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We are in our early 40s and went on the Thanksgiving cruise with our two kids, who were out of school with all the other kids :). Long, detailed – sorry. We have been on 9 other cruise (the kids – 1 had been on 2 others and the other 1 other), all on NCL (so review with comparisons). We selected Carnival, so that we could drive to Galveston and not have to buy 4 plane tickets. NCL has sailed from Houston before, but not now. I also wanted to go to Grand Cayman; this was the new port for us that I have wanted to visit. All the activities offered (water park, rope course, putt-putt golf, hot tubs off the side of the promenade, etc.) also looked exciting to entertain the kids and adults together. They were. This was the biggest ship we have been on. While on, we heard 4,700 people + crew sailing that week on a ship advertised for 3,800 passengers at two per room. We were not sure if we would like that many people together. Overall, it was not bad, and we did not mind walking it. We love to walk the promenade deck. Being on deck 1 and slow elevators did give us more stairs than I was good at handling. Though the most crowded place by far was the buffet…oh my. Food: To transition to food and start with the buffet, it is divided into two parts with a good length walk between both (a kitchen and some seating between, I believe), which was annoying when trying to find utensils (not on the tables like NCL’s), trying to find family members, or trying to find something that looked good. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there were always lines. Except for the NCL’s hamburger/hot dog buffet start line, I’m used to jumping in and out of line based on what looks good. I’m not going to get in the buffet line and take everything or almost everything, so I hate to wait in line for everything. Going for breakfast one morning, I really thought we would not get any food. We did discover the hot chocolate machine in the buffet; it was awesome but not open the last day. The last day, we got to the buffet earlier, and it was not crowded. Just one more buffet note – the chocolate chip cookies are delicious on NCL; they were horrible on Carnival. Guy’s burgers were delicious! At the Blue Iguana, I liked the fish taco, but did not care for the pork taco – too cumin-y for my taste. My husband liked it and had it a few times. I tried the breakfast burrito one morning. I got it without eggs – I know crazy,but they were putting a lot on the people’s ahead of me. I should have just asked for less. They only have jalapeño or wheat tortillas on the menu, but you can ask for a plain tortilla. I had read about only the two options, but the person in front of me did it, so I followed the lead. Husband liked the India buffet/Tandoor in the back. Sea day bunch was wonderful; our favorite. The first day the line was too long for breakfast. So, we went later for lunch. We made it two other times, going earlier for breakfast; all were excellent. I had the filet twice and the pork once. Husband had the hen a la diabla that he said was very good. Kids loved the big pancake stack. Large selection crossing breakfast and lunch type items. We never tried the pizza or deli in the buffet. We had breakfast once in the Tasting Bar on the promenade deck. They had less selection, but it much calmer than the buffet with a great outside view. I was not impressed with my Sea Dog; my child, who likes hot dogs, never tried one to give a second opinion. We had anytime dining. From NCL, we are used to eating when we want. Since we had the kids, we were not seated with others anyway. We ended up eating earlier to avoid waits. We were always seated in the same section. I had read about slow service, so was worried. We had an excellent server and her team the first night and a couple of nights (same guys) in the middle of cruise who were also excellent. Thanksgiving night was slow, and I think our server team of three was covered by one person. The last night was also very slow. These two nights were the only nights we saw the waiters dancing; maybe because we were there later due to slowness. It was cool; we had fun and got into it. Though husband was ready to place his dessert order, I believe. NCL does not do anything like that. Embarkation/Disembarkation: We drove from north of Houston where we had a hotel overnight to Galveston the morning of the cruise. We had the 11:30-12 check in time. After we drove, parked, walked to the terminal, and dropped off luggage, we stood in a long line outside that was not moving. It quickly started moving, and we got up to the line split between those within their time slot and those early or late. It was 11:15. My husband asked should we hang back 15 minutes or push on; I voted to push on. The in-the-time-slot line was fairly non-existent and moving quickly. However, we got through quickly; tossed our water from our cups in the trash as signs requested. At check-in, they scanned our passports instead of taking pictures. When getting on later, they did take the kids’ picture saying that they have aged more. They handed us our boarding number – 10. Then we went through security. We went through and had brought soda (no longer allowed on NCL). Fellow passengers helped online beforehand, and we brought a canvas-ish shopping bag to quickly toss them in after security torn down the box. You are allowed one 12 pack of cans per adult. We only brought one knowing that it is hard to find time to drink them on shore days anyway. The canvas bag worked great, just sliding the box in, and made them easy to carry around the ship until the rooms were ready. Then we went to find the waiting area for #10. It was around the corner and 10 did not sound good. After we sat, they began calling numbers soon, and they got through them quickly. We were on and ready for a Guy’s burger, and Tandoor/India buffet for husband. They did not give us our keycard at check in, but said the cards would be at the room entrance mailbox when the rooms were ready. They also noted that we could make any onboard purchases