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552 Carnival Barcelona Cruise Reviews

We recently had the pleasure of taking a 12 day cruise on the newly refurbished/renamed Carnival Sunshine. We selected this cruise last Fall because of the itinerary, but we really came to like the ship as well. The new décor is great. It ... Read More
We recently had the pleasure of taking a 12 day cruise on the newly refurbished/renamed Carnival Sunshine. We selected this cruise last Fall because of the itinerary, but we really came to like the ship as well. The new décor is great. It is perhaps out of place in the Mediterranean, but Sunshine will be a Caribbean ship in November, and it is perfect for that scene. The refurbishment project was quite ambitious on an aggressive schedule and the craftsmanship wasn't always the best. Still, it is a very nice ship and after we returned home, we booked the November 1 repositioning cruise from Barcelona to New Orleans. We book inside cabins to save money and because we stay out late and sleep late in the morning. Our cabin was a 4F, it was large enough for 2 people. The bathroom was well laid out, not elegant, but quite adequate. There are nominally 3 closets, but one has the safe, a lot of life jackets, a blanket, etc. There are never enough hangers, we always bring 10 to 20 wire hangers. The bed was quite comfortable, the lighting was adequate, but there could be more. There was a new 28 to 32 inch flat screen HD TV.We had a problem with the ventilation and a recurring odor of cigarette smoke in the cabin. We were told that the ventilation serves a block of rooms and if people in the balcony cabins leave the door open when they smoke on the balcony, the odor can be drawn into other cabins as well. I have been on 16 other cruise ships and never experienced this before. Carnival brought an ozone generator into the room whenever we requested it. The machine would run for 30 minutes to an hour and we had to be out of the cabin while it was on. This would freshen the air for the rest of the night. The itinerary for this cruise was ideal; Barcelona to Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples, Dubrovnik, Venice, Messina Sicily, and finally back to Barcelona. It was so full, we really enjoyed the 3 sea days. Dubrovnik, Venice, and Barcelona were our favorite cities. In an attempt to see as much as possible in the time available, we took Carnival tours in Florence/Pisa and Rome. Being hustled around by tour guides and living on someone else's schedule just isn't our style. We enjoyed doing the rest of the cities on our own, even if we did miss something. The highlight of our time on the ship was dancing the night away with Mambo Magic del Peru in the Havana Bar. I recommend them to anyone who likes Latin music. We will be highly disappointed if they are not with us on the November crossing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My husband and I booked this cruise as an easy and cost-effective way to get a taste of Italy and other Mediterranean ports while sharing the experience with our two sons who are in their early 20's. We all had a wonderful time, ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise as an easy and cost-effective way to get a taste of Italy and other Mediterranean ports while sharing the experience with our two sons who are in their early 20's. We all had a wonderful time, although our sons probably would have preferred a shorter cruise of 7 days rather than 12 days. Barcelona: We flew into Barcelona two days early for some sightseeing on our own and we all loved Barcelona! Beautiful city with lots to do. We stayed at the Hotel Gaudi one block off the Ramblas and spent extra to get a Superior Room on the top floor with a huge terrace overlooking the city. Well worth the extra expense. Nice local hotel with an excellent location. I highly recommend the Bus Turistic, a double-decker hop-on hop-off bus that has three separate routes: Blue line (north including Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou/Barcelona football stadium), red line (Montjuic and site of the Olympic stadium), and green line (Barcelona beaches). We bought a two day pass and rode all three lines and it was definitely a great way to see much of the city and get to the various attractions. One tip: Everyone wants to sit on the top of the bus so there were long lines waiting while buses would leave half empty. Go to the attendant at the front and tell him/her that you'd be willing to sit down below. Once people on the top start leaving at various stops, you just take the stairs up to the top and get one of the prime spots. We used this strategy successfully several times. Embarkation in Barcelona Port: We took a taxi to the port around noon and were on the ship less than an hour later - very efficient. Marseille: We took a taxi to the main tourist area Vieux Port and then took Le Petit Train to Notre-Dame de la Garde. Both the train ride along the waterfront and the basilica on the hill were highlights for us. We also enjoyed walking through Le Panier District (Old Town) and wish we had more time to spend in Marseille. The port was much nicer than I expected. Livorno: This was the first of three private tours we booked in advance with Best Limos in Rome. The ship was late arriving in port (medical emergency) so it shortened our time in this port. We briefly visited Pisa and then on to Florence. Our tour guide Stephano was excellent - so entertaining - and our tour (8 of us in a minivan)included entrance to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David. So awe inspiring in person! While I expected to have several hours on our own in Florence to sightsee and shop, it ended up being pretty rushed. Still, it was a great day and even the ride back to the ship was scenic through the Tuscan countryside. Rome: Another private tour with Best Limos in Rome. I knew this day would be exhausting with so many sights packed into so little time, but I couldn't imagine going to Rome and not visiting the Coliseum and the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Vatican. While St. Peter's Square and the Sistine Chapel were amazing, the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds were overwhelming and detracted from the experience. I'd love to go back to Rome (and Florence) in a more leisurely manner. Naples: Our family split up and husband and younger son took the hydrofoil to Capri for a leisurely day there, while older son and I opted for another Best Limos in Rome tour of Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We all enjoyed a somewhat less structured day of sightseeing after Florence and Rome. The Amalfi Coast was stunning - scenic road high above the coastline - and we ended up also going over the mountains (detour due to road construction) which was beautiful. Little towns, terraced vineyards - but very windy road so beware if you are prone to carsickness. Visited lovely town of Amalfi - very reasonably priced bottles of organic Limoncello liquor - and brief stop in Salerno on way back to Pompeii. Due to detour, no time for Sorrento. Pompeii was interesting and definitely worth seeing but I enjoyed the time in Amalfi more. Dubrovnik: After a much needed day at sea, we visited Dubrovnik on our own. Only port that doesn't use Euros and, apparently since they aren't part of the European Union, you need your passport to get on and off the ship. Friendly people and stunning views from the walkable Town Walls. We wanted to take the cable car to the top of Mount Srd but it was closed due to windy conditions. We did enjoy drinks at Buza - a tip in Rick Steve's guide book about two "hole in the wall" bars outside the city walls perched above the ocean. Word of caution: If you have bad knees, be forewarned that the city walls (and streets) involve a lot of steps and climbing. Venice: We arrived in Venice mid afternoon and you get a great view of the city as the ship approaches dock. It is a little trickier than I imagined getting into the heart of the city from the cruise dock if you take the public transportation. You have to walk over some parking lots (couple of blocks) to a "people mover" monorail. You buy a ticket to the people mover for a ride that takes maybe 3 minutes to the Piazzale Roma station where you walk another block to stand in line to buy another ticket (ours was a 24 hour pass) for the vaporetto (water bus). Riding the vaporetto is pretty simple, although they can be very crowded with standing room only. Venice is truly beautiful and so unique. Although we enjoyed visiting St Mark's Square, our favorite memory is starting out early the next morning and walking the length of the city through non-touristy neighborhoods. Venice was not one of my "must see" vacation stops, and I was completely surprised how enchanting I found the city, overrun by tourists (like us!) and all. This is the only port where the cruise ship remains overnight so you do have the luxury of staying out late. However, while the vaporetto service continues into the night, the people mover monorail closed early (9:00pm or 10:00pm) the Sunday night we were there. Sicily: Messina, Sicily was the only port where we signed up for a Carnival excursion - Taormina and Beach Getaway. Taormina is a charming resort town about an hour's drive from Messina. The drive is scenic and the town is too, perched high above the coastline with an ancient Greek amphitheater still in use. We spent the morning here, touring, shopping and having a lovely sidewalk café lunch (with the requisite yummy cannoli) before heading to the private beach portion of our excursion. It was a white sandy beach complete with beach chairs (included) and umbrellas (extra), changing rooms and a snack bar where you can get a beer. The water - Bay of Naxos - was very cold. We all enjoyed this excursion. Carnival Sunshine: We were on the third cruise after dry dock refurbishments and most of the earlier issues had already been resolved. We had two interior rooms which were adequate and clean. As others have noted, the TV system was terrible - very few program choices (mostly Carnival)and sound problems. While no one - I hope - goes on a Mediterranean cruise to watch TV, it would have been nice to get news (in addition to BBC off hours news)and a sports channel or two. We thought the public areas were very nice, although the ship layout was initially a little confusing to us. The sunning decks were very crowded on sea days, but I think that is to be expected, and other than the morning traffic jam at the breakfast buffet, we never really had any issues with overcrowding. Food and Drink: We thought the food was excellent. While the breakfast buffet offered almost the same items every morning, there were plenty of choices. We had lunch on the ship only on sea days and liked both Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana burritos (although the serving times were short). We ate dinner every night in the main dining room - Your Time Dining - and we never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table. There was something for everyone on the dining room menu, including more adventurous choices (frogs legs)as well as healthy and comfort food choices. We were so pleased with the food in the main dining room that we were never motivated to try the fee extra choices, although I heard they were excellent as well. With this being vacation, the four of us consumed our fair share of alcohol. Yes, the drinks are overpriced, but I think everybody knows that going in. We thought the Alchemy Bar was a real standout. As others have mentioned, it is possible to "smuggle" a bottle of wine or liquor purchased on shore in your day pack and the Carnival security attendants don't seem to notice. However, I do think you are pushing your luck to try to get more than one bottle onto the ship at a time, and we did see a few bottles confiscated at reentry (until the end of the cruise). Entertainment: We came on this cruise to see Europe, not stage shows, so the entertainment wasn't a priority for us. However, we thought the cover band Rock and Roll Time Machine playing in the Ocean Plaza was very talented. We also enjoyed the comedians Rondell Sheridan and Larry Omaha and the audience participation part of ventriloquist Phil Hughes act was also very entertaining. Overall, we didn't feel that the on-board entertainment was compelling. Pet peeve: They turned off the outdoor movie Casablanca half way through because not enough people were on the deck watching. Two other pet peeves: Hard sell at the spa to buy additional treatments and products, and a complete lack of port information/maps if you didn't sign up for Carnival's excursions (tip - bring your own guide books/maps). Service: We had excellent service. Staff was helpful and polite. Our room was cleaned promptly. Our billing was accurate - no surprises. We were happy to pay the gratuity billed to our account at the end of the cruise - the staff works hard and more than earns their pay. Embarkation: We carried our own bags off and got a taxi to Barcelona airport. Super quick and super efficient. Couldn't be better. Bottom line: We had a great time! The trip was everything we hoped it would be! Each port had its own charms but our favorites were Barcelona, Amalfi/Capri, and Venice. We were not disappointed in the Carnival Sunshine, even if we were occasionally disappointed in our fellow passengers (a few of them). This cruise is an excellent value and we'd love to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was the first trip to the Eastern Hemisphere my wife and I had taken. I am 27 and she is 26. This was not a honeymoon cruise, just something we wanted to do before having kids made it difficult. We have both cruised Carnival before ... Read More
This was the first trip to the Eastern Hemisphere my wife and I had taken. I am 27 and she is 26. This was not a honeymoon cruise, just something we wanted to do before having kids made it difficult. We have both cruised Carnival before with a NCL cruise squeezed in the middle. Bear with me as i would like to cover a lot of things to get everything off my chest.We started off with the standard red-eye US Airways Philadelphia to Barcelona international flight. I would recommend another airline if it is at all feasible, but it was pretty much our only decent option. We arrived the morning of the cruise at about 9 A.M.The first problem with Carnival was almost immediate. We knew when we booked ahead of time we would have too much time to burn between landing and setting sail from Barcelona, so we booked a pre-cruise Barcelona shore excursion. We booked this on the Carnival website with the Airport transfer. When we claimed our bags after Spanish customs (which was a minor joke throughout the two week cruise, by the way) we were greeted by a Carnival representative. This Carnival representative told us to give our checked bags to the porter and wait in a general wing of the airport. We did. We waited an agonizing long time with a big crowd of people. Finally, we were taken to the buses and the buses took us to the Port of Barcelona. At this point i knew something was wrong because our shore excursion should have all ready started. We waited and got on the ship with the expected waiting we did. We immediately went to the shore excursion desk. We were told that we were emailed instructions with how to go on our pre-cruise excursion. No, we did not receive any email. Carnival credited us our shore excursion cost but we missed our opportunity to see Barcelona, so we started off the cruise frustrated with Carnival for a miss-stepOur Balcony room was 7289. Great in terms of floor location, 2 floors below the lido and sun deck, 2 floors above the ocean plaza and casino. No noise from either. But our room was located next to the stairway so it was a little noisy at times. The room was fine, my first balcony but it was a good room. The only negative was the people next to us and the TV stations were pretty terrible. Constantly losing signals and the audio was not synced to the video. Not a huge deal because i don't watch TV much while on a cruise.Marseilles, France - Easily the least enjoyable port of the cruise. We booked the "Le Castellet & Bandol" excursion through Carnival and went to a port/tourist