This was our first cruise. We choose Carnival because of the price and reviews, and we choose to sail on the Breeze because it is the newest and largest ship, so far, in Carnival's fleet. This might be a little lengthy...please bear with me.
We flew to Miami the day of the cruise because of prior obligations. I'd recommend arriving into Miami the day before if possible. We checked in with Carnival at the airport and purchased Carnival's shuttle service. Both I would recommend. Early check in keeps you from having to do it once you arrive at the port. The shuttle is very efficient and comfortable.
Embarkation was a "breeze". We arrived at the port and were sitting in the waiting area, when it was announced we could board early...and we did. We were in our rooms by 12:30pm, changed into shorts and flip flops, went to the Lido Deck and started our "first cruise" experience.
Food- Absolutely delicious, and plenty of it. We dined early Blush upper. Our servers were top notch. Its amazing how efficient the dining experience was. We usually ate breakfast at the buffet on Lido Deck (I think)...plenty there to partake of. There was also a place to get customized omelets....but I liked the scrambled boiled eggs just fine. Lunch was usually done at the Wok or at the pizza place. I did try Guy's hamburgers...they were good, but I didn't like their fries. I'm just not fond of seasoned French fries. Be prepared for lines at Guys and at the pizza place....simply because they are both near the pools. Free ice cream, lemon aid, tea, juice and coffee...all the time, water too.
Drinkls/Bars - Very good drinks on board. But be careful...they are so good, you might have a horrendous alcohol bill when you settle up...lol. Waiters/bar staff always helpful and there for you if you want a refresher.
Entertainment - There is so much to do....you simply cannot do it all. You have to pick what appeals to you and go there. We hit the piano bar a couple of nights...it was always crowded....because the piano player is that good. Most of our nights, we would listen to #Rhythmnation....what an awesome cover band. They really need a larger place to perform. They can place whatever genre of music you want to listen to, from the 60's to current tunes....and they do it well. Their lead guitarist, is good....I mean he's "Joe Waslh" (of the Eagles) good... We also hit the comedy club....really good acts there also. I was amazed at the talent....they could use a larger forum also, as it got crowded quickly.
Housekeeping - I simply cannot say enough good things about these folks. Our steward...it seems like he worked all day long...every day. He was always smiling and spoke to us when he saw us...by name...that was impressive. He always had a "Good Morning, Enjoy your day", or "Enjoy your evening" when he saw us. Our room was always clean and straightened...twice a day. And he was there whenever we needed something. I know tips are added to the bill, but our steward deserved a little extra...and got it.
Promenade Deck Shops - Handy to have. Some things were a little pricey though. The Carnival "2 for20" T-shirts wasn't a bad deal. Use caution in the jewelry shop. Their prices are good, but I think better deals can be had on shore in port. I purchased an Invicta watch at a watch sale....465 dollars MSRP, which I paid around 139 US dollars. Amazon had the same watch for 80 US dollars. I still feel the price was ok...but I could have done better. However, I am pleased with my purchase....the staff there in the jewelry store, and all the shops as well, were very knowledgeable,nice and helpful....all around, a good experience.
Pools- This area got crowded quick, especially on at sea days. We would get up early (traveled with another couple), grab our deck chairs, and eat in shifts...it worked out. There were the usual chair hogs, or CHOGS as I call them. I noticed one day at sea, there were 10 chairs tied together with towels. I timed them as being empty for over 2 hours...no one using them, with one person watching them. Someone must have complained to the pool crew, because they approached the one person, who very promptly gave the crew an attitude. Please, if you are a CHOG, and you are approached by the crew, don't be nasty to them...they're just doing their job....its you that are breaking the rules. They will wait 45 minutes before moving your stuff...just don't be a CHOG.
Debarkation - 2 options. You can vacate your room in the morning and try to exit the ship with all your luggage, or...you can pack and place what luggage you do not need for the last morning outside your door between 6pm and 11pm, and have it waiting for you when you debark. We choose the latter. We were given tags for our luggage, which we did place outside our room. We were given "zone" numbers for debarkation...and we kept what was essential for getting ready the next morning with us in the room...ie, clothes, toiletries, etc. The next morning ,we vacated our room and went to breakfast. Our zone was called to disembark at 10:30. We got off the ship, grabbed our bags, went through customs, was transported back to the airport, and got through security there before 12 noon....which I thought was pretty good. I'd recommend doing the zone debarkation If you do not have an early flight to catch.
I think I've covered just about everything. My only dislikes were the rude people on board...not the crew, but the passengers. Like the woman who had her deck chair turned sideways and when we asked if she would please move so that we could put a couple of deck chairs there, she said, "No, I'm here...I was here first, and I ain't moving." There's no cause for that. A French speaking family, although they couldn't understand us, clearly understood the issue and graciously moved over so that we could slide in a couple of deck chairs. Spoiled Americans....and I'm American, so I can say that.
Lastly, thank you Carnival, and especially the Captain and crew of the Breeze, for making our first cruise a very enjoyable and unforgettable one....we were spoiled by you. We are already planning our next one!!