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Overall Rating
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Darrell Hutschreide

Age: 61


Number of Cruises: 13

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Freedom

Sailing Date: 2012-11-1

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

As stated this was our 13th cruise, the fourth with Carnival, and second on Carnival Freedom. Many things have changed on the Freedom since our last voyage of around 18 months ago, and not for the good. All changes we noticed relate to Carnival cutting costs of operation.

The major change we noticed was at dining in the area of service. The number of servers has been reduced by going to a TEAM approach, there are not three team members, instead of two, however they have seven tables now to service, instead of the old team approach of a waiter and his assistant taking care of four tables. The servers are busy as hell, they are not goofing off, and are unable to service everyone at their tables when all tables are occupied. This is not the servers fault, Carnival has done this combination to reduce total number of servers. This shortage of servers can also be denoted at dining room service at breakfast at lunch. The number of courses has also been reduced to three courses, from four previously. The special coffees now must be purchased, instead of included if you wish. The food remains as exceptional. Shore excursions are not to be done thru the ship, you can get cheaper rates and better sight seeing opportunity by using a taxi. Room stewards maintain high standards in state rooms. Shows are great if comedy, however we do not like the dancing and singing shows.

Food is overall exceptional. Deserts could be improved because I noticed cookies and all pre-made, as are most of the cakes and pastery, they are simply warming them up, which in many cases leads to dry desserts.

Clean and well maintained cabins.

I cruise for relaxation, thus I look to find quiet areas, which can be difficult.

Do not take any shore excursions via the ship. The prices are very high and the quality very low. I took two excursions via the ship, and one on our own by hiring a local taxi driver. In Antigua we took tour with taxi driver for $20 per person, around 2 1/2 hours, seeing the highlights of the island, stopping for pictures and a bathroom break. I was relaxing, informative and nice in a air-conditioned taxi. However the two excursions booked via Carnival were $50 and $60 per person. In Tortola we were 45 minutes late starting after leaving 10 minutes early, there was NO working speaker on 25 person bus. Bus open sided, could not see up because upper sides are blocked with canvas siding rolled up, stopped at electronics store to try to fix speaker, then went to drivers home to get different taxi, which was filthy. Driver drove like a maniac. This tour was dirty, hot, disgusting environment. The second tour via Carnival in Nassau was highly disorganized and not informative.

I take cruises for relaxation. Overall an acceptable cruise, you always expect some problems. Dining room service will bust there ass to service you, unfortunately they are undermanned. I cannot say I will not cruise Carnival again, but I will look toward Holland America and Princess for my next cruise choice.

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