I cruised the Breeze 12/16/12-12/22/12 with my boyfriend. We're both 25-year-old professionals. I've cruised on the Carnival Valor in 2010 and the Carnival Triumph in 2009. We chose this ship because of our positive experience with Carnival in the past and the excitement of a new ship.
Let me preface this review with the fact that my boyfriend and I enjoyed ourselves on this cruise despite some disappointments. I love cruising, being on the open water, waking up in a different country each day, and not being responsible for doing my own dishes or making my own bed. I know what follows may sound very negative, but I wanted to be specific and give others the opportunity to get some details about my personal experience to help paint a picture of what cruising this ship may entail. You are all entitled to your own opinions and to disagree with me if you should so choose.
Embarkation: This went surprisingly smoothly. I arrived as Carnival requested around 1 pm and waited in a very short line to get my sail and sign card and quickly boarded the ship. Our room was ready as soon as we boarded. Our luggage arrived around 6:30 pm that night. My only complaint was the electronic signs pointing us to parking for the Breeze were incorrect and we had to make several circles at the port in order to get to the nearest open parking garage -- but not a big deal.
Decor: I loved the island themed decor from the lanterns in the lobby to the fake trees with lanterns hanging from them on lido deck. It was a pleasant change from the Vegas style decor on older Carnival ships. I could understand how some other reviews call it boring, but I personally enjoyed the relaxing colors.
Layout: There were crowding problems during peak hours in the buffet, near the lido deck mid pool, and during watch/jewelry sales on deck 5 in the lobby. I also do not understand why the comedy show was held in the aft theater when every night there was absolutely way too many passengers (cosmetically so) that wanted to watch the comedian than there was room for. Why not hold such a popular event in the large ovation theater? I prefer the stadium-seating layout of the lido pool on older ships. On this ship the lido pool felt more closed off and seemed like there was less available seating/lounge chairs to view the big screen tele and events such as the hairy chest contest. Otherwise, I loved the outdoor seating by ocean plaza on deck 5. There were plenty of spaces to get away from crowds if you so desired.
Entertainment: The singing and dancing shows in the ovation theater were just terrible. I knew these shows are generally hokey and I knew not to have high expectations. I tried to relax and just enjoy the show but unfortunately I had to leave the Diva show in the middle because I personally was cringing at the quality of singing and dancing. Some people seemed to enjoy it, but there were other passengers that we saw leaving mid-show. The piano bar entertainer Ron Pass was very entertaining and with such few other enjoyable options he was our go to when we wanted to be entertained. Karaoke in the plaza rather than keeping it only in the aft lounge was a mistake. I do not want to hear fellow passengers butcher songs as I am leisurely walking from the casino to the aft of the ship. All other entertainers were tolerable, but nothing special in my opinion.
Cabin: We stayed in cabin 10225. This was my first balcony cabin so I was very impressed with the cabin. There was more than enough storage for our belongings (and being a typical woman I brought way too many clothes and shoes). The bathroom was functional although there was a faint sewage smell coming from it that my boyfriend and I took turns blaming on each other's bowels. The decor was relaxing and modern. Our steward always kept the room very clean. The flat screen tele that swiveled toward the bed looked great. The remote was frustrating to use as it was slow to react and before you knew it you were 10 channels from the initial channel when you tried to just change it to the next one. The bed was comfortable enough. The balcony door didn't seal completely and on windy nights there was a whistling sound that was obnoxious, but didn't happen often enough to keep us from sleeping or complaining. The robes are so comfy! I loved putting one on and enjoying a glass of wine on the balcony.
Food: I can't tell you enough how much I was disappointed with the food in the main dining room. One of the biggest highlights of our last cruise on the Valor in 2010 was the wonderful food in the main dining room. This time, it came out luke warm, unappetizing consistencies, and bland. Who knew au jus could be so clumpy? It wasn't just us either - half the tables around us later on in the cruise were completely empty. Despite so many empty tables, the bar server never brought it upon himself to ask us if we would like an alcoholic beverage with our meal. Our head waiter David was great though. Just as I was about to leave the table (we typically spend 2 hours at the dinner table due to long waits for our food) to go get my own drink at the first bar I found, we asked David to send a bar server our way. He asked our section's bar server several times and when it was clear that wasn't happening he sent us a bar server from a different section who was quick and pleasant. After this we watched as our section's bar server finally notice he missed out on our business and argue with the new bar server.
Ok now let's discuss the BOILED "scrambled eggs" - what were you thinking Carnival?? They tasted like powdered disgustingness. It's one thing to serve us them in the lido buffet with a sign calling them "boiled scrambled eggs", but it's totally unacceptable to serve it under the guise of "scrambled eggs" on the menu in the main dining room for breakfast. Does Carnival have to cut back so much that they can't make scrambled eggs? It was sad.
Fat Jimmy's BBQ -- If you're from the south like my boyfriend and I are, and you know what true BBQ is supposed to be, then you will be disappointed. It doesn't pull apart like it should, and it was cooked too quickly. The Italian sausage was tasty to me, but the buns on the second sea day were stale.
Guy's burgers and fries were pretty good. However, they had a menu posted of different burger options, which were completely disregarded by the crewmembers that worked there. They had what they had and there was no requesting a burger a different way. My boyfriend asked for no fries with his burger and the crewmember working seemed offended or disgruntled to have to serve him a meal in variation to what he gives to everyone else. My boyfriend used the topping bar and thought it was great.
