Our family of 5 sailed on the August 2 sailing of this awesome ship. We had read so many negative reviews before sailing and were perplexed as we had sailed on the Magic (sister ship) the summer before and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish more people would write about their positive experiences because the people we talked to seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Our sailing had 4600 guests, so we should have experienced the extreme crowding that other cruisers complained of. We did not! Embarkation and disembarkation were a "breeze". We were on the ship by 11am. It appeared to us that some passengers created their own issues, e.g. not having luggage tags secured.
The Breeze had adopted a deck chair reserving policy. The attendants would put a sticker with the time on unoccupied chairs saved by towels/belongings. After 40 minutes, they would remove the towels/belongings. I was up early on sea days, so appeared to be working well with lots of deck chairs available well into the morning.
We had adjoining rooms and we all slept very well. We were on deck 1 and heard no noise coming into ports. We really appreciated having 2 showers in each room. It allowed us to get on the go early for our excursion days, which we organized ourselves. I have some excellent suggestions for the ports of Marseille, Livorno or Naples.
I really think the world is full of complainers and people that expect to get things for free. The complaints about the lido dining room are exaggerated. On sea days, Tandoor, Blue Iguana, Jimmy C's BBQ and Guy's Burgers barely ever had lines. The pasta bar in Cucina Capitano was mostly empty until the very last day. I never waited more than a few seconds to get water or ice cream. It was never out when my kids went to get ice cream and they filled their boots. Even the mornings I decided to get an omelet, I never had more than 3 people ahead of me. I don't understand that complaint unless you are incredibly impatient and have not embraced relaxing and having FUN. If you are going to have an omelet made to your liking, you are going to have to wait a few minutes. The breakfast burritos were great and never had a line.
Going ashore was always easy although I was not silly enough to do a Carnival excursion. Some reviewers have suggested getting off the ship was chaotic. I completely disagree. We were never long to get off the ship and Venice was the only port that took any time to get back on and that is no fault of Carnival, but instead the port.
We ate in the Steakhouse without the kids and our group enjoyed it immensely. The Italian restaurant was only okay, but we had already had some great meals ashore in Italy, so our reference point was high.
Our first night in the dining room was underwhelming due to the menu options, but then every night after that it was great with many items that we wanted to try. We did anytime dining and like everyone else we would try to go between 7:30 and 8:30 pm, so you had to expect a wait if you are a reasonable person. Actually, we only waited more than 15 minutes one night to be seated. Our service was prompt and accurate. Alinna was wonderful and she was our first choice when we could get her. She remembered how we liked our steak done and wine preference!
While you had to pay for the thrill theater my boys liked it. My advice is just buy the unlimited option up front. My kids did not and I had to get it adjusted after the fact, which was no big deal. They went to almost every show and some twice.
There were lots of kids on our ship, but unlike other cruises they seemed to be fairly well behaved. I did notice at Pizza Pirate, the chef made sure they did not cut the queue or take more than 2 slices at a time. This pizza was really terrific by the way. I should have given these guys an extra gratuity because they seemed to be operating full out all the time.
My kids and I seemed to be able to play mini putt and ping pong at our leisure. When kids were already playing we simply asked to play next and they were obliging. The sky course did not have a significant line until the very last day. The water slides were great. The lines on sea days got a bit long, but in the mornings there were none. My kids also loved the trivia and shuffle board in the Red Frog Pub.
We did not rush our meals to see the entertainment. As well, the Olympics on the seaside theatre or in the casino bar conflicted with the entertainment. Divas was good, the juggler was talented and we liked the game show. We liked the first comedian we saw (first part of cruise). The female was too tasteless for our crowd (second part), so we went to the piano bar and had lots of fun.
While my wife and I loved the beautiful European ports, the ship and sea days, what made my cruise experience perfect was that my kids had a blast on the Carnival Breeze!