Carnival Freedom Review
May 10 & 18, 2014
Just The Facts
Ship: Carnival Freedom
Ship Captain (5/10 cruise): Rosario Arena
Ship Captain (5/18 cruise): Candeloro Donato
Cruise Director: Skip Lyons
Ports (5/10 cruise): Ft. Lauderdale, St. Martin, St. Thomas, San Juan,
Ports (5/18 cruise): Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
I had never sailed the Carnival Freedom and she has just come from dry dock getting most of the Carnival 2.0 updates so this is a perfect time, especially since they have just announced that she will be moving to my local home port of Galveston, Texas next year. I was anxious to experience the new Carnival Freedom. I am doing a B2B cruise beginning with an 8 day followed by a 6 day cruise. I will review both cruises in this one review. These are my 42nd and 43rd Carnival Cruises and 89th and 90th cruises overall. I am cruising as a solo taking advantage of a zero single supplement promotion by Carnival. I do know some guests and crew on board.
Day One—Saturday--Travel--Fort Lauderdale Embarkation
|Port Everglades - Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
Day Two—Sunday--Fun Day at Sea
|Atrium Bar - Carnival Freedom|
Day Three--Monday—Fun Day at Sea
|Sea Day 'Steak & Eggs'|
Day Four—Tuesday—St. Martin, Netherland Antilles
Day Five—Wednesday—St. Thomas, USVI
|Creeque's Alley - Side Street Pub - St. Thomas|
Day Six—Thursday--San Juan, Puerto Rico
|El Convento (from steps of Cathedral) - San Juan|
Day Seven--Friday--Fun Day at Sea
|Scott's Piano Bar - Carnival Freedom|
Day Eight—Saturday--Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Day Nine (1) — Sunday—Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Calm seas overnight and I happened to wake early and tested my phone connection, I was on the internet by 5:16 am. We didn’t dock for awhile so we were probably sailing along the Miami area coast on the way to Port Everglades. About 8:00 am I went to the MDR for a nice full breakfast then stopped by my new cabin on deck six to see if it was vacant. It was and the cabin Steward said he would prepare it strait away so I took some hangers up to my cabin to pack. I moved down to my new cabin about 9:30 and appreciate the help from both my Stewards. It’s great to be into the new cabin before you go to the B2B meet which was scheduled for 10:15am for us today. They seemed to be a little long on debark it was closer to 11:00 when the B2B guests went down to U.S. Customs. We had to wait until about 11:45 to board again. Then there was a dash to be the first to the Red Frog Pub. Although not first I made it for a free beer and the photo which was published on John Heald’s Facebook Page (the actual photo from JH FB page on right). Don't know the guy on the left, but he tried to trip me on the way to the RFP. I do see him around the ship in funny hats. After my beer I went up to the Lido Buffet to the Mongolian Grill, it was already packed with new guests. After lunch I went to my new cabin and finished set up and took a little snooze. About 3:30 I went up to Lido to get a slice of Chocolate Cake with purple colored cheesecake icing. A vey unique dessert. I returned to my cabin to do a little work online in the afternoon and they delivered a Fruit Basket and bottle of Champagne as they usually do for B2B guests, so I had Champagne cocktails the rest of the day. They held Safety Drill about 4:15 pm. and we sailed not long afterward. I had dinner tonight in the Sun King Steakhouse with friends at 7:00 pm. Dinner was excellent, I ordered the Escargot, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Cowboy Cut Steak (basically a bone-in rib eye), Baked Potato, and Ice Creme for dessert. I also enjoyed the background music in the Sun King Steakhouse and the service was excellent. The Welcome Show was at 10:00 pm. and there was a late comedy show with Lance Montalto.
Day Ten (2)—Monday—Key West, Florida
|Kelly's in Key West|
Day Eleven (3)—Tuesday — Fun Day at Sea
|Thanks for the Wine, JH|
Day Twelve (4)—Wednesday — Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Day Thirteen (5)—Thursday — Cozumel, Mexico
Smooth seas again and clear & hot weather for the day. I went for a full breakfast in the MDR and was seated far aft center so I had a great view of three Carnival ships sailing the Straits of Cozumel this morning: The Freedom, The Triumph, and The Breeze. Very impressive. We are docked at Puerto Maya next to the Carnival Breeze. The Carnival Triumph docked at the International pier. I met friends and we shared a taxi into San Miguel about 10:30. First stop was Woody’s Bar located just off the main square to set up a HQ and use their WiFi. Then some price comparisons at a few pharmacies, and a visit to the Our Lady Shrine. No haircut this trip, but I did see Martin when I went to the Farmicia next door to his shoppe. We had a beer at Wet Wendy’s before getting a taxi back to Puerto Maya. We went to Three Amigos, located at the pier, saw more friends and I ended up trying their Cozumel Cooler and some nachos. Interesting place, I saw a waiter walking with four margaritas (photo right) on his head...very Cool! This is a great crew hang-out as it's close to ship and the crew discount. Today they were also having a ceremony at the pier announcing an expansion to the existing Puerto Maya pier so that they can dock three Carnival ships there at one time. The new pier was needed today, I knew a crew member who changed ships today, but had to wheel his gear all the way through Puerto Maya, then to the International Pier just to change ships. I boarded the ship for some rest and then watched sail away from the balcony. It was another beautiful evening so I enjoyed the balcony until time for dinner. Tonight I ordered: the Escargot, Shrimp Cocktail, Chateaubriand, with Baked Alaska for dessert. The Chateaubriand was much better this week. The production show Get Away Island was tonight, this is the better of the two shows IMHO. A guest was injured during the limbo portion prior to the main show, I wonder how long that will continue.
Day Fourteen (6)—Friday — Fun Day at Sea
|Who's the Best Cruise Director? This Guy.|
Maiden Voyage: March 2007 - last ship in Conquest class series
Passenger Capacity: 2,980 | On board Crew: 1150 | Length: 952 feet
Gross Tonnage: 110,000 tons | Cruising Speed: 22.5 knots
Always kept very clean and ship shape and she just had her Carnival 2.0 upgrades a few weeks ago. The Conquest class ships could really use a space such as the Ocean Plaza for entertainment.
Crew / Staff
All the crew and staff were very efficient and professional. My cabin stewards did a great job. Roy my head waiter for both cruises was wonderful and very professional. The Bar Servers were really good.
Week one I had cabin 8221 a category 8C balcony located right at the aft elevator and stairwell.. I like this location as your only one deck below the Lido buffet for food, ice, drinks, etc.; For week two I had cabin 6441 located near the same stairwell on deck six. Both cabins are standard Carnival balcony cabins with: a three section wardrobe, full couch, mini bar refrigerator, swipe safe, Flat screen TV, and small stool for desk/vanity.
The food on Carnival ships is usually good to very good and this cruise was typical. Guy’s Burgers, Mongolian Grill, Room Service was very good to excellent. The entire MDR service team was very good as well as well as Ian the senior Matre’D. Food Service was wonderful everywhere on ship. Red Frog Pub has bar snacks only, no bar food. Breakfast is becoming my favorite meal on Carnival.
I was a bit disappointed with the Alchemy Bar, still one of my favorite spots, but the team is not on the par with the Triumph or Sunshine. Daniel was fine and perhaps they will gel as a team with some more time. I also thought it was too dark behind the bar compared to the other Alchemy Bars, didn't enhance the environment. Cruise Highlights: the two new Production Shows and food service. Overall another FUN cruise.
|Sunset Sail Away from St. Thomas USVI|