Freedom Review - GT, La Romana, Aruba & Curacao

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#1
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Review of our amazing cruise on the Freedom. We had 8 fun filled days. It's hard being home & not having someone cleaning, cooking, pampering me!

On this cruise, it's myself, my husband, my 3yr son, & we were accompanied by my DH's BFF & his girlfriend. We flew from O'hare to FLL the day before the cruise & stayed at the Hyatt Place North 17th St. Convention Center. We arrive in FLL around noon and ...

The Hotel -

Hyatt Place North - 17th St. Convention Center
Chose this hotel because of it's proximity to the Harbor Shops. The convenience of walking to dinner vs. having to catch a cab & head out somewhere convinced us. (Plus, there was an optometrist convention in town & the Embassy Suite rates were ridiculous)

Pros
- Complimentary breakfast was good. Bagels/toast/English muffins, cereals, fruit, oatmeal, biscuits/gravy, and tea/coffee.
- Nice pool area although it's due for a scrubbing.
- Employees are extremely helpful.
Proximity to the Harbor Shops.
Free shuttle anywhere within a 5 mile radius if the hotel shuttle is not in use.
- Big, comfortable rooms. A sectional sofa & desk area allow for a nice visiting area.
- Airport Shuttle included.

Cons
- All rooms STINK. There is a wet carpet smell in every room.
- Carpets in rooms and hallways are dirty/stained.
- AC units are old & moldy. While switching the knobs around, dirt/dust/mold flew out from the unit in our room. BLECH.
- Showers don't drain.

We changed rooms until we found one where the smell didn't overwhelm us.
Head over to the Harbor Shops for lunch & decide on the Lauderdale Grill.
Second mistake. If you're in the area, head over to Joe's Cafe. Better food, better service, and better prices.
Our traveling companions join us around 8pm & we all head out to dinner.

Couple of pictures from our 1st day:

My son is plane/train obsessed. He's carefully studying the emergency evacuation guide.


We've arrived in sunny Florida!


Enjoying the pool at the hotel.



Next up: Embarkation!
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#2
NJ
6,671 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Hi Magda and Gabe!!!
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-Lori

Upcoming cruises: Anthem of the Seas - Adventure of the Seas

Past cruises:
NCL: Gem & Breakaway many times, Getaway, Jewel 2x, Star, Dawn
Carnival: Horizon, Sunshine, Splendor, Glory 5x, Freedom, Miracle 2x, Legend, Dream, Liberty, Triumph, Fantasy, Imagination, Victory 2x
Princess: Caribbean 2x, Crown, Emerald, Island Princess through Panama Canal!
Royal Caribbean: Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas 4x, Quantum of the Seas, Explorer 2x
Celebrity: Equinox and Summit
Disney: Magic
#3
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Embarkation:

We take the hotel shuttle to Port Everglades ($7pp).
Watch out, a hotel employee told us the shuttle would drop us off & pick us up for the $7 fee pp. Not true, you will have to pay an additional $7 on the return trip.
If there are more than 2 people in your group, just take a cab if you're in the surrounding area. It's about $10 + tip.

We reach the cruise port around 10:30am. We get through the lines quickly, and are ushered upstairs to a waiting area. The terminal employees are great! They sing, dance, come around & joke with you to help pass the time. We waited about 1hr maybe a bit more & then are on our way to Freedom!

We're on board & our first stop is Fish & Chips!

Freedom Restaurant - Lido



Yum!


Fish & Chips area. If you're looking for it, head to the Statue of Liberty in the buffet area & climb the stairs.
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#4
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by mizlorinj
Hi Magda and Gabe!!!

Hi, Lori!!!
Gabe asks if you guys can play with Patrick again?
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#5
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
We explore for a bit.

The only time the Promenade is empty! Where are all the photographers?


Club 02 - Isn't it purty?


Port Everglades


Chic Restaurant


Lobby


My big spender
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#6
Carolina
8,712 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Nice Review! 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
#7
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Hardly anyone in the pool/hot tubs.


Slide looks empty, too.


Getting hot! Ice cream break!


My little super star!
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#9
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Muster starts just before we sail. Everyone head down to Deck 4.

What Gabe thinks of muster.


After muster, we're starting to pull out so we head up to the top deck to check out the sights.

What Gabe thinks of Sail Away


Ft Lauderdale Beach as we sail away.
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#10
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by vivavegas
Nice Review! Looking forward to reading more!
Originally posted by LVMetsFan
Great pics - looking forward to more!
Thanks! More to come.
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#11
Upstate, SC
151 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Your son is TOOO CUTE !!!
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<center><a href="http://www.emoticonswallpapers.com/glitter-graphics-hello-kitty-35-1.html" title="hello kitty glitter - emoticonswallpapers.com"><img src="http://www.emoticonswallpapers.com/images/hello-kitty/hello-kitty-glitter-pictures-023.gif" border="0" alt=" emoticonswallpapers.com"></a><br><font face="Arial" size="1"><a href="http://www.emoticonswallpapers.com/"><font color="#fecd82">Anh dep blog - Hinh nen blog</font>

<a href="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/"><img src="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/celebrity/tickers/3n6fcnp7a49n8da5.png" alt="Celebrity Cruise Countdown Widget" border="0"/></a>

Allure of the Seas 09/2014
Carnival Freedom 5/2012
Emerald Princess 05/02/2010
Carnival Miracle 11/20/05
Carnival Fantasy 03/2003
#12
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by deener32
Your son is TOOO CUTE !!!
Thanks, I happen to agree with you.
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#13
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
After sail away, we head to Dinner since we have Early Seating.

