All about the Carnival Freedom Cruise including what to do and where to go on your ports.
Last month I took advantage of some time off and went on a cruise, a Carnival Freedom Cruise to be exact. A glorious seven-day cruise. In January. In the dead of winter. And I got some of that amazing Caribbean sun. Oh take me back there now!
We planned this trip about eight months ago and I thought the day would never get here. We sailed out of Galveston which was perfect for my sister and I and our friends. We’re all from Texas so it was easy for us to take a road trip to get on the ship.
I purchased the parking after several of my fellow cruisers gave suggestions. I then did a bit of research and came upon Galveston Park N Cruise. They are directly across from where the ship departs and offer inside or outside parking. I’m frugal so I went with outside and didn’t have any issues. They do not have a shuttle so I dropped my sister off with all the luggage then went and parked. It was so easy to navigate without having to carry our luggage all over the place. Because you know your girl took a lot of luggage.
Our cruise departed on Sunday and our ports were Montego Bay, Cayman Islands and Cozumel. We had several sea days which means you are on the ship the entire day and night. This is the perfect time to explore the ship and all its amenities.
Once you arrive to the dock, there are porters there to greet you to help you with your bags. Once you fully pay for your trip and sign in online, Carnival has paperwork for you to print out which includes luggage tags. They are slips of paper you can put into luggage tags. Amazon has some specifically to fit Carnival size tags.
From there it was a breeze to get on board with no wait at all. We were an hour early for our time to board but we didn’t have to wait as there are two lines when you are getting on – designated time and early/late passengers.
As soon as we got on board we headed for the Lido deck where the pools and casual food are located. This is also the floor for the buffets and all the other casual dining. I am not much of a buffet person so we went with Guys Burgers and we were not disappointed. They have burgers ready to go and an array of toppings you can add – either hot there at the counter or cold items at the toppings area.
Our luggage was promptly outside our door at 1:30 so we were able to go unpack and settle in before we were back on the Lido deck for the Sail Away party.
Our room was a small inside cabin but it was perfect for us. We were able to meet our room steward and he was amazing. Our first day we asked for ice and every day after that when we would get back to our room, ice was there waiting for us which was so appreciated.
We had two sea days right off the bat so this gave us an opportunity to really learn the ship and just relax. There really is so much to do and the Cruise Director keeps you informed of what is going on at all times. And if you want to just relax and not do anything, you can do that too.
The Serenity Deck is perfect for adults only when you don’t want a huge crowd or kids running around. And there’s a bar up there for convenience too. They also have the clam shaped chairs but those are super hard to come by.
Port days were easy for us on this trip. The first stop, Montego Bay, everyone was so excited that there was a little congestion to get off but the line went super quick. We ended up taking a bus to a shop then the beach. This is the only port where transportation was a little sketchy. We didn’t have a planned excursion through Carnival so we were directed to a bus that would take us wherever we wanted to go for $5. We then got on and as we leave the attendant tells us we can take a tour with two store stops, sightseeing and a stop at the beach for $25. I felt swindled. We lowered the price for just one store stop and the beach and return trip but I still felt swindled. The Tropical Bliss Beach was meh but they had a bad storm the night before which meant a lot or murky water and seaweed to wade through. Next time I will plan an excursion.
In the Cayman Islands we had an excursion planned (privately) to swim with the stingrays and snorkeling but due to high winds it was cancelled. All stingray excursions and most other excursions were cancelled as well. One of our other fellow travelers mentioned the Royal Palms on Seven Mile Beach so we caught a bus there and had a great time. The buses were easy to find outside the port terminal and to return as well. It was $5 per person each way and then once you got to the beach club, there is a $2 entrance fee. There is also a fee for beach chairs and umbrella but it was worth it. The food was excellent and there was plenty of extra activities if you want to pay to do more.
Our last port was Cozumel, Mexico and we arranged a private beach for this excursion. A taxi was easy to find and for $20 total, he took us to the Nachi Cocom All Inclusive Beach Resort. I had prepaid online for this resort at $55 per person. This allowed us access to the beach, a covered lounge chair, pool, hot tub, restaurant and beach side service for drinks and lunch. It was heavenly. There were not many people at all which made it seem as if we had our own place which I loved. This was my favorite excursion because all I need is water, the sun, a book, drinks and food and I am set. See, I don’t ask for much.
Back on board we had another sea day before disembarking in Galveston on Sunday morning. After three straight days of port days, I was ready for some down time.
Disembarking the Carnival Freedom was the smoothest thing ever. My sister and I chose to have our luggage put out the night before for the stewards to take down for us. We then had to be out of our rooms and on the Lido deck waiting when the ship started disembarking at 8 am. The ship disembarks by floor and we were on the sixth floor. We had a leisurely breakfast at the buffet and within one hour we were being called down to start the process of getting off the ship. This was another easy process. Once we got down to where our luggage was located, we found an attendant to help us take our bags out. She was able to get us quickly through the passport line and to the area where I would go get my car and bring it around to pick up my sister and the luggage. My friends carried their stuff off and were on the eighth floor and we had to wait nearly an hour for them. So I would definitely suggest letting the staff take down your luggage.
Thank you to the Carnival Freedom Captain, Cruise Director and all the staff for making this cruise so delightful!
The trip was so smooth, easy and so relaxing and I am already hoping for a second cruise soon. I would highly recommend a Carnival Cruise. Stay tuned for my tips for first time cruisers as well as what to eat on the Carnival Freedom soon.