before we had the keycard with the barcode on our boarding pass. This seemed odd. I read that too many people were going to drop their stuff at the room and slowing down the room stewards. I had not heard of this being a problem on NCL, but maybe because I’m not at the rooms early or because they don’t allow soda any more. ETA for rooms was 1:30. We went down a little after, and they were just distributing the keys. So, ours did not sit unattended. Disembarkation was also quick. Due to fog near Galveston, we had to stop moving in the middle of the night, so we were late getting in. We did walk off with your own suitcases. The documentation had us getting off at 11am or 11:30 am whether we did walk off or tag and luggage out. It was based on deck, with our deck, 1, at the end. This was really disappointing. I assumed there were people on deck 1 eager to get off early and those on 12 (or whatever) not eager to get up early. Since we had a drive, we were hoping to get off before 11am. Due to the delay, the CD was announcing a one hour delay on the published schedule (12pm). We were not sure if this also applied to getting out of the rooms by 8:30am or 9:30am now. We left a little after 8:30 and went up to deck 5. The CD staff was directly people toward the end of the walk off line. We sat down in the sushi restaurant planning for a long wait, but they started letting people off from the line. No one mentioned or asked about deck numbers. Passport control was pretty quick; on the way out, they were asking who had liquor and needed to pay the duty. We were to our car about 9:45. Entertainment: Family loved the Sky Rope Course. I tried it once around and had enough. They did it multiple times, multiple days. They let you go around twice for your turn. One day it was very uncrowded, and they were letting people go around as much as they wanted. We also enjoyed putt-putt and pool, though you had to find an uncrowded time. We did the water park on the Montego Bay day before it rained. There were very short to no lines, so we did the slides over and over again. We never made it to the Thrill theater. We enjoyed candy store shopping with onboard credit. We went to the Seaside Theater (big screen at the mid-ship pool) as a family the last night – Despicable Me 3. It was fun, but the pool chairs did get uncomfortable toward the end of the movie. I’m not sure how the chair hogs do it ;). I have heard of people going up a deck to the sofas; that may be the way to go. We checked several nights, and they seemed to only be showing PG-13 movies. The last night they had Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3; saved them all for the last night. Our oldest watched Transformers too. Back to food, we had the Steakhouse dinner without the kids – excellent service and delicious! We got the kids in line for the buffet with them trying to preview and decide what they would get. Then we went to the Steakhouse; next youngest went to kid’s club and oldest to the movie. We told the youngest that he could come back to the room at 8am (he likes to play his technology) since we expected to be done around 8:30. Transformers was a long movie, so the oldest had about an hour to go when we checked on him after dinner. On kid’s club, the oldest did not do too much with his group. It started later and went later (after we went to bed). He went to karaoke and was not a fan. He did couple digital scavenger hunts that he enjoyed. The youngest spent more time at kid’s club and had a child from his grade at school also on the cruise. He learned some new games that he enjoyed. He did a scavenger hunt in the rain that he complained about, but he is a martyr and we know he likes his battle wombs. I had read about the kid’s club kids getting gifts, and I saw some kids with backpacks. We managed to miss the gifts. We did not watch any of the production shows with timing with kids and dinner. We went to the Hasbro game show in the main theater. The kids enjoyed the preview recording of the game show before it started…thinking that is what we came to see. I thought they would pre-pick the families to compete after watching the preview video, but they picked individuals based on answering trivia questions. I thought this part got a little long and that pre-picking would be better, but the kids enjoyed it. If you want to be picked, sit at the bottom in the front center. We also watched two of the four comedians; they switch 2 for 2 new ones mid-cruise. We went to the PG shows with our oldest. He did not know if he would like it, but he was laughing like crazy. Both comedians made us laugh, but the first, Ronnie Bullard, was better. Seeing them so close together let us compare, where we normally would not (I’m used to one max comedian on a cruise). The first had better delivery and stronger material. The second was Tim Walker. Husband said trivia was easier than NCL’s; it was interesting – they picked from a Trivial Pursuit book. He won a couple “ship on a stick”. We also played a big trivial pursuit and met some fun people. They also had a big Sorry! that our oldest played. Our youngest did a Build a Bear party. They hand out numbers when you come in, so get there early. Our casually late got us a 43, where they called 4 numbers at once. I was surprised at how efficient it was after you got up there. I thought the poor kid’s club staff was “sewing” them, but actually, they were pre-sewn and just needed the thread tightened and knotted. Efficient! We never got to try out the hot tubs off the side of the ship; they closed for cleaning or maintenance where it did not seem like much urgency was given to reopening them, like closed more than 24 hours to shock them if there had been a diaper mishap. We visited an aft hot tub after our Montego Bay water park visit. The kids went one other time to the aft hot tubs, while we sat and watched; they had to move from one to another when a jet needed maintenance. The back pool area is a nice place to sit and hang out. They have a drink machine there; though it was missing an ice dispenser. The kids got in the mid-ship pool once when