Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom, which was originally scheduled to operate six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on a seasonal basis, will now operate the program year-round, following the conclusion of its 2008 Mediterranean program in October.
Carnival Freedom’s year-round schedule from Fort Lauderdale begins November 22, 2008, with six-day cruises departing Sundays and visiting Key West, Fla., George Town, Grand Cayman; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, while eight-day voyages departing Saturdays alternate to the eastern and western Caribbean.
Eight-day eastern Caribbean voyages visit five ports: San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas/St. John, U.S.V.I.; Antigua, Lesser Antilles; Tortola/Virgin Gorda, B.V.I.; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Western Caribbean cruises include Cozumel, Mexico; Limon, Costa Rica; and Colon, Panama.
According to Lynn C. Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest services, “The Caribbean is, by far, the most popular cruising region for North Americans. It is easily accessible and affordable, and when combined with attractive, destination-rich itineraries such as these, a Caribbean cruise represents the ideal vacation choice for consumers.”
Torrent noted that while the plan had been for Carnival Freedom to return to Europe in 2009, the strong performance of the line’s entire Caribbean fleet made the new six- and eight-day deployment a compelling choice.
Exciting Six- and Eight-Day Cruises
On Carnival Freedom’s six-day cruises, guests can enjoy three distinctly different island experiences – Key West, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios – each of which offers excellent shopping and dining opportunities, along with a variety of “fun in the sun” activities, including magnificent beaches and watersports.
Carnival Freedom’s eight-day eastern Caribbean cruises feature five ports – San Juan, St. Thomas (optional shore excursion to St. John), Antigua, Tortola (optional shore excursion to Virgin Gorda) and Nassau – providing consumers a diversity of landside experiences, along with a variety of restaurants, shops and boutiques. A wide range of shore excursions are also offered, including horseback riding, scuba diving, hiking and kayaking. During an extended evening stay in San Juan, guests can also sample that city’s legendary nightlife.
In addition to historical sites and attractions, including centuries-old ruins, the eight-day western Caribbean cruises to Cozumel, Limon and Colon offer a multitude of dining, shopping and watersports experiences. A number of “adventure-type” tours, including canoeing, and white-water rafting, are featured, as well. From Colon, guests can experience all the wonders of the Panama Canal and even a unique bi-coastal railroad adventure.
Both of these eight-day cruises offer visits to ports that are usually available only on cruises of 10 days or longer. In addition, these cruises depart on Saturdays and return on Sundays, which allow them to fit into the consumer’s traditional one-week vacation pattern.
Variety of ‘Fun Ship’ Amenities
Spanning a length of 952 feet, Carnival Freedom offers a variety of on-board amenities and facilities: a 14,500-square-foot health and wellness facility, a jogging track, a duty-free shopping mall, full casino gambling, and 22 lounges and bars, including a multi-level theater showcasing lavish revues.
Dining options include two two-level main dining rooms offering extensive menus and wine lists, a 1,200-seat poolside eatery with full breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets and a 24-hour pizzeria, and an elegant reservations-only supper club.
Family friendly amenities include children’s programs for three different age groups – “Camp Carnival” for kids ages 2-11, “Circle C” for ’tweens, and “Club O2” for older teens – with facilities and activities for each.
Carnival Freedom also offers a variety of accommodations including a wide selection of balcony staterooms and suites – perfect for scenic cruising. All Carnival Freedom accommodations feature the Carnival Comfort Bed sleep system with plush mattresses, luxurious duvets and high quality linens and pillows. Carnival Freedom also houses an Internet Café, along with ship-wide Wi-Fi access and cell phone service.
Reservations are currently being accepted for the Carnival Freedom’s year-round six- and eight-day voyages from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Special rates for third and fourth guests sailing in the same stateroom, along with round-trip air supplements from a variety of North American gateways and pre- and post-cruise South Florida land stays, are also available.
For additional information and reservations, call 1-800-327-9501 (individual) or 1-800-327-5782 (groups) or visit the line’s travel agent Internet portal, bookccl.com.