This was our 8th cruise and third on Carnival. I can compare this cruise to RCC and Disney. We previously sailed Carnival so we knew what to expect, however we had high hopes since this was Carnival's newest ship and it is supposed to cater to the more sophisticated cruiser. Let me just say that we were not surprisingly let down.
We read various reviews, some good and some bad, and we will have to agree with the negative reviews for this ship.
Ship Let's start with something positive. We liked the decor and found it different in a very good way. I thought it made the ship feel grand.
Cleanliness It's too bad with such a beautiful ship that it is kept such a mess. Everytime we walked into the Freedom Restuarant we noticed dirty tables that sat and sat. We actually watched crew members walk by and step over mess after mess time and time again. That is just simply lazy. The dining room had a smell that we could never place our finger on, but it was not a clean small. The rooms, however were always neat and clean.A lot of people smoking, I think more then any ship I have ever been on.
Dining This is important to every cruiser. We are average people who watch our diets except when we are on a cruise. Sadly, we never gained a pound on this cruise!!
Breakfast: The worse breakfast buffet I have ever seen on any ship. The choices were very limited and what was there was nothing good at all. The eggs were always runny, bacon under cooked, sausage greasy, and that's just about all that was offered.
Lunch: Better because you had more choices, but the buffet was again very limited. They also have too many seafood choices and not enough other things. I thought some of the meat on the trays looked old, almost as if it was reused daily! I was careful of what we ate becuase I thought some of the items may have been spoiled or getting very close.
Dinner: This was much better than breakfast and lunch but you may need to season the food yourself. I wonder who this great new chef is and if he actually runs the kitchen. I'm sure he would not approve of the breakfast and lunch and I'm sure he agrees that the kitchen staff needs a lesson in food preparation. The ice cream was very good, but the mess on the ice cream counter turned our stomachs most days!
Crew Here is where the Carnival Freedom needs the most help. I have to agree with every review I read regarding the crew being rude. They are. Other then the room staff, almost everyone we met was rude and unfriendly. I rarely saw a crew member smile and they never had anything nice to say. Truly, I have never felt more unwelcome on a cruise. Carnival needs to teach the crew to have respect for the customers and treat us with kindness and dignity. Carnival gets a 0 for customer service!
Pools My children loved the slide, but hated the salty water. Disney does fresh water and RCCL also has salt, but it is filtered in some way. I felt so nasty after every swim and after I saw one too many little ones with diapers on swimming, I decided that was enough for our family and the pool. That really should not be allowed.
One thing I could not understand is why Carnival does not offer sanitizers. I read this before we left, but I thought for sure it was a mistake. It was not!!!
Shows Better than I thought.
Overall I would never cruise the Freedom or any other Carnival ship again. Once you have cruised with RCCL or Disney you can never be happy with Carnival because you know what you are missing -- class, respect, people with morals and most importantly a good vacation that is stress-free!!
This ship needs much improvement!! The food is awful, the ship dirty and the crew very rude!!
All I can say is book with a different line!!
If you're looking for class, this is not the line or the ship for you!
Our family has been on over a dozen cruises and the Freedom ranks as one of the best.
The food was very good and the variety was outstanding. If you didn't want any of the 4 main entrees, they had alternative selections that were on the menu every night.
The service was great. Our waiter gave us everything we asked for. We were a party of 9 people: My family of 4, kids 14 and 9, cousin's family, kids 14 and 10, and my father in law.
We loved the shows and the movies under the stars. The kids loved this ship.
The cabin was spotless and that wasn't easy with all of our stuff.
We played minature golf, went on the slides, and played ping pong. The kids loved the kids program and made new friends.
Everyone on the Carnival staff was friendly and helpful.
I can't believe I was on the same cruise as some of the other reviewers. I'm sorry that they had a bad experience, but for us the ship was a+ and we will be back next year!!!
I was reading the other reviews and decided to suggest some things. The cruise ship was beautiful and I felt like I was on a big beautiful ship! I have cruised RCCL and NCL in the past, so I do have a few things to comapare.
Food: Good, but they need more variety on the breakfast buffet. Why not offer pancakes, waffles and french toast everyday instead of switching them out? I think that would be a much better. They also need to cook the bacon better. Dinners in the dining room were wondeful and very good. I do not like the cups Carnival uses to drink from and they need to offer paper cups for coffee or tea when you want to take it to your room or just walk around with it. I heard people complaining about that every day and I was one of them!! Is it going to take someone being seriously burned from an open cup with very hot coffee to get Carnival to provide paper cups?? I hope not!!
