Well, I have alot of info so let me get started.
We left the Holiday Inn at 10:15am because Wendy and her mother wanted to pick up something to eat at McDonalds which is right behind the Hotel, out of the parking lot we made a left and there was McDonalds. We used our Garman 660 GPS to get us back to Thriftys Car rental, we got there and by 11:10am we were on the Shuttle and on our way to the Port of Miami. We met a family that was heading with us onboard freedom and a nice couple from N.Y. that was heading onboard RCCL Liberty. Dollar and Thrifty Car rental is the same location.
As we got closer to the port and you can see the tops of the ships, my Mother-in-Law had that priceless expression of shock and awe, she couldn't beleive the size of these ships.
At 11:45am we arrived at the new Port of Miami Cruise Terminal. The new terminal is very nice Inside, there is a long line with many people waiting to get checked in, I asked a rep where was the VIP line and they escorted us over to the next set of line, no one was there but us.
Security & Xray machine, we had to remove our items from our pockets of course and run our bags right through the Xray machine. When my bag went through, I was asked to remove my Laptop from the Carry-on luggage and run it through again. That only took like 30 seconds. So make sure you have your Laptop out, just like in the airport.
After the Xray machine we walked into another big waiting room but we were directed to go around the left and inside the VIP Lounge. The customer service was totally great, All that was needed was your FUN Pass print outs, the credit card that was used on the FunPass and you Passports, they have a bar code scanner that they use to swipe your PassPorts and it immediately locates you into their computer system. Wendy and I were given our Platinum Cards. Wendy had a nice smile, she finally made Platinum. We told them there that we had my Mother-in-Law with us and the rep said no problem wait right here, she went out and got her Sail & Sign card. That just took a minute, they greeted my MIL and told her welcome on her first Carnival Cruise. My MIL Cathy was amazed on how special they treated us, more on this later.
We headed out of the VIP Lounge and up the escalators, once up there you get your Welcome Onboard Photos taken then you walk on the top level viewing that big waiting room below and walking towards the covered glass ramp that takes you onboard Freedom. Now you are onboard and you make it to the Lobby Entrance, this is where you insert your Sail & Sign card and a picture is taken for security. The Entrance is also right next to the Pursers Deck. The Shore Excursion Desk is also on this Lobby deck but on the other side. There is also a Supper Club station on the other side as well.
The First thing we did was go and look for our Table, we couldn't find it because the tables never have the Table number on them when you first come onboard. Also there was no waiters up there to assist us, a few came by but they were new transfers from the Sensation ship. I figured I will just go and ask the Maitre'D. On our way looking around I spoke to a Carnival Rep about the Maitre'D times and she told me, Since I was Platinum I needed to go to the Pursers Deck right away. That was a good idea.
Once at the Pursers Deck, I stood in the Platinum section of the desk and they assisted me right away. I was told I was platinum and that they would handle the table selection for me and that they will call me later with the info or check back with them later. I give them the cabin number and other info and left for some Dirty Banana Daquries.
We headed up to Lido for some food, I got my favorite Grilled Tuna on White with extra Mayo and extra Tomatos and Wendy and her mom just got some salad and cold cuts as they werent as hungry yet. The Mongolian Grille was up and running, it looks pretty nice, there were long lines thou from both ends. I will take pictures and write a full report about this new station throughout the week. The Mongolian Grille is new and its one of my favorite things to eat at the local casinos. All other food stations were also opened, Deli, Asian, Salad and Fruit Bar, Burgers and Pizza grille too.
We had 6 Groups of Travel agents from various Travel Agencies onboard just for the day, they were given tours around the ship and also took up alot of space up on lido, It was probably close to or over 100 of them. When I found out they were leaving and was going to check out another ship I was quite happy as the ship seemed less crowded.
Its 1PM Now and we headed to see our Staterooms or Cabins, WOW 2462 is totally Amazing, its the same Configuration as the Valor except that it does not have a Modified HC style bathroom. The Shower has a Lip on the floor and also both the Front door and Bathroom door width are way under 23 inches, I can not get my 2 shoes across the entree of the door meaning not good for a wheelchair. I will have a video and full Cabin review with Pictures when I return. This cabin is very nice with the 2 large windows, if you have this cabin booked you will be totally happy.
