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Review Carnival Freedom to Panama with kids


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What a great review! The Freedom is an awesome ship, isn't she? The jaguar rescue center in Costa Rica looks like a really cool place to visit. And the mama sloth crossing the street with the baby in Panama? Too sweet! You have a beautiful family and I'm looking forward to the rest of your review.

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I was on this cruise with the Salute to Veterans Cruise 2. We used Mario for a private yacht tour of the locks. We went through all 3 locks. We were in the lock when the cruise ship was going through the other way. What a sight. I loved the trip.

After seeing the way people live in other countries, you should appreciate the way we live even more.

Thanks for the great review:D

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Cool review, We did the last 8-day western on Christmas we had 2 medical emergencies. The first one the poor guy was carted off in an ambulance before we left FLL the second was when we pulled back in to FLL at the end. We also had Elvis in Panama (same excursion) we did not get to go to the fort though due to a mud slide but got to see 4 ships go through the canal. Your son looked like my 10 year old boy ( in the pool all day till dinner, then mine would be out there till midnight in the spa watching the movies). Keep the review coming.

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CAFireCaptain, your post reminded me:

 

Shortly after we left Panama, the Captain informs the guests that the sip will be diverted to the Cayman Island for a medical emergency. If you look on a map, that is significantly out of the way, which lets me know the magnitude of the emergency. I hope all the persons are now well.

 

Day 7 - Sea Day continued

 

We elected not to bother with the second Elegant Night dinner. As I said, we were just tired of all the eating. We ate on the lido quickly and the girls had sushi. The Sushi Bar is open 5-8 on deck 5 (between the casino and the aft lounge) every evening. It is a very popular place. This was the first time DD had ever had it, and she was quite good with the chop sticks:

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We hit the 7:30 PG comedy show with the kids. The show only lasts about 30 minutes, and we rushed to the forward of the ship for the 8:30 showing of “Ticket to Ride”, a tribute to the Beetles. This was our first and only Vegas style show we attended. I had heard that it was excellent and of higher caliber that the other shows. It was true! We girls LOVED it. The boys: not so much. In fact my son fell asleep after about 10 minutes. Since we got to the show so late, we had really bad seats: high up and to the right of the stage. We couldn’t see the entire stage, and that was a bummer. BUT, we still loved it! When the show was over, my 8 yo DD asked, “Where are the Beetle people now?”

 

The Victoria lounge was packed:

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A sneak peak of the show:

 

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Then we happily ( J )dropped the kids off Camp Carnival for the after hour party for 6-11 age groups combined. After 10:00 PM, there is a fee of $6 per hour (or $10 per hour for 2 kids) to stay in camp carnival. The kids loved it! There we only about 12 kids, but that was great and made it not too crowded. There was a dance with snacks, and lot of games including a spot light hide-and-seek game. My children were so excited to have a little independence and to stay out later than Mom. I was asleep when they got back J.

 

My DH and I went to the two R-rated comedy shows while the kids were at camp. Again, I love the new Punchliners Comedy Club on Carnival ships!

To be continued...

Edited by mpcaruth
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Day 8 – Last Sea Day

Aaahhh. Everyone slept in, including me. Went to breakfast in the MDR at 10:00 and it was still open. My daughter spent the morning at Camp and the group went on a Funship Freddy hunt around the ship:

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The rest of us headed up to spend some time by the pool and catch some last sun rays. While sitting on the edge of the pool beside the slide exit, a large splash drenched me from the slide. I turned to look and saw two arms frantically flailing in the air above the slide. OMG! Someone was drowning at the bottom of the slide. I ran and grabbed the lady’s arm and pulled her head above water. She was still panicking with arms flailing. Another guy helped pull her the rest of the way up, and I got jabbed in the eye. The poor older lady was extremely scared and embarrassed. The slide is narrow and the water is about 12 inches deep. So, if you cannot do a sit up, then you are stuck with your head under water. This lady may have marked “waterslide over the middle of the ocean” off her Dija List, but I can guarantee she will never do it again.

