Carnival Breeze Cruise Review by CommuterBob
- Sail Date: October 2012
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
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.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
DubrovnikWe thought the Carnival tours were all overpriced, so we took the shuttle ($8 pp) into Dubrovnik and did stuff on our own. The old town area was nice and we did the cable car up to the top of the mountain (87 kuna pp) which had some great views of the harbor, old town, and the mountains of Bosnia to the east. The old town was very pretty and had lots of great shops, but the ship's tours all dumped their passengers out in the mid-afternoon and the place became a zoo. The return shuttle took about an hour to wait in line as a result of the influx of folks needing to get back to the ship.View All 1,013 Dubrovnik Cruise Port Reviews
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Pisa Walking TourPisa was rainy and miserable, but at least we were off the boat. Our tour of Pisa was rushed and half of the group got separated by a train crossing the road as we were walking down it. The tower was the least impressive of the three buildings at the Field of Miracles and we wished we had more time to spend in the cathedral.View All 62 Pisa Walking Tour Reviews
Wine TourThe winery was a good time and they offered a basic lunch with plenty of wine. We even got to take the bottles on the bus with us for a fun busride back to the port.View All 39 Wine Tour Reviews
After getting back to the dock from the tour, we took the shuttle ($5 pp) back into Livorno, which is a nice, but small city and had a great market square. We even bought some more cheap wine to take back on the boat.
Monaco (Monte Carlo)Missed this port due to "high winds" yet the winds were less than 10 mph. No offer of compensation.View All 396 Monaco (Monte Carlo) Cruise Port Reviews
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NaplesHad lots of time in Sorrento to shop and eat and got some great views of the bay along the way. Lots of opportunities for pictures.View All 7 Naples Cruise Port Reviews
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Pompeii Walking TourHad a great guide!! We only got to see about 20% of Pompeii, but it was very informative and very cool. We were glad that we did Pompeii at the end of the day, because if we had done it first, we would have spent the whole day there and would not have seen Positano or Sorrento.View All 370 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
Positano Walking TourHad gorgeous views of the Amalfi coast and Positano and lots of stops for pictures. Had a decent amount of time in Positano to shop as well. Wonderful.View All 17 Positano Walking Tour Reviews
CatacombsThis stop was part of the City Tour and was added because the Vatican museum was closed. The catacombs were neat to see and I learned a lot from the guide.View All 10 Catacombs Reviews
City TourWe were rushed from one site to another, often with the only opportunity to take pictures while still seated in the van. Then we were taken to a restaurant where it took 2 hours to have lunch. The food was great, but because lunch took so long, the rest of the tour and the Vatican were rushed. While we technically "saw" many things, it would have been nicer to only see a few with more opportunity to spend time at them and learn more.View All 270 City Tour Reviews
ColosseumThe Colosseum was impressive, but we only had 45 min. to walk in (with pre-purchased tickets so we didn't have to wait in line) and through the place. Basically enough time to see the ground floor, walk up to the second level, then back down and out the exit.View All 150 Colosseum Reviews
St. Peter's SquareWhile the square is impressive, the guide only gave us an hour to see it and the St. Peter's Basilica. There was a 2-hour wait to get into the basilica so there was no way we could get in to see it. Plus the fact that we were in Rome on a Sunday when the Vatican museum is closed made it pretty disappointing.View All 78 St. Peter's Square Reviews
Mount EtnaThe trip up to Mt. Etna included a stop in Zafferana for lunch, which was wonderful. Then we went up to the Silvestri Craters and had a great guide who was a vulcanologist and gave a thorough history of the mountain's eruptions and what we were looking at.View All 62 Mount Etna Reviews
Teatro GrecoThe tour of Taormina and the Greek Theater were nice, but brief. We had little free time (only about 40 min.) to shop in Taormina, but the town was nice and scenic, with the theater being the highlight with its great views of the sea and Mt. Etna.View All 15 Teatro Greco Reviews
VenicePort skipped due to flooding and high winds - other ships seemed to be able to dock there without much issue and the flooding that Carnival was reporting did not last very long. Certainly not worth cancelling two days at port.View All 1,233 Venice Cruise Port Reviews
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