they decided the water park was too cold. We found chairs to watch. Overall: We had a great cruise and found lots to do. The kids enjoyed having more freedom to check themselves in and out of kid’s club; it just took planning ahead on when to meet and where. It helped us avoid the checkout lines, though did not always work because sometimes we were early to check the youngest out. Carnival is more laid back than my type A personality. “Washy-washy, happy-happy” was hard to find (they had machines in the buffet, but you had to look), instead of at the entrance to the buffet both given by a person and a machine and every time you got back on the ship on NCL. We avoided the stomach bug; I pushed the hand sanitizer that I brought after getting food and before eating on the Lido. (Youngest picked it up at the end of his last cruise and shared it with all of us after we got home.) Though I got a cold that I’m still fighting . Another laid-back attitude I felt was, the ship arrives at published time but then has to clear customs. You don’t get to get off at published time. Why not publish the time that guests would be cleared to get off? Not a big deal, but something that I noticed. Beforehand, we were nervous about having an Italian captain; I have been to Italy and do not think of strong work ethic when I think of Italians, but think of siestas and the hole in the ground toilets -- sorry Italians . We are used to the Scandinavian captains. I did not meet the Captain, but he made informative announcements a few days and got the ship to where it needed to be. The crew were all upbeat, friendly, and accommodating! Ports: Montego Bay, Jamaica: We did not plan anything for this stop. My husband and I honeymooned in Ocho Rios and knew about the 2 hour bus rides. I did not want to try that with kids. We got out and shopped in the port area. The kids got a Jamaica soccer ball (futbol); we did not have one before. We did not mean to but did haggle. Our youngest was trying to want a fidget spinner instead. We were trying to get them to decide. The ball also had marks on it; I don’t like to buy new stuff that is dirty. This was taken as haggling, and she knocked the price down. In the terminal, they were helpful and told us how to walk to the Hard Rock for wi-fi. We had gotten an email from our tour guide in Grand Cayman about an earlier tour time before we left Galveston, so needed to check email again. When I saw the line of people at the gate ready to hassle us and it was starting to sprinkle, I ask that we head back. (We ended up buying expensive one day internet access from the ship.) Jamaica was pretty when we saw it before; if you want to do something, book it ahead of time. It ended up flooding that day, and the ship did not get to leave until right before 10pm, instead of 6pm, waiting for ship tours to make it back. They had to avoid flooded roads. Grand Cayman – Stringray City and Coral Reef: This was a tender port. We read the documentation, and there was nothing on tender tickets. It just said when you are ready to go ashore come down to get on a tender boat. This was weird. The CD was announcing how crowded the tender lines were and when a good time to go down would be and was. We now had a tour time confirmed for meeting at 10:40 ship time or island time; I do not remember which. Staying on the same time and having ship time was new to us. It is probably much easier for the crew, but did seem to annoy the islanders, who noted that we would not go to England and ask them to use our time. We got off early to have ample time. The tender ride was short; it was operated by Grand Cayman’s vs. the ship and held 300, if I remember correctly. We were there early. We found the meeting place; our tour was with Moby Dick. They had a big restroom that husband said was nice. One kid was starving and required a snack. We went into a couple of shops. Our group started to gather. I believe they were waiting for people from other ships that got in later. When most arrived, we boarded the bus; while one owner waited for the last group. We got to see a little of the town driving to the boat dock; the boat ride was longer than I expected. Stingrays were great; we fed and held them. The guides were good at catching them to let people hold. With the underwater camera, husband captured the oldest feeding one – it vacuums in its food. On the boat ride over, they taught us about the stingrays and how to feed them. Our youngest was a little scared of them; we held him some. It was about 4 ft, so easy for us to stand but the kids had to wade more. We used our snorkels some to see them underwater. Then we went to the coral reef snorkel. There was a shipwreck and ship toilet. Husband caught a school of fish on camera. Youngest loved the reef snorkeling. Cozumel – Chankanaab: There were many ships and people in port the day we were there, and our ship had the latest scheduled arrival time. The dock the Breeze was at, I believe, is closer to Chankanaab – Puenta Maya. The taxi lines were long this day. They have a price list to the different locations, so you know the cost + tip. At Chankanaab (the kids have been one other time), we started with the Mayan ruins. Then we got ready to snorkel. We camped between a set of umbrellas and chairs; none left available at this point. The snorkeling was not as good as I remembered, but I did not go to all the sections. Youngest loved it again, noted he touched a fish. Hum…you are not supposed to touch them. They have snorkel gear from Christmas one year. We borrowed life jackets for youngest and myself (being lazy, and I don’t dive anyway) with a driver’s license for the id that they hold while you borrow the jackets. After snorkeling, we went to the sea lion show and then let the kids play in the pool. Then we decided that we should head back before it got closer to the Park’s closing time at 4pm when everyone would want to a taxi. We were put in a van taxi with another family. Based on this, we did not know the price. Husband asked. Chankanaab is very nice. They also have swim with dolphins and manatees and zip lining.

