Carnival Breeze Review
- Pro: Variety of diversions and dining options
- Con: Crowds and informal party atmosphere might be a turn-off
- Bottom Line: Carnival's fun-for-everyone ethic at its best
Carnival Breeze Overview
Carnival's biggest ship until the May 2016 launch of Carnival Vista has a light and lively Caribbean feel and offers passengers a little taste of everything. That includes food options from 24-hour handmade pizza to a Michelin-quality chef's table; and an excellent string trio in the Atrium to a DJ spinning dance hits at high volume in the futuristic Liquid Nightclub.
The 3,690-passenger Breeze, which can pack in 4,724 when every bed, bunk and sofa bed is occupied, attracts everyone from young partiers, to wedding groups, to families and older couples and often sails at capacity.
Carnival Breeze is definitely not for those seeking serenity at sea. Prepare to stand in line at popular venues such as Fat Jimmy's C-Going BBQ, Guy's Burger Joint and the Comfort Kitchen buffet. You'll probably hear babies crying, groups calling to each other in the hallways and encounter an over-imbiber wandering the long hallways trying to remember the number of his or her stateroom. It's easy to clock 2 to 3 miles a day just getting around.
Those expecting Carnival's infamous gaudy decor might be pleasantly surprised by Breeze's more refined ambience (though some bemoan the toned-down look). Public areas are decorated in neutral colors. Halls and stairways are adorned with Caribbean images, including large, striking photos of marine life. Cabins are light and bright, with blond wood and beige walls. Constant polishing, cleaning and repairs keep things shipshape. On a top-to-bottom tour, we saw few signs of wear.
And, while Carnival Breeze is a mass-market ship, crew members are trained not to say no and most are notably accommodating. Service is a strong point, from the twice-daily tidying up by cabin stewards, to smiling hamburger flippers on deck and dining room servers who do a generally great job of remembering your name and favored dishes.
As befits a mega "fun ship" catering to thousands, you'll find a nearly nonstop range of activities, entertainment and chow-down options. Stage extravaganzas geared for today's shorter attention spans run 30 minutes, and Carnival's effervescent "Fun Squad" hands out trophies and medals in constant contests and activities on sea days (from naming tunes to bean bag tossing, to the notoriously embarrassing hairy chest competition). You'll be lucky to get a seat at a $6 blackjack table in the smoky casino, which buzzes on sea nights. During the day, kids pop up top, where two scream-inducing water slides, mini golf and an elevated ropes course beckon. Parents will savor the me-time afforded by Breeze's kids' clubs and for-fee babysitting.
Pool decks on most ships are hubs of activity, but this one (on Deck 10) is particularly frenetic. Grab a themed cocktail from a passing server, watch concerts and movies on a mammoth LED screen or order a slice of pizza 24/7.
Peace is possible if you look. Navigate toward the lesser-populated Lanai Deck (Deck 5), where loungers are plentiful and the four elevated hot tubs that project over the sea are rarely crowded. The Serenity Deck (Deck 15) is an adults-only sanctuary. We'll share a secret: Few passengers find secluded spaces at the front of the ship accessed by doors on Deck 6 and 7.
Then again, why sign up for a Fun Ship if you're seeking tranquility? Better get back to the Lido Deck now, 'cause they're doing the electric slide.
(To get the most out of your experience, download the free Carnival Hub app from the iTunes store before you sail for an ever-updated list of activities as well as maps and eatery info. You also can chat with fellow passengers for a fee).
Carnival Breeze Fellow Passengers
This ship's passenger list is as diverse as the United States, but you probably won't rub shoulders with the country club set. Lots of past passengers consider Breeze one of Carnival's best. You'll see toddlers, grandparents, gay and hetero couples and family groups wearing matching T-shirts. There's not much formality: Infants crawl in halls and some cabin doors are decorated like school lockers to reflect the family or couple within. Passengers tend to be unpretentious, friendly and social. Don't be surprised if the cruiser at the next penny slot machine starts up a conversation or if a stranger asks you to join a trivia team. Nearly 90 percent of passengers hail from North America.
Carnival Breeze Dress Code
Carnival sells itself as the "come-as-you-are-and-enjoy-yourself cruise line," so casual is king. A six-to-eight-night sailing will have two "cruise elegant" nights. But you probably won't see many gowns or sequins. We counted just two tuxedoes and a handful of sport jackets the entire cruise. Cutoff jeans and tank tops are prohibited in dining rooms, but we saw some passengers wearing them get in. Women will be fine packing dressy tops and pants or short dresses; men will feel fashionable in polo shirts and slacks on more formal nights. At the buffet, where some cruisers choose to eat dinner, we spotted a young man with baggy jeans hanging unappetizingly below his underwear.
Carnival Breeze Gratuity
Carnival recommends $12.95 per person, per day, for gratuities ($13.95 per person, per day, for those in suites). The guidelines allocate a portion to dining room services, cabin services and alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel services. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills and spa treatments. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is appreciated by the service staff.