area for a couple hours and then to a Medieval Castle type town for a couple hours. Good sights but the bus ride was too long to justify it. Try something else here.Livorno/Pisa, Italy - Took the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" Carnival excursion. This was a very good a photo intensive excursion. My only complaint is that you are not really given enough free time to enjoy the area. I would book something similar with more roaming time. (this was only a 4 hour tour)Civitavecchia/Rome, Italy - We learned from Pisa and booked the "Rome on your own" carnival excursion. This was the highlight of the cruise. We had 8+ hours to roam Rome and see all the different architecture shops and sights. I recommend bringing your own detailed map as the Carnival provided map is a joke. We even were able to meet up with friends and enjoy local pasta. Didn't see the pope though.Naples, Italy - We did not book and excursion in this port. Since the port of Naples is actually the thing I wanted to see, i decided to just get off the ship and walk around on my own. The city of Naples is actually pretty dirty and depressed. I was asked if i wanted to buy some IPhones from some locals for 5 euros, which is pretty funny. We eventually made our way to the nicer tourist-y places and some very nice architecture spots. Loved the castle. Overall, this was a weak point in the itinerary. Probably best to book an excursion. Although that seems like more of a "mask".Dubrovnik, Croatia - Surprisingly one of the best ports on the itinerary. We booked the "Konavle Biking Tour" which was by far the best excursion of the cruise. Carnival lists the activity level as "Difficult" which is a complete joke, if you are in any kind of shape you will be fine. We finished up the tour (which was beautiful with a fresh-water sping and church mixed in) in a winery and sampled two wines and a cheese. We bought a wine and Olive Oil for the trip home. I highly recommend this tour.Venice, Italy - Awesome! Having two days in Venice was a nice bonus to this itinerary. We walked around the streets ourselves with no tour. We discovered many beautiful structures and sampled the local culture. This is tied with Dubrovnik as the second best port. Sicily/Messina, Italy - We booked the "Taormina & Beach Getaway" excursion through Carnival. Taormina is a cool little village with the standard tourist items and Gelato. We did most of our souvenir hunting here before heading to the beach. I loved the views and everything but the temperature of the Mediterranean. But hey, at least i can say i swam in it. Good port and good excursion, i would recommend it.The ports were the best parts of the cruise. Now lets get into the Carnival Sunshine itself.As mentioned before, our cabin was fine and complete, i read about the nightmares before our cruise but it was no problem on this one or for us.The pool was closed for a couple days and Carnival gave us a credit. Good, i couldn't care less about the pool. What i did care about was the lack of room to do anything in a common area on a sea day. Granted there are only three sea days on this cruise, but it was frustrating that only awful seats on the sun deck were open, almost all other common rooms would be full and all activities would all be taken. (i remember i couldn't even play billiards in the sky zone) Forget about bathing in the hot tub at any "peak" time as it will be filled with either kids at the lower level or adults in the serenity lounge. I finally got in the hot tub when the sun went down.The comedians in the Limelight lounge were pretty good. The ones from the UK kinda sucked but the American ones were above average. I recommend seeing these guys even though the introductory people (Wally and the "tropical" girl from Canada) are tough to listen to.The shows in the Liquid Lounge are pretty bad. We have had Kevin Noonan as a cruise director before and he was sadly the best entertainment there. The Marriage game and the Introductory show were the best parts. The Hasbro Gameshow would be the most boring show in the history of Nickelodeon if it was on TV (which it looks like it was a at some point). The singing and dancing shows never really interest me (even though i was laughing when they pulled cruisers up there to dance in the VIP show). The Juggler dropped things a few times and the mind reading guy was kind of impressive i admit.The Sky Zone was pretty cool with the golf, basketball, billiards, ping pong, shuffle board, and ropes course. I did the water slides once to say i did them. Not bad for adults. Overall i would say on a 12 day cruise the entertainment just ran out of entertainment. Everything got kinda of old and you can tell when they started repeating liquid lounge shows. The Sky Course / Sky Zone also got old fast on the 12 day trip.Our fellow cruisers were mostly older folks. Some Europeans and Americans. You won't find much eye candy on this cruise. But the other side is much fewer kids, which is always a plus in my book.I never took advantage of the Piano Bar or Library bar. I played poker in the casino (which is technically a rip-off with the rake) and won $800! I probably could have won more but i wanted to be fair to my wife.The Alchemy Bar was by far the coolest thing on the ship. If i could go back i would spend more time there. Definitely check it out to get an inspired drink. The other bars were pretty mundane. I liked the idea of spiked milkshakes but really, getting a buzz with a milkshake is impossible. The Sports bar is a joke because they only played European sports in the middle of the NHL and NBA playoffs.You can just bring wine/beer/liquor onto the ship anyway. Unlike other Carnival cruises there wasn't even a check-in station. The security guys seemed to not really care. Just put whatever you get in a bag and you will get through fine.There were some technical problems with the sunshine. Loose floor boards, lights in the liquid lounge not working, audio during shows not working and other minor problems. They will probably fix these in the coming weeks.The Food:Lido - Same exact options for breakfast everyday. The eggs never tasted fresh. I suggest getting omlettes in the Havana bar. I rarely came for other meals, but when i did it was mediocre food. They seemed to close the buffet islands in my face a lot too. I did like the grilled cheese sandwiches late at night. The Pannini bar is good as well as the pizza station - better than other carnival ships. Guy's Burgers - Yummy, but bad as hell for you. You can just tell when eating it your heart is mad with you. Unfortunately this is your only option for food Mid-Day other than pizza. The toppings bar is great though.Blue Iguana Cantina - I loved the Burritos it was only open from noon to 2:30 though, so i didn't get as many as i liked. IMO these hours should be extended. Not quite Chipotle but pretty good.Sunshine Restaurant - Had anytime dinning with many servers and got mixed results. We finally learned the pattern. The wait staff makes no difference, you will have bad service (or i mean just long service) if the place is busy and good service if the place is not. The best time to go is 6:10ish. You will be hungry and get out at a decent time. There were days we waited an hour and a half for the whole meal and it was frustrating, just go at lower trafficked times.Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse - Delicious super fattening meal. I loved every single course except for - ironically, the steak. I got the cowboy on the bone steak and i wouldn't recommend it here for anyone else. This place probably wasn't worth the $70 for two but i wanted to try it once.I didn't try JiJi's or the Italian place.Disembarkation was surprisingly smooth considering the crowdedness of the ship and what i have seen from past cruises i've been on. The post cruise transfer was fast and we got our luggage and everything went fine (until we got to customs that is).To conclude everything - We had a great time and enjoyed the ports. The Carnival Sunshine itself left something to be desired. The service is always top notch but the entertainment, crowdedness, ship design, food left something to be desired.All in all we are glad we took this cruise. But we won't look forward to go on the Carnival Sunshine again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
What I liked: They gave us $100 OBC for a closed pool which I would not have used due to the weather...that was nice. I got a great rate and the ports were very, very, good. Staff were always courteous, friendly and tried hard to ... Read More
What I liked: They gave us $100 OBC for a closed pool which I would not have used due to the weather...that was nice. I got a great rate and the ports were very, very, good. Staff were always courteous, friendly and tried hard to please.All the retro-fit seems to have been focused on the upper decks only such as added staterooms, bars and restaurants which are essentially the real money makers. We were on deck 6 and I assure you nothing refurbished there in the staerooms.. Bathroom had that mild mildew sewage stink, not enough to complain but enough to be uncomfortable. Some areas the carpet looked really old and dust was certainly more than a week old.OnBoard TV was horrible, lost signals all the time and of 15 channels probably 10 were dedicated to Carnival, 2 British CNN's, 2 movie channels that played the same movies all day long and that was about it.Food: Lido was boring at its best. Food that you would expect at a hospital cafeteria. Breakfast was the same every single day and limited. Dining room food was good but service was slow and not the fault of the servers. It seems like they have a management-staff communication disconnect or poor planning or both. First time ever I experienced the dining room hosts handing out pagers, waiting 20 minutes only to find plenty of open seats available. Appetizers which should have been served quickly without much preparation really took too long. There was a night or two where if I had been in a restaurant I might have walked out or complained.One thing that really bugged me was being out on the Lido deck we are enjoying serene views of Italy but listening to steel-drum, reggae, and caribbean music being blasted. That really screwed up the ambiance big time. These issues may seem petty but other cruise lines offer more and spoil you. We knew what we were getting into by booking Carnvial but with all the hype about it being a new ship we expected a little more. Perhaps they should have spent less $ on the PR hype and more details to customer satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
First time cruiser. I didn't pay much attention to reviews before I left, thought I would make my own decisions. Not sure where the $155 million went. Others said the same. Main pool was closed most of the time so we got a $50 ... Read More
First time cruiser. I didn't pay much attention to reviews before I left, thought I would make my own decisions. Not sure where the $155 million went. Others said the same. Main pool was closed most of the time so we got a $50 room credit. I guess I didn't realize how bad the smoking would be. There are designated areas but they weren't enforced. First morning at breakfast getting salsa at the salsa bar and a man standing there smoking right over the food. We also were eating at the table near by. We said something to the waiter and he said they weren't supposed to smoke there but "people do". Not supposed to smoke on Serenity Deck either but some did. We could hardly be on our balcony as cabin in front of us smoked and they seemed to sit on balcony a lot smoking. Carnival needs to figure a way to separate smoking and non- smoking. I should be able to be on my balcony (that I paid more for) and not have to be bombarded with smoke. Food was good sometimes and mediocre others. Asian and Mexican food was good as it was cooked to order. Hamburgers were ok but already sitting in a warming bin. Dining room meals were hit and miss. Our dining room waiters were excellent!!! We saw many arguments over lounge chairs. You were not supposed to reserve chairs but most people did. Watched one lady throw a fit over someone taking her chair while she left to eat. Screamed and cried for about 45 minutes to security. Really? It's a lounge chair. We took our chances on chairs and eventually got them. What is with you people going out at the crack of dawn, wrapping up in towels and sleeping while saving several chairs? We had our latte one morning on the deck. Got out there about 7a.m. And all the chairs on the Serenity Decks were full with towels and books. Most people didn't show up to there chairs for a few hours. Not a very fair way to handle seating. Our water shut off in the middle of a shower and our toilet quit flushing one day. They were quick to fix both. Girls at coffee bar were great! Couldn't be in casino if you don't like smoke. Entertainment was good in Liquid Lounge. Comedians were hit and miss with one making fun of someone in audience that obviously had some special needs. Very uncomfortable for everyone. Did one shore excursion and it was a waste of money. We did much better on our own and saved a lot of money. Spent 30 euros each for gondola ride and water taxi back and forth to boat Carnival charged 88 per person for same thing. Most people said they are on Carnival because of the price. I can see that. Carnival is cheap if you want to take a cruise. They have very poor customer service if you have any issues. The customer service on the ship was decent but not if dealing with Carnival directly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We are "oldly weds" who are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We love Carnival so sailing on the newly remodeled Sunshine was a no brainer for us. After about an hours wait we took the Carnival transfer to the port. With VIP ... Read More
We are "oldly weds" who are celebrating our 10th anniversary. We love Carnival so sailing on the newly remodeled Sunshine was a no brainer for us. After about an hours wait we took the Carnival transfer to the port. With VIP status, we were supposed to have quick embarkation. No such luck-computers were down so everything was done manually. After an almost 2 hour wait we were checked in very quickly. It took only 15 minutes to get to our stateroom. It was ready when we got there, fresh, newly decorated and clean. We went right to Lido deck to the new Guy Fieri hamburger place. The burgers were as good as advertised, real messy to eat. We explored the new Serenity decks and found a clam shell chair to relax. We spent time there on 7 of the 12 days. Great place to relax after a day of sight seeing. We were impressed with the new configuration of the promenade deck. Ocean Plaza is an excellent concept. Everything is right there. Only complaint is the smoking part of the casino way too much smoke during evenings and sea days. The entire staff on the ship was smiling and treated us to great service. Almost everyone remembered our names after a day or so. We would like to give kudos to Alvin on the photography staff. He arranged to photoshop a port picture for us-no charge. It was an extremely kind gesture. Our stateroom staff kept everything ship shape. Jelena and Wayan were wonderful. The dining room staff gave good service as well. We would like to thank the assistant Matre D Dylan for sending us a bottle of wine for our anniversary. The MatreD and assistant MatreD stopped by our table as well as many others every night. This was a first for us on any ship or cruiseline. We enjoyed the adult-only comedy and enjoyed 8 comedians during our 12 day cruise. The new stage concept was a nice surprise because we have read some not-so-flattering comments . The performers were as good as or better than what we have seen on Carnival. We especially liked Latin nights. Wife can dance and after several drinks I did too-without much damage to those around me. With 7 ports in 12 days, we were busy. The steakhouse and Italian restaurant were excellent. Service was suberb and food was as well the staff in both was well trained they didn't hover but were always there. Disembarkation was a breeze. When our group was called we boarded the shuttle and were delivered to the airport in plenty of time. No rush at all. Probably best disembarkation so far. Was everything perfect, no but our expectations were met and even exceeded at times. We are not complainers, we are adjusters. The only negative thing was the wait at VIP embarkation. Getting to our stateroom right away was a soothing salve on that bruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
