Friday, February 20, 2015

Carnival Freedom Review - February 15, 2015

Carnival Freedom - first time docked in Galveston
Carnival Freedom Review
February 15, 2015
Inaugural Texas Cruise

Just The Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Freedom
Ship Captain: Agostino Fazio
Cruise Director: Jen Baxter
Ports: Galveston, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Progreso, Galveston

This is my 4th cruise on the Carnival Freedom, 53rd Carnival Cruise, and 103rd cruise overall. This is the second leg of a B2B (back-to-back) on the Carnival Freedom.  I am cruising solo this cruise, but with nine good friends (Snoozemates) that I have traveled with many times previously including the previous cruise.  A very fun group of experienced cruisers to travel with on a cruise. This will be more a personal journal than review as I was very much under the weather, seems half the guests on the previous cruise had become ill, I didn’t get it until the last day (Friday).  Read at your own risk.

Day One—Sunday—February 15—Galveston, Texas  Embarkation

Easiest embarkation ever since we are already on the ship and we cleared customs yesterday.  All we
Mongolian Wok
had to do is pick up our new Sail & Sign cards after 9:00 am from Guest Services.  I had arranged for everyone in our group to have the same cabin for the one day as we will have for this cruise…so NO moving either.  Simple.  Since I’m solo this cruise I moved to an interior around the corner, cabin 8439.  We really had the ship to ourselves until 11:00 am too.  They were testing elevators and water tight doors this morning, but didn’t effect us much.  Our group was the first at the Red Frog Pub and first to Mongolian Wok (me).  I saw friends from Bosque County while eating lunch, but retired to the cabin for most of the rest of the day. I caught the bug that was going around on the previous cruise so this is a rest and no alcohol day for me. I did miss my people watching time on embark day.  We had a sail away balcony party while leaving Galveston harbor then met at the Alchemy Bar (me only briefly) before dinner.  We have gone from three ten-top tables to one ten-top table in the center of the POSH dining room for this cruise.  Wait staff seem good, they started us with four cheese plates before ordering. For dinner tonight I ordered the Cream of Sun Ripened Tomatoes (Soup), the Linguini with Italian Sausage, Bell Peppers & Mushrooms (as a starter), and the Chicken Greco entree.  I excused myself before dessert to get back to the cabin for needed rest.  Jen’s Welcome Show was tonight and well as 80's Pop to the Max production show.  Also tonight was the Punchliner comedy and Freedom Fun Hop.

Day Two—Monday—February 16—Fun Day at Sea

Rib entree
A little choppy seas overnight, but I slept fairly well thanks to new medications. Feeling poorly this morning though, I got around about 9:30 am and had a banana from a fruit basket that was sent by the Hotel Manager to B2B guests.  When Gede came by to clean the cabin I went upstairs to where the group usually hangs and visited with them and had some hot tea.  Back to the cabin for rest until about 2:15 pm to get to the Mongolian Wok before closing.  I actually started feeling better about this time as well.  The group had a balcony party at 4:00 and I attended for a short while.  Pretty boring day to report on the review, but guests do get sick while on a cruise.  There is a Doctor on board with regular hours that you can see if necessary, I didn’t, but I don’y go to Doctors anyway. They delivered the Chocolate covered Strawberries about 5:00pm. I did make it to the Alchemy Bar at the usual time of 7:00ish  I had an extra Spicy Chipolte cocktail thinking that may help and I believe it did.  Tonight is the Captains elegant eventing so the group is wearing our black formal Hawaiian shirts.  The menu is the same as we had on Saturday night on the one night affair so most ordered the BBQ spare Ribs, they were very good, but overlooked on the menu because of the Lobster and Prime Rib offerings.  I did leave again before dessert as I want to be rested before our arrival in port on Tuesday.  The Platinum gift was left, a portable game board.   A restful day for me, but the others attended various events such as: 80's Pop to the Max or Heart of Soul production shows, Punchliner comedy, Casino, and more.

