Live From Breeze: Carnival’s Bread and Butter

June 20, 2012 | By | No Comments

The (mostly) raucous sea day is Carnival’s signature event — and Breeze offers the most boisterous version yet, bursting with waterslide antics, comedy brunches, drink-making and hairy chest competitions, and a few deck chair-related tiffs. Whether it’s here in the Med. or among Caribbean islands, the line’s social passenger base eats it up.

At the midship Beach Pool, passengers had a view of “Frasier” via jumbotron, which they took in or ignored while sipping beers and frozen concoctions spiked with tequila (Blue Iguana Tequila Bar) or rum (RedFrog Rum Bar). Those at the smaller, stern-situated Tides Pool watched the wake from the pool or the hot tubs at each flank. In both popular spots, row after row of pool-view deck chairs were covered with towels, books and flip-flops (but often no passengers), which some sheepishly admitted was done out of necessity. Pool-front real estate requires camping out overnight.
Food came by way of Guy’s Burger Joint, which doled out 1,500 burgers during a previous sea day, the Blue Iguana Cantina (tacos and burritos topped or rolled to order), Pizza Pirate, Tandoor and the buffet.
The also-packed Serenity area, an adults-only deck space covered with blue cushion-on-black-wicker loungers, hammocks and clamshells, is another coveted (and slightly less thronged) sea-day spot. More than a few passengers are scratching their heads over the placement — right next to the WaterWorks, where the kiddies and one writer who sometimes screams like a little girl let loose yelps every time the Power Drencher “dump bucket” tips over, unleashing a few hundred gallons of water.
Sporty types were on the basketball court, ropes course or outdoor Muscle Beach-style workout equipment, which included a set of heavy boxing bags. I walked by in time to see a grunting giant bludgeoning one the bags with ferocious kick after kick. A few joggers tried not to think about the much-improved pizza, which has benefited from a new dough recipe, as they rounded the short track in the 85-degree heat.
More readers and snoozers could be found lounging or hot-tubbing on the quieter stretches of Deck 5’s outdoor promenade, which forms a full circuit around the ship. Lines like Carnival and NCL have started to really focus on this long-underutilized space, installing indoor-outdoor bars and restaurants that spill out into the sun. The goal with the Promenade expansion, say Carnival execs, is to pull some passengers off the packed sun deck, a sometimes too-hyper scene that isn’t everyone’s cup of children wrestling in the pool.
On the starboard side of Deck 5, hungry passengers queued up by the dozens at Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ, a new Breeze venue, where coils of sausage earned grill marks alongside piles of chicken, pulled pork and charred vegetables. If the popularity continues — it took 20 minutes to get to the front of the line — something may have to be done. Fat Jimmy’s is only open on sea days at the moment, but Chief Marking Officer Jim Berra said that’s subject to change.
Inside, popular activities included a Cha-Cha class in the eight-deck-high atrium and the unlisted activity of ogling the Cha-Cha-ers from the various decks encircling the atrium. Another sea-day exclusive and a relatively new Carnival offering is the Punchliner Comedy Brunch, which features 5-minute teasers from that evening’s comedians every hour on the hour for the duration of the brunch (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). There’s also a special menu inspired by Carnival’s “Curator of Comedy,” George Lopez, and a Bloody Mary bar ($8.75 for the spicy version). It wasn’t particularly well attended and the space, a cavernous banquet hall that can seat almost 1,000 passengers, made for a slightly awkward presentation. The comedian didn’t know where to look or walk. Perhaps it proves that passengers won’t trade sunshine for a fancy new menu. The huevos y carne, a Mexican-style steak and eggs dish, was worth the (free) price of admission.
The only temporary blip on an uneventfully eventful sea day occurred when Senior Cruise Director and face of Carnival, John Heald, popped on the loudspeaker to announce a code “Alpha.” The fire alarm went off in a crew space, and investigators discovered a smell. The problem was related to a worn machine belt — an issue that was resolved before anyone got out of the hot tub.
Questions or comments about Breeze? Join the conversation on our Breeze Q&A thread.
Check out the official Carnival Breeze Review for more information.
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