The “better late than never, here it is for what it’s worth” Carnival Freedom review

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Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007


One of the Cool Runnings boats at the beach at DFR ... there were several.


VIDEOS:
The beginning of the falls ... I don't think the boys knew what to think at this point! Click HERE.

The bridge at DRF ... so you get an idea of height ... click HERE. P.S. my boys were getting annoyed with me and the camera at this point!

Falling backward into the water ... we did this on our honeymoon, too! I lost my footing and started to fall early! Click HERE.

Last one ... Click HERE.
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by cincyman
.
Small world. I know a lot of people that work in Springfield and the Dayton locations. Cincinnati,Dayton,Springfield and Erlanger Ky are all in the same region of Pepsico. Please keep the review coming.
You might even know him! His name was Bill Johnson ... here's a link to a pic on my FB page of him and my mom on one of their cruises.
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Cincinnati
151 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Michelle, I'm thoroughly enjoying your review. We'll be on the same ship in December, but not the same itinerary.
As we sit here anticipating the "white death/doom" aka snow tomorrow, I can think happy and warm thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to post this review.
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Never a Bad Cruise!

okeana ohio
49 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by jhnsnfamily
You might even know him! His name was Bill Johnson ... here's a link to a pic on my FB page of him and my mom on one of their cruises.
I'm sorry Michelle that I didn't know your dad but they looked like a beautiful couple. All I know is if he retired off that truck he must have been one hell of a man.
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1,443 Posts
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At the end of the falls did you go through the craft market that everyone talks about with all the pushy vendors? Were the people on the catamaran really pushy about trying to sell their merchandise? Did you feel safe leaving your stuff on the catamaran...and how much money do you think you should take along for tips....also the pictures that you have at the falls were they taken with your own camera?

Sorry for SO many questions...but our cruise is getting closer and closer and we are still so undecided about what to do when we get to Ocho Rios...did the rest of your crew that went on the plantation tour run into any problems? We have been reading reviews tonight about the tubing tour that is offered through Carnival - it is just so hard to decide.

Did you see anywhere to eat at the falls at all? Or to purchase drinks? I am just trying to see how much money we would need to take with us if we do decide on doing this trip.
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Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by jacksmom09
Love the steakhouse pics!
Thanks jacksmom09! Definitely worth the $35/pp!
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Yuridog
Michelle, I'm thoroughly enjoying your review. We'll be on the same ship in December, but not the same itinerary.
As we sit here anticipating the "white death/doom" aka snow tomorrow, I can think happy and warm thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to post this review.
Hey Yuridog! I see you are from Cincy ... yep ... white death/doom for sure! My kids are just excited they might get one more snow day for the year! As for me, DH will have to drag the snow blower out one more time!
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by GAMOM4
At the end of the falls did you go through the craft market that everyone talks about with all the pushy vendors? No, we did that on our honeymoon and were not interested in doing that again! We got off the pier at the beach and headed straight up the falls. Once we climbed them, we walked back down to the beach and got back on the catamaran. Along the falls there is a path/stairs where those that can't or don't want to climb can follow along (which is good for older or disabled folks). Were the people on the catamaran really pushy about trying to sell their merchandise? They were pushy as in they asked several times, and we did end up buying one picture ... we did not buy any t-shirts or anything. After we agreed to buy one picture, they left us alone. It wasn't nearly as bad as our experience in the craft market on our honeymoon. Did you feel safe leaving your stuff on the catamaran Yes ... everyone left their stuff there and the boats are docked at the end of a small pier and local folks can't get to them....and how much money do you think you should take along for tips.... My notes say we gave our guide $15 ... really all depends on his/her level of service and the number of people in your group. We had 4 people and he stopped several times to take pictures and videos of us. also the pictures that you have at the falls were they taken with your own camera? Yes, I purchased a Lifeproof case (waterproof) for my iPhone and carried my phone up the falls. It was a great purchase! I even took it swimming with the stingray and snorkeling in Grand Cayman. I held onto it for dear life!

Sorry for SO many questions...but our cruise is getting closer and closer and we are still so undecided about what to do when we get to Ocho Rios...did the rest of your crew that went on the plantation tour run into any problems? No ... they said they didn't have any problems and had a great time and really enjoyed the plantation tour. They also went to DRF after the plantation tour. We have been reading reviews tonight about the tubing tour that is offered through Carnival - it is just so hard to decide. I'd say as long as you purchase an excursion through Carnival, you should be okay. Just review the ratings of the excursions and see what fits your needs and budget. DRF is a very popular excursion in Jamaica and one I'd say you should definitely do if you've never been there. It really is a beautiful place!

