Hi Roach. I just read that your going on the Carnival Freedom. Where will you be going on that cruise? We just went on a Mediterranean cruise on Carnival Freedom in March, 2007. The ship is beautiful. The cruise director is EXCELLENT. As you must know the excursions are costly. If we were to go back again, we would take our own excursions though. We had to take all the Easy tours, because my significant other can't walk for very long. I found they do not give you must time to shop for souvenirs.
IF you are going to Europe, take the free shuttle from Civitavecchia to the town there, there's a lot of stores. They don't mention that much, also take the Free shuttle to Livorno, there is a lot of stores there also.
We didn't get to Florence, but I was told that was beautiful also.
The food was excellent in the dining room. The 2 young men we had serving us in the dining room were the best too.
Have a Great time.