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Review of the Carnival Freedom
Cruise Date: November 2010
Booking: Travel Agency
Embarkation: FT LAUDERDALE
Cabin number: 6223
Cabin category: BALCONY
FREEDOM RIDERS 2010
AGUDF Cruise Nov 2010 - Day 1 travel day
Ok Neal - since I am posting first, everyone will believe my stories right?
We left the house early because if anyone knows Dallas traffic - it can sometimes be a nightmare in morning rush hour which is exactly when we had to travel to make a 9:30 AM flight. Amazingly enough, when we got about 5 minutes away from the airport and smiled at each other because we had run into absolutely no traffic the whole trip and were way to nervous to jinx it by saying anything out loud before we got close. This was going to be a great trip if everything else went this smoothly
We got checked into the airport and settled in to have some breakfast before we boarded the plane. We talked to Dewy and Lorrie and everything was great on their end too and made plans on where to meet at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Our first leg was to Austin, TX and the flight was full so crammed in like salty little fish we were. Our second leg onto Ft Lauderdale was over sold - so again - no luck on an empty seat between us and they actually had to pull SW employees off the plane because they said we were too heavy! OMG had Robby really packed that much?
We got to FLL just a couple of minutes late and found Dewy and Lorrie right where we planned. We gathered all our luggage, called the hotel shuttle, he was right there and off we went. Come to find out there was a couple on the shuttle that said that they had been waiting over an hour and he was very grumpy about it. Dewy made the greatest comment that hey - we are all on vacation, in paradise, and on our way to a cruise, so what can be so bad? Shut the guy right up. Then there was the couple behind us that told us about being delayed because they were putting duck tape on the plane's windshield do to some bids hitting it. OMG - duck tape? Really? Come to find out it was a special metal tape especially made for this. You just can't fix gullible can you?
We got to the hotel (La Quinta Hollywood, FL) - which is fabulous by the way and in a great location. Our King rooms were ready so we moved in and decided we were hungry. Off to the Friday's in the mall next door we went. Several cervezas and snacks later we were ready to party when Christine and Gary showed up in the mini van they drove up from Miami. We all decided that we need to make a run to Costco for carry on alcohol so off we went on a 2 hour tour of one street in Ft. Lauderdale. Stirling Blvd I believe it was called. OMG - we started giggling about 30 minutes into the trip that the guy walking on the sidewalk was moving way faster than the cars! We finally make it to Costco, made our purchases and head back to the Hotel - different route for sure! Our Costco doesn't have a liquor section and I sure wish it did after the great prices we saw and took advantage of.
On the way back to the hotel - we all decided we were hungry and went off in search of dinner. We stopped by a place that we had read about on the internet but there was a crazy wait (sat night and all) so we went over to a little neighborhood Italian place we had spotted at lunch. All of the guys took one sniff of what was in the air and said - yep we are eating here. Well we were not dissapointed! If you get a chance to eat at Sal's - do it! The most wonderful authentic Italian with wonderful bread and meatballs the size of your fist - awesome!
We all called it a night and agreed to meet up at the dock shooting for about 11 the next morning.
AGUDF Cruise Nov 2010-Day 2 Embarkation
We woke up from a wonderful hotel bed induced stupor all ready to go - it's time to kick this pig and get the party started! We went down to the hotel breakfast to meet with some of our travel mates - Lorrie and Dewy and enjoyed a great meal of bagels, fresh waffles, eggs and more - yummo! We went back to our rooms to gather up all our luggage again and met out front of the hotel waiting for the shuttle. All this time Lorrie was still harping on the fact that we should rub it in with Stubby so as we were waiting I sent him a quick pic mail on his phone of all our shining faces all geettered up for fun!
The shuttle was a nice quick efficient ride to the pier. All of the ships seemed to be in dock today and everywhere there was beautiful ships gleeming in the sun.
We got our luggage handled with a porter right away and were on our way into the terminal. We walked around a corner to the first station which was the metal detectors and xrays for your carryons. We noticed that when we got up there - there was a little wait for the scanner to the right of us but none in the VIP line so we asked the attendant if we could just go through there and she said sure come on - just be quick in case there are some more VIPs coming - so quick as bunnies through we went with all of our bottles of wine and everything!
Then up the stairs to the area where you check in and get your sail & sign - I think we only waited here maybe 15 minutes in line and were at the counter. All check-in we met up with Gary and Christine and all sat together about another 30 minutes till they let us board the gangway! Our first chance to bong and we were on the ship - whoop whoop!
We all decided that we needed food and beverages so up to the Lido we went. It was still nice and quiet so we found a great spot and had some DOD's and lunch. When the all clear was given for our cabins we all split up and headed down to find them and get settled in.
We of course had the mandatory safety briefing and then went up on deck for sail away. The weather was lovely - the sunset fantastic and the view of the port was breathtaking.
we all planned to meet up together at lunch and went back to our cabins to unpack. All of our luggage finally made it minus our liquor purchase made at Costco. Seems we would have probably been better off taking it along in our carryon but oh well.
We got dressed for dinner and off we went. When we got to our table, which was a round 10 top in the middle of the bottom florr right in the middle of all the action - we have the best TA ever! Lorrie made Dewy and I sit with our backs to the front door and looking out over the water. Kathi and John sat down and we all introduced ourselves and the next thing I realize is that Stubby and Betty are standing behind me! OMG! My premonitions had come true! They were going to cruise with us! Well - it was a fantastic evening to say the least culminating with the welcome aboard show and our first night being rocked to sleep on the ocean!
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