Carnival Breeze Cruise 01/14-21/2018
(Noted That the Breeze failed its CDC/saturation inspection in December, but after reviewing the report, we saw that most of the failures were technicalities, not really health risk problems. It seems it might indicate the staff is overworked or understaffed)
Shawn dropped me and our luggage at the cruise terminal and a porter took the 2 large bags and my walker. Shawn drove the car to EZ cruise parking then walked back to meet me (only 4 blocks). As a Platinum cruiser, also in a wheelchair, we got priority boarding. Got on at 12:30 (an hour late due to previous cruise’s debarkation delay). Helpful friendly staff and the wheelchair was quickly thru and up the ramp to the ship. Check in was extremely simple with the just checking our boarding passes then putting us thru the metal detector and out carry-ons thru the x-ray machine. New procedure on the Sail and Sign Cards which function as ID, Charge Card and Cabin key – you go straight on to cabin with cards waiting for us outside the cabin.
I unpacked from our carry-ons while Shawn went to check on the deck 5 hot tubs. Starboard Promenade hot tubs were open so we put on our suits and headed down despite the chilly weather. We enjoyed the nice, warm bubbly tub until 2:30, then tried to get lunch but ALL restaurants closed early (2:50). We went to our assigned Muster Station, Upper Blush Restaurant on Deck 4, for the safety briefing and at 3:15 they announced food service WOULD BE CLOSING which irritated me because everything was already closed. The Safety Briefing was held in areas where people could sit which was a great improvement over standing out on the decks as they used to do (ad still do on other ships, according to other passengers)
After the Safety briefing, they let us gimps out first but the elevators were crazy busy.
Finally got to deck 5 and went to Red Frog Pub for pub grub – but there was only one server and he was overwhelmed (and possibly indifferent).
Went to Lido after long elevator wait. Long lines for all food. Finally went to deli - Reuben and tuna sandwiches were yummy as were the curly fries and potato salad.
Love the tasteful decor of this ship but miss the comfy couches usually found along the Promenade on other Carnival ships we’ve sailed.
Back to cabin to unpack - walker finally delivered.
Internet plan for one activated meaning only one of us could be online at a time. The Internet is 1Mbit/sec with a huge ping of about 1.5 seconds (very poor response). We purchased the “Value Plan” ($60) before the cruise (at a small discount) – it is supposed to be for all basic internet use which doesn’t involve streaming videos, Skype or other massive data use, but this seems slow. Some apps would timeout and fail instead of just being slow.
Already had the Carnival Hub app – it includes lots of useful info like maps, what’s happening, menus, etc. We also paid for texting with other cabin mates for $5 each.
Went to 3-forward atrium for a Cruiser Special rum drink and to listen to Kudos Strings - 3 violinists- excellent!! Lots of Beatles songs and song from movies. Weird sewer smell down near the elevators was yucky.
Late dinner in Blush upper got our own 4 top! Servers Retno and Winaya both from Indonesia.
I had corn chowder, poppers, flat iron steak and creamed spinach. Shawn had Cesar, fresh tomato soup, salmon and baked potato. The soups were hot and delicious esp. the chowder. The bread basket was varied: fresh French, rye and a cranberry walnut roll. The Caesar is good but strongly fishy. The steak was a small portion but perfect for me - cooked medium rare and served with a delish peppercorn sauce, small baked potato (perfectly cooked and great!) and 2 pieces of broccoli. Very small but good portion of creamed spinach. The salmon was fine, served with baked potato, carrots, and broccoli
Caramelized phyllo for dessert was superb! I am glad they have reduced the portion sizes a bit – I like to order and try several of the numerous offerings and with smaller portions, I can enjoy them more.
Back to the room for an early night. The bed was extremely comfortable!!
Note: Schwartz, the cruise director, was a lively and popular character, beloved by kids and adults alike.
1/15 Monday at sea
S up early to walk laps in the Promenade – did 8. Walking track around the outside of deck 5 is wonderful. Walking laps is a fun way to start the morning, and to watch the sun rise. Each lap is .387 miles
The Hub app includes sunrise/set times and but not ship positions
I used the slow Value internet.
