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Carnival Freedom July 27-August 4: Southern Caribbean Review with LOTS of Pictures!


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Hi!! I returned last Sunday from an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise on board the Carnival Freedom! :D

I have just uploaded all of the photos to my computer and am in the process of getting ready to start a review. I will write a day by day review here and include lots of pictures from the islands and the ship.


If anyone has any questions that you want answered or anything in particular you would like to see a picture of, just ask! I have pictures of just about everything on the ship and will try my best to answer any questions :)


To summarize the trip in a few words, it was great!! We all had a fantastic time and are looking forward to the next one!!

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Thanks for sharing your great cruise on the Carnival Freedom with us. She's a great ship, I've sailed her twice and had a great time. Looking forward to seeing your many pictures.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk. Please excuse any typographical errors.

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Alright! Let's get this thing started!


Just a little background information about us...we are a family of four from eastern Pennsylvania. I went on the cruise with my mom, dad, and sister. I am 24 and my sister is 20. I don't think my parents would appreciate me posting their ages so we will just say they are older than me! ;)


This was all of our 11th cruise, all of which have been taken with Carnival. We have always had great experiences with Carnival and for the price, find it to be a good value for what we look for in a vacation and what we look for on a cruise. And so, we decided to go on the Freedom this year for our summer vacation! We booked the southern itinerary because it included three ports we had not been to but have always wanted to see (Aruba, Curacao, and La Romana) :D


I will be back with the first real post later, so I will leave anyone reading with this for a while :)

My review will only get better from here!! I look forward to sharing my trip and memories with everyone :D

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Looking forward to reading your review!!


We were in Grand Turk with you, as we were on the Splendor. Did you go to Margaritaville? It was CRAZY!!!!



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In Cruise port in florida was there a vip (priority) lounge to check in since it was ur 11th cruise.


Yep, there is a priority lounge to stay in after check-in. It was for Diamond and Platinum (FTTF was in the regular check-in lounge). We were there early, so we spent some time there before boarding. It actually seemed to fill up quickly as boarding got closer but I also heard there were a good number of Diamond and Platinum members on board for the cruise.

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Looking forward to reading your review!!


We were in Grand Turk with you, as we were on the Splendor. Did you go to Margaritaville? It was CRAZY!!!!




We watched the Splendor come dock right next to us! No, we didn't go to Margaritaville, but I watched it a little bit from our balcony when we got back from our tour.


I tried to get back on the Splendor so I could get back to New York and drive home, but they wouldn't let me!!! :D


I also took a photo with one of the photographers on your ship by accident LOL!! :eek:

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We left for Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise, as we always do because you never know if there is going to be a problem, delay, etc. We had a 7:30 a.m. flight from Philadelphia to Atlanta and then a connection flight from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale.

We live about an hour and a half from the Philly airport and so we knew we had an early morning ahead of us! We all got up around 3:30 and left the house somewhere between 4:15 and 4:30! We got to the airport no problem a little after 5:30. We also parked our car at an independent airport parking company called Pacifico. I would highly recommend this for anyone traveling through Philadelphia and needing to part at the airport. It is very convenient, only a few minutes away from the airport, and a lot cheaper than regular airport parking. We took our car to the company and from there, an employee gets in the car and drives us to the airport. They dropped us off right at the terminal and from there, they take our car back to their parking lot for the week. When we return, we just call them and they bring the car back to us. They almost always have coupons online for cheaper rates and it saves us a lot of money! :)


We went through security and waited a while and got to the gate with about a half hour before boarding. The flight left on time and we arrived in Atlanta as scheduled. Our connection flight left Atlanta on time and we got to Fort Lauderdale around 1:00 right on time leaving us the afternoon to explore the city.





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From the airport, we got our bags and went to wait for the shuttle to the hotel. We were staying at the Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port. It is a great hotel for a quick overnight stay. There is a pool, patio, decent restaurant and bar, and it is only a 10-15 minute taxi ride to the beach area. It is also right across the street from the cruise port, so it makes for an easy trip the next morning. Plus, you can see the ship docked from the hotel! We have stayed here before this trip for a previous cruise and if I take a cruise from Fort Lauderdale again, I would not hesitate to stay again.


The rooms are a good size and reasonably priced. We are also in the priority club rewards program with the Crowne Plaza hotels group and so we get points for staying as well!


We got to the hotel before 2:00 and our room was ready, so we took our stuff up to the room and then decided to head out to the downtown beach area to walk around a bit and have dinner before returning for the evening. We easily got a taxi from the hotel and went to the A1A. We walked around by the shops, restaurants, and beach for a while and decided on a restaurant for an early dinner. We ate at a restaurant called the Drunken Taco, an outdoor Mexican-themed restaurant. It was okay...I would probably not return. The food was sort of bland and the service was not great. Next time, I would choose something different, as there are many options along the main street by the beach.


The side of the hotel:



Some pictures from Fort Lauderdale beach:










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Thanks everyone for your comments! I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!


After having dinner down by the beach, we walked around the bayside and marina a bit before heading back to the hotel. We just walked around a bit and looked at all of the boats along the bay. There are some great views and not a lot of people walking around, so it is pretty quiet and peaceful.