While I would agree with several other reviewers on the beauty of the ship, my food poisoning and ensuing quarantine ruined what might have been a more favorable review. And, I think the lack of customer service, coupled with food ... Read More
While I would agree with several other reviewers on the beauty of the ship, my food poisoning and ensuing quarantine ruined what might have been a more favorable review. And, I think the lack of customer service, coupled with food poisoning, is something others should consider. At the dining room, early seating, I was served seafood newburg, with three mussels (presumably as decoration)that had their shells closed. Of course I did not eat those mussels. However, the mixed seafood had lots of already shelled mussels in the sauce. Four and a half hours later, I became drastically ill, vomiting with severe cramps. I called the medical center, thinking they should know about the food poisoning. They asked me to come right over, saying they could help. Instead of wanting to help, their goal was to enforce a legal quarantine based on their preferred diagnosis that I "gastrointestinal" illness that would be contagious. When we attempted to argue that I only had food poisoning (I had none of the other symptoms of gastrointestinal illnness), the nurse would not budge, but said if I felt fine in the morning, I could see the doctor, and if I was well, he could release me. Of course, the Breeze management would rather confine me with a wrongful diagnosis than admit to food poisoning. The next morning I was fine and went to the medical center. After waiting 45 minutes, the doctor refused to see me, I was told to return to my room, and could return 24 hours later to be released from the quarantine. FYI the quarantine was notified to everyone, the cabin steward, the dinner waiter, any deboarding use of the card, etc. all were informed I could not leave my room. When I attempted to order food by room service, my choices were limited to jello, clear broth and saltines. Needless to say, the next 24 hours were awful, both for me and my partner. Before we left the ship, we left a written letter at customer service asking for at least some recourse and/or an apology. We received no response on the ship, nor have we heard anything since. We took the cruise with another couple, and all in all, had a great time ... but this was less because of facilities offered by Carnival. On the 5 day crossing, we played bridge everyday ... but this was organized by other passengers, not Carnival. We used the Spa center for massage and facials, and this was outstanding. The entertainment the first night of the cruise was excellent, the second night good, but the remainder wee not up to the typical Carnival standard ... mediocre at best. Although the tickets were of course cheap, we expected something nice for the Breeze's maiden voyage across the Atlantic. In terms of food, the burgers and burritos were both fantastic. The rest of the food was good (ignoring the food poisoning) at pretty much what we would call standard Carnival. In conclusion, the food poisoning and wrongful quarantine put a cloud on the whole trip and I think it is unlikely I will take a Carnival trip again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Who would not love the opportunity to sail from Barcelona across the Atlantic to Miami? It was an absolutely incredible vacation!! Barcelona is fabulous. The Carnival Breeze is a bright new modern ship. The weather was perfect! Carnival ... Read More
Who would not love the opportunity to sail from Barcelona across the Atlantic to Miami? It was an absolutely incredible vacation!! Barcelona is fabulous. The Carnival Breeze is a bright new modern ship. The weather was perfect! Carnival does do a lot of things right. The cabins were bright and clean. We stayed on the spa deck which gave us a few extra perks and our cabin steward, Althea was amazing!! The gym and spa were good- too crowded on sea days, but there was just so much sun you can get. Outdoor movies, comedy shows, a casino, games... wonderful. Since this is a review, here are the things that could be better: #1. The Food. Where to start? The burger joint was great. Greasy at times but oh so good on the taste!! Mexican was good, pizza so-so. We are not big on the Indian food so I can't rate that at all. Our friends seemed to like it . The deli was a perfect choice for really good food in a pinch. The Italian restaurant was great but there is an extra charge for that. Reasonable enough to visit often. Fahrenheit 55 was fabulous and we went several times. Its a shame tho that between the $35 charge per person plus wine or cocktails makes it a $100 a couple experience. The sushi was a disappointment and it was not free. What a shame. Some nights you would find sushi on the Lido deck buffet that was free, however. Not sure if it was the stuff left over that never sold from the Bonsai restaurant the night before!! There was also an extra charge for appetizers in the Red Frog, coffee and desserts on deck 5, and basically anything that wasn't boring or borderline un-edible . The main dining room was a BIG disappointment. Picture going to a really big wedding on a really tight budget. Food either overcooked or cold. On Filet mignon night, the steaks tasted like they had been boiled first than cooked. Disgusting!! Salads were miniscule, fish smelled strong, sauces were bland. Overall, a big BIG disappointment there. We skipped it most nights and ate either at the Italian (a charge), Steak house (a charge), Red Frog (a charge) or Lido buffet. Overall, this is the biggest area Carnival needs to fix. Make the food more edible!!! #2. Service. We loved our cabin steward and had nothing but a great experience there. We also loved the bar service and food service at the Italian restaurant, the Steak House (Yatzi is the best), the Red Frog (Colin) and the Sports bar on top (Yatzi again). The Lido deck service was horrific. No coffee cups in the morning and empty coffee, dirty tables. This area needs a lot of work. Dining room staff was ok. You could tell they worked hard and tried but there were too few servers for just too many people. The spa girls were nice but had no consideration for your time. Every time I used the spa, they were late. Not just a few minutes late but 10-15 minutes each time. If they spent less time talking amongst themselves or trying too hard to upsell the prior appointment and cared about the appointment they had scheduled, it would be a much more relaxing experience. #3. Design. Whoever designed this ship should go back to school!! Common sense things were just not considered at all. I mean, Laundry rooms across from cabins?? Really??? People would congregate in the halls to wait for the too few washers and dryers that were on the ship and disrupt the people who had the very unfortunate luck to have a room close by. I would have been furious!! The Adult only section by the kiddie pool!! Really??? Two tiny swimming pools for a ship that size? These things were mind boggling. On the plus side, the spa deck was a plus, nice and quiet, and no one can complain about the beauty of the ship overall. We have taken several Carnival cruises now over the years. Would we take another?? Probably. But we will also try other cruise lines because we KNOW things can be done better. Maybe if enough people keep pushing Carnival to back off with all the extra charges and make the things that are included in the price good quality, they can truly build a much more loyal fan base. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Fairly new to cruising having taken our first cruise just under two years ago, but we have caught the bug and this was our seventh cruise now in this timeframe. Our second with Carnival. Our other five were with Royal Caribbean. Our first ... Read More
Fairly new to cruising having taken our first cruise just under two years ago, but we have caught the bug and this was our seventh cruise now in this timeframe. Our second with Carnival. Our other five were with Royal Caribbean. Our first Carnival experience was our only bad one, but thought we would give them a second chance. There will NOT be a third one ... First time reviewer here. I felt it my DUTY to register and post this review for all to see. It would be a disservice for me to continue reading all the great info here at cruise critic without contributing to assist future cruisers. I feel that I could rant on typing for the next hour, but I will spare you all the gory details, and just touch on the major ones. The service on the Breeze was by FAR the worst my wife and I have ever seen. First the pluses. + Beautiful new ship, with that new ship smell. Clean. A bit hard to navigate. Why on earth they don't have a royal promenade like RC's biggers ships, I will never understand. + Comedy club & shows. Nothing real special, but acceptable. Thrill theater was reasonably priced. when you get the 14.95 ticket for all shows, and was enjoyable. + Embark and debark were smooth and trouble free. + A "few" of the entertainment staff made some events more enjoyable. + Speaking with many others that were horribly dissapointed in this cruise and Carnival. Hey at least it was nice that we were not alone, and that is a positive. I'm searching for more things to spark my memory for pluses, but honestly I believe that was all. Now the major negatives. - Service. Or lack thereof. From our room attendant, to the dining staff, to the drink servers on down. 95% of them were just truly unprofessional, and simply did not care to even pretend to be happy for us to be on board their ship, or happy within their own profession. The scowls frequently outweighed the smiles at about a 90/10 ratio. The dining room was by FAR the slowest service I have ever seen. They seemed to be understaffed most nights. This is most likely more on Carnival then the individuals, but it was not our fault that they were overworked and miserable because of their employer. 45 minutes for apps to arrive most nights. Seriously? Then you had to hope the right one was coming. Simple things as an ice tea refill? I had to get up and find the iced tea most nights. I know this may sound trivial ... hey you were cruising man! Be happy! But those of you who cruise often will understand where I'm coming from. Food quality subpar.Bland, bland, bland. Someone please tell me how a chocolate cake, an orange cake, a coconut cake, etc., can all taste alike? It was real odd. One positive here was the deli sandwiches at lunch. Delicious. - Activities. Or again ... lack thereof. Trivia, trivia, and more trivia! 100's of people attending each one. Want to know why? There was simply NOTHING else to do! On a 12 day cruise they had less then 6 total sporting deck activities. How much mini golf and foosball does one want to play in 12 days. Seriously Carnival you NEED to take a look at other cruise lines and see what fun is really about. The FUN ship? You cannot even believe that statement yourself. Back to trivia. How hard is it to come up new questions and answers. I have a free app on my tablet that could last you a year Carnival! Yet, they managed to continually repeat trivias throughout the cruise. Trivial comment ... perhaps. But again these small details are not very small as the days go by on a cruise. - Hot Tubs/Jacuzzi's. Day one. Not even body temperature. Day two. Same. Three same. Checked all of them on board, and were all the same. It took this being my seventh cruise to finally make my first formal complaint to guest services. Was told they would get right on that and check the temperatures for me. Nice. Day four, same. Five, same. Back to guest services. They will get right on it! Phew. Day 6-12 same. Two more complaints later they expedited me to an onboard manager, first name Anna, on day 7. Promised me a change that never came. We literally spoke with at least 100 people on board that also complained about this. The temps never were even body temperature once. How difficult was this to fix. Seriously? They just don't seem to care at all. - One evening I asked our room attendant for an extra program for the next day. He scowled at me and actually slapped one into my chest firmly. Yes you read that correctly. Unacceptable to say the least. I still can't believe that actually happened. - Breakfast most morning's at the lido buffet. Empty coffee vessels. Empty orange juice, etc. etc. Every morning same thing. Go to other side, and empty. Walk to other end, empty. Cycle back until you find one attended to. Good luck finding a table when the dishes were rarely cleared off. Lack of staff, and the ones there ALWAYS let me repeat ALWAYS looked MISERABLE to be there doing their JOB. It was truly astonishing. Would have tired the main dining room for an occasional breakfast, but heard that the service was so slow, you had to devote 2 + hours to it. No thank you. - Overnight one evening our toilet overflowed with "other" peoples waste from our floor. Okay happens right? But it should NOT have taken a full hour and 4 phone calls to get it fixed!! There is so much more. I could go on and on and on. So much to the point that I feel I should stop here, or your simply just not going to believe me. Carnivals biggest flaws jump right out at you. They were eerily similar to our first time with them. I can assure you there will NOT be a third time. If their upper management does not seem to care to fix issues on board, how ca they expect the rest of their staff to care? Spend just a "little" more money elsewhere, and get a MUCH better experience. Is this your message to me Carnival? Message received. Loud and clear! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My husband and I did the 12 day Cruise of the Med and stayed aboard for the Transatlantic. I have never been as disgusted at the lack of professionalism and common sense of the cruise staff. It appears that the ship is just too big and ... Read More