S took me for a lap on the Prom- windy on the pier side and 2 narrow points near the bow where the wheelchair didn’t fit.
Sea day brunch at Blush started at 8:30 but they seated us early – yay!
Had a coupon for a brunch drink - Breeze’s Bloody Marie’s are bloody awesome! And they do bread VERY well - the croissant was great. Had fresh squeezed orange juice (another good reason to go to Blush for brunch). Shared the fruit plate (pretty and tasty). S got pasta pappardelle “Principe di Napoli”- loved it. Delicate sauce with wide ribbon noodles, bits of ripe tomatoes and fried mozzarella. I had an omelet, cheddar grits and bacon. The omelet had spinach onions mushrooms and cheddar - 2 eggs, perfect size for my meal. Grits were creamy and tasty. Bacon was ok.
Went for a tour. Spa and serenity deck were ok but $40 to have to climb stairs to the Thalassotherapy pool seems excessive. Serenity Deck has cool cubbies, chairs, hammocks and 2 hot tubs all for 21+-year-olds.
Had to take Spa elevator up to 15 Serenity Deck, only stairs otherwise and no exit on 14 or 12 without stairs.
The Waterworks looks fun for kids (and adults) but climbing is required.
Went to Lido to cross back to the sports area but learned there is only stair access to 12 aft for the Ropes Course and mini-golf :-( so people in wheelchairs or limited mobility are apparently not welcome on that deck.
Also noticed only high-top tables at the sushi restaurant making it hard for gimps like me.
Loved that there are lounges as well as chairs on all the decks as well as some benches.
Went to Red Frog Pub for lunch - after waiting a while, the server came by and took order for a drink but said food wouldn’t be available until 11:30 (despite all postings saying lunch 11am-midnight). Tried the Jamaican Sunrise (Skye vodka, peach Schnapps, red passion fruit, orange and cranberry juice) - very tasty! We waited until 11:40 but the server disappeared so we gave up. They were clearly understaffed. We did not return.
Went to Lido and waited for Tandoor to open at noon.
YUM!! Murgh Salan (chicken and chiles in peanut sauce) and beef kabob were my faves while Shawn loved the fish and the pea and tofu Paneer. The naan was great (warm and crispy) and most all the salads were interesting and tasty! One negative note: they had what looked like roasted ears of corn, but they were actually boiled & seared to look like they were grilled.
Relaxed on the rear balcony for the afternoon then sat on deck 5 to see some of the Elegant Night outfits.
Back to the cabin and got ready for the elegant night. Had a plate of chocolates and strawberries plus a form asking if we needed anything - asked for 2 more pillows and a bathrobe (got them when we returned from dinner), plus we let them know we only needed once-a-day room servicing – no turn-down needed.
More people at Blush tonight. Shared our table with Kim and Sherry from OK. S had fried oysters (loved them), Cesar salad, wild mushroom soup (wonderful) and root veggies in a pie crust which was good but dry. I had the soup (excellent) and spaghetti carbonara which was great, with the hot Creme Brûlée for dessert - yum. Our tablemates were first-time cruisers and Kim was quite vocal about his disappointments with the cruise (many complaints) but finally seemed to realize he was being a downer and started reminiscing about his life in Austin in the 80’s.
Back to cabin to divest our fancy duds. Also received a throw as a platinum gift. Really appreciated the extra pillows.
Awakened by room service at 605
Got tray then Shawn headed out for laps - did 8.
I fiddled with comp and had hot tea and toast - note: even Carnival can’t make gluten-free bread taste good.
Shawn returned and I put on a swimsuit under a dress and we went to Blush at 8:10 even though they were scheduled to open at 8:30 - they opened doors at 0811 - this is a very nice departure from every other place opening late or closing early!
Seated at the same table as yesterday so same servers: Natali, and Joseph
We got orange juice (very diff from on Lido), iced tea, and fruit plate to share. S got pasta again (server remembered) and I ordered eggs Benedict with extra hollandaise. Nat asked if we wanted a Bloody Mary again and we agreed.
