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sayvan

My Freedom Review - Kinda "Live" but not really with lots of pics

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Let me start off by welcoming you to yet another (ok I have only ever written one prior but just the same) semi-live review of our journey on Carnival's Freedom.

 

Of course this review isn't really live but I say semi-live because I kept very good track of what we were doing during our 8 day trip to the sunny and most importantly warm Caribbean. I say warm because well... you know that Polar Vortex thing... or should I say this never ending winter we seem to be having in most of the north.

 

I (we) hail from Canada. Southwestern Ontario actually, in a quant little city known as Stratford. So by this point, I am sure you are starting to understand the need for us to get out of dodge and into the sunshine and warmth.

 

As a little bit of background, my wife Vanda (who you shall meet during this review) and I have cruised quite a bit over the last few years. The majority of those cruises have been with Carnival but we have also sailed with Celebrity and Holland America. In 2013, we spent 34 days aboard the Celebrity Solstice as we cruised around Australia , the South Pacific and Hawaii. That review is still to come, albeit extremely late!

 

We are both 49 years of age, have professional occupations and although we usually cruise with family or friends and sometimes both, this time we decided to go it alone. The cruise itself was a last minute decision and we managed to find a great deal.

 

We don't spend a lot of time in our room (because you just have to enjoy every second possible) so although we have had balcony's in the past we often book an inside room and use the savings on other things such as .... well.... drinks of the day! Thus, on this trip we booked an inside room, aft location and on the seventh floor of Freedom known as the Empress Deck. Our room was #7407.

 

As for the pace of this review, bare with me. Sometimes life gets in the way and I need to well, actually work so I can get to my next cruise :rolleyes:. I will try to get to it everyday until she is done however you know the drill.

 

A few points, the opinions and what is expressed during the review are mine and although I can respect others may have a different view of things and I don't mind hearing what others may say I will not engage those negative type of posts....after all this is my vacation and well... you get to share it with me!

 

I also do not have any "food porn" pics... sorry about that but the food was great and I was busy eating it and never got around to taking a picture of it. I do however, have lots of shots of many of the shenanigans we got into during this trip and some tasty drink shots as well. You will not find any complaints from me during this review either. Like I said before, I was on vacation and complaining only creates negative energy. Now that's not to say we never ran into any issues cause life always throws ya a curve ball, but I try to simply catch that ball and move on!

 

So on that note...lets get on with the review...

 

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Edited by sayvan

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Ok... so here we go.

 

One of the reasons I wanted to do this review was because prior to our departure I couldn't find that many Freedom Reviews. Although, we had sailed eight times with Carnival in the past this was our first time on Freedom. The ship would be new for us but the set up was very familiar as our previous cruises were on the Valor, Liberty and Spirit. So two of the three we had been on were the same class. It's always nice to read what others have to say about the ship you are about to embark on.

 

First, a little about the cruise itinerary. This was an eight (8) day cruise that would offer us four (4) ports of call. We would also enjoy three (3) sea day's that in my opinion were placed very nicely. Our first day would be at sea and then we would visit Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Marteen and St. Thomas. This would then be followed by two sea days to close things out. The cruise was from January 25 - February 2.

 

Our journey began with a 1.5 hr drive from where we live to the Toronto airport. We would be staying overnight at the Toronto Delta West Airport hotel where they offered a shuttle to the airport and a pick up to get your car. We were able to use our Delta points for the overnight and parking for 9 days and thus my costs were the taxes only. All in all, our first night and parking cost about $21.

 

We flew on Canjet nonstop to Ft. Lauderdale on January 24th. The flight was uneventful (thus my ability to be here and write this) and before we knew it we were making our way around noon to our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. interesting note, the person sitting beside Vanda on the plane happened to be going on the same cruise! their room was actually just around the corner from ours... what are the chances!

 

I had booked the Cambria Suites at Dania Beach. I managed to get a very good rate and they offered a shuttle both from the airport and to the port the following day. When we arrived at the hotel our rooms were not yet ready so we had to wait around for about an hour and half but that was not really that bad because the hotel has a very large sitting area in the hotel lobby area (actually a restaurant) and they also offered free wifi so that allowed us to get caught up on things with friends and family back home.

 

After our wait, we were called to the front desk and off to our room, which was a suite located on the second floor with a view of the pool. While Vanda rested up a bit and dug into one of her books, I decided to head down to the fitness room and have a short workout.