Did you see anywhere to eat at the falls at all? Or to purchase drinks? I am just trying to see how much money we would need to take with us if we do decide on doing this trip. We only took enough money to tip the DRF guide and a little extra for the picture, a drink on the catamaran, etc. ... just in case it got stolen. I kept my phone with me. The only other thing of value that we had in the bag was our SnS cards. If you are worried, you could always put them in a watertight baggie and put them in a secure place on your person, such as a pocket with a zipper. We did not see any place to eat on this excursion, but we didn't go anyplace else. We literally went from the ship to the catamaran to the falls, climbed the falls, then walked back down and back to the catamaran, and then back to the pier where the ship was docked. I would caution you to be very careful if you venture off the ship on foot if you are not part of a ship excursion. Regardless of what you choose, have fun!
See my comments in red above!
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

1,443 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thank you so much for answering my questions!!!!! I kind of told my husband the same thing...that if we never made it back to Jamaica again...what would be the one thing that we would hate that we missed. Thank you for telling me that anyone could go back down the stairs and avoid the market...I knew that Moby Dick Tours advertise that they will be sure you don't have to go through the market..but guess I didn't realize that anyone could just go back down the stairs. Your iphone takes great pictures! I have an iphone 4 and I have problems getting it to take really good pictures...of course alot of it has to do with the one taking the pictures I am sure (me) lol.
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One more question..I just thought of...when you got back to the catamaran...did you have to wait a long time for all the other people? Did they let you go ahead and get back on the catamaran before everyone else got there...or did everyone have to wait until a certain time to get back on?
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Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Okay, I'm back at it ... and determined to finish! I have my second cup of Donut Shop Extra Bold nearby and I've taken DS2 to Cold Stone Creamery for some ice cream. Here we go!

At the end, we tipped Archer an additional $15. Others in our group saw the exchange of money and vocalized their dissent that they hadn’t even thought about a tip. Now, that being said, I don’t know if they told Archer to go back to the catamaran with them so they could tip him, but he appeared there. He was not pushy at all. He just stood there, off to the side, and waited for folks to bring him a tip if they wanted to. He was very appreciative when he received a tip. Regarding the DVDs, there was a booth as you walk back down to the beach that’s off to the side on the right. We didn’t see anybody there viewing the DVD or making a purchase. There’s also a bathroom right there, and DH had nature calling. As he was coming out, a cleaning lady was going in and wanted him to give her a tip for using the bathroom. Really!?! He said he was broke, which he was ‘cuz he’d already given what he had on him to Archer, but really!?!

A few more pictures ... this is the walkway that we walked down after we climbed the falls. NO VENDORS HERE!


The restrooms and video "shop" was to the right of this big tree:


Back on the catamaran, we were underway shortly and boy! … the water was choppy! It was like an episode of Dangerous Catch, except with warmer water! They had the music pumpin' and the drinks flowin’, and I’m not sure how those that danced were actually able to stand up! I tried … I just couldn’t keep my balance without holding on to the railing! It was a short trip back, again 20 minutes or so, and I didn’t see anybody feeling (or looking) sea sick. Soon enough, we were back at the dock. We exited the catamaran and had to walk around and through a building for a check of IDs before being allowed to walk down the pier and get back on the ship (with another check of IDs!). Don’t forget your IDs!!!

Back on the ship, we cleaned up a bit and then headed back up to the buffet for lunch. As we were eating lunch, it started pouring down rain … I mean … cats and dogs rain … all we could think of was the rest of “the clan” and wondering if they were caught up in the rain. Sure enough, before we were finished with lunch, my mom and sister found us and were soaking wet and freezing! So, we abandoned our seats and went and found a larger table with them and we exchanged stories about our day. After our late lunch, we went back down to the cabin to get our clothes ready for the second elegant night and relaxed a bit before getting ready.
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Here's a close up picture of the end of the pier. That's where we got on the catamaran and that building with the light green roof is what we had to walk through to get IDs and bags checked before walking back down the pier to get back on the ship.




A few pics of Jamaica as we were leaving ...









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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Dinner was great, as usual!

My beautiful mother


Corn chowder


Cherry bing soup before and after (it's chilled and they pour it into your bowl at the table)



Roast half spring Chicken


Shrimp
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Martini braised basa fillet with tomato, basil, and fennel



DESSERTS!

Baked Alaska (way overrated IMHO)


Chocolate raspberry torte


WCMC with extra chocolate ice cream ;-) you can also order it with other flavors, like Butter Pecan
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
After dinner, we got our pictures made (lines we not long at all this time), and then we went to the theater a bit early to get seats for the final show, “Jump, Jive, & Wail”. The show was good, my second favorite of the cruise. At the end of the show, the dancers and singers left the theater singing and dancing and went into the lobby where they continued to dance and sing for everyone there. It was cool.

