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

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Really enjoying your review! We are headed on the Freedom for the July 6th cruise, so I can't wait for the rest!!:D

 

I also chose the Hampton for our night before the cruise, now I'm a bit worried! I wonder if I paid for the room on my CC, then cancelled it for a new # before I go down...:confused:

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Loving the writeup and pictures. Nice seeing Port Everglades with sunshine. We were on the Freedom Oct 2011 and it stormed while loading and was very rough waters that first day and night. Will be on same cruise as jessiesgirl whom we just might actually meet.

 

Hope we can meet, Swampbaby. I think there is a meet and greet set up, I will have to double check.

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Your review is GGGRREEEATTTTT!!! :D:D:D

 

I love reading the reviews with LOTS of words (fellow fan of writing here).

 

Thorowly (just throught I'd throw in a misspelled word for kicks and giggles) enjoying it!

 

Thank you!

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Love the review and the pics are so crisp!!!! Love it:) You may have inspired me to finally do a review on my cruise from September!

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Introducing Brad .... I've tried 3x to flip this picture ...it looks right in Photobucket but not here ... I promise, he wasn't laying flat on the stage!

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I guess it fixed itself! :confused:

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Grab a Deck Plan and keep it handy! It folds up (tri-fold) and is small enough (about 4" x 3" folded up) to slide into a small purse, camera case, or even a back pocket.

 

THIS!

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Sorry guys ... Photobucket is giving me problems ... and a headache. Here's the pics that "disappeared" earlier. :confused:

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No problem, and you have nothing to be nervous about. It is a wonderful review and pictures. The picture of your boys, in the dining room, in their ties is ADORABLE!!

 

O-H-I-O :)

 

Thanks! They are handsome fellas, aren't they? Wait til you see the pics of them with their glasses on ... lol :cool:

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Love your review, and going on this cruise in September - thank you for all the pics!

 

And I'm sorry for your family's loss

 

Thanks for reading deedle7544! And thanks for your kind words about my dad.

 

What a small world lol we are from Urbana Ohio, cant wait to read the rest of your review :)

 

Thanks for reading Megan87 ... Go Climbers! We are Knights! :D

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Love the review and the pics are so crisp!!!! Love it:) You may have inspired me to finally do a review on my cruise from September!

 

Thanks cuted126! You totally should do the review ... I love reading them! I always take something away from them ... and I love seeing people's pictures! Have fun on your cruise in September!

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Your review is GGGRREEEATTTTT!!! :D:D:D

 

I love reading the reviews with LOTS of words (fellow fan of writing here).

 

Thorowly (just throught I'd throw in a misspelled word for kicks and giggles) enjoying it!

 

Thank you!

 

Thanks oreomaximus (love that name!!!) Do you love Oreos?? They were my dad's favorite cookie. He'd hide them from us girls! In his bedroom! Gah!

 

Thank you for that misspelled word ... it was grate. LOL! :rolleyes:

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Really enjoying your review! We are headed on the Freedom for the July 6th cruise, so I can't wait for the rest!!:D

 

I also chose the Hampton for our night before the cruise, now I'm a bit worried! I wonder if I paid for the room on my CC, then cancelled it for a new # before I go down...:confused:

 

Thanks for reading jelomu! Don't cancel your hotel just because of my experience. Lots of people stay there and lots of people on these boards have recommended that hotel. My CC could have been hacked through the computer and not even someone from the actual hotel. I'm sure you will be fine! Have a great cruise aboard the Freedom! She's a great ship!

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Loving the writeup and pictures. Nice seeing Port Everglades with sunshine. We were on the Freedom Oct 2011 and it stormed while loading and was very rough waters that first day and night. Will be on same cruise as jessiesgirl whom we just might actually meet.

 

Thanks Swampbaby! Yes, it is kind of a downer when it's raining for your sailaway ... that happened to us on our honeymoon cruise. I hope you get to meet jessiesgirl! Have a great cruise!

