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We had not been on a cruise since our honeymoon 22 years ago, and with a 20 and 12 year old, we thought it would be a great option to get away and unplug from our busy lives. We parked at EZ Cruise parking very close to the terminal and it was simple. Close enough that I could drop the family and baggage off at the terminal, park the car, and walk back. Embarkation was very easy. We paid for Faster to the Fun, and we had zero wait to get through to the ship. Our boarding time was 11:30 which ended up being perfect so we could get on board, tour the ship, grab some lunch and relax. We had heard a lot about Guy's Burger Joint and everyone, particularly our 12 yr old son was excited to try it. It did not disappoint. In fact, we probably ate there at least once every day. Our rooms were very nice. We had two balcony rooms on the Lido deck toward the front of the ship. Away from the noise and busy-ness. Our cabin steward Andy (with help from Aleck) was absolutely awesome. Very friendly, attentive and helpful. We ate dinner most nights in the MDR. We were in Posh lower for dinner, and Houston (with I-Made and Ni Luh Putu) took such great care of us every night. The food was good. Interesting choices, and portions for the appetizers were small and we ordered multiple for each person each night to try different things. We switched up breakfast, eating at the buffet a few times, going to brunch twice, room service once. All were fine. Brunch in the MDR was probably our favorite, and we went early so to get a good table near the window. We tried the sushi restaurant and seafood shack and both were good. The lobster rolls at the seafood place were a little too heavy on the mayo, but otherwise good. Mongolian Wok was decent. Blue Iguana had good tacos and burritos. All in all, we thought the food was really good. Chloe, the cruise director did a great job. We met here on the deck party the first day and she remembered our names and spoke to us throughout the cruise. She even sent some chocolate covered strawberries to our rooms, which was a nice gesture. She's a ton of fun, and did a good job of engaging with the guests and keeping everyone plugged in to what was going on. We spent a ton of time at the pool. Lots of fun activities, including the Dive-In Movies, which we attended 3 times. The bar staff on the Lido deck are super attentive and remembered my wife's name and preferences which was nice. We also played mini-golf a couple of the mornings. Small course obviously, but we had a blast and the view was amazing. I suggest if you want to do this, you do it before 10am as it gets hot and pretty busy after that. Weather was absolutely perfect on this trip. All 3 ports were enjoyable, and the water was so nice. In Jamaica we did the horseback riding with Chukka, which included a run on horseback in the ocean which was fun. Afterward we went to Margaritaville which was fun, but a little commercial for me. We did spend some time swimming and playing in the water there (they have a long waterslide from the upstairs which drops you into the ocean behind the restaurant). We wanted to go to Doctor's Cave Beach, but there just wasn't enough time to do it and make it back to the ship. In Grand Cayman we did the Stingray City trip. We picked the earliest one of the day. Absolutely wonderful time out there. The water was so clear and we all really enjoyed feeding and interacting with the stingrays. I highly advise doing this excursion. We tried to schedule shorter excursions in each port which would give us some time to experience the beaches and it worked out perfectly. In Cozumel we did the Deluxe Catamaran and Private Beach excursion which was really nice as well. At the private beach, my wedding slid off my finger while climbing up the inflatable slide in the ocean. We were short on time to get back on the boat and head back, and I was diving over and over trying to find it. One of the snorkel guides came out and within 2 minutes he had my ring back in my hands. Absolutely saved me! Could not believe he was able to find it. We attended a few of the shows (the Beach Party show, the 80's show and the 88 Keys/Piano shows. All were decent/fun, and they're short enough that it's not a big deal if you don't totally enjoy them. We also went to a few of the comedy shows (we chose the PG ones so our son could join us) and they were all great. The staff on the ship were great across the board. Seriously, we could not have been happier with this cruise. Look forward to the next one!

Perfect Family Vacation

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by sam.clark365

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We had not been on a cruise since our honeymoon 22 years ago, and with a 20 and 12 year old, we thought it would be a great option to get away and unplug from our busy lives.

We parked at EZ Cruise parking very close to the terminal and it was simple. Close enough that I could drop the family and baggage off at the terminal, park the car, and walk back. Embarkation was very easy. We paid for Faster to the Fun, and we had zero wait to get through to the ship. Our boarding time was 11:30 which ended up being perfect so we could get on board, tour the ship, grab some lunch and relax. We had heard a lot about Guy's Burger Joint and everyone, particularly our 12 yr old son was excited to try it. It did not disappoint. In fact, we probably ate there at least once every day.

