By Kitty Bean Yancey
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Carnival Breeze Entertainment & Activities

Theater

Breeze boasts three theaters. The grand three-tiered, 1,349-seat Ovation Theater on Decks 3,4 and 5 serves as the main show lounge. A troupe of singers and dancers usually presents two 30-minute Playlist Productions performances a night backed by a soundtrack and giant LED screen. Lights, confetti and smoke machines add to the excitement. However, we missed the larger-scale performances backed by a live band. On our sailing, highlights included a "Divas" revue, featuring popular songs by famous females from Patti LaBelle to Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. Less successful was a "Motor City" cavalcade of R&B hits, not a great choice for the mainly Caucasian group of performers.

On select Carnival LIVE! sailings, you might be treated to a performance by a famous singer, group or comedian (for a fee; ticket prices vary, but generally are in the $40 to $75 range). Also in the Ovation Theater: raucous audience-participation game shows with the cruise director emceeing (the Newlywed Game-style "Love & Marriage Show" with couples called up from the audience was a hoot.), bingo for cash prizes and Dr. Seuss Story Time.

The 400-seat Limelight Lounge aft on Deck 5 has a glam gold-colored curtain, swanky banquettes, bar and small dance floor. It hosts comedy shows (PG-rated earlier in the evening, moving toward X later) and popular karaoke nights. It also served as the start of a Dr. Seuss parade through the ship on our sailing and the spot for a gathering honoring past and present members of the military.

Need a good scream? A two-dozen seat Thrill Theater ($7.95 a show) on Deck 4 shows "4-D" mini-movies that have your chairs rocking and water spraying while you don special glasses to watch the adventure, cartoon and horror flicks.

Daily Fun

Fun is Carnival's mantra. Even the gloomiest should crack a smile on sea days, when the calendar is packed with entertainment options. Trivia mavens have many opportunities to take home a trophy replica of Breeze or medals ceremoniously placed around the necks of runners-up. Expect scavenger hunts, shopping talks, cooking and towel animal-making demos, shuffleboard, Ping-Pong, Park West art auctions that strive to make you feel like a millionaire art collector and Carnival's hilarious "Very Hairy Chest Contest" (on our sailing, men had to beg accessories and makeup from female passengers for a drag-queen twist).

The Beach Pool, forward on the Lido Deck (Deck 10), is the hub of daily activity that includes group dancing and concerts broadcast on the big screen.

The 24-hour Warehouse Video Arcade on Deck 4 features a roomful of video and carnival-style games (play isn't free). "Enrichment" programs aren't plentiful and often include a pitch to buy something, such as anti-aging and cellulite spa treatments.

Surprises happen: You might wake up one morning to find towel animals similar to those placed in cabins nightly all over the Lido deck. Chaises will be filled with snow-white lounging elephants, frogs and dogs. Quite a sight!

At Night

At its Punchliner Comedy Club, Carnival presents up-and-coming comedians on its cruises. On our sailing, two comics were in residence. The later the show, the more adult the humor.

The 1,100-square-foot Winner's Luck Casino on Deck 5 is a draw for many, with its 16 table games ($6 minimum for blackjack, lower than most Vegas Strip casinos) and 239 slot machines. The casino hosts Texas Hold 'Em tournaments, raffles and wheel spins for cash. Smoking is allowed at the bar.

Outdoor movies on the Lido Deck, with popcorn and blankets handed out to cuddle under, are also popular. Earlier showings are geared toward kids, later offerings for adults.

Grown-ups flock to beer pong tournaments in the RedFrog Pub and dance away the night at the Liquid Nightclub. Anyone can boogie at a "Caribbean Beach Party" and other events on the Lido Deck. Late-night adult soirees up on the Serenity Deck (15) can go till the wee hours, as long as enough revelers are standing.

Carnival Breeze Bars and Lounges

Drinking is a day and night pastime for many adult passengers. Sweet tropical concoctions and beer are popular, and cruisers carry them as they stroll or stagger around the ship. Carnival's extra fee all-inclusive Cheers Beverage program attracts many. Watch for $3 "make any drink a double" days. Some bars have signature cocktails, generally less than $9. Servers circulate on the Lido Deck with libations such as the "Fun Ship" (vodka, Amaretto, apricot brandy, white rum and fruit punch).