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This is an amazing review. Loving all the pics and your humour.

 

I have to know though, how did you get the picture of the Fun Times so crisp and readable? They never turn out that way in my reviews.

 

I probably wont ever sail on this ship but it certainly helps to pass the time while I am waiting for a Friday to end and have 220 days until my next cruise.

 

Thanks All4fun&fun4all! My boys think I'm hilarious too .... NOT! They roll their eyes at me like two girls! Regarding the FunTimes ... I scanned them on my copier at work as PDFs, then did a "save as" as a JPEG. That's as clear as I could get them without taking an actual photograph of them. I was worried if you'd be able to read them ... so I take it you can! Yay!

 

Great start~ I will have to go back once I am home because I cannot see the pictures from my work PC.

 

We too had our CC comprimised when we stayed in FLL before one of our cruises, and it was a PITA to rectify. We had just switched from Chase to Citi and had never actually used the card anywhere except for when I reserved the hotel online and the first and only time it left DH's hands was at check-in and low and behold $3000 worth of camera purchases from Florida. We did the whole alert deal too by telling them on this day we'll be in Florida and the next day here etc yet they let all these crazy charges go through and then tried to accuse us of buying it since "a lot of people buy cameras on vacation" :rolleyes: Glad to hear you were able to get your situation fixed. Looking forward to the rest of your review :)

 

Thanks for reading TakeMeAway1001 ... sorry about your CC story. That sucks! I hope you didn't have to pay that three grand ... it was a PITA, but I'm glad it was somewhat minor, but I still worried to death about it until we got home. My BIL even wondered if they stole my identity ... that really freaked me out!!! :eek: I just had to let it go ... and wait until we got home! The call to Capital One was one of the first calls I made!

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Okay, I think I've responded to everyone! Thanks for reading, folks! I appreciate the support!

 

I had a crappy day at work, then attended a fundraiser (quarter auction) for my son's Athletic Boosters Club tonight ... didn't win a darned thing! Not even a case of freakin' bottled water! Oh well ... good cause, right?

 

AND, I just learned they are calling for 6 to 10" of snow for us on Sunday. There's a groundhog somewhere that has some explaining to do!

 

Sooooooooo ... back to the Caribbean I go! Come with me! :cool:

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New to us this cruise: Kiosks to check your sail-n-sign account. These are convenient to check your account and confirm or challenge any charges daily (instead of waiting until the last day and standing in a ridiculously long line at Guest Services). Besides, who really remembers what they charged on Day 1? It allows you to manage everybody’s account that you are responsible for. In our case, I put my DH and our DSs on one account so I could see everyone’s charges. I was also able to put a charge limit on my kids’ accounts. You can select any limit you want or no limit at all. Being able to easily check our account became especially important to us after our credit card account was hacked and we had to change over to a cash only account. I know I already touched on this earlier, but I'll provide more details later.

 

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Cabins: Plenty big enough for two … four people in a cabin would be too many for me. My kids would “hang out” in our cabin and I felt like I was in our 19’ hybrid pop-out camper! Plenty of storage for your stuff in the bathroom (six shelves), your clothes and shoes (there are two closets for hanging stuff and one closet with shelves). There are four drawers for other items like underwear and socks (the top drawer contains the blow dryer—keep button pushed down to operate!).

 

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Boys' inside cabin

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There's another cabinet with doors and a cubby hole for nick-knacks. Two pegs on the wall by the couch to hang night gowns, etc., and another two pegs on the inside of the door to the bathroom for towels. There’s also a very handy clothesline in the shower stall that pulls out and retracts as needed. The shower stall itself also has a small corner shelf for your personal items, as well as shampoo and shower gel in containers on the wall of the shower. I didn’t use the shampoo, but the shower gel was nice. Our cabin and the boys’ cabins both had two robes each. They are a little thick, but very nice to have. If you like them, there are forms available to purchase them. Our bathrooms also had “freebies”. We had only a handful, but the boys’ room had all these (18 in total):

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The freebies included Crest toothpaste, Breathe Right strips, and shampoo/conditioner. Other people in our group got Axe shower gel as well. The balconies are small, but I didn’t have a problem falling asleep out there (especially after a shower and wrapped up in the robe!). For our balcony cabin, there were two chairs and a small table that fit in the space beyond where the door opened.

