Let me start this review by saying that I have never posted her before but I feverishly reviewed the Breeze on here prior to sailing. That being said I feel as though I now need to share my experience with you. DISCLAIMER!!! I am a hard working family man that vacations once a year or every other year. I consider my vacations a luxury and look forward to the all year long. I do not take them for granted and am not one to expect perfection. I like to go someplace warm with the kids, drink my drinks and relax for a week. This is an honest review from middle america. If this is not you just click on the next one and disregard. If you have checked this sight every other day because you simply cannot wait to go on vacation then.....Proceed!
We travelled with 5 families all who have elementary aged kids. We flew into Miami a day ahead of time. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Airport. This is a standard Embassy Suites and if you have stayed in one they are usually all the same. This is a clean and kept up hotel. You are VERY CLOSE to the runway of the airport and there is alot of Jet noise. This did not bother me as I was sunning by the pool with the kids. I waved and awaited the next one. The managers reception is always nice. It was busy but I am on vacation and do not mind waiting a bit for a drink. Their drinks were strong which made for an early night. The breakfast was also nice. Not great but a good variety.
Embarkation: We got to the terminal at around 1300 and were on the ship within 40 minutes. Very quick and easy. I like going out of Miami as they seem to have their stuff in order and it makes for a smooth transfer on to the ship.
They run you into the Main Lobby area by the Lobby bar and huge Atrium. I don't care what anyone says this ship is gorgeous. I'm not a decorator but you can tell alot of thought went into every detail. After grabbing a drink we took the kids to our state room. We initially booked an interior because we don't spend much time in the room but I had constantly watched the price over the previous 6 months and if it would dip I would call for an onboard credit. They never granted me one because we booked the Previous Guest price but I inquired about an upgrade. Not sure if my inquiry caused it but a week before the cruise they called my cell and offered us an upgrade to a Cove Balcony room for only 260 dollars for the entire trip. I jumped on this and we ended up in room 2283.
Now for those of you like me who have always gone interior...You may want to entertain this...We LOVED it. The room is way bigger than any we have had before. We had 3 closets which easily stored my family of 4's things and did I mention my wife is an over packer? The balcony so rocked. The room was on the second deck forward. You got the feeling you were right off of the water. Every night we would prop the door open and listen to the waves hit the ship. So relaxing. The bathroom is small but clean and adequate. We never had any problems with the sink clogging or any of that. One of the best things on our ship was our stateroom attendant Putu. He was bar none the best we have ever had. I went so far as to contact Carnival to sing my praises of this guy. Which reminds me....I don't know who these people are that are complaining about the workers being rude. I never once encoutered anyone who did not at least greet me with a smile. There were people on the maintenance crew and others who you could tell did not speak english but they always smiled and made an attempt. Maybe the people complaining need to take a look at themselves. OK back to the room. The cove balcony is bigger and is completely private. I would recommend this room to anyone. The bed was firm but the sheets were so comfortable. Again the people crabbing about that baffle me. Next time have your bed shipped to Miami and placed in your state room otherwise suck it up.
Next I will tackle the decks and pool areas which is where we spent the majority of our vacation. This is the one of only 2 things that even remotely bothered me. This is a massive ship and there are only 2 very small pools. On the warm days at sea it felt as though you were in a big bath tub together. Did this disuede me from going in? Nope! Just thought they would have a little more pool space. We NEVER had a problem finding a chair. If one area is filled here is a tip FIND ANOTHER AREA!!! Are you that territorial that you have to hover? If you want that space bide your time. Plenty of seats open up closer to lunch and throughout the day.
The main pool area is nice with Guys, Blue Iguana, and the two bars at the four corners. I have heard complaints of bottle necks near these areas. At days at see yup there is but are you in that much of a hurry that you cannot wait the 30 seconds it takes to get through? The movie screen is awesome. We watched the Super Bowl under the stars and it was magical. We spent the majority of our time near the rear pool area. There were lots of chairs and there wasn't as much going on in comparison the the main pool area which the entertaiment staff was always putting on goofy games and such. The rear was out of the wind and there were 2 hot tubs back there. Up one deck were the smoking areas which had padded wicker furniture and umbrellas. As long as the ship was moving you hardly noticed the smoke smell.
Which leads me into this.....THE AWFUL SEWER SMELL THAT EVERYONE IS COMPLAINING ABOUT!!!! Let me clue you into something. You are on a free floating Vessel with over 5000 people on board. All of those people will do the duty into the same tank which needs to be vented. Occasionally you are going to get a waft of sewer odor....BOO HOO....go on about your day...You are floating in the Caribbean. If you catch an area on deck where it is constant...move to a different area. Problem Solved. I only noticed the smell a couple times and it was no worse than any other ship I have been on.