We sit with our friends & are assigned our amazing waiters, Manny & Franciscus.
Ready for dinner!


Dinner tonight is:

Pan Seared Tilapia


This deliciousness - Chocolate Cake with bing cherries. I'm horrible remembering names.


Our friend is Vegan so she had the Grilled Tofu Steak. She approves!
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#14
Chicagoland
1,133 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
The magician stops by during dinner & Gabe absolutely loved him!


After dinner, we stop by the Disco for the kids Party.


Then we stop by camp & stuff our own Funship Freddy.


Here's Gabe with his new buddy enjoying Movies Under the Stars.


We see the Welcome Aboard show & head off to bed.
Next: Sea Day #1 & Grand Turk

I'll pick this back up tomorrow.
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Magda
Carnival Victory 03/08/2009 - San Juan, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Kitts & Barbados
Carnival Fascination 4/11/2011 - Key West & Nassau
Carnival Freedom 5/5/2012 - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba & Curacao
Carnival Dream 5/11/13 - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Disney Dream 01/09/14 - Nassau & Castaway Cay
Carnival Legend 07/05/16 - Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, & Victoria
MSC Fantasia 06/17/17 - Germany, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Estonia, & St. Petersburg
Carnival Splendor 06/16/18 - Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
#15
Florida
2,829 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Yay! We're doing this itinerary on the Freedom next month. Can't wait to read more.

Your little guy is adorable!
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"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
---

Carnival Elation - April 2018

RCI Brilliance of the Seas - Easter (March) 2016
Carnival Legend - June 2015
RCI Explorer of the Seas - Christmas 2014
Disney Dream - January 2014 (another partial review - sorry!)
Carnival Sensation (40th birthday!) - January 2013
Carnival Freedom - June 2012 (partial review)
Carnival Fascination - November 2011 (Review)
Carnival Legend - April 2011 (Review)
Carnival Dream - May 2010 (Review)
Carnival Inspiration - April 2010 (Review)
Carnival Glory - May 2009 (Review)
Carnival Celebration - Nov. 2004
Carnival Miracle - Apr. 2004
Carnival Fantasy - Feb. 2001
Big Red Boat - Nov. 1995
#16
Florida
2,829 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Crazy duplicate post. Sorry!
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"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
---

Carnival Elation - April 2018

RCI Brilliance of the Seas - Easter (March) 2016
Carnival Legend - June 2015
RCI Explorer of the Seas - Christmas 2014
Disney Dream - January 2014 (another partial review - sorry!)
Carnival Sensation (40th birthday!) - January 2013
Carnival Freedom - June 2012 (partial review)
Carnival Fascination - November 2011 (Review)
Carnival Legend - April 2011 (Review)
Carnival Dream - May 2010 (Review)
Carnival Inspiration - April 2010 (Review)
Carnival Glory - May 2009 (Review)
Carnival Celebration - Nov. 2004
Carnival Miracle - Apr. 2004
Carnival Fantasy - Feb. 2001
Big Red Boat - Nov. 1995
#19
Minnesota
1,228 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by smyemar
Love your review so far! Keep it coming!

We are doing the same cruise in January so keep it coming. On a side note we have stayed at the Hyatt North the last 2 years and loved it, no problems at all. Last January they were under new ownership, are they not keeping things up? We are planning on staying there this January also but now am wondering if we should try ES.
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Fred

1/14/2008-NCL Spirit-New Orleans,Roatan,Belize,Cozumel
1/15/2009-CCL Spirit-San Diego,Acupulco,Zhiawatenao,Manzinillo
1/10/2010-CCL Splendor-Long Beach,Puerto Vallarta,Matzatlan,Cobo San Lucas
1/14/2011-CCL Miracle-Ft. Lauderdale,St. Marteen,St. Lucia,St. Kitts
1/28/2012-CCL Freedom-Ft. Lauderdale,St. Thomas,Antigua,Tortola,Nassau
1/12/2013-CCL Freedom-Ft. Lauderdale,Grand Turk,La Romana,Curacao,Aruba
1/18/2014-CCL Miracle-Long Beach, Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Kauai, Kona (HI), Ensenada MX
2/02/2015-CCL Freedom-Ft. Lauderdale,St. Marteen,St. Lucia,Curacao,Aruba,Cozumel,Galveston(Repo)
1/09/2016-CCL Conquest-Ft. Lauderdale,St. Marteen,St. Kitts,San Juan,Grand Turk. (1st leg of B2B)
1/17/2016-CCL Conquest-Ft. Lauderdale,Key West,Grand Cayman.Cozumel. (2nd leg of B2B)
1/7/2017-CCL Conquest-Ft. Lauderdale,St. Marteen,St. Kitts,San Juan,Grand Turk. (1st leg of B2B)
1/15/2017-CCL Conquest-Ft. Lauderdale,Nassau,Amber Cove,Grand Turk. (2nd leg of B2B)
#20
Cincinnati Ohio
98 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Your son is SO cute! I love his super star look with the sunglasses!

We doing this same trip in July. Looking forward to your review and tips.
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