walk for the cure" around the ship one afternoon.

We went on the pub crawl in Key West-- $40 for drinks at five bars and a free t-shirt, along with a guide to tell stories as you go from place to place. I guess a lot of it has to do with the vibe of the crowd, but we had the best time. We were so glad we didn't go off on our own as we had planned. I would highly recommend it. Our second excursion-- snorkeling in Cayman-- was canceled due to windy weather and we had nothing planned for Jamaica. We went into both towns to do some shopping, but could have lived without it.

With 5 cruises behind us, the novelty has worn off, and the experience is what matters. If the weather had cooperated, I would give this cruise a 9. We love Carnival-- we're not either real high-brow or low-brow-- just average middle-class from the Northeast. It fits us well. We find the staff to be charming and accommodating, the accommodations to be comfortable and the value-- amazing. There were signs here and there that Carnival is cutting back a bit, but so is my business. We all are today, so I can't fault them. We enjoyed it enough that we booked another while on board (and we already had another booked)!

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