The following piece was written by Adam Coulter, Cruise Critic U.K.‘s editor.
Cruise Critic is in Miami for the biggest year’s biggest on-land shindig about at-sea travel – Cruise Shipping Miami (CSM).
It’s a four-day event featuring meetings, press conferences, panel discussions, a massive tradeshow, more meetings and — perhaps most interestingly — ship visits.
There were five ships in port Sunday: Costa Mediterranea, two from Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Glory and Carnival Breeze.
So I took the opportunity to check out Carnival’s newest ship, Breeze, to see what it’s like. I’ve got to say, I was really impressed.
I haven’t been on other Carnival ships to make a comparison, but my colleague and fellow CSM attendee, Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown, has and pointed out the key differences.
Gone are the garish colors and in-your-face décor. Instead, passengers find neutral palettes and a distinct lack of decor in places like the main dining rooms.
Having said that, there’s no doubt this is a Carnival ship — the moment you walk in there’s a DJ and a dance floor, and a lot of people tucking into their first cocktails of the day.
It’s the second week of spring break, but the sheer number of kids and young adults onboard is still striking. We’re getting there slowly in the U.K., but cruising in the U.S. simply defies any demographic or particular age group.
And the emphasis — as you would expect — really is on having a good time. It’s not to everyone’s taste, of course; pounding music wherever you turn can be a bit exhausting after a while. But it made me think we Brits really do need to loosen up.
I’ve recently returned from a half-term cruise on P&O Cruises’ Oceana with my two kids, aged two and five, and the contrast could not have been more stark. We literally had to cower in a tiny, dark, covered kids’ splash pool, pleading with our little ones not to make too much noise, while the rest of the people onboard glared at them.
Meanwhile, on the top deck, Carnival Breeze has this huge water park and ropes course, where kids — and adults — of all ages were having a wonderful time making as much noise and splashes as they wanted.
Carnival has made a few tweaks to a very successful product. They’ve installed a small library bar (pictured) on Deck 4, where you can get away from the mayhem, sit and read and enjoy a selection of wines from a (for-fee) tasting station. It’s a lovely touch. There’s also a huge spa and adults-only Serenity area. And a very pleasant surprise – there’s an Indian food station. I thought it was just us Brits, but apparently the Americans love their curries too!
I almost forgot — the Red Frog pub is a fantastic addition that debuted on Carnival Magic and has since been spreading across the fleet. I’d expect I’d spend far too much time here if they weren’t kicking us off after the tour.
What do readers think of Carnival’s newest ship? It’s got a 64 percent approval rating. Read Carnival Breeze reviews.
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