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The final night both of our kids decided to go to dinner with Camp Carnival and then to the “Farewell Party” in Club O2 (teen dance club). My DH and I had one last evening alone. Everyone was happy! MY DH and I attended the adult’s Fun Farewell Party in the aft lounge. Free drinks baby! I hate to admit it, but between the two of us we downed 13 in all. Ooops! In our defense, they were very weak, but they were FREE. The waiters were leaving 2-3 extra drinks at tables for the people that requested it. They had the ship band play music at the party and then there was a little line dancing for the passenger on stage. This made up for the Past Guest Party that we missed earlier in the week.

It was off to bed early that night for us . So sad the cruise was over, but also wanting to get back home.

 

As I have hit the end of the week with my review, there are numerous things that I realized that I have not commented on. So I will just throw them in here.

 

Future Cruise desk

One evening I ventured down to the future cruise desk and signed up for a Carnival credit card. It comes with 5000 points, which equals a $50 on board credit. I then purchased a future cruise voucher for $100 – which means I will get another $100 OBC on my next cruise. I also received a little “package” to go along with signing up for the credit card: A $5 matching bet for the casino, $30 off spa treatment, and a small backpack. I now have a total of $150 free OBC form my cruise next January – woo hoo.

 

To be continued...

Edited by mpcaruth
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More random thoughts:

 

Serenity now

The Serenity adults-only area is very nice on this ship, and makes a wonderful peaceful amenity. Ironically, it is located just outside of Camp Carnival. Serenity is located on two decks, 11 and 12 (I think) forward. Some of the area is shaded and some was in full sun. The hammocks were a disappointing okay – not super comfy.

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Relaxing and watching the sun set...

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Casino

I went almost daily to the slot machines, but I am way too conservative to win big money. For the week, I lost $30 in the slots. I played roulette one night very briefly (I had to use my free $5 bet). I ended up winning $39. So, I quit while I was ahead. There is always at least one person in the casino who “amazes” me. One fellow at the roulette table was pulling out $100 bills right and left. He did not fare well when I was watching him. I can only imagine the final result.

 

Bingo is played every day, sometimes twice. On sea days, there is Bingo on the Lido deck. The numbers are displayed on the seaside theater. I played Bingo once on a previous cruise, and determined the odds were horrible. May I make a suggestion? Instead of paying $20 for a bingo card for a 1 in 200+ (depends on number of people playing) chance of winning $500, put $20 on your favorite number on the roulette table. Roulette is a 1 in 36 chance of winning of winning 35 times the bet, or $700. Hmmm... Maybe people just enjoy playing (or loosing rather) to Bingo.

Edited by mpcaruth
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More random info:

 

One afternoon I participated in the salsa lessons. I loved it, and wished I had done the other dance lessons offered earlier in the week. My husband will not dance with me, but I was paired up with an older gentleman, Jim. It was so much fun.

Our room steward was Uza from the Philippines. She was wonderful, and a very pleasant lady to talk with. She kept our room very clean and was quick with service when we needed ice. Each day she would ask the kids what towel animal they wanted:

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Just outside of Camp Carnival on the other side of Serenity is a small children’s wading pool. Perfect for toddlers or… apparently older kids when it is empty.

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The whirlpool in the spa area is beautiful. It is free to use, but it doesn’t seem anyone realizes this, as it was always vacant. We used it one afternoon. The water is cooler, as it is a whirlpool, and not a hot-tub. The adjacent flow pool was very warm, but the jet was not functioning. No harm, as this was still a very quiet and peaceful place to relax.

 

Here are some other picture of the pools. I do not have any of the aft, adults-only pool, as we never went back there (we had kids).

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FOOD:

The Mongolian Wok was wonderful, but sooooo very busy. It is opened only from 11:00-3:00. Late one afternoon, the line was finally short enough for me to attempt. The meat offerings were chicken, beef, and calamari. Being the seafood lover, I went with the calamari!

Fish and Chips serves not only fried fish, but also calamari fritters. The fritters were good if fresh, and were loaded with lots of calamari, shrimp, and zucchini. I will warn you, they are greasy, but sometimes, I just crave greasy. The bouillabaisse was very good, but the octopus salad remained on my plate. My DD loved the fish and chips, my DS hated it. My DS loved the pizza, and my DD hated it. Typical siblings and passengers for that matter.

