From June 21st-29th, I vacationed on my first-ever cruise! I traveled on the Carnival Breeze to the Eastern Caribbean- St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Grank Turk Island. As much as I tried to prepare myself for this trip, I really had no idea what to expect. I heard both very good and bad things about Carnival itself, but no one I know had ever cruised on the Breeze. Everyone I have ever met said amazing things about cruising, so I set my expectations sky-high. While Carnival didn’t disappoint, there were definitely some things that didn’t meet my expectations during my stay.
First, the food was okay at best. As a college student, I’m no stranger to gross cafeteria food, long lines, and at-best meat dishes, and that’s exactly what carnival served. I ate in Sapphire dining only three times because the menu was so random and disgusting and the wait times took so long. I ate in Lido marketplace often, where the food was so-so. Even the ice cream was disappointing! It tasted like milk with ice chips. Yuck. The food that salvaged the overall experience were: Guy’s Burger Joint, the Blue Iguana burrito line (I highly recommend their breakfast burrito), and the Cucina del Capitano Italian dining room (although I liked it a lot, my cousin who I traveled with ended up getting really sick after eating it. She ordered potatoes). To be honest, the staff is what ended up saving my overall dining experience! Adrian from the Blue Iguana burrito line, Lucien and Silviu from Sapphire Dining Room, Silvio from Cucina del Capitano and Radu from the Blue Iguana Cantina part of the Lido deck were all AMAZING and really made my trip worth it. I was glad I paid so much for my cruise knowing that my business pays their paychecks!
The overall living experience of the cruise was good. My room steward was very kind, my room was relatively close to an elevator so it was in a convenient location, and we had a lot of white noise from a machine in the background (we were on the first floor) so we never heard anyone and slept well the whole time. The beds were comfortable, the room steward was attentive and thoughtful, and I loved my towel animals so much I actually purchased the book on how to make them! I stayed in an inner room and would gladly do it again. There was so much to do at all hours of the day that I hardly spent any time in the room. The only drawback of this was that I couldn’t check the immediate weather. It would have been convenient if FunHub (the free Internet portal) would have provided the current weather conditions for those who were on the first floor inside and couldn’t peek out the window.
I really, really enjoyed my excursions. In fact, the excursions I chose are what turned this vacation from “good” to “incredible.” I really recommend choosing your excursions way ahead of time. We got some really cool ones about a month ahead of time, and by the time we disembarked a few of the excursions we booked were already sold out! Additionally, I would recommend researching your ports if you’re not going to purchase an excursion. Not all ports are right by a beach where you can hop off, go swimming and sun tanning. Some are in sketchy areas with no beach access, so you would have to purchase an excursion that takes you to a beach in order to go swimming off the ship. The excursions I did were the Anguilla Dolphin Swim, Fan-Ta-Sea Nevis Catamaran Tour, EcoQuest Zip Lining and Family Fun Private Beach Trip. I would recommend all of them! If you need help with excursions, Mapule from the excursion desk was excellent! The only bad experience I had with excursions was in St. Kitts, a bunch of men swarmed me and a few other people and threw monkeys on us, took pictures, then said “10 dollars!!!” We had no idea what to do, had no warnings, and our tour guide took off when this happened without helping us or telling us to ignore the monkey people. We got away without having to pay, but some people were not so lucky!
A theme I noticed from this cruise was disorganization. We disembarked over an hour later than we were scheduled to, there was severe confusion and disorganization with the emergency brief, where no one (including the staff) knew what was going on! Seriously, if there was an emergency, I would have had no idea what was going on or what to do. Additionally, when the (very handsome!!!) cruise director or anyone else would talk over the intercom, I couldn’t hear! The intercom system was so quiet I could hardly hear a thing all week. This was disappointing because I genuinely wanted to hear what was being said.
After all is said and done, I would gladly travel with Carnival again. The whole time I was on the Breeze, I felt like I was on a party! Even though I cruised for 8 days, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted! I would go to bed exhausted each night but still felt sad because there was so much I wanted to still do! I really liked the layout of the ship, and my favorite spots included the front and back of the ship on the outside part of Deck 5, the oversized hot tubs on Deck 5, the Library, the sides of Lido deck 10, and of course the Atrium because it was so beautiful! I felt like I had made myself a new family on the Carnival Breeze and I was so sad to leave. The only thing stopping me from traveling more on that ship was the fact that it didn’t have church (which was disappointing… I wish they had some sort of religious services on the ship considering I was there two Sundays in a row) or college! I would not consider doing schoolwork online there because the wifi is extremely expensive and extremely slow. It took me about 5 minutes to send one email. Bummer! Overall, I loved the Carnival Breeze. I feel homesick for it and can’t wait to sail again soon!
Beach Break was great but beware- free wifi is only in a sketchy shack inside, and the people working there were not friendly. Anything additional beside the beach chair and swimming in the ocean is for a fee. The port itself was absolutely gorgeous, fun and exciting! Margaritaville was swarmed with people but it was really fun. It was like one giant party!
Ziplining was decent at best. It wasn't really a rainforest... more like some woods with farmland. San Juan smelled really bad and Puerto Rico was not very pretty. It was so crowded and busy. I didn't really have any desire to explore the port. Got back on the ship 4 hours early.
I had a great time on my excursion. It was a "booze cruise" in the most fun and family friendly way possible. It was nice to see the sister island, Nevis, and to still have time to discover St. Kitts. However, no one warned me about the monkey people! BEWARE: people from St. Kitts while come to you with several baby monkeys. These monkeys will jump on you, then sit on your shoulder. The monkey people will say "Want a picture?!" then take your phone, take a picture, and ask for $10. It's a total SCAM! If you don't want to pay the monkey people, say "no monkey!" very firmly and they will leave you alone.
St. Maarten was amazing. I did an excursion called Anguilla Dolphin Swim where we took a sea taxi from St. Maarten to the island Anguilla. We enjoyed gorgeous blue water on a private beach until we were ready to swim with dolphins! It was so amazing, fairly priced and it still left us time to explore the nice shopping area of St. Maarten. St. Maarten had the best selection of cheap souvenirs and the nicest tourist sign of all of the excursions I went on. I didn't travel around a whole lot of St. Maarten, but the port was clean, easy to walk around, plenty of shops, and had nice views.