My husband and I did the 12 day Cruise of the Med and stayed aboard for the Transatlantic. I have never been as disgusted at the lack of professionalism and common sense of the cruise staff. It appears that the ship is just too big and the staff too poorly trained to manage it all. The cabin steward on the first leg was great but on the second leg, our steward must have been hiding as we saw him twice. The service was adequate. Our dining staff were also adequate. The food however was lacking with a boring menu and interestingly enough, the sauces for all of the meats were the same or seemed to be...dark and salty. The food was usually cold and the coupling of food was just plain strange. The bread selection was small, dry, and always the same. A big production was always made about using Purell to sanitize your hands but I am not sure what effort was made to cull the sick ones from the group. A woman sat across from us at dinner with a box of tissues on the table and blew her nose at will as well as people not hesitating to enter elevators with coughs and snotty noses. Walking down the hallways was like walking through a kennel with the barking sounds and try playing Blackjack with a few coughing and sneezing people touching chips and cards. UGH I asked a worker who was cleaning an elevator how come he was using such a strong chemical and he told me that a lot of people were sick... Safety and consideration? How about the naked baby in the Tidepool with no diaper on? or the 5 kids one day in and out of the jacuzzi eating and drinking with no supervision? or perhaps the Morons in the pool with beer bottles? who was in charge? Everything about the ship was a hype...buy, buy, buy everything from jewelry to spa services and shore excursions. Excursions? we took two. One to Pisa in the pouring rain with the lazy bus driver sitting with his feet up and the tour guide on her cel phone for most of the trip while some elderly and impaired guests had to walk for a quarter of a mile in the rain to get back to the bus but heaven forbid the bus would have gone down for them or the trip to Rome when the guide told us that she forgot her English for a bit since she just gave a tour in German the day before. She also told an older couple who asked to be picked up that walking was good for them. We took no more excursions and when we complained, the staff gave lip service that the tours were overbooked...it was raining etc. Oh, the staff...what is it about the Eastern Europeans? is it lack of education or just plain lack of social skills and training but they are very wooden and unemotional...a bit scary. I ordered a hot chocolate from one and he told me that it was too much trouble as he had to walk from the casino to the coffee shop to get one.....hard to believe. We had a horrible experience at the Cucina Italiana..we had a comp dinner and we invited our tablemates to come with us. the casino made our reservation and our mates made their own. The manager ( an Eastern European woman) called them back to remind them that they had to pay for their own dinner as our was a comp. They told us that they understood the circumstances. We arrrived for dinner and this woman walked over to our table and said to our tablemates." you must pay, they don't pay." and pointed to a carafe of wine that was comped to us and said," you pay for wine..if you drink...you pay." I left the table and got the woman aside and told her that she insulted these two fine woman and that I have never entered a resteraunt anywhere in the world and someone said..You Pay! Coincidently, the hotel director came into the conversation after entering the restaurant and said that the restaurant doesn't want to insult anyone and walked away. Of course, we were billed for the dinner....amazint....no wonder these people don't have a clue. IMHO, the activities available appear to be geared to the lowest common denoninator with things like the hairy chest contest and endless inane trivia contests. The entertainment was a bit suspect with sound blasting shows and a juggler...club comedian...and a guy that did card tricks ( for real)...the saving grace was a singer taken from the troupe for a show and an opera singer. Overall, pretty bad. Although the card players were given a room to play in, they always seemed to hang around the Marketplace and the outer pool decks depriving people with food a place to sit and enjoy their lunches. A few days before the end of the cruise this was finally addressed, I could go on and on but really, why bother? Herd them in and herd them out. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We have been loyal Carnival customers for 16 years. We are VIP. In other words it would be very hard to make us un-happy. Well cangratulations Carnival you did it. This was the worst Carnival cruise we have ever taken. To begin at the ... Read More
We have been loyal Carnival customers for 16 years. We are VIP. In other words it would be very hard to make us un-happy. Well cangratulations Carnival you did it. This was the worst Carnival cruise we have ever taken. To begin at the beginning. The embarkation in Barcelona was awfull. Being VIP was supposed to get you on reasably early. NOT. We were one of the last to get on the ship. Oh well it had to get better. NOT. We immediately found a $35.00 charg on our account for the rental of a walker. Went to guest services to complain and was never more rudely treated. I was made to feel like I was being dishonest and was trying to get out of something, even though it was obvious that neither my wife or I needed a walker. After 3 days we finally got a credit. The entertainment on Canival was supposed to be top notch. It's always been on our other 15 cruises. NOT. The Vegas style shows are gone. The guitar players on the ship were awful. There is no band or orchestra. All the music is canned. Let's talk about the food. Throughout the whole cruise the food was boring and totally un-imaginative. The powdered scrambled eggs at breakfast at the buffet was un-edible. Dinners the first few nights were o.k., but then they started repeating the same items over and over again. How many nights could they offer frogs legs you ask. Well don't. They obviously wiped out the frog population of Europe. I could go on and on I suppose, and believe me we could overlook alot, but the worst part of all was the rudeness of the staff. Eastern Europeans should never be in customer service. They are the coldest and most un-emotional people we have ever had the misfortune to come in contact with. Never a smile, and no hint that they are enjoying what they are doing. We have noticed over the past few years that Carnival's customer service has been going downhill. Well it's reached the bottom. Take a hint from us and avoid Carnial completely. We will. They've lost us permanently. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This site's summary for Carnival is "High-energy ship good for families, extroverts". Unfortunately on this cruise, Carnival lost the recipe. Passengers would have been totally bored if they didn't read, play games ... Read More
This site's summary for Carnival is "High-energy ship good for families, extroverts". Unfortunately on this cruise, Carnival lost the recipe. Passengers would have been totally bored if they didn't read, play games and/or cards, or frequent the casino. For example, I don't consider a sea day activity as going to the Art Auction. Both daytime activities and evening entertainment was sparse. Even the last two cruise days had the feeling of the typical "last cruise day". On the positive side: - With this ship's layout, I really appreciated the two separate pool areas. The aft pool provided peace and solitude while the mid-pool still provided the typical loud music and directed activities usually associated with Carnival. - The "Your Time Dining" was very convenient. The service was generally very good and the food was usually above average. - The crossing was very calm and warm. I'm thinking a southern latitude transatlantic route during late-November is preferable to a more northerly crossing. On the negative side: - During cruises, I enjoy frequenting the steam room. Unfortunately on the Breeze, the use of the steam room requires purchase of a spa package. The cost quoted at the beginning of the cruise was $249. - The entertainment was lacking and a real disappointment. The reliance on background animation in the stage productions was tiring and repetitive. In fact, I had a hard time discerning what audio was prerecorded versus live. Also, there was only one band (Eddie C & The Cool Breeze Band). Unfortunately they appeared to disembark at Antigua (with four days left). There also were two guitar players; however, I didn't consider them very good. A big disappointment was that only nine of the fifteen days had comedian shows. What kept the evening lively was the piano bar with Ron Pass. In conclusion even with the negatives, I might again consider the Breeze for a shorter cruise duration or if Carnival addresses the entertainment shortcomings. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
After looking forward to this Trans-atlantic cruise, I was very disappointed. The pluses should always be first so: *the decor is a great improvement over the glitzy Vegas decor of other Carnival ships *the multiple eating venues are ... Read More
After looking forward to this Trans-atlantic cruise, I was very disappointed. The pluses should always be first so: *the decor is a great improvement over the glitzy Vegas decor of other Carnival ships *the multiple eating venues are great *the show entertainment was first rate. The technology was superb. *the cabins are nice and roomy *the public areas (lobby, lounges, etc.) are plentiful and very comfortable The negatives, however, are in more important areas: ^the music was awful. I would have paid not to hear some of the musicians such as the two guitar players and the piano bar player ^while the singing maitre d' is nice, it was intrusive to have the guy singing every day, particularly when he repeated the songs ^the service in the assigned dining room was awful. Seemed like everyone was in a hurry to get you out of there, this in the second seating. The atmosphere in the "dine as you please" was much more conducive to conversation and relaxation ^the food in the Lido Marketplace and the main dining rooms was terrible. The food at the Cucina del Capitano was not much better. Not very Italian for having Italian officers ^the service of bartenders, Lido, dining rooms was very deficient, probably because there was very little supervision. The tables in the Marketplace were left dirty with dishes piled high when there were guests who needed them. ^the activities were practically non-existent. ^the crew was not very friendly ^the ship was a surprise in that it shook and vibrated excessively. We like the lower decks during a transatlantic crossing because they have an easier motion in high seas, but this ship shook and groaned and made terrible noises at the lower levels. All in all, a great disappointment! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We are loyal Carnival cruisers but were a little disappointed with some things on this cruise. The ship is beautiful with the decor completely changed from other ships. The layout mistakes on the Magic have been corrected and the ... Read More
We are loyal Carnival cruisers but were a little disappointed with some things on this cruise. The ship is beautiful with the decor completely changed from other ships. The layout mistakes on the Magic have been corrected and the traffic flows much better. The buffet areas on Lido deck have been re-designed and no longer looks like a giant school cafeteria. Food: There are more places to eat now. The food is good, especially the Guy's burgers, but the food on Lido and in the MDR while good, is not the same as it was in years past. Most of the desserts are a type of cake with very few pies offered. The beef is just not as good, or maybe it is the way it is cooked. One can only order steak medium rare or medium well. And I am not sure how they define those choices as it never came out the same. The choices on Lido are the same, day after day. The activities consisted mainly of trivia all day long. But no more ships on sticks as prizes. Just an autographed picture of the entertainment staff who was hosting that particular session. And the B2B cruisers had all the answers. Bingo was not so in your face as before, but still was a big activity pushed by the ship. The Hasbro games were okay, but were only held three times. Two of the same people were chosen for two of the three sessions. Only 18 people were chosen each time, so very few were chosen to participate. The shows that I attended were not as good as in past cruises. Gone are the "Vegas" style productions. The movies were hit and miss. Children's movies were shown on the big screen and television and only 67 children were on board out of 3600+. My biggest complaint is the wait staff. We had a terrible waiter who gave even worse service after we complained. It would appear that Carnival has increased the number of passengers but has not increased the staff accordingly. For the five nights we had early dining, our dinner took over 90 minutes to complete. One night it was 8:05 pm when we got our dessert. Since we are platinum we requested YTD and got changed. The service was excellent but we sat in the section of the dining room that was serviced by a waiter we had on another cruise.. I heard many others complaining about slow service. The other complaint is how John Heald talks and treats his assistant Calvyn. Calvyn is gay, and on the morning shows, JH is always saying things like "don't touch me" and other things , which I think are not necessary and inappropriate. A person's sexual orientation is private and should not be either celebrated nor demeaned in a public setting. I like JH and his humor, but not in this particular instance. I will not go into the many other small "glitches" that took place with embarkation, debarkation, and other small snafu's that happened. I like Carnival and will sail again with them again. But their staff and procedures on these larger ships need improvement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I am comparing my experience to the review written by glomarrone. The description of the decor is quite accurate - a change from the often loud and sometimes distracting decor on other Carnival ships. The design of the Buffet was a ... Read More
I am comparing my experience to the review written by glomarrone. The description of the decor is quite accurate - a change from the often loud and sometimes distracting decor on other Carnival ships. The design of the Buffet was a pleasant change from the often drab settings, and there was better use of space to include breakfast bar type seats across the width of the restaurant; however, there is always the lingering problem of those who use the dining space for playing cards, reading books while viewing scenery, etc. Many passengers have to hold a table to assure that food will still be hot when finding a place to sit. A new feature of the ship is the lanai, a walkway around deck 5, over the lifeboats. While it makes for a nice track to walk around the ship, and includes more lounge chairs and occasional hot tubs positioned partway over the edge of the deck, it can also be annoying to those who have balconies just above it. We were on deck 6 forward. We would normally be able to sit on the balcony with privacy, but we had people waving good morning, or we had to listen to the squeaks of athletic shoes as people walked or ran on damp decks. We would normally be able to look straight down at the ocean, but now my husband considers this an obstructed view. The lights on the rail were illuminated all night, so the view of a dark sky to gaze at stars or watch for passing ships was not there. Carnival seemed to have their cabin stewards spread too thin, since we didn't even meet our steward until the third day of the cruise, after numerous calls to Guest Services and leaving a note on the bed about the lack or beach towels or robes, which are normally provided in the room. Our main waiter in the dining room seemed to be new to the job, as he was double and triple checking orders for the first few days, then began warming up to passengers, using first names and anticipating daily requests, such as tomato slices instead of salad, or extra crackers. I found that I only ordered the chilled soups, since many seemed to be a combination of whatever herbs, spices or other ingredients were available that day. I didn't find items such as beet or pumpkin soup desirable. Even on the daily "standby" menu, from which you can order other items (such as salmon, etc.), there was no common soup (chicken, vegetable, bean, etc.). I liked the idea of Internet usage being available in different parts of the ship, instead of being hidden away (such as just beyond a cigar bar). The terminals could also be used for information about the ship, activities, weather, and other things. The main site, where the Internet manager was located, was on the promenade level; however, it was adjacent to the bar where trivia and/or karaoke took place, so it became just a place to quickly check things online, then move on. There were plenty of loud announcements, especially encouraging people to "please wash your hands with soap and water". There were more Purell dispensers on the ship than I've seen on others, but still none inside the casino or immediately in sight upon exiting. At each main dining room, there were 2 dispensers, but when it came time to move people quickly for dinner, they had staff members stationed on either side with spray bottles to speed up the process. While this was the last cruise to purchase future cruise certificates, there was always a long line to take advantage of it or to book the next cruise on board. The shows in the main theater were repeated in some cases, just in reverse order, so that each seating in the MDR could see them. I was glad to see that they removed bingo from the evening portion of the use of the theater. There would always be those who were were already there playing bingo, and you'd have to sit through bingo in order to get a decent seat for the show. I did participate in a new experience - the Carnival Glee Club - in which, with only 5-6 rehearsals, we performed on stage (with choreography created by entertainment staff), singing "We Are The World" plus a disco medley of 7 songs. This show also included performances by certain staff members. Our maitre d, who always sang in the MDR before introducing the waitstaff, did not perform as well with a live band. We always accused him of being a "Frank Sinatra wanna be", since that was most of his songs. I don't ever recall having a singing maitre 'd on any other cruises. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Our party of four arrived in Barcelona around 12:30 PM the day of the cruise - November 6, 2012. We were three hours delayed in arrival due to an unresolved problem with an upgraded navigational system installation on our aircraft. We ... Read More