 

Electric … this is your source of electricity:

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… that’s it. Either use it wisely or bring back up!

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The second Best. Cruise. Purchase. Ever. was this little gadget:

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It is made by Energizer and I got it for $20 at Marshall’s. I saw it while shopping for my 8th grader’s Washington DC trip, and picked it up on a whim. It has an iPhone/iPod docking station on top (in the picture it is flipped sideways [the plug on the back rotates] ... the iPhone/iPod docking station is above the word Energizer), three 3-hole outlets on the front, a USB port on the side, and a nightlight! It was AWESOME! We were able to use it at night to charge our iPhones (which we put on airplane mode and used them to take pictures/videos, esp. the underwater/in water ones!), plug in David’s C-Pap machine, and plug in the fan! Score! There is a plug in the bathroom, but I couldn’t fit my curling iron plug into it so it was useless to me and when we travel, the DH uses a good, old-fashioned razor and shaving cream. Here's the bathroom plug ...

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It's way up there in the corner ... where the light is ... you have to lift a cover to see it.

 

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Dining Room: Posh, Table 337, early seating (6 p.m.) = hands down … one of the best tables on the ship!

 

Click

for a short video of the view from our table ... and a little treat at the end of my awesome, not impressed youngest child. :p

 

Our servers, TaTa, Putu, and Joseph were an AWESOME team! TaTa is from Indonesia and this was her last sailing before going home for two months … yeah for her! They never had a problem with us ordering more than one of anything … they actually encouraged it. On the first elegant night, my son had three lobsters! (He actually wasn’t that greedy … he ordered two, and she ended up getting an extra one on her tray … so she offered it to him because it was just going to go in the trash. We [he] couldn’t let that lobster go to waste!)

 

All our dinners were awesome. Of course, a few of us tried things that we wouldn’t normally order, but hey, it’s already paid for so what the heck! Besides, if we didn’t like something, they didn’t hesitate to bring us something else. I promised more Food Porn pictures, and they are coming!!!

 

A server walks around the dining room taking bar orders during dinner. So, order what you like and he’ll bring it to you along with a receipt for you to sign. He also gets the cokes for those with the “bottomless bubbles” … we tipped him for getting those because they were already paid for and he didn’t get a gratuity on that ... besides, throw him a couple bones and he’ll keep coming back with frequent refills.

 

For dessert, most of the adults ordered coffee or cappuccinos and the boys ordered hot chocolates. I think my youngest consumed about 20 cups of hot chocolate on this cruise. He loved them. They also have hot chocolate machines, coffee, and hot water for hot tea at all the beverage stations in the Freedom restaurant. Also available 24/7. Just so you know.

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Thanks Michelle! Going on the Freedom in May and I love your review! Thanks! :)

 

LOVE your name WorkHardCruiseHarder! So true! Some people don't get why we cruise, because they think they are too expensive ... but I say, we work hard, we need to play (cruise!) hard! Have fun on your cruise!

