My family and I usually take a summer cruise to the Caribbean on an annual basis. After having sailed on the newest and biggest ships from several other cruise lines, and traveled on various Carnival ships as well, we decided to see what Carnival had in store for us with their newest and grandest ship in the fleet, the Carnival Breeze. Our group consisted of over 25 people, ranging from ages 2 to 60s.
Embarkation: Getting onboard at Port Miami was quick and painless, we got to the terminal at around 1 pm and was onboard in about 15-20 minutes.
Staterooms: We had a balcony on deck 9 midship starboard, which was very spacious. We very much enjoyed the new design and color pallet of the rooms. It is often said that the staterooms are really not vital to the cruise experience as you are only their to sleep, but we found ourselves in our room more than we expected and have ever been because of the lack of activities occurring throughout the ship. The negatives are a plenty in the stateroom beginning with the paper-thin walls and ceilings from the room, at night you could hear the dragging of furniture on the lido deck and conversations being held one deck above. The staterooms and public areas (I say that in plural because everyone we talked to on the ship and everyone in our group had the same problem) experienced issues with temperature, regardless of how cold you would set the temperature, the room never seemed be maintain a comfortable temperature. Nothing was ever done to resolve this issue. The rooms also never really seemed clean, the sheets, pillows and towels were stained and did not have a pleasant or fresh scent. The bathroom too did not have a pleasant smell even after cleaning.
Dining: The food in the Main Dining Room was extremely disappointing and at times outright inedible, all the food at the Main Dining Room was frozen, and sometimes reached our table that way. My mother's lobster was warm but still frozen inside, the frog legs had ice, and the fish served several nights were watery. The Lido Buffet food was typical as expected although sometimes, quality wise, better than the MDR. The Omelets Station is worth making a long line, it moves rather quick and the eggs are made to order!
Desserts were all flavorless.
Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina, Mongolian Wok, Pirate's Pizza, Tandoor Indian food and the Deli were all great freshly made to order food with great flavor! The Pasta Bar on deck 11 AFT for lunch is a must try! Fat Jimmy's BBQ on sea days is also a must try, the lines were very long, but well worth it!
Design: The design of the ship is nice and fresh but it leaves something to be desired, there are too many empty spaces and dull areas of the ship that could use some unique identity. The design of the lido buffet was very refreshing but there were always longs line for everything, even to get a cup of water, but we always found a table. The ship is easy to navigate and has a lot of lounging deck around the promenade, and upper decks.
Ship: The ship is very navigable, and one could easily find their way to their destination. I very much enjoyed the new promenade deck layout with seating on the outside deck and whirlpools, I however wished there were whirlpools on the Lido Deck by the pool! The two pools were very small for the capacity of the ship. Never has a problem finding sun loungers on the upper decks, there were plenty of them!
The elevators tend to get extremely crowded when boarding the ship from a Port of Call, and there always seemed to be at least one broken elevator daily.
The Waterworks area was a fun area of the ship, it was fun getting wet in the splash area and riding the watersides!
Sports Square is also a nice addition, the mini golf was very fun, never got to try the golf simulator and never actually saw anyone playing it. The ropes course was extremely fun, and surprisingly empty, another must do!
The ship had a terrible smell of sewage, the smell is almost everywhere, from hallways to the pool area, to staterooms and public areas. I brought attention to the staff but nothing was done, not even an attempt to try to cover the awful smell.
Entertainment: Although I never really saw the production shows at the theater because of the late dining, we did catch some comedy shows which were great but the Limelight Lounge was extremely crowded. The DJs played the same music on a shuffle on a daily basis, and got boring immediately. There really wasnt much to do in the ship throughout the day besides standing in a crowded pool, soak up the sun, or play around in the waterslides, and very less to do in the evenings. I could not stand some of the Entertainment staff, I believe her name was Gabby Glitter, she was extremely annoying and a horrible Bingo host. Butch, the cruise director, however was very entertaining, charismatic and energetic.
Ports of Call:
Grand Turk: We took a tour of the island, which was informative and somewhat entertaining. After we relaxed by the beach away from the crowds before heading back to the ship for departure at 2 pm. Not much to see, not much to do.
La Romana: Beautiful city, don't be fooled with other reviews that say there isn't much to do! We booked a taxi for $10pp from within the port to Las Cuevas de las Maravillas, which were breathtaking and to the beautiful Altos de Chavon in Casa de Campos, extremely beautiful places and barely had enough time to do both places, wish we had more time here to explore the bustling city and visit the beach.
Curacao: My favorite, such a beautiful downtown with a lot of interesting things to see. We hopped on a taxi right outside the port that took us to a very private beach, which was very beautiful! The taxi drivers were very friendly and informative, everyone on the island must speak four different languages!
Aruba: Took a taxi to Eagle Beach and from there booked a private but cheap snorkeling excursion out to coral reefs by the California Lighthouse, and a WWII German shipwreck, it lasted 2 hours and there were refreshments included. I wish I had more time to explore this beautiful port longer. The beach was to die for, and definitely recommend Eagle Beach over Palm Beach, much more peaceful.
Our group was highly anticipating the trip and can surely say we were disappointed with the Carnivals product. We had fun nonetheless as we usually entertain ourselves but at times we were eager for activites and events to do. The itinerary within itself is worth it, but do not board this ship awaiting for the best Carnival can offer as it is not.