Here are a couple of notes before I begin my review. First, I have sailed many times with Carnival, and am likely to do so in the future. Second, I have been on the first Carnival ship to get the FunShip 2.0 upgrade - the Carnival Liberty. Third, I traveled with my older children so there will be a few notes for this as well.
It is interesting that much of the time I was comparing this ship with the Carnival Liberty. I would have to say, that the FunShip 2.0 experience wasn't really fantastic on that ship either. Maybe I was expecting more? Not sure but I wanted to feel like it was a newer, better Carnival and not just throwing a little makeup on the same old thing.
To that point - I guess the biggest thing is I believe we definitely want "more fun". The activities were certainly limited, which I can understand on the big port days but what about the days at sea? There was really no difference between these and the older FunShips. Some specifics...
Poolside: Typically is always good for some fun, great music, socializing, quirky contests of some sort. Really none of that on this cruise. Maybe it is more typical on Caribbean cruises. It would be nice if there was one place to go on the ship and know something was always going on. Not here.
Movies: These were a nice addition - but I kid you not - one movie that we watched on the screen was literally cut off and ended about 15 minutes before the real end of the movie. No explanation, just yet another advertisement from Carnival which you will get sick of seeing if you go. I think you have to be on the ship to understand. Advertisements!
Competitions between Blue Iguana and Red Frog: Since both bars are across from each other poolside, the Carnival Liberty would have little contests between the two. Just to generate excitement and maybe getting a drink one place versus the other. No competitions on Breeze - guess that is reserved for Liberty. Competitions mean a discount on this or that drink, with tallies to who wins. Something fun.
Sports Bar: Luckily for us the UEFA Cup soccer games were going on during our trip. However, only one place was available to watch them, and this area was full of smoke. Now I don't mind smoky areas, but it was a little much. Oh well.
Public Announcements: "I hate to use the public address system, and I told you I wouldn't, but..." I heard that tons of times. The whole Livorno stop getting messed up (read later) definitely important. A lot of the other ones were just rubbish and unimportant. When I am on a cruise, I don't like the cattle calls to everyone. You have a guide in your room that says what is going on. I don't need announcements about the daily art auction or a shop opening.
Well now to throw some good things into the review, which is also important.
Food: The mongolian wok is fantastic. Definitely more flavorful that most of the other wok grills I have been to on other ships. Tandoori was nice too - at the back of the ship and often missed. As already stated, the pasta bar upstairs was good for lunchtime as well. Don't miss the BBQ on the fifth floor, that is only open during "days at sea" for lunch. Otherwise it is closed! Dining room food was OK. Not bad, but not something to rave about either. Guy Fieri burgers were 5 times better on Liberty than Breeze. I speculate it is American Beef (Liberty out of Miami) versus whatever beef they had on Breeze.
Staff: Very attentive, excellent. Nice and cordial. The gym personnel were great too, and always there for questions or tips. Spa was excellent as well. As mentioned, the poor Guest Services people were always slammed busy, and there weren't enough of them.
Decor: Definitely in the right direction. Pinks and Purples of Carnival are gone. Question some of the lighter carpet colors though... they will get darker though as more people walk on them.
Kids: My kids really enjoyed their respective kids clubs. There were not a ton of kids onboard, but according to them (and when they got back at night) they had a really good time.
Entertainment: Very good. The dancers/singers did the same show multiple times, so you could pick and choose. I think they had a total of five shows throughout the cruise. Some days they did three shows spaced out in time starting at 5pm... they did bring on some UK comedians. Our cruise was 95%+ US residents. You could definitely hear the UK residents though because they laughed when the rest of us had no clue what was being said. "the woman weighed 13 stones" and other phrases that we just couldn't connect to what it meant. I think they were funny but I am not sure...
As already mentioned in another review Carnival really screwed up our port schedule. They said "we booked this port a YEAR ago but they don't have a spot for us tomorrow". Hmm. I think if I booked anything a year in advance where people were counting on me I would follow up at least a few times as the date got closer. But they told us Carnival Corporate is working on it so it shouldn't be a problem anymore. Oh well. Marseilles stop was scraped, and Monaco was cut a half day short. We got "an extra day at sea" but I wish they would have hung out a little closer to the shore (the sea was really rough that day!)
I think it was said in another review - skip Olbia stop. Waste of time. The rest of the stops were really good though.
Would I take the Carnival Breeze again? Sure - especially since things actually went pretty well considering we were the "first paying guests" on the ship. Once other cruise directors get in there and feedback comes back, they can really fix up the small issues that are being pointed out.