Thanksgiving cruise with the kids

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review by tammyjw305

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2017
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View
We are in our early 40s and went on the Thanksgiving cruise with our two kids, who were out of school with all the other kids :). Long, detailed – sorry. We have been on 9 other cruise (the kids – 1 had been on 2 others and the other 1 other), all on NCL (so review with comparisons). We selected Carnival, so that we could drive to Galveston and not have to buy 4 plane tickets. NCL has sailed from Houston before, but not now. I also wanted to go to Grand Cayman; this was the new port for us that I have wanted to visit. All the activities offered (water park, rope course, putt-putt golf, hot tubs off the side of the promenade, etc.) also looked exciting to entertain the kids and adults together. They were. This was the biggest ship we have been on. While on, we heard 4,700 people + crew sailing that week on a ship advertised for 3,800 passengers at two per room. We were not sure if we would like that many people together. Overall, it was not bad, and we did not mind walking it. We love to walk the promenade deck. Being on deck 1 and slow elevators did give us more stairs than I was good at handling. Though the most crowded place by far was the buffet…oh my.

Food:

To transition to food and start with the buffet, it is divided into two parts with a good length walk between both (a kitchen and some seating between, I believe), which was annoying when trying to find utensils (not on the tables like NCL’s), trying to find family members, or trying to find something that looked good. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there were always lines. Except for the NCL’s hamburger/hot dog buffet start line, I’m used to jumping in and out of line based on what looks good. I’m not going to get in the buffet line and take everything or almost everything, so I hate to wait in line for everything. Going for breakfast one morning, I really thought we would not get any food. We did discover the hot chocolate machine in the buffet; it was awesome but not open the last day. The last day, we got to the buffet earlier, and it was not crowded. Just one more buffet note – the chocolate chip cookies are delicious on NCL; they were horrible on Carnival.

Guy’s burgers were delicious! At the Blue Iguana, I liked the fish taco, but did not care for the pork taco – too cumin-y for my taste. My husband liked it and had it a few times. I tried the breakfast burrito one morning. I got it without eggs – I know crazy,but they were putting a lot on the people’s ahead of me. I should have just asked for less. They only have jalapeño or wheat tortillas on the menu, but you can ask for a plain tortilla. I had read about only the two options, but the person in front of me did it, so I followed the lead. Husband liked the India buffet/Tandoor in the back.

Sea day bunch was wonderful; our favorite. The first day the line was too long for breakfast. So, we went later for lunch. We made it two other times, going earlier for breakfast; all were excellent. I had the filet twice and the pork once. Husband had the hen a la diabla that he said was very good. Kids loved the big pancake stack. Large selection crossing breakfast and lunch type items.

We never tried the pizza or deli in the buffet. We had breakfast once in the Tasting Bar on the promenade deck. They had less selection, but it much calmer than the buffet with a great outside view. I was not impressed with my Sea Dog; my child, who likes hot dogs, never tried one to give a second opinion.

