Carnival offers Freedom to explore Europe
Ship Review by Michael Coleman, July 2007
The world’s most popular cruise line carved its niche in the Caribbean, but today’s Carnival also wows passengers aboard a new floating resort with Europe as its playground.
The 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom debuted to much fanfare in Venice, Italy, and offers the onboard amenities one expects from the line that literally invented modern-day cruising
While Freedom still offers the tried-and-true components of a “Fun Ship'” experience – four swimming pools, a 214-foot-long waterslide, a host of bars and kick-back revelry – look for new twists.
The culinary component has always played a huge role in the Carnival experience and Freedom does not disappoint. Chic and Posh are the two main onboard dining rooms featuring the talents of French master chef Georges Blanc, but some of the best steak and seafood entrees at sea appear in the intimate, reservations-only Sun King supper club for a nominal fee. Food stations, too, offer a mix to please any palate – from Asian and Chinese to standard American fare – but Freedom’s deli and fish-and-chip serving stations are runaway favorites. Whether imbibing in a great European wine or culinary feast shoreside, there’s always the guilty pleasure of returning to Freedom’s pizza and ice cream, served 24-hours-a-day.
The ship also has a wonderful onboard tangible which can only be duplicated by a few lines at sea. There’s something magical about sailing into Venice – even in light rain – as world-renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti appears in concert at the same time, in stereo, on the ship’s 12-foot-high by 22-foot-wide poolside screen. Carnival’s Seaside Theatre remained a big hit throughout the voyage, as additional concerts, movies and sporting events, often under the stars, were featured.
Of the 22 onboard lounges, few compared to the ship’s Habana Cigar Bar. As word spread of the cozy retreat, even non-smokers pulled up comfortable leather chairs to soak in the atmosphere of pre-Castro Cuba. Soft lighting added to the effect, as did the historic cigar box labels which adorned the walls. Movie sets don’t look this good.
The ship’s 1,487 staterooms – 60 percent of which feature either an ocean view or balcony – include the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high-quality linens and pillows. An Internet cafe, bow-to-stern Internet wireless access, cellular phone service, a casino and Vegas-style shows are but a few of Freedom’s onboard amenities.
Worried the kids aren’t ready for Europe just yet? Freedom offers supervised activities and extensive facilities for children and teens, complete with a 4,200 square-foot play area and 1,800 square-foot teen club.
Looking and feeling good at sea has never been easier.
Healthier onboard culinary options, a spacious health club and a host of spa treatments signal a bold new step for Carnival, one that encourages passengers to relax, rejuvenate and recharge.
In the dining rooms, Spa Carnival Fare features 50 different salads, appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts, all low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium content and free of trans-fat. Health-conscious passengers can also enjoy 35-item salad bars, 24-hour frozen yogurt stations and vegetarian selections at meal times.
Starters include langoustino and shrimp on shaved fennel salad, low calorie lemon dressing and charred broccoli and cauliflower tortellini, served with slow-cooked tomato broth. For the main course, look for seared supreme of chicken over grilled pineapple, wild mushroom medley and cured watermelon and peppered fillet of tilapia over ratatouille, zucchini cannelloni and asparagus nage.
The ship’s 13,300-square-foot health club, replete with expansive ocean views, is beyond compare. It features the latest exercise equipment – from stair-climbing and rowing machines to treadmills and stationary bicycles – along with organized, instructor-led fitness classes. The health club is also home to a sophisticated menu of European-style spa therapies and treatments for men, women and teens.
The menu includes aroma stone therapy (heated volcanic stones and therapeutic aromatherapy oils, used on key energy points of the body) and the Elemis exotic lime and ginger salt glow (a skin revitalizing treatment that uses a blend of fresh lemons, limes, sea salt and oils) to leave skin vibrant and glowing.
Look for full-body massages, seaweed wraps, facials and mudpacks. Couples massages, pamper packages, cellulite reduction programs and even teeth-whitening treatments by Go Smile are the norm aboard this vessel. Tonsorial services for men, a beauty salon, complete with hair styling, manicures and pedicures, a boutique with spa and salon products for sale, steam rooms and saunas are among the additional onboard amenities.
Golf enthusiasts, too, have something to crow about. Onboard instruction, rental equipment and the opportunity to play some of the finest courses during the ship’s voyages are but a swing away.
- Year Built: 2007
- Year Entered Fleet: 2007
- Maximum Passengers: 3,700
- Passenger Decks: 13
- Number of Crew: 1,150
- Total Staterooms: 1,487
- Suites with balcony: 52
- Suites, no balcony: 0
- Ocean View with balcony: 503
- Ocean View, no balcony: 355
- Inside: 577
- Inside Atrium View: 0
- Card Room
- Game Arcade
Spa / Wellness / Fitness
- Fitness Center
- Full Service Spa
- Sauna/Steam Room
- Beauty Salon
- Outdoor Pool
- Internet Center
Children / Teens
- Organized Age-Specific Activities
- Outdoor Children’s Play Area
- Dedicated Teen Center
- Teen Programs
- Children’s Pool
- Youth Staff
- Babysitting Available
- Traditional Assigned Seating
- Formal Nights
- Specialty/Alternative Dining Venues
- 24-Hr Venues
Other Facilities / Services
- Duty-Free Shops/Boutiques
- Self-Service Laundromat
- Concierge Desk
- Infirmary/Medical Center
- Safe Deposit Boxes