My wife and I cruised on the Carnival Breeze for 12 nights on October 1st and had an amazing time. I am 38 and my wife is 36. We are both avid cruisers, although this was our first non-Caribbean cruise.
First some general observations:
-Cruising in the Med in October was a great call. Excellent weather, less crowds, lower price.
-Carnival Breeze is an amazing ship with lots of activities.
-For those of you who are Carnival regulars this was a much older crowd than you typically see on a Carnival cruise. Some of this is likely a reflection of the time we choose to cruise. No families with kids. My children (12 and 8) stayed with my parents. There were quite a few late 20's early 30's couples and then 70% over 50.
-I understood from the crew during the summer there are way more kids. For those of you contemplating bringing kids on this cruise,there is NO WAY I WOULD SPEND THE MONEY TO BRING CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 12(Probably 14)on this cruise. This is a More
very active, busy cruise. I can't imagine trying to walk a 6 year old through the Vatican. If you just want to relax save your money and go to the Caribbean.-Carnival Breeze is a beautiful ship. There is tons to do. Carnival has really upgraded this ship. Lots of nice touches compared to the other Carnival ships we have been on. Tons of activities. No excuse for being bored.
-Food was very good. I read some reviews complaining about food. The reality is you can not go to the main dining room expecting 5 star dining. The price point of this cruise simply doesn't allow that. The steakhouse is amazing and a great value for a 35 dollar cover charge. You would pay 70-80 bucks just for a steak of that quality in the states. So if you want nicer pay extra. The lido deck food is very good. Again some other reviewers amaze me. Of course the food is more cafeteria style. It's designed to be good but to serve lots of people quickly and in a short amount of time. Guys Burger's is absolutely awesome. I gained weight because of this place. Huge upgrade over the old burger stands on carnival. My only complaint would be to have a little more variety in the main dining room menu.
-This was easily the friendliest crew we have had on any of our 9 previous cruises. Best dining team, best cabin steward, hardest working crew, and the list goes on.
-Overall entertainment was good. Latin nights was awesome. Brits wasn't very good.
-Bottom line this was an outstanding experience. I don't see how someone could have been on this cruise with the amazing itinerary, beautiful ship, and great crew and not had a good time. Bottom line if you can not find a way to enjoy your self on this cruise it is on you. My port reviews are below. Happy cruising.Pre-Cruise, Barcelona-We arrived Sunday morning the day before departure. Naturally lots of jet lag. Used sunshine transfers to pick up from the airport. It was 39 euros to take us to our hotel. Used credit card points to stay at Le Meriden Barcelona on Las Ramblas. Happy with the service. I would have planned on arriving two days before the cruise if I had it to do all over again. There is lots to see in Barcelona and the first day you are just to tired. Also the first part of the cruise is the busiest, so getting your rest in helps. If you stay Las Ramblas area, it is easy to do self guided walks of the sights.
Embarkation was very easy the next day. Taxi ride to the port was about 25 euros from Las Ramblas. We were on the boat by 1130.
I'll cover debarkation during the ports review section.
Do not be afraid to book your own tours! Carnival really pushes their tours but you say way more with less people by booking on your own. We enjoyed our one carnival tour, but were much more impressed with the private tours. Tripadvisor and CC message boards are your friend. Less
Carnival Breeze Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
We had a late departure (after 8 pm), so we opted for a tour that provided pick up and airport drop off.
We were very happy with the tour (Barcelona Day Tours), but were pretty tired at this point. If I was planning on leaving that day I might look for an earlier flight, and do a shorter tour.
The tour was great though, and let you see the Catolonia provence of Spain.
Close 2nd to Livorno day as being our favorite day. Absolutely breathtaking city.
This is a day I don't think you need to book an excursion, so I'll try to be as detailed as possible.
Ship arrives at 7 am and we were off by 730. There will be multiple taxis that will offer to take you on a 1 hour tour of the high country above the city. This is a great deal (50 euros for up to 4 people). The taxi will then drop you off at the gates to the old city. The big thing to see is the city walls. I would have the taxi take you to the Ploce gate instead of the Pile gate to start your walk of the walls. This will put you on the best section of the walls ahead of the crowds.
Following spending the morning walking the walls and visiting old town,we went to a local beach. The best beaches are west of the old city. Amazing water. Bring a mask and snorkel.
I love Dubrovnik!!!!!
We booked with a smaller company called "Hills and Roads". Lucca is the owner. Our driver/guide was Maria. This was the BEST day of our trip. Can not recommend them enough. We wanted to avoid the crowds and see real Tuscany and they delivered. Please note the ship ports in Livorno. Made a brief stop at Pisa (all the time you need) and spent the rest of the day touring small towns/villages in the Tuscany country side and a winery. We decided against Florence because we figured we would get museum ed out in Rome the next day. You CANT do Florence and the non-touristy Tuscany countryside.
Day 2- Monaco- Good first day. We were pleasantly surprised by this port. This is the only day we opted for a Carnival tour. We did the Menton/Eze tour for 49 dollars a person. Menton is a beautiful French seaside town and not very touristy. Eze is a Medieval village and very cool. We were back on the boat by 3 and used the time to soak some rays. The tour was good, but don't be afraid to book your own tours.
Again used a smaller tour operator. Vito with "See Amalfi Coast". We opted to skip Pompeii and do the whole day on the Amalfi Coast. Visited Ravella, Positano, and Amalfi. Best Italian meal the entire trip that day. Vito recommended an amazing place to eat with great view.Vito is a great driver/guide will do whatever it takes to help you have a great day.Some of the most beautiful scenery on the trip. I feel Livorno, Rome, and Naples are the three days you absolutely must shell out for the tours to get the most out of your day.
Used Easy Italy. Very happy with the service. Rome is awesome, if not a little overwhelming. We saw the standard stuff. Visited Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, drove by some other stuff. Then visited Vatican for a 3 hour guided tour. Highly recommend getting a guide for Vatican. You've spent all this money to get here, nice to know what you are looking at. Keep in mind I am writing this review as a first time visitor to Italy.
Venice was an interesting port for us. You certainly will need some time to get used to the way the city works. I will say the locals are not nearly as friendly here as elsewhere. The museum workers are rude and useless. Never the less Venice is a beautiful city. If you want to see the museums churches get the venice card for 39 euros. This can be purchased the same time you get your water bus pass. Next to the cruise ship is a direct water taxi to St. Marc's square (23 euro round trip) which is convenient. However best deal is to avoid this service. Use the people mover train/monarail to go over to Roma Station which your access to Venice. Once you get off the train (1 minute trip), head left to the canal where there is a large transit area where you can buy a 36 hour water bus ticket for 25 euros. Then off you go!
Expect to get lost in Venice. Also expect crowds. Some my opt just to wander and people watch. For me I thought the Doge Palace, St Marc's square and basicalla, and Frasi Church are can't misses. Just wander. Get a guide book with maps!!!