We had anytime dining. From NCL, we are used to eating when we want. Since we had the kids, we were not seated with others anyway. We ended up eating earlier to avoid waits. We were always seated in the same section. I had read about slow service, so was worried. We had an excellent server and her team the first night and a couple of nights (same guys) in the middle of cruise who were also excellent. Thanksgiving night was slow, and I think our server team of three was covered by one person. The last night was also very slow. These two nights were the only nights we saw the waiters dancing; maybe because we were there later due to slowness. It was cool; we had fun and got into it. Though husband was ready to place his dessert order, I believe. NCL does not do anything like that.

Embarkation/Disembarkation:

We drove from north of Houston where we had a hotel overnight to Galveston the morning of the cruise. We had the 11:30-12 check in time. After we drove, parked, walked to the terminal, and dropped off luggage, we stood in a long line outside that was not moving. It quickly started moving, and we got up to the line split between those within their time slot and those early or late. It was 11:15. My husband asked should we hang back 15 minutes or push on; I voted to push on. The in-the-time-slot line was fairly non-existent and moving quickly. However, we got through quickly; tossed our water from our cups in the trash as signs requested. At check-in, they scanned our passports instead of taking pictures. When getting on later, they did take the kids’ picture saying that they have aged more. They handed us our boarding number – 10. Then we went through security. We went through and had brought soda (no longer allowed on NCL). Fellow passengers helped online beforehand, and we brought a canvas-ish shopping bag to quickly toss them in after security torn down the box. You are allowed one 12 pack of cans per adult. We only brought one knowing that it is hard to find time to drink them on shore days anyway. The canvas bag worked great, just sliding the box in, and made them easy to carry around the ship until the rooms were ready. Then we went to find the waiting area for #10. It was around the corner and 10 did not sound good. After we sat, they began calling numbers soon, and they got through them quickly. We were on and ready for a Guy’s burger, and Tandoor/India buffet for husband. They did not give us our keycard at check in, but said the cards would be at the room entrance mailbox when the rooms were ready. They also noted that we could make any onboard purchases before we had the keycard with the barcode on our boarding pass. This seemed odd. I read that too many people were going to drop their stuff at the room and slowing down the room stewards. I had not heard of this being a problem on NCL, but maybe because I’m not at the rooms early or because they don’t allow soda any more. ETA for rooms was 1:30. We went down a little after, and they were just distributing the keys. So, ours did not sit unattended.

Disembarkation was also quick. Due to fog near Galveston, we had to stop moving in the middle of the night, so we were late getting in. We did walk off with your own suitcases. The documentation had us getting off at 11am or 11:30 am whether we did walk off or tag and luggage out. It was based on deck, with our deck, 1, at the end. This was really disappointing. I assumed there were people on deck 1 eager to get off early and those on 12 (or whatever) not eager to get up early. Since we had a drive, we were hoping to get off before 11am. Due to the delay, the CD was announcing a one hour delay on the published schedule (12pm). We were not sure if this also applied to getting out of the rooms by 8:30am or 9:30am now. We left a little after 8:30 and went up to deck 5. The CD staff was directly people toward the end of the walk off line. We sat down in the sushi restaurant planning for a long wait, but they started letting people off from the line. No one mentioned or asked about deck numbers. Passport control was pretty quick; on the way out, they were asking who had liquor and needed to pay the duty. We were to our car about 9:45.

Entertainment:

Family loved the Sky Rope Course. I tried it once around and had enough. They did it multiple times, multiple days. They let you go around twice for your turn. One day it was very uncrowded, and they were letting people go around as much as they wanted. We also enjoyed putt-putt and pool, though you had to find an uncrowded time. We did the water park on the Montego Bay day before it rained. There were very short to no lines, so we did the slides over and over again. We never made it to the Thrill theater. We enjoyed candy store shopping with onboard credit.

We went to the Seaside Theater (big screen at the mid-ship pool) as a family the last night – Despicable Me 3. It was fun, but the pool chairs did get uncomfortable toward the end of the movie. I’m not sure how the chair hogs do it ;). I have heard of people going up a deck to the sofas; that may be the way to go. We checked several nights, and they seemed to only be showing PG-13 movies. The last night they had Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3; saved them all for the last night. Our oldest watched Transformers too. Back to food, we had the Steakhouse dinner without the kids – excellent service and delicious! We got the kids in line for the buffet with them trying to preview and decide what they would get. Then we went to the Steakhouse; next youngest went to kid’s club and oldest to the movie. We told the youngest that he could come back to the room at 8am (he likes to play his technology) since we expected to be done around 8:30. Transformers was a long movie, so the oldest had about an hour to go when we checked on him after dinner.