Day Three—Tuesday—February 17—Costa Maya, Mexico

Beach at Mauhual - Costa Maya
A bit of rolling seas overnight and I slept in as long as possible. I again just had a banana for breakfast and I feel even worse today.  We are to arrive in Costa Maya about 1:00 so I just stayed in the cabin and tried to rest and relax.  The group went ashore about 1:30 and went to Mahahual where they relaxed on the beach and drank beer. They posted the photo right just so I could see what I missed. :-(  Wish I could have gone, but I watched the Rizzoli & Isles marathon on the Mexican TBS TV channel in the cabin this afternoon.  Room Service for me today and I didn’t attend dinner.  At least the room service food is very good.  Not a good cruise day for me today.  Activities tonight included:   Hasbro the Game Show,  a Mardi Gras Party, Red Frog's Latin Fusion Night, and the Love & Marriage Show.

Day Four—Wednesday—February 18—Cozumel, Mexico

Windy overnight and in fact the Captain has adjusted port times for today to 7:00 am arrival and 3:00 pm departure due to weather concerns. Today is the low day of the cruise for me…not only do I feel very bad, but my cabin has been flooded during the night from the aft pool above me on deck nine.  Oh My.  Sleep was bad because they started all the dryers and blowers running in the hallway.  I knew there was really nothing that could be done so tried to sleep late.  I spent the morning out of the cabin and knowing the right people did help as I saw the Hotel Director and he went down to my cabin and said they would get me a new one immediately since he knew I was ill. No place to go no place to rest and recover, but soon I had a balcony cabin on deck seven and friends helped me move.  Just having a clean cabin with fresh air and the Z-pack I started the night before was the turning point I believe for me.  I relaxed in the afternoon and soon began to feel better.  I went to the group sail away at 4:00 for a few minutes and then attended the Diamond event at 5:00.  Boo from the Alchemy was bartender and she prepared for me some Elderflower Spritzers as I wanted something light and somewhat healthy.  I only stayed an hour and I knew I was pushing my luck so no Alchemy or MDR dinner, but I had enough h’orderves at the Diamond party to satisfy me for the evening.  Watched the finale of one of my favorite TV shows: The Mentalist and feeling much better by sleeply time.  Other FUN things I didn't get to do:  Heart of Soul and Getaway Island (my favorite) production shows, Red Frog Beach Party, Super Star Live Karaoke, and more.

Day Five—Thursday—February 19—Progreso, Mexico
VIFP Party with Diamonds on stage
Very high seas and windy overnight, but calmer once we reached Progreso.  I feel much better this morning and even went to the MDR for breakfast about 8:45 am.  We are docked next to the Carnival Elation, hopefully we’ll see our friends that sailed with us last week on board.  My balcony is too close to the Elation’s WiFi signal so I moved back to the aft deck to use the internet this morning. Some find it cool outside so the group have moved indoors and that works very well on deck ten as there are electrical outlets there to charge computers….HQ for a while.  I rested some in the cabin in the afternoon and felt well enough to attend the VIFP Party in the Theater at 5:00 pm although I limited myself to diet coke.  The group met at the Alchemy Bar as usual and I joined them for aperitifs.  I asked Boo to prepare a nice light Elderflower Spritzer and it was very good.  I also went to the MDR for dinner for the first time in days.  I ordered:  Two Shrimp Cocktails, the Pasta (as starter), the Chateaubriand entree, and a Banana Split for dessert.  Some went to the production show: Getaway Island, others to the casino, and I retired to the cabin.

Day Six—Friday—February 20—Fun Day at Sea
Smooth seas overnight and I slept better than any night of the cruise since getting sick.  I had a nice breakfast from the Blue Iguana Grill and visited Snoozemates in our meeting area on the aft Lido deck area.  Nice weather for sitting out this morning too.  For lunch I had my final bowl from the Mongolian Wok, it’s been very good all week.  I rested this afternoon, most in the group did the Alchemy Bar class at 3:00 pm then our final balcony party.  We all met for cocktails at the Alchemy Bar then had our final dinner in the Posh MDR.  I actually excused myself early to finish packing and rest for the debark early in the morning. Other activities or events on board today included:  Groove for St. Jude, production show 88 Keys, the Punchliner Comedy, Jen's Trivia, and much more.

Debarkation—Saturday—February 21—Galveston, TX
Smooth seas overnight and we were in Galveston by 5:00 am.  I was awake and finished packing and had a light breakfast.   Designated meet time was 7:30 am for VIFP, but I went early hoping for an early debark since we were so early.  Not as early as I had hoped, but we did get off about 7:15 am and I was through U.S. Customs and at EZ Cruise Parking at 7:30 am.  A nice drive home and I was at the ranch by 1:00 pm.

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