Carnival Breeze Cruise Review by coba57: Carnival Breeze-The Best Carnival Has to Offer
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Carnival Breeze-The Best Carnival Has to Offer
I've been on four other Carnival Cruises and this was the best yet. My theory is that it costs more to sail on the Breeze than a cruise on an older Carnival ship say to the Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Belize etc) so more money is spent on food and other services. And of course the Breeze is the newest ship in the Carnival fleet and the facilities are in top condition. My wife and I went on the Celebrity Eclipse when it was new and the food was outstanding. A few years later, we went on a 14 day Caribbean cruise on the older Celebrity Summit and the food was really bad.
I'm giving the cruise an overall score of four for the following reasons: The air conditioning in my cabin (deck one) was poor and I felt hot the entire cruise. I called maintenance twice-the first guy stuck his hand into the ceiling vent to make sure it wasn't obstructed and said there wasn't anything he could do about it. Thinking that he may have been an idiot, I called maintenance a few days later and More another person came with a thermometer and the room registered at 73.5F. She informed me that the Carnival standard was that the cabin can be between 70-74F and still be within Carnival standards. Thus, I was never able to adjust the temperature to 70 or below and the cabin was uncomfortable the entire cruise. My wife and I went in search of cool public areas on the ship to cool off and provide relief from the 85F, 75% humidity of the Southern Caribbean but we never found any bars or public areas that were cold. I did notice that the higher the deck, the better the AC so the people with the most expensive cabins also had the best AC.
My other gripe is that sit down breakfast service was suspended on sea days and one sit down restaurant would open for brunch. I'm a working stiff and generally wake up early and want to head to breakfast to order what I want to eat. Instead, I have to wait for the brunch to open and can only order off the brunch menu. Thus, I can't get my 1/2 grapefruit and other food items I generally order from the breakfast menu. Thus, I found myself having to visit the buffet after brunch to get several of the things I actually wanted for breakfast and didn't like wasting my time having to visit two food venues.
FLIGHT: Southwest doesn't fly into Miami so my wife and I caught a flight to Fort Lauderdale. MJS transportation offers transport to Miami for $13 per person until 4PM. After 4PM the cost rises to $30/person so it cost $60 for them to take us to a downtown Miami hotel as their only passengers.
HOTEL: After perusing Tripadvisor, the Hampton Inn, downtown Miami seemed like a good choice. Downtown Miami is very close to the cruise terminal and it cost us $14 including tip for a taxi to the cruise port. The Hampton Inn cost about $200 including tax but it is well located. A few blocks from the hotel is Mary Brickell village which has several restaurants to choose from. One block from the hotel is the Metromover system which offers free transportation to the Bayside Marketplace (a touristy spot with shops and restaurants). Do not confuse the Metromover with the Metrorail which is an extensive rail system that costs $$ to board. One can always stay at the Holiday Inn downtown which is right across the street from Bayside Marketplace and about as close to the cruise port as you can get although several people have complained about it on Cruise Critic.
EMBARCATION: Embarcation is supposed to start at 1PM but people love showing up early in the morning while others are trying to get off the ship. If you are one of these people, you might want to consider opting for Faster to the Fun option ($$) or book a suite to board faster than the others. We arrived around 1:30PM and never got on a cruise ship faster. The Italian restaurant is open on embarcation day and if you don't want to sit in the buffet, take the stairs to the Italian restaurant located directly above the buffet area. It was okay but largely empty and free of the commotion taking place below in the buffet where everyone is directed to eat.
STATEROOM: My wife tends to get seasick so we opted for a cabin as close to the water as possible located midships on deck one (Deluxe oceanview). She absolutely loved having a small bathtub which is why we turned down Carnival's offer a few days before departure to upgrade to a balcony for an extra $300. Of course I mentioned above that the AC in the stateroom was terrible. However, Carnival tends to be generous when it comes to the size of staterooms compared to other cruise lines.
ENTERTAINMENT: IMHO, shipboard entertainment usually sucks with the exception of entertainment offered on the mega ships. However, Carnival usually has good comedians-the bad part is that the shows are held in the punchliner comedy club which is quite small. If you don't get there at least 30 minutes before the show, you won't be able to find a seat.
FOOD: I was quite surprised that the food was so good on this cruise. On my four other Carnival cruises, the food was only good but this time several entres were excellent and my foodie wife found several items she considered to be a 9 or 10. The people who complained in their reviews that the food was the same each day in the buffet weren't paying attention-everything changed daily except for the food stations like Mongolian Wok, Mexican, Guy's hamburgers and Deli. I found the carving stations to be excellent offering daily carved meats like lamb, turkey, roast pork, roast beef etc. In the sit down restaurant, lobster was offered once and I believe Prime Rib was offered twice. My wife loved this small eating venue called The Taste Bar located on deck 5 (Promenade Deck). She'd get her coffee there in the mornings because the restaurant coffee is so strong. At lunch, they offered good soups and allowed you to build your own salad which she greatly enjoyed.
SHIP: Of course the ship is new so it is in top condition. My wife loved the promenade deck which goes completely around the ship where 2.5 laps=1 mile. She'd strap on her pedometer and get her 10,000 steps each day while out at sea. Speaking of sea days, avoid the Fat Jimmy's BBQ open only on sea days-it is horrible. Any chain BBQ restaurant offers better BBQ that this joint.
DEBARCATION: Since we were flying out of Ft. Lauderdale, we opted for the Hop-on, Hop off tour of Miami and follow-up bus ride to FLL airport at 2PM. We got off the ship early and led off the ship by Carnival personnel and taken to the Bayside Marketplace where we could choose between the city tour and the Miami beach tour. We took both and got back to Bayside with plenty of time to visit the food court upstairs and grab a bite to eat before the 2PM bus. The tours alternated between those with a human guide and those with a recorded tour in several languages. I recommend the human guide. Those taking the noon bus could only take one tour. Less
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