It was delish and the lady who made it came by to make sure we liked it - said the secret was her magic she added! We appreciate that touch. S lived his pasta again. They brought my eggs B with 2 extra servings of sauce and it was wonderful, especially with the little serving of home fries. The small servings make sense and I appreciate them - it’s easier and better to order more if you’re still hungry than to waste food if there’s too much!
Ate breakfast and went to the aft starboard Jacuzzi on the promenade. It was too sunny and had people in it, so we went to the port side Jacuzzi where it was windy but empty. The tub temperature was a little lower than the first day so we hovered over the hot jets for a half hour. Tried going back to the starboard tub, but it was no warmer so we headed to the room.
Changed then headed to the excursion desk to ask about wheelchairs on the Cayman Crystal Caves Trip. They said probably wouldn’t work so they refunded the full amount. BTW passengers can’t get from aft to midship on deck 3 so plan accordingly!
Up to Lido for frozen yogurt and ocean views. We were going to try the pizza but no slices were out and no one was around (despite the pizza place supposedly being open 24hrs)
Wandered a bit and checked email. Waited for noon Sushi opening but they were open when we got there! Very nice, helpful server let us order to go so we didn’t have to use the high top tables. Order a Bento Box for me and Spicy Tuna roll for Shawn. (Not a place to go if you’re in a hurry)
A lovely young woman brought our order and everything we needed to the table where we sat outside the Red Frog Pub. It’s worth noting that the server at RFP saw and ignored us before we ever got our food. The staff at Bonsai Sushi, on the other hand, were observant, helpful and plentiful! The Bento came with Miso soup (delish), salad with ginger dressing (nice), 6. Pc California roll with real crab, avocado, cucumber and fish eggs sprinkles, as well as 3 pc Sashimi (shrimp, tuna, and salmon) which I gave to S. Shawn had an 8 pc Spicy Tuna roll which was excellent - obviously and meticulously made by a pro!
Went up to get tea and see if Tandoor had different entries - they did, so we share a piece of naan and some Peas and Fenugreek (Methi Matar Malai). Then back to the cabin.
Trying to use the internet during the day is an adventure in frustration - SLOW!!! Not worth what you pay but... slightly better than having no access. The trick appears to be using it at 4 am.
Since S didn’t like anything on the dinner menu, we went to Lido buffet to eat. Good shrimp and breading and the chicken Milanese were great. Afterward, we made our way to the Breeze Atrium 3 to hear Kudos Strings again - fun!
1/17 Wednesday Jamaica
Up at 5:30 to get internet to work and prep for Jamaica!
Room service arrived at 6 AM as requested. Actually, the food delivered was substantially different than yesterday. Despite being almost the same order, things changed. Yesterday, I got four slices of toast and two tubs of cream cheese as well as two bags of tea for the hot tea. The only difference in the order was that yesterday I ordered gluten-free bread – which was awful. Today I ordered wheat toast. I received one slice of toast, one tub of cream cheese, and one teabag though the order was for two people. Slightly disappointing. On the plus side, the Internet works well at 6 AM.
S off to walk laps on Deck 5.
Packed donation for Jamaican school and organized cabin for carpet cleaning (about which they notified us)
Rain started so S came back from deck laps and we hit breakfast on Lido.
Not many folks and no lines.
Basic breakfast fare although the raisin French toast was nice as was the sausage gravy. I missed as the wonderful salsa which was available at breakfast a couple of years ago (on Liberty I think)
Watched as we motored into Montego Bay.
Gangplank on 0 Forward - a little hard in a wheelchair so we went to the Breeze Atrium on 3 to wait. At 930 we went to the elevators where a helpful crewman called the special elevator to deck 0 for us. S pushed me off the boat (in a good way) and onto the terminal where we were directed to our tour zone. Waited until 10 then out to a small bus with 23 passengers,
Driver Seymour and guide Michelle
Drove thru MoBay with running commentary. Saw markets, tons of yams, fruits, veggies.
