Carnival Breeze 1-5-13 to 1-13-13 Exotic Southern Caribbean
We (6 people) stayed at Embassy Suites, Ft. Lauderdale pre-cruise for the third year in a row. I think it is an excellent hotel and accommodates very nicely. This year elected not to rent a car but relay on transfers. From FLL grabbed a taxi and was told by driver that it would be $30. due to amount of people. Meter did not exceed $12.50. during short drive but did not argue as we are a large group and did not need to take two taxis. Had an excellent time at hotel as we were able to check in early approx. 12 noon.
Transfer to Port of Miami
Used SAS Transportation as they came well recommended. Driver arrived a little after 11 am scheduled time picking us up at Embassy suites. Was told cash only as charge card machine was said to be not working ($13. per person). Driver had two other hotels to pickup passengers in the 30 seat microbus. Although second stop was only two blocks away the driver had no idea where he was going and made numerous wrong turns and stops. He was constantly on his cell phone calling people and using some sort of mapping program. This is where I felt uncomfortable as this man should be a professional and not put our safety in danger. They even showed a short video to us on bus safety prior to trip. Maybe he should have some driver training. Arrived to POM at approx. 1:00 pm on what should have been a 45 min. trip. No problem as boarding was posted at 1-3 pm for our ship. Embarkation went quite smooth and was on ship by 1:30 pm.
Most of the reviews I read were accurate in describing the Carnival Breeze. I will add the following.
Breakfast -- Used all venues and was satisfied but really liked the small tasting station on deck 5 near coffee shop as they had most items and no crowd. Made to order omelets were good at Lido. Coffee undrinkable as usual but had my morning fix at coffee shop with an Americano Grande.
Lunch -- Most venues visited. Found barbecue on deck 5 better that I reviewed but was only opened sea days and on one occasion did not open due to wind. The last day it was extremely crowded as many passengers were trying it for the first time.
Dining -- We had traditional seating at Sapphire 8:15pm. Food quality was as expected and I did not have any complaints this being my 16th cruise. I did agree that it was warm as previously reported, not hot. Waiter Albert was attentative and spot-on but we felt that the food was a little rushed at times. Shrimp was the only thing I can really say did not measure up as it had the look of a frozen dinner entree.
Cocktails -- The Red Frog Pub was my main place for pre-dinner drinks. The Thirsty Frog Red is a decent craft brew and I did enjoy it. They also made good basic Martinis and kept a bottle of purchased wine in cooler for my wife. The staff was very good without pressuring you. The pub is styled in Key West decor and has plenty of seating indoors and out on deck. Football games were aired during playoffs.
I thought that Carnival did a nice job with the ship design as they have many areas to explore which keeps the crowding down. The outdoor movie theatre was not used as much as on previous cruises and I thought that the picture quality was poor and volume deafening. There was absolutely no control of deck chairs and the usual nonsense went on with a book or towel left alone for hours on some. I blame the cruise line for not controlling this situation as many arguments are fights are needlessly occurring. No one needs this stress on vacation. I did not go to any shows as previous reviews said it all for me. I did watch the comedian on evening and he did an adequate job of entertaining for 30 min. I thought that all the club, pub and piano singers were excellent. Missing on this trip was the reggae band which I normally enjoy. Also missing was live music at afternoon tea time and was awkwardly located in rear corner of Blush dining room. The DJ was so-so and at any parties he only played the moldy line dances with all came with instructions. Get original!! The club was smoke-filled as some people went there solely for that purpose. I am not going to dance where the pollution level is extreme and many others agreed. Cruise directors did a good job. Butch is long winded as previously reported and sometimes bland but I think it is only because he is a 30 year old man in a 50 year old body. Amy (6-3) was quite informative and always happy. She deserves a bump-up from assistant.
Room was adequate with a basic inside cabin deck 7 mid-ship. The room steward was attentative and did a nice job. The ship did some rocking on the Curacao and Aruba journey. The room made a lot of creaking noises and there was a side shimmy like someone was kicking the bed every now and then which I had never experienced before. I can sleep through just about anything so it did not bother me.
Had a great time and enjoyed the ship. Carnival finally did some nice changes from there carbon copy ship designers. I would recommend this cruise ship to anyone. As far as the itinerary going to 4 islands I never visited I will pass on for the next cruise. There is much more fun in the Eastern and Western itineraries and I find the excursions to have much better guides which help you to enjoy and have fun. When tourists are your business you need to make sure they are happy and I did not feel that way on any of the excursions mentioned. The islands visited did not offer anything I can't find better Eastern or Western Caribbean. Missing was a private island which is always nice for a day at the beach.
Was in no hurry as my FLL flight was late afternoon. Had to be out of room by 8:30am. Had a nice breakfast at Blush and was not hurried. My number was called at about 9:45am and left ship without much delay. Used SAS Transportation to transfer from POM to FLL and surprise, I had same driver (put down the phone!), bus and again credit cards not accepted! We waited on air conditioned microbus for about an hour as he waited for other parties.
Arrived at airport about 11:45 am.