Carnival Freedom-- I love love love you. YES I DO! (A review)

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Philadelphia, PA
186 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Sadly, I need to head back to work today. So in order to relive my awesome cruise on board the Carnival Freedom last week, I decided to write a review. It may take me a while to complete, but it'll get done!

A little about myself first. I'm a 27 year-old man from Philadelphia. (I'm still holding on to 27... I turn 28 in 10 days.) I actually took this cruise solo. I was in serious need of a vacation, couldn't find anyone to go with me on short notice (I booked 3 weeks before the cruise), and decided to just do it alone. I'll say one thing about cruising solo-- JUST DO IT! I had the time of my life! However, I am an extremely social person and found friends on the ship pretty quickly.

OK. Now on to embarkation. This was my 8th cruise-- my 2nd with Carnival. However, this was my first time ever flying in the day of the cruise. Usually I fly in a day before, but I couldn't swing that this time around. I took the first flight out of Philadelphia and landed in Fort Lauderdale around 9am. It was POURING outside! Seriously, it looked like a monsoon. I gathered my luggage and hung around the airport for a little bit. I was in no rush to get to the ship since it was raining so hard. I figured I'd wait to see if conditions improved. They didn't.

Around 10am I took a cab to the cruise terminal. I know this question comes up a lot-- the cab cost about $20, including tip. Most of the cabs have credit card machines, but I paid cash. However, some DO NOT have them! If you need to pay with a card, you need to tell the taxi dispatcher outside the airport. ALSO-- be aware that people will try to trick you into using a shared-ride van. I knew about this from Cruise Critic. Just keep walking to the actual taxis. And also be aware that the cabs will use a meter. It's illegal for the driver to tell you a flat rate.

I got to the terminal around 10:30am. It was an absolute mess! It was, by far, the most disorganized embarkation I have ever seen, which I attribute to what must have been the most disorganized debarkation ever. The ship pulled into port late because of the rain, and it was just a madhouse at the terminal. No one could direct me where to go. Porters seemed confused about whether luggage was coming in or going out. And EVERYONE was soaking wet!

Finally, I made it into the terminal and got checked in. I was given a Zone 5 card and told to have a seat. Usually, I've found ships starting to load new passengers around 11 or 11:30. At 11:30, they were still off-loading the last cruise! Finally, around 12:30, they called Zone 5, and I was able to walk up the gangway and onto Carnival Freedom.

More to come...
746 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Thank you for taking the time to post your review. I'm looking forward to your perspective as a solo cruiser. Sounds like you had a great cruise despite the rainy start.

Rockledge, FL
270 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Can't wait to read the rest....did you do a 6 night or 8 night? I'll be on her in September!!!!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
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Carnival Celebration 09/06
Carnival Glory 09/07
Carnival Legend 08/08
Carnival Fascination 09/10
Carnival Dream 9/11
Carnival Freedom 9/12
Carnival Destiny 11/12
Carnival Fascination 02/13
Carnival imagination 04/13
Carnival Liberty 09/13
Carnival Sunshine 09/14
Carnival Breeze 09/15
Carnival Valor 12/16
Carnival Elations 6/17

Your Future is far Greater than your Past, what you see before you is greater than what you left behind!!
Be Blessed

Baytown, Texas
1,162 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by trutojc
Can't wait to read the rest....did you do a 6 night or 8 night? I'll be on her in September!!!!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

he did the 6 night i think because the 8 night left yesterday
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Liberty of the Seas- May 2016
Carnival Breeze- Oct 2016

Past Cruises
Carnival Valor x 2
Carnival Freedom x 2
Carnival Sunshine
Carnival Magic x 4
Carnival Triumph x 3
Carnival Fantasy
Carnival Ecstasy x 4
Carnival Inspiration
Carnival Celebration
Carnival Elation x 2
Carnival Conquest x 2
Rhapsody of the Seas x 2

Ports Visited: Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, Ocho Rios, Aruba, Bonaire, Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Key West, Progreso
42 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
You must have been on the same cruise as us (29 April - 5 May). The terminal was an absolute nightmare and the rain didn't help. We were directed all over the place. This was our 8th cruise but the only one that left from Fort Lauderdale. We decided never again for this port. Once we got on the ship it was an awesome cruise but getting on was another story.
Tampa area, FL
2,415 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Thanks for the first installment of your review -- can't wait to read the rest since we will be on the Freedom ourselves in a few months!
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1995 Carnival Ecstasy (Miami): Key West, Cozumel
2004 Carnival Triumph (Miami): St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan
2005 Carnival Victory (Miami): Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman
2006 RCCI Enchantment of Seas (FLL): Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman
2006 Carnival Elation (FLL): St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan
2007 Carnival Glory (Port Canaveral): St. Thomas, Nassau, Grand Turk, HMC
2011 Carnival Inspiration (Tampa): Cozumel
2012 Carnival Freedom (FLL): St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau
2013 Carnival Legend (Tampa): Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman
2014 Carnival Liberty (PC): Nassau, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
2015 Carnival Paradise (Tampa): Cozumel -- New Year's Eve at Sea!
2016 Carnival Conquest (FLL): St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, Grand Turk
2016 Carnival Paradise (Tampa): Cozumel -- NYE Rewind!
2017 Carnival Fascination (SJ>PC): Itinerary hijacked by Hurricane Maria! Nassau, Freeport

2017 Carnival Paradise (Tampa): Cozumel, Grand Cayman -- NYE Re-Rewind!
2018 Carnival Paradise (Tampa): Havana, Cuba!
Loomis, CA
34 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Can't wait to read more. We are sailing her in September!
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Carnival Conquest 4/23/06
Carnival Victory 1/6/08
Carnival Freedom 9/30/12

Our life is a story we write ourselves; Wonderfully illustrated by the people we meet.

