We booked this cruise when we were on the Carnival Freedom last May. It was nice getting $100 shipboard credit for each room. We booked 3 rooms for our group of 8. My family drove to Miami the day before our cruise and spent the night at Comfort Suites Miami Airport/Cruise port. It was a very nice hotel that offered free parking while we were on the cruise plus free shuttle to the port. Before we left the hotel, we arranged for transportation back to the hotel after the cruise for $10 per person. Our shuttle left the hotel around 11:45 for the port. We could have taken the shuttle at 9:45 but did not want to rush getting up that morning.
This was our first cruise being Platinum. It was nice having the priority boarding. Embarkation took about 35 minutes. Our rooms were ready, so we dropped off our carry-on luggage and went to the Lido deck to eat. The lines were not very long.
The ship was beautiful and looked spotless to me. There were a lot of things on the Breeze that are not on other Carnival ships. The Thrill Theater was a lot of fun-even our college age children liked it. You can pay around $7.00 to watch one show or around $14 to watch them all-unlimited amount of times. There are usually 3 different shows during the day. Three times we were the only people in the theater. Later in the week, more people starting going but it was never full. There were not very many children on our cruise.
The Carnival staff was great as always. They would always speak when they walked by. There were however some passengers who were not being nice to the Carnival staff. The Carnival staff stayed very calm and nice. One person was complaining that the lines were way too long on the lido deck. The line she was talking about just went about 2 people past the silverware.
The food on the Breeze was about the same as all our Carnival cruises plus some new restaurants like Guy's Burgers. I heard the Italian restaurant was great but we didn't want to pay $12 per person to go since we always like the dinner menu in the blush dining room. Our servers in the blush dining room were Elliastini and Komang-both are from Indonesia. They were two of the nicest servers we have had and were very hard workers. It was sad saying good-bye to them on the last night. The food was always very good!
The entertainment on this cruise was a disappointment. I had read reviews about the shows before we went, so I did not go to any show at night--the first cruise ever not going to a show. The ones who went in our group said they were not good and left before the shows were over. They did not have a band in the theater--they used taped music except for one night when a small jazz group performed. I guess Carnival is trying to save money by not paying good musicians.
This was my first time having a balcony room. We were very happy with the room. I had read reviews about people having smokers next to them and I was hoping the people beside us would not be smokers but they were. There were a few times that I had to leave my balcony because the people beside us started smoking and the smell was bad on our balcony. I know that spa balcony rooms do not allow smoking but there were none available, plus, we really didn't have the money for a spa balcony. I wish smoking was not allowed on any balcony. It is sad to pay more money for a balcony room and have to leave it because of smokers next door.
We did not like the Lido deck. It was very hard to find people because it is not as open as all the other Carnival ships we have been on.
We loved the southern Caribbean.
Grand Turk...I booked a snorkeling excursion for 6 in our group with Grand Turk Diving Company a few weeks before our cruise. I had read great reviews about that company. They were quick to respond to all my emails and very helpful! The equipment was very good and Jason was very professional, knowledgeable and personable! We will definitely book with them again when we go on our cruise next May.
Dominican Republic...We took a taxi/van to Bayahibe Beach for $11 per person. I think it was $60 for up to 5 people and $10 for each extra person. We had been there on our first cruise. The beach was very nice. Make sure you check the rates on the taxi information board. One driver was going to charge us a lot more than the sign said. A lady helping us found a different driver for us because she knew the first man was charging too much.
Curacao...We just got off the ship and walked downtown. It is a beautiful place. We decided to shop instead of going to a beach. The ladies who worked in "Davids" were very nice! We didn't arrive in Curacao till 2:00 p.m., so we only spent a couple of hours walking around and headed back to the ship to be ready for early dining at 6:00. The ship did not leave till 11:00 that night. We were too tired to get off the ship after dinner.
Aruba...This was our favorite beach. We rode in an open air jeep for about $4.00 per person to Boca Catalina. It was a great beach for snorkeling. We took the local bus back to the port. It was about a 20 minute ride. The bus driver was very nice. He said it was free when we got on and if we would like to pay something, we could. I had read that it cost $2.80 for the bus, so we paid a little more than that per person. The jeep driver who took us to the beach said the bus ran by there every 15 minutes but that was not right. What I read on the internet said every hour a bus would come by. We waited for the bus to come for about an hour. The ship was supposed to leave at 4:00 and everyone was supposed to be back at 3:30. The ship waited on a few people and one couple was running back to the ship at 4:20. They may have been waiting for that bus.
The ship got back to Miami sometime after midnight.
We were told by the captain on Saturday morning that there was a medical emergency and we would need to get back to Miami earlier but debarkation would be the same time.
We did self assist debarkation. We were off the ship by 7:30. The shuttle was there for us before 8:00 and stopped by the airport at 8:10 to drop some people off before taking us to the hotel to pick up our car. Then we had the long drive home.
I don't want to leave the cruise director out. Brent was a very good cruise director. We had a great time on our cruise and look forward to our next Carnival cruise next May.