Our rooms were very nice. We had two balcony rooms on the Lido deck toward the front of the ship. Away from the noise and busy-ness. Our cabin steward Andy (with help from Aleck) was absolutely awesome. Very friendly, attentive and helpful.

We ate dinner most nights in the MDR. We were in Posh lower for dinner, and Houston (with I-Made and Ni Luh Putu) took such great care of us every night. The food was good. Interesting choices, and portions for the appetizers were small and we ordered multiple for each person each night to try different things. We switched up breakfast, eating at the buffet a few times, going to brunch twice, room service once. All were fine. Brunch in the MDR was probably our favorite, and we went early so to get a good table near the window. We tried the sushi restaurant and seafood shack and both were good. The lobster rolls at the seafood place were a little too heavy on the mayo, but otherwise good. Mongolian Wok was decent. Blue Iguana had good tacos and burritos. All in all, we thought the food was really good.

Chloe, the cruise director did a great job. We met here on the deck party the first day and she remembered our names and spoke to us throughout the cruise. She even sent some chocolate covered strawberries to our rooms, which was a nice gesture. She's a ton of fun, and did a good job of engaging with the guests and keeping everyone plugged in to what was going on.

We spent a ton of time at the pool. Lots of fun activities, including the Dive-In Movies, which we attended 3 times. The bar staff on the Lido deck are super attentive and remembered my wife's name and preferences which was nice. We also played mini-golf a couple of the mornings. Small course obviously, but we had a blast and the view was amazing. I suggest if you want to do this, you do it before 10am as it gets hot and pretty busy after that.

Weather was absolutely perfect on this trip. All 3 ports were enjoyable, and the water was so nice. In Jamaica we did the horseback riding with Chukka, which included a run on horseback in the ocean which was fun. Afterward we went to Margaritaville which was fun, but a little commercial for me. We did spend some time swimming and playing in the water there (they have a long waterslide from the upstairs which drops you into the ocean behind the restaurant). We wanted to go to Doctor's Cave Beach, but there just wasn't enough time to do it and make it back to the ship. In Grand Cayman we did the Stingray City trip. We picked the earliest one of the day. Absolutely wonderful time out there. The water was so clear and we all really enjoyed feeding and interacting with the stingrays. I highly advise doing this excursion. We tried to schedule shorter excursions in each port which would give us some time to experience the beaches and it worked out perfectly. In Cozumel we did the Deluxe Catamaran and Private Beach excursion which was really nice as well. At the private beach, my wedding slid off my finger while climbing up the inflatable slide in the ocean. We were short on time to get back on the boat and head back, and I was diving over and over trying to find it. One of the snorkel guides came out and within 2 minutes he had my ring back in my hands. Absolutely saved me! Could not believe he was able to find it.

We attended a few of the shows (the Beach Party show, the 80's show and the 88 Keys/Piano shows. All were decent/fun, and they're short enough that it's not a big deal if you don't totally enjoy them. We also went to a few of the comedy shows (we chose the PG ones so our son could join us) and they were all great.

The staff on the ship were great across the board. Seriously, we could not have been happier with this cruise. Look forward to the next one!
sam.clark365’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8D 9210
Cabin was roomier than we expected. We had two rooms next to each other, and we asked the steward to take down the partition between the balconies, turning it into one bigger balcony and making the rooms essentially adjoining. Worked out great!
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Deluxe Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party
    Great crew on the catamaran. Snorkeling was nice, although not as amazing in terms of the beauty of the reef and fish as I expected. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations. Regardless, the water was so clear/blue, and we did see lots of fish. They serve drinks on the boat, and the food/drinks at the beach were good too. Recommend!
    View All 74 Deluxe Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party Reviews
  • Stingray Swim
    Very easy, and a wonderul experience. HIGHLY recommend.
    View All 724 Stingray Swim Reviews
  • Horseback Riding
    Chukka Horseback Riding was great. Johnny was our guide and not only was friendly, but also taught us a lot about the plants and about some Jamaican local info.
    View All 8 Horseback Riding Reviews