~ Cortney
1,043 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
You were getting on as we were getting off. That rain was HORRIBLE! when you were trying to get a taxi to the airport.

I think the hold up in the embarkation for you was the craptastic mess they created with luggage for the debarking passengers and not getting the right zones in the right area to be picked up
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Past Cruises
Carnival Ecstasy Nassau 1998
Carnival Spirit Alaska 2010
Carnival Destiny W. Caribbean 2011
Carnival Freedom Exotic Caribbean 2012
Carnival Elation Cozumel 2013
Carnival Dream 2015

NCL Epic 2017
Manassas, Virginia
554 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Can't wait to read the rest of your review. We're sailing on her in October and going to the same ports of call.
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Past Cruises
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 10/31/2015 - 8 Day
Carnival Freedom - Western Caribbean - 10/14/2012 - 6 Day
Carnival Pride - Western Caribbean - 5/16/2010 - 7 Day
Carnival Glory - Exotic W. Caribbean - 10/6/2007 - 7 Day
Carnival Triumph - Western Caribbean - 9/30/2006 - 7 Day

Future Cruises

Carnival Sunshine - Eastern Caribbean - 11/4/2017 - 7 Day

8,696 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Nice Review! Sounds like you had a lot of fun! Looking forward to reading more!
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2/10/18 Summit (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
10/29/17 Vista (Halloween)
10/29/16 Conquest (Halloween)
2/21/16 Eurodam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
9/19/15 Victory (5 days with friends)
1/8/15 Eurodam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
11/8/14 Breeze (Feelin' the Breeze Part 2)
1/12/14 Eurodam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
10/10/13 Victory B2B (Victory is Mine)[/font]
1/13/13 Westerdam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
11/24/12 Breeze (Feelin' the Breeze)
1/15/12 Westerdam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
12/4/11 Miracle (x-mas on the beach)
1/16/11 Noordam (Smooth Jazz Cruise)
9/18/10 Fantasy
9/20/09 Sensation
11/08 Westerdam (Dave Koz & Friends)
2008 Caribbean Princess
10/2/06 Celebration
10/9/05 Destiny
2002 Costa Cruise Line
702 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by sunandsea
Nice to see another review on the all so often missed Carnival Freedom. It really is a nice ship and a nice cruise. For those of you looking for another perspective, I continue to suggest this perspective for a good read:
Hi Sunandsea, thanks a lot for your review! Would you be able to tell me a little more about Bayahibe beach? I have heard there are two public beaches in Bayahibe? Did you go to the Dominicus one? How much do chairs and umbrellas cost? Are there food places and restrooms near the beach? And Based on your few hours there would you say it is a good way to spend the day?

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943 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Love the Elton John reference...didn't think anyone would catch that, did you?
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April 1991 Carnival Carnivale (Freeport, Nassau)
April 1992 Carnival Festivale * (don't remember where to...had too much fun)
April 1993 Carnival Ecstasy * (don't remember where to...had too much fun)
April 1994 Carnival Tropicale * (don't remember where to...had too much fun)
April 2010 Carnival Fascination (Key West, Nassau)
Sept 2012 Carnival Conquest (Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay)
Sept 2013 Carnival Dream (Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas, Grand Turk)
Sept 2015 Carnival Dream (Roatan, Belize, Cozumel)
Sept 2016 Carnival Valor (St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, Grand Turk)
Sept 2017 Carnival Triumph (Cozumel, Progreso)

* Some places I went on these cruises included, but are not limited to: Aruba, Caracas, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Grenada, Dominica, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Playa del Carmen & Barbados.
1,529 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
I just got off her a couple of weeks ago (April 15 - 21st) and also had a blast..loved the ship and ports and also did the six day.

Glad you had a great time going solo.
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Carnival: Holiday ** Destiny ** Freedom ** Valor ** Breeze ** Sunshine ** Magic
RCCL: Radiance of the Seas ** Allure of the Seas
Princess: Ruby Princess ** Regal Princess
NCL: Southward ** Escape


406 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
Originally posted by Notion_of_the_Ocean
Hi Sunandsea, thanks a lot for your review! Would you be able to tell me a little more about Bayahibe beach? I have heard there are two public beaches in Bayahibe? Did you go to the Dominicus one? How much do chairs and umbrellas cost? Are there food places and restrooms near the beach? And Based on your few hours there would you say it is a good way to spend the day?

We did indeed go to Bayahibe. I was not aware of multiple beach sites. For us, the cab dropped us off, a "beach attendant" showed us a spot, but we did not need chairs or umbrella, we just settled under a tree. So I am not sure about chair/umbrella costs. The attendant gave us a tiki neaklace (free, but I think it showed his "ownership" of us) and reminded us of his store on the beach. It was a good way to spend a couple of hours with the kids. There are food and restrooms in the area, but the price of food seem steep.
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Orange County, Calif
22,010 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Thanks for starting your review, can't wait for the rest.
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