On kid’s club, the oldest did not do too much with his group. It started later and went later (after we went to bed). He went to karaoke and was not a fan. He did couple digital scavenger hunts that he enjoyed. The youngest spent more time at kid’s club and had a child from his grade at school also on the cruise. He learned some new games that he enjoyed. He did a scavenger hunt in the rain that he complained about, but he is a martyr and we know he likes his battle wombs. I had read about the kid’s club kids getting gifts, and I saw some kids with backpacks. We managed to miss the gifts.

We did not watch any of the production shows with timing with kids and dinner. We went to the Hasbro game show in the main theater. The kids enjoyed the preview recording of the game show before it started…thinking that is what we came to see. I thought they would pre-pick the families to compete after watching the preview video, but they picked individuals based on answering trivia questions. I thought this part got a little long and that pre-picking would be better, but the kids enjoyed it. If you want to be picked, sit at the bottom in the front center.

We also watched two of the four comedians; they switch 2 for 2 new ones mid-cruise. We went to the PG shows with our oldest. He did not know if he would like it, but he was laughing like crazy. Both comedians made us laugh, but the first, Ronnie Bullard, was better. Seeing them so close together let us compare, where we normally would not (I’m used to one max comedian on a cruise). The first had better delivery and stronger material. The second was Tim Walker.

Husband said trivia was easier than NCL’s; it was interesting – they picked from a Trivial Pursuit book. He won a couple “ship on a stick”. We also played a big trivial pursuit and met some fun people. They also had a big Sorry! that our oldest played.

Our youngest did a Build a Bear party. They hand out numbers when you come in, so get there early. Our casually late got us a 43, where they called 4 numbers at once. I was surprised at how efficient it was after you got up there. I thought the poor kid’s club staff was “sewing” them, but actually, they were pre-sewn and just needed the thread tightened and knotted. Efficient!

We never got to try out the hot tubs off the side of the ship; they closed for cleaning or maintenance where it did not seem like much urgency was given to reopening them, like closed more than 24 hours to shock them if there had been a diaper mishap. We visited an aft hot tub after our Montego Bay water park visit. The kids went one other time to the aft hot tubs, while we sat and watched; they had to move from one to another when a jet needed maintenance. The back pool area is a nice place to sit and hang out. They have a drink machine there; though it was missing an ice dispenser. The kids got in the mid-ship pool once when they decided the water park was too cold. We found chairs to watch.

Overall:

We had a great cruise and found lots to do. The kids enjoyed having more freedom to check themselves in and out of kid’s club; it just took planning ahead on when to meet and where. It helped us avoid the checkout lines, though did not always work because sometimes we were early to check the youngest out. Carnival is more laid back than my type A personality. “Washy-washy, happy-happy” was hard to find (they had machines in the buffet, but you had to look), instead of at the entrance to the buffet both given by a person and a machine and every time you got back on the ship on NCL. We avoided the stomach bug; I pushed the hand sanitizer that I brought after getting food and before eating on the Lido. (Youngest picked it up at the end of his last cruise and shared it with all of us after we got home.) Though I got a cold that I’m still fighting . Another laid-back attitude I felt was, the ship arrives at published time but then has to clear customs. You don’t get to get off at published time. Why not publish the time that guests would be cleared to get off? Not a big deal, but something that I noticed. Beforehand, we were nervous about having an Italian captain; I have been to Italy and do not think of strong work ethic when I think of Italians, but think of siestas and the hole in the ground toilets -- sorry Italians . We are used to the Scandinavian captains. I did not meet the Captain, but he made informative announcements a few days and got the ship to where it needed to be.

The crew were all upbeat, friendly, and accommodating!

Ports:

Montego Bay, Jamaica:

We did not plan anything for this stop. My husband and I honeymooned in Ocho Rios and knew about the 2 hour bus rides. I did not want to try that with kids. We got out and shopped in the port area. The kids got a Jamaica soccer ball (futbol); we did not have one before. We did not mean to but did haggle. Our youngest was trying to want a fidget spinner instead. We were trying to get them to decide. The ball also had marks on it; I don’t like to buy new stuff that is dirty. This was taken as haggling, and she knocked the price down. In the terminal, they were helpful and told us how to walk to the Hard Rock for wi-fi. We had gotten an email from our tour guide in Grand Cayman about an earlier tour time before we left Galveston, so needed to check email again. When I saw the line of people at the gate ready to hassle us and it was starting to sprinkle, I ask that we head back. (We ended up buying expensive one day internet access from the ship.) Jamaica was pretty when we saw it before; if you want to do something, book it ahead of time. It ended up flooding that day, and the ship did not get to leave until right before 10pm, instead of 6pm, waiting for ship tours to make it back. They had to avoid flooded roads.