Our party of four arrived in Barcelona around 12:30 PM the day of the cruise - November 6, 2012. We were three hours delayed in arrival due to an unresolved problem with an upgraded navigational system installation on our aircraft. We were all quite relieved when we finally departed from the gate at JFK. There were quite a number of us onboard taking the cruise. Our transfers with Carnival from the airport to the ship went well. We completed the boarding process in minutes. What surprised me the most about our cruise on the sparkling new Carnival Breeze cruise ship was the smoothness of our transatlantic crossing. How lucky we were since last year's crossing of The Carnival Magic was quite rough. Our 15-day Transatlantic Voyage included Ports of Call at Barcelona, Spain, Palma De Mallorca, Spain, Malaga, Spain, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Antigua, St Maarten, NA and Miami, FL This newest addition to the Carnival fleet has a very different feel to it. The ship itself is simply stunning. Gone are the glaring neon color schemes and dizzying competing patterns on older Carnival ships. Instead, I welcomed the calming Caribbean palette of colors: clear aqua, sky blue, mint green, shades of yellow and soft browns the color of sand. There was just a tease of delicate pink neon swirl on a section of the ceiling in the Lower Level Sapphire Restaurant (MDR). I did enjoy the outdoor palm tree decorations, the cheerful yellow umbrellas in the Lido Marketplace Buffet and the whitewashed & the rattan deck furniture. The three deck-high Ovation Theater looks lovely and inviting with comfortable long couches and convenient small beverage tables. Almost every seat has an unobstructed view of the stage. All the public areas- lounges, bars, Breeze Atrium, pubs etc are beautiful. The Serenity decks & others have comfortable cushioned lounges and rattan enclosures - even some hammocks. Most of all, I enjoyed my large beautifully appointed Regular Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom #1288 with its two baths. If you haven't experienced one of these, then you cannot believer how smoothly your life will be onboard. Gone are the garish art works adorning stateroom walls. Instead, there were soft modernistic hangings. The king bed is very comfortable and the storage and closet spaces are plentiful. Two end tables, a good-sized couch with four small pillows and a coffee table complete the furnishings. Stateroom passageways have tall wallpaper art depicting Caribbean landscapes. I photographed several because of their beauty. Stateroom doors have slats of blonde wood reminiscent of the Caribbean. It was a joy to walk along these halls. Since The Breeze is now home ported in Miami with Caribbean itineraries, the ambiance is just perfect. Ahmad, our Cabin Steward, kept our cabin clean and fully stocked with towels and amenities as well as towel animals. As VIPs on Carnival, we enjoyed complementary laundry service. It was a big plus on this long cruise. Although I did experience occasional slow service in the dining rooms at breakfast or lunch, everyone on the wait staff did their best to serve us as well as possible. We dined only in the MDR for our dinners each night. We all enjoyed the selection of meal choices and the quality of the food. Our party of four chose the Anytime Dining Option and it worked extremely well for us as we usually sat at our requested window table in Luis' section. We were so impressed with the congeniality and teamwork of our wait staff on the second night onboard that we requested to be in their section for the remainder of our voyage. I would like to send a big thank you to Luis, Wayan and Milton for their attentive service. They regularly anticipated our needs and desires. We did get to taste the food in the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and rave about the Tiramisu and the Mushroom Cappuccino Soup. Marketa, a MDR Hostess, did a superb job of handling my husband's Special Meal Requests and went out of her way to ensure that they were prepared correctly. She often made suggestions not listed on the menu. He was very impressed by her competency and attention to detail. Look for her on the Carnival Dream in December and the ship will be lucky to have her professionalism and rapport with the passengers. My husband & I took Carnival shore excursions in the European ports of call. All were worth the money and began promptly as scheduled. The guides were knowledgeable and articulate as well as friendly and informative. Since we have been to the two Caribbean Islands many times, we did our own thing in these ports. The ship docked in each port for approximately 7-10 hours so we had plenty of time for sightseeing. Still, some passengers on independent tours did not make it back to the ship on time and delayed our departure in each of the European ports. Besides the Caribbean feel of the ship and its newness, I also enjoyed the warm temperature of the Beach and Tides pools, which filled with passengers from early morning until dark. The Lanai, Tides and Serenity Whirlpools were also quite popular. It was never difficult to find lounge chairs around or near the pools and whirlpools. Depending on the weather, the ship provides blankets and/or towels at a poolside station. Of course, our staterooms also had the same long plush towels for our personal use on and off the ship. My husband and all the other "kids" onboard loved going down the two water slides. I enjoyed watching the big bucket of water cascade over the Water Works area every few minutes. If you enjoy Trivia, you will love all the many daily games on the Breeze. The participation was amazing. There were also the usual card games, arts and crafts, casino tournaments, pool games, dance classes, parties, Bingo, Art Auction, ice sculpture demonstration and Arcade games. The Cloud 9 Spa offers many deals and there are the daily sales outside the Fun Shops and elsewhere around the ship. Since I had $650 of onboard credits, I made several purchases. The Fitness Center is also quite popular but I simply enjoyed walking 4 miles around Deck 5 each morning scanning the ocean for dolphins, whales and ships plying the waters. Something new on this ship is a bar in the Library opened 11 AM-Midnight. What a neat idea! Another intriguing new amenity on this Carnival ship is the Sea Ropes Sky Course - challenging fun for kids as well as adults. If you are bored on this ship, it is your own fault. Be sure to catch the high energy, outstanding Playlist Productions - Divas, Motor City and The Brits! The use of LED screens to produce realistic detailed scenery and the illusion of a cast of hundreds on stage are simply amazing. Wow - was I impressed! In addition, the comedy acts in the Punchline Theater are funny without being vulgar. Be sure to catch at least one performance. After dinner, it is always fun to listen to Ron in the Piano Bar 88. He always takes requests and has a loyal following. After a show, enjoy dancing in the Atrium. In fact, all around the ship there are wonderful opportunities to hear great live music. There was a variety of fun Cruise Critic events, also to attend including: Informal and Official Formal Meet & Greets, Group Breakfast, Nightly Cocktail Times, Card Draw Game, Cabin Crawl (which I was one of 13 hosts), Book Exchange, Mini Golf Tourney, Ship Pub Crawl, The Movie Night PJ Party, Games & Cards Activity and Farewell Group Luncheon. It was nice seeing so many members wearing their personalized tee, wristband and light up ship pin. I did experience a few disappointments with the ship. I disliked that I had to pay extra money to see films shown in the inside Thrill Theater. The outdoor Seaside Theater movies, by the way, are included in the cruise price. The complementary sushi on other Carnival ships is now an extra charge Bonsai Sushi Restaurant on the Breeze. I always enjoy the complementary after dinner Cappuccino on other Carnival ships but on the Breeze, it is an extra charge. This Carnival ship also has just too many announcements over the speaker system. It is indeed hard to find a place for quiet reading anywhere on the ship including the library, which has piped in music. There is only one place on the entire ship to pick up or exchange pool towels. This is an inconvenience when on the Serenity decks. It was not until a couple of passengers got sick onboard that the Carnival Staff started enforcing use of the hand sanitizers at the buffet. Perhaps most annoying of all was the noise of the ship cutting through the ocean swells crossing the Atlantic. I suggest that you book a stateroom above deck 3 for a quieter night's sleep. Our stateroom was on deck 1. My husband and I always enjoy ourselves on Carnival ships. We appreciate the good value we get and are quite happy with the meals and level of service that we receive. Although most Carnival cruises have lots of young people and kids onboard, this was not true on this long cruise. Of the 3,600+ passengers, only 67 were kids. The majority of passengers hailed from the US - Florida in particular. Many of the Europeans onboard came from Germany. Still others came from Canada, South America, the UK and Australia. I chose this cruise because it was brand new ship. I liked that some of the ports were in Europe and others were in the Caribbean broken up with sea days in the middle. By the way, Carnival is doing away with the Future Cruise Certificates. We have used several on previous cruises and found them to be financially worthwhile. I hope to take a future Caribbean cruise on The Breeze. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We booked a five day stay in Barcelona at the H10 Universitat Hotel. We had an inside room that was very small but the price reflected the worth of a place to just rest your head. It was clean and efficient and for 12 euros extra per room ... Read More
We booked a five day stay in Barcelona at the H10 Universitat Hotel. We had an inside room that was very small but the price reflected the worth of a place to just rest your head. It was clean and efficient and for 12 euros extra per room per day you can get an excellent breakfast in their restaraunt. The staff is wonderful and very accomodating. It's location is excellent, being a short block from beautiful Plaza Catalunya which is the centre of the city. We were surprised at the cleanliness of the streets and numerous parks and the friendliness of the people. We went on an all day tour called "skip the lines" which gave us an overview of the sights and places of interest. We used the "hop on hop off" buses for the rest of our stay. I found Las Ramblas reflected much of the Catalan way of life and it was simply a lot of fun to walk down to the harbor. Anyone who finds this "cheesy" seems to be missing the point! We boarded the Breeze on Nov 6 and embarking was one of the easiest and fastest we ever experienced. The Breeze was just beautiful and the wait for our trip worth it. We were there mainly for the rest and relaxation and the shore tours offered by Carnival. There are cheaper ways to arrange these tours but we prefer the security and organization of Carnival tours. We didn't use the dining rooms or pay for alternate dining. I had a cold when I went aboard, so I avoided crowds where possible. We did catch a few shows and were quite pleased with the quality of the entertainment and venue. Most meals were taken at the Lido buffets, and we found the quality and selection excellent. The pizza served from the lido deck stern was made to order from a menu and was good and hot. Guys burgers were some of the best we ever tasted so don't miss them! I have to say my favorite breakfast was the made to order omelets. We found the service on the ship to be top notch from the busboys to the service desk. Special thanks to the room steward for anticipating our every need. Our stateroom (9319) was very comfortable and the balcony was more generous than anticipated. I spent a lot of time there reading and watching and listening to the waves go by. Our first stop was Majorca and we chose the half day Soller and train ride which we enjoyed. Our second stop was Malaga and we took the full day "Granada of the Moors" tour. It's about a 2 hour drive each way with a very nice restaurant lunch provided after the walking tour of the Alhambra. This was one of our favorite tours and you have to "see it to believe it". The only really difficult part is the cobble stone surfaces. There were a few stairs and minor uphill grades to walk, but even with Angina I didn't find it too difficult. Our third stop was Grand Canaria and we took the all day tour "The best of Grand Canaria". Again it was a good choice as the scenery is spectacular, and the location of the provided restaurant lunch was unique. The third and fourth stops we just winged it with some leisurely walking and shopping. Philipsburg on the island of St Marten provided some of the best bargains, so you may want to save your money ahead of time. The two day run back to Miami was for more relaxing and packing up. The debarkation was held up by American Customs and we thought we would miss our flight out at 12pm. Thanks to some quick thinking of Carnival staff who put us in a van direct to the airport we made our flight. Overall an excellent cruise with a few minor glitches. Please, don't sweat the small stuff and just enjoy the trip! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
It's 9 am on a bright and sunny Wednesday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the Carnival Breeze. You're sitting outside on the Lido deck , eating tepid scrambled eggs (strangely blended with flour, i think) and drinking ... Read More