Atrium Bar (Deck 3): Under banks of glass elevators and light fixtures whose multicolored fabric shades are shaped like elongated Japanese lanterns, this watering hole with orange counter, stools, tables, dance floor and elevated space for performers, is quiet during the day. But it revs up at night when string trios play, Latin singers entertain or a DJ spins. After Ovation Theater shows, performers spill out to mingle with fans. Mojitos are popular. The action winds down around midnight.

The Library Bar (Deck 4): A small quiet space with books in cabinets, the Library Bar has two self-service wine dispensers that pour a changing variety of vino in 2-, 4- and 6-ounce quantities. On our sailing, a Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon cost $6.75, $13.50 or $20, depending on the amount poured.

RedFrog Pub (Deck 5): The long wooden bar in this replica of a British pub with Caribbean flair is a favorite gathering spot for cruisers and ship's officers. Newcastle Brown Ale is on tap, as are bar snacks such as servings of coconut shrimp and mini sliders for $3.33. There's also a complimentary bar snack: salty deep-fried Caribbean "pigeon peas." You can order a glass of ThirstyFrog Red, brewed exclusively for Carnival by Anheuser-Busch, or a 101-ounce beer tube for you and your closest drinking buddies. There's a jukebox, patio-style seating outside the bar's front door but inside the Promenade Deck. At night, acoustic guitar players entertain. RedFrog Pub is generally open from midday to late.

Plaza Bar (Deck 5): This U-shaped bar is surrounded by Ocean Plaza tables and chairs, and is where trivia is played, and cruisers hang out all day, then dance and listen to music at night (do not miss fellow cruisers of all talent levels singing karaoke backed by a live band). Opening times vary; closes at midnight.

Piano Bar 88 (Deck 5): Plush blue velveteen chairs and sofas and a blue-and-white striped bar give this watering hole a sophisticated feel. It's elbow-to-elbow when the pianist is taking requests and performing, or when a sing-along breaks out. Martinis are popular. Open late.

Liquid Nightclub (Deck 5): Styled like a mini Vegas club, Liquid doesn't get going till after 11 p.m. Order your drink in a glass shaped like a mirrored disco ball and take it home as a souvenir. Open late.

The Limelight Lounge (Deck 5): Belly up to this bar away from the stage and enjoy a Breeze Cosmopolitan, with just a hint of Limoncello. The bar heats up on nights when there's karaoke or a comedy show.

Winner's Luck Bar (Deck 5): Seats are scarce in the evenings and on big game days, when players, sports fans and cruisers jonesing for a smoke belly up here. Open late.

BlueIguana Tequila Bar (Deck 10): The always-jumping poolside BlueIguana does a brisk business in "Spicy Margaritas" -- made with Milagro Silver tequila, chipotle pepper syrup, pineapple juice and a touch of lemonade. While tequila drinks are the main draw, you can find a few other options as well. Open late.

RedFrog Rum Bar (Deck 10): On the opposite side of the deck from BlueIguana at the Beach Pool, the RedFrog Rum Bar dispenses tropical creations, including the dangerously delicious "Frog's Island Iced Tea." It's mixed with Malibu Coconut Rum, Blue Curacao, Bombay gin, Skyy vodka, pineapple juice and Sprite. Frozen drinks are on the menu, as well, as is ThirstyFrog Red beer. Open late.

Tides Bar (Deck 10): Quieter than its peers on the forward side of the deck, Tides, at the back of the ship, dispenses specialty cocktails such as "Kiss on the Lips," whose components include mango puree, peach schnapps and grenadine. Popular here and elsewhere is the "Miami Vice" -- an unusual quaff in that half the glass contains a pina colada, half a frozen strawberry daiquiri. Open late.

SportsSquare Bar (Deck 12): In addition to adult beverages, this outpost by the basketball court does a brisk business in smoothies for the kids playing mini-golf and trying the elevated ropes course. Unlike most other bars, it closes early, usually around 6 p.m.

Serenity Bar (Deck 15): Serene by day, manic during deck party nights, this little watering hole's specialty is "Pirate Punch." That's Bacardi rum blended with Amaretto, plus pineapple, cranberry and orange juices. It may stay open till nearly dawn if partiers are thirsty.

Carnival Breeze Outside Recreation

Pools

Carnival Breeze has two pools (both on Deck 10), two water slides with kiddie splashing areas and a half dozen hot tubs. Serious swimmers beware, no pool is big enough for real swimming or doing laps. There's no lifeguard at any of the pools, and infants in diapers and kids who are not toilet-trained are prohibited from entering the water.

