I went on this cruise with my husband (we are both 35 years old) and two children (ages 7 and 4). I chose this particular cruise for the itinerary, price and ship. We have only been on one cruise before aboard the Carnival Conquest, about ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my husband (we are both 35 years old) and two children (ages 7 and 4). I chose this particular cruise for the itinerary, price and ship. We have only been on one cruise before aboard the Carnival Conquest, about 5 years prior. Overall, we had a fantastic time and would love to cruise the Breeze again. Please keep in mind I am writing this review from a family-with-young-kids perspective.
Room: I booked an inside spa room (4S) on deck 11. It was a four person, and I requested to have the bottom 2 beds remain separate to make it easier to move around the room. This didn't bother my husband and I and it worked out much better than if the bottom beds had been pushed together. In fact, my husband slept on the top bunk all week because my son was too scared to sleep up there! We found that there was exactly enough space for our family of four to unpack what we needed into the 3 closets. The bathroom was fine for size and had plenty of places to put our bathroom stuff. I had brought an over the door shoe organizer to use but never hung it up as it was unnecessary.
We benefited greatly from the location of our room because it was close to everything we used: deck 10 Lido Marketplace and mid-Lido deck, deck 11 Camp Ocean, and deck 12 sports area and Waterworks. There was no elevator waiting for us because we rarely used the elevator. We preferred to skip the main dining rooms, but I could see it possibly being a hassle to get down and up if you chose to eat there daily. Originally, it was appealing to book a Spa room as well, but we never wound up using any of the Spa facilities (there was too many other things to do as a family). It was very quiet around our room, though, so we were fortunate.
Dining: As we have small children, it was much easier to use the Lido Marketplace and restaurants in the vicinity than the main dining rooms and I prefer to get as much out of my cruise as possible without paying extra so we didn't even bother with any of the pay restaurants. We only went to the Sapphire Dining Room one evening for formal night, and we found the food to be terrible. Therefore, there was no real reason for us to venture back there.
The food at the buffet in the Lido Marketplace was decent most of the time and the selection quite varied, but I found myself substituting food from the other 'fast food' restaurants to get a meal together for my kids more often than not. For example, pizza from the Pizzeria or fries from Guy's mixed with fruit from the buffet for lunch. Easy to do and mostly painless. I liked that I was able to build their meals this way with lots of options.
Guy's Burgers, Blue Iquana Cantina, Mongolian Wok and the Pizzeria all had really good food. We ate at these places multiple times. It's nice to be able to get a breakfast burrito! My husband is Indian, so we know our Indian food, and Tandoor was just okay. The staff was great, but the food could definitely be improved. Still, it was nice to have an Indian option, too!
Service: I did not find the majority of the staff to be overly friendly on the ship. It was not in-your-face unfriendly, most just appeared to be tired, doing their job, following their daily routine. The staff at the omelet station outright did not listen to instructions and it appeared to be more lack of care than a language issue. While some of the staff at Guy's Burgers were very nice, there was one particular man that was stone-faced and rude; I watched him behave this way to not only us but other passengers, too.
Our room steward was friendly but it felt more like a forced friendliness. He seemed tired, too, just following a routine. I was surprised that when we initially entered the room the beds had been pushed together because I had requested online for the beds to remain as singles - maybe they do not receive this information? I don't know why they ask online then. At any rate, I had to find the steward and ask for him to separate them, to which he seemed offended. Then he outright asked me how many people are staying in the room when I mentioned we needed both bunks made up as well. He seemed a bit confrontational and I was taken aback. It wasn't the best first impression.
At any rate, for the most part our room was cleaned decently, but we were disappointed that on our last evening there was no towel animal or turn down. The turn down service is not a big deal, but my daughter was really disappointed there was no towel animal on our last evening on the ship.
That said, I completely understand the staff's possible exhaustion and that not everyone is in the mood to smile at every passenger all day long while going about their daily jobs. I get that they are working long hours, doing tedious, repetitive and exhausting jobs, and are far from their family and often home countries. I don't blame them for being tired and it showing. But I do think there is no call for being rude to anyone.
On the other hand, there were staff that always smiled and were happy to chat. I want to mention a woman from the Towel Center, whose name was Mercy. She was from Nagaland in India, and she was very sweet, always smiling, and very friendly. We had some great chats with her. She deserves a shout-out, and a pay raise. Our cruise director, Mike, was exceptional in everything he did. He really made the cruise, we felt. He had so much energy and was always positive and humorous. They need to pay him more, too!
Entertainment: In the Ovation Theater, we quite enjoyed the Playlist Productions shows. The magician duo was just okay, and the juggler show we left because it was a bit boring, even to us adults. The Hasbro Family Game Show was so entertaining! Don't miss it and sit on the main floor in the audience.
My four year old in particular was over the moon for the towel animals we would find each night in our stateroom, so of course we went to the towel animal lessons and theatre. The lessons were interesting and amusing. They then had all the kids gather on the stage for the towel animal musical theatre which was exceptionally well done. Do not miss this if you have young kids. My 7 year old really enjoyed this, too.
We bought the unlimited passes to the Thrill Theatre and saw all shows (and some multiple times) except the 17+ rated one. My kids loved the theatre and it didn't hurt that they had an Angry Bird, Rio 2 and roller coaster show among the offerings.
The sports square was pretty good, although may I put it out there to get rid of the ping-pong table (good luck not chasing your ball) and add some additional foosball tables! I never say anyone play pool, either. But everyone used the mini-golf course, and there were lots of people on the ropes course.
My favorite part of the cruise was the Dive-In Movies under the night sky. Loved it! They had family nights and adult nights. Some of the movies on family nights were, for example, Inside Out, Minions, and Hotel Transylvania 2. Adult nights included, for example, Star Wars The Force Awakens, Creed and The Revenant. There was a great movie selection. It is pretty sweet that they offer popcorn (albeit with no topping) and fleece blankets (the wind gets cold).
My kids visited Camp Ocean only a couple times but while there they both had a great time. Both were able to color a tee they could keep. My daughter got to make a few Dr. Suess crafts. One thing I disliked was how my son was allowed to play video games for 1 1/2 hours when I left him there to do one of their scheduled activities. We didn't take him on the cruise to play video games. Lesson learned.
Of course, the thing my kids liked the most was Waterworks! I think we were there every day at some point. They absolutely loved it. For a 7 and 4 year old, they could play there all day. There were lots of adults hanging out, cooling down, too. We didn't even bother with the pools on board as they were always crowded and too deep for our kids anyway.
Dr. Seuss: The Dr. Seuss parade was good fun for the kids. The story time where they both read and act out The Cat in the Hat is such as great idea but it is lacking. The issue really is the audience participation. They ask for volunteers to act out the parts, but in our case the volunteers were perhaps not the best volunteers so didn't really jump in where they should and had to be constantly prompted by staff. I think they could make this fantastic by scrapping the audience participation and putting it in the hands of the crew, or fun squad, who know what they are doing.
The breakfast was really fun - but be aware, yes, the food is terrible. But the table décor, menus and presentation of the food follows the Dr. Seuss theme to the T and it was exceptionally well done. My kids loved meeting Thing 1 and 2, The Cat in the Hat, and Sam-I-Am. The breakfast was well worth attending even if you are an adult without kids and want something fun to do.
Ship: We enjoyed the ship very much, and felt the dining and entertainment options were well-rounded. It appears to be in great shape and we constantly saw crew members cleaning walls, doors, floors, everything. I also must mention we had a very smooth ride, with very minimal movement - although we had great weather, too.
We would all sail on the Breeze again. Read Less