 

There is not much around the hotel but a short 10-15 minute walk takes you to an area where there is lots of shopping, a Kmart and a few restaurant choices. Overall, the area is nice, the hotel very clean and they also offered a buffet breakfast for a small fee. I thought it was worth it.

 

Here are a few shots of our room:

 

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Looking forward to the rest of your review. We sailed on the Freedom a few years ago and are booked to sail her again in a couple of months. We can't wait (especially after this horrid winter)!

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After a restful night after a day of travel it was time to get ready for embarkation. I had scheduled our shuttle from the hotel for 11 am. The hotel was fully booked and all the guest seemed to be using the shuttle it seemed. We packed our bags up, attached our ship tags and made our way down to the lobby.

 

Vanda was ready to go with her fun hat already on!

 

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We arrived in the hotel lobby around 10:45 and the a shuttle was just leaving but was full. The weather was great so we decided to move outside and enjoy the warmth while we waited for the next shuttle to arrive. Within around 20 minutes the next shuttle was there and packed up and we were on our way to the port.

 

Now I had heard a lot about the FTTF pass everyone has been talking about and I wondered whether it was really worth it. In our case, from the time we left the hotel we were at the port, through security, signed for our room keys and on the ship within an hour. We encountered no lines at the port and moved right on through. Just after noon we were walking the Lido deck and sipping on our very first drink of the day!

 

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Here you can see the Oasis in the background:

 

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To be continued folks.....

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The first day is always so exciting... and of course this was a 'fun ship' so we started to enjoy the fun right away...The couple behind Vanda, although we didn't know them at the time would soon become a large part of our cruise!

 

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Of all our cruises, we have only ever left from Ft. Lauderdale once so I had only heard about the magnitude of the Oasis. I was looking forward to seeing this ship alongside the Freedom. My Son and Daughter had sailed her just last year and they loved the ship. I have heard it's a ship you either love or hate... I was very impressed by how big it truly is....

 

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Holland America was moored on the other side of us.

 

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A little panorama shot as well...

 

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That must be a really nice camera... love the last shot! Anyone ever tell your wife she looks like a young Barbara Streisand?

 

Thanks... I will let her know that.... I use a Nikon DSLR and then stitch the shots together and I use a Fugi camera for my underwater and panorama shots.

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So after walking around the ship for about another hour or so we decided to see if our room was ready yet and sure enough it was ready and waiting. We had been on the ship for just over an hour and we were in our room not long after 1 pm. I am glad I didn't waste the money on the FTTF pass... although I am sure it was just fine for those who did...I mean after all we were still waiting for our luggage to arrive ;)

 

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More than enough space for the two of us... I think I did mention this but in case you forgot this was an inside room on the Empress Deck, #7407. The room was located right at the corner to the hallway leading to the elevators. This was a category 4F.

 

The room itself was spacious and had ample storage and our suitcases fit perfectly under the bed and out of the way. The bathroom was the standard... all of them look the same so I didn't take any pictures of it.

 

As I mentioned above, the room was located around the corner from the staircase and elevators. However, noise was minimal. Occasionally we would hear folks running or chatting in the hallway but no bother really. It was perfect for us to get around the ship whether we were heading to the Lido or to the dining room. We avoided the elevators as much as possible.

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We were on this cruise as well-love the Freedom-we did a B2B and di the 6 day on 2-2-14. Looking forward to the rest of you review

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After dropping off our bags we decided to head back up to the Lido and grab a bite to eat. We had a big breakfast back at the hotel so we were not that hungry but hey we were on a cruise! So we headed up to grab some salad!

 

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then back out for another Drink of the day....

 

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With a full belly and feeling all refreshed from our drink of the day we decided it was time to explore this beautiful ship known as Freedom..

 

We made our way to the dining room first to scout out our dinner table location. We like to meet people when on vacation so we always ask for a large table. This time we had a table for 10. We were in the Posh dining room, table #441. We always ask for the late seating so on Freedom this was at 8:15pm

 

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The Posh Dining room viewed from our table location.

 

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After our visit in the Dining room we were headed back up to the Promenade deck to check out the sites. We made our first stop into Scott's Piano Bar. This is always a popular spot on a Carnival cruise but for some reason we never seem to make it to the Piano bar at night.... The décor in this bar was pretty cool..

 

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Loved the ceiling...

 

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We then headed into the night club...

 

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The Babylon Casino would be a frequent stop of ours over the next 8 days....