Saw cannons only ever fired by accident at Brit ship by Brit soldiers. Stopped at oldest church, Anglican or Episcopal.
Bell tower is very loud when the bells ring as S found out personally. Looks like the church had not changed much at all relative to its colonial beginning, with the exception of the addition of steel-drum band equipment.
Drove into the countryside on bad roads toward Kingston and stopped at Mt Olive Basic School. Kids aged 3-5. The children lined up on the stairs of the school and sang songs and spoke poetry to us. Then the tourists sat with them and took pictures. The teacher brought two over to meet me in the wheelchair and was followed by many more, so we took lots of pictures of gorgeous children being sweet. Toured the school; teaching English is a clear priority. Shawn tried to give one boy an item—big mistake. Almost started a riot, which the teacher quickly resolved by taking the item away. We gave a bag of school supplies to the teacher. The materials we provided (chalk, playdoh, and paper) seemed very appropriate, given the kids’ ages. We then drove up the road and most of the people took a walk in the rainforest up a hill to a local restaurant.
I stayed on the bus because the hike was rough, but Seymour brought me a cup of coconut water to try, then he drove me up the hill to the gift shop area where peacocks roamed and a little burro posed. There was also an aviary with many different birds including a small eagle. Seymour brought me samples of all the fruits the rest of the tour group got: coconut with brown sugar, watermelon, papaya, and pineapple. Seymour and 2 men waited until our group got to the shop area then pushed me and my chair up a STEEP pathway to the restaurant area atop the hill. A little black cat was roaming but disappeared when the group started arriving.
Once everyone arrived there, they offered samples of fruit punch and sugar cane, then let us go thru the buffet: sweet potato salad, yams, coleslaw, jerked chicken and pork, festival (like hush puppies), Ackee and salt fish (the national dish) and 2 homemade breads. All were delish! S loved the ackee n salt fish. Coconut drops were offered for sale $1: chopped coconut meat cooked with ginger and brown sugar - yummy!
S had a Red Stripe lite beer and I had water.
I was scared to let the man roll me down the ramp so I braved the stairs then rolled into the gift shop where I tried sips of rum drinks. Bought a Cuban cigar for SJ then back on the bus and eventually MoBay.
Stopped at a “1/2 price gift shop” but we waited on the bus. Then back to the ship.
Went to the cabin - carpets cleaned!
Rested a bit then went to Red Frog on Lido for a drink. Got the Red Rum Treasure which was great!
Looked for a seat with a view but it started raining so we drug a chair under the deck 12 overhang on deck 11 and enjoyed the view of Jamaica. Watched the rain and the view until the ship pulled out then had dinner on Lido- fish n chicken for Shawn and chicken and ribs for me. The desserts were lovely - some warm honey oatmeal cake and mousse for me, ice cream for S.
Back to the cabin for a pain pill and to read. Fell asleep between 7-8 then went to bed at 9!
Woke every 1-1.5 hours as the ship rocked and rolled. The wheelchair rolled itself across the cabin and the TV swung itself out. Got up around six and Sean tried to do laps around the deck. The driving rain at the bow drove him back to the cabin, wet and cold. Got to Cayman around seven, but the rocking and rolling continued. The rain stopped so Shawn went to do laps again while I tried to make the computer work – if Carnival wants to gift my platinum status with something for me, perhaps upgrading me to decent Internet would be the best! The wind around the bow was crazy strong—very difficult to walk against it.
Captain made an announcement at about 730 that we could not safely tender into Grand Cayman, so the Breeze is headed to Cozumel early.
After giving up on the internet, we went to Blush for breakfast - servers Joseph and Natali :-). J told Shawn, “No pasta today!” Shawn had smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel plus a yogurt and granola parfait. I ordered avocado toast with poached eggs and a broccoli cheddar scramble. Delicious. The Parfait had little yogurt and was too sweet (lots of honey, minimal yogurt) for S but I finished it for him.
Back to cabin so Shawn can nap and I can get super frustrated by horrible internet.