It's 9 am on a bright and sunny Wednesday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the Carnival Breeze. You're sitting outside on the Lido deck , eating tepid scrambled eggs (strangely blended with flour, i think) and drinking weak coffee. John and Calvin are on the giant "Dive In" screen interspersing homophobic slurs with fat jokes. You are surrounded by exhausted seniors who are struggling with constant consecutive one-hour time changes, the elbows-up offensive moves required to navigate the omelette and beverage stations, and the jaded entertainment staff offering yet another round of recycled trivia. Your four-year-old daughter is asking for Club Carnival. It will not be open for another hour. The good news is that the weather is unseasonably warm. The bad news is that there is another three days of this, before you mercifully hit land in Antigua and take a break from life on this ship. My husband, four-year-old daughter and I disembarked from the Transatlantic repositioning cruise of the Carnival Breeze a few days ago. The ship launched in Barcelona, and included three ports of call in Spain, plus two pit stops in Antigua and St. Maarten, concluding in Miami. This is not our first cruise, but it was by far our longest expedition. It has cured us of ever trying a Transatlantic with Carnival again. Or probably any cruise with Carnival. Our beef with our experience is mainly related to the programming and, to a lesser degree, the food. I will not dwell on the management of logistics, such as embarkation and disembarkation, given that Carnival cannot control all aspects of this process. Further, the cabin (we had a balcony room on the 8th floor) was quiet and kept clean. The Breeze is only six months old, and met expectations for a clean, modern and well designed cruise ship. The food. As many passengers have pointed out, the Breeze is hit and miss. On the plus side, the kiosks on the perimeter of the Lido deck were, for the most part, top notch. Guy's Burgers are decadent and delicious, the burrito station (staffed by a duo of unfailingly polite and enthusiatic burrito-meisters) was excellent, and the Tandorri kitchen provided a nice change of pace. Like many others, I became fairly addicted to the Mongolian Grill for lunch (go Sechuan chichen!). On the minus side, the pizza, like most of the offerings in the dining room, was designed to succeed (freshly made, innovative fast ovens) but just missed somehow -- was it the namby-pamby sauce maybe? The fact the centre is a bit too doughy? Chef needs to go back to the drawing board on that one. The dining room experience was well organized, except for the strange cagey and eccentric attitude about the wine packages. Carnival, how can a wine package be unavailable on a ship that has been touring the Mediterranean for six months? And why are you offering crappy Italian bottles when we are cruising in Spain? Bizarre. The evening menus offered by the Breeze were usually promising, but the execution always came a little short. Meat cuts tended to be tough and often over-cooked -- fine, we can live with that in the cheap seats -- but the sauces usually failed completely (bernaise that appeared to be dijon mustard mized with mayonaise, jerk sauce without heat -- psst kitchen, the purpose of sauces is to mask the cheap cuts...). The exception were some of the excellent soups served on the first three days of the cruise, using stocks as a base that had some serious depth. The programming. I could be churlish and say the best fun on the ship was being poured into pint glasses at the Redfrog pub, but that would be unfair. Instead, I will offer Carnival the following seven pieces of advice. #7 -- Trivia does not an entertainment program make. You need to offer other things to do in the afternoon. #6 -- Enough with the Fun Shop and Spa announcements already. John's incessant broadcast pitches about today's overpriced "sale" spa package and the 25% off sale on t-shirts from the previous cruise were annoying (hey John -- you approve the content of the Fun Times, so you know -- we read about them already, we're good! And we're still not interested!) #5 -- Okay, we don't go on vacation to watch TV. Good thing, because the endless repeats of five random shows of the Discovery Channel that comprised the Transatlantic offering would have made for boring dinner conversation, after the sixht day. #4 -- Why do we have to pay for movies at the movie theatre? Aren't movies usually free on cruises? Aren't you supposed to show different movies everyday? Judging from absolute lack of interest in your movie theatre, you may want to rethink that one. #3 -- Why do you close Camp Carnival everyday from 1-3 pm on sea days (hottest, most dangerous time of day to have the little ones out in the sun) and provide absolutely nothing for them to do? I know -- maybe they can watch cartoons in the room? Oh wait -- see #8. No kids TV offered at all. Also, see #4 -- no movie showing during Camp Carnival closure (even if we wanted to pay the 15 bucks). #2 -- Deck party. From the endless cycle of repeat footage on the Cruise Director channel, we watched the same set of dancers (many wearing parkas and woolen hats) day after day. Is that all there is, my friends? If we can't keep dancing, I guess we can at least break out the booze... #1 -- Sadly, after seven days at sea, it just got boring. Even the entertainment staff seemed bored. Carnival, the Super Trivia game was a good example of how to break things up, encourage a different kind of networking. Some special guest talks, other kinds of challenges that don't involve losing wads of cash (poker, bingo, blah) would be welcome. We are fairly cured of cruising. But do hope Carnival considers these comments the next time they submit hapless travellers to mulitiple days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was, or should have been, my dream trip of a lifetime. This trip has been in the planning for almost 12 yrs and my husband and I have saved for it for over 2 yrs (cruise and airfare)as seeing Italy was my dream. We are 'paycheck ... Read More
This was, or should have been, my dream trip of a lifetime. This trip has been in the planning for almost 12 yrs and my husband and I have saved for it for over 2 yrs (cruise and airfare)as seeing Italy was my dream. We are 'paycheck to paycheck' people, still working full time w/ multiple mortgages, bills and family depending on us. This was a "once in a lifetime" that may never happen again for me. We have never been to Europe before, so when my husband booked this cruise he depended on the Carnival employee's expertise to guide him to the right cruise, right time of year, etc. He was told that the sail date of 10/25/12 was the 'BEST ONE', but he wasn't told that it was the LAST one of the season and it was during the worst weather in the Mediterranean. After our cruise the Breeze was also transitioning to Florida, as it is too large for most of the ports we were scheduled to see. I believe the employee in the booking dept was more concerned w/ filling spots on the 10/25/12 date, than with what we wanted and were paying a lot of money for. My husband booked this cruise with this specific itinerary, due to Venice being an overnight port and my entire reason for wanting to see Italy. Sadly, I never saw Venice and may never be able to travel to Italy again. On the very first day, at the very first port of Monaco (Monte Carlo) we were told the ship couldn't dock due to high winds; even though the map channel on our cabin TV showed winds of only 10-12mph. The 1st day, the captain chose to skip Monaco and change the dates of all the other ports; mixing them up and giving us another day at sea from the very start. The date changes meant the private gondola ride I had booked for Venice on Nov 1st, was now not going to happen and I'd lose $428.00. We, along with several hundred other guests, immediately went to the very small room set up for complaints. We were pushed, shoved and then finally seated at a small table, watching a few crew members running around w/ cel phones, but we had to grab one to get any help. We had our private tour paperwork and were told a guest services employee would be emailing the company for us, as calls were not going through. It took the next 3 days of me "hounding" them twice a day, to get an answer that the company bad rescheduled our gondola ride for our new arrival date. When the captain made the itinerary changes, it forced us to be on the ship for 2 days at the beginning. One stop in Livorno, then more sea days. One stop in Croatia and then we were supposed to be sailing to Venice that night; arriving on Oct 31st. After leaving Croatia, the cruise director announced (over the PA system) that there were more itinerary changes: now skipping Venice all together and adding another 2 sea days to our trip. So far we had missed Monaco and had Sicily taken away; all other ports were moved around and dates changed. Now, we're having Venice taken away, more sea days added and more port date changes; but magically added Sicily back to the mix. So, essentially out of 10 days of actual sailing, we spent SIX on the ship and the last 3 ports (Sicily, Naples & Rome) were rushed into the last 3 days on the ship, with one last sea day to pack and have luggage outside the cabin door before 2200 hrs the night before we docked back in Barcelona. the ports we did manage to dock in, had the times shortened, both arriving later and leaving earlier. The excursions booked though Carnival were rushed and less than accommodating with "free" time to shop, eat a cafe, etc. We cancelled our excursion in Naples so we could just walk around the city, as that was the ONLY port close enough to do that; all the others were a 90 min drive to get to the place we paid to see (i.e., Rome 90 min drive from docking port; Sicily 50+ min drive to Taormina, Pisa 45+ min drive from Livorno. etc). Also, when we booked all of our carnival excursions, via the website, prior to sailing, the descriptions all say "beautiful drive" "scenic views" etc ... NOT. Every drive to the place we paid to see was through inner cities, freeway areas and less than beautiful, to include a bus driver in Rome who had to stop, waste our tour time to figure out how to turn on the windshield wipers so he could drive in the rain. The food was horrible. Powdered eggs for scrambled and omelets. The same choices all 12 days; no variation, no change. Most of the 'hot' food was cold even before you sat down at a table. Lunch and dinner were the same day after day; no imagination in the choices. Baked potatoes and white rice with every dinner; no flavor, nothing for the price you pay. The shows and comedians were less than adequate. Same shows, same 2 comedians every night. Once you saw them, what's left? The big screen by the main pool was never used during the day and played one 1990's movie at night. If you wanted to see a movie on the six sea days you would be forced to pay over $10 for ppv or to go to a small theater on the ship. No activities except bingo and trivia every single day. My husband and I walked the decks for six "fun" days at sea, desperate for something to do. The crew and staff were rude and less than happy. They were curt at the guest services desk; sometimes with obvious disdain for our anger at being stuck on a ship for six days. The casino bar was the only one with TV's for entertainment and they refused to change the channel and showed only soccer or tennis the entire time. The Internet cost almost a dollar a minute. The elevators didn't work at least two thirds of the time and on a ship that holds over 4000 guests, there were only 2 self-service laundry rooms w/ only 3 washers in each one .. AND it cost $3.25 per load to wash and another $3.25 to dry the clothes. I could go on forever ... I will never sail Carnival again and I hope anyone who works as hard as my husband did to try and make my dream come true, goes elsewhere as well. This vacation was a complete failure and my dream was ruined. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This cruise was a gift from my husband for my 60th birthday. I had to work 18 months to be able to accumulate enough vacation time to go on this trip. Our first problem was with Air France, that lost our bags when we arrived in Barcelona. ... Read More
This cruise was a gift from my husband for my 60th birthday. I had to work 18 months to be able to accumulate enough vacation time to go on this trip. Our first problem was with Air France, that lost our bags when we arrived in Barcelona. After our arrival on the ship, we were told by Jan not to worry about our bags, that Carnival would be responsible for finding out bags. Three days later our bags arrived, so first of all I want to thank Jan for all of his attention and help on this matter. We paid for 12 days of cruising, 9 at ports and 3 "fun days" at the sea. At the end we had 5 days at ports and 7 "fun days" at sea. Fun day at the sea means 4,000 people in the ship spending money in beverage, Casino, store... good deal for Carnival, not for us. The sheets and ice buckets were never changed voluntarily. You had to ask for this to be done for anyone to come to your room to do it. During our cruise departure from Barcelona, all of the announcements were made only in Spanish and Russian, even though the ship was leaving from a spanish-speaking country and the ship is registered in Panama. A lot of the spanish-speaking cruisers were very upset because they could not understand any of the announcements. When the two days in Venice were cancelled, everyone on the ship was outraged, and even though Captain Stefano Battinelli should have made an appearance to speak to the public, he only sent out his assistants to do the explaining. The compensation for the days lost at sea was only removal of the port charges from everyone's account, which is nothing compared to the amount people spent on the trip. If it was true that we could not dock at specific ports due to inclement weather, we should have been offered alternate ports to dock at. A lot of the entertainment on the ship was completely useless. The water slides and pools were all very nice, but who is going to go swimming in Europe in October. Carnival and its Captain Stefano Battinelli ruined the vacation of almost 4000 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
I chose this cruise because of the line up of itinerary! a very good line up of ports plus a new ship sounds like a perfect cruise for us. The last cruise I took from Carnival was with Ecstasy and I was not happy but I thought that was ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the line up of itinerary! a very good line up of ports plus a new ship sounds like a perfect cruise for us. The last cruise I took from Carnival was with Ecstasy and I was not happy but I thought that was just a fluke. I did two other cruise with Carnival in the 90s and was happy with them. My last 2 cruises was with Oasis of the Seas and Liberty of the seas and very happy with both. Royal Caribbean should be called the fun ship, really. The food on this ship was a hit or miss but mostly missed! My husband who is not really picky noticed that their scrambled egg during breakfast taste like powdered egg. I also think that their cakes are powdered, not good at all. I normally gain so much weight after a cruise but not this time. This is more cafeteria food and even in the main dining room, there's not much to choose from. The entertainment is lacking variety. On the days that they cancelled ports, the only entertainment was trivia after trivia after trivia! they did not even give us free movie! you need to pay $10.99 for a new movie. Royal Caribbean always have free new movies in your cabin. so if you do not do trivia, there's nothing for you to do. I was mostly disappointed that they did not replace the ports that was cancelled. there were other ports close by that would have replace our cancelled ports and seems Carnival did not make any effort and the communications very bad. Had I known we're only going on 5 ports I would have chosen a different cruise. I did not enjoy being on ship day after day and there's nothing to do but trivia! what a joke! I thought the breeze will be a big ship but pretty much they used the space as cabins instead of public area. so the ship seems small for me for the tonnage. Carnival just gone done very much in quality. Our dining room staff as well as our room staff did a wonderful job. The other staff selling jewelry and photo staff were rude. Over all we enjoyed our tours but the cruise itself were nothing compare to our cruises with other company. Like other people on this cruise, this is also our last carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Before I start, please understand I am not a whinging hard to please person. I'd taken 7 cruises before this one and loved them all; I'd always feel a little exasperated if I heard people complaining about something on a cruise, ... Read More