From there, we returned back to the hotel to call it an early night and make sure we had everything we needed for the Freedom tomorrow!!! It was a great afternoon but we were tired from being up so early and wanted to make sure everything was together to leave in the morning for the ship! We got a taxi back to the hotel and then we just came back, walked around the hotel for a bit, and called it a night.


The hotel was great and we only had one problem which was resolved pretty quickly. We were getting ready to go to bed when we realized that the one side of the carpet in the room near the wall was wet. Upon further investigation, we realized that the wet area also smelled like mildew or mold and figured it must be from a leaking air conditioner or something. But, since you could smell it from the one bed in the room, we called the main desk to get someone up to look at it. Someone came by, looked at it, confirmed that a pipe somewhere was leaking, and said they would get back to us in a few minutes. A few minutes later, the person we got a call that they were going to put us in a different room and they sent someone up to move all of our stuff for us. While it was inconvenient, I thought the hotel handled it well and the new room was great! Had a better view from the window too!!


This was also the night that shortly after they changed our room, we got an e-mail from Carnival about the cruise. Now we knew coming into Florida that Tropical Storm Dorian was not too far off in the Atlantic and based on the tracking and forecast, was likely going to impact our itinerary in some way, shape, or form. We have been on cruises twice where we have run into hurricanes and tropical storms (on the Glory in 2005 and Liberty in 2008) and experienced the resulting rough seas and rain. While it wouldn't be the ideal situation again(!!), we knew the ship would not put us in harm's way and were going to have a great time regardless of the weather! After all, it is vacation!


However, around 8 that night, I got an e-mail on my phone from Carnival explaining that because of the forecast of the storm and in order to have better weather throughout the cruise, our itinerary was going to be changed. Basically, Carnival reversed the itinerary...we were supposed to go from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Turk, then La Romana, then Aruba, and then Curacao. Now we would be visiting Aruba first, then La Romana, and then Grand Turk...we would also be staying overnight in Aruba....now wait a minute, what happened to Curacao you might be asking??!?!?! Unfortunately, our call in Curacao would be cancelled and the ship would overnight in Aruba instead. This was disappointing because we did book the cruise because of the itinerary and were really looking forward to visiting both Aruba and Curacao, but we could not let that ruin our trip! Instead, we were gaining an extra day in Aruba, which I had heard was a beautiful island! And we would have much better weather throughout the cruise....also a benefit!


I was to find out later in the week during the Behind the Fun Tour (more on that to come later) that our call in Curacao had to be cancelled because the port could not accommodate another ship on the day that we would have had to be there with the itinerary change. The result was that we were able to overnight in Aruba instead. Bummer! But I was thankful for the better weather! And Aruba was an absolutely beautiful place (more on that to come too!)!!


With that being said, we called it a night and were planning to get up early for the cruise!!! :D

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Finally I am back with more! My internet hasn't been cooperating since last night!


The next day, we woke up to being able to catch a glimpse of the ship outside the hotel window!! We had a quick breakfast in the hotel room of some bagels that we had bought at a store and we packed everything up for the cruise.


We decided we would leave around 10:00 for the ship and would take a taxi from the hotel. The hotel is literally across the street from the cruise terminal and so it is a very easy and quick drive. It takes about 10 minutes from the hotel to the actual terminal where the Freedom was docked. The hotel also runs a shuttle to the terminal for $8 a person. Considering there were four of us and we knew the taxi ride was quick, we decided it would be cheaper to take the taxi instead of the shuttle. Also, the shuttle did not leave until 11 and we wanted to get there a little earlier than that. So, we got a taxi and in all, the drive was about ten minutes and the cost less than $20 for all four of us.


I had my first photo opportunity of the Freedom as we were getting out of the taxi!



We got there a little after 10 and it seemed as though a few people were still clearing out from the previous cruise, but a few others had also arrived already. There were not many people there at all when we checked in and we went right through security and the check-in line. We were VIP and so went to the separate VIP check-in area. All in all, from dropping off our luggage with a porter, going through security, and checking-in to get our sail and sign cards, it took about 20 minutes. We were then directed to the VIP lounge, where there were some refreshments. We sat around there waiting and waiting until they started boarding, which seemed to take longer than usual. In our last few cruises, we have been on the ship already by 11:00-11:30 but this time, they did not start boarding until somewhere between 12:00 and 12:30. I thought this was later than usual and it seemed like we spent a lot of time waiting to get on there!!!


However, once we did get to board, we were probably the third family to board after the wedding parties and anyone who needed special assistance. I think one of the best perks of being platinum is getting to board the ship first and getting to explore a bit before anyone is around! :)


Once we got on the ship, we were able to go directly to our rooms since we are Platinum and so we went to quick drop off our bags before heading to Lido to eat. We had two balcony rooms on the Lido deck (cabins 9234 and 9238). They are next to each other but do not have connecting door inside. We ended up requesting the balcony partition be opened, which worked out really well. It let us have our own space but easily be able to go between rooms without having to go into the hallway and bang on the door. It also let us have a pretty large balcony for the week, which was great!!!


From there, we went to the Lido for lunch and then explored the ship, which I will write about in my next post! Pictures around the ship are up next as well!!!

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