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Day 2/Key West (June 11): We were excited to wake up today and rush out to the balcony and check out the view! We were docked on the starboard side ... and this is what greeted us:

 

Looking left:

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Looking straight ahead:

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Looking right:

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Key West is beautiful. I can see why folks migrate there! We met everybody for breakfast at 9 a.m. and we were met with some very, very long lines. It took about 40 minutes to get our food, find tables, and sit down. No big deal for us, since we didn't have any "set" plans. Once we ate, we headed down to Deck 0. All adults will need their photo I.D. as well as their sail-n-sign (sign-n-sail? I get confused!) card. As I said earlier, we decided to walk off the ship and explore on foot. BIG MISTAKE. (or as Pretty Woman says ... 'big mistake. HUGE! I have to go shopping now ...' Love that movie!). It was so hot and humid, I began sweating before we even made it off the pier! We made it down to Duval Street and hit some shops (I tried on some crocs ... SANDLE crocs ... and my sister and I scored a deal on a buy 2 for $40 sun dress special – one size fits all/elastic at the top with straps – in this case, it really did. My sis is tall and skinny, and I’m … well, I’m the opposite.) We stopped at a bar for some adult refreshments, and then started heading to the Southernmost Point. About ¼ of the way there, my family and I were pretty crabby, very sweaty, and could care less about the Southernmost Point! We said buh bye to the rest of our clan and headed back to the ship. On the way back, I stopped in a shop to purchase the black Crocs I had tried on earlier. Love ‘em! (I’m wearing them and the sun dress I purchased in the pic I posted earlier of the boys' interior cabin.) My husband also *forced* the boys to take the obligatory “kids in front of the ship” picture at the pier. At least they smiled ...

 

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Back on the ship, we changed into our bathing suits, ate lunch (this was the first time we tried the Fish-n-Chips), and hit the Lido deck.

 

And then I did it. I did the slide. Yep, I hurled this 42 year old behind down the slide! I had to. It was calling my name … My husband and I got a little nervous standing in line for it … as we saw a few adults get “stuck” and have to “scoot” their way down … funny to watch, but not so funny to do! Then we saw several bigger kids go down, and lay down like you are supposed to, and they went pretty fast … so I sent my husband first (cuz I’m not stupid!) as the guinea pig … he made it to the bottom, so I went for it. And yep, if you lay flat, cross your feet, cross your arms on your chest and go, you go FAST! Splash! It was fun! You definitely should do it! At least once … c’monnnnnnnnnnnnnnn … do it!

 

My sis’s pics from the Southernmost Point … yep, still haven’t lost any sleep over not doing that!

 

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Edited by jhnsnfamily

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I LOVE this red building ... the contrast of light blues and white with the red ... love it!

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Took this pic of a plane flying over ... (think of Fantasy Island's Tattoo and say it with me ... de plane! de plane!)

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Close up of the Coast Guard boat with my zoom lense (you can see how far away it was from the previously posted "looking right" picture)

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What I wish we had done instead ... these guys were hanging out right by our ship:

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A funny picture of my DS and her hubby ... they were about 10 doors down ... again, zoom lense!

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I liked this rock ...

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What my BIL probably wish he had done instead of hoofing it all the way to the Southernmost Point! (Actually, this is the bottle of Vodka he ordered prior to the cruise via Bon Voyage [click HERE] and had delivered to his cabin! That's how I ordered the boys' cookies and our strawberries, too.)

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As we were leaving, I captured these photos of some breathtaking homes ...

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The beautiful blue ocean ... love the different shades of blue

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And THIS my friends, is the money shot ... it is STILL my desktop wallpaper on my home and work computer. Go ahead ... you can steal it! It's my favorite picture of the entire cruise! I'd love to park my butt right there under that palm tree right at the end!

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At some point, we headed back up to the cabin and got ready for dinner. We tried to abide by the "no shorts in dining room" rule ... this is what we wore for "casual" attire (they had on long pants and I made sure their shirts had collars ... for the very first night on the cruise, these rules don't apply!):

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Looking at this picture, I just realized my youngest is now as tall as his older brother ... he has probably grown at least three inches since this trip!

 

Dinner: Once again, we were impressed with the service and the quality of the food. My boys really liked their dishes and cleaned their plates!

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After dinner, the bar waiter came around with shots and my DH and BIL ordered one each. We were surprised that they brought back the shot glasses, washed, and ready for us to take home!