Before I start, please understand I am not a whinging hard to please person. I'd taken 7 cruises before this one and loved them all; I'd always feel a little exasperated if I heard people complaining about something on a cruise, thinking they should count their lucky stars they WERE on a cruise and look for the good things, not focus on a few hiccoughs. But now my faith in cruising as a wonderful holiday has been lost. I'm in fact rather nervous at the thought of taking a cruise again after our dreadful experience on the Carnival Breeze. Any cruise we take in the future will most definitely not be on Carnival, never again! There needs to be two parts to this review, my thoughts on the ship and cruise itself, and my thoughts on the treatment we received from Carnival, both the staff on board and management. Since I'm sitting here back at home, still disappointed about missing out on Monte Carlo and Venice, and more than a little shocked at Carnival's treatment of the passengers on this cruise and disregard for them, I'll start with that. This was Carnival's second chance with us. We'd previously cruised on Carnival Spirit on a back to back, Alaska and Hawaii, and though we enjoyed the ship itself (better ship than Breeze in my opinion) the dining room food left a lot to be desired. Though we were happy with their buffet food, the food in the dining rooms on Spirit was usually lukewarm to cool despite our requests several times for a hot meal; it was also not unusual to get substandard meals, tough meat. So for that reason we were hesitant to try Carnival again. Then we saw this Mediterranean cruise that covered ports we'd always wanted to visit, and the bonus of a new ship. We decided to give Carnival one more chance. We didn't take this decision lightly as we live in Australia and we had to factor in the cost of airfares and l-o-n-g travel time, but this was to be our long awaited dream cruise of the Mediterranean. Well, that didn't happen! Carnival saw fit to cancel Monte Carlo, which was to have been our much anticipated first port of call. Coincidentally, they cancelled Monaco on the previous Carnival Breeze cruise, and I've been told on the one prior to that as well though I'd need to have that confirmed. The excuse each time was "high winds". An announcement came over that the ship had made several attempts to enter the port but had been unable to do so due to bad winds. Several people observed that the ship did not in fact attempt to enter the port, as they were on deck to watch our arrival in port, and they also confirmed that the wind had in fact NOT been strong. Senior crew later admitted that attempts had not been made to enter the port. I feel that Carnival had planned to omit Monte Carlo even before the cruise started. I wonder if that's due to the ship really being too big for the port... but whatever the reason, Carnival deceived us. That's what is a major disappointment and let down for me, that they could be less than honest with their passengers and manipulate their itinerary for their own reasons. There was no regard for the fact that people had spent a lot of money to take this cruise, or that perhaps it was their "trip of a lifetime"; all we were offered was another "fun day at sea" - with no fun activities actually happening - and a $20'ish refund of port charges, and oh yes, a free drink at dinner from a limited selection. On top of Monte Carlo, Messina was also cancelled, and on we sailed; actually a lot of the time we were put-putting in slow circles on the Mediterranean, trying to kill time. When I dreamt of a Mediterranean cruise I dreamt of actually visiting ports, not floating on the Mediterranean! We sailed past Messina in fine weather and spent another day at sea. The lack of onboard activities and poor entertainment is covered later. The final straw came with the announcement that Venice had been cancelled from our itinerary. Supposedly that was because of flooding there. By now my mistrust of Carnival makes me doubt they were telling the truth as I heard that other ships have managed to dock there, however that might be hearsay or might not. I certainly don't believe that they suddenly found conditions in Venice would not allow us to visit; they would have had access to weather forecasts and trends days ahead. So now Messina was reinstigated! The port that for some obscure reason had previously been cancelled was suddenly back on the itinerary. We passed a fine, sunny and pleasant day there. We spent a lot of time killing time on the Sea. The Captain and crew would give no other answers except the port cancellations were for our safety. No other ports were substituted. I know port visits must be planned, but I believe Carnival knew of the cancellations they'd be doing, before the cruise started. Why didn't they have a backup plan organised? Why didn't they give us the chance to opt out of the cruise, or cancel the cruise? At least then we might have got our money back from travel insurance. Why weren't they upfront with us? Why did they not seem to care about the passengers and have empathy for how the passengers were affected? We'd selected this cruise because we loved the itinerary. We'd always wanted to visit Venice, the other ports too. If the itinerary had stated "Monte Carlo - possible", "Venice - possible" we would simply not have booked. I believe the ship had proved to be too big to comfortably manage docking in Monte Carlo and Venice, and to me that IS the mechanical reason that senior crew cited as the only reason compensation would be paid. We are very disappointed in this whole cruise experience - other than enjoying some memorable ports and meeting some lovely fellow cruisers. We feel Carnival has let us down badly. Its sad to be asked now by friends about our Mediterranean cruise and to have to try hard to sound upbeat and not disappointed. Carnival should realise, though, that a disappointed customer is not going to keep their disappointment a secret from other people who might once have been potential Carnival cruisers. Now ship and cruise specific comments: SHIP The ship was new, so that has to be a plus. I'm not going to gripe about a little staining on carpets or whether or not I liked the decor. But what I really missed were nooks and crannies to just hang out. Not bars... we're not big drinkers. Nor are we gamblers. Just places to sit and chat or look at the passing parade or read; windows to gaze through and see the sea; lounges to meet up in. There was Ocean Plaza and little else. As someone else commented, the ship is big yet there didn't seem to be a lot of public space for the size of the ship. ACTIVITIES I thought the Limelight Lounge had great potential but it seemed to be under utilised; the comedians appeared there, and there was a t-shirt sale there. In other ships I've been on, such a space was used regularly for a musical group and dancing. We love to dance! How I missed dancing! Carnival, why was there no real provision for dancing? I don't mean a little jigging in the atrium area, but actual dancing on a dance floor. Music and a party feel. The Liquid Nightclub doesn't fill the bill. Its supposed to be a Fun Ship. What about perhaps some dance lessons on sea days, too? Dance lessons can be fun; we had a wonderful time in regular popular dancing lessons on an Australian P & O cruise we were on, with the teachers being 2 members of the dance troupe who interacted with the passengers and were great fun. I would have loved to use the Serenity area (did use the spas a couple of times), and the waterworks, and all the other outside facilities, but the weather unfortunately prevented that. I did wonder about the fact there were just two pools for such a big ship. Gym? A little small, concentrating more on treadmills than equipment for strength or toning. Not much room for doing your own workout, but you can get by. At night the ship seemed like a ghost ship. We'd wander along trying to find something to do... there was little on offer... often few people in sight. Where was the music, other than karaoke and the musicians in the atrium? The shows other than The Brits were unenjoyable, and were repeated. So some nights there was nothing at all to see. The comedians were hit and miss. We WANTED to party and have fun, but each night we'd finally give up. Daytime activities? I'm used to being on cruises and finding on the sea days that there were time clashes of things I wanted to do. On this cruise, no way did that happen. Other than trivia (which I do enjoy, but not every half hour) there was really nothing to do. The marriage game in the Ovation Theatre was funny, though something many cruises seem to have; the Hasbro game was not. I feel that Carnival provided the facilities for a good time IF the weather is pleasant and people can amuse themselves out on deck. However they failed to cater for inside activities, and with bad weather and enforced extra sea days, surely they should have pulled out a few activities. They seemed to have no backup plans at all. CREW I said above that Carnival provided the facilities for activities (outside on deck), but they failed to provide the human touch. There was no warm friendly feel. Cabin stewards... Our's was friendly and nothing was too much trouble - not that we make requests of our cabin stewards - but towels were replaced, bed turned back, chocolates and towel animals left, room kept clean. Our fridge was never unlocked but if we'd bothered to ask I'm sure it would have been. We were short of coathangers and he fetched us some extra in no time. Wait staff... Staff in the dining rooms gave excellent service on the whole. Staff in the Lido didn't impress as particularly friendly overall, but they did their job. Guest services desk... Other than Jan, a young man who finally came to our aid regarding a cabin issue after 3 other staff shrugged me off (living out of our suitcases in a disabled cabin we'd been mistakenly assigned, with little storage space, for 3 nights) the staff there were stern and unwelcoming. It was as if they took a defensive attitude even before they knew why you were there. Unfriendly, unsmiling. And the queues! Especially in the light of the port cancellations and that naturally there'd be a lot of enquiries, the desk was understaffed and people stood for ages in the queue, and the staff appeared to care not one iota. Jaime... If I heard another comment about "another fun day at sea" I would have been tempted to toss her IN the sea. I felt she was very scripted, and lacked sincerity. I also feel Carnival overdoes the "fun" terminology and should soft pedal it a bit, especially since their cruise was the most un-fun cruise I've ever experienced. I understand that Jaime would have been feeling the stress after the cancellation of our visit to Venice, and would have been the brunt of a lot of ill will. But one night she approached us as we were walking to our cabin and my husband greeted her pleasantly with "Hi Jaime" (as she'd told the passengers to do in one of her early talks). She responded with a scowl and said nothing. FOOD Dining rooms The Breeze came up with hot meals in the dining rooms, and this had been our one worry after our experience on the Carnival Spirit. I was happy with the meals in the Sapphire dining room. We opted for Anytime dining as we'd done that on NCL cruises and it worked well. However, Carnival doesn't seem to have quite got the gist of it. If you said you wanted a table for two (sometimes we preferred to have a quiet dinner and didn't want to linger over it for ages) you were seated at a table for two... 3 inches from another table for two... the tables for two were arranged in sets of 3 or 4 and the people on them were treated as one big group. We had some enjoyable chats with others at dinner, but there were a couple of occasions when we really would have preferred just the two of us. Lunch in the Blush dining room was something we experienced once, and it was wonderful. Helped by the fact we had a window seat and scored some good table companions. We didn't use the pay extra restaurants, though we did have lunch once in the Italian restaurant. My pasta was tasty. Lido I've always really enjoyed and looked forward to the buffets on our cruises, but the Lido was a big disappointment. This might perhaps be partly due to the fact I'm Australian and not used to or fond of some of the American foods and topppings. However, powdered egg and syrupy sweet orange "juice"? I gave up on both of those after one day. I thought there was not enough variety or variation in the food on the Lido. Basically the same old thing every day. There were a lot of cereal choices but there was no muesli. I started adding nuts and raisins to my basic cereal, then raisins disappeared. I found one counter had prunes, started adding them, then they disappeared to be replaced by olives... for breakfast! Bananas had run out for 3 days before they finally reappeared, as had oranges. For those days all the fresh fruit consisted of was trays of sliced melons, two of each type. Not good enough. Guy's Burger Joint is, I know, popular, so this must be just my weird or Australian taste, but I didn't enjoy them. I found them greasy and the toppings and cheese unenjoyable. Not what I'm used to in burgers. I wanted to try Fat Jimmy's BBQ but it wasn't there very often, and the one time I spotted it the smell turned me away. Again, probably just my individual taste as others have raved about it. PORTS I have covered ports we visited but Messina, Sicily was not in the list provided. In Messina we did a privately organised tour that we found on the Cruise Critic roll call, and it was a wonderful 5+ day. The driver was entertaining and informative, and we greatly enjoyed seeing Taormina and then Castlemola, and our lunch in an Italian restaurant. We met some lovely people on the tour and count that day as one of our standouts. Sorry, long review I know. Normally I practically have to be dragged off a cruise ship. This time I was eager to leave. There's a lot of cruise lines out there to choose from. I recommend you look and think carefully before booking a Carnival cruise. The attitude they have to their passengers is extremely poor. They are not customer orientated. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was my wife's and my first trip to Europe. We chose the Breeze because of the itinerary and found a whole different face of Carnival from previous cruises - and not a good one. I'll get to the whole itinerary issues later. ... Read More
This was my wife's and my first trip to Europe. We chose the Breeze because of the itinerary and found a whole different face of Carnival from previous cruises - and not a good one. I'll get to the whole itinerary issues later. Let me start with the ship. The Breeze is a beautiful ship, modeled much like the Disney Wonder and Magic boats in decor but a lot like the older Carnival ships in layout. The food was the typical pretty decent Carnival fare (except the eggs in the buffet - ugh!) and had some fun additions like the Guy's Burger Joint (probably the best free food other than dinner) and the Blue Iguana Cafe. There were lots of upcharge food areas, too (an Italian restaurant for $12 pp, a steakhouse for $35 pp, a pretty decent sushi bar ($1-$12 depending on what you ordered), a dessert place ($3 for ice cream??), and Red Frog Pub which we did not try because none of the $3 appetizers appealed to us. The entertainment was sporadic (three times they cancelled shows and they had issues with the comedians, but that was due to the itinerary issues) and at times non-existent (basically, there's not much going on between 5-7:30). The staff was friendly but poorly trained in some areas (e.g. the girl in the Library Bar had no idea how to work the self-service wine machine - and she was the only one on duty). We had a cove balcony which was probably the best thing about our trip. The balcony was on deck 2 and had a great view of the water and was fairly well protected from the weather. One night we had 50 knot winds and 20-25 foot waves and it was pretty cool watching them from the balcony. The balcony does have an outer steel door which was closed when we had to take the rough seas broadside which prevented us from using the balcony during those 2 brief periods. The room was larger than previous Carnival rooms we had had and had plenty of storage. The thermostat just says "warmer" and "colder" and it didn't seem to respond very quickly either way. Our steward told us the last night of the cruise that the ship doesn't have heat, just AC either on or off and that's controlled by the thermostat. We had some cold nights, but the comforter was certainly adequate for keeping us warm in bed. Now getting to the itinerary issues, which were plentiful. I understand Carnival (or any cruise line) can't control the weather and want to put safety first, but they certainly made it clear that they would rather hide behind the legalities of their contract rather than try to do right for their passengers if they decide to change or remove a port. Weather was an issue for several days of the 12-night cruise. The first sign of trouble was Monaco, where like the two cruises with the same itinerary prior to ours, the ship was not able to dock. The staff had