Carnival Breeze for Families
Kids will find no shortage of options on Breeze, whether they're participating in scheduled activities in the toy-filled Camp Carnival spaces, lining up for the 30th time at the 312-foot-long twister waterslide or participating with mom and dad in "Hasbro, the Game Show."
Passengers from 2 to 11 make up Deck 11's Camp Carnival, which breaks its attendees down into three groups, each with its own age-appropriate activity list. Kids, ages 2 to 5, might enjoy face-painting, sand art and hide 'n' seek; for 6- to 8-year-olds, it's talent shows, Wii play and dance competitions; and the 9-to-11 set will by buoyed by board games, scavenger hunts, sports competitions and, yes, more video games. Kids-only lunches and dinners are part of the mix, too.
Scheduled activities generally run until 10 p.m., after which Night Owl parties -- late-night group baby-sitting with a more fun name -- are available for $6.75 per hour, per kid (plus 15 percent gratuity per child). There are also the occasional theme parties (Beach, Mardi Gras), which run from 10 p.m. to midnight and cost $13 per child (plus 15 percent gratuity).
Note that there are limited activities for the 2-and-younger set. (There are designated times when little ones can use the facilities if supervised by their parents.) Children who are not toilet trained cannot use Breeze's WaterWorks facilities (waterslides, aquapark) or pools. Passengers must be a minimum of 6 months of age to sail.
The Beary Cuddly Workshop is a for-fee build-a-stuffed-animal activity, where kids can accessorize and take home a stuffed teddy, lion, koala, dog or bear. Rates start at $19.95 and vary depending on the outfits and accouterments selected. A portion of sales go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, with which Carnival has long had a close relationship.
The 12-to-14- (tweens) and 15-to-17-year-old sets have their own TV- and mood-lighting-filled spaces, located on Deck 4 (light years from the littler cruisers). Circle C, the tween hangout, features a video jukebox, dance floor, gaming systems tied to flat-screen TV's and Web-ready Fun Hub stations. The larger Club O2, the complex for the older teens, features similar amenities but adds a prohibition-style (booze-free) bar. The clubs are generally open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on days in port and from noon to 1 a.m. on sea days. Both super-cool hangout spots have dedicated directors, but the kids can come and go as they please. For teens who want to extend the grownup-free vibe onshore, there are a handful of teens-only shore excursions.
A nearby arcade, the Warehouse, offers a healthy selection of car-racing, first-person shooting and prize-grabbing games. Parents worried that little Timmy's penchant for killing zombies will impact his future inheritance can put a cap on daily arcade spend.