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Food porn pics in next post! I can only post six pictures per post ... :rolleyes:

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I'm loving your review! I have two boys, 15 and 12, so it's great to hear your perspective!

 

Thanks uprivermama! They had a great time ... hung out a lot with their older cousin ... it's a tough age on a cruise ship, at least for my boys. They were "too cool" for the kids program, and sometimes they found themselves a little bored. We also had a few moments of our older son wanting to hang with his older cousin w/o my younger son ... so we had to have one or two "heart to hearts" with him/them. All in all, they had a great time and really enjoyed the ship and the excursions! I can't wait until we cruise on the Allure! They'll be older and they can rock climb, zip line, ice skate, swim, and use the Flowrider! They'll have no excuse to be bored!!!

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This is what the kids' dishes looked like before they inhaled them:

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I apologize ... I cannot locate the menu from this meal, but here are the pictures!

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I can't recall what this was called, but I remember it was warm ... almost like a warm carrot cake ... It doesn't look like much, but it was pretty good!

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I know I already touched on this in an earlier post, but this is what I wrote about the CC debacle ... Carnival was really great about helping us out and letting me call Capital One from their phone ... we were long gone from Key West at this time and heading out to sea.

 

Here's the details: After dinner, we hit the shops again because I had my eye on a watch I saw in there. On the cruise we went on 2007, I purchased a watch that I loved. Did some research when we returned home and realized I had gotten a great deal on it. So, my mission this cruise was to find another watch for a great deal. I found one that I loved (click HERE) … and it was only $140 on the ship. So, my DH went to buy it for me. But, his sail-n-sign card got denied. No problem; we thought it was because his card was deactivated by the safe in the cabin. So, I gave the salesman my sail-n-sign card. And then mine didn’t work! What the heck! He said he’d put the watch aside and suggested we go to Guest Services to figure out what was up. So, we did. The gal scanned our sail-n-sign cards and told us Capital One was no longer accepting charges to our account. This is when my panic set in. She said she could call Capital One, but she needed the actual card with the 800 number on the back. We headed up to the cabin and grabbed the card. I had a bad feeling about this, so I grabbed $500 in cash to put on the sail-n-sign account just in case (see, I’m glad we brought that extra cash!). We get back down there, stand in line again, and then get back to the same gal. She called Capital One and handed me the phone.

 

The worker began asking me questions to confirm who I was … all the security questions, confirmation of our address, email, BIRTHDATE … nothing I said matched what he showed. Gah! I WAS DEFLATED! Turns out, our account was hacked (my card did not get stolen) and whoever hacked it managed to change everything, including my mother’s maiden name, my birthdate, our home address, our email address, etc. All the changes were made at noon that day. I was transferred to a fraud specialist and had to confirm all our “old” information. Our old account was completely closed automatically and they reissued us cards under a new number to be sent to our “real” address. I had the guy tell me the last 10 to 12 transactions he saw on the account, and all were legit except a $50 charge for the Hampton Inn that was posted earlier that day. Remember, we checked out of the hotel on Sunday and had paid for the stay months ago … with this credit card. We did not charge anything to the room, order any movies, etc., and our receipt that was slipped under our door the morning we left said our balance was zero. I believe someone from the hotel obtained our credit card number from the hotel computer, hacked into our account, changed the information, charged $50 to our card (maybe as a cash advance), and then pocketed the money. Capital One removed the charge so that’s all I know about it. This is the only thing that makes sense, esp. since our “new” address was a Florida address. Not sure why it was only $50, I could question this all day long.