already reduced the time in port from an 8 PM departure to a 5 PM departure, but then as we approached Monaco, they scrubbed the port entirely due to "high winds" and we were told by the cruise director that there was no way we could get into port. Even by the ship's own data displayed on the map channel, there was less than 10 mph of wind and the seas were calm. This was just the first time the weather was used as an excuse to skip a port. Later that evening, the cruise director announced a major change to the itinerary, basically moving every other port day around and dropping Messina, which we sailed by two days later in calm seas. After we got into and out of Dubrovnik, the cruise director once again announced a major change to the itinerary that the ship would drop Venice and replace it with Messina after another 2 days at sea. All totaled, the itinerary lost 2 ports and 3 days in port and replaced them with "fun" days at sea - meaning half the cruise was "fun" days at sea in the Mediterranean, where there are ports all over the place. This is not what we signed up for. We came to see Europe, not a Carnival ship. And the grand total of the compensation offered for missing these ports? $40 pp in refunded port charges and ONE free drink per person in the main dining room at dinner from a limited selection. The extra days at sea were without entertainment or a poor selection of activities and the activities that were pushed by the staff all involved spending more money (spa, casino, restaurants, etc.). The comedians from the first few nights were supposed to leave in Rome initially, but had to stay on two extra days and get off in Dubrovnik instead. Their displeasure was on full display in their poor attitude and rather humorless and brief routines. The senior staff's attitude was that any decisions had to be made by the main office and their hands were tied. Even the free drink was only offered after lengthy conversations with the hotel director. Now the staff did SOME things right - they offered free phone and internet communications with private tours to allow for them to either be cancelled or rescheduled, and then they offered the same for families who were victim to Hurricane Sandy back home in the US, the latter only after again some prodding by guests. By losing Venice entirely, and then rescheduling Rome to a Sunday when the Vatican museum is closed meant that the two big things we really wanted to see in Italy were taken away from us. In the end, the itinerary was shot and Carnival did little to compensate for it. They basically chose to do what was legal rather than what was right. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Embarkation at Barcelona was long to me. I did not like taking zone numbers based on cabin location to board. To me, if you show up early, you should be able to board when you get there. The ship was very nice. I really liked the decor. ... Read More
Embarkation at Barcelona was long to me. I did not like taking zone numbers based on cabin location to board. To me, if you show up early, you should be able to board when you get there. The ship was very nice. I really liked the decor. It was much more subdued compared to other Carnival ships. I also liked the variety of the dining venues. The Blue Iguana burrito and taco stations on the Lido deck were a welcome change. As was the addition of Guy's Burgers. But the times they were open were very limiting. With all the sea days we endured, it was disappointing that they closed the burrito bar at 1:30 pm and only opened Guy's from noon until 6 pm. Fat Jimmy's BBQ was good, but with the bad weather on deck, I found it only open one day out of the twelve day cruise. I heard similar complaints from many other travelers. Good food, but limited dining times. The MDR was the MDR - nothing different, nothing new. And the buffet was the same as ever. The addition of the Tandori station was good, but again limited in the time it was open. The Bonsai Sushi restaurant was excellent, but hardly used by the passengers. We did enjoy the Il Capitano italian restaurant. We had an excellent meal there, It was well worth the extra $12 per person. We did not eat at the steak house on this cruise. One highlight was the Red Frog Pub. Good drinks and appetizers. Now limited dining times may sound trivial if you are on a port intensive cruise or on a Caribbean cruise with sunny sea days, but on a cruise that ended up with six sea days - most all rainy and windy, some relief from usual dining at extended hours would have been welcome. Now on to the schedule. I was on deck the morning we were supposed to dock in Monte Carlo. It was slightly overcast with light winds. In my view, the captain made no attempt to even try to dock. We simply loitered offshore until a blaring (volume level) announcement was made by the CD that we were going to miss the port. It was my birthday and we had arranged to rent a car and drive the Corniche. It was disappointing, but I was willing to overlook it. I had missed a port before with Carnival, so I got over it. Little did I know what was in store for the rest of the cruise. We went on to Livorno, where it was windy and wet. We arranged for a rental car to meet us at the dock and we visited Lucca. Lucca was fun. Wet, but fun. But we had a great day shopping and sightseeing. But upon arrival back on ship, we were told we were going to bypass Naples, Rome, and Messina, and head straight to Dubrovnik to try to avoid the weather system. We would then see Venice, then Naples, then Rome. Messina would be missed. Ok, I could live with that. Out of all the ports to miss, Messina is the one. But it screwed up our plans in Venice. We had a hotel in Venice booked overnight to spend more time in port. Now that was gone. Dubrovnik was nice. Clear warm weather. Plus it was great to get off the ship just to walk around after two days at sea. But I could see it clouding up, and I feared they would cancel Venice. Well, they did. After getting back on the ship, we got another annoying blaring announcement from Jamie the CD telling us we were going to miss Venice and have two more "Fun Days at Sea" on the way to Messina. Oh boy! We were getting Messina back. I say that sarcastically. A few side things here. Jamie had to be one of the most annoying CDs we have ever experienced on Carnival. Also, the PA and sound systems on the ship were always set to the maximum volume level. I get up early and like to go up on the the Lido deck to have some coffee and look at the ports or the sea. On the mornings when the Lido deck was habitable, they would run CNN News at the highest volume possible, prompting passengers to scream for them to turn it down. Ok, back to the change in plans. After learning about the itinerary changes, we headed down to guest services. We found about fifty people gathered around Jamie and a ship's officer complaining about the changes. We also saw a security officer off in the background there to ensure nothing got out of hand. Many people complained about the changes in plans, the lack of communication, the lack of compensation, etc. I took my turn and spoke out. I brought up the fact that Carnival had a captive audience of 3000 people to fill the casino, buy drinks form the bars, and shop at the shops. I brought up the idea that Carnival could have searched for alternate ports when they learned of the weather system. Of course Jamie gave us the line, "at least we weren't involved in Hurricane Sandy, and that the captain was just keeping us safe." That was an outlandish statement used to guilt the passengers into accepting the situation. I mentioned that I saw no weather reasons that we could not dock in Monte Carlo. An officer tried to explain to me that the ship was too tall and that high winds would have caused problems with docking, and that Monte Carlo was a soft dock, not a hard dock. I have trouble with that whole explanation. Many people gathered there were long time cruisers who had cruised with Carnival many times. They told Jamie that they would no longer cruise Carnival. Jamie responded with the company line "I"m sorry to hear that". I asked her if that was all she had to say. She responded that Carnival does not compensate passengers based on weather conditions. Even though Carnival was within their legal right to change the itinerary based on weather conditions, the changes to the itinerary were poorly executed and left many of the passengers feeling they did not get what they paid for and therefore, Carnival should have, at the very least, offered discounts or credits towards a future cruise. How much could that cost them? Many of the people would never use it, but it may have restored some confidence with other cruisers. No offers, no compensation, nothing. I got tired of arguing, so I went back to the Casino Bar. As for the Casino Bar. I spent a lot of time there. The Lido Bars were usually closed because of the weather, so the Casino Bar became my home away from home. We purchased the "My Awesome Bar" program upon boarding the ship, so I was there to get my money's worth. The bartenders, especially Miljan and Goran, worked hard to keep the passengers happy. And, while I understand we were in European waters and getting European satellite feeds, a six-day tennis tournament, cricket matches and European football only enhanced the boredom of the imposed sea days. Another side note, during our conversation with Jamie, my wife told me that she was sick of hearing the term "Fun Days at Sea." She told her days at sea were not fun when that was all you got out of the cruise. We use the ship as a floating hotel, not our entertainment. When we travel to Europe we expect to tour Europe, not float interminably in the Mediterranean. It's sad that the only way many of the passengers got to experience the European ports was to hole themselves up in their cabins and watch Rick Steves' travelogues on the ship's television. For the rest of the cruise, during Jamie's blaring announcements, we heard no more use of the words "Fun Day at Sea." As for cabin service, it was horrible. No ice bucket was offered until asked for. The refrigerator was unlocked, but never emptied, even though I asked for it to be done twice. Dirty towels were not picked up. Bed linens were not changed. Empty plates or dirty glasses were left in the room. The only way I could get dishes picked up was to leave them outside the room. And they sat there for over twelve hours many times. And, how my wife's pajama bottoms ended up stuffed behind my nightstand will continue to be a mystery to us; we thought that was rather strange. We made it on to Naples and Rome and made the best of it. In Naples, we rented a car and drove to Amalfi and Positano. While walking around Positano and seeing people enjoying the views at cute restaurants, we started debating whether further cruising was for us. Always constrained by time in port is becoming a factor in determining our vacation wants and needs. If Carnival would have made all the ports, this discussion may not have occurred. This cruise had become a disappointment to us. In Rome, we went to some areas we had not seen, the Appian Way and the Aqueducts. They were very impressive. We also went to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and St. Peter's Basilica. My wife and I were very dissatisfied with the cruise. We planned for a year for it, spent a lot of money to get there, and were totally at the whims of Carnival management. It still bothers me to think of the first time Carnival cruisers I met who said they were disappointed with cruising and how they would never choose Carnival again. I have read John Heald's blog with his two letters from people who were on the cruise. One expressing disappointment, one expressing praise and regrets for the captain and CD. He dismissed this cruise with no apologies or interest. The second letter expressing praise for the captain for "keeping us safe" reminds me of the people in airports who do not mind intensive groping by TSA in efforts to "keep us safe." I'll give Carnival another chance on the upcoming Christmas cruise on the Victory. It's already paid for, I have no choice. But if we see a repeated pattern of missing ports for Carnival to save port fees, increase revenue in the bars, casinos, and shops, then we will stop cruising Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We arrived at the Barcelona airport on cruise day. The Carnival staff was disorganized and inadequately prepared to handle the large number of passengers arriving. There was no order to dropping off luggage for transport to the ship. ... Read More
We arrived at the Barcelona airport on cruise day. The Carnival staff was disorganized and inadequately prepared to handle the large number of passengers arriving. There was no order to dropping off luggage for transport to the ship. Embarkation took a long time. Our room was nice and in a great location to get where we needed to go on the ship. Overall, the food was good (except for the eggs in the Lido Marketplace and the fact that they had ran out of bananas for several days) and the entertainment was good (except the last night when there was a vocalist who was drowned out by the band). Several shows had to be cancelled/rescheduled due to rocky seas. Some nice additions for lunch were Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Cantina. The very first day the ship was unable to dock into Monte Carlo, Monaco, due to high winds according to the Captain even though the navigation map did not show any high winds. The staff had informed us the night before that they were expecting high winds to come in later that day so they moved up the departure time. An announcement was made during the evening on our first unscheduled sea day that the itinerary was changing for the remainder of the cruise in an attempt to avoid bad weather in the Tyrrhenian Sea. We were still going to Livorno as scheduled in the original itinerary. After Livorno, the revised itinerary given to us was an additional 2 sea days, skipping the scheduled port of call in Messina, followed by a port of call in Dubrovnik, then an overnight in Venice, then another sea day, then Naples, then Rome, and then a sea day back to Barcelona. We were disappointed that when the itinerary changed, that Rome was still on a Sunday. The original day that the ship had been scheduled to visit Rome, the Vatican was open as it was the last Sunday of the month. With the new itinerary, the Vatican would not be open. Shortly after leaving the port in Dubrovnik, there was another announcement of yet another itinerary change. We were not going to Venice due to the flooding, and that we were going to have 2 additional sea days and the port of call of Messina was added back to the itinerary. Lots of disappointed passengers concerned with the itinerary changes swarmed the guest services desk and were moved into the Ovation Lounge where an impromptu meeting occurred with the ship's captain and staff. After leaving Dubrovnik, the ship actually sailed around in a circle on the first sea day in the Adriatic Sea. Normally, it takes one day to sail from Dubrovnik to Messina and the captain was taking 2 days. (We passed through the Messina straight around 6 AM the day before we reached Dubrovnik earlier in the cruise). Sea day activities were limited, unless you wanted to spend money for spa treatments, donate money in the casino, go to the overly crowded trivia, spend money for Bingo, etc. The compensation for the missed ports of call were credit for the port charges/taxes and a token drink (from a limited selection) at dinner. Most passengers felt that this was not enough to compensate for a disappointing vacation experience. This was our first cruise to Europe and as such, we had booked this cruise due to the itinerary which had 7 ports of calls and only 3 sea days. Due to the various itinerary changes, we lost 2 ports of call and added 3 sea days. This was more boat ride than we expected and wanted. Early on, the Captain should have known about the weather conditions and changed the itinerary to other ports of call which the Breeze had been to before. Debarkation was very smooth and well organized. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
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