Carnival Breeze has the potential to be a great ship but it is currently let down by poor design flaws, poor quality food and a considerable amount of poor service by crewmembers.
Having booked suite 7377 I was initially pretty excited to be going back to Carnival for the first time in 5 years. Embarkation was great and we were on the ship within 5 minutes of arriving at Miami Cruise port. First impressions are very positive. We love the relaxed Cabana style theme throughout and think it really does add a pleasant change to the usual gaudy style on some cruise ships. We also love the range of restaurants available.
Regrettably this is as positive as it got.
Having left Miami we first had two days travelling to our first destination St. Thomas. After entering open waters we noticed that an unusual creaking sound emanating from an area around the main entrance of room 7377. We dismissed this as the cruise had just begun and who stays in their room right? Wrong! Later that night after an exhausting day (please be aware we flew 9 hours prior to boarding the ship) we went to bed around 10pm. We immediately realized that sleeping was not going to be easy. The creaking was loud and continued with every gentle roll of the boat. Now I have cruised many times with different companies on different ships of different sizes. I am fully aware that odd noises and bumps are to be expected. The noise that emits from Carnival Breeze suite 7377 is not normal. It is highly unusual and it is unacceptable to expect paying customers to put up with. After a few hours we managed to sleep I don't know if this was due to pure exhaustion or because the ship had hit calmer waters and the creaking stopped. So the next day we awoke to find all was quiet. So we put this down to bad luck and got back to enjoying ourselves. Wrong! That night 10pm. The same thing occurs! Now during the 3rd night the pattern is the same. This time I finally lost it and went to the Guest Services desk to complain. I was met with a sympathetic crewmember that politely advised that essentially could NOT do anything! Remember 3 days in and 3 sleepless nights. I advised that I want someone to go to the room and observe the problem with a view to identifying a fix immediately. What I got was a non-English speaking housekeeping guy, standing in the darkness of my room listening to a very loud audible creak and nodding his head in agreement! Good job Carnival! I also explained to the front desk that this appears to be a structural problem. The creaking is occurring, as it is metal rubbing against metal. Only to be advised that they were actually aware of the problem due this not being the first time customers staying in this room have complained. SO WHY HAVENT YOU FIXED IT PRIOR TO MY EMBARKATION?????
Now this story continues in much the same pattern. To the extent I was financially compensated whilst on-board. Which went a little way to turning the problem around albeit. I was not moved to another room (I even offered to go to an inside stateroom foregoing my suite just to get some sleep! And the compensation offered doesn't come close to what I have paid and now essentially lost.
We had chosen anytime dining. This was available in the Sapphire restaurant. The meals on offer were very appealing and were looking forward to the dining experience offered. Unfortunately this was also a negative experience mainly due to the unbelievably slow service. The server staff is very good at the initial introductory salutation. They would bring bread and offer water. Then nothing. On all 4 times that we visited the Sapphire room for dinner, we had to wait over 20 minutes just to place the order for food and then we had anywhere between another 20 to 30 minutes before the first course followed by at least another 30 minutes wait for the second. We managed to hold on for 2 desserts during the 4 visits. I would have needed to re-shave if I waited on the other 2 occasions! Most of the time the staff were pleasant but ultimately unresponsive. Most notably was almost every dish that was meant to be hot was in fact tepid, bordering cold. Very disappointing. Which leads me to Breakfast in the Sapphire.
We chose to take breakfast in he Sapphire to avoid the daily free for all at the Lido Marketplace. Overall this is still better than the aforementioned Lido experience but still it is not up to scratch. I can list multiple issues here but to put my complaint in context I shall list one to which I believe is so basic it should highlight the low level issues. Toast is a simple to make right? The concept of toast is to warm bread and make it crispy. The Sapphire completely fails this basic task on all attempts. Now I know this is a truly pedantic, anally retentive observation but nevertheless it does highlight that attention to detail with one of the most basic of requirements appears to be lacking on what is touted as a Carnival Flagship. Everyday I'll end up with nothing more that limp bread that appeared to have a spray tan.
Next up -- The Staff
Overall great. Most helpful, some not so but put it in context. It is entirely reasonable to not appear happily and smiley 24/7 especially when they have to deal with rude, obnoxious customers day in day. However some staff where just plain rude. On many occasions I witnessed crew members being foul mouthed with each other in front of passengers or often criticising passengers from afar whilst speaking to each other. Again I realize people are entitled to their opinion but they should be spatially aware and remain professional at all times. N.B. Crewmembers. Speaking in your own language does not necessarily shield your conversation from paying passengers.
I have a major issue with members of the security team. During the cruise I misplaced my room card. Immediately I had the card replaced by the Guest Services desk and then went about as usual for a day at see before heading to our final scheduled Island (Nassau). As I tried to leave the ship my new card raised an alarm. This immediately led to Carnivals security personal surrounding me and belligerently advising me that I do "not have the right card and I shouldn't be using it" than accused me of having two cards" and saying the card I have used is not mine! All of which was completely untrue. I explained that this is the only card I have since
A: The original had been misplaced and subsequently cancelled
B: This was the card given by their colleague at guest services
I was then told (not asked) to stand in front of machine and have my photograph taken all the while being asked security questions. Now I again realize this is a necessary process, but I highly object to the accusatory tone and surly nature of this security team. If they had simply asked to speak to me in a separate area and explained the process they had to go through to clear the problem than I would not be writing this now. Again this highlights a complete lack of the understanding about the first rule of customer service. Basic manners will go a long way!
Eventually I was allowed off the boat. Only to return approximately 5 hours later to experience the same issue again! So lack of communication is also a big issue. To make matters worse even after showing my passport and highlighting that my room card, name and details were on the very list in the hand of the security guard. I was then again accused of having the wrong card. I want to point out not only is this very annoying it is highly embarrassing situation to be put in, since there was queue of other passengers on both occasions.
So another night before we get back to Miami and having queued to get off the vessel for the final time. I am again met by the same security personnel crew member. This time she asks again to see my passport before I leave the ship. I highlighted that it is the very same person in the photograph who had the conversation twice yesterday and is now stood in front of her again. I.E my Passport and details do not change over night!
Whilst I realize loosing the card is the root cause. This must happen a huge number of times and I'm assuming this was not isolated incident. I would suggest better communication between Carnival crew and the Sail account transfer process needs improving.
Overall this has tainted my experience of Carnival and I will not be using them or any their sister companies anytime in the near future.