October 01, 2013

Carnival Freedom cruise; September 21 - 29, 2013

I chose this cruise because it was 8 days and it goes to islands that we have never been to. Both are good things. We have taken several 7 day cruises so adding one more day was something I liked. The islands we visited were Grand Turk, (La Romana) Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before. While there I decided to visit the Alec Bradley home office.

Mike Serota of Alec Bradley Cigars


Mike met us at the door and took us on a tour of the facility. But first, we relaxed in the board room and enjoyed cigars and espresso.

 
In the warehouse. Jim with his Alec Bradley hat.





Connie, Mike, and I



We left the Alec Bradley office and went to Cuenca Cigars. It was a short taxi ride away.




Anna Cuenca was a very gracious host. She gave me some robustos of her new 5th Anniversary cigar. She also gave me one of her house cigars that was a very good, inexpensive cigar. She says it's one of her best sellers.






Then, back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow it's sailing day!

We purchased the Faster to the Fun package to get on board early. It worked very well. The check in was very fast. We were told to wait in a special area. Then about 11:30 we left to get on board. We could go straight to our room. Our luggage was already there! That's an advantage with the Faster to the Fun package. Here are pics of the room and our extended aft balcony.








After dropping off our carry on items in the room it was time for lunch, then we went straight to the Panarama Deck for cigars and sun!








The second night was the first Elegant Night. Here is our group at our dining room table in our finest.

Ginger and Jim


Vicki and Mark


Tom and Diane


Me with Connie


We stopped off to get some phots taken at the piano backdrop. I think they came out very good.

 


 



Monday was our first island stop; Grand Turk.




We could have stayed near the ship but chose to take the 500 yard walk down the beach to Jack's Shack. You could see the ship easily from the beach.





Jack's Shack










 


Connie with the famous "Topher". His name is actually Christopher Columbus but they call him "Topher" for short.
 
 
Topher liked to do one thing...dig, and he did it a lot!
 
 
 


 







 
 
 
One thing Connie loves to do is walk the beach. She does it on every island we visit.
 
 
 
 
The view of the beach and water from Jack's Shack.
 
 
 
 
Then, back to the ship. Tomorrow is La Romana, Dominican Republic.
 
 
 
 
The shoreline of Grand Turk
 






After dinner we went back to the room to change into something more comfortable. Once there we found some nice goodies compliments of John Heald, senior cruise director for Carnival! I even got one of the famous Ship's on a stick!

 
 Fruit basked with wine, chocolate covered strawberries, and a ship on a stick!



The aft balcony was so enjoyable, especially in the late afternoon. The sights were beautiful!

 
 





The sound of the engines churning the water was  intoxicating. I could listen to it all the time.





Tuesday...La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Pictures of the area around the dock.

 



 
My day was planned around visiting the La Flor Dominicana factory. This is not their main factory but it's a good representation of what they do and how their cigars are made. Mark, Jim, Ginger, and I took a taxi to the factory. Connie and Vick went zip lining. Tom and Diane went scuba diving. Something they did in 3 out of the 4 stops we made.

Lince was our tour guide and very easy on the eyes!





















Draw test machine.




Can I take these home????












Lince and me.
 

All four of us enjoying our cigars and some drinks. I had the coffee and it was amazing!


As I mentioned earlier, Connie and Vicki went zip lining and loved it! Here are some of their "action shots".

 
 
 












Some shots of the Dominican Republic coastline as we sailed away.



 


Vicki gazing out onto the beautiful Caribbean and Dominican Republic coastline.



 
 
 
 



Tuesday night, after the stop in the Dominican Republic, was Steak House night. The meal was amazing and when we left we were stuffed!

 
 






 
Wednesday was Curacao, an absolutely beautiful island, both during the day and at night. The buildings are colorful and ornate. We arrived at 2pm and stayed until 11pm.
 















Once off the ship we walked through the open air market where Connie had to do a little shopping.




Princess Cruises had a ship docked in town.





The Floating Bridge.





Just down the street on the right side (above) is the Little Holland store which is a Habanos retailer. Although they are not an LCDH they sell legitimate Cuban cigars. We picked up a few and left for Blue Bay Resort!



 
Connie on the beach at Blue Bay Resort.




























Jim took a nap.
 
 







Remember, Connie loves to walk the beach shoreline.



Sunset on Blue Bay Beach.



After we left Blue Bay Resort we went back to the ship to grab a quick bite and shower. We got dressed and went back into town. Unfortunately Curacao pretty much closes down at 6 pm. We enjoyed the colorful buildings at night. First I snapped a few pics of the Freedom all lit up at night.

 
 

















The lights of Curacao as seen from our balcony.




Leaving Curacao at 11pm meant an early start the next day. We arrived in Aruba at 8am.

Early morning meant more shopping before anything else.




The Freedom's whales tail was easily seen from downtown.
 
 
 
The Aruba La Casa del Habano opened at 9:30. We were there as soon as they opened.
 
 
 












Connie and I with the LCDH owner.




After our visit to the Aruba LCDH we went straight to MVC Eagle Beach.












 
 
One last beach walk for Connie.
 



Aruba's beach was a beautiful white sand and plenty of heat! After the beach we went back to the ship for dinner. We found a nice spot for another nice picture opportunity.

 
 



The next two days were sea days which are great for relaxing on the pool decks. We camped out on the Panarama Deck, starboard side, which allowed cigar smoking. Carnival sea days have a party atmosphere. Here Connie and Ginger danced with one of the other passengers.


 

Finally, here are some shots of the pool decks. The ship was in great shape.












We had a great waitress on the Panarama Deck. Lidua took care of us every day. After the second day she knew our names and what we wanted before we ordered! She made the days at sea days fun!




This was another wonderful cruise. Great ship, great ports of call, great friends, great time! These ports of call were all new to us and we enjoyed them very much. Thank you Carnival for another great cruise!



  

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ive been waiting to see if you would post Tim I LOVE LOVE LOVE your reviews !!! Thank you so much for sharing. Freedom 2014 Superbowl and Valentines weeks
here we come.

Anonymous said...

Great review Tim....we did the same stops on the Breeze.....wish we did Eagle Beach though...it looks beautiful! Jersey Bruce

Anonymous said...

Love reading your cruise (and cigar) reviews. Seeing as how for some reason we take the same cruises a little after you, I guess that means Southern Caribbean for us soon!

Herfnerd

Tim Rollins said...

Thanks Herfnerd. I enjoyed this cruise. I'm thinking of maybe doing a back to back cruise but don't know which one. Possibly for year after next. Maybe a western/eastern type of cruise. That would be cool!

Steve Ulrich said...

Great review Tim..Anywhere to smoke cigars inside the ship?? Also, how long was that balcony?? Looked great..

Tim Rollins said...

Steve, on this ship the place that allowed cigars to be smoked was the jazz club. The balcony was actually quite long. You can get a full lounge chair from the door to the back of the balcony and lay down. I actually did that one day! The aft balconies are much deeper than the regular balconies on the side of the ship. I think we're hooked on them now!

Steve Ulrich said...

Aft balconies are the bomb Tim !! I had aft wraps a few times on the Miracle out of NY. Super long balcony..I enjoy your reviews always..Picked up the E-Stunner and the Aging Room on your advice.Both great smokes.. Been using Atlantic Cigar recently..Excellent deals..

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Jim F said...

Thanks for posting this blog, we are taking the same cruise in June. I am looking forward to smoking a Cuban, my first one!

Tim Rollins said...

Jim F, the only place on this cruise you can get real Cubans is in Aruba at the La Casa del Habano. Great selection. Prices are a little high but you're getting the real deal! Enjoy!

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