 

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We then headed into the Players Sports Bar

 

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More from the Players Sports Bar

 

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We then stepped into the Victoriana Main Theatre

 

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and then it was getting close to the time when we had to head for the Muster Drill. Vanda headed back to the room to see if any of our luggage had arrived and one suitcase had so she decided to start unpacking and I decided I needed to get back up to the Lido .... well you know why!

 

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After the Muster it would be time for sailaway.... but for now I need to take a break! I'll be back tomorrow for the sailaway!

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We were on this cruise as well-love the Freedom-we did a B2B and di the 6 day on 2-2-14. Looking forward to the rest of you review

 

Perhaps we ran into each other.... big ship but small world!

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Looking forward to your review. We're on the 12-13-14 sailing. It will be our first time on the Freedom and our first cabin on the Lido Deck. Great photos.

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Looking at your pictures-I believe I did see you around the ship from time to time-we have a great time on this cruise-thanks for the review.

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Loving all of the pictures! We'll be sailing her for the 2nd time on 4/5/14 and I'm loving the memories that are popping up from our 1st sailing. :)

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Loving all of the pictures! We'll be sailing her for the 2nd time on 4/5/14 and I'm loving the memories that are popping up from our 1st sailing. :)

 

Glad I could help with the memories!

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Looking forward to your review. We're on the 12-13-14 sailing. It will be our first time on the Freedom and our first cabin on the Lido Deck. Great photos.

 

Thanks... well perhaps I can get you on her sooner with my review and pics!

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Thanks... well perhaps I can get you on her sooner with my review and pics!

 

I wish ! LOL. I'll have to just pretend by imagining myself in your photos.

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ok... now where was I...

 

Ah yes... I had made my way back up to the Lido deck to fetch myself one more Drink of the day while my DW Vanda organized our stateroom a tad. By this time, it was almost that dreaded time... the Muster Drill! Now I have to admit we need to do this but I often wonder if anything really did happen would we all be so organized and lined up row to row waiting our turn to get on the life boat. As I stood on the lido deck snapping a few more pictures the call went off for the herds to make their way to a designated muster station.

 

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The Muster was out on the deck by our designated life boat. Although I am glad you no longer have to take your life jacket with you when we have sailed on other cruiselines the Muster Drill was held somewhere inside the ship like the theatre or a lounge. Not really sure which I prefer. Anyhow.... the mandatory muster lasted about 20 minutes and then we were back to the "fun".

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I wish ! LOL. I'll have to just pretend by imagining myself in your photos.

 

Photoshop is a great tool... send me a pic and I will place you in a few...lol! :D

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After the Muster it was back up to the Lido deck to watch the sailaway. I have to admit with an inside room it is usually at sailaway time that I miss the balcony the most. Then again, it is nice to join your fellow cruisers up on the open decks as the excitement builds and everyone is so happy to be on their way at last!

 

As we started to pull away from shore the sun was just beginning to set but still high enough in the sky to ensure we all got a good look as we headed for the high seas and the warm Caribbean sun!

 

In this shot the sun created an almost silhouette of the Oasis as we moved away from the dock.

 

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A view of the Port with a Pilot boat in the distance....

 

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Protection....

 

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Across the Bay...

 

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When home I often go on the web on a Saturday or Sunday to watch the ships sail out of port on the web cams that are located at Port Everglades or Port of Miami. Knowing that they always get some good shots of people onboard we headed for the upper deck of Freedom's Port side to make sure we could get on the Web Cam.... I have learn't over the years that if you have some big sign or a flag of some sort you will have a pretty good chance of getting the cam to find you. Thus, we were off on our first adventure of the cruise... get ourselves on the cam!

 

We knew that the Hyatt was one of the locations of the Port cam.

 

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This would be our target area. Another area where the Cam is located is in some condominium's just to the left (looking at the ship from Shore) of the Hyatt.

 

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We found an open spot and started to wave and jump when the people next to us, who just happened to live about an hour and half away from us pulled out a big Canadian flag and placed it across the railing... Bingo we had our spot!

 

Now, I have some work for you to do... I am going to post a link to the Port Everglades Webcam replay. To make this review even more real, I would ask you to click on the link, then when you get to the page at the top of the page there is a drop down menu. Put in Carnival Freedom, January 25th, 2014. This will then take you to our ship leaving port during our sailaway...yes that's right you all can really come along with us.... now once the video starts be watching very carefully between 1:20 and 1:30 and you will see Vanda and I jumping up and down as we sail by. I seem to be doing some kind of pumping action with both my arms. I am in the purple shirt and Vanda in the white. We are just to the left of the flag! OK... off you go... but be sure and come back for more of the review!