Here's a short video excerpt of the actual show ... click HERE

And here's a short video of the singers/dancers after they exited the theater and went into the lobby ... click HERE

After the show, we stopped by the Punchliner Comedy Club, but it was a packed house, so we decided to wait and hit the last two shows of the cruise, which were a bit later. Having some time to kill, we ventured down to the casino to throw some money away! Seriously, they should just have workers stationed at the doors to just scan your cards. I NEVER win! Argh! End rant.

About 20-25 minutes before the next comedy show, we headed back there and ran into my son (14) and my nephew (16). Apparently, they were saving us seats for the 9:45 show and we never showed up. However, they still stayed for the show! Now, this was an “Adults Only – Over 18” show. Neither one of them look anywhere near 18 and from what they say, nobody asked them any questions. Now, that being said, when we showed up and were walking around to find a place to sit/stand, the MC told the boys to leave. They were P.O.’d, but I wasn’t because it’s supposed to be a show for adults and if kids are taking up real estate, some adults would not be able to see a show that was meant for them. The boys left and we found a place to stand at the back by the bar for the 10:45 show with John Rathbone. He was funny … much funnier than Hal Spear at 11:45 p.m. … IMHO. Each show actually only lasts about 40 minutes, so there’s some time to kill between shows. During that time, my mom and her BFF called it a day. Then, a booth cleared out except for two people, and I politely asked if we could sit with them and they said sure! Thank goodness, cuz my dogs were barkin’. I learned they were on their honeymoon and also from Ohio! Small world! After the show, the rest of us called it a night!

Next up … our last day at sea …
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007


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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Day 6/Sea Day (June 15): Ahhhhhh … have I mentioned how much I LOVE SEADAYS! It was another beautiful day and the water was so calm. There were no waves. Period. Seriously, I’ve never seen the middle of the ocean look like glass while we were sailing.


I've tried to rotate this picture ... NOT WORKING! Sorry folks ... I'm keeping it in here though since you can really see how flat the water was.


Has anybody ever seen an ocean that flat before??? I was amazed.


We went to breakfast in the buffet and then up to the Lido deck to grab some chairs in our favorite spot and soak up the sun. At 11 a.m., my DH, my mom, and I headed to the theater to try our hands at some 2-for-1 bingo with a chance to win $500. Nobody won (it wasn’t a normal bingo game, it was an X that you needed to get … I think), so the money went into the pot for the afternoon game at 3 p.m. They were also selling raffle tickets for a free cruise drawing (wouldn’t that be cool!) that was to occur at 3:45 p.m. during/after the afternoon bingo round.
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
After bingo, we ventured back to the buffet and found the Chocolate Extravaganza! OMG! That’s a lot of chocolate! Here’s the menu and a few pics of the selections …










Here's what I ended up with ... there's no way I could have eaten it all ... I mostly sampled everything ... I found one thing I really liked and ate all of that, but I hate to admit I left most of it.
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Back up on the Lido deck, this guy was walking around ...


And my DS enjoyed one!


It was about $12, but contained about twice as much than a normal beverage in a cup. She needed my help drinking it … I know, I know … it’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it! It was YUMMY!

At 3 p.m., we headed back down for the last round of Bingo. After all, we had already contributed to the pot! No, you CANNOT reuse your bingo cards purchased earlier. I should note that on our last cruise (Princess) in 2007, we had to buy the cards and the ink stampers, which were a pain. The Carnival cards are “punch thru” cards, where you fold back the number when called. This time, we played until somebody won. They asked people to stand when they were one number away from winning. It got tense after about 5 people stood up. One young lady was a nervous wreck … she kept saying how she needed the money soooooooooooo bad for college. I felt bad for her when she didn’t win. Two other people ended up winning, so they got to split the jackpot of $3500. Not bad! The free cruise raffle was during this final game … it was also exciting. An older gentleman won, and his family was up on the balcony and celebrating with him. So cool! So JEALOUS!
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)

Springfield, Ohio
277 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
At some point, we ventured back to the cabin and after Savoy cleaned up in the morning, he had left us information about our early return flight and all of our debarkation options. Here’s the letter and other information we received:





We debated between general debarkation and self-assist debarkation. We had an early flight (11:30 a.m.) and we didn’t want to take a chance on general debarkation being delayed for any reason or running into trouble finding our massive amount of luggage, etc. We had four strong boys with us (not including my DH and my BIL), so we figured we could handle it on our own. Because we chose this option, we did NOT have to put our bags out by midnight nor did we have to attach any tags to our bags. I have never used self-assist debarkation, so I was nervous about how it would work out, but there’s a first time for everything!
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Michelle

Carnival Sensation (Honeymoon-May 1995)
Carnival Fascination (1997) before kids
Caribbean Princess (April 2007) -- Kids' first cruise ages 6 1/2 and oldest turned 9 on the ship!
Carnival Freedom (June 10, 2012) -- Kids' second cruise! Ages 11 1/2 and 14 (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW! LOTS OF PICS!)