The sports deck was cool and the kids enjoyed the mini golf and ropes courses. There is also a dedicated track for walkers and joggers which is nice.
Never made it to Punchliner but I heard it was good. We spent our nights at the Red Frog. They had awesome acoustic guitar players..Adam, Chris and Ryan. All were great and I recommend spending time there.
The piano man is WAY over the top and was entertaining to those who like that sort of thing. The room was filled every night so people must have enjoyed him.
The kids loved the Thrill Theater. Buy the unlimited as the shows are only 30 minutes long and it is 8 bucks for one time and 15 for the cruise. Well worth the extra money.
Casino was the run of the mill ship casino but still nice.
Now for the biggest complained about item I found prior to leaving...THE FOOD!! Let me start with the awesome. Guys Burgers are phenomenal. The Blue Iguana burritos both breakfast and lunch as well as the tacos are Phenomenal. In the rear the Indian place Tandoor is probably the best on the ship that not extra. I ate there frequently and even if you think you won't like it give it a try. The pizzas were very good. Service was slow at times but we never went hungry. The buffet food was Awesome....Terrible.....Pretty Good....Average.....Sucked......Get my point? There are hundreds of things there and some were better than others. I cannot believe that you can't find a decent meal on here. If you cannot you are obviously not looking hard enough. If it sucks..get a new plate and try something else. Don't be a whiny nitpicking hater because you did not like the scrambled eggs that they prepared for 3500 people. Geez people annoy me sometimes. I live near Minneapolis and have been to some great steak houses. The Farneheit 555 is worth every penny. It was fabulous. Close to the best steak I have ever eaten. We did the My Time dining. This is convenient for our family. Here's another tip...if you want the dining room wait staff to remember you then book a timed dining where you sit in the same spot every night. With my time they will move you around and you will not have the same server. This did not bother us at all. The food was again sometimes really good and sometimes not good but if it was not good I would order something else or go to a different spot later on. No worries. The kids LOVED the room service. Made em feel like big shots. It is available 24/7 and you can order it right through your TV. They thought that was cool.
Bars were all good and the drinks are STRONG. If you AND the wife like to party get the Cheers card. You are allowed 15 drinks per day per person. Cost for our cruise was 800 for both. We did not do it because the wife does not throw em back like I can but we travelled with a couple who saved quite a bit by going this route. Now for my 2nd critique...The bar service was slow at the pool bars. The could and should staff more bartenders out there. Didn't affect me at all but bothered alot of people. I would suggest the Serenity or the Sports deck bar...neither of these EVER had a line.
Quickly go over the ports. Did not book a single excursion thru the ship as they RIP U OFF. Go out to the port and there are more than enough people to accomodate you.
St. Thomas...we caught a cab to Coki Beach. Best walk out snorkeling I have ever had. Great for kids as they can enter at their own speed. Negotiate with the workers for the snorkel gear and you will get a good deal. Also tell your cab driver to stop at Kmart. You can pick up all your beer and food and save tons of money.
Antigua. We wanted to swim with the Stingrays..Caught a cab to the place 16 per adult round trip and 8 per kid round trip. Stingray City was 50 per person. So 66 for adults and 58 for the kids. Carnival was selling it for 72 for adults and 67 for kids. Plus we got about an hour longer than the ship did. Now for the tour...DO THIS...I have been alot of places and done some cool things but this was by far the coolest. We were surrounded by Rays. Only draw back is that it is intimidating. We had some kids with who FREAKED...just put em back on the boat and they can watch from there. They will let you hold them and feed them. My daughter fed them and then left her squid juiced hand under the water...OOPS...Rays smell their food. One chomped on to her hand and she did not like that. Never broke the skin but startled her. After a 10 minute cooling off she was back at it. I highly recommend this tour.
Tortola....unless you are hitting a beach don't bother. Shopping sucked and it just was not a nice place.
Bahamas. Been there before so we did a bit of shopping and got back on the boat. Very nice tho.
OK I am going to wrap this up...sorry it got windy....Bottom Line is this was an awesome ship and rivaled any that I have been on. Here is my last piece of advice. If you are one to easily complain...don't go on a cruise. You will find things that annoy you. This is an imperfect system and it is not normal to send 5000 people out to sea on a floating chunk of metal. If you are a laid back traveler like me then you will love it. Happy Sailing. I cannot wait to go back.