 

http://portevergladeswebcam.com/replay.php

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Photoshop is a great tool... send me a pic and I will place you in a few...lol! :D

 

Let me know how to send it. That would be fun. Should the picture be from one of our cruises?

 

I have to tell you that it is special that we are booked. Several weeks after coming home from our Breeze cruise last March, my husband announced he didn't want to go on any more cruises. He wasn't feeling well on the Breeze, so I think it was that more than anything.

 

During this cold, snowy winter we've had, one day he said, "I wish I was on a cruise." He said the word cruise again a few weeks later. So, that was all I needed to hear. I booked. I kept it a secret until Valentine's Day. His cards revealed the trip but what sealed the deal was the Power Point I made about all of the details, including pictures of friends who are cruising with us. Now, I think he's looking forward to it.

 

The bonus is that since our son and daughter-in-law live in Hollywood, FL just outside of FLL, we'll spend some Pre-Christmas time with then until we fly back home.

 

Sorry for the highjack. Thanks for a way to add to his idea of what it will be like to be on the Freedom.

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Well... did you enjoy that?

 

Freedom continued to make her way out of the channel and toward the Atlantic... our 8 days of fun was now officially happening. Here are a few shots from the sailaway.....

 

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We are almost out of the channel....

 

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Good Bye Florida...see you in 8 days....

 

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We were finally in the open seas...

 

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It had been a long day and as the sun was beginning to set we would be off to prepare for our first evening onboard... of course, first I pretty much needed a nap because I quickly realized that in the short few hours I was on board I'd had my share of drinks of the day and one or two wobbly pops....or maybe the ship was just rocking...

 

Standing at the railing the wind styles Vanda's hair...

 

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and then the sun said...see you tomorrow!

 

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Let me know how to send it. That would be fun. Should the picture be from one of our cruises?

 

Ok... send me a shot of you guys on a cruise or beach and I will have some fun and add you to my review...

 

Not sure how or whether its possible to contact other cruise critic members via the site but simply go to my web site at www.sayvanphotography.ca and then go to the contact section and send me a note. This will provide me with your email address and then I can send you an email and we can arrange from there.

 

:)

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great review.....we sail on her in a few weeks....can't wait !!! 9th Carnival cruise, first on Freedom though.

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Thanks for the fun review!!! Your pictures are amazing!!!

 

Thanks for following along....

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great review.....we sail on her in a few weeks....can't wait !!! 9th Carnival cruise, first on Freedom though.

 

This was our first time on Freedom as well. She was a lovely ship, in good condition and lots of fun.

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Ok... we need to do this very quiety because I am sitting in my office and I am supposed to be working so.... shhhhh...

 

Our first night on Freedom was rather tame to say the least. It had been a long day. We had the late dinner seating (as we always take) and we sat at a table of ten. Of course the first night is always fun at the table, kinda like a grade 9 dance where the boys stand on one side and the girls on the other. Each wanting to chat with the other, but to shy to bridge that gap on the dance floor. Only at the dinner table, we of course, sat in couples but each of us feeling out the others to see if the table was going to work out... you know what I mean? Usually just some small talk mixed in with awkward silent moments.... a bit like a high school reunion where everyone tells something about themselves and really who knows if its even true... every now and again some fake laughing.... lol.

 

But alas, all was working out just fine at dinner (except that I forgot to take my camera to dinner). We had a great table, two couples were fellow Canadians from Quebec and another couple was from the Miami area and the other couple were newlyweds from Maryland.

 

You remember the picture I showed at the start of Vanda double fisting some drinks of the day? here it is again to refresh your memory....

 

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Well as it turns out the couple in the background, just happened to be the Newlyweds sitting at our table. What are the chances of that really... close to 3000 passengers on this ship and "bazinga" a couple we happened to see on deck would be at our table... in fact i didnt even realize they were in this shot until I got home and reviewed my shots in more detail... but I seem to be straying from the review now....

 

We finsihed up dinner, everyone said their good nights and off we went, no doubt talking to our spouses about the table and thoughts on the other couples....

 

We went to the casino, lost some money and called it a day.... the first full day of this cruise would be a Sea Day.... thats next..

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