Rooms: Wonderful. Very clean and very spacious. Better than RCCL and NCL.
Staff: Dinner staff were wonderful!!Overall the staff needs help in learning to treat customers with respect!! They need to smile more often and be more helpful!! That really makes a cruise and if you're treated rudely you remember that!!
Overall this cruise was an okay experience, but not great. However, if the Freedom made just a few changes, they could be competitive with other lines.
After reading several reviews I decided I would try and help cruisers by rating this ship. My wife and I read many reviews on this ship both good and bad, but decided to give Carnival a chance since the Freedom was a new ship. However, this was a mistake and if I could do it all over again I would have chosen RCCL or NCL. We have previously cruised on both and had a much better cruise with no comparison on those other lines.
My advice is if you have cruised before and have experienced the better lines, go elsewhere because you will definitly feel what you are missing, which is A LOT!!
Ship: I thought it was a nice ship but dark. It was much less clean then RCCL and NCL. They did not offer sanitizers in any of the dining rooms which should tell you something about Carnival. When you have 3000 people onboard, everyone should be sanatizing before meals. EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN. My wife carries wipes and sanitizers when we vacation, but most people that have cruised other lines complained about not having sanitizers and got the same ruderesponse we did, a blank look!!
Food: I have had so, so much better!! The breakfast buffet was a laugh. If you have been on RCCL or NCL you are laughing with me!! I have never seen so much cereal and danish in my life!! Why can't they offer more variety. Why should you have to hope it's french toast instead of them just offering it everyday!! My children, like many 10 and 11 year olds, each prefer something different. One wanted waffles, one wanted french toast and one wanted bacon that was actually cooked! Of course, once again a rude and very blank look when I asked if they could offer both french toast and waffles at the buffet!! I have never seen such a cheap buffet on any cruise and we have been on 6!! Any line that has to swap french toast, waffles and pancakes daily is either hurting for money or just cheap!! The breakfast in the dining room will offer you more choices, but you have to allow an hour or more!! Lunch -- a better variety if you don't mind pizza and hot dogs for lunch. Once again the buffet is sad with way too many seafood choices and odd dishes. Again, a sign of Carnival's cheap fare!! Dinner -- ok but nothing great!
Crew: Very, very rude people!! Carnival needs to teach the crew manners and class!! If they actually want customers with class they need much improvement!!
If you truly want your money's worth, spend a little more with a different line and get a fantastic vacation instead of a stress-filled one!!
WE WILL NEVER CRUISE CARNIVAL AGAIN!!!!!!!!
Thank you to whoever wrote the review regarding the cups that Carnival uses. I did not like them either and yes I agree they need to offer paper cups with lids for those of us who would like a FREE cup of coffee!! They are more than happy to give you a paper cup if you PAY for it!! I mean really! I have never experienced that on any cruise before and this is our 6th cruise!!
After reading several of the newest reviews on the Freedom, I am glad to find out that I am not crazy!! I truly thought it couldn't have just been me that had a bad experince on the Freedom, but it's nice to hear it from others!!
We are loyal RCCL cruisers and it seems like several people ventured out to try Carnival since they had a new ship, but I think we all learned the same lesson the hard way! RCCL is much better and I think I would try NCL and Princess too after several people compared them.
Trust me and avoid the Freedom. Read the reviews and stick to the better lines!!
Do not choose the Carnival Freedom. I was not going to write a review but after so many mixed reviews I decided to give readers another one to consider. I have to agree with the negative reviews on this ship.
Ship I liked the decor, however the ship is very messy and dirty. Crew members do not clean up after people. The crew memebers just walk by tables dirty with dishes and cups until YOU clean it up. I think Carnival just wants to get you on the ship but once you are on, it's a free for all!! I have never had clean up after other people before, but on this ship if you want to sit you must clean and wipe your own table!!
Food Very poor quality!! Always luke warm and the worst breakfast buffet I have ever seen!!
Crew VERY RUDE PEOPLE!! I have never felt so unwelcome on any cruise!! They are not friendly and actually go out of the way to be rude!! I can't even imagine how an entire ship of crew members, 1000 I think, can be so unhappy and so rude!!