The Beach Pool is 4 feet, 4 inches deep with an outdoor shower and wide sides for sitting in a few inches of water and dangling one's feet. It's flanked by five semicircular rows of non-cushioned blue loungers that face the giant screen overhead.

The aft Tides Pool is quieter. Next to it are two popular hot tubs. Nearby you'll find five rows of blue loungers -- and a better chance of snagging one.

Two adults-only hot tubs are available on the Serenity Deck (Deck 15), while kids can splash in the shallow pools in the WaterWorks area (Deck 12).

Recreation

Two curving water slides -- the DrainPipe and Twister, each about 300 feet long -- are centerpieces of Deck 12's WaterWorks, which also features an enormous bucket called a PowerDrencher that dumps water on swimsuit-clad water park visitors. Kids must be 42 inches tall and toilet-trained to ride the fast-flowing slides.

Participants also have to be 48 inches tall to try the suspended ropes course on Deck 12, in which users negotiate obstacles while in a safety harness. That deck also has Ping-Pong, a miniature golf course, basketball court and outdoor area with punching bags and exercise machines.

Sun Decks

If chaises on the Lido Deck are occupied, as they can be, adults can escape to the free-to-use Serenity Deck (Deck 15), where you'll find cushioned loungers and basket-weave clamshell-shaped "cabanas" big enough for two, with ottomans. Try to grab the lone hammock if you can, it's usually occupied. However, the locale isn't exactly serene when riders are screaming on the nearby water slides.

You also can lounge in the shade or sun on Deck 11, watching the Lido action below but not taking part.

Deck 5 is a good place to hide from the crowds, save for the smokers in the area outside the Ocean Plaza Bar on the left side of the ship. The deck offer loungers galore, two giant chessboards and four elevated hot tubs overlooking the sea.

Carnival Breeze Services

The guest services and shore excursions desks are located off the Atrium on Deck 3. Internet is available at three dozen "Fun Hubs," with most on Decks 3, 4 and 5. Access to social media only costs $5 for 24 hours; $25 for the cruise. You can surf the web and get and send mail for $16 daily; $60 for the sailing. A premium package that includes Skype and video calling is $25 daily, $99 for the cruise. Internet can be slow on your own devices in cabins and public spaces.

Self-serve ironing rooms (Decks 1, 6, 8, 9) and laundry rooms (Decks 2, 7 and 10, $3.25 per washer or dryer load and $1.50 for detergent) are available. You can also send your laundry to be done at greater expense.

An extensive Photo Gallery of for-purchase shots taken of you and your shipmates is on Deck 4, along with a tiny card room and library.

Breeze's nine shops, selling everything from jewelry and watches, to clothing, candy and duty-free goods, are on Deck 5. For those looking to score a low-priced bottle of booze, know that duty-free goods can't be handed over until the end of the cruise.

Carnival Breeze Spa & Fitness

Spa

Carnival Breeze's Cloud 9 Spa is a nearly 23,000-square-foot sanctuary with 20 treatment rooms, including three for couples or VIPs. Ask for a couples' room with huge forward-facing windows that make you feel as if you were piloting the ship.

The spa centerpiece is the coed 91-degree thalassotherapy pool with jets and next-door "thermal suite" that includes steam rooms, color-therapy shower, a sauna-like "Laconium" dry heat room and ultra-relaxing "Tepidarium" with heated ergonomic mosaic-tiled chaise lounges. Only passengers 18 and older can use this area. Cruisers not in spa staterooms or suites must pay a daily fee (less if you buy access for the whole cruise) to use these areas. However, saunas in men's and women's locker rooms can be used for free.

The ambience is attractive, clean and restful, with decor including turquoise and gold carpeting in hallways and residential-style wood floors in treatment rooms. The variety of treatments (about 100) is staggering, from reflexology to hot-stone and bamboo-stick massage, to scrubs, men's shaves and oxygen facials.

However, rates are at a price point that seems too high for a mass-market cruise ($125 for the least expensive facial, $249 for the cheapest 50-minute couples massage, $149 for the lowest-cost 50-minute deep-tissue massage). Manicures start at $45; pedicures, $65. But passengers seemed to be splurging. Attractive young spa staffers with impossibly smooth skin and perfect makeup used free seminars to aggressively hawk treatments such as teeth whitening, acupuncture, anti-aging facials and cellulite busters. Breeze even has an onboard physician who touts and administers wrinkle-erasers, including Botox and Dysport.