 

Fortunately, Capital One was on top of things. Unfortunately, this is the only credit card we have, so we were screwed. I asked the gal at Guest Services if the guy from Capital One could give her our new account number over the phone, but she said no because she had to physically swipe the card. So, we put the $500 cash down on the account and I proceeded to be really P.O.’d the rest of the night! They also let my mom attach her CC to our account just in case we charged more than our cash balance. I checked my iPhone that night and my emails had uploaded while we were in Key West, I just hadn’t looked at them. Sure enough, I had received an email from Capital One at 12:11 p.m. acknowledging the changes to our account and advising us to call if we hadn’t authorized them. Doh! If only I had checked while at Key West or even if I had tried to use our credit card while in Key West to purchase the crocs, the red flags would have flown sooner and I could have called on my own from the ship while still in Florida. Oh well … what’s done is done, and when we got home, I called to verify that our account was okay. I also checked our bank accounts and credit reports upon return and all was good. Whew! All in all, it was a minor inconvenience that could have been A LOT worse.

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After the credit card debacle, I was totally bummed and (thanks to my BIL for putting this in my head) worried my identity was being stolen! I had really wanted to go to the Disco for the Michael Jackson Tribute hour (cuz I got moves you ain't eva seen! LOL!) ........... but my mood was ruined. My sister and I ended up catching the last half of the Love & Marriage Show, which I have to admit, was pretty funny even with my sour mood. My sister caught the whole show from beginning to end on the re-runs on one of the t.v. channels in the cabin and said she cracked up the whole time.

 

We headed back to our cabins to turn in for the night and found our first towel animals (this one was so appropriate for us, as we were missing our golden retriever, Izzy, who loves to sleep with us [between us] on our bed):

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This one was in my DM's cabin:

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At 2 a.m., the phone in our cabin rang :eek:

 

… and it’s never good when your phone rings unexpectedly at 2 a.m. It was our youngest son telling us that our older son was getting sick everywhere. He has always been my puker ... but on the ship! Really! David grabbed my key for their cabin and headed over. Sure enough, he got sick … everywhere … with a cabin that small, it’s not difficult to hit several surfaces! I don’t need to stretch this story out … just wanted you to know that we (well, he) cleaned up the best he could, put the soiled towels in the sink in the laundry room (thank goodness it was close to our cabins [only a few doors down]), and let Savoy know the next morning what happened. They had to shampoo the carpet twice—once one day and again the next day. (The bonus was they left a HUGE fan in there to dry the carpet and the boys were in heaven because they got their own fan! :D ) We left Savoy an extra tip at the end of the cruise for having to deal with that mess! Turns out Tyler just ate something that didn’t agree with him and was fine the rest of the cruise. We were relieved that it wasn’t Norovirus! Whew!

 

Next up ... OUR FIRST SEA DAY! Yay! But I'm calling it a night for tonight! I've been up since 6 a.m. and I'm tired! G'night!

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Day we leave! Woooohooooo! Hubby is a firefighter/paramedic and didn’t get off work until 7 a.m. (works 24-hr shifts) … so, it’s good that we found a direct flight to FLL that left later in the day. He had time to come home, take a shower, and load the luggage in the truck (it has a cap on the back). Then we were off to pick up my mother (15 minutes away) and her friend (she lives right across the street from her). After we picked them up, we headed to my sister’s house (5 minutes away), loaded up her family’s luggage, they jumped in their vehicle, and we were off! We stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (cuz we know they don't serve gravy and biscuits on cruise ships!) … we left at 10 a.m. … arrived at the Hilliard Cracker Barrel at 10:45 a.m. We got a table right away, ordered right away, ate, and we were outta there within an hour and off to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

 

We parked in long-term parking and hauled our mountain of luggage to one of the waiting areas to be picked up by a shuttle. The shuttles are frequent … we only waited about 5 minutes. The driver dropped us off at the Airtran terminal and we got checked in quickly. They weighed all our checked bags … I am GOOD if I say so myself! Ours were 38 lbs (garment bag), 48 lbs., and 49.8 lbs. We paid for the third checked bag and we were off to go through security. They ran my backpack through the scanner a few times … I forgot about the $18 in quarters I had packed in there for the laundry on the ship! OOPS! We still made it to the gate in PLENTY of time … Our flight left at 2:35 p.m.