Pools Ialso noticed that the pools are very salty!! RCCL is also salt water, but not to the point where you cannot swim! The children with diapers swimming in the pool should not be allowed!! This is just wrong on so many levels!!
WHERE ARE THE SANATIZERS?????? CARNIVAL DOES NOT CARE ABOUT OUR HEALTH ON BOARD, THIS IS OBVIOUS!
The cabins are the only plus to this ship.
CHOOSE ANOTHER LINE AND SHIP. DO NOT WASTE YOUR VACATION ON CARNIVAL. THE WEB SITE LOOKS SO NICE, BUT ONCE YOU ARE ON BOARD ITS A DIFFERENT WORLD! THEY ARE RUDE INCONSIDERATE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR VACATION. CARNIVAL DOES NOT COMPARE TO RCCL OR PRINCESS!!
This was our first cruise and we were very excited. It was a huge disappointment. The weather for the first 2 days was terrible (nobody's fault). We got seasick. This never entered our minds as we are avid boaters and people told us that we would never feel the ship rocking. HA! There were many sick people.
The food was ok. We knew that we would have to pay $70.00 each upfront for tips and gratuities, but it seems unfair as we never ate in the dining room. We strictly ate at the buffet.
When the weather finally got nice, you could not move for people on the decks. It was crazy.
We loved Grand Cayman, but it was a short day. We had been to Cozumel and knew that we didn't like it there.
We paid over $200.00 for the John Heald excursion in Jamaica. That was the biggest rip-off of the whole trip. The food was terrible, there was nowhere to sit on the small beach. Half the day was wasted waiting to swim with the dolphins. I think people should have been reimbursed because they promised something totally different.
Idoubt very much we would ever go on another cruise, but at least now we know what it's like.
All inclusive is the only way to go.
The Freedom ship is a cheapo, ripeoff. If you want to lose weight on a vacation, then this is the one for you. We starved on this cruise! My kids went to bed hungry twice. The food was so nasty we spit it out on several occassions (which is something we would never do unless it reeked that bad).
Also the decor is so gaudy and apauling that it actually disgusted me.
You won't find any ice or cheese sculptures here. Everything is prepackaged, frozen, or deep-fried. However, you won't find any American or Italian food. It's all Indian or Thai. The dining room is the worst because of the red snakeskin walls and ceiling, and the red-yellow-green stoplights all around.
Then there was the constant roar of the engines and anchors, etc., as well.
And there was Camp Carnival which is only freely open to children 2-14 until 10 pm. Kids under two and/or after 10pm must pay $6.00 hr.
The shows also sucked. It was more like a high school musical than a Las Vegas-style show.
I would never recommend this cruise to anyone over the age of 25 or who makes over$75,000 per year. If so, they will think this is a ship for wild teens and lower class people with no morals, manners, or brains.
If I ever cruise again it will be on a new Royal Caribbean ship.
This was our 13th cruise overall; 9th on Carnival.
Embarkation was quick up to the point of taking the onboard photo for the sail/sign card. Quite a backup on the deck.
The decor was definitely darker than other ships and didn't have the wow factor at all.
We only attended one of the shows (Tribute to the Beatles) and were very impressed as it was truly one of the best we have seen on any ship.
The food was good on most all occasions. We ate in the Sun King Restaurant one evening (for $30.00 each) and were very impressed with the excellent service and food! The regular dining room (Posh) was average but I was dissapointed in that the staff did not attempt to remember any names or preferences (like coffee after dinner). We had requested to be placed at a large table (10-12) but were assigned a table for two. The Matre'd was very helpful in changing this but placed us at a table for 6 with two couples younger than our children. We chose to stay as they were pleasant and well mannered.
There seemed to be a good numberof chairs/loungers available both in and away from the central Lido deck area where the large screen is located. We preferred to be away from this area as the sound on most occasions was deafening.
This was our first balcony cabin and we enjoyed it. The room steward made it a point to meet us on the first day and provide his contact information. This hasn't happened on the last few cruises we have been on.
We chose not to book any excursions on this cruise.
Debarkation was the quickest and easiest ever! Thankfully Carnival has done away with the 'color' tags and replaced them with a numerical system. Everyone with number one off first, then number two -- you get the idea. We were off the ship (docked in Miami), gathered our baggage and to the airport (FLL) within an hour. Amazing!
We would sail this ship again.