Carnival Freedom – Western Caribbean

Inaugurating Service From Texas aboard Carnival Freedom

Join us in February as we set sail on Carnival Freedom's first sailing from Galveston, Texas! Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Join us in February as we set sail on Carnival Freedom’s first sailing from Galveston, Texas! Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Hot on the heels of our first Live Voyage Report in the Caribbean, we’ll be travelling to Galveston, Texas in February to see Carnival Cruise Lines welcome their Carnival Freedom to her new homeport in the Lone Star State.

The 2,974-guest ship, which was built in 2007, underwent a massive US$70-million makeover in 2014 that added new features and venues. The 952-foot long Carnival Freedom helped to welcome Dr. Seuss to the Carnival family, with the first-ever Dr. Seuss Bookville facility at sea – a shipboard library for kids that has been put through the INSTANT-FUN-IZER machine to encourage kids to read. After all, as the Good Doctor himself once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Carnival Freedom recently underwent a massive refurbishment program. Shown here is Dr. Seuss Bookville, part of Carnival's unique Seuss-at-Sea programme for kids. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Carnival Freedom recently underwent a massive refurbishment program. Shown here is Dr. Seuss Bookville, part of Carnival’s unique Seuss-at-Sea programme for kids. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

For the adults, Carnival Freedom now features Guy’s Burger Joint, the EA Sports Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina (a favorite of mine from my time onboard Carnival Breeze), the Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Our six-night Western Caribbean cruise begins on Sunday, February 15th – but before that, we’ll be attending a special event in Galveston on February 14th that, appropriately given Carnival Freedom’s name, honours those who have fought to preserve the freedom of others. Carnival has teamed up with Operation Homefront to honour military families with a special pierside event on the evening of Saturday, February 14th. Operation Homefront provides financial and other assistance to American soldiers and their families. In 2013, they provided US$4.7 million in school supplies to military families in the United States, US$41 million in mortgage assistance, and Christmas toys to 31,648 military children.

Our Carnival Freedom Live Voyage Report will kick off with a special pierside event in Galveston on February 14, 2015. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
Our Carnival Freedom Live Voyage Report will kick off with a special pierside event in Galveston on February 14, 2015. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The pierside event will include a special Carnival LIVE concert (though exactly who will be performing is still a closely-held secret), along with cocktails, dinner and entertainment.

Carnival has long supported charitable functions, and this partnership with Operation Homefront reflects the company’s desire to help others.

Of course, a big reason for being in Galveston is to experience Carnival Freedom herself – which is why, on Sunday, February 15th, we’ll be setting out on an exciting six-night Western Caribbean cruise. Our full itinerary, both here and onboard:

Carnival Freedom, Western Caribbean

DATEPORTARRIVEDEPART
February 14, 2015Galveston, TexasEmbark Carnival Freedom in Galveston; pre-cruise event for Operation Homefront. Overnight in Galveston
February 15Galveston, TexasOvernight4:00 PM
February 16Fun Day At Sea
February 17Costa Maya, Mexico1:00 PM8:00 PM
February 18Cozumel, Mexico8:00 AM4:00 PM
February 19Progresso, Yucatan, Mexico9:00 AM5:00 PM
February 20Fun Day At Sea
February 21Galveston, Texas8:00 AMDisembarkation
Our Western Caribbean itinerary will give us the chance to explore some of Mexico's ancient Mayan ruins. Shown here is Chichen Itza. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons
Our Western Caribbean itinerary will give us the chance to explore some of Mexico’s ancient Mayan ruins. Shown here is Chichen Itza. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

On our voyage, Carnival Freedom will run an all-Mexico Western Caribbean itinerary, calling on Costa Maya, Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico. Of the three ports of call, only Cozumel is familiar to me; the rest are new. Here’s why I am excited about these ports: they’re the gateway to some of Mexico’s most historic ruins, like the ancient Mayan temple of Chichen Itza and the seaside fortress known as Tulum.

Of course, you can also choose to hit the beach, do some duty-free shopping, shop for pottery, and everything in between.

Cozumel, Mexico as seen from onboard Grandeur of the Seas. Photo © Aaron Saunders
Our voyage will take us to Cozumel, Mexico (shown), as well as Progresso and Costa Maya. Photo © Aaron Saunders

The real draw for me, though, is the newly-minted Carnival Freedom. The last of Carnival’s Conquest Class of cruise ships, Carnival Freedom is 110,000 tons of pure Fun Ship. Their kids programs are rivaled only by Disney, with special clubs designed specifically for different age groups. Adults can choose from a variety of activities, bars, lounges and dining venues, not to mention just kicking back and relaxing poolside or partying the night away. A Carnival cruise is designed to be fun for people of all ages and walks of life, and the line more than delivers in that respect.

The Victoriana Main Show Lounge aboard Carnival Freedom. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.
The Victoriana Main Show Lounge aboard Carnival Freedom. Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Designed by the line’s longtime interior designer, Joe Farcus, Carnival Freedom certainly isn’t shy about expressing herself – but her interiors aren’t as loud as her predecessors. There’s the Victoriana Main Lounge, which not only acts as the ship’s main show theatre but also subtly channels the great Victorian-era theatres of Europe in its design and construction. Both of Carnival Freedom’s main dining rooms – the Posh and Chic Restaurants – look like they’d be at home on Carnival’s ultra-luxury subsidiary, Seabourn (if Seabourn were whimsically-inclined). And the Habana Bar channels Hemingway’s Old Havana, complete with a faux fireplace.

Carnival Freedom departs Fort Lauderdale on her last Florida-based voyage on February 2, 2015 – a special 12-night Southern Caribbean sailing that finishes in Galveston in time for us to embark on her very first voyage from Texas. It’s only my second-ever Carnival cruise, and personally, I’m looking forward to sailing with the line again – and discovering what Carnival has to offer in Texas and the Western Caribbean!

Join us in the Western Caribbean aboard Carnival Freedom! Our Live Voyage Report runs from February 14-21, 2015. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
Join us in the Western Caribbean aboard Carnival Freedom! Our Live Voyage Report runs from February 14-21, 2015. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Carnival Freedom, Western Caribbean

DATEPORTARRIVEDEPART
February 14, 2015Galveston, TexasEmbark Carnival Freedom in Galveston; pre-cruise event for Operation Homefront. Overnight in Galveston
February 15Galveston, TexasOvernight4:00 PM
February 16Fun Day At Sea
February 17Costa Maya, Mexico1:00 PM8:00 PM
February 18Cozumel, Mexico8:00 AM4:00 PM
February 19Progresso, Yucatan, Mexico9:00 AM5:00 PM
February 20Fun Day At Sea
February 21Galveston, Texas8:00 AMDisembarkation
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