The burrito place was my breakfast most days after I tasted the boiled scrambled eggs from lido buffet. They still used boiled scrambled eggs in the burritos, but when disguised as "Mexican style scrambled eggs" it was palatable to me.
I enjoyed the coffee, but my boyfriend said the "orange juice" tasted more like tang.
We ordered room service breakfast one morning and it was good for what it was.
Disappointed in the food in the main dining room we opted for the Italian restaurant for dinner one night ($12/person) and it was fantastic. The portions were huge so I couldn't finish it but I wish I could have saved my chicken parmesan and just eaten the left overs for dinner for the rest of the cruise. The appetizers were so yummy! We also ate here for the free pasta bar during lunch. It was tasty to me, but I will admit they skimped us on whatever meat and veggie we requested. I usually ordered Alfredo bow tie pasta with sausage and broccoli. There were typically two small pieces of broccoli in the bowl I received. My boyfriend thought the sauces were bland. He also thought it was weird that they used a beef in the lasagna that you would typically find in stew (not the expected ground beef), but he said it tasted fine. Service at this restaurant was awesome. This could have been due to the fact that the restaurant was almost empty most of the time. I don't know if it was because the restaurant is hard to find and poorly advertised or what.
We also tried sashimi ($1 each) at Bonsai sushi and it was very tasty and
affordable for what it was.
We didn't try the steak restaurant because we couldn't bring ourselves to spend $70 on food that we technically already paid for as part of the cruise. I'm sure it was great. It became our theory that they purposely made the main dining room food so terrible that we would all be forced to spend extra money on palatable food for dinner. But we were disgruntled so take that theory with a grain of salt.
Past guest perks: For whatever reason, our VIFP numbers and how many cruises we each had been on previously were all jumbled up on the website. We tried emailing them before our cruise to straighten it all out. Even though my online profile incorrectly showed no previous cruises and my boyfriend's was fixed to show his previous cruise, he received a blue sail and sign and I received red. Guest services fixed his card on the cruise but my online profile has never been fixed. This is all insignificant though because they did away with inviting low level previous guests to a private little free drink and free appetizer party. Instead we get a free drink (only redeemable at the breakfast/punch liner brunch in the main dining room). Thanks carnival - you force me to suffer through one of your unappetizing meals to get a "free drink" when I already paid for the beverage package. Where is the incentive to sail carnival again if this is my sole past guest perk? (For this reason and my disappointment in the food among other things, my next cruise will be another line)
Cheers Program: My boyfriend and I are no strangers to alcoholic beverages and thought it might save us some money if not put our minds at ease about our alcohol bill at the end of the cruise to sign up for this program. It did just that and I am glad that we signed up for it. However, I learned that the wine dispenser in the library and the sake at bonsai sushi were not included and I didn't discover these facts until after I purchased both. This isn't a huge deal, but it would've be nice if there were some indications about what was not included in the program specifically other than any beverage over $10.00.
Service: I have to really commend all of the workers on the ship. The ship was spotless everywhere you looked despite witnessing fellow passengers slob the place up. I could've eaten off the toilets in the public restrooms (if tempted with food better than that which we were served in the MDR). One consistent theme however was that many of the crewmembers appeared sad and tired. Our room steward confessed he works from 4 am to 1 am 7 days a week 6 months straight so I am not surprised. My boyfriend and I partook in some blackjack (lost our money) and the crewmembers tried to put on a smile but it was painfully obvious they were kind of miserable. I felt so bad for some of the crewmembers, which is not exactly the guilt I want to feel when I'm trying to enjoy a vacation. Some bartenders seemed like my asking for a pina colada just ruined their day, while others were quite the opposite and were very friendly.
Fellow Passengers: This cruise was very crowded. It was most noticeable the first day at the lido buffet. There were lots of families with young kids, which I expected. It was also very difficult to find open seats near the pools or even 2 decks up near the pools on sea days. My boyfriend and I had a running joke about one particularly annoying behavior of our fellow passengers. We would set ourselves up on some couches on the upper decks on serenity or towards the aft of the ship to relax and enjoy the view of departing or arriving from a port. We would get there early to get a good seat and view, and then without fail 5 minutes before the action of arrival or departure we would be staring at the butts of our fellow passengers who disregarded our view to selfishly take in their own view directly in front of us. I'm probably just getting picky here but it was really quite annoying. Maybe I need to try for a more "romantic" cruise line next time. One "redneck" passenger chose to heckle the comedian during the last 5 minutes of the show. The comedian handled it well, but I was shocked that the guy would have the gall to continue heckling after everyone else in the place was telling him to shut his mouth. After the show, the redneck decided he would heckle Ron at the piano bar. Ron also handled it well -- but seriously I felt like punching this guy in the privates. Shouldn't there be some kind of security present to escort this guy back to his cabin or out of the show? He ruined the last 5 minutes of a comedy show that my boyfriend and I had arrived to 45 minutes early just to get a seat. Speaking of security -- whenever I saw kids clearly under 18 running around serenity (over 18 only) crewmembers would just walk right by and ignore them! What?! I don't get it. Why have rules at all?