My SO and I took this ship without much research. We are in our early 40's and this was our 5th Carnival cruise. We have chosen to stay with Carnival despite recent issues because they have always treated us well. We previously had traveled on the Legend twice, the Glory and the Splendor. Having heard about the upgrades and new look to the Breeze we decided to embrace change. And we liked the Jamaica destination.
We flew in on an overnight, nonstop flight from Seattle to Miami. I was a little tired that first day but when arriving at the Miami Airport you can check in for your cruise at the Carnival desk in the baggage claim area. (right across from baggage claim 26) This was super convenient. I purchased airport transfer and got our sail and sign cards at the desk. After a short wait we were off to the pier. YAY!
We arrived at the pier claimed our luggage from the transfer and turned around to a waiting porter. We walked into the embarkation area, waited long enough to use the facilities, and we were off to the ship. We never waited in any lines. By noon we were on the boat drinking a cocktail and having lunch on the lido deck. By 12:30, we were in our room unpacking for our trip.
The new muster drill was long, but I guess helpful. We did get to sit down inside the ship instead of standing sweaty elbow to sweaty elbow on the deck for a half hour. That was an improvement for sure.
Our first impression of the ship was very positive. It is a light and airy beach themed ship. The decor is happy and has splashes of color in burgundy, gold and orange. There are umbrellas on some of the tables. Everything is in a light wood making it feel breezy. The set up of the ship didn't seem that much different from other Carnival ships we have traveled on as far as basic layout is concerned. However, there were some changes.
Some pro's of the newest Carnival ship:
Guy's Hamburger stand on the Lido was a fabulous addition. Real burgers with a toppings bar. Way better quality than previous sailings.
Decor was cheery and inviting.
Deck 5 was much better laid out and the space was better used. I found myself walking through the casino less which is good for the nonsmokers!
The adult pool and area was much larger feeling.
It at least seemed like there were far more things to do and the activities were more professionally done.
Con's for the Carnival Breeze:
I felt like there were a few areas where the ship just felt super crowded. For instance on the Lido deck main pool they have the burger place, a taco bar, and two bars. At each one of these corners traffic slows or stops. There was always congestion. It seemed overkill to have 2 bars. Why not just one with an extra bar tender? And the taco/burrito bar was hardly open. I never even tried it because I never found it open until we were back in Miami! I think it could have been moved to a better location or just not at all.
I also did not care for the way the breakfast buffets were laid out. They had fruit on the hot line and bread on the omelette line. For those of us who prefer fruit and bread for breakfast there are 2 lines to wait in! I prefer the layout on older ships with the fruit and bread separate in the middle.
There were a lot of very friendly crew members on this ship. The cruise director, Butch, was super engaged in the activities of the boat. He seemed to be everywhere! He was upbeat and a great dancer.
Our room steward was okay. He seemed a bit inexperienced. He forgot simple things like replacing our beach towels or glasses. He also never followed up on our shower drain which never drained properly the whole trip. This was a minor annoyance for us, but an annoyance just the same! He was nice and friendly and he kept my ice bucket full. (A pet peeve)
I did notice that the bar staff was less pushy about asking to bring you a drink. On the last few ships I felt like they were almost harassing at times. These guys were much more laid back and very quick to bring your order.
My SO and I found the shows to be a little less than spectacular. The new "singers are dancers" shows weren't in our opinion as exciting or as good of quality. The performers didn't seem to perfect either the dancing or the singing in our opinions. They definitely tried, but in the end the shows fell flat.
The Edge, a clown without make-up who juggles among other things, was spectacular. He was super funny and played to the audience wonderfully. Very engaging entertainer. Very in tune to the audience.
We did not get a chance to see all the comics due to crazy lines. We did get into see Percy Cruz though and he was very funny. We really laughed hard and his comedy was for everyone.(over the age of 18 that is!)
They added Hasbro the Game show for at sea days. This was pretty fun to watch/participate in.
Then of course there were the staples of the ship: bingo, trivia, hairy chests etc. Always fun stuff!
We had an inside cabin. It was okay. We prefer a balcony but decided to save some cash this time. It was clean and the beds were comfy. There was plenty of space for our stuff. Our stateroom did not have a sofa which i actually did not miss.
We never entered the dining room. We prefer the informality of the buffet. The buffet was good and I felt that the quality had improved. The food was kept fresh and hot and there was a good selection.
My SO did have a complaint about the eggs on the breakfast bar. He said they were disgusting. Mushy.
We went to the beach in Grand Turk. We like to have at least one day of just enjoying the open water and the sand in our toes. We took the Governor's Beach tour. They drop you down the beach about a half mile past the free beach. We did this to avoid the overcrowding of the free beach right off the boat. It was very peaceful. They have scary bathrooms, a bar, and free beach chairs. There is snorkeling if you are so inclined. It was not crowded at all and in the end I was glad I paid the money. ($30 per person)
In Jamaica, we took the Bob Marley tour! It was awesome. If you are a Marley lover you'll like it. I will remind you that you are hanging out with Rastafarian. They take you by the Zion bus, all pasted with Marley pics and words on the inside. It is not air conditioned, but you are heading to the mountains so the breeze gets cooler as you ride. Our guide Howard was fabulous(very knowledgeable) and his driver, Barry, was very good. Those roads are super narrow and there are no guardrails. We had to back up several times to let others by. I felt confident in Barry's driving skills. With a lessor driver the ride might have been pretty scary. There were great views of the forest from up there. We stopped about half way up at a rest stop. The bathrooms were clean and they gave us free meat pockets which weren't bad. You could purchase drinks here too.
When we arrived at the Bob Marley house and mausoleum. They took us around and we saw Bob's house and the graves of some family members. We saw the chairs he and his mother sat in. The guide took us through Bob's Mom's mausoleum and then into Bob's. At the beginning of the tour you can buy a candle for a dollar (proceeds to the local school) and make a wish at Bob's tomb. It was moving to say the least.
Then we were whisked off to lunch at the rest stop we had stopped at on the way up. After lunch we went to a fort and got a quick tour for a dollar. This wasn't part of the tour but the stop was just long enough to squeeze it in. The we headed back to the ship.
I thought this was a really good excursion and worth the $90 per person.
For our last stop we were in the Bahamas. We took a tour of the little zoo conservatory and gardens called Ardastra. It included a Nassau city tour and our guide Rudy was excellent. He was very knowledgeable and I became an expert on fruit trees! We had about an hour and a half at the gardens. We watched the flamingo show first. It was just flamingos walking around in a circle to commands but it was cute and a great opportunity to take pics.
Then we went to the Lorikeet feeding. You can hold an apple piece and they jump down on you and munch away. This was pretty cool. They had quite a few animals from all over including an American raccoon, a Capybara, and a bunch of parrots and other birds. They had tons of tropical plants, many of which were labeled. It was a nice place and this was a good excursion.
Disembarkation went okay. We were one of the last groups to leave the ship but that was okay. We weren't in a hurry to go wait at the airport! No lines getting out and once we were we walked a block or so and caught our Carnival coach to the airport.
Overall, we had a great vacation. The ship was friendly and the ports of call were fun. I would recommend this ship to others.