- Background: My wife and I enjoyed our 6th cruise with Carnival. We are a mid 30s couple and opted not to bring our children with us.
- Hotel: Our pre-cruise hotel was the Homewood Suites in Fort Lauderdale. We flew in a day early and stayed one night. The room was very nice and the staff was accommodating and helpful. We would definitely stay there again.
- Shuttle: Following the advice of other cruise critic members, we used the MJS shuttle service. This was our 4th cruise out of the Miami area and this is the most efficient, friendly, and helpful shuttle experience we have had. Our driver was courteous and was very good about phone contact and specific instructions. I HIGHLY recommend any FLL to Port of Miami plans utilize their service.
- Embarkation: The port of Miami was an easy embarkation. We arrived around noon and our room was ready by 12:30. The staff obviously worked hard that morning to prepare the rooms. The check-in process was fast and efficient.
- Ship Impression: The Breeze is a beautiful ship and Carnival has really made efficient use out of spaces that didn't previously get much use. Nearly every area of the ship had people doing something at some point of the day. I'm not one to critique the looks of a ship, but the aesthetics were very pleasing and had a very nice indoor/outdoor transition feel. Making the 4th and 5th decks good options for going from forward to aft on a ship was convenient. Our cabin was the standard size as most Carnival ships and was comfortable. The Waterworks is absolutely awesome and we noticed many adults (including ourselves) enjoyed the fun. The pools on this ship also seemed to be chlorinated instead of salt water like other ships we have been on.
- Dining: We ate at nearly every part of the ship. The main dining room service was outstanding and the food was great. The Lido buffets seemed to be tastier for us than in past cruises. We LOVE Guys Burger Joint and it was a definite highlight of the ship. We tried the pasta bar at the Italian restaurant (Cuchina Del Capitano?) and really enjoyed it. We had planned to do the additional dinner with a fee but the reservations filled up too fast. We also enjoyed the Sushi bar which had fun boats you could order your meals in.
-- Activities on ship: We are trivia nerds and spent a lot of time at the various trivia games. All of them were fun and the standard fare. Comedy was excellent and all the comedians we saw were absolutely hysterical. The piano bar entertainer Justin was charming, but seemed to be limited in song selection. The regulars were at the piano bar and provided a lot of entertainment for people. The Hasbro game show was a debacle as they had technical difficulties and a very awkward moment when the cruise director Pete was chastising the sound booth guys over a mistake in the show. The cruise director was pretty wordy when it came to ship announcements and somewhat monotone. If you are about to go on the cruise you could make an excellent drinking game by drinking everytime he says "Ladies and gentlemen" since he says it ALOT.
-- Disembark - Another smooth process. We had a late disembark time at 9:30, so we just enjoyed breakfast and relaxed and caught up with our numerous emails that came through. No complaints!
--Summary - My wife and I have a saying that "There is no such thing as a bad cruise" which definitely applies to this cruise. We wouldn't rank it as one of our top cruises ever, but it was still a 9 out of 10. The excursion problem in La Romana and a lackluster cruise director were our only real complaints. The rest of the staff was excellent, the food was great, the ports were fun, and the ship was amazing! I would absolutely recommend this cruise to a friend. Please take my criticisms with a grain of salt...the overall impression we left with was great.
This port was absolutely awesome. We took a cab to De Palm Beach and rented an umbrella and chairs and even tried tubing behind a speedboat! The water is turquoise but not so clear due to the high number of swimmers in the area. We enjoyed a day at the beach sipping on drinks, swimming, and letting that cool island breeze relax us. The cab drivers and locals are extremely friendly and fun to talk to. Can't say enough good things about this port!
We opted not to have an excursion in Curacao and just walk around and explore the city. It has a very European feel to the area and it was an interesting place to wander in. A very unique port but one I hardly feel qualified to discuss since we literally wandered for 2 hours, grabbed a beer at a port side restaurant, and then returned to the ship.
For Grand Turk we had a seaside massage from LaToya Jones of Oceanscapes Spa. The massage was good and it was relaxing to enjoy the ocean breeze and listen to the waves lap at the shore while they worked. My wife raved about how nice her massage was and mine was above average. Beyond that, we simply hung around Margaritaville and had a slow port day.
We opted to use Pro Excursions for a trip to Saona Island as they came highly recommended on the cruise critic boards as well as Trip Advisor. Unfortunately, our experience was not as good. Getting cabs was very confusing as they did not have a representative standing by with a list as their confirmation email indicated. Once we arrived we had expected to go to the island by catamaran to have space, but we were crammed on to a tiny speedboat with little to no leg room. Nearly everyone was griping about how uncomfortable it was. The life jackets didn't seem to accommodate children and one parent was very upset about that. Saona island was absolutely beautiful and I would highly recommend an excursion there, but not necessarily with Pro Excursions. The sand was literally the softest I've ever seen and it felt almost like a powder.