 

Wheeeeeee! The flight was uneventful … see how uneventful it was …

 

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(A woman with a camera cannot be trusted!)

 

Uneventful on a flight is always a good thing … soon we were flying over the ocean … we even saw a few cruise ships from up in the plane!

 

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Here’s another cool picture as we descended into Ft. Lauderdale

 

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Once we landed, I snapped a few pics (I love airports with palm trees inside!) and the boys headed to collect our checked bags.

 

Tall family to the left ......... short family to the right!

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While they were on baggage patrol, I called the Hampton to inquire about the shuttle. We had made reservations back in January for the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port mostly because the rate was relatively cheap ($125/night) and the reservations came with free shuttles from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the cruise terminal the next morning. It also came with a free hot breakfast. The gal at the hotel said to call back when we had collected our luggage. O-kayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Five minutes later, we had collected all our luggage and I called back.

 

She said, “Who are you flying with?”

 

I said, “AirTran.”

 

She said, “Okay, go outside and turn right. The driver will be there in a few minutes. Look for a white van with pink flamingos on top.”

 

Seriously. Pink flamingos.

 

So, I relayed the message to the rest of the clan, and we migrated thru the doors and turned right … which is where we parked ourselves. And waited. Don’t stand here:

 

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The group was getting kinda antsy because the driver wasn’t showing up. And then we saw it! The white van with the oh-so-tacky, can’t-be-missed pink flamingos on top!

 

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We saw it coming … and … we saw it going. What? Wait!!! After much grumbling, it was ‘suggested’ that I call the hotel again. I had already called 2x. I dialed the number and gave my phone to my mom. Apparently, we hadn’t gone far enough right. So, again, we collected our baggage and migrated farther down … long story short (is this a long story?), we had to eventually flag that darned guy down! The other people waiting were irritated that we arrived at the “proper” pick up location last and got picked up first. But, the guy had our name to confirm that’s who he was there to pick up, so we didn’t argue with them or with him! Adios!

 

Next up … the hotel and night before we sail!

 

Your husband being the Paramedic should have called the local Ambulance company to pick you all up if you had to wait that long for the Hampton Inn Shuttle. 911 works for a non-refunded burger so it should work for Hotel Transportation ROTFL

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Love your review and sorry for the loss of your stepdad. I am a Pepsi man for 40 years, 20 as a driver and 20 as a supervisor. I still have a few years left to work. DW and I will be on the freedom in Oct. I'm going to check flights out of Columbus because it is so expensive to fly out of Cincinnati.

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Your husband being the Paramedic should have called the local Ambulance company to pick you all up if you had to wait that long for the Hampton Inn Shuttle. 911 works for a non-refunded burger so it should work for Hotel Transportation ROTFL

 

Hey travelplus! I don't know what you are referencing when you talk about the "non-refunded burger" ... but for what it's worth, I like to stay out of ambulances! ;) And I'm pretty sure he wanted to forget all about them also while on vacation! He works for our City Fire/Rescue ... they average 12-15 runs per day, mostly medic runs. Unfortunately, he sees a lot of waste and disregard for the importance of 9-1-1. Sometimes he feels like a taxi service, and when people don't have insurance and regular health care, 9-1-1 is their "regular doctor" ... this applies to broken toes, belly aches, headaches, nausea, you name it. It kinda sucks because March 3 of this year was his 10-year anniversary with the City and he's pretty burnt out on the "frequent flyers." However, he does love it when he gets to come home and say, "I saved a life today" or "I saved someone's home today". :)

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During dinner, we had a visit from “The Magic Man”. He is an entertainer hired by the cruise line and he bounces between the dining rooms (rotates every other night) and walks around the ship. He said if he has his badge on, he’s working and if you holler at him, he’ll stop and do tricks for you. HE HAD US STUMPED.

