We just returned from the second voyage of the Carnival Breeze. Here are my impressions.
The staff was great. Just a few little glitches not worth mentioning -- chalked it up to working out the kinks still.
I agree about the decor. I'm used to something a little more elegant and the Carribean theme did seem out of place after spending the day viewing the ornate cathedrals in Italy. But it didn't affect my enjoyment of the trip at all.
The food was mostly disappointing. I had to keep telling myself that's not why I was there. It was just very frustrating to have so many choices in the Lido Marketplace and not be able to find anything edible (or even warm for that matter). Not even the desserts -- the chocolate chip cookies were hard and flavorless. The meals in the dining room were better. Not spectacular though. A few winners -- like the warm chcolate melting cake which is on the menu every night and the crab cake which we all enjoyed the one night it was offered. Other than that, everything was mostly just OK or a little better than OK. Guy's Burgers were very good as was the pizza from the Pizza Pirate (both of which I fell back on quite a bit due to lack of anything good on the buffet). The tacos and burritos at the Blue Iguana were just OK, The Indian food was spicy and tasty, but you can only eat so much of that. The dinner we had at the Cucina del Capitano (12$ and change for one adult) was very good and felt elegant and fun at the same time.
We didn't see a lot of shows. We saw one comedian at the Punchliner who was very disappointing, but I'm sure it just depends who you see. The Hasbro kids show was a big hit with my son. The live musicians were sometimes good and sometimes not. The Thrill Theater is only worth it if you pay the 14$ for access through the whole cruise. I took my son once -- on the last day -- and payed 7$ each for a 13 minute movie. He loved it, but I didn't feel I got my money's worth.
We mostly toured on our own, and only took 2 ship excursions, which were nice, but a little rushed (Taormina and Ancient Greek Theater in Messina, and Morano, St George Island with a gondola ride in Venice). All other stops we did on our own (Marseilles, Rome, Venice, Dubrovnik).
The cruise director John Heald was the highlight of the cruise. That man is hilarious! We didn't make it to many of his shows live, but thoroughly enjoyed watching him on tv in our cabin. His morning dedication show with Calvin was worth getting up for. They should put him in the Punchliner!
If you have kids, they will LOVE the Breeze. My son (11) couldn't get enough of the water slides, rope course, Camp Carnival and Guy's burgers. And for that reason alone we would sail with Carnival again.