Grand Cayman – Stringray City and Coral Reef:

This was a tender port. We read the documentation, and there was nothing on tender tickets. It just said when you are ready to go ashore come down to get on a tender boat. This was weird. The CD was announcing how crowded the tender lines were and when a good time to go down would be and was. We now had a tour time confirmed for meeting at 10:40 ship time or island time; I do not remember which. Staying on the same time and having ship time was new to us. It is probably much easier for the crew, but did seem to annoy the islanders, who noted that we would not go to England and ask them to use our time. We got off early to have ample time. The tender ride was short; it was operated by Grand Cayman’s vs. the ship and held 300, if I remember correctly.

We were there early. We found the meeting place; our tour was with Moby Dick. They had a big restroom that husband said was nice. One kid was starving and required a snack. We went into a couple of shops. Our group started to gather. I believe they were waiting for people from other ships that got in later. When most arrived, we boarded the bus; while one owner waited for the last group. We got to see a little of the town driving to the boat dock; the boat ride was longer than I expected. Stingrays were great; we fed and held them. The guides were good at catching them to let people hold. With the underwater camera, husband captured the oldest feeding one – it vacuums in its food. On the boat ride over, they taught us about the stingrays and how to feed them. Our youngest was a little scared of them; we held him some. It was about 4 ft, so easy for us to stand but the kids had to wade more. We used our snorkels some to see them underwater. Then we went to the coral reef snorkel. There was a shipwreck and ship toilet. Husband caught a school of fish on camera. Youngest loved the reef snorkeling.

Cozumel – Chankanaab:

There were many ships and people in port the day we were there, and our ship had the latest scheduled arrival time. The dock the Breeze was at, I believe, is closer to Chankanaab – Puenta Maya. The taxi lines were long this day. They have a price list to the different locations, so you know the cost + tip. At Chankanaab (the kids have been one other time), we started with the Mayan ruins. Then we got ready to snorkel. We camped between a set of umbrellas and chairs; none left available at this point. The snorkeling was not as good as I remembered, but I did not go to all the sections. Youngest loved it again, noted he touched a fish. Hum…you are not supposed to touch them. They have snorkel gear from Christmas one year. We borrowed life jackets for youngest and myself (being lazy, and I don’t dive anyway) with a driver’s license for the id that they hold while you borrow the jackets. After snorkeling, we went to the sea lion show and then let the kids play in the pool. Then we decided that we should head back before it got closer to the Park’s closing time at 4pm when everyone would want to a taxi. We were put in a van taxi with another family. Based on this, we did not know the price. Husband asked. Chankanaab is very nice. They also have swim with dolphins and manatees and zip lining.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View
Cabin 6N 1283
Our room steward took good care of us. She asked if we wanted service morning, evening, or both. We picked both. She asked if we had any special requests where the form had options like more hangers and I do not remember what else. Since we were shocked with no bucket or ice, I requested this. She wrote it out to the side and kept us in ice morning and night, including the first night, which was very nice.

We had two rooms on deck 1, deluxe ocean views with doors between them. It was nice that we could open them ourselves; on NCL, we had to wait for the room steward to come with a special key to open them. With it being Thanksgiving week, this was the lowest category of room that we could get with the connecting doors, and we booked almost 13 months in advance – you are warned . Now this is bad – we got locked out of one room. One of the room’s door (to the adult’s room) liked to let go of its catch and slam close…especially when I went into the kids room. It was hard to close and lock at other times; only worked well when it slammed shut unexpectantly. It was night, so we had our room locked with the physical lock. We had my key card in the light (to keep the lights on; you must put and keep a card in the slot. We brought and used other cards, but it was convenient to put it in right after unlocking the door and coming in the room.) and the kid’s card that worked with that room in that room. There is one adult per room when the room purchase is done. It would be nice if all key cards worked in both rooms, but I did not ask – I don’t if they can do that or not. We called our room steward with the number in the kids’ room. It is nice to have a number listed for your room steward; NCL used to provide it too and now does not, which is crazy. She came with her key with no luck…doh, the physical lock. The door between rooms did not have a handle on both sides, so could not be used. She called Maintenance, who called Security, who had the physical key. We were back in. Maintenance checked out the catch and called someone to fix it. He suggested that night, so I waited on my shower while my husband went to the gym. I finally just took a shower. They came when we out the next day. It was embarrassing and annoying, and we hated troubling so many people. They got us in quickly. The new latch did not have any issues.

