We booked the Breeze out of Galveston after having lucked-into a fantastic deal on airfare and finding only two choices available for our dates; the other being RCCL's Liberty of the Seas, which we have sailed before as well as having sailed it's sister, the Freedom, recently. We thought to change it up a little and with 3 previous Carnival cruises under our belts, we felt like we knew what we were getting and could be satisfied with it. We were mistaken.
The Breeze, although one of Carnival's largest and having many of it's "best" features, was a big disappointment. I've always objected to the rather nasty characterization of Carnival as being the WalMart of cruiselines (and hey, I'm a frequent WalMart shopper myself), but this ship makes it hard to deny. The Breeze is an ode to cheap ceramic tiles, fake woodgrain and miles of plastic wall paneling. It's honestly the least attractive ship we've ever seen and although wear-and-tear is to be expected, it appears to have been abused by passengers in some unique ways. Worse, it's NOT CLEAN and there's really no excuse for that. I've seen nicer and cleaner public bathrooms in truck-stops and the pool and sundecks were grungy and gross. The art installation in the atrium consists of multiple levels of fabric "lanterns" suspended on wire cables - they maybe should have thought about how to keep them clean before putting them up. Visible very plainly through the glass elevators, the lanterns are filthy and stained with splashes and splotches of god-knows-what and the cables are fuzzy with accumulated dust. Grafitti and willful damage to surfaces is everywhere and in the spa, rather alarming large chunks of the ceiling surface is falling off in the steam rooms.
One very bright spot is the quality of the food - we ate in the MDR almost every night as well as one SeaDay Brunch and one regular breakfast. Absolutely everything we were served was of very acceptable quality and preparation and we don't hesitate to commend it. We did find the over-hyped Guy's Burgers and Pig-n-Anchor BBQ to be poor, but that's a matter of taste, I guess. Afternoon Tea on sea days was really quite lovely! On the downside, the buffet is extremely limited in selections and although there are many separate lines - they are all just a repeat of one another. It does serve to move people through quickly, but there's definitely no feeling of abundance and a lavish spread, it is NOT.
We tried almost everything the Breeze had to offer in terms of recreation and entertainment, except the waterslides. There was enough to keep us busy during the day and we enjoyed the Trivia sessions and the deck games (bean-bag toss, big chess, etc.). The mini-golf was, well, just so basic compared to the attractive and whimsical courses on other ships, but in fairness, the equipment was all present and in good condition. The 3-D Thrill Theater was an EPIC FAIL and although nobody is expecting Disney-quality, it honestly sucked. We purchased a Thermal Suite pass and spent time daily in the T-pool and steam/relaxation area; all were in working order although definitely needing some maintenance and housekeeping. My husband had several spa treatments and got a rather excellent haircut at the salon. Evening entertainment is, to our taste, very poor. 3 nights out of 7 there was nothing staged in the showroom and the "Playlist Productions" vary based on the quality of the sound engineering. The "Country Road" show was awful; practically impossible to hear the vocals. "Flick" was actually quite good with some wind effects and laser lights that impressed. Punchliners is alternately either not very funny (the family shows) or extremely vulgar and filthy (the 18+ shows). Neither really appeal to us. The Casino is a loud, crowded, stinky nightmare - 'nuff said. We do love Seaside Theater, but unfortunately the scheduling didn't allow us to enjoy many of the showings and the screen is terribly pixilated - well overdue for repair or replacement. We watched one pay-per-view movie and the price was a very fair $4.99.
Service-wise, well, what can you say? All cruiselines, in our experience, have pared things down to a very minimal level and Carnival is no exception. Our cabin was serviced by a "ghost" - we never once saw him/her nor did he/she introduce themselves or ever inquire about our needs. I had read that cabin service has been reduced to once a day but hoped I misunderstood - nope. We received very, very minimal service once per day, at random times between 9:00am and 8:00pm, which consisted only of changing the towels, freshening up the bathroom, dumping the trash can and making the bed. (Yes, there were towel animals). Our glasswear wasn't changed once all week nor was there any attempt made to tidy our things. Disappointing, but I guess no worse than any 2-star hotel. We made a couple of stops to Guest Services for various things and found the pursers to be very pleasant and efficient, but we didn't really tax them very far. The crew members in the shops were also friendly and helpful. Bar staff were the worst; although we're not "regulars" we are polite and always add a gratuity; there was no excuse for some of the gruff discourtesy we encountered.
Lastly and it truly can't go without mention - every unpleasant stereotype ever hurled about the party atmosphere and low-brow behavior of Carnival passengers came to life on this trip. We saw more loud, aggressive, sloppy drunks, witnessed more alterations and rude, boorish conduct and heard more vulgar language in this 7 days than on all our other time at sea combined. Not only will we not sail Carnival again, for this reason alone I could simply never recommend it - there's nobody I know that wouldn't have been disgusted.
The Cove balcony itself was fine; ours was not obstructed in any way and it was nice to have the added privacy and protection from the sun. The Deck 2 location was much less than optimal though as it isn't convenient to anything and the elevators on the Breeze are terrible; often being locked for utility purposes. One positive to note is that while these cabins are mostly located under the galley, our location near mid-ship and towards the front of the galley was extremely quite - we did not hear one peep of noise from overhead.
We arrived at IAH and were immediately greeted by Carnival personnel who assisted with our luggage and directed us to the coach. It departed very promptly and delivered us to the port efficiently. Very satisfactory service!View All undefined undefined Reviews
We did not make plans in advance and this option was available through carnival at the port. We visited Rose Hall (very interesting guided tour and a bit of sad, but fascinating Jamaican history) and spent time at Doctor's Cave Beach. Take note though that they are REALLY hustling for a buck in Montego Bay and everything there was expensive!!View All undefined undefined Reviews
This was a combo tour - Sea Kayak Safari (through the mangroves) and a visit to Stingray City. Good value and well executed, the kayak equipment was very high quality, comfortable and easy to handle.View All 13 Kayaking Reviews
We took a kayak trip through the mangroves which was very enjoyable and informative but extremely HOT - be very careful to wear adequate sun protection!! We were then ferried out to Stingray City for a delightful hour on the sandbar in crystal waters playing with the very friendly rays. High praise also to Carnival for helping us when we misunderstood our tour departure instructions. They accommodated us on a later tour and saved our day!!View All 795 Stingray Swim Reviews
Held at a very pretty, clean little beach resort called Hotel Cozumel, this activity is riding under-water motorized "bikes" with an air-helmet similar to SeaTrek. It was novel and safe but mostly consisted of sitting on the bikes while the guides herded fish our way. There may have been 5 minutes total of actually motoring around, all the while tethered to a line (understandable for safety). Overall, we enjoyed it but won`t do it again and if asked, would recommend SeaTrek instead for an ùnderwater adventure.View All undefined undefined Reviews