Having been on an older, non-refurbished Carnival ship (Victory, in 2011), I was happy to see that the Breeze had a new, less tacky design. Different areas of the ship had fun and appropriate theming, such as the Piano Bar, ... Read More
Having been on an older, non-refurbished Carnival ship (Victory, in 2011), I was happy to see that the Breeze had a new, less tacky design. Different areas of the ship had fun and appropriate theming, such as the Piano Bar, Bonsai sushi restaurant, and Limelight Lounge, to name just a few.
Space is a huge issue. Chair hogs were in full effect for the entire duration, and it didn't appear that much was done about it. The Limelight Lounge gets packed, and unfortunately people also chair hog/reserve seats there as a result. People waiting to enter the Limelight Lounge for an upcoming show flow into the Piano Bar, which is seemingly cut in half by a hallway and set of doors.
I was totally content with my dining experiences. Our group was assigned the early (6pm) dining time in Sapphire, which I believe is the smaller of the two main dining rooms. (I like Sapphire better than Blush because I think Blush's orange lighting is harsh.) Our dining staff consisted of Amine, Lukman, and Joseph, who were all very friendly but clearly had a lot of tables, as service could be a tad slower on some nights.; still, we greatly enjoyed our wait staff. I enjoy trying a little bit of everything, so I took a tapas-style approach to dinner: a couple of appetizers and a salad, and a half serving of an entree. This worked out well for me, and I enjoyed my meal every night. Other dining options I checked out were Bonsai Sushi (for-fee), which I really, really loved; Pizza Pirate, which I think is better during the day than late at night (but still better than any other cruise pizza I've had); BlueIguana Cantina, which had excellent build-your-own-burrito options (the taco options were strangely less robust despite being housed in the same area); Guy's Burger Joint, which was a group favorite; and the Lido Marketplace, the buffet-style area that I honestly didn't visit very much but seemed fine. Room service was quick and tasty, and the requested continental breakfast items were always delivered on time.
The hours that different dining places are open seem to be a common grievance in reviews, and I would have to agree. Some places were only open for a couple of hours (e.g. Tandoor, Mongolian Wok). I'm not a person who needs to be noshing 24-7, but having the option to eat a later breakfast or a later lunch, for example, would have been nice. I didn't eat eggs during the trip but several people in my group said the eggs tasted strange and has a weird consistency caused by the addition of baking soda.
Entertainment & Activities Pros:
Mike was a great cruise director. The main pool area always seemed to be buzzing. (Unfortunately, due to chair hogs, my group rarely hung out in either of the pool areas.) The comedians were funny and always attracted large crowds. My group loved Scott at the Piano Bar (as well as the bartenders there - we agreed they are the best bartenders anywhere on the ship!). Unfortunately we missed the Love & Marriage Game, Hasbro Live, and Quest, so I can't comment on those.
Entertainment & Activities Cons:
The entertainment is probably this ship's weakest point, in my opinion. Having cruised before, I had seen some pretty decent shows, and the Breeze just didn't live up to anywhere near my expectations. There was a just-okay juggler, a pretty terrible comedy-magic duo, and the Carnival performances we saw were downright bad. I'm sure the performers are perfectly nice people, and they did the best they could with what they were given, but I would skip these shows if I were to sail the Breeze again. Also, I'm disappointed to report that I found myself bored on sea days - only a few rounds of trivia were offered in addition to the for-fee things cruise lines are always trying to sell you (spa treatments, art, jewelry, etc.).
We liked Wan, our room steward, and our wait staff at Sapphire (Amine, Lukman, and Joseph). The bartenders at The Piano Bar are the best on the ship. Food service staff at the Lido Marketplace and other areas (Guy's Burger Joint, Bonsai, BlueIguana, etc.) were mostly very friendly and attentive.
The late night guys at Pizza Pirate were a little less than friendly, likely due to being one of the only options available for late night revelers (read: hangry drunk people). The room service staff always seemed rushed and I don't remember any of the four I encountered as smiling during our interactions. The bar staff that walk around outside weren't especially friendly, but they weren't horrible. Overall, I didn't really have any issues with the service on the Breeze, but I do think the staff was just a tiny bit less friendly than I've experienced in the past; it didn't really impact my trip but it is worth mentioning.
Ports & Shore Excursions:
One of the main reasons I chose this itinerary was the ports: Grand Turk; La Romana, Dominican Republic; Curacao; and Aruba. I had never visited any of these ports and was excited to see them. Here are my thoughts:
Grand Turk: We got off the ship and just hung out. We were at the beach area in front of Margaritaville for a while, then we moved over to Jack's Shack and stayed there until it was time to head back to the ship.
La Romana, Dominican Republic: Our group split up. Four people headed to Altos de Chavon and into downtown La Romana, where they had Dominican food and did a little bit of shopping. My boyfriend and I did a Carnival-sponsored excursion called "Cenote Swim and Zipline at Scape Park." We really enjoyed the excursion and had a blast - I would recommend it to adrenaline junkies looking for something to do in a not-yet-established cruise port.
Curacao: We found that Curacao had the most aggressive locals. We had to do a lot of haggling to get a decent taxi rate, but finally we were taken to Pirate Bay, which we later discovered was private. We had a great authentic (and unfortunately extremely expensive even by US standards) Caribbean lunch and then went to town, where we watched the sun set from the Queen Emma floating bridge. It was a great time!
Aruba: We booked a third-party snorkeling excursion with Jolly Pirates. We absolutely loved it. The excursion was over and we were back on MooMba Beach by 1:30pm. The water was great but there was slimy, hair-like seaweed on the ocean floor, so beware! We loved our time in Aruba.
There are a few things that could be improved, of course, but my attitude about cruising is that I'm on vacation, and those minor things shouldn't make or break my trip. The cruise was a journey and for several people in my group, their first time cruising. Everyone had a great time, and I would gladly sail the Breeze again. I'd be more mindful of the cabin and would try to fit more of the ship in, because I feel like I missed some of the great offerings. Sail with an open mind, remember not to sweat the small stuff, and you'll have an excellent time, be it on the Breeze or any other cruise ship! I wanted to post an honest but positive review because I think a lot of reviews that are posted are overly critical and written by people looking to complain about something so few people are afforded - the opportunity to visit new lands, meet new people, and enjoy time away from the drudgery of everyday life! Read Less