I just called Cabin 2465 which is the same cabin but on the other side and spoke to a lady there, she told me that 2465 bathroom looks like it might be modified because of the bathroom. I will go measure the door to see if the door entree is larger so stay tuned for that. The Hotel Manager told me to check with him later on that info.
Our Luggage was already there waiting for us when we got to the cabin at 1pm. Cathy's luggage arrived around 4:40pm, right after the Lifeboat drill. Cruise Critic members Ahoy, they are 2 school teachers, she is waiting for one of her luggage and they are also Platinum cruisers.
We headed to Cathy's Cabin, its an Inside Cat 1a Cabin, cabin number 1426. Her cabin was also very nice, No windows but it was fully decorated with the Welcome Onboard decorations, its only a single bed for her but you can see that there is another bed on top hidden away in the ceiling. Because there is only a single full size bed on the floor it felt very roomy. She has a nice Single cabin. I also took alot of pictures of this Cat.1a cabin 1426 and also a video for those that would like to see what a Singles Cabin looks like. Review with pictures will follow when I return.
Now its 1:30pm and figure I better just go see the Maitre'D, the nice part about this is there is no LINES to see the Maitre'D, They have a lounge and you go in and seat down and wait to see him, it was very organized and everyone was nice and quiet. I got there and told the rep that was managing a long long list of people waiting to see the Maitre'D, I told them were do I go and I Showed him my Platinum Card, he said wow, welcome back, wait right here. I must of skipped around 17 people, I didnt look inside of the waiting lounge but Im sure there were people wondering or pissed off as we were told to go next. Platinum ROcks guys.
I met with the Maitre'D and showed him my Platinum and CVC card and told him we needed to know what table 557 was, and he told me that it looked like a large table. At that point I requested a table of 4 because it was Cathys first cruise and we didnt want to be seated with strangers. Maitre'D Dino said thats no Problem and that he would surely take care of us and even spoil us, wonder what the heck that meant LOL. Anyways he didnt give us a table but to check in with him as soon as we enter the Dining room at 8:15pm tonight. We are in the Posh Dining room which is extreme AFT, Back of the ship and he is the Maitre'D that will be back there with us, so once again we were treated very special and welcomed. Cathy couldn't beleive it, it was as if we were owners of the ship LOL.
So remember Platinum Members, any request you have, just go to the Purser Deck, we have priority Dining seating etc.
Wendy and Cathy made their hair Updo appointments up at the Spa eariler, thats for Formal night and for the portraits, Its Cathys first cruise so there will be lots of pictures on this cruise.
Wendy and Cathy took a nap, as Im writing this its now 4pm and we are off to our Lifeboat drill, looks like we got lifeboat #24, it took 20 minutes and now we are heading to our Roll Call meet. I met a few people, one everyone knows on here name PaulMek and a few others. Another member took the Skybus Airline that went under, they were able to get here to Miami but now they do not have flights heading home with Skybus, no refund or anything. They had to rebook at extra cost with another airline to get home. The roll call was a good turn out. By the way the ship was already moving during the Lifeboat drill so by the time we all got up there on Lido Deck for the Sailaway party the ship was just passing South Beach. The Carnival Triump was sailing just ahead of us. The pilot disembarked the ship and of we go into vacation land. Its very windy out here today, the sun is still out with scattered clouds.
This cabin is alittle bumpy but its because we are moving, I mean really moving at speeds of 21 knots, from looking at the ocean from our window it looks like the water is zooming by.
Since Wendy wants to check her Email, I will be getting the 250 minute internet plan, on this ship they have 20 minutes free when you book on day one.
Im surely glad we are on Freedom finally and all is well, now I can really relax and get into vacation eating mode. And I will be able to catch some ZZZZ's with the carnival comfort bedding system, eariler before the boat drill wendy was snoring like a puppy, she was knocked out. The new bedding system will do that to you.
Well I hope I covered most things, if you have any questions let me know.
Wennfred / Stay classy San Diego