Sat on the balcony and enjoyed the ocean motion, then we went to 11 for the view and the breeze, but it was more a gale so we retreated to another spot to wait for lunch venues to open. At noon, we headed to 5 to try the Pig and Anchor but all the doors to the outside were blocked due to the wind. Finally got out an aft hatch and tried a little of everything offered at the P&A. I liked the pork butt and smoked beef and collard greens. S liked the chicken. The potato salad and Mac n cheese were ok but nothing special. Getting back indoors proved a challenge - we rounded the stern and went all the way forward to find an open hatch. Went back to Lido and made our way thru the hordes to check the kind of curry available at Tandoor. Finding a table was hard - lots of readers taking up dining spots - but finally parked at a bar table aft by the pool. Had some curry and naan then went for desert - S had ice cream and some key lime cheesecake while I had cheesecake and a mini carrot cake (which looked better than it tasted).
Back to the cabin (1:30 pm and not yet cleaned) so I could warm up - lay on the balcony in the sun for a bit then went inside and got under the covers. Decided to go get pizza - asked for and received mushroom - it was good. The pizza was good, but minimalist in the extreme—very thin crust, very little sauce, and minimal toppings. That was good, though, in that it made the pizza very crispy and light, and likely minimized waste. Got a drink (Beachcomber) down at Red Frog mid ship on Lido. Heard announcements that tonight is Elegant night and saw that the comedy shows were canceled so have to rethink our plan for the night. Decided to eat buffet and not dress up - being stick-mud-people! Planned for Cozumel tomorrow.
Drinking man, Sam from Missouri, with a Marvin the Martian tattoo on his calf joined us and talked for a bit after his wife pulled his chest hair. We went by the cabin to get a shirt for S and a coverup for me then down to the Breeze Atrium but no music- everyone taking portraits. We planted in the Piano Lounge to watch elegant outfits.
At 6:10 we headed to Lido for dinner. I got a southwest chicken wrap from the deli while S got clam chowder, fish, and a Cesar salad. The amaretto cake was too chocolaty for either of us. Back to the cabin to rest before going to hear music in the Atrium. (Cabin STILL not cleaned)
Rested for a minute and Volter came to clean so we went to the Piano Bar to read. Heard an announcement that there’s someone needing medical treatment so we are powering full steam to Cozumel - arrival 0100.
At 8ish we went to The Atrium to hear Kudos Strings. Listened to faves like Stairway to Heaven, Devil went down to GA, Phantom of the Opera and more, while 2 little girls danced to the music!
Back to cabin @10.
1/19 Friday Cozumel
Woke at around 2 AM and we were docked. Got up at six and Shawn went for laps around the deck. My room service continental breakfast was brought at about 620 and was double or triple what was brought up the last time. It was great.
NOTE: The carnival Internet is horrible. We paid for the middle – class version, the value Internet, and it is horribly, horribly slow. They advertise that their premier version is three times faster, but three times the pace of a snail is still a slow turtle so I can’t imagine that it is much better. I cannot recommend paying money for the service.
Got the internet to work well enough to finish daily chores - only took 1.75 hours to do what would take 10 minutes at home. Packed up supplies for the orphanage tour. S came back from laps (40+ overall)!
Went to Lido for breakfast buffet - great sausage gravy! Back to cabin to pack up, lather up (sunscreen) and ship out. Out 0 forward and saw all the other ships: Carnival Dream next to us, Regal Princess at semi- dock, 2 RC ships at piers closer to downtown. Got all the way to Three Amigos then realized I forgot the excursion tickets:-(. Shawn parked me and headed back.
S back with tickets and we checked in with Give Back tour then went to the drug store. Shawn went in and found higher concentration Volteran plus Aleve gel but had to stand in line 35 minutes.
Met tour guide David and got aqua happy face sticker. Ran to Pancho’s Backyard for a margarita - took too long. Got it five minutes before departure and took it with us.
Back to meeting spot and group of 15-18 followed David to open-air safari bus. Climbed up the tall stairs into the bus.
The bus hit the road bumps like a tank.
First stop at San Jose Del Mar church. Only 26 years old, but cool stained glass windows. Not only the stations of the cross but also local history depicted. This was in sharp contrast to the church in Jamaica, which was an adopted colonial church.