The Tandoor bar was good too. I tried a little of everything, but like at home, the chicken Marsala was my favorite. My family definitely preferred the Lido buffet and specialty sections for lunch over the MDR. But for breakfast, we preferred the MDR.

I never tried the hamburgers, but my DH and DS said they were usually dry.

In general, the food was very good. And if we got something we didn’t like, no problem, we just got something else. The boys always ate cheesecake and deserts, while the girl ALWAYS had ice cream. By the way, I did not meet my goal of 16 cones for the week. I failed with only 13!

 

Embarkation:

We elected to carry our own luggage off the ship in order to get on the road early. The first deck to be called off was Riviera, our deck. This is one of a few benefits of being on the cheapest deck (less rocking and cheaper fares to name others). By 8:15, we had disembarked, been picked up by the shuttle, got our car from the “Luxury” parking lot, and were on I-95 heading north. We arrive home tired at almost 11:00 PM and still some snow on the ground. Welcome back!

 

Well, THAT'S ALL FOLKS!

Feel free to ask question, as discussing cruises is one of my favorite things to do! Also, I hope to get the Funtime uploaded before the weekend.

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Thanks for posting! We're doing this cruise in October so it was fun to get a sneak peak. I wanted to ask you what you thought of the roads in Panama and Costa Rica. Were there many windy mountain road with cliffs and what not? Some of the ports we've been to have had some really scary roads (Roatan, for example). I'm a big wuss when it comes to sketchy roads, so I want to prepare myself. :p

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Thanks for the great review. I am looking forward to the rest of it. I had never considered taking a Panama cruise (Panama is not one of my favorite places) but thanks to your great review I am now reconsidering it.

 

This is the review I did on our recent (September) Hawaiian Trip.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1279418

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Thanks for posting! We're doing this cruise in October so it was fun to get a sneak peak. I wanted to ask you what you thought of the roads in Panama and Costa Rica. Were there many windy mountain road with cliffs and what not? Some of the ports we've been to have had some really scary roads (Roatan, for example). I'm a big wuss when it comes to sketchy roads, so I want to prepare myself. :p

 

There are no mountains along the caribbean coast of either Panama or Costa Rica, so you won't have to worry about that. The roads in Panama were great and up to American standards on the roads we took - maybe a little narrow near Portobelo with rolling hills.

 

The road south to the Jaguar Center in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica was relatively straight, and the further south we went the more pot holes. Some areas were merely compacted gravel with huge pothole, and the driver would have to doge them. Nothing scary though.

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thanks for the fantastic review! We're doing this cruise with Mrs Blair in October. Can you tell us how long you had at the beach in Panama?

 

We were at the beach for about 3 hours (this included our meal). If you book a private tour with Mario, you could skip Portobelo and have an extra hour or so.

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There are no mountains along the caribbean coast of either Panama or Costa Rica, so you won't have to worry about that. The roads in Panama were great and up to American standards on the roads we took - maybe a little narrow near Portobelo with rolling hills.

 

The road south to the Jaguar Center in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica was relatively straight, and the further south we went the more pot holes. Some areas were merely compacted gravel with huge pothole, and the driver would have to doge them. Nothing scary though.

 

 

Thank you!!! That makes me feel much better!

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Doing this cruise on Oct 22 and cannot wait especially now having read your review!!! I had previously heard about myfriendmario.com somewhere else and promptly after reading this reveiw emailed him with our particulars. I just checked my email and found that he had responded already...I cannot wait!!!

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OKAY folks! I have scanned and uploaded the FUNTIMES from the cruise. Whew, cumbersome as I had predicted. Also, as I have never used this website, please let me know if you are unable to see the files. Enjoy.

 

http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/show.php?i=1556555&cat=3&fclick=y

 

 

I'm sailing on the Freedom in May - can't wait! The link for the FunTimes doesn't seem to work. Do you think you can upload them here? Thanks for the review - it sounds like a wonderful ship!

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