My Carnival freedom cruise experience
We stayed at the days inn Hollywood. It has free shuttle airport/port. Hotel was OK. Went to Denny's for dinner when we arrived. (there is nothing else around, except the holiday inn) Service at Denny's was REALLY BAD.
We booked an early (11 am) shuttle from the hotel (I was very excited and wanted to go). Shuttle was about 45 min late, but that was ok, because we all were going to the same place. Packed into the van and off we went. Arriving at the port was exciting. There was a lot of different ships. Embarkaction was easy. There was a lot of people, but the lines moved fast. The lady who checked us in was great. We grabed lunch and sat by the pool and then went to our room to check it out. There was 4 of us and we had an inside cabin. The bunks had not been brought down yet, but the room was good for us. It was tight at times, when all of us were in the room, but that was not very often.
Food was very good. I am sure that I have gained 20lb. We had the anytime seating and really enjoyed that option, even though we went to dinner about the same time each night, we had the option of going at a differnt time. What I did not like about the dining experience was that we did not sit at a table with other people. It was only my husband, kids and I. I was looking forward to meeting other people. I don't know if this was all the dining rooms, but the one we had (posh) there was not many big tables. We met other people who were also upset by this also.
The pool on the ship was cool, my son spent most of his time in the hot tub. They were not really hot, just bath temperature. My three year old tried the camp carnival, but because he has never been do any kind of daycare before, did not like it. The gave me a phone and called about an hour after we dropped him off and said he was not having a good time. My other son was 11 and turned 12 on the ship, loved the carnival C program. He had a great time. He would stay up late and when we went into port the next day he would be so tired from having so much fun with the kids the night before. He had such a good time at Circle C that we did not see him very much. I was a little disapointed that Carnival did not do anything for his birthday. We bought him a cake and I decorated his room. Last year he was on Costa for his birthday and costa gave him a Birthday card. I think if I did not buy the cake they would not of even recoginzed his birthday. We purchased the larger cake hoping to share it with the others at our table and because there was only the 4 of us. We threw over 1/2 of it out.
Ports: I think the next time I go on a cruise I will think again about using carnival to the do excursions though. I find they do not give you enough time at the areas (beach) that I would like. I think next time I will just get a taxi at the port and take us to the area that I want to go to. It would of been cheeper and I would of spent more time there. I found that when we went to port the excursion lasted about 3 hours and we were in port for 6+ hours. One of our tours (st Thomas) said we were to go shopping in the am, return to the ship and then to the beach, when we got on the tour he said because of the amount of ships in we were going to the beach first and then shopping. Luckly I wore my bathing suit under my cloths, but other didn't.
There are things that I have learned on my first cruise, but I am sure this will not be my last cruise. I was going to puchase the $100 offer, but was not sure if we could do it in two years. If I had a choice I would be going back right now. The staff was great, ship was very clean and shows were very entertaining. We did not go to the casino or clubs or comdian show, life is different with a three year old in tow. There we more things postive about the cruise, just too many to mention.
In an effort to cut cost, several cruise lines don't automatically bring out a cake for birthdays anymore. When booking the cruise you need to tell the booking agent you want to celebrate a birthday/anniversary. They will note the record. If the record is noted the waiters will bring out a single cupcake or other single serving of dessert with a candle and sing to the person having the birthday. If you want a larger cake for everyone to share, then you order and pay for it. Just as you did.
Now days so many people are moving away from the fixed dining and sharing tables. The cruise line is adjusting to the peoples wishes with the open dining and arranging smaller tables. You can still request to dine with others in the open seating.
Karen, thanks for your review. Sounds like you enjoyed your first cruise a lot, despite a few glitches.
Next time, you could try asking to be seated in the dining room with other people, in case there's a big enough table they're filling. Sorry you were disappointed that your son's program didn't acknowledge his birthday. Maybe next time you could mention to someone on C's staff that day that he's celebrating a birthday. They could have sung "Happy Birthday" to him.
Did you decide not to take the rest of the birthday cake back to the room? We did that once and kept it in the fridge in the room, and THEN threw it out at the end of the cruise. Too much food!
I hope you get to cruise again in the next couple of years. Maybe your little one will want to be in the kids' program too, next time around.
I think the kids did say happy birthday to him when he was in the Circle C program.
I am hoping my little guy will go to the camp next time, it would of been nice to have time with just my huband and I, but I still had a great time with him in tow.
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