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He even stumped my nephew (a 19 year old med student who graduated 3rd in his HS graduating class) and his dad (who should be on Jeopardy because he knows ALL the answers before the contestants actually buzz in with them). My husband and kids always enjoy going into magic shops, like in Gatlinburg, TN, and checking out card tricks, etc. I’m telling ya … he had us stumped! We are still stumped! So, if you see him … yell at him … “hey, Magic Man!” You won’t be disappointed.

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After dinner, we ditched the kids and explored the ship some more ...

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We visited the shops, sampled the free liquor (we missed the martini tasting darn it!), and ended up at the Welcome Aboard Show at 10:30 p.m.

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Kinda cheesy with the inflatable boat and mascot, but who cares! We're on vacation!

 

They only have one show on this night, so get there early for decent seats. The cruise director, Brad Calabrese, is a hoot. He’s younger than I thought he’d be, and funnier. He reminds me of Neil Patrick Harris.

 

Introducing Brad .... I've tried 3x to flip this picture ...it looks right in Photobucket but not here ... I promise, he wasn't laying flat on the stage!

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So much enjoyed Brad on my Freedom cruise!

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Love your review and sorry for the loss of your stepdad. I am a Pepsi man for 40 years, 20 as a driver and 20 as a supervisor. I still have a few years left to work. DW and I will be on the freedom in Oct. I'm going to check flights out of Columbus because it is so expensive to fly out of Cincinnati.

 

Hey cincyman! Pepsi was a great company for my (step)dad (I refer to him as my dad since he did the HARD part of actually raising me). He started at the Springfield plant then moved to the Dayton plant for the last 10 years or so of his career. His route was in Xenia, where I work. I used to look for his Pepsi truck at his stops and take him lunch occasionally ... his favorite was a good, juicy Rallyburger! It still tugs at my heart when I see a Pepsi truck parked at one of his "old" stops.

 

Pepsi was very good to us after Bill's death. They sent a gigantic flower arrangement to the funeral home. They also sent my mom a beautiful keepsake that arrived several days after the funeral. Several drivers that my dad had worked with even came to his viewing. You are lucky to have worked for them for your entire career.

 

Regarding your flight, because we are right in the middle of three airports, I check flights to/from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton. You just never know! Cincinnati is about an hour and 15 minutes away, Columbus is about 50 to 60 minutes away, and Dayton is about 30 minutes away. If I can save some money, I'll drive a little farther! I've even checked Indianapolis, which is over 2 hours away! I've never flown to/from there, but I have the others. We've been luckiest with Columbus. Good luck on your flights and don't forget about Airfarewatchdog dot com! That's how we scored such great prices on DIRECT flights! And have a great time on your cruise! :D

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So much enjoyed Brad on my Freedom cruise!

 

He was fabulous! Like I said, very funny! Click

for a short video so you can reminisce!

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Day 3/Sea Day – First Elegant Night (June 12): So relaxing. I love sea days! This morning we decided to eat in the formal dining room to see how breakfast was there. Much. more. relaxed. Of course, a much smaller selection of items, but it’s so nice to order your food and have it served rather than standing in line for suspiciously yellow and fluffy scrambled eggs. The menu:

 

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Fried eggs with turkey bacon

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Eggs Benedict

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Bagels and locks (salmon and cream cheese)

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Fresh fruit ... they even cut it for you!

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I did not care for the Eggs Benedict but liked the taters and fresh fruit (cuz, really, how can you screw that up?). I had also ordered a side of pancakes, because I LOVE PANCAKES ... I make kick-butt homemade blueberry pancakes if I say so myself! ... I was sooooo looking forward to pancakes! ...... but they weren’t good either. My sister liked her fried eggs but did not like her turkey bacon. My mom really liked her cheese omelet (no pic, sorry!) and my BIL really liked the salmon, cream cheese, and bagels (bagels and locks for the more sophisticated folks!).

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