Kids can spa here, too. A 50-minute father/son chill-out massage is $195. A manicure with an ice-cream treat is $45 and an "Acne Attack Facial" costs $95.

Fitness

The fitness center is open to passengers, ages 18 and up (12- to 17-year-olds are allowed when accompanied by a parent) and is located in the spa complex on Deck 12. It's a spacious area with floor-to-ceiling windows packed with rows of Life Fitness equipment, including 22 treadmills, various kinds of exercise bikes, rowing machines, weight benches and more. It's open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. A few exercise classes are free, such as sunrise and evening stretch classes and "fab abs." You'll have to pay to take cycling, "Body Sculpt Boot Camp" and Pilates classes. Personal training is also available for a fee.

Outdoor exercise equipment (including stationary bicycles, machines to work hips, arms and abs and punching bags), a basketball court and jogging track (a mile is eight laps) are located in the SportsSquare on Deck 12. Kids are welcome.

Carnival Breeze For Kids

Everyone from infants (6 months is the youngest allowed on Carnival) to mom and dad are well taken care of on Carnival Breeze. The ship is a good choice for families, with a range of family-friendly programming and day care for tots to teens. And the extra-fee "Night Owl" care for kids frees up parents to party until the wee hours of the morning. Connecting and special family cabins capable of housing five are available.

Breeze features the line's partnership with Hasbro, the game maker and offers Carnival's "Seuss at Sea," which includes a group story time, camp activities, jolly Seuss parade through the ship led by The Cat in the Hat and $5-a-person "Green Eggs and Ham" breakfast. Other for-fee fun that parents can join: a Beary Cuddly Workshop, during which you customize a bear or other stuffed animal. Cost varies according to outfits chosen, but a special St. Jude Children's Research Hospital bear is $19.99, with proceeds benefiting the hospital.

Kids

Camp Ocean (Deck 11) is divided into groups. Penguins are two to five; Stingrays six to eight, and Sharks are nine to 11. Kids can check into camp for free from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on sea days. Dinner can be taken with parents or with other campers. When Breeze is in port, Camp Ocean opens earlier. A nice touch: Campers and their parents can use the camp as a relaxation area while they wait to disembark.

Part of Camp Ocean is used as a drop-off area for kids under two. Gates are unlocked and locked by staffers for security. Babysitting for these tots costs $6.75 hourly per child, plus a 15 percent gratuity.

Age-appropriate activities in the colorful play area might include playing Mr. Potato Head, decorating T-shirts, LEGO castle building, movies, arts and crafts, Twister and bowling, Wii games, bingo and girls-against-boys trivia.

The older Sharks do lots of video gaming, have their own scavenger hunt, play mini-golf and might even have a talent show.

Kids can take their meals with their peers, or parents can pick them up. Parents can also join kids for a scavenger hunt and other fun.

Group babysitting with video games, board games and movies is offered through Camp Ocean from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. nightly. The "Night Owls" program is open to every child up to age 11. The fee is $6.75 per hour per child, plus 15 percent gratuity. More than a few times, staffers have had to launch a shipboard search for partying moms and dads who've lost track of time.

Around the ship, kids' menu options abound (think mac and cheese and chicken tenders). Cribs and high chairs, but not diapers, are available.

Tweens and Teens

Twelve- to 14-year-olds hang out at Circle C (Cruise, Chill, Connect), tucked away on Deck 4. There's a mini dance floor, lounging nooks, video games ties to flat-screen TVs and ultra-mod cushy orange chairs shaped like bananas. Activities typically start at noon on sea days, 4 p.m. on port days, and might include dodge ball, dancing, fitness tournament, karaoke, a cookie and smoothie social, a "rave party" and water slide race. Kids, who are free to come and go, take a dinner break until 8:30 p.m. Closing time is as late as 1 a.m.

Club O2 provides a spot for the high school set aged 15 to 17 to meet and mingle (no adults or kids allowed) over karaoke, pool parties and dances. The clubhouse on Deck 4 resembles a nightclub, with dance floor and giant flat-screen TVs. A bar serves non-booze concoctions. The schedule is more relaxed in the afternoons, but amps up at night with X-Box tourneys, glow-in-the-dark parties and DJs spinning current hits.

Additional Carnival Breeze Information

Carnival Breeze Details
  • Crew: 1,386
  • Launched: June 2012
  • Decks: 14
  • Passengers: 3,690
  • Registry: Panama
  • CDC Score: 100

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