Arrived the day before departure and stayed at Renaissance Airport Hotel. Easy, free shuttle from airport to hotel. Early checkin request (9am) was honored. Paid $10 euro each for bus transportation to cruise ship.
The Breeze was overcrowded!! Practically every public area was overrun with unsupervised children allowed to run (literally) amuck. There were 4 children ages 4-8 in the interior cabin across the hall from us; no adult present. These kids were loud, and constantly ran up and down the hall back and forth to their parents rooms.
In other instances, it seemed as if the parents/guardians completely gave up supervising their children. Kids playing on the elevators (pushing every button), screaming, playing with the soft serve machine, food fights, etc. Some of the adults were rude and loud as well; pushing onto the elevators without letting others get off first. Congregating in the hallway outside the laundry room was popular activity!!
CABIN--Ocean Suite More
smaller than Carnival Freedom. Balcony real small, chaise lounge couldn't be turned around to face the ocean. No soap dish for sink counter. We had to ask for facial soap. Storage space was sufficient for 2 people. Cabin attendant was excellent; great service. The interactive TV service was great. We could check our Sail & Sign balances, the dining room menus, order room service, etc.
DINING--Guy's Burgers were good. Fat Jimmie's BBQ was good, open only during at-sea days, long lines standing in the sun in a very cramped area on Ocean Plaza. Lido for breakfast was always crowded with large, loud family groups. We had "Your Time Dining" in Sapphire and in general, it was ok. We never had to wait for a table. Great to be able to preview the Sapphire's menu on our cabin TV. Pizza place (open 24 hrs) seemed quite popular. Desserts were just ok; much better desserts could be purchased at the Coffee Cafe.
OUTDOOR AREAS--Pools ALWAYS crowded except after 5-6 pm. Two small pools for a ship this size seemed inadequate. Poolside viewing of the Olympics was turned off so the scheduled movie could be shown. Cruisers were not happy about this. Seems like someone could have made the decision to continue with the Olympic coverage... The Ocean Plaza area was a great place to hangout as was the Red Frog Pub to hear the live music (Timmy Pierce was great).
DECOR--The plastic trees in The Lido area look ridiculous! I understand the ship's Caribbean theme; but these trees are squished up against the ceilings and are dust catchers that will be labor intensive to keep clean. The carpet in Lido was severely stained and seemed of poor quality (our cruise was the only 6th voyage of this new ship). The carpet looked like it had been there for a couple of years. This was also true on some of the stairwells.
LAUNDRY ROOM--I think the rates of $3.50 each for the washers and dryers was high. I brought my own detergent and dryer sheets; the little boxes cost $1.75 each and the dispenser was out of order most of the cruise.
PORTS--Carnival's prices are quite high for tours. There are many reputable companies that offer private tours which are cheaper and give you more flexibility. You gotta do your homework; read Trip Advisor and other websites-like Rick Steves. I made my reservations before I left home. The various ports of call were all very interesting. We booked a private tour for Rome; it was a Sunday so there was less traffic congestion getting into Rome and getting back to the ship.
CAMP CARNIVAL--My nephew and his wife were very pleased with this option for their 3yr old son. He loved going there and usually did not want to leave. They used it at least 9 days while on the cruise. While they were off ship touring, the baby's grandmother stayed on board in case of emergency. Some passengers felt comfortable in leaving for a 8-10 hour tour and leaving their children in Camp Carnival. Less
Carnival Breeze Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
This cabin was much smaller than ocean suite on the Carnival Freedom. Cabin was in good central location; close to elevators and close to laundry room but far enough away so that we were not disturbed by loud groups of people going in and out laundry room and hanging around the entrance. Balcony also small; it had 1 chaise lounge chair (which couldn't be turned to face the ocean because of the small size of balcony) plus 2 chairs and small table. No soap dish for the double sinks; we used a saucer from The Lido. We had to ask for facial soap which was very small. No big deal, I always bring my own. Adequate storage & hanging space for 2 adults; would have been tight if a 3rd person shared the cabin. Comfortable bed; too many decorative pillows--takes up too much space.
Location 2 floors above Ocean Plaza and Fat Jimmie's BBQ. Good spot to people watch from your own balcony.
Very hot that day. Booked thru cruise line at the last minute. We were glad to ride the bus to Pisa, then transferred to a little trolley that took us around then dropped us very near the Leaning Tower. Stayed there for about 2 hrs. More than enough time for shopping and a gelato plus pictures. Trolley took us back to bus, 30 min ride back to ship.
Beautiful city. VERY Easy to navigate on your own. We bought roundtrip bus transportation when we got off the ship, it took us to main part of tourist area. Walked around and took bus back to the ship.
Bus to hotel for "tour" of "Cameo Museum"; bathroom stop and pick up water before Pompeii guided walking tour started. The Cameo Museum "tour" was just a thinly veiled push to get folks to buy something. Very hot and very crowded during tour. Guided tours take a lot of time because some one is always lagging behind. Guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. Long walk to bus parking lot for return trip.
5 adults and one 3 yr old in a private 7 passenger mercedes. They provided car seat as requested. Driver was very knowledgeable. Private tour was great because we toured at our own pace. Cruise line's rates were too high. A lot to do in one day. Went to Collesium first, we bought our tix online before we left home; no waiting in line. Lovely restaurant for lunch. Long lines (in the sun)to get into St. Peter's Basilica; well worth the wait. Huge crowds at every stop.
Long walk from the ship to the vaporetto (water ferry) which cost 15 euro roundtrip to St Marks Square. Lovely city to explore on your own. If on your own, be sure to allow plenty of time to get back to the ship on time. Four people were within 5 min of getting left. Most areas were very crowded. Great shopping and gelato!!