Then on to the City of Angels orphanage (Cuidad de Angeles) a charity of the Church of Christ which houses kids with surrogate parents in houses (2 parents to 5-10 kids per house, 6-18-year-olds). They have 5 acres of land with house-building ongoing. They are trying to raise money for that, education, healthcare, etc. Julio showed us around and gave us info. We saw only a few young people, and we did not interact with any of them.
Back on the bus to Cocina Economica Los Chilangos (Chilangos which means “out of towners” because the proprietors are from Mexico City). Local food: Pasta soup, chips and green salsa (HOT), Homemade corn tortillas and a choice of entree. I had Deditas en crema chile poblano (chicken pieces). Shawn had Cerna de res entomatada (beef in tomato sauce) both with refried beans and rice.
Lovely lunch then back to the pier.
Went by the drug store and got then went back to Poncho’s Backyard for guacamole and rum punch. Back to the ship and a quick rest before heading to the port side to watch the drunks and late runners. Found a salt-encrusted window on deck 5 and saw a few drunks and almost no runners despite their being 30 minutes late! Schwartz the cruise director tried to chivvy them along with Chariots of Fire music but to no avail. We finally left Cozumel at about 6:10 pm.
Went to 3 Atrium to hear classics by Kudos Strings.
Then dinner on Lido as Guy Fieri’s burgers were closed at 6:30.
We went back to the cabin to get a jacket and I wimped out. Shawn went back to hear Kudos Strings while I lay down. Read for a while - S back at 9 and to sleep.
Day at sea
I slept until 6:45 while Shawn did laps. Got up but even before 0700 the internet sucks.
Shawn back at 7:25 after 10 laps!
Internet off and on
Went to brunch in Blush and tipped Joseph (from the Philippines) and Augustina the Bloody Mary lady. I had filet and eggs with grilled tomato and home fries (extra béarnaise)- perfect! S had the pasta. Lovely meal!!
Checked spa temps but both were tepid, so back to cabin to read/time Cs play, but S napped instead. Today, Volter came at 0910 of course! Said he’d come back later. He never introduced himself but knew our names.
We timed Cs play then went to Lido for tea. S saw the Ropes Course was open so parked me on 11 and went up. I enjoyed the sun and breeze and ocean view. S came back as the Ropes had just closed for lunch (at 11:30) until 1:30. We went back and edited until 1:40, then Shawn went to Ropes while I fought the computer. He came back after an hour and showed me pictures of the hard vs easy sides of the course. Shawn did the easy and hard parts, which were all fun. The ‘hard’ side looked to be particularly difficult for people who were big/heavy. We went to 10 and split a burger then went by the shops for gifts before returning to the cabin. We read for a while then showered and packed up everything we could. Read a bit then went to Blush for farewell dinner. S had caprese salad, creole shrimp, and a baked potato. I had creamy mango soup as well as baked onion soup, then ricotta ravioli. S had a complimentary glass of Merlot and I had lemonade. Tipped and said bye to Winaya and Retno.
Down to Atrium to hear Kudos Strings one last time: Bohemian Rhapsody, Only You (Patsy Cline), Celebration, and La Bamba. Back to cabin a little after 10. Finished packing all but the essentials and put out suitcases then to bed.
Alarm at 6. But it was 6 EST so we went back to bed a while. Up again at real 6 and Shawn went for 4 laps while I finally shed packing. Went up to Lido for breakfast but Shawn was disappointed - no gravy! Ate then back to cabin to get stuff, including walker! We were supposed to meet other priority departures in the midship restaurant at 8:15. Loaded up and headed to forward elevators which the ship announcements had said were for deck 11-12 and priorities only -ha! Waited 15 minutes because all elevators jam-packed. Finally got an empty elevator up to 12 then down to deck 3 where people were already exiting. Got right thru and got a porter to pick up luggage and take us through customs/immigration (no customs forms anymore.
Porter dropped me and bags at F and Shawn went for car. Fast and easy disembark! Read Less