Back to the cabin review – the fridge came empty, so we did not need to request a mini-bar empty. We brought sodas, so stocked the fridge with them. Our windows were dirty many days; they cleaned them once but they got dirty quickly again. Being on deck 1, it got splashed a lot. For pictures, I could pick the room that had the cleanest view for what I was taking a picture of. I saved the best part for last; the deluxe ocean view has 2 bathrooms – two showers, one toilet, and two sinks. This also always gave us enough towels for me to have a hair towel too. All the showers were very nice for everyone to shower at once when returning from shore or swimming.
Deck 1 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cozumel
    There were many ships and people in port the day we were there, and our ship had the latest scheduled arrival time. The dock the Breeze was at, I believe, is closer to Chankanaab – Puenta Maya. The taxi lines were long this day. They have a price list to the different locations, so you know the cost + tip. At Chankanaab (the kids have been one other time), we started with the Mayan ruins. Then we got ready to snorkel. We camped between a set of umbrellas and chairs; none left available at this point. The snorkeling was not as good as I remembered, but I did not go to all the sections. Youngest loved it again, noted he touched a fish. Hum…you are not supposed to touch them. They have snorkel gear from Christmas one year. We borrowed life jackets for youngest and myself (being lazy, and I don’t dive anyway) with a driver’s license for the id that they hold while you borrow the jackets. After snorkeling, we went to the sea lion show and then let the kids play in the pool. Then we decided that we should head back before it got closer to the Park’s closing time at 4pm when everyone would want to a taxi. We were put in a van taxi with another family. Based on this, we did not know the price. Husband asked. Chankanaab is very nice. They also have swim with dolphins and manatees and zip lining.
    View All 6,701 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cozumel Cruise Port Review
  • Stingray Swim
    This was a tender port. We read the documentation, and there was nothing on tender tickets. It just said when you are ready to go ashore come down to get on a tender boat. This was weird. The CD was announcing how crowded the tender lines were and when a good time to go down would be and was. We now had a tour time confirmed for meeting at 10:40 ship time or island time; I do not remember which. Staying on the same time and having ship time was new to us. It is probably much easier for the crew, but did seem to annoy the islanders, who noted that we would not go to England and ask them to use our time. We got off early to have ample time. The tender ride was short; it was operated by Grand Cayman’s vs. the ship and held 300, if I remember correctly.

    We were there early. We found the meeting place; our tour was with Moby Dick. They had a big restroom that husband said was nice. One kid was starving and required a snack. We went into a couple of shops. Our group started to gather. I believe they were waiting for people from other ships that got in later. When most arrived, we boarded the bus; while one owner waited for the last group. We got to see a little of the town driving to the boat dock; the boat ride was longer than I expected. Stingrays were great; we fed and held them. The guides were good at catching them to let people hold. With the underwater camera, husband captured the oldest feeding one – it vacuums in its food. On the boat ride over, they taught us about the stingrays and how to feed them. Our youngest was a little scared of them; we held him some. It was about 4 ft, so easy for us to stand but the kids had to wade more. We used our snorkels some to see them underwater. Then we went to the coral reef snorkel. There was a shipwreck and ship toilet. Husband caught a school of fish on camera. Youngest loved the reef snorkeling.
    View All 725 Stingray Swim Reviews
  • Montego Bay
    We did not plan anything for this stop. My husband and I honeymooned in Ocho Rios and knew about the 2 hour bus rides. I did not want to try that with kids. We got out and shopped in the port area. The kids got a Jamaica soccer ball (futbol); we did not have one before. We did not mean to but did haggle. Our youngest was trying to want a fidget spinner instead. We were trying to get them to decide. The ball also had marks on it; I don’t like to buy new stuff that is dirty. This was taken as haggling, and she knocked the price down. In the terminal, they were helpful and told us how to walk to the Hard Rock for wi-fi. We had gotten an email from our tour guide in Grand Cayman about an earlier tour time before we left Galveston, so needed to check email again. When I saw the line of people at the gate ready to hassle us and it was starting to sprinkle, I ask that we head back. (We ended up buying expensive one day internet access from the ship.) Jamaica was pretty when we saw it before; if you want to do something, book it ahead of time. It ended up flooding that day, and the ship did not get to leave until right before 10pm, instead of 6pm, waiting for ship tours to make it back. They had to avoid flooded roads.
    View All 473 Montego Bay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Montego Bay Cruise Port Review