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Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Mark DeFrancisco

Age: 54

Occupation:Self Employed

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Freedom

Sailing Date: 2010-11-14

Itinerary: western

Carnival Freedom is probably the weirdest looking ship on the water. But after a couple days, the odd decor is forgotten. The ship is quite clean, and absent the occasional sewage smells found on many ships. We had never cruised Carnival before, so we were holding our breath based on other reviews and comments from friends. We were pleasantly surprised to have a very good cruise. Granted, some amenities could be better, but the overall experience for the price was great, and the ship is kept clean. Also, we had very pleasant service from the stewards to the dining room staff. We found the dining room staff to be quite excellent, friendly, playful, and professional. The maitre d' of the room, Branimir, made sure to always come see us every single meal, not just the last night to collect a tip. He is an asset to Carnival, for sure, over the usual Napoleanic types who stand at the front podium and look important, but do nothing until gratuity night. The entertainment was ok, not great, and we were not crazy about one show a night on some nights, with a 1030 start time. The two exceptions were the Beatles show and the New Orleans show, which were both quite good. Carnival has a great love for karaoke, so either enjoy it or don't go.

Food was typical cruise food, not bad, not extraordinary either. The Lido buffet is nothing to cheer about, and as posted by many ohters, the multi-station layout is a real mess, and you end up in multiple long lines with cold food. They can't change it now i guess, but it is a mess. That being said, I never left hungry. Breakfast in the dining room is decent, although exactly the same each day, no variation. Again, I did not leave hungry. Dinner in Chic is quite good, and the service is good too, although one night our service was crappy. We had anytime dning, so the next night we went to the other side of the room and had great service from John, from Columbia, and his helpers, who were great. We got some magic tricks too. Waht we found is that if you are a quiet type and do not engage them, they leave you alone. We like to have fun, and they seem to thrive on that, since we break up their monotony of week after week. I think they appreciated us being a little nutty, and they reciprocated in kind.

Our room was deck 6 forward portside, and was very nice. Typical in size, witha not so typical bathroom. The shower actually seemed bigger than Princess or Royal showers, and we had no problems with it other than never enough hot water, which is on every ship usually. Our steward did the usual Origami, and lept the room spotless. The balcony door whistled in the wind when closed, and could use a better seal.

Activities were decent too, although we either got off ship or hun at the pool. We are not the contest types, but enjoyed watching. Typical hairy chest, best mixologist, stuff. Good fun, not over the top.
The casino needs to be smoke free. It stinks up the whole deck 5 area around it. One day the law will finally stop exempting casinos from allowing smoking. Not today.

Cool Runnings trimaran tour to Dunn's River Falls is well run, and the girls onboard are a lotta fun. Be ready to dance and have a good time. I recommend it.
Key West requires no excursions...just get off and walk... great times!!
Grand Cayman apparently no longer rents scooters, and as a result, the entire east end of the island is not accessable anymore. That end is the beautiful end, with all the nice homes and private beaches. I suppose you could take a taxi and spend a fortune.
Ochos Rios is not worth walking around. Take a tour their and be careful.

Carnival Freedom is great if you do not expect too much. If you are prissy, then go for a more expensive ship. For us, it was a good fit, great value, and we would go again.

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