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   Cruise Travel - Cruise Ships


Carnival Cruise Line

MS Carnival Freedom

Rating:Four Stars
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Operator: Carnival Cruise Lines
Year Built / Last Refurbished: 2007 / 2007
Length / Tonnage: 951 / 110,000
Number of Cabins / Passengers: 1,487 / 2,974
Officers / Crew: Italian / International
Operating Area: Year round Mediterranean

Built at a cost of $500 million at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri, Italy, the new 2,974-passenger "Fun Ship" is the fifth in Carnival's highly successful Conquest-class, which also includes Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty. She entered service in spring 2007.

Stretching more than three football fields in length (U.S.), the 952-foot- long vessels houses an unprecedented 22 lounges, nightspots and bars, everything from pulsating dance clubs and three-deck-high, 1,500-seat theaters showcasing lavish Las Vegas-style revues to piano bars, jazz clubs, sports bars, wine and caviar bars, cigar bars and a host of live music venues.

Public Areas
The CARNIVAL FREEDOM features an interior design theme that takes guests on a journey through the centuries by decade. From ancient Babylonia to the heyday of disco, from the 19th-century Victorian era to the contemporary style of the 1990s, the public rooms of CARNIVAL FREEDOM celebrate many periods in time.

"I thought it would be interesting to go back in time to find inspiration for the various public rooms," said Joe Farcus, Carnival's ship architect. "As always, I tried to use the function of the room to suggest how the room will reflect the central design idea."

When guests step into Freedom's Millennium atrium, they are transported into the near-future decade of the 2010s represented by cylindrical forms painted in iridescent lacquers that take on red or gold tones — depending on the angle — and cutouts of wood veneer that have been dyed to look like tiger skin, lined with polished copper. Curved railings are done in blue glass, and the theme is carried on to the elevator lobbies where stainless steel elevator doors are decorated with applied copper designs.

Glass and copper chandeliers hang from the ceiling amid columns and beams accented with special iridescent glass tiles. Smaller versions of the chandeliers are used as wall lights with color-changing internal lighting.

The Victoriana show lounge is named after Britain's Queen Victoria, whose name also is associated with the fashion style that peaked in the 1880s. The room's design evokes theaters in London's West End with ornate moldings, fancy marble and gold leaf. The walls adjacent to the stage feature scattered giant curlicues with twinkling lights, and arches between the windows contain pre-Raphaelite paintings from the era. The eye-catching centerpiece of the theater is a mural-decorated dome with a crystal chandelier.

The 1990s were all about style, and that is reflected in the forward and aft restaurants — the Chic and Posh Dining Rooms, respectively. The walls feature a combination of striking polished marbles and a special wood veneer laminated in a fashionable python skin pattern. Marble and antique gold grillwork with fruit, vines and leaves is mounted between the banquettes. The mood of the restaurants can be changed dramatically through innovative lighting strips containing small color-changing light bulbs that meander around the rooms and create a sparkling effect.

Named after Louis XIV, the Sun King Supper Club represents the glory days of the 18th century. A statue of Louis as the Sun King — a nickname given to him from a role he played on stage — greets diners as they enter the restaurant and an impressive period chandelier hangs in the skylight dome with smaller versions suspended throughout the room. Other design features of the era include elaborate tapestries, antique mirrors on the walls and a large mural depicting the court of the King in trompe l'oeil.

The Player's Sport Bar shines with chrome, sports medallions and memorabilia highlighting the 1950s, often referred to as the "golden era of sports." The bar features a canopy done in lacquer and adorned with photographs of famous sports teams from the mid-20th century. Giant plasma screen televisions throughout the bar ensure that no one misses a big play.

Club 02, the ship's teen club, pays tribute to the new millennium with a distinctly contemporary design. Plasma screens throughout the room serve as kinetic art, with continuously changing posters, paintings and landscapes. In the adjacent game room, LED digital clocks are positioned along the walls and ceiling with the year constantly changing to highlight the first decade of the 21st century.

Guests will feel at home in platform shoes at the Studio 70 dance club which will focus on the 1970s when disco was in its prime. An updated version of the famed Studio 54 disco in New York, Studio 70 will have giant "70s" on the walls done in a colored stainless steel with interior color-changing, pulsating lights, while sofas are done in giant seven and zero shapes with upholstered seats and glass backs. The room's black interior comes to life with spinning mirror balls hanging from the ceiling, completing the distinct retro atmosphere.

Guests choosing to enjoy a glass of wine on the promenade will step back in time to the 1890s at Bar Nouveau. Designed in art nouveau style with a stained-glass backlit dome and inlaid marble walls and floor, the wine bar features small tiles curved out into coves along the ceiling made of sandblasted mirror for an unusual effect.

Representing the earliest epoch featured in the ship's design — 1000 B.C. — the Babylon Casino recalls the Babylonian palace of its most famous king, Hammurabi, and takes its theme from the famed Hanging Gardens of ancient Babylon. A reproduction of the legendary Ishtar Gate is done in blue-glaze brick with applied mythological animals and decorations of flowers and geometric designs, while brick columns with Babylonian winged figures are found throughout the casino. The fabled Hanging Gardens are depicted on polished stainless steel with painted flowers.

Merging the ship's name with the theme of the interior décor, the poolside Freedom Restaurant incorporates the modern design style of the 1980s. Various replications of the Statue of Liberty are incorporated into the restaurant décor, and copper sunbursts echoing Lady Liberty's headpiece can be found in the tabletops and on the walls.

Among other decades represented in CARNIVAL FREEDOM's public rooms are the 1940s in the Habana Cigar Bar, with barstools and tabletops resembling cigars; the 1770s in the Monticello Library evocative of the American colonial style; the 1910s in Scott's piano bar, named after ragtime piano master Scott Joplin; the 1930s in Swingtime jazz club, hearkening back to jazz's early days; and the 900s in the Dynasty Room, an homage to ancient China.

CARNIVAL FREEDOM extends Carnival's relationship with Miami Beach's Joe's Stone Crab restaurant, whose crab claws are among the featured menu items in The Point, a "steakhouse-style" supper club. CARNIVAL FREEDOM is the fourth "Fun Ship" to offer Joe's crab claws.

Located at the top of the FREEDOM's soaring 11-deck-high atrium, The Point offers a décor featuring the works of Impressionist Georges-Pierre Seurat, with images inspired by his famous painting "Le Cirque (The Circus)," created in the artist's distinctive "pointillism" style. Passengers looking to dine at The Point are charged a $25 per person reservations fee.

This Impressionist theme is also carried out in the Freedom's two-level Renoir and Monet formal restaurants, which offer a menu that includes eight different soups, salads and appetizers, seven main courses, including broiled Caribbean lobster tail once each cruise, and six desserts nightly. "Spa Carnival Fare," items lower in fat, calories, sodium and cholesterol, and vegetarian and children's selections, are available nightly, as well.

The selections at the casual Restaurant Cezanne, located pool side on Lido Deck 9, includes full breakfast and lunch buffets featuring dozens of hot and cold items; a New York-style deli with sandwiches and traditional side dishes; Asian and American specialty areas; "Taste of the Nation" featuring different cuisine from around the world each day; a rotisserie offering broiled meats and chicken; and a 24-hour pizzeria, serving seven different kinds of pies and calzone, along with Caesar salad and garlic bread, 'round the clock.

Also housed within the 1,200-seat restaurant are pasta and meat-carving stations, extensive salad and dessert bars and 24-hour self-serve ice cream and frozen yogurt stations. The restaurant also serves as the venue for Carnival's popular "Seaview Bistro" alternative dinner-time service.

CARNIVAL FREEDOM also includes a patisserie, Café Fans, on Promenade Deck 5 serving flavored coffees, espressos, cappuccinos, liqueurs and lattes, as well as decadent confections such as chocolate covered strawberries, banana splits, carrot cake and apple strudel.

Guests in CARNIVAL FREEDOM's 1,487 cabins can enjoy complimentary 24-hour stateroom service with newly revamped menus featuring such items as Focaccia Sandwich with Grilled Zucchini, Fresh Mozzarella and Portobello Mushrooms, and Whole Wheat Wrap with Cheddar Cheese, Refried Beans and Lettuce, along with a variety of sandwiches, chips, fruit, desserts, etc.

Who Goes
EVERYBODY who likes cruises ought to cruise with the CARNIVAL FREEDOM at least once. A typical passenger load includes a pretty fair cross section of the bulk of America's people. More clean cut and well scrubbed than you might think, and a lot younger than you will find most anywhere else, CARNIVAL FREEDOM can and does appeal to any age group from cradle to grave.

Is the CARNIVAL FREEDOM really perfect for everyone? Theoretically, yes....but practically, no. This is not a ship for you if you need the quiet ambience of a retirement home, the soothing confines of the nave of the Cathedral of Notre Dame...it's also probably not the ship for the insecure who need to be front and center, the star attraction among cruise passengers...because very few people are likely to be noticed for long here.This does not mean that you won't get good service, because you will...but don't expect this crew of over 1000 to remember your name. Nor is it for anyone demanding a high level of constant personal service and attention. Other ships in Carnival's extended family would be better choices for someone seeking that.

CARNIVAL FREEDOM operates on Mediterranean & Greek Isles itineraries between April and October and Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries during the Fall and Winter. She also offers two extended transatlantic crossings between the European and Caribbean seasons.

If you still don't think Carnival's got the fun, you would be wrong....and if the other ships in this amazing fleet aren't for you....and we guess there are some people out there who wouldn't like them....